Monday, August 8, 2011

Iowans in Australia, Part 2

After our adventures around Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula, we took off for the Great Ocean Road.  I had been saving the Great Ocean Road for this visit so I was excited for this part of the trip too!
I'd heard from several people that the best way to experience GOR is to just go slow, make lots of stops, and just enjoy this scenery so that is just what we did. 

This part of the trip is best told through all of the great pictures!

Day 1
We set off from Melbourne and drove approx. 3 hours to Warnambool.  I think 2/3 of the conversation on this journey was Dad and Tink commenting on how few trucks (semis) they saw on the road.  They were pretty worried about how goods are transported around Australia.  Maybe the truckies here just take as much time off as my Dad and they had all decided to take the day off (see say I never mention you in these blogs - did you like that last comment!) :)

Logan's Beach at Warnambool is known for whale watching in the winter months so I wanted to start here to try to fulfill my mom's lifelong dream of seeing a whale.  Sadly.....we did not spot a whale :(

Logan's Beach - Warnambool
Another fun thing about Warnambol was that everything was named after us!  Hopkins River, Hopkins Bridge, Hopkins Milk Bar, etc.  We had to stop at the Hopkins Milk Bar for a snack (and a chat with the owner)
Hopkins fam

Dad should be glad I didn't post the picture of him wearing Mom's hat to keep warm!  (Sorry Uncle Van - he made me swear I wouldn't post it.  I'll have to keep looking for other embarassing pictures!)

The meeting of the Hopkins River and the Southern Ocean

Day 2
One of my favorite stories of the Great Ocean Road is Tink's new friendship with Edgar.  On the morning we were leaving Warnambool, Tink woke up early and wandered out to get a cup of coffee.  He was gone forever!  We figured he couldn't have gotten too lost as our hotel was on one of the main roads and there were a couple of places to get coffee nearby.  Turns out Tink struck up a conversation with the owner (or worker, I'm not entirely sure) at the gas station (petrol station) and ended up talking to him for about an hour.  The rest of the trip, we were entertained with facts that Tink learned from Edgar!

Day 2 of the trip was the actual start of the Great Ocean Road.  We ventured from Warrnambool to Apollo Bay taking in sites such as Thunder Cave, London Arch, the Grotto, and the Twelve Apostles.

It started raining just when we got to the 12 Apostles.  We ran to the viewing platform just to get a picture.

London Arch (the bridge that connected these collapsed in 1990 with two people stranded on the outer part - can you imagine?)
Even with a few heavy downpours we successfully made it to Apollo Bay.  And the stressful day called for some wine drinking in the hotel that night!  Dad and Tink loved the Yellowtail Chardonnay.  I kept trying to convince them that they needed to try something else (you can buy Yellowtail in the US) but even after the other kinds I made them buy, the Yellowtail was still their favorite.  I preferred the Jacob's Creek :)

By far my favorite day of the trip!  I think a lot of people who are short on time only do the Torquay to Twelve Apostles part of the trip (see Day 3) but the part between the Twelve Apostles and Warrnambool was by far my favorite.  Anyone who has the extra time should definitely do the whole journey!

Day 3 - Apollo Bay to Torquay
The drive today was closer to the coast which provided better views during the drive (not as much fun for me!) but there also weren't as many stopping points.

The first stop of the day was in the cute little town of Lorne for some shopping (I bought the cutest necklace and Mom and Cindy got matching hoodies).  We also drove out to the Erskine Falls and Tink, Mom, and I ventured down to the waterfall.

The drive down to the waterfall was very steep and I wasn't really excited about driving back up to the main road so I made my dad do it......his only driving experience of the whole trip!  He did a great job although I felt like he was a little too close to the edge most of the way!

Continuing along the GOR from Lorne we tried (unsuccessfully) to spot koalas at Kennett River.  By the time we reached Angelsea we still hadn't seen any wildlife but I had read that kangaroos could often be seen at the golf coast.  We stopped at a general store and Mom ran in to ask for directions.  She must not have looked much like a golfer because the lady who gave her directions specifically to where the kangaroos normally congregate.  They were fantastic directions - we spotted tons of kangaroos right away - standing just feet away from the golfers!

We spent the night in Torquay and then headed back to Melbourne with a quick stop in Williamstown for the BEST hot chocolate!

And that pretty much sums up our Great Ocean Road adventure!  Its so hard for me to leave out details/pictures so I will have to save the Sydney part of the trip for another day!

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