The torch relay took the scenic route Friday, travelling down Victoria’s Great Ocean Road from Warrnambool to Port Campbell, before heading inland to Colac.

The Great Ocean Road winds its way 180 kms along the coast of Victoria, west of Melbourne. Hugging the coast, the road is one of the most spectacular drives anywhere in the world, passing dramatic cliffs, windswept beaches, lush rainforests, dairy farms and sleepy fishing villages.

During the winter months, large numbers of southern right whales can be seen in the waters along this stretch of coastline.

A morning of hail and rain, dampened the occasion somewhat, but didn’t deter large numbers of spectators from turning out to cheer the torchbearers on day 44 of the Olympic Torch Relay.

Heading east from Warrnambool, the torch passed through the town of Allansford — best known as the home of ‘Cheeseworld’ — then on to Peter borough on the rugged ‘Shipwreck Coast’, where many ships carrying immigrants to the gold fields of Victoria met an unfortunate end.

According to local legend, Peterborough was first settled by Europeans in 1855 when a luxury clipper, the Schomberg, was shipwrecked nearby.

Olympic athlete Bob Joyce ran along a stretch of the Great Ocean Road and handed the torch to his daughter Rebecca, an Olympic rower. Olympic hockey player Robin Hodder also ran today, proudly wearing his bronze medal.

Next stop on the road was Port Campbell, another fishing village that has also become a popular holiday destination thanks to its proximity to some of the Great Ocean Road’s most dramatic scenery: the Twelve Apostles and London Bridge.

The shear golden limestone cliffs and sculptural rock formations of the Port Campbell National Park are some of the best-known landmarks in Australia.

A highlight of the Port Campbell lunch celebration was a large mural made by 1500 children from 17 schools in the region. Each school created a panel featuring images such as torches, the mascots, Millie running with a torch, olive tree leaves, athletes, the Olympic rings and the names of each of the artists. These panels were then put together to line the torchbearer corridor.

Source: SOCOG