The Great Ocean Road

Australia blogging – my first weekend in Victoria.

On the Sunday after our trip to Healesville, my coworker and I decided to head out to the Great Ocean Road, a scenic, winding coastal road that runs along the southern edge of Victoria. We drove southwest from Melbourne for about an hour an a half and then caught our first glimpse of the ocean in the city of Anglesea.

A scenic overlook - brush, brushes, a road and further off a small ocean inlet and beach.

Anglesea was only a brief stop, so after we took a few photos from this overlook, we continued our journey west and the coastal driving really began: very narrow two lane roads butting up against rocky walls with little to no shoulder to speak of. There were a ton of pull offs for scenic overlooks and many places had stairs down to the beach. My coworker and I went down at one of the stops and played in the surf.

Me standing in the surf on a long ocean beach.

While we were on the beach this  ant tried to eat my face. Thanks, Australia.

A small red ant with a partially black abdomen

We stopped for lunch in Aireys. While we were there I had a kangaroo burger, and this was the first time I’d ever tried kangaroo. It was…odd. I learned later that kangaroo is so lean that ground kangaroo is usually cut with pork. It wasn’t something I’d need to try again. While we were at the restaurant I also saw my first wild cockatoo!

A white cockatoo rests on a TV antenna

I’m just a cockatoo, hanging out of this tv antenna.

I found this poster when I stopped in to the restaurant’s toilets. Apologies for the blurry photo – someone came in while I was snapping it and I jerked the camera, surprised to have been caught using a camera in a toilet! You can see a copy of the original poster on the RUOK? website.

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How freaking cool is this? A suicide-prevention campaign that encourages people to acknowledge and address signs of mental distress, with posters placed in common areas for all to see. When I asked some Aussies about RUOK? Day, they all immediately recognized the campaign and expressed gratitude that it existed. I’d love to see something like RUOK? Day come to the US.

Let’s get back to:

A sign over the highway reads "Great Ocean Road"

Oh nothing, just more beautiful awesomeness:

Ocean with hills rising in the background. Swimmers can be seen playing in the surf.

Blue ocean and hilly coastline - a cloudless sky.

Cars can be seen on the Great Ocean Road as it disappears around a hill.

We passed Lorne and Apollo Bay, and then turned inland to follow the Road into Great Otway National Park and then south toward Cape Otway and the Cape Otway lightstation.

The Cape Otway Lightstation:

A walkway leading down to a white four story lightstation

We climbed to the top of the lightstation and I managed to keep my eyes unsquinted against the sun for this photo. Dat backdrop.

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We saw this guy while we were wandering around the park. Australian checklist item: Spot wild kangaroo? Check!

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On the drive back we approached an area where about four cars were pulled off to the side, and a gaggle of tourists were looking up into the trees. International tourist symbol for Cool Shit On The Side Of The Road. And it was too. In the trees were two koalas, and we were lucky enough to catch them in one of the few hours where they actually seemed to be awake!

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Noisy male kangaroo

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Mum and joey. That’s right…I said JOEY!

Close crop of the previous photo, focusing on a teeny baby koala face seen tucked into the mum's side.

Dawwww. How did I get this lucky?

A few kilometers later we pulled over for a completely different kind of scenic overlook: an expansive, hilly valley filled with sheep, grasses and birds.

Valley

 This photo hasn’t come anywhere near close to capturing how amazing this valley is. It’s one of those places on Earth that makes me appreciate just how small I am.

a gray and white songbird is perched on some hearty grass, looking to the left with her beak open.

 A blue wren calls for her mate.

a red and blue parrot sits on a wire fence below.

 Crimson rosella resting on a fence.

Four sheep - two adults and two lambs - graze on grassy hillside.

 Baaaa.

And that was it. The sun was starting to get low on the horizon, so we hightailed it home – racing the sunset so we would be off the narrow winding road before dark. We got back in to Melbourne at about 8pm, tired and awed and ready for the new week of work.

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The Great Ocean Road

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