02 January 2007

The Great Ocean Road

Heather and I just got back from holiday in Melbourne. We had such a great time, the trip is going to have to be split over several posts, so be sure to check back often over the next few days. In addition, I am behind on some other planned posts that I'll probably mix in as well.
We start with the Great Ocean
Road, which follows the south coast of Victoria west of Melbourne. This is also the location of the GO Marathon that I am planning on running this May. Our flight landed in Melbourne Christmas morning, where we picked up our rental car. We got a free upgrade from a Toyota Corolla to a Camry to
help the Queensland-plated Camry back towards home, so we were touring in style. We decided to cruise about 60km up to Ballarat, the largest inland city in Victoria to see a gold museum only to find it closed--Christmas. As for the city of Ballarat--well, I could have passed. So we headed to Port
Campbell on inland roads, saving the big coastal views for the next day. About five minutes before we arrived in Port Campbell, Heather spotted a koala in a tree on the roadside, so we did a quick u-turn and got this picture--our first wild koala sighting. When we got to Port Campbell, we checked in at
Waves, a very nice boutique right off the coast. Not many food options on Christmas day, but we were able to get this monster helping of newspaper-wrapped fish and chips. A little later, we went out to view the Twelve Apostles, a coastal rock formation created by buffeting ocean waves. Great colours at
sunset. Also visited Loch Ard Gorge, the site of the 1878 sinking of the Loch Ard, where fifty-two people died. The only two survivors washed up on the beach in the gorge. We also saw the Blowhole, a giant hole in the ground connected to the coast by a one hundred metre tunnel that sprays water when the waves hit it right.
The next day, we got an early start on the day (and spotted a wallaby roadside) by taking a helicopter ride over the coastal sights. Pictured here is London Bridge, which was attached to the
mainland by a land bridge until 1990, when it collapsed after two visitors crossed over it and had to wait three hours for a rescue helicopter to lift them off. We also got this postcard-picture view of the Twelve Apostles looking down the coastline. Our pilot was very informative during the tour, and
threw us a little hang-ten sign in this photo.
When we hit the road again, we were treated to great coastal views on the twisting roads. Heather got to do a little more watching than I did--if the driver looks out over those cliffs for too long he's likely to go over them. We also spotted more wildlife on
the drive. When we turned a corner and saw seven or eight cars pulled off the road, we knew something was up, so we quickly pulled over, too. We were treated by koalas everywhere, including this mother and joey on eye level about five metres away. We snapped pictures for about
fifteen or twenty minutes before we moved on. In the first picture, Joey is learning how to use his leg to scratch by imitating Mum. In the second, Mum is trying to get a little breathing room after being climbed on and almost knocked out of the tree by Joey. But we're in Australia--koalas are a dime a dozen. The real sighting of the drive was the goat.
Next stop: Melbourne.


michelle b. said...

I like your hair.

Chris said...

Thanks, Michelle, but you haven't seen anything yet. Some of the other pictures, soon to be posted, show the new 'do much better.

Karen said...

It might have been your first live koala sighting, but I'm sure you have tasted the beloved creature!

Chris said...

Tastes like chicken. (I'm kidding)