Archive for the 'Great Ocean Road' Category

by Squage
on Mar 10th, 2007

Catching Up Part 3: The Great Ocean Road

Wooh, almost up to date on the ol’ blogging! This, the last of the three catchups (if you’ve not checked this site for a few days, I recommend reading the Melbourne and Grampians catchups first), is about the Great Ocean Road trip Pat and I went on.

Before heading off on the Great Ocean Road trip, Pat spent the evening in Melbourne doing some photo uploading and trying desperately to get his 20KG+ rucksack down to under 15KG. He managed both, eventually, and presently has a nice bag hiding in a Secret Place In Melbourne with some of the stuff he didn’t really need for this stage of the trip, but couldn’t face throwing away.

Big thanks to Jen, who met up with Pat for a couple of bevvies and filled him in regarding where to go / what to do (and what not to) in the Cairns to Sydney stretch of the Big Adventure!

The morning before he went on the tour, Pat spent a while faffing around, making sure everything was ready and also buying some desperately needed new clothes… before finally getting on the Wayward Bus, complete with nice-n-light bag, at 1:30pm.

The Great Ocean Road Trip
'Excited Child' PoseThe first thought through Pat’s mind was “Oh dear”, as he walked towards the bus and noticed the only other people waiting to get on it were a 60-something couple plus a mother and daughter. Perhaps this wasn’t quite going to be the crazy few days he had anticipated…

Luckily for Pat there were some folks of a more “traditional” backpacker nature (i.e. 20 somethings) – Tash and Caroline (from the UK) and Rebecca (from Switzerland) – so he at least had some people around his age group to talk to.

On the whole the group themselves (all 8 of us, in a 24 seater coach) were pretty quiet whilst on the coach, which was a bit of a shame, but that didn’t stop our bus driver Billy from trying to get a rise out of everyone, playing comedy music (“Come to Australia… You Might Accidentally Get Killed” by the Scared Wierd Little Guys being one of Pat’s favourites) constantly cracking lame jokes – which it seems Pat found hilarious, but I’m guessing that’s because of his own somewhat appauling sense of humour (Hey, it’s ironic! – Pat) Do you even know what you mean by that, Scullion? (I… no. – Pat) Thought not.

Classic Billy Quotes
Billy The Tour Guide Plays A Tune

  • “A bloke was being careless whilst filling up at a service station… and got fuel on his sleeve. Later on he lit up in the car and his arm was set alight! As he fought to put it out, a police car pulled him over… and the officer, rather than helping, arrested him! Yeah, he was charged for having an unlicensed fire arm.”
  • (Whilst we’re standing looking out across the ocean from a vantage point above some steep hills, Billy points…) “Hey! Anyone want to see some dolphins?” … “Yeah, me too.”
  • “These Koalas actually change colour at night… yeah, when the sun goes down – they turn black!”
  • “Last time I came here I saw a man eating shark!… with salad and chips.”
  • “I was trying to get into a posh night club, but was told I couldn’t come in without a tie. So I sarcastically went to my car, grabbed some jump leads and tied them around my neck. Surprisingly, the bouncer let me in… but told me not to start anything.”
    “I was talking to a guy in town about the water shortages… he was saying it’s so bad that the public swimming pool have closed two lanes!”

I could go on, but my mind’s starting to melt and I’ve already numbed myself to these, so gawd knows how you’re feeling now. Just one thing – when Pat gets back, ask him to show you the “Puujah” Aboriginal dance.

Budget AccomodationBecause half of the group had paid to stay in swanky motels, there were only ever four of us (surprisingly enough, the 20-somethings) alloted to the Wayward Bus-reserved rooms in the chosen hostel each night. What’s more, because there are separate rooms for blokes and ladies, Pat managed to blag himself an entire dorm to himself each night. On the third night this was particularly impressive as the 8 bed dorm was ENORMOUS (the hostel itself being an old mansion).

Most evenings were spent accompanied by a couple of boxes of goon between 5 (Becky, Tash, Caroline, Billy and Pat), and some chatting about various things… including something rather amazing that Billy’s involved in that could hopefully change the world for the good. And this time it wasn’t a joke. That’s all Pat’s allowing me to say right now, but it could be awesome. Either way the reasonably late evenings and early mornings meant that the occasional dipping in bloody freezing cold ocean water were a welcome wake up call for Pat… and the locations for these dips weren’t too bad either:

Port Cambell Beach
Bridgewater Bay

Of course, along the way plenty of awesome sights were seen… too many really to blog about, so here are just a few highlights:

  • Hilly Coastlines
    There were some lovely coastal ranges… which looked good in sun, cloud and mist. I wish I could say the same about the Thames coastline…
    Hilly Coastline
    Moody Coastline
    Misty Coastline

  • Rainforest
    The Melba Gully rainforest is oddly significantly cooler than anywhere around it, but if that was what was needed in order for it to look like it it, Pat wasn’t bothered:
    Rainforest Pat Turning Into A Tree Hugging Hippy...

  • 12 Apostles
    These looked lovely in the early morning sun, depsite there only being about 8 of them (Trade Descriptions back at home would have a great time with that one), and Pat took it upon himself to take faaar too many photos of them. Here are a few:

    I Love The Sun On This... Tourist On A Beach!
    Originally Called The Sow And Piglets

    Oh also he was very, very excited to do his first ever helicopter ride. His choice of location can’t really be knocked:
    One Hel(icopter) Of A View! All Of The Apostles
    There Wasn't Much Space In The Chopper
    Twas only 6 minutes, but for about 20GBP you can’t really argue with sights like that!

  • Other “Rocks In The Sea”
    All along the coast of the Port Cambell National Park were lots… and lots… and lots of rocks sitting in the sea. Again, Pat took faar too many photos, so here are just a few highlights. Click on them to find out what they’re called… and, as always, post comments on them:
    Rocky Formations
    London Bridge: Fallen Down
    Lock Ard Gorge

  • Alien Landscape!
    Or the “Mildly Concerned Forest” (apparently it’s not a Petrified Forest) at Cape Bridgewater:
    Alien Landscape
    Like Something From A Movie Set

  • The Entrance To South Australia!
    As always, the (becoming) customary “Hanging off the sign” pic had to be taken. Watches back 30 minutes, everyone! We’re entering the Silly Time Zone:
    Hello South Australia!

  • Umpherston Sinkhole
    Caused by limestone rock getting eaten away by acids from a swamp and then… somethingorother. It’s a big hole in the ground. This one had been turned into a nice garden (with some caverns hidden). Yes!
    Umpherston Sinkhole Pat And The Cave Of Doom

  • Amazing Blue Lake!
    We were expecting a let down on seeing this, given how much hype Billy had created for its colour… but blimey. It really is very blue indeed:
    Blue Lake
    Blue Lake
    This is actually the result spell cast by the evil Witch Queen Ey’fells Yxt’eefy-ve in the Bad Ages (before the time of the Egyptians) – where in a display of her ultimate power against the benevolent Queen Blu’dah B’ahdei, she transformed her into a big blue lake, there to rest in torment for all eternity. Or it could be due to this.

  • Southend
    Yes. You heard right. Pat went to Southend:
    Welcome To... WHAT???
    There are some minor differences between this one and the one that everyone loves. There’s a list of comparisons in Pat’s handy “Southend Spot-The-Difference” range of photos…

There are plenty (oh boy are there plenty) of other photos that Pat uploaded, but I can’t be assed copy and pasting URLs of scenery photos anymore. (What about the ones of “locals” met??? – Pat) Ah, crap, ok then:

Some locals were met:

  • Koala
    We nearly walked straight past this Koala in the Tower Hill nature reserve (you probably know it, it’s left then just 100m down the road out of the tube station) – it sat staring at us for a fair while (as you can see from the staring competition it was having with Tash) and then scampered up a tree out of the way:
    Look At 'Im!  'E's So Cute! Staring Competition

  • Emus
    Also in Tower Hill, we spent a while searching through the tall reeds looking for an Emu that was supposedly wandering around. After having no luck, we wandered back to the coach and nearly bumped into these!
    Double Trouble

  • Larry the Lobster
    A giant lobster, made to scale to place on the designer’s house. Alas, the workers had built this using yards and inches, whereas the designer had designed it in metres and centimeters. Oops:
    Larry The Lobster! Perplexed Scullion

With all that, plus an interesting tour around an Aboriginal reserve to find all sorts of Bush Tukka (including stuff that can be used to cure arthritus, act as dye and cure hangovers), twas a really good few days. To be honest, I’m surprised Flickr’s servers haven’t been brought down by Pat’s continuous photo uploading…

Anyway after getting into Adelaide on Sunday, Pat, Caroline, Rebecca and Tash checked into the (pretty damned nice) YHA and had something of an early night.

The next day they hired a car from a small rental firm run by – no less – a couple from Romford (which Pat was very excited about) and Billy (yep, their tour guide, who’d decided to spend an extra day with them!) took them around some wineries:
Look!  The ACTUAL Jacob's Creek!

To a dam with acoustic properties allowing one person to hear what another is whispering at the other side of the dam (it was, ahem, dam impressive):
The Whispering Wall

And then on a nice walk in Adelaide Hills:
Nice Cliffs The First Falls (Dried Up, Alas)

Following that some socialising in the evening was had – and for the rest of the week Pat’s done such exciting things as walking to the beach (14kms away from here), swimming, shopping, reading, watching Norbit *, enjoying the Fringe Festival live entertainment… and of course blogging, photo uploading and preparing for the 10 day safari, which starts tomorrow!

So that pretty much brings you up to date. Hooray! :-)

Oh and if you weren’t sure quite how serious the drought here is, check this out:
The River Torrens: Not Affected By The Drought

Right, I’m off to sit and watch Pat grab himself some lunch. Until the next time… have a good one!



* May be a lie