Tara's first Singing for Breathing session on Wednesday supported by Dida, seems to have gone well, which was great to hear.
Another early start for us - up at 6 for a long day trip on the Great Ocean Road.
The first stop was Colac at 10 for a comfort break and refreshments. We stopped by a large green with a playground and public toilets which we advised to use while the driver, Brian, brewed up tea and coffee and handed out Lamingtons.
Claim to fame: The inventor of the crossword puzzle is supposed to be buried here!? – this might have been a joke.
Drove through the Otway Rain Forest to get to Loch Ard Gorge. It actually did rain as we drove along which made it steamy & mysterious, we were lucky to have experienced that as outside the forest it seemed dry! Maybe that's what rain forest means.
Apparently the captain of the Loch Ard Gorge, a ship sailing from England, misjudged the gorge due to poor visibility and the ship capsized on the rocks. Most of the 54 crew and passengers died except Eva Carmichael (passenger) & Tom Pearsons (crew). So, the gorge was named after the sunken ship. Eva eventually made her way back to Ireland. Tom became captain of his own ship and died in another ship wreck.
dkc-1072-038-LRLoch Ard Gorge
Stopped for lunch at the Port Campbell Hotel - we had pre-ordered lamb and fish which were both delicious especially with the glass of Shiraz. It is a tiny hotel which is up for sale, not surprising really as it is completely off the beaten track and can't do much passing trade. They must have been really pleased to see us.
Next stop the Twelve Apostles - limestone rocks formed by erosion. There were only ever 10 but now there are 8 and a stump but they are still known as the 12 Apostles. Went for a walk at this stop - too impressive to describe, stunning views of the rock formations and amazing blues of the sea. D's photos will do a better job.
Then on to the River Kennet, (which is home from home for us Reading types, having a river of the same name). Brilliant stop for wildlife and we saw a koala resting in a tree, rosellas and a kookaburra (very excited about that)! One of parrot thingies landed on D's bald head and was v scratchy but no visible damage!
dkc-1072-130Koala Bear Koala Bear
Koalas only eat eucalyptus leaves but they need to rest for 18 out of 24 hours to process the poisons out of their bodies, which is why they are stationery for so much of the day. Also saw an Echinda - large spiky hedgehog crossing the road.
They had huge fires here on Christmas Day 2015, all the way down along the coast from River Kennet to the Wye River, started by accident (lightening). The aboriginals used to manage the forests with controlled fires but this hadn't been done for a long time hence the ferocity when it did take hold. The fires are fought with water from helicopters and the firees are mainly volunteers but they came from all over the state for this one.
We saw lots of burnt trees and some houses, (no lives were lost), but the regrowth of ferns etc is already starting just 6 weeks or so later, which is pretty impressive.
The penultimate stop of the day was Lorne, an idyllic holiday town with sandy beaches, blue skies, children learning to surf...Property prices: nothing under 1,000,000 (Aus $).
Claim to fame: January swim from the end of the pier to the pub on the bay a distance of about 2km. 5000 people take part with the fastest time being 10 minutes and the slowest about 2hrs.
D fixed a lady's camera - an old fashioned one with film. It was flashing an "H"....anyway she was happy and relieved and will buy him a drink!
The final stop of the day is the Memorial which marks the end of the Great Ocean Road. Most of the road was dug manually with picks and shovels, and was a project to provide employment for returning soldiers. Originally a toll road as it was set up with private funding.
(D apparently has another customer with a dodgy camera!)
Back to the hotel at around 8. Too tired to go out for supper so room service for us.
Last night in Melbourne tonight, another early start tomorrow for our short flight to Adelaide.