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Wednesday 5 Mar 2014
Adelaide, Australia

An Aussie Menagerie

We had an early start to get all three tour groups through the same kitchen, and before long we were back at the Apostles for some early morning pictures, this time with beautiful blue skies and shining sunlight.  We followed the Great Ocean Road along the coast, stopping off to see the sea stacks at Martyrs’ Bay, where hundreds of Aboriginals were murdered, the cove at Shipwreck beach and the giant Ridgeback, a long thin rock stack that cuts its way out from the cliff face. 

Our next stop was at London Bridge, so called because it used to jut out from the cliff on a series of arches.  Back in 1995, the arch closest to the shore collapsed, leaving two people stranded on the remaining bridge.  As the story goes, they were not really supposed to be there – not just because it was fenced off to the public, but because they had both called in sick to work that day and met for a clandestine rendezvous, which became a very public rescue operation.  Not only that, but both were married, and not to each other…

The day had become quite overcast, so Emma changed the lunch plans and did a quick supermarket detour after dropping us off at London Bridge, returning with hot rotisserie chickens for our sandwiches.  Our lunch stop was a national park in the depths of an ancient volcano crater.  I got on with stripping the chickens while the others set up the sandwich bar, toasting wraps on the bbq plates and melting cheese. Delicious!

We watched a very fat koala stroll slowly between two trees and settle into the crook of two branches, seeming to fall asleep before he’d even finished climbing into position.  We met a couple of very friendly kangaroos – the first ones I have ever seen up close – who were happy to take food from some nearby campers and let me stroke them – their fur is softer than I expected.  On our way back out of the nature reserve, we saw wallabies in the trees and even stopped to let an echidna stroll across the road.  I’ve never seen one of those before, so that put big a smile on my face.

We passed through a few small coastal towns on the way, including one named Peterborough!  We left the Great Ocean Road behind and made our way up into the Grampians National Park.  It was recently hit by the worst forest fires in over 50 years, so it had been doubtful whether we’d be able to visit the park at all, but luckily it has now been contained.  Sadly, there are miles and miles of devastated woodland left in ruins as a result of someone deliberately playing with matches. 
We walked up to the Venus Pools: a collection of wide, shallow rock pools where the stream trickles over a well-worn plateau of rocks in the bottom of a narrow valley.  We spent a while here, paddling contentedly and then taking silly shadow photos of ourselves jumping in the air.  It really was a beautiful spot.

The second walk in the afternoon took us up to another look-out known as the Balconies, a rocky outcrop on the edge of a steep drop, with stunning views out over the tree tops.  Sadly, we could see some of the burned forest on the horizon, which had a sobering effect.

In the evening, we stayed in the hostel at Hall’s Gap, a small village which had been evacuated during the fire but escaped unsinged.  Again, we had a small group of cabins between us, but we congregated in the back garden of the biggest one where Emma cooked an enormous stir-fry on the grill plate in the garden, while we cooked a vat of noodles and made a huge salad to accompany it.  There were a couple of very friendly cockatiels who hovered around demanding seeds and displaying their beautiful yellow plumes as they munched through the offering.


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Zoe's Big World Adventure Part II - #4 New Zealand and Australia

Travel blog by zobeedoo


I had so much fun in New Zealand and Australia that I'm going back around again! This time I'll see more of the North Island and catch up with friends and family in Melbourne

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