Published: April 19th 2011April 3rd 2011
I woke up pretty early to get out to Collins Street in Melbourne to pick up the tourwhich would take me to the Grampians national park and then on to the Great Ocean Road and then on back to Melbourne.
We travelled out to the Grampians and the weather was great, the people on the bus were a varied lot I clicked pretty well with this Dutch guy called Basch and was chatting to him for most of the trip. We had a couple of hikes through the Grampians, both of them were great but one in particular was amazing. You can see on the photos attached to this post. There were guys practicing free climbing and we stopped and watched them for a while. Pretty impressive stuff.
After this hike I swapped over to another bus for the rest of the trip on to the Great Ocean Road and back to Melbourne, there were 5 that I got on really well with on the bus:
Aaron from Northern Ireland - he was 18 and had been saving up through his minimum wage job as an Ice Skating first aider since the age of 16. I thought this
was very impressive. He had met Charlotte from England, another person on this tour bus, in Sydney a few weeks before and they had got on well so they started traveling together. Charlotte is a primary teacher back in England.
Also on the bus was a German guy called Nick, who was pretty funny. Think he had got a bit bored on parts of the trip as the constant joke was whether or not we had arrived at Melbourne yet. I think it was a joke that you and I both had to be there for ha ha.
Another guy on the bus was Jack from Oregon, USA. He was pretty switched on and was really into his wildlife. I honestly have not met anyone who has got so excited a seeing s wallaby before. Although to be fair I have never seen someone see a wallaby before and nor have I ever seen a wallaby so I don't have much to g on there, but bear with it !! He is also one of those people who will do anything for you, a proper gentlemen ;)
The last of the five but no means leas
was Shannon from Canada. She is a great character and says exactly what she thinks, we got on very well and were constantly either laughing together or sharing our camera batteries from one day to the next.
The big highlight of this tour was the day spent on the Great Ocean Road. We stopped off at some amazing sights. First up was a swim at the Bay of Martyrs, the waves here were pretty crazy and one took me right under and spat me back out on the beach. I did have a slight pang of worry on that one !!!
It is called the Bay of Martyrs as back in the day a group of Aborigines were rounded up and forced to jump off the cliffs here. It reminds you of how chequered a past Australia has when it comes to Aborigines. Parts of this journey have made me realize that I must get more acquainted with history, not only in my own country but in ones that I visit. It is important.
Next stop of the Great Ocean Road (GOR) was London Bridge. This is a rock formation that is a big arch over
the water. For the geeky ones, basically the rock is made of a harder limestone than the rest of the rock, so the water encroaches around the back of it, creating a cave and then an srch which in this case part of fell down.
A little story behind that. You used to be able to drive across the first arch over to the second but in 1990 a couple drove their car over and the arch behind them fell into the sea. The best bit is that it was a secretary and her boss on an illicit love affair. The story it the papers and I don't think him and his wife are still together !!
Next stop was Bells Beach. This beach is infamous in surfing circles as it is where the Ripcurl Pro surfing tournament is held every year. This year is more poignant than the rest as it is the 50th anniversary of it. The winner of which gets a trophy with a big bell in it that they get to ring.
The rips here on this beach are notoriously dangerous and swimming is strictly not allowed. Only seasoned pros can surf here
as it is very dangerous. This was highlighted by our tour guide Shelly, who said that recently someone went up to their knees in the water, got caught in a rip and was taken out to sea never to be seen again !!! That kind of hit home so suffice to say I stayed well away from the water. I'll come back one day when I am at the height of my game as a surfer !!!
After Bells Beach we made our way down to Torquay. This is the home of Ripcurl and The Quicksilver brands. As some of you may know I am slightly partial to a bit of this type of clothing, it was like a shopping Mecca for me!!! Especially when I was told that there were factory outlets for the aforementioned brands!!!! Sweet !!! One t-shirt, a pair of shorts and a belt later I was done. Pretty restrained for me I thought. I did mange to pick up a limited printed 50 years of Bells Beach t-short though, which I am very happy with.
Next stop was the Great Ocean Road sign and some history aout why it had been built. It
was built not long after the second world war to give returning service men a chance to get ba. Some camaraderie they had missedsince getting back from the war. It was also a huge landmark to all the people who had lost their lives fighting in both the first and second world wars.
After this we were off to the main event - the 12 apostles. This rock formation is truly amazing and the photos font really do it justice. There is a big walkway along the rocks that you can walk along to find the best view and the best camera spot. I took a video of the sunset which I hope gives you some idea of how good it was. One of the best things I have seen on this trip to Australia so far.
Video to follow.
We moved on to Port Campbell where we stayed the night. The guy who ran this hostel was a bit strict. No drinking or making any noise of any kind in the communal area after 11pm and he told Shannon about the dangers of smoking. I dunno, fair enough I suppose, but a bit over the top
The next morning we got back on the bus for our final leg back to Melbourne. Our first stop was at Gibson Steps. A set of steps that went down on to the beach were you could get a bit closer to one of the apostle rock formations.
We also had a big group photo on the beach with the best word that could be thought of to describe all our states - hungover !!!
We stopped off again to see Koalas, and this was where a Rosella bird flew down and landed in Aaron's hand. Pretty impressive to watch and it gave everyone a reminder how the environment and animals play a part in all aspects of Australian life.
After we got back to Melbourne, which would be my last night there, I managed to get all the people I had seen in Melbourne together and we went to a pub in Richmond. It was nice to see everyone for the final time before heading off from Melbourne to Sydney. A special mention to my friends Helen and James for putting up with me for 2 weeks while I stayed in the
There are more photos below