Sunday, August 30, 2009

B11: Not Wilson's Promontary...

(This is a red gum tree, a type of Eucalyptus in the family Myrtaceae. Eucalyptus were imported to America and were originally only endemic to Australia and Southern Asia. [Triplet Falls, Otway National Park])


Lost soccer game, didn’t make baseball playoff roster (not enough game eligibility), been spending every waking moment on the text mining research project, turned in a sub par biology assessment (it’s ok, I’m taking it pass no pass), and trying very hard to finish “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand.

What’s more interesting, as you can probably decipher from the opening picture, was my weekend. My friend with a car had to go to an Australia Football game for an assignment (what kind of assignment is that?), so we didn’t go to Wilson’s Promontory. No worries, I took a road trip instead. Ignoring the weather forecast (thunderstorms and high winds), we packed our tent, cooler (eski), and lonely planet handbook and were off for a weekend on the Great Ocean Road.

Leaving at 5pm, my housemate Abdul and I picked up Michele (Berkeley) and drove the 3 hours to Port Campbell National Park via the Princess Highway. The drive was pretty uneventful aside from the nasty “carpet” of Christmas Beetles at the gas stations. Arriving at Port Campbell, “we” pitched our tent (I didn’t do much of the pitching) under the light of our Mazda’s headlights (I am foreshadowing an unfortunate event). After clearing the beetles off the ground of the tent, we settled in, watched some movies on the laptop and feel asleep with the intent of getting an early start the next day. I don’t think that it stopped pouring rain once during the entire night. Good thing the tent leaked on Abdul’s bag instead of mine.

Awaking before the sun, we de-pitched our tent and packed up… but this happened:

("Abdul, why did you leave the car lights on!?" Not the way to start off the day. I'm looking for the starter and Abdul is calling road side assitance. Time: 6:15 AM. [Port Campbell Campgrounds, Port Campbell National Park])

So instead of watching the sun rise over the 12 Apostles National Park, we watched the sun rise over the RACV truck as the mechanic pulled in to jumpstart our car. An hour and a half later, we were exploring “The Blowhole”, “Loch Ard Gorge”, “Sherbrook Estuary”, “The Island Archway”, “Thunder Cave”, and the “12 Apostles”. The ice cold wind and the stinging raindrops drove everyone away, leaving the natural phenomena to be enjoyed only by Abdul, Michele, and I. The pictures don’t do the rock formations any justice; they were magnificent.

(Michele and I in front of Lock Ard Wrecksite. [Loch Ard Gorge, The Great Ocean Road])

I forced my carpool to go on a hike with me. We drove to Otway National Park and stopped at a small coffee shop so that I could pester the locals for information about their favourite hikes. Soon we were trekking through the Australian rainforest lined with red gum trees (eucalypts) and huge ferns like the ones in “Jurassic Park”. We completed 2 short hikes, “Triplet Falls” and “Hopetoun Falls”, and the waterfalls were large and breathtaking… I can do all the describing you want, but it wouldn’t even come close to the pictures… so just look at those.
(I guess the hike was worth it. [Triplet Falls, Otway])

(Sneaking off the trail... [Hoptoun Falls, Otway])

My plan for seeing the Melba Gully glowworms at night and our plans for setting up camp at Apollo Bay were shattered by the relentless pounding of the rains. We argued and disagreed about what to do next. We came super close to waving the white flag and heading home on that Saturday, but my stubbornness and Abdul’s fear of driving on drenched, winding road forced us to rent a caravan in the Marengo Bay caravan park.

The caravan, a converted trailer with a living room attached was so comical that it lightened up our moods as we grilled sausages on the terrible stove and cut up a fruit salad. We laughed, took a million pictures, taught Abdul how to make s’mores, and completely forget about the thunder and hail outside.

We awoke with the sunrise again, and left the campground with the Lion King music playing on our stereo. After missing the exit three times, we finally found the Marriners Lookout and ascended to the top of the cliff and shared a stunning view of Apollo Bay with the sheep and alpaca. We then started back down the winding Great Ocean Road back to Melbourne.

(Amazing view of Apolly Bay and the hike only took 20 minutes. I believe Marengo Campground is near the tip. [Marriners Lookout, Apolly Bay])

On the way home, we stopped at Kennet River. Kennet River has one of the highest concentrations of Koala’s in Victoria and it was easy to see whey; the majestic eucalypt forests were dense and plentiful. We drove up the hiking trail (oops… we were supposed to get out and walk) and I spotted a kangaroo that darted off the road. Michele and Abdul didn’t see it and were baffled when I yelled “Stop!” and jumped out of the car and ran to the edge of the cliff to get a glimpse of the fleeting marsupial. They ridiculed me; “Mike, you idiot, there are no kangaroos up here in the forest. You are crazy, stop wasting our time!” I was upset because no one believed me. They made fun of me for a good 10 minutes… until we saw another kangaroo with her two offspring in the middle of the road. Ha! Point for Mike. I also spotted the first Koala and we spent the morning slowly driving deeper and deeper on Grey River Road looking for the lazy creatures.
(Animals? Look out for Kangaroos and Koalas... Scroll down for some more animals. [Great Ocean Road])

(Koala hunting! [Grey River Road, Kennet River])

We headed home and enjoyed the amazing scenery. This is by far one of the most amazing experiences I had and I’m glad that I pushed everyone to stay. Me being a stubborn, immature baby forced everyone to go on my hikes, my lookouts, and my stupid river walks… Hopefully Abdul and Michele enjoyed it as much as I did. Next week it is back to soccer, baseball, schoolwork (maybe) and hopefully I can make it out to Wilson’s Promontory next weekend.

Until then,

Mikey Doo

(The world famous 12 Apostles. But there's only 6! [12 Apostles, The Great Ocean Road])

(Walking on the beach our toes in the sand. [Loch Ard Gorge, Great Ocean Road])

(Heading into the ferns and gum trees. [Caltoun Falls, Otway])

(Being goofy at Caltoun Falls. The spray from the falls was refreshing. [Caltoun Falls, Otway])

(Loggin' it. [Triple Falls, Otway])

(Water and surfers in the distance. As the sun came out, the water got clearer. [Lorne])

(This is not a zoo! He was actually awake. [Grey River Road, Kennet River])

(Mamma Roo protecting her babies from us. [Grey River Road, Kennet River])

(Lorikeets and Roselas outside the coffee shop just outside of Otway. [Lavers Hill])


  1. Great Photographs. Kangeroos, koalas, watefalls - Amazing.

  2. Wonderful rock formations! So glad you persevered (stayed stubborn:)
    and saw all that you did--I don't know about the carpet of beetles though:(
    GMA H
    Love all your pictures

  3. When did you learn what a car starter is? I love your waterfall picture, it looks soo pretty there. I am happy that your sister's marmut hunting skills have helped sharpen your koala hunting skills. Can you please steal that koala sign for me? :) Miss you!

  4. I love the fact that you are so in love with your Tim Tams, I must put that on my list of culinary delights to try =) What amazing pics of your hikes, loved the one of Apollo Bay and the waterfalls and also,oh yes, the koala and kangaroo.

    Can't wait to read your next entry!
    -Aunt A-

  5. Hi Mike,
    I had my first Tim Tam, don't know where your mom got them. They don't taste low cal or low fat :)

    Your pictures of the wild Kangaroo and Koala are amazing.