Thursday, March 25, 2004

Melbourne, Australia--Day 55

March 25, 2004

Today I boarded a 7:50am shuttle in downtown Melbourne to go to the Great Ocean Road, which is regarded as one of the most scenic coastal roads in the world. I met several other people, most of which were backpackers, and we headed off with a great guide named Glenn. On the way to the Great Ocean Road, we first stopped at Bells Beach, which is near the town of Torquay and is the surfing capital of Australia. (remember the movie Point Break?). I didn’t see any huge waves (or Keanu Reeves), but they were setting up for the national surfing championships that are going to be next month. There were a few surfers out in the water, but mostly they were just body boarding.

After Bells Beach we drove down to see some wild kangaroos near a golf course and stopped to take some pictures, then we began our trip down the Great Ocean Road. As we drove along the coast, I couldn’t believe just how magnificent the scenery was and how clear the water is. It was absolutely unbelievable. After driving for a bit we stopped off in Angahook Lorne State Park and found some wild koalas to take pictures of in the trees, which was really neat. We got back into our shuttle and made it over to Apollo Bay where we stopped and had lunch, then through the rainforest as the “coastal” track moved about 2 km inwards.

Our main destination was the 12 Apostles, which are really impressive limestone rocks standing out of the ocean, as well as the second most photographed site in Australia (second to the Sydney Opera House). Of course I took tons of pictures, along with the hoards of other tourists, and then we headed further down the road to a sight of a shipwreck (you couldn’t actually see the ship however since it is, well, sunken) and heard the perhaps glorified love story between the ship’s only two survivors. More pictures.

Our last stop on the trip was at a rock formation called “London Bridge” which was renamed that after one of the original double archways collapsed while people were on the rock. Luckily no one was hurt, but two people were stranded on the other side and couldn’t get off and had to be rescued by a helicopter.

We then set off back towards Melbourne, stopping for a snack about halfway back. All in all the day lasted a good 12 hours and was great. The tour guide was fantastic and even played theme songs all throughout the trip (including such favorites as “The Koala-I’m-not-a-Bear Song”) which made the trip really fun. Tomorrow its off to Adelaide and then to Dubbo!

(c) 2004 Sarah Galbraith. All Rights Reserved.