Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Great Ocean Road: Part I

Ted came to visit :)
 Mining is where it's at in Australia, especially in WA. It's why Perth is so expensive and why there are more self-made millionaires there than anywhere else. It's big bucks because it's hard work. It means going out to the middle of red-dirt-nowhere for maybe 4 weeks at a time, working 10 hour days, and then having 1 week off to go home. Luckily, for a few of those days off, Ted came to Melbourne. And we decided, as we do, and knowing that we have a limited time frame left in Australia, to be touristy. 
So where to go when in Melbourne? 
To the Great Ocean Road. 
We rented a car early on Sunday morning without much of a plan except to drive west along the road that is considered to be one of the 100 things to see and do before you die. After leaving the city, it takes at least an hour before you reach the beach town of Toorquay and the start of the drive. 

There's something about the ocean that just makes you want to smile. 
We stopped at a couple beaches along the way, but knew we had much more to see. 

 Luckily the sky was blue and the weather was warm. Well, not according to Perth-ians. It was warm. It was.
 Could have stayed all day...
The roads twisted and turned and we rose high above the sea. There was hardly a banister to keep us from going over the edge. Falling, tumbling, tossing and turning, plunging and plummeting down the cascading coastal cliff as we sank into the crashing waves upon the rocks below us. Could've happened. It didn't - obviously. 
On our way here along the highway, the speed limit was 80km/h and seemed like a crawl. Here along the coast, the speed limit was the same, but warned of slowing down to half that speed to turn every couple of meters at every corner. Even going 60 km/h seemed like racing dangerously, peering around every bend and holding your breath as another car passed. 
It was a bit like Malibu. A bit like Cinque Terra. A bit like Donegal. 
But very much it's own Great Ocean Road.

This sign post definitely wasn't the start of the GOR according to the map, nor did they make it very safe or easy to pull over after seeing the sign to take touristy photo opps, 

but luckily the road was long enough to spot on coming cars and safely get a shot. 
Livin' wild!

I was driving, so this was my view looking back  - and taking pictures!! 

My camera died right about here. So all remaining photos were left up to Apple: Ted's iPhone and my iPod. I was unprepared. I didn't realize, or even think about what we were doing, so I didn't have any chargers with me.

 Forget all the scenic, breath-taking views. This next sequence of events was probably the highlight of the day.....Scene above ^ nice rocks, calm ocean, warm breeze....
Ted off to explore the rocks to see how far out he can get to get a good photo of the ocean while I bitch at my flashing, dying camera battery....

Then! BOOM! Waves crash over the rocks and he runs to stay dry without slipping. 
Nope, smells like wet sea for the rest of the day. 

Me: laughing hysterically

The ocean: laughing hysterically.

Ted: can't believe that just happened. 

We drove along, away from the ocean, with my trusty Australian guide book (that we went back for, so might as well put it to good use) and followed the suggested road to a turn off which pretty much promised and guaranteed a wild koala sighting. However, we drove and drove along the one-laned dirt road, up and around the windy curves with our heads leaning out of the windows, desperately trying to seek out the camouflaged marsupials sleeping in the contours of trees' branches. Of course, just my luck since I was looking, we saw no koalas. However, a kangaroo, or a wallby I think because it was small and dark, hopped out right in front of us from one side of the sloping hill up onto the other side and disappeared into the trees. For the slight detour, I suppose that made the trip somewhat worthwhile. No, not really. Even the little pub at the bottom of the road called Koala Kafe was a smug smirk at our fruitless digression. 

Along the road we go to see what else this adventure has for us...

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