The Great Ocean Road

27 09 2010

Items I have learned today:

You can not go up to a Koala that is out in the wild and pet them. No matter how ridiculously cute they are.. they are not friendly (aside from the ones that are trained at the petting zoo’s), and they sleep 20 out of 24 hours a day.

I went on my first tour today.  I started work last Friday, so I decided to reward myself with a tour of the “Great Ocean Road.”  I have been here about 3 weeks now and the only touristy thing I have really done is gone to Victoria’s market and been overwhelmed by all the produce and meat vendors.

So, it was up at 6:c0am to be picked up by 6:55am to go on my 13 hour day trip… probably the longest day trip I will ever take.

Danae was the name of our tour guide..
Here she is.

D

D

Now granted, what I loved most about D was how much of a smart ass she was.  (For example… she’s on the cover of the brochure for Bunyip.  She made sure to not only point out, but also turn on the lights in the van so that I could “accurately see” her.  This was followed by her asking if I wanted her autograph and finally commenting on how offended she was that I did not).  Yes, she was knowledgeable and all that, you know… the usual requirements of a tour guide,  but I what I enjoyed the most was sitting shotgun and chatting with her the majority of the day.

Great Ocean Road Entrance

Great Ocean Road Entrance

The great ocean road was actually a project completed by returning soldiers, it is the largest memorial to WWI.   It took them over 14 years to build, and once you are actually winding your way along it, you can see what an accomplishment it actually is.

Bells Beach

Bells Beach

Our first stop was bells beach.   This is one of Australia’s most famous surfing beaches.  Even with freezing weather and gray skies galore, there were still people surfing at 9:00am on a Thursday when we arrived.  Apparently the “city” shuts down whenever the weather is nice, because the entire community goes out surfing.   This is also home for the Rip Curl Surfing Pro.  I attempted to take some pictures of the surfers, but they came out as little black blobs, so these pictures will have to suffice.

Bells Beach

Bells Beach

Stop number two was the “historic lighthouse”.  It was supposed to direct ships in, but this area became known for its ship wreaks.  It is literally known as “Ship Wreck Coast“.  Here is Apollo bay and the light house.  We actually saw a whale off the coast while driving through here.  As you can imagine, I was not successful in capturing a picture, but it was the first time I have ever seen a whale so therefore quite exciting. 

Lighthouse

Lighthouse

Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay

The third stop was a “wildlife” stop, which basically consisted of a short little trail and parrots that will climb on just about anyone to be feed.  It was here that I saw my first koala, and yes they are incredibly cute.  Their diet of eucalyptus leaves gives them ZERO energy, so they spend the majority of their time sleeping up in the trees.  Again, my fabulous photography skills are reflected by the fact that the koala is that lump in the tree.

whatever, it's a koala

whatever, it's a koala

Finally it was off to lunch.  We ate sandwiches in a park.  I probably should remember the name of the city we were in, but I don’t.  It was so cold that we ended up just getting chips (fries) and eating inside.
We did make it to the beach to take one picture before we were off again.
It was SLIGHTLY windy

Some Beach in OZ, specific I know

Some Beach in OZ, specific I know

The “rainforest” was the first stop after lunch.  I was pretty amused by the drains and bridges that were in this supposed forest.  It was absolutely beautiful, but the area we were in was very obviously built so that the tourists could walk about two feet, take a picture and then knock the “rainforest walk” off of their checklist.   Regardless of what I just said, I definitely was THAT person that posed under the big trees.

Rainforest

Rainforest

The 12 Apostles was next.  I believe there are only about 10 of them now, as the others have collapsed.  They are uniquely formed rock stacks that (minus the two that have recently falling down) remained standing after a bazillion years (ok, I might be exaggerating just SLIGHTLY about the length of time).   They kind of reminded me Cappadocia Turkey, because they were so many different colors.
Here is a picture that of course doesn’t do them justice.

a few of the apostles

a few of the apostles

Loch and Gorge was next, which was actually pretty morbid.  It was named after a huge shipwreck.  I believe that it was a group of around 50 people that had sailed from England.  They had made it and were celebrating their arrival and triumph at traveling all the way over to Australia when apparently there was heavy mist, and needless to say.. They crashed.  How depressing though, to get all the way here, to be celebrating your new life, and then all of a sudden.. not so much.  There were only two survivors.    Seems like a great, uplifting tourist attraction does it not!! Sigh.  The area was gorgeous, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the people who’s lives had ended there.

Loch and Gorge

Loch and Gorge

And the final stop of the day was the London Bridge.  The area used to connect, and look like the London bridge, but in 1990 the rock formation connecting the two rock structures collapsed.  There just so happened to be tourists on the “bridge” that day (lucky them!!) but no one was injured, a helicopter came in to rescue them a few hours later.

Then we made the 3 hour trek back to the city with Danae and I discussing Oprah (who will be in Australia in December, a fact that she was WAY more excited about), our childhood crushes (Leonardo Dicaprio for her.. but after his appearance in ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’ of ALL movies) and her trying to help me find a “local” (a paddy coynes basically…).

All in all it was a great trip, and a nice way to kick off starting to work in the corporate world.


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3 responses

29 09 2010
Karen

Sounds like you are having fun! We did that same drive although I was the driver and sightseer all in one. It truely was a fabulos drive and for us it was also really cold! We saw whales and surfers too and just like your pictures they were mostly black blobs in them! We are enjoying reading your posts and reliving our trip through your eyes.

29 09 2010
N Foster

Love it Maria…Pics are great and so happy to see you doing well. Keep Blogging, I’m following and living vicariously through your adventure 😉

11 08 2011

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