Friday, 19 April 2019

Back to Oz ... our first Kangaroos and Gariwerd (the Grampians)

Friday 22nd February ... what will today bring?

Up at 5 for breakfast at 6:30 at the award winning Gariwerd Motel, Halls Gap which sits in the Fyans Valley 200 mtrs above sea level

The silver seed pods on the tree are shaped like bells and look very pretty among the pink flowers growing below
We're waiting for my brother Garry and his wife Sue to make an appearance ... we've not seen any kangaroos yet ... if we'd have known we should have stayed up last night or got up even earlier this morning as there were lots of signs that kangaroos had been on the lawn!
Moon going down
Here they come!

Grampians Road is empty of any signs of life as we wait for the other passengers to be ready

Our guide Ash informs us that he know a place where we will see kangaroos just a short way along the road ... at the cricket ground ...

The first thing we see are Emus
and then ...

We spent about 30 minutes here taking photos ... 
and wow, it was an unbelievable experience.
Back to the coach
We're bang, slap in the middle of the Grampians and in just over an hour we've driven up the mountains ranges ...
 To Reeds lookout at approximately 700mtrs for amazing views ...
 Lake Bellfield a reservoir covering 96 acres was completed in 1996

 Us with Mount William in distance
Garry and Sue with him and me!
Lake Wartook reservoir was completed in 1886 to serve the surrounding inhabitants 
 From Reed Lookout we walked the 2km to the Balconies ...

Evidence of a recent bush fire as we walk

Although its only about 9 am it's getting very warm!
Amazing rock structures
Reaching for the sky
 A better view of Mount William

Looking down!
Garry is a big 'Potters' fan!

No ... that's not George!
but that is me!
A last glimpse through these magnificent rocks at the far reaching views before we're back on the road to our next destination just 6km away.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Back in Oz ... London Bridge has fallen down ...

It's still Thursday (21st Feb) , we've left the Shipwreck Coast, are back on the coach and heading for London Bridge ... in Peterborough!
But first a quick comfort stop at Port Campbell

Where the Port Campbell Surf Life Saving Club was rolling out one of its Navy ARSL 'Ambleside'

Fifteen minutes back on the coach and we're at London Bridge

London Bridge at the Campbell National Park was once connected to the mainland by a double span and visitors to this popular tourist site could walk over the arches to the headland.  See this facebook video  of the pre 1990 London Bridge and tourists crossing it.

In 1990 tragedy struck when the first arch collapsed into the ocean just as two people, one of whom was Dave Darrington, were lucky to escape with their lives as they had just stepped off the walkway when they heard an almighty crack behind them, turned and watched the archway collapse in front of their eyes.  Other's would have seen the incident and ran to help ... can you imagine them telling whoever that London Bridge had fallen down?  They were stranded  for three hours until airlifted to safety.

 It's now late afternoon
and we're back on the coach

continuing our journey along the coast of Peterborough
to the Bay of Martyrs
 The Bay of Islands Coastal Park encompasses a 32 km of coast which includes the Bay of Martyrs.  It also includes other bays with names of similar nature ... Massacre Bay and Massacre Point.
According to the stories of past generations Europeans killed a large number of Karrae-Wurrong people who inhabited an area of 1,900 sq. miles on this coast and spoke a dialect of the Warnabool language. Apparently the men were killed by being driven over the cliffs and the women and children were killed in the swamps but there is no written evidence of why the population of Aboriginal people drown from thousands to practically none.  Contradicting stories believe this was due to mass immigration.
 The scenery and vistas of the  Great Ocean Road really are truly amazing.

It was after 8pm when we stopped for an evening meal in Warnamabool and boy, were we hungry!

Back on the coach we leave the Great Ocean Road and start the climb into the Grampian National park; the lights were dimmed and a few people dozed after the long, exciting day.  It took another 2-hours to reach our accommodation for the night in Halls Gap ... 159 miles west of Melbourne where we started from this morning at 7am.
Most of our fellow passengers were youngsters (late teens/early twenties) who stayed in Neds Other Beds, a backpacker's hostelry. An older couple and a Mum and teenage daughter stayed in a slightly more upmarket establishment close by.

George and I and my brother Garry and sister in law Sue had stipulated a motel room with all the facilities we'd expect in a hotel.

 It was 11pm by the time we got to our room at the Gariwerd Motel  ... and it's an early start in the morning. 
(Gariwerd is what Halls Gap is known as by the Aboriginal people.) 

Well that's the end of Thursday 21st February, day one or our two-day excursion and tomorrow we're off into the Grampians ... 
can't wait ... watch this space.