Oh-ee, it's the RV life for me
During our “walkabout” year in Australia we lived in a small motor home named Hermie. Starting in Melbourne, we hustled to get our new home on wheels together; upgrading to massive solar panels and batteries to support our tech, fiberglass patching, painting, packing, unpacking, repacking... and enjoying acro with the local community. Then we headed for Tasmania for 3 months [post coming later]. After returning to the main land we began a leisurely circle by taking the iconic Great Ocean Road from Melbourne to Adelaide.
Today’s photo journey will take you with us on a beautiful trip along the lush southeastern coast of Australia.
As you can see, the GOR consists of hundreds of miles of stunning coastal views. The atmosphere is heavy with moisture like our beloved Pacific Northwest, and the vegetation is just as lush.
Eric huddles against the frigid winter sea blasts as he looks out to the Cape Otway Lightstation, a small lighthouse that signals from an outcropping on the most southern tip of the Australian continent.
There are many beautiful and strange animals that populate Australia. So many so, that you are constantly warned not to drive at night, and one could feed their family entirely from the abundance of road kill.
The magnificent white and sulfur crested cockatoos are the "sea gulls" of Australia's coastal areas. They also live throughout the sub-tropical forests and even are numerous in the cities. Besides being breathtakingly beautiful, they can live up to a century (some make it to 120yrs!), speak, break into any form of picnic basket, and enjoy getting their buzz on with some fermented fruit cocktail after the day's work is done.
"He's pissed as a parrot mate!" This Aussie phrase actually has a firm footing in reality:
We were laughing our asses off at these pissed cockatoo’s trying to perch on a wire after getting drunk on fermented fruit!
A sobering counterpart to the rambunctious parrots are the no nonsense Emu. Don’t mess with these guys! They seem very pleasant and stick to themselves when not interfered with, but as close decedents of the dinosaur, will mess you up if they feel threatened. Next time you see us ask us about the “great emu war” that the Australian military lost…
This little guy is showing much more energy than normal. We referred to the koalas as “plops” for their round butt centered bodies and lack of all motivation to do anything other than sit on them in branch hammocks.
A mamma wallaby and cub cross the path in the stunning Tower Hill Wildelife Reserve. The entire park is enclosed in an ancient caldera with a small one way road that snakes from one side to the other. The animals wander completely oblivious to the farmland just outside of the cone's perimeter. It truly felt like the Land Before Time.
The stunning shot below really captures the magic of this pristine circle of protected animal playground. Artistry of Hangingpixels Oat.
Near the town of Lorne there are many hiking trails brimming with lush sub-tropical rain forests plants and waterfalls. We took advantage of the hidden-a-way camp spots and hung around town for a few days while I worked on the deffinition and initail design (a nearly 200 slide PowerPoint walkthrough) of the enterprise media hosting and sharing platform for Microsoft that was recently published as Stream. Microsoft Stream #dayjob
One of the quirkier sites in the area was the Fairy Park made by a Peter Mayer, a German immigrant to the country. The Mayer family made many of the original displays by hand, and finally purchased the perfect rocky hilltop in the middle of vast farmland and opened the park in 1959. The Mayer family still own and run the park to this day.
They Mayer family turned the entire hilltop into a magical realm complete with castle, dragons, weird monkeys, and their creepy hand made animatronic dolls illustrating various fairy tales. I was totally digging the analog craftsmanship that is still making these little dolls waltz around the floor over 50 years later. Can't say that about your IPhone 3...
After filling our creepy fairytale hump, and skipping though the mushrooms, it was time for more hikes in the semi-tropical rainforest. One of the best ways to see all levels of the forest is by taking a Skywalk. There are a few of these around Australia, and they never fail to impress.
Hail caught in the bowls of the young fern trees is the closest thing to snow that happens in this region. It was darn cold! Not what you would expect down under. We fired up our cook stove in the RV to get warm enough to do toiletries and into and out of bed.
Eric bouncing the giant cantilever over the valley up and down.
The beautiful rain forests quickly transition into farmland as you move west and away from the coast.
One of the best parts of the Great Ocean Road is that it leads to the Limestone Coast wine region. What an enjoyable transition to the next leg of the journey! The outback.
Thanks for joining us for a photo tour of Australia's Great Ocean Road.
Next… to the outback and beyond!