Sunday, October 14, 2012

Great Ocean Road Revisited

If you have been reading the blog for a while you might remember that Erik and I took a trip along the Great Ocean Road in February. I personally think that a trip to see the 12 Apostles is a must-do for visitors to Melbourne, so just a few days after my mom and dad arrived, we headed in that direction! Since I had done the drive before (although technically I did not drive at ALL the first time because I was still not comfortable driving on the other side of the road), I planned most of our stops in advance and I booked accommodation in Apollo Bay at the Beachfront Motel, so that we could split the long drive up into two days.

Our first stop on day one was at Bells Beach. This was a very different beach compared to what Erik and I saw back in February. On the day that I visited with my parents, the beach was packed with surfers. According to one of them, the swell was 3 meters (10 feet) at the face of some of the biggest waves.

Next, we made a side trip to Anglesea Golf Club. I had read in various places that this was a good place to spot kangaroos, and I was not sure that we would see any others during the course of our trip. Sure enough, as soon as we turned onto the road that the golf course is on, we spotted a group of kangaroos. This was midday, so I did not know how much movement would be occurring, as the 'roos tend to be more active at dawn and dusk. However, we saw a few of them jumping and others "scooting" during the time we stopped to watch them. In addition, one of the kangaroos that was close to us had a joey (baby) in its pouch! You cannot see the joey's head, but you can see the ears sticking up and you can see that the mom's pouch is full. So cool!!

Mom and I were hoping that the joey would poke its head out!

After leaving the kangaroos, we made a short stop at Split Point lighthouse and then stopped at the Great Ocean Road monument. Shortly after that, we stopped for lunch in Lorne, where we ate a filling lunch of fish and chips just a few steps away from the Southern Ocean.

We then made our way to Teddy's Lookout, which has beautiful views of the ocean and offers a glimpse of cars driving along the famous road below. After taking some pictures, we were back in the car (at this point I was feeling bad that we have a two door car because getting in and out is not an easy task and we were doing it often!) and off to our next stop, Grey River Road, for more koala spotting. We were again successful at finding several koalas. In addition, we saw our first "wild" kangaroo along this road, who was just having a meal when we wandered by him.

How cute are they?!

This cockatoo was not happy with me taking his photo!

Our final stop of the day was in Apollo Bay for rest, dinner, and sleep! It was super quiet in town and most things seemed to close at 5pm, though this was a weeknight in the spring and the population of the town is quite small, so I guess that is to be expected. We ended up not being very hungry for dinner after our massive lunch, so we tried a tapas place called "Chill" and we were pleasantly surprised with the food and the delicious sangria. The decor and feel of the place was very modern but also laid back, and I would definitely recommend checking it out if you spend some time in Apollo Bay.

In the morning, we ate a nice breakfast at Cafe 153, just a few steps from our motel. After brekkie we were off to do some more exploring. The night before, we had decided not to drive down the road to the Cape Otway lighthouse. I knew that this was a great place for koala spotting, but since we had already seen so many, mom and dad agreed that our time would be better spent elsewhere. However, when we approached the road to the lighthouse, we were making good time and I kind of just felt like we should drive down the road, so I made a last minute decision that would turn out to be a good one. There were tens (maybe hundreds?!) of koalas in the trees on this road, including the most adorable baby koala in the world (seriously!). Furthermore, we witnessed two koala "fights", as apparently they are very territorial about their tree spaces! Check out the video below to see one of the fights (yes, that is my mother you are hearing during most of the fight). Also on the video is a climbing koala who startled me as I was walking into some tall grass to try to get a better view of the joey. All of the sudden, I heard a rustling in the grass, and this koala came walking out straight towards me, crossed the road, and then proceeded to climb up the tree. I thought I captured the entire thing on video, but apparently not. Mom and dad were standing there too, and I think my mom caught most of it on her iPhone!

720p from Ashley Hanson on Vimeo.
Koalas seem to fall asleep in the funniest positions!
After we parked, we realized there was a koala right above our car.

These two were actually getting along well. Check out the video above to see the koala fight!
Yes, this picture is *almost* the same as above, but I cannot get enough of this joey!
Mom is checking up on baby...
...and then they rub noses. So sweet!
Don't you just want to take this thing home with you?!
Another mommy, holding her joey while sleeping. Note baby koala leg sticking out!!
The next part of the drive is through Otway National Park, which is full of twists and turns and unfortunately made my mom a little car sick. Needless to say, she was happy to get out of the vehicle when we arrived at the 12 Apostles.

Again, how cute are they?!

From the Apostles, we drove up the road to Loch Ard Gorge, where we did a little more sightseeing before jumping back in the car to return back to Melbourne. We drove the inland road home, which is about two hours faster (though not nearly as pretty or exciting!) than driving back along the Great Ocean Road. This was a lot to see and do in two days time, and I probably completely exhausted my parents, but they seemed to keep up rather well and enjoyed nearly every second of our trip along the road that is consistently named one of the greatest in the world for its scenery.

No comments:

Post a Comment