Thursday, June 30, 2011

David and Cassie's Great Australian Trip Part 1

Since the internet I'm getting is often slow, I might not be able to put as many pics up as I'd like, so if you don't see any up when you read a post, check back later and there might be some. :)

David and I left Sunday June 26th from Ballarat, through Geelong where we checked out the area in which I used to live and saw all of the changes, and then headed South through Torquay on to the Great Ocean Road. We spent our first night in Cape Otway at Blanket Bay campsite outside of Apollo Bay, VIC. Our campsite was very wet, so no fire making, but we had a trail down to the beach and the rocks there were amazing, so were the shells!! That night there were two other people camping near us, but overall it was pretty quite. David and I went for a walk on the beach and at night the stars were amazing, and we just stared at the Milky Way for a while. The next morning there were some wallabys about and an amazing sunrise.

The following day we hiked around Cape Otway a bit and then drove up to Laver's Hill where we got some gas before going to the Otway Fly. It was $22 each, which we decided after doing it was worth it. It's a really neat walk, and it's amazing to be up so high. There are 3 main types of trees in that area: the Mountain Ash, which is the tallest and used to grow up to 100 meters (330 feet) but now only grow to be about half that size in that area, the Blackwood, and the Myrtle Beach. The spiral viewing tower is at about 47 meters, so is only half as tall as the Mountain Ash trees used to get, which is incredible!

After that we went to find our campsite, near Beech Forest. We spent the night alone, and the area was very wet, in the morning we even found leeches on our tent! We have found that because of all of the wetness, the camp stove we bought was one of our best purchases and it has served us very well. We went for a wonderful walk to some more waterfalls near our campsite in the morning, and then headed back towards the Otway Fly to do the Triple Falls walk, which was highly suggested by someone in Lavers Hill. We then went back through Lavers Hill and headed towards the Twelve Apostles.

There were still quite a few tourists at the Twelve Apostles, even in winter (mostly asian), which kind of surprised me. We also briefly visited Loch Ard, but decided that since we planned on camping near Port Campbell anyway we could just come back and see the rest of Loch Ard the next day since it wasn't far away. The bad thing about doing this trip is winter is the limited amount of daylight (the sun rises around 7:30 AM and set around 5:30 PM). We spent the night at a caravan park in Port Campbell, which was nice because we got laundry, and a nice warm kitchen, internet, and showers.

The next morning we got up at 7:30 and then took a nice walk on some of the trails around town and caught the sunrise up over the town, and saw a guy surfing, and though he must be crazy cause it was VERY cold. We know it was at least 3˚C during the night, and that was around 10, so we think it got down to freezing.
We drove back to Loch Ard and saw the rest of that before moving on to Warrnambool where we looked at the Deakin campus there to see what it was like, and did a bit of shopping. Next was Nelson to the info desk to see about camping in Glenelg NP.
We were directed to a specific campsite and were told that no one else would be staying there. It was a lovely drive down a slightly bumpy road, and we saw lots of wallabies!

When we got there, there was a vehicle and a girl siting on one of the picnic tables with her pack and she looked like she was waiting for something. We found out her name was Saki (sp?) and she was originally from the Netherlands, but has been living the past 5 years in Melbourne. She was doing the Great Southwest Walk, which starts from Portland and goes to Nelson and back. She'd done the Portland to Nelson bit (or at least was almost to Nelson) and was thinking she was going to give the second half a miss. She had been sitting waiting to see if the people who owned the car would come back so she could get a ride because she was out of water and Nelson was a good 10 k at least away. They never showed up, but when we arrived she decided to stay there the night since now she could get a good night's rest (she was a bit on edge camping by herself, worried about the people mainly, there had been a creepy guy there earlier offering her a ride). We had found out that there was a fruit and veg quarantine on the S.A. boarder, and we had just gone shopping, so we decided to cook up all of our potatoes and onions, etc. and package them up (cooked is ok, just not raw), so we shared some mashed potatoes with her and some chocolate cake we bought. She was very happy to have something other than her instant meals. :P We also helped her out by taking some of the food she didn't want and that weighed her down as well as her rubbish. It was dry that night and we were able to make a fire! We also had to keep chasing the possums away from our food, and there were wallabies eating casually nearby; wonderful.
Saki left the next morning before we got up.

We used the rest of our apples in apple pancakes and I made some cinnamon apples and apple cider, which we packaged up, and we were set. When we crossed the boarder all we needed to do was dump some carrots. We first went to Mount Gambier and had lovely weather walking around some crater lakes they have their made lots of years ago by volcanic activity.

We then made it to Robe via beautiful country, and went to the info desk/library where we got some awesome info about the next few legs of our trip. I was able to sign up for internet to use at any public library in S.A. and we did a driving tour of Robe, seeing the old gaol and the obelisk. We drove the 5 or so minutes to our campsite, The Gums, and set up. We went for a twilight/in the dark walk along sand trail to the beach (about an hour return), and sat by the water looking up at the starts; it was amazing. When we got back we made a fire, and had a dry night!

This morning we got up and got back to Robe at 9 AM, just in time to get into the library for some internet time, and here we are!! Next is to the Coorong NP.

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