Next on our itinerary was Kangaroo Island. We flew to Adelaide and drove to the ferry to make the crossing over to the island. It was the first ferry I had been on where some vehicles had to back on and it was impressive how tight they packed it.
It was a very rainy night but we stayed close to the ferry. The next morning brought better weather and we spent the day (it just happened to be my birthday) exploring the island. We started off in seal bay where there is a large breeding colony of Australian sea lions. We took a guided tour and were able to get down on the beach which brought us very close to the action!
Sea lions got their name from the golden mane adult males develop. When sailors saw them in the ocean they thought they were lions of the sea and thus they were called sea lions. This is a large adult male walking along the beach.
This is a one day old pup next to his/her mother. There is a large male behind them. The male is waiting for the female to be able to mate again which usually takes around a week or so. In the meantime he will chase off any other potential suitors.
We then made our way down to the far western part of the island to Flinders Chase National Park. There are 2 pretty cool rock formations here called admirals arch and remarkable rocks.
At the visitors center we spotted our first koala and a koala Joey (all marsupial babies are called joeys) high in a tree. The Joey was very playful and climbing all over the tree.
Remarkable rocks. These are large granite boulders sitting on a dome of lava. They are covered with an orange lichen that obviously gives them an orange tinge. The remarkable shapes are a result of millions of years erosion. We had a little fun with pictures around here 🙂
Yes, they are real Arpita!
Next we drove a short ways to Koala Alley. There are around 25 koalas in the area. We saw about 15. Most of the ones we saw were sleeping or just lounging around as they apparently do most of the day.
We also saw an echidna strolling through the nearby field. These are also known as spiny anteaters. They and the platypus are the only 2 mammals to lay eggs.
A kangaroo and Joey grazing.
And what's better than a kangaroo steak on kangaroo island for a birthday dinner?!
The next day we left kangaroo island and made our way to Portland and the start of the great ocean road. The great ocean road is one of Australia's most famous drives, stretching from Portland in the west to Geelong in the east. It passes rugged coastline with sheer cliffs, travels through temperate rainforest, and then passes through some of the most famous surfing beaches in the world. It is approximately 243 kilometers long and was built after the 1st world war.
As mentioned we started in Portland. From what we had read this was the start of the route however the first few hours of driving were spent in rolling hills and farm land. One of the first places we stopped for a look was at Logan's beach in Warrnambool. This area is known for surfing and southern right whales. We did see a southern right whale and calve sitting less than 100 meters from shore but they were not doing anything exciting. A couple of hundreds meters up from them, however, were a couple of dolphins playing in the surf.
There is one to the right of this surfer. I think he made this guy fall off his board.
As we continued east we came to some steep limestone coastline. There were several named bays, grottos, and various other formations.
This is known as London bridge. The bridge fell down in the 90's stranding 2 tourists on the island. They were later rescued by helicopter.
Perhaps the most famous part of the Great Ocean Road is the 12 apostles. This an area in Port Campbell national park with several large limestone towers that have become detached from the coast. There are no longer 12 towers (and maybe there never were exactly 12) but it is a catchy name and probably attracts more tourists. Regardless it is an awesome sight. You can see where one has collapsed.
The next morning was day 50. We made our way to Cape Otoway to see the lighthouse and hopefully some more Koalas.
The lighthouse was OK…
But the drive to and from the lighthouse was much better!
This one crossed the street in front of us then climbed up on this short tree trunk and posed for us. They are rather awkward when they walk.
One more for good measure.
The rest of the day was essentially a wash. It was raining hard. We did stop at bells beach and torquay both of which are famous surf spots with Torquay being the “capital” of surfing Australia. Bells Beach is the place where the finale of the movie Point Break was set although it was not actually shot there.
We did have a slight break in the weather but it did not last long. We saw another lighthouse but will spare you another picture…
We spent the next couple of nights in Melbourne. We stayed near Victorias market and wandered around there before heading to the river for some food and drinks. Melbourne is a fun city. There are many small alleyways lined with shops and restaurants. They supposedly have a coffee culture although we didn't really drink any coffee there.
Queen Victoria market.
I had never seen a sushi place like this. It was a conveyor belt that came around and you just picked what you wanted to eat and at the end they counted the number of plates you ate. Different colors were different prices. It was really good. It was also really hard to find as it located down one of those alleys I mentioned earlier.
After a fun day and night out we woke up the next morning and went to the airport to catch a flight to New Zealand. We had a lot of fun in Australia. We saw some wonderful sights and did some amazing trips. The Aussies were all really pleasant and gracious. We did notice that they like to add a -y or -ie to the end of shortened words. For example; Beakfast = breakky (or breakkie, we saw it both ways). Other examples are stubbies (bottles of beer) mozzies (Mosquitos), sunnies (sunglasses), esky (a cooler), Barbie (barbecue), and probably many others! We also did a lot of driving, approximately 5262 km (3,269 miles), but we had a blast and would gladly return!!
Here is one more picture!! Stay tuned for New Zealand!