We rented a car from the airport and took three days to drive along what is known as The Great Ocean Road, which runs along almost 200 km of the south coast. This road was built by WWI veterans when they returned from duty and passes through some breathtaking scenery and cute coastal towns.
Our plan was not to have a plan. We stopped when we wanted to, made up the day’s itinerary as we went and found a place to stay at the end of the day. What a great feeling of freedom after some very long days in the World Youth Day office.
As we drove on the winding roads, sometimes level with the beach, other times up high above cliffs, we took in gorgeous views of the ocean to one side and varied landscapes to the other - scrub bushland, tall eucalyptus rainforest, rolling green hills with dairy farms, and high vertical limestone cliffs. Because of storms out over the ocean and sun shining elsewhere, there seemed to be a perpetual rainbow over the water. We even splurged and took a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter thrill ride 500 feet above the ocean around one of the highlights of the weekend (and what I think should be a Wonder of the World) – the Twelve Apostles.
Close encounters with wildlife – kangaroos, koalas, emus, and interesting birds. We also saw a seal playing in the water about 80 feet away … and little fairy penguins coming onto a beach in a big group just before dark to settle in after a day of hunting … unfortunately, we viewed this from a cliff 100 feet above them, so they looked like little moving black dots, but they were still somehow very cute.At the end of the weekend, we had travelled over 1000 km and were so very grateful for this time we were able to bask in God’s awesome Creation.
Thanks, Jetstar, for getting us to Melbourne safely on Friday night. Much appreciated.
David on the beach of the Gorge. There were some pretty high waves crashing into the cliffs behind him.
The view from the top. Tower Hill is a volcano that's 33,000 years old, with some younger craters inside (only 11,000... spring chickens). This is the large crater, filled with water. We walked along the edge of the craters, following kangaroos and looking for koalas.
And this is the koala we found, just as we were leaving the park. He was having a nap, until David shook the branches and woke him up. Then he just stared at us. Tourists.