On Tuesday we got picked up to go on the Great Ocean Road tour with Groovy Grape Getaways. It was our tour guide "Dee's" first tour so it took us a while to pick everyone up and then we were on our way! The bys was so small and there was no leg room at all - not helped by a girl called Karin from Israel who had broken her leg and her leg and crutches took up alot of space! we made friends really quickly though and were glad to find that there were a few rowdy people!!
First stop was in a little village called Keith were we had free tea and coffee in a crazy australian coffee shop. We then carried on the road trip until we got to Frances were we made sandwiches and had a few drinks in the local pub! We then carried on driving until we reached the Grampians National Park. There was a bush fire here last year so most of the trees were black, it was a really weird sight. We did a hike down to the base of McKenzie Falls which was beautiful, and all them stairs back up was a good work out! It was then to Brambuk hostel in the National Park where we all chilled around the big open fire after tea. Me and Gem volunteered to do the washing up, which was a bit daft we hadn't realised how many bloody pans needed cleaning! but anyway a guy called Rich came to help us and we ended up all having the most enormous teatowel fight ever, that i lost dramatically! well they shouldn't let the immature ones do the washing up should they haha (we didnt have to do it again muhahaha) We had such a good nights sleep that night, them beds were SO comfy!!
Next morning we had a bit of a lie in. 7am start, we drove into the Grampians and did a hike to a waterfall and then hiked all the way up to Chadavoi Peak, which was hard work!!! at the top it basically turned into rock climbing, there was no path at all. the views were beautiful! On the way back down me and gem were too busy chattering and we managed to lose the rest of the group and got completely lost in the forest. it was really funny but we were actually starting to think we'd never find were we were going! eventually after a massive detour we found the others, and a load of kangaroos!! We then headed towards Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre were we watched some films on the creation story etc. it was SOSOSOSOSO cold in that place we all ran back to the bus for more jumpers and the radiator after it!
It was then a long drive up to the Great Ocean Road, we stopped at a place called the Bay of Islands to stretch our legs which was really beautiful. And then on to a place called London Bridge. Here we were lucky enough to see whales in the ocean, Dee got some binoculars out and we could see them really clearly. They were apparently Southern White Whales, me and gem were excited about this - having never seen whales before!! We got to the Twelve Apostles for sunset. Never been so cold in my life, we were all shivering wearing our 500 layers but thankfully the views made up for it. We all mucked about taking thousands of photos, and we dumped about 20 cameras on 2 poor irish guys so that we could have a massive group photo taken! That night we stayed in Port Campbell right by the sea. Me Gem and 3 Swiss girls got upgraded to a cabin as there weren't enough beds for us all! it was really swish and we had our own tv, ensuite and TOASTER!! That night we went to the pub with all the locals, had a few drinks and a few games of pool, and came across the first normal good looking australian!! typical isn't it we're going home next week! bah.
Next day we went back to the Twelve Apostles, which still looked the same as the day before haha. A few people decided to do helicopter flights over the apostles so me and gem went down to watch them take off and land. The normal good looking australian happened to work there and looked even more good looking in his uniform hahaha. We then went to Loch Ard Gorge where it started to absolutely pour it down so we all legged it back to the bus and carried on driving! We did a few random stops to look at beaches etc and just before dinner we got out and stretched our legs in the rainforest, which had the biggest trees i have ever seen in my whole entire life! they were enormous!!! it was then dinner at Apollo Bay and a quick look around the shops. We then carried on driving along the Great Ocean Road. We stopped to see wild koalas, and Thorsten (a german guy we met) was a complete genius and sneaked into someones private garden where there was a koala really low down in the tree with a joey. Obviously we followed since that was the cutest thing i've ever seen!! I didn't move for ages, the others left we standing there staring at the baby koala haha i don't blame them really!
Dee then got bird food out the bus. We all took some and held our hands out and wild parrots came and landed on us to feed. Pretty spectacular! Then came the really exciting part..... we saw a lighthouse in the distance and Dee told us it was the lighthouse from the TV programme "round the twist". it was actually stupid how excited me and gem got, most people hadn't even heard of round the twist as it wasn't shown in their countries! After singing the song and hanging out the windows trying to take photos, Dee was a legend and drove us up to the lighthouse and let us get out and see it!! highlight of the whole trip i'd say, haha what a pair of geeks!! We then drove to Torquay which should be renamed "Gemma Heaven". The only shops there were Billabong, Ripcurl, Roxy and Quiksilver .... and they were all factory outlets! Thankfully we got there 15 minutes before closing so there was no time to spend the rest of our money haha.
We arrived in Melbourne at about 7.30pm. We got dropped off at Spencer street station where we had to catch the train to Gem's cousins house who are really kindly letting us stay with them. The train wasn't that difficult to find, we did look like a pair of tramps on the train with our backpacks though! Emily picked us up from Chelsea station and took us back to their house were we have our own room and a nice shower!! they cooked us tea aswell, banana curry it was SO good!! Having the leftovers for dinner :D so thats us, in melbourne at the moment. we have until tuesday to explore, hopefully going to watch an Ozzie Rules Football match tomorrow which should be interesting and then its home a week today!!! eek.
see you all really really soon! lots of love Pam and Gem x x x x
p.s. this is probably the last blog unless gem decides to do one when we get back to sydney!