Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Australia Days 1-2: The Great Ocean Road

We arrived in Australia last Monday, soaring remarkably easily through customs and were met by my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, who was decked out in his American gear. Carolyn had gotten Krispy Kreme doughnuts at the airport, so immediately we felt right at home. On the very first day I saw my first kangaroo! In a field after lunch as we drove by there were a bunch of them playing and jumping around.

We set out for a sweeping tour of the Great Ocean Road, which goes along the coast. The building of the road was a way for the Australian government to provide work for soldiers returning home from World War 1. This is the memorial site. We visited Back Beach and Front Beach at Torquay. We also visited Bells Beach. Beautiful coastline.

This was our first stop for lunch at Front Beach. If it were up to my niece we would do the whole tour from playground to playground. This would be the first of many "PG" visits to come.

We stopped in to see Erskine Falls just slightly north of Lorne, a small town along the Great Ocean Road. (Sidenote: We had also stopped at another playground in Lorne, of course. Here we polished off what was left of the doughnuts, Patrick looked for a place with internet to turn in his most recent paper, Carolyn and I visited the thrift shop, and my niece bounced away on built in trampolines on the playground. These are some serious playgrounds over here. More on that to come.)
Erskine Falls.

We saw the sunset on the coast as we drove through that first night.

We stayed at Laver's Lodge at Laver's Hill, another small town. It was a pretty rustic, yet quaint little cottage. We fixed dinner (which they call "Tea") together and sat around the table talking. It was nice to have a homemade meal and not eat out, which we had done for several days straight!

I said the place was rustic. This was my first introduction to "composting toilets." See the part where it says it's scary down there? It was. Basically a big hole in the ground. Patrick thought this sign hanging in the bathroom at the cottage was hilarious.

Tuesday morning we packed up and set out to see Triplet Falls. It was a good hour stroll through the rain forest, down and around to the falls. It's called Triplet Falls, obvsiously, there are 3 of them. Here's the most powerful one. It was gorgeous.

Later that morning, on the way to see the Twelve Apostles, we stopped off at a cheese factory for a tasting and tour. A good decision indeed. This is when a fierce love affair with cheese tastings would begin.

After the factory, still on the way to the Twelve Apostles, we stopped at Gibson Steps (to work off the cheese we had just consumed) and walked all the way down to the gorgeous beach.
A prelude to the Twelve Apostles. Just a random rock at the Gibson Steps beach.

And, without further ado, The Twelve Apostles.

My favorite stop of the day was at Lochard Gorge. Here is what you see when you pull up. Magnificent.
Here is the inside. The story here is that a ship wrecked here in the 1800s. You can see why. The water coming in here is so powerful and crashes furiously on the rocks. There were two survivors, a man and a woman. They were stranded on this beach overnight before he was able to climb out and find help for her.

Here we are at The Arch, another gorgeous stopoff.

And the infamous London Bridge, which literally fell down in 1990. There used to be a piece connecting the two (forming the bridge). When it fell off into the sea and broke, some tourists were stranded over on the island part. They had to send a helicopter to get them.

And finally we saw the sunset as we arrived at the Bay of Islands.

We ended the evening in a comfy apartment room in Warnambool. We had the aussie classic of Fish and Chips for dinner and settled in for the night.

A truly amazing day and a great introduction to Australia. I am in awe of God's work.

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