Trip to Australia (2)

“Let’s get out of Melbourne.”

“I want to see a kangaroo.”

“What’s Australia really like?”

These were the phrases that roiled through our heads as we drove out of Melbourne in our rental car, a sleek Toyota Corolla festooned with a prominent Thrifty Car Rental sticker on the back windshield proclaiming that this was, indeed, a rental car: we probably don’t know how to drive on the left, we don’t know where we’re going, we’ll stop or severely slow down for almost anything of interest, and you can be assured that there are probably valuables inside the car.

greatoceanroad

Great Ocean Road (1)

Our plan was to travel down the Great Ocean Road, which is written in capital letters just like that. One can only assume that there is also a Lesser Ocean Road or even a Not-So-Good Ocean Road, but this was the Great Ocean Road. Extending roughly 250 kilometers from the town of Torquay to Allansford, the Great Ocean Road is home to famed surfing beaches, dense eucalyptus forest and rugged coastline all punctuated by small coastal villages. As we drove toward Geelong, the first city on our journey, I had to think of a story that perhaps says something about Australia and occurred not too far from where we were, on the other side of Port Philip Bay which fronts Melbourne. What happened was in 1967 the then prime minister of Australia, Harold Holt, went for a swim at the beach there. He was with friends and bodyguards. He went for a swim and just disappeared. That was it. Just gone. The prime minister of Australia. Missing. Gone. His body was never found, and no foul play was suspected. That is Australia, a place dangerous enough that not only can you drown or get eaten by a shark but it can happen to anyone including the prime minister.

Flowers near Geelong

Flowers near Geelong

I’ll spare you all the details of driving down the Great Ocean Road. Yes, it was winding and scenic. Most of the time we were part of long strings of other cars doing the same thing.

Wild cockatoo at Kennet River

Wild cockatoo at Kennet River

At the end of first day, we stayed in a holiday park at Cape Otway which is known for having an abundance of koalas, those strange, teddy-bear-type marsupials that feed predominantly in eucalyptus trees (a blog on koalas is forthcoming).

Koala

Koala

After settling into our campsite, Matthew and I went exploring. We walked for hours down a rocky beach and on the drive back, we began to see them—wallabies—standing furtively on the edge of the road, half-hidden in the brush, or sometimes in open fields. Wallabies, for those who may not be familiar, look like small kangaroos. Actually, they are small kangaroos: small and mid-sized animals are called wallabies and the larger sized animals kangaroos. Our wallabies, which were dark in color, would stare at us for a few minutes then bound off into the forest.

Wallaby

Wallaby

Another wallaby

Another wallaby

Back in Colorado where we used to live, tourists would stop in cars to see a deer on the side of the road. I’d think, “It’s just a stupid deer. What’s all the fuss about?” But I guess that’s a bit of the way I was in Australia.

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Moon at Cape Otway

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The next morning Rebecca and I woke up early and walked through pasture land looking for kangaroos. Kangaroos generally come out in the early morning and at dusk. Suddenly a whole herd—do kangaroos travel in ‘herds’?—bounded past.

IMG_3906 IMG_3902

Notice joey (baby) in pouch

Notice joey (baby) in pouch

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Back road of Australia – this woman on an ATV was carrying a calf on her lap to another pasture. The calf’s mother follows along with two dogs.

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The next morning we continued up the coast. Despite the scenery, this coast has been known to be treacherous for mariners. There are over 600 known shipwrecks along the coast.

Sea anchor of Marie Gabrielle which sunk in 1880.

Sea anchor of Marie Gabrielle which sunk in 1880.

We then stopped at “The Twelve Apostles” a dramatic series of limestone sea stacks, the most famous site on the road. They were originally named the “Sow and Piglets’, but this name wasn’t felt to be catchy enough and was changed to the ‘The Twelve Apostles’ even though there were never twelve of them.

The Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles

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They aren’t kidding. Not only can you fall off the cliff edges but the cliff can collapse. One nearby rock formation, London Bridge, collapsed in 1990 leaving two tourists suddenly trapped on a limestone stack out at sea.

 

Heron

Heron

Another heron.

Another heron.

Pelican

Pelican

Sea weed air bladders

Sea weed air bladders

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We spent the final night on the road at Port Fairy, a small seaside town near the end of the Great Ocean Road, and the next morning headed back toward Melbourne and our flight home.

 

1)Drive the Great Ocean Road – Victoria Australia. Australia
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7 thoughts on “Trip to Australia (2)

  1. Nice report! You saw two of my favorites in the wild – the wallaby and the cockatoo. Still, you have to go to Queensland, I think, to see the oddest of them all – the Cassowary. I wonder if you were there long enough to form any opinions about the Australians. Well you have to go back to see Sydney and/or Port Douglas and the Great Barrier Reef, or rent a Jucy and travel around. Then maybe we will be treated to a post on the Australians 🙂

  2. Thanks. Yes, we’d like to go back to Australia – I’d like to go to Kakadu or just roam across the outback but maybe we’ll go to where Queensland like you suggest. More posts on Australia upcoming!

  3. Oh I just have to ask… what the dickens is ‘seaweed air bladders’ ??? They look like tiny grapes but with such a name it seems unlikely to find them on a menu….so why would seaweed, a plant need a bladder ????

  4. Oh, now that’s pretty interesting, I thought they just floated because the were light weight….now I know what the saying means that says, ” you never know what’s just below the surface “

  5. Oh, now that’s pretty interesting, I thought they just floated because the were light weight….now I know what the saying means that says, ” you never know what’s just below the surface ” p

  6. Oh, now that’s pretty interesting, I thought they just floated because the were light weight….now I know what the saying means that says, ” you never know what’s just below the surface “.

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