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January 16, 2005

The Great Ocean Road

I approached the bus in Melbourne and was sorely tempted to turn around and run. I'd booked a tour of the Great Ocean Road along the coast to Adelaide since the Greyhound only made one stop and I wanted to see all the sights along the way. Coming straight from the fantastic tour of Tasmania, I had high expectations and was hoping all tours were that good. How wrong I was. On this trip, the bus was full of "characters." There was an obnoxious American family with designer backpacks and a laptop, who held the bus up at every stop and were generally loud and rude. They made friends with a strange Aussie bloke who confided that he had just stopped taking his medication. In addition to his mental health problems, he had an acute skin disorder called psioriasis, which was fine until I sat diagonally behind him on the bus with the window open and got a face full of flakes. Bleugh! Possibly the worst was a Canadian guy who took surreptitious photos of all the girls on the bus and had the kind of creepy demeanour that screamed 'serial killer'. Add to this happy mix a loud Swiss girl who liked to clap along to the music and two Swedish sisters who were a little too comfortable with being naked - and I was looking for the emergency exit. Luckily the last three turned out to be nice and there were some great people as well as the freaks (and even they - as Rob pointed out - only made the scenery look better).

The tour itself was a bit rushed but the guide was nice and we saw a lot - loads of beaches, cliffs and rock formations. We went to Bells Beach, which didn't look like it does in 'Point Break'; Melba Gully rainforest; and the Blue Lake at Mount Gambier. It's not called the Shipwreck Coast for nothing, and at Loch Ard Gorge, there's a cave where two survivors of a wreck - Tom, a sailor and Eva, a passenger - washed up and sheltered before seeking help. We stopped off at London Bridge, the Bay of Martyrs, the Bay of Islands and of course the Twelve Apostles (and a load of other rocks - and I have boring photos of them all). I took a wander around an island off Port Fairy one evening and saw wallabies but missed the nightly homecoming of the mutton birds as it started to rain and I went to the pub instead. We started a doubles pool tournament, in which I demonstrated my complete lack of ability once again. The American guy decided to play - on his own because "I don't need a partner" - and swaggered up to the bar to ask if they had any powder for his hands. All his macho posturing came to naught however when he was trounced by two girls. Ha!

I saw my second Australian "big thing" (the Big Merino was the first)... Larry the Lobster. Further down the coast in Coorong National Park, we saw the 90 Mile Beach climbed sand dunes and were shown the medicinal and nutritional uses of native plants by an Aboriginal guide. We passed by Alexander Lake and salt flats and crossed the Murray River (fourth longest in the world - for some reason one small piece of information I managed to remember) before reaching the Adelaide Hills.

Posted by Rowena on January 16, 2005 01:22 AM
Category: Australia
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