Thursday, 16 March 2017

The great ocean road and the grampians

We spent the next few days driving along the south coast, pausing to admire the beautiful beaches, to walk inland up rivers and see waterfalls and to eat local fish (usually battered) and massive salads.

Lorne was a nice seaside town, with a holiday park at one end, and a pretty prominade of shoots and cafes. We are huge ice creams, drive up to viewpoints over the mountains, and jogged into the woods.

After lorne we found a little koala on Lisa's map, so stopped there for coffee.

We walked up a road from the coffee shop, and found some very tame parrots sitting on tourists hands and heads. Further up the track and into the forest every hundred yards or so there was an adorable bump in the tree which was a koala, just sleeping or occasionally eating. A couple had babies with them, although none were close enough for any brilliant photos, it was still a pleasure to see them in the wild.

Port Campbell and port fairy were both nice places to stop, and happened to be where we had found airbnb places, they also had more exquisite beaches, and amazing rock formations, the 12 apostles being the equivalent of old harry rocks done the Aussie way, bigger and brasher and more obvious.

I had my close encounter with a snake on a walkway here, literally about 8 inches from stepping on something huge and brown/black, which was either the eastern brown snake (utterly deadly) or a tiger snake (mostly deadly). I heroically held Lisa back as I stopped sharply. A couple walking the other way jumped a mile and sprinted off like lunatics, and the snake slithered over the path and hid in the bushes.

Forgive me for not going into more detail of the great ocean road, but the photos I will put up eventually should do it more justice.

The end of the road was mount Gambier, which just sneaked us into South Australia, so we had to change our clocks by 30
Minutes (hardly worth it really) where we stopped at a cheap and cheerful motel, ate copious amounts of pizza, and a garlic bread smothered in bolognese sauce and mozzarella (which I had seen advertised 200 times on local tv).

The next morning was the mount Gambier parkrun, 5k around the lake, (although actually the rim of an extinct volcano). We found a little village type fair on a green bit by the town hall and had coffee and cake, and chatted to some locals and listened to folk and admired some old Holdens.

A march up the mountain, and down a sinkhole, in blazing sunshine meant we were ready to spend the early evening in the cinema (the excellent trainspotting 2) before spending the evening in the local pub drinking cheap local reisling, and eating roast pork (me) and veggie stir fry (Lisa)

The next day was a long drive out towards the grampians national park. We stayed in halls gap, at a holiday park surrounded by kangaroos and cockatoos, and drove to all the viewpoints, where crazy rock formations stick out of craggy mountains, and you get 360° vistas over the whole of Victoria.

Again, the pictures I'll eventually share will be far more effective than my gibbering attempts to describe these places

The drive back to Melbourne a couple of days later was lovely, with aboriginal paintings and a walk round a lake, before a final night near the airport, and an early flight to Tasmania!

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