Are some of the must see Heritage sites of the world victims of their own success?
At the risk of Australian howls of protest, the iconic Twelve Apostles and the Great Ocean Road look like victim number one to me. A trip along this road had been right at the top of my personal bucket list for decades – but what a disappointment.
Venice is not just sinking under water but sinking under the feet of too many tourists. The character of particularly Caribbean ports and towns are ruined when the cruise boats come in and even our own Orkney Islands are wondering if they are suffering from a boat too far.
The Twelve Apostles avoids cruise ships but even in the Australian autumn, the area is a mass of tourists spilling out of enough coaches to evacuate a small Australian town.
The well-organised well drilled follow the flag and see Australia in a day Chinese visitors are the biggest groups by far. An instant local take over in just minutes.
The limestone Apostle Stacks are now only eight as number 9 collapsed in July 2005. If you can squeeze between the mobile camera shops on two legs you may like me feel a 7 hour trip from London to Cornwall would have been far more rewarding.
Cheer yourself up with the story of the partial collapse of the nearby London Bridge limestone structure. It stranded a tourist couple later rescued by helicopter. News interest was immense but interviews were few. Could it be true that they were lovers whose illicit affair was exposed by a rock formation that decided to collapse after millions of years standing proud. The earth really did move!
The Ocean Road itself is the longest war memorial in the world. Built by soldiers and sailors returning from the European battlefields of WW1 in memory of Australians who died.
Despite tourist swarms, the Apostles will continue to be a top Australian visitor attraction. At the last count, 8.5 million people visited Australia. 1.4million were Chinese second only to Kiwis who do not have far to travel. The UK sent just 750,000 tourists including me.
Any good road trip needs a good soundtrack so here are 10 ideas plus track number 11.
You cannot hear the roar of the engines but click below and help yourself to an earful of the suggested Road Trip soundtracks.
Sausalito (live version) Grover Washington Jr Live At The Bijou
Malorie – Billy Paul. Produced by Gamble/Huff from 1975 album When Love Is New.
Take Ten – Paul Desmond. Great sax player with a personal take on his track Take Five big crossover hit for Dave Brubeck.
Breezin –George Benson. Written by top Soul Brother Bobby Womack.
Whats Going On – Harvey Mason. Best non-Marvin version by far. George Benson on guitar plus members of the Benson band featured.
Give It Up – Bobby Womack. Written with his brother Cecil from album Road Of Life. Cecil of Womack and Womack fame features on guitar too.
Rose Rouge St Germain. From album Tourist sampling Marlena Shaw.
Little Sunflower – Freddie Hubbard featuring Al Jarreau. Perfect voice on a perfectly played track.
Loving You – Donald Byrd. From F.U.M.L album.
I Ain’t Playin – Lamont Dozier from 1981 album Lamont. With the Holland brothers, he wrote more hits than any of us have eaten cornflakes.
A pick that could come from any musical genre. Because it has just about the greatest intro ever and lyrics with meaning that transcend time.
The Way It Is – Bruce Hornsby and the Range
A personal road trip selection stops here.
Good road trip needs a nice car. Two choices. One from friend Petrol Head Ed and one from me. Work out which is which!