Nat and Beck Go Large!
Early rise today - we're off on a day trip!! Our friendly guide Craig picked us up in the best minibus ever - it was the official Neighbours tour bus - get in!! After a hair-raising drive around the city picking up the other members of our group, we set off for the Great Ocean Road. Leaving Melbourne behind for the day, we drove through Geelong, where our very own Prince Charlie went to school for a couple of years. Our first stop on the Great Ocean Road was Bells Beach in Torquay, surfing capital of Australia. Quick cuppa and a couple of Kodak moments before we were back on the road; next stop was the unofficial start of the Great Ocean Road, the Memorial Arch, which is to honour the men who built the road after returning from World War 1. Onwards we went to Anglesea, where escaped convict William Buckley eventually settled after trying to walk to Sydney (think he may have been going the wrong way..who said women can't read maps??) and then to Lorne, where we stopped for a bit of lunch. Luckily for us, the Lifesaving Championships were being held in Lorne, so we got to see a bit of world-class life-saving techniques...we weren't distracted by all the scantily-clad lifeguards at all! Lorne also holds a race every year - first person to swim from the pier to the pub gets free beer! Now that should be an event in the Commonwealth Games! After lunch, we stopped at Mount Defiance, which is where William Buckley stopped to rest before turning back to Anglesea (he must have realised he was going the wrong way, but being a man, wouldn't admit to it-typical). He ended up spending the next 32 years with some random Aboriginals - see, we were listening to the guide! Another Kodak moment along the road was to see one of the many shipwrecks that have occured along the coast - apparantly no-one died on this particular boat, but 5 people died in the few attempts to retrieve the ships cargo afterwards. Those who died have had a gravestone put up in their memory- but their actual bodies are underneath the road - the workers just built the road on top of the grave - nice! Next up on our tour was Kennet River, where we went wild koala spotting - no holding these cuties! Found most of them having 40 winks in the trees in the caravan park. Apollo Bay was our next stop...and the last bit of sunshine before the heavens opened! Luckily it stopped before we made it to Cape Otway National Park to do our rainforest walk - not as strenuous as the Thailand trek thankfully, just a nice stroll through the forest! Back in the bus and a quick Kodak moment at Castle Cove, where they discovered dinosaur bones, before we stopped to refuel with a steak dinner! Our last leg of the trip was by far the highlight. After dinner, we headed to the Gibson Steps, where you can see one of the 12 Apostles - luckily for us, the tide was out, so we could go down to the beach. We then headed to Loch Ard Gorge, named after the ship that crashed here. There were only two survivors from this shipwreck out of 55 passengers and crew - they only survived by being swept into the gorge and sheltering in the cave there - the remaining passengers all drowned after being bashed against the cliff-face. Our last stop was the 12 Apostles. You can only see 7 of them from the viewpoints on the ground - you have to take an airtrip to see them all at once. We watched the sunset over the Apostles...and then saw a little colony of penguins going into the sea for their feed! Couldn't get any pics of them though, was too dark by this point - crafty things! We arrived back in Melbourne around midnight, feeling throughly pleased with ourselves - all that culture in one day! Love Nat and Beck XXXX