Thursday, April 3, 2008

Melbourne & Great Ocean Road

Shouldn’t all great trips start out with bacon, two sausage links, sautéed mushrooms, a roasted tomato, and two poached eggs on toast? Yes, I think they should. However, please note limpish pinkish bacon in photo. Thing Cari misses from USA: crispy bacon.

Thus Philari’s Easter weekend adventure to Melbourne and along the Great Ocean Road began with a Big Brekky and a long black. Aussies like to shorten their words here, so Brekky is “breakfast.” And a long black isn’t really short for anything, rather it’s a long (and rather confusing) way of saying “coffee.” I’ll get into the Australian coffee lingo another time…

Feeling energized (not sure if “energized” is the word for it, does a plate full of sausage eggs and bacon really energize?) we began our trek around Melbourne.

It really is a much bigger city than Adelaide. Unfortunately our stay was brief – one day – and most shops and museums were closed since we were visiting on Good Friday. We did get a chance to explore the Botanic Garden.

And got a great view of the city on the way back.

We had a lovely set dinner at Water and Grass. On our walk back to the hotel after dinner, we encountered an international legend: The Sonic Manipulator! Boy we couldn’t believe our luck.

Free, awesome entertainment before retiring early so we could wake before dawn to embark on a three-day journey along the Great Ocean Road.

The first leg of the Road is a surfer’s paradise. We began in Torquay, home of Quicksilver and Rip Curl and many internationally renowned surfers. We weren’t able to visit the Bells Beach because an international surfing competition was underway. However, we weren’t disappointed for long as we were soon to see enough beaches to tide us over for awhile…

First was Lorne…

Then, Apollo Bay…

Then, Apollo Beach…

Then we had our first sighting of koalas in the wild!! They sleep all curled and cozy high up in the trees…

But some were kind enough to move down in the trees and pose for our photos.

They don’t do much in the way of entertainment or acrobatics but they’re just so darn cute you can’t stop staring and taking photos.

Next we headed to Great Otway National Park, a cool temperate rainforest, where we walked on the treetops at the Otway Fly, a 25 meter high elevated walk through the rainforest. Here’s the walk from the ground:

We were pretty high up there!

It was fun and all, but the two highlights for me were the ferns and the dinosaurs. Now every time I see a fern I get excited, but when I see lots of ferns in one place, like in a rainforest, I go BALLISTIC.

Curly cool!

I was so engrossed in the ferns that I didn’t hear the T-Rex sneaking up behind me – oh no!

Thankfully, Phil was there to rescue me so I escaped unharmed.

A calm evening was on the agenda, with a trip to the Twelve Apostles for sunset.

Pose, Philari!

We returned to our cozy (NOT) hostel for a delicious (NOT) dinner, then tucked into our super comfortable (NOT) bunk beds for a good (NOT) night’s sleep in the clean (NOT) hostel.

Next morning (or later that night, whichever you’d like to call it) we awoke to see the sun rise over the mountains – that doesn’t happen too often with me, so I thought I’d take a photo to capture the moment.

We then visited a number of beaches with awesome rock formations along the Shipwreck Coast (the name for this portion of the Great Ocean Road, since, you guessed it, lots of ships have wrecked here).

Yay, rocks!

Rock on!

One of my favorite rock stops was the Loch Ard Gorge. There’s quite an interesting shipwreck story associated with this place, where in 1878 a ship crashed here, killing 52 of the 54 passengers. The Gorge housed the two survivors overnight and we spelunked into the cave where they slept.

Here’s the cave:

And me spelunkin’ (gosh that word is fun to say):

Are you ready for more rocks?!?! Yeah?!?! You sure?!?! Ok, here you go!!!!

We came to the Bay of Martyrs – where the seaweed was pink!

I think this Bay was my favorite. Yippee!


Sadly, we left the coast and headed inland to the Grampians National Park (sorry guys, no more rock photos). It was here that I saw rain for the first time since moving to Australia! But, that didn’t stop Philari – we accepted the challenge of a rainy hike and encountered loads of kangaroos jumping around their natural habitat. At this point, I’m sort of like, okay, another freaking kangaroo in the wild? Whoop-dee-do! Funny how quickly something can become normal.

Lovin’ the double rainbow after the rain.

Not lovin’ the waking up before sunset bit. Again. See the moon in the sky? Yep, that’s the moon, not some crazy version of the sun that you can only see from Australia.

Despite the early hour, it was pretty so Phil managed to squeeze a few smiles out of me!

Next stop: MacKenzie Falls. Steep. Stairs. Out. Of. Breath. Need. More. Exercise. Less. Dumplings.

Phil means business.

And, last but not least on our trip, Hollow Mountain in the Grampians. Here’s Phil, ready to tackle the Outback.

And us, having sufficiently tackled the Outback and the Great Ocean Road and ready like Freddie to head back to Adelaide. We were kind of sick of hanging out with dirty hippies on our trip (it was a cheap backpacker tour). I mean, don't get me wrong, I love hippies, I do have a nose ring and all, and lots of my friends are hippies (shoutout to Jackie-Chile!) and I love them all dearly. But I compare hippie friends to other people's children. Like, when I see an annoying kid, someone will tell me, "Oh, right, you'll love kids when you have them someday, you'll love your own kids." Even though they're dirty and loud and unpredictable and selfish and you can't take them to a nice restaurant, supposedly someday I'll love kids. It's kind of like my hippie friends - I love my own hippie friends, but I don't necessarily want to hang out with other people's hippie friends, whom I inevitably view as dirty and loud and unpredictable and unable to be taken to a nice restaurant.**

**Admittedly, most of my hippie friends are "fake" hippies. Jackie and I would go to nice restaurants all the time, and she's not dirty, although she has a nose ring too and wears long patterned brownish skirts made by Indian women on Cape Cod and naturally sparkly rock bracelets with earthy vibes.


Anonymous said...

Great entry. I laughed out load.

Anonymous said...

Love the pics Cari. Looks like you and the little Brother are having fun.

Anonymous said...

LOVED this blog entry - looks like you two are having a fabulous time.

I especially like the second picture with the rocks - it looks like a rock is growing out of the top of Philly's head.

Love you,
Miss Meg