I think I last left you guys as we arrived in Robe, our first stop outside of Adelaide. Robe was a very nice little sea-side town, much reminding me of town in New Brunswick or PEI. We had dinner at a hotel (pub) and then took a walk along the beach to collect shells. There was a wide variety of shells and plant life but nothing was as impressive as the algae. The algae growing on the seaweed gave the plants both red and blue colours. It was quite neat and colourful.
We left Robe the following morning and headed for the Great Ocean Road. Before we hit the Great Ocean road we drove by some really odd looking lakes. They were pink. Not like a slight tinge of pink, but rather a full out pink colour. Talking to some locals, apparently they are salt lakes that grow pink algae in them. It was definitely a very odd experience.
Our next stop was in Mt. Gambier, a largish town with some unique characteristics. The town resides near 3 extinct but relatively young, geologically speaking, volcanoes. These volcanoes are called crater volcanoes because when they erupted, probably only once, they left a massive crater in the ground. Now these craters are home of the Blue Lake and the Valley Lake. The Blue Lake gets its name, yea you guessed it, from its blue colouring. It is not unusual to see blue oceans but it is extremely rare to see a blue lake. From what I was told, the reason the lake is blue is because the water is incredibly clean. Aquifer fed, this lake was drinkable water right out of the lake. An aquifer is basically the flow of water through rock, much like the bottom of a well.
Also in the same city are two sink-holes. Sink holes were, at one point, a giant underground cave that collapsed upon itself leaving a giant hole in the surface. The city turned these giant holes into marvelous gardens full of vines and delicate plant life. You could go down inside of them, sometimes up to 50 feet deep. We did not stop here for the night; we carried on to Pt. Fairy.
There was not a lot to do in Pt. Fairy, but we were not planning on spending much time there. We stayed the night and left early the next morning because we knew that we had a long day ahead of us.
The next morning we started our trek across the Great Ocean Road. The Great Ocean Road is known by all Australians and is deemed one of the nicest places to see in Australia. I do not disagree. With its amazing cliff walls and its incredible rock formations, this coastal wonderland was absolutely amazing. Though the road is only about 100 km long, it took us nearly 8 hours to do its full length. When we were not stopping to look at the various landmarks, we were driving with the ocean on one side and a 100 foot cliff on the other. Some of the features of the Great Ocean Road are: the Bay of Islands, the Grotto, the London Bridge, the Loch Ard Gorge and last but definitely not least, the 12 Apostles. Even though it is called the 12 Apostles, there are actually one 7. No one knows what happened to the other 5 or even if there were ever any more. It is hard to explain the various landmarks, but I definitely recommend that you look through my pictures or even do a Google search on them.
That night we stayed in a nice city called Lorne. Located on Erskine Bvld, our hostel (if you can even call it that) was amazing. We were given half of the top floor of a cabin that had an amazing view of the lush gardens that they have. For only $30 per person, we should have been paying $100 per person. The gardens were immaculate full of plants and animals. There were parrots everywhere! All shapes, sizes and colours. In fact, one of the first things that happened when I got there was when I got shit on by one of the birds. That’s right, I was shit on…laugh, I know it’s funny. We only stayed there for one day, but if we had more time, I would have definitely liked to stay longer. We moved on to Melbourne the next day.
Melbourne is a nice town; full of trams and traffic jams, it’s a little too big for me. We only spent about a day and a half here, though I don’t think I needed much more time. This was definitely my favorite of the big cities we visited but I do not know whether it was the student oriented downtown or if it was the artistic look of the town. We visited the Melbourne Zoo on our fist day. It was a typical zoo, much like the Toronto Zoo, but much smaller.
The next day we went to the Old Melbourne Gaol (Jail, in old English) which was the “home” of some of Australia’s most infamous criminals. We then went perusing through some of Melbourne’s nice and GIGANTIC malls (they even have stores dedicated to big fashion brands like Gucci and Armoni). We even visited the biggest department store in the Southern Hemisphere. Over 14 stories high, this Myers took up two city blocks. After that we headed to the Victoria Markets and bought some souvenirs at really cheap prices. Lastly we headed to the Rialto Hotel building and took an elevator to the 55th floor to their observation deck that soars over Melbourne. Though not as high as the CN tower, it was definitely high enough to give me the heebby jeebies.
The next day we headed to the famous Phillip Islands, Victoria’s most famous tourist attraction. We stayed at a caravan park and got a whole cabin to ourselves. That night we went to the Penguin Parade where we got to watch hundreds of tiny penguins come in from the ocean and return to their dens. These penguins are the smallest of the 14 species known to man. Only about 10 inches tall, the penguins are very cute.
We happened to arrive during their mating season and, let us just say, that things got a little noisy on our way out. No kidding. The next day, we went to the Nobbies (yes, I think it is a funny name too) and saw seal rock. Though it was pretty far off shore, we could still make out the hundreds of fur seals that were basking in the sun. The Nobbies is also home to thousands of sea birds who also happen to be in mating season. There were tones of tiny sea birds resembling little fur balls. We then headed to the Mangrove walk and went for a short hike through the mangrove on the island.
On the way back to Melbourne we stopped at Wildlife Wonderland. It was home to many of the Australian native animals but, in this case, you could touch nearly all of them. Yes, even the Wombats. The best part was the free range kangaroos and wallabies. We happened to buy some kangaroo food before we entered and I am glad we did. As soon as the kangaroos saw that we had food they all started to hop towards us. We had up to 15 kangaroos all begging for food at our feet. One of the ‘roos even had a Joey in its pouch.
That afternoon we made our way back to Melbourne and saw Federation Square. There was a Greek Festival going on at that time, so we fought our way through the crowds and entered the ACMI (Australian Center for the Moving Image). It wasn’t super interesting, but it was home to hundreds of Indy movies made by people all over Australia. We found dinner and went back to the hostel for an early night.
Today we drove from Melbourne to Canberra, Australia’s Capital City. We arrived relatively late and we haven’t done anything yet. That’s it for now, more later.
See you all soon,