Observant little ...

I don't understand the answer, but I may have some ideas on the question...

the Melbourne trip

Hopefully this will come through okay - Blogger is giving me grief at the moment and I'm not sure that any of the bold, italics or hyperlinks will work from an email. Guess I'll find out! (update: they didn't, have now edited it)

So, I promised I'd blog about my trip and I still haven't started. Thanks mostly for being put on the selection panel for one of my old jobs which had over 20 applications! Thankfully, about half of them didn't attempt to answer all aspects of the selection criteria, so they are discounted automatically.

Anyway, the holiday...

Wednesday 25/08/04

Had to get up at 3am to catch my 4am bus for my 6am flight. I had blisters on my feet by the time I'd made the bus - not a good start to the holiday. I also managed to catch the wrong bus somehow and was in with all of the international passengers. Thankfully, the nice bus driver took me over to the domestic airport as soon as he'd offloaded the other passengers (the terminals in Brisbane are about 2km apart, and transfers between them aren't that easy).

Got to Avalon and picked up my car by about 8:45am. Then I headed off to Torquay to start my Great Ocean Road/Grampians adventure. If you have a look at this map, I basically did the solid red line, but starting from just north of Geelong and I went to the other side of the Grampians before I went to Halls Gap (but more on that later).

My aim was to see everything you could see and still make it to the Twelve Apostles by sunset. And this I did with ease. I ran around the beaches, I did a couple of the shorter (less than 1 hour) walks in the Otway National Park and I stopped for just about every tourist lookout I found. I also took about 85 photos, but about 30 of these were at the Twelve Apostles. Because they were truly magnificent. I got there just as the light was starting to turn golden with sunset, and I stayed until the sunlight finally vanished over the horizon. It was my first true sunset over water - being from the east coast, I don't have the opportunity for that much, and the only other times that I've been on a west coast at sunset, there's been cloud cover on the horizon so that, while still spectacular, it wasn't truly a sunset over water. I loved it. It wasn't quite as spectacular as a sunrise over water (dark to light being more awe inspiring than light to dark), but it was still amazing.

The hostel I stayed in was very cool - looking right over the water in Port Campbell. I shared it with a tour bus, but this actually wasn't too annoying and I crashed early after my very early start. Woke up at some stage during the night scratching a couple of bites, but didn't realise how bad they were at this stage.

Thursday 26/08/04

I hopped up early and went back to the Twelve Apostles for sunrise. Once again, it was spectacular - I took about another 20 photos. Then I headed over the Loch Ard Gorge and wandered all around the sights there. It was truly beautiful as well. But I think my favourite from this area was probably the Grotto - very like the Playboy mansion one (from what I've seen on TV), but naturally formed (and no semi-naked or naked women in it). Once again, I did every touristy side-trip that you could possibly do, including heading out to Childer's Cove and Mariner's Bay at one stage. That whole area of the Shipwreck Coast was just beautiful and I'm glad I took the detour.

Another detour was to Logan's Beach. I hadn't planned to go there because it was listed as good for whale watching, but I assumed they'd be way out and I hadn't brought any binoculars. But there I was, standing there, just checking out the scenery, when the black blog on the 2nd breaker out (only a couple of hundred metres from me) which I had thought was seaweed suddenly produced a fin, and then a tail! It wasn't a very big whale, but it was most definitely a whale! Unfortunately, it started bucketing down just then and I decided I couldn't wait for the weather to clear, but continued my merry way to Wooloomooloo.

I drove around Wooloomooloo doing the tourist walk (since it was still bucketing down) and stopped briefly by Koroit and Tower Hill before heading into Port Fairy and doing the same thing there. Port Fairy was a bit of a disappointment for me - I had thought from the descriptions of it that it would be a bit more "english" in historical value and have arty stores lining the streets. In reality, I couldn't see that it was all that different from any other old fashioned seaside town, and certainly had nothing on Russell in NZ. I did walk over to Griffiths Island to check out the lighthouse though.

And then it was off to the Grampians. By now my bities were quite itchy and, in hindsight, I should have stopped off for something along the way, but I still had no idea how red and swollen they were (it was pretty cold and my long sleeved shirt had been on all day). Ah well.

I made it to the west side of the Grampians by about 4pm and hiked to a couple of Aboriginal heritage sites - first Manja Shelter and then to Billimina Shelter - before dusk. (there's a brochure with a rough map of the area here) They were pretty cool I must say, though some of the hand painting that the signs pointed out were very difficult to see.

Since it was rapidly getting dark, I decided to stick to the main roads heading over to Halls Gap. Just as well - as it was, I nearly hit two wallabies on my way there (a notorious problem when driving in forested areas at dusk or at dawn) - only fast reflexes and no traffic coming the other way saved me from a large ding.

At my hostel, which is nestled in amongst the trees just out of town, I met B, my roomie who was from Melbourne and heading back there tomorrow, just like me. She was going to catch the bus and I offered her a lift on the basis that she would navigate and get me there safely (ie without me having to drive, keep an eye on traffic, and read a map all at the same time). Turns out she hadn't seen a lot of the stuff I was planning to see the next day as well, so we decided to spend the whole day together.

Anyway, they've turned off the fricking lights on my floor again (I hate it when they do that and I'm still bloody working at my computer! You'd think the sound of typing would alert them to the fact that there's still someone here *mutters*) and I don't know how to turn them back on again, so I'll leave it here and blog on Friday to Tuesday tomorrow.

Listening to: The Frames - Setlist


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