Saturday 16th December
We had to get up early as got picked up at 7am. We were greeted by an old Aussie guy called Barry. Kat went outside with him and then informed me there were only 4 of us on the trip! I didn't think this was good news, I wasn't looking forward to this at all, what if we didn't like them! And we were travelling in a people carrier - these kind of trips happen in buses! Barry brought along his 'friend' Jenny (we never did find out the truth!) and the other 2 were an Italian guy called Luca and a German girl called Petra. It was like we were the 4 kids in the back! Our first stop was Bells Beach, one of the top 5 surf beaches in the world. There was a shark attack there 2 days later! It was freezing so the tea Barry gave us was very welcome. Then we drove on towards the beginning of the Great Ocean Road. We stopped off at the Split Point Lighthouse from the kids programme Round the Twist, remember that? I loved that show! Stopped off at some little towns, had lunch in one of them. I can't remember the names of these places but we have them somewhere. We seemed to be getting out of the car all day. It was actually really good that it was such a small group as we could stop wherever we wanted. Also did a rainforest walk and although we've done lots of these this one was my favourite. Eventually we got to the 12 Apostles, the main attraction on the Great Ocean Road. The scenery was amazing and luckily the sun had come out so we were able to take out jumpers off for the 1st time that day. The 12 Apostles are a big rock formation. There were 12 but some fell down so I think there are only 8 now. We also stopped off near London Bridge (which would you believe fell down!) and climbed into a cave where some survivors of an Irish ship wreck had sheltered years ago. In the evening we drove to the Grampians. We saw lots of wildlife that day but the best bit was when a big group of kangaroos bounced in front of the car! Stayed the night at a hostel in Halls Gap. The surrounding area had been devasted by bush fires in March. Barry told us all about it, he was a really good guide.
Sunday 17th December
Barry gave us a tour of the burnt out bush area. We visited a few landmarks like the 'jaws of death' and took pics of us at the edge of the cliff. Was pretty scary, the pics are impressive! Also went to a beautiful waterfall, it was huge and I think it was the best thing I've seen in Australia. Didn't go swimming this time though as a couple of people drowned there recently. Set off back to Melbourne that afternoon. Stopped off at a winery and some graffitied rocks which are now an attraction - strange! Eventually got dropped off at Base Backpackers in St Kilda. Met our room mates, Mark from Devon, Jahid from LA and a German couple from Frankfurt - yay!