Once again I’m at an airport, waiting for yet another flight . . . why is it that the only time I ever have to catch up on stuff is when I’m at airports waiting for flights?! I really need to re-make blogging as a priority . . . maybe November-end resolution??
We left South Australia on a rainy Hallowe’en morning, and crossed the border into Victoria. We had to slow down 10km/hr and the roads instantly got crappier. And I thought the roads in South Australia were crappy . . . *sigh* Eventually we made it to Warnambool, the official western edge of the Great Ocean Road (GOR for short). Now Lonely Planet, which I swear by, seems to always have the opposite travel itinerary to me . . . in South Africa I practically had to read the book backwards to follow my direction of travel, and the same thing happened on the GOR. Eventually, though, we made it through more of rural country Australia and hit the goods – the coast! Although a bit windswept, it wasn’t too cold and we stopped to see some of the amazing rock formations on our way to Port Campbell, where we spent the night in a steal of a deal motel.
The next morning it was bright, beautiful and sunny when we woke up . . . by the time we showered and were ready to hit the road, it was blowing a gale and bucketing down with rain. Soldiering on, we kept going and managed to see everything during the slight breaks in the weather. Mid-morning we found ourselves on a twisty-turny road, heading southward to Cape Otway. The lighthouse was completely socked in, but it didn’t matter, all along the road, chilling out in the eucalyptus trees were – KOALAS!!!!! Dad was driving so Mom and I kept our eyes peeled for cute little koala bums sitting up in the crooks of trees, we stopped every time we saw one and eventually hit the jackpot: a very hungry koala let us watch him eat lunch! He (she?) was only a few feet above us on a branch and completely ignored us and all the other tourists that were stopping to take a look. Such a cool thing to see and totally worth the detour.
By the mid-afternoon we were on our way north again and stopped in for a late lunch at Apollo Bay – just in time to see ‘The Race That Stops The Nation’ – Melbourne Cup. Everyone in Australia, and I do mean everyone, stops what they are doing, and watches the 3-5 minute horse race. Why? I don’t know. Tradition? An excuse to get off work? (It’s actually a public holiday in the city of Melbourne) An excuse to get rip-roaring drunk on the first Tuesday of November just for the hell of it? Whatever the reason, ask an Aussie to actually do something on that day, and they will look at you with utter surprise and disgust. So we watched the race. I don’t remember who won, although it was a very good photo finish and carried on . . . and on . . . and on . . . .
The entire GOR is only a few hundred klicks long, and I’ve driven from Melbourne to Robe in a day before, but holy LORD, when you actually stop and take pictures it takes FOREVER!!! Ever so eventually we made it into Melbourne via the pretty little ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento and up on secondary roads into the city in the dark to avoid the tolls. Mom had vertigo from the curvy roads and I was sick and tired of driving. We also had no clean clothes and no food. The 7-11 at the end of the block provided nourishment and laundry detergent, and we were finally settled in Melbourne!