Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thrills on the Great Ocean Road Part I

More from my family about their visit last month...It is I, Justin.  I can now add something to my bucket list and cross it off right away.  I have surfed in Australia.   We hauled Aubree and Zack’s surfboards with us on our car trip down the Great Ocean Road on Tuesday, November 15.  We stopped at the first good spot to surf (Torquay), and I promptly volunteered to try it out.  It took some effort to fit into Zack’s wetsuit, but eventually it was on, and I was looking official.  Surfing is not that easy because there are too many variables that keep changing, so it is hard to learn from one’s mistakes and improve for next time.  There is the left to right balance, the front to back balance, the paddling as the wave approaches, and the getting up on the board.  When it all comes together perfectly, it is a lot of fun.  The waves don’t always cooperate, but I did well considering.  I did wipe out quite a few times and swallowed tons of salt water, but I finally got up and rode a wave for a little bit.  I would do it again as falling down is less painful than the time Aubree taught me how to snowboard in Colorado.  Yay for Australia and surfing.

Do I look like a good teacher?

He got up! Time for some fish and chips for lunch!
Morgan on the wildlife report…On our way down the Great Ocean Road, we made several attempts to see wildlife.  Some were more successful than others.  Golf course in Anglesea with supposed kangaroos…not so much.  We made a stop at Kennett River, which had “guaranteed” koala sightings, and Aubree spotted the first one high up in the eucalyptus trees.  We were pretty excited, and then some tourists on the same trek tipped us off to one closer to the ground.  We inadvertently discovered that the sound of peeling out on the gravel road in our van made the koalas bellow and grunt, which was a little unnerving, but helped us find a few more.  We were still reveling in wild koala glory when BAM, there was one just sitting on a post on the side of the Great Ocean Road.  We pulled over, and got up close and personal (as close as we thought was okay with one in the wild), and watched another tourist try to get close enough to get his face ripped off by the koala’s claws.  As far as we know, he escaped being maimed by a wild koala.

Yes, this is a real koala sitting on the side of the Great Ocean Road!

So amazing to see them in the wild!
We decided to make a detour to see the Cape Otway Lighthouse, and found ourselves distracted by koalas in the eucalyptus trees.  At first we were excited to see one, and then they were everywhere.  It only took a little looking to see them in the trees.  It seemed to be the waking hour, with koalas walking on the road, climbing trees, reaching out for food, hanging out with their babies (Cindy saw the first little one!), and every cute thing a koala could possibly do.  We spotted at least three dozen koalas, with little effort!  We later learned that this population of koalas is significantly higher than is sustainable for the area, and they were introduced approximately thirty years ago.  Magnificent sights for us, but many of the eucalyptus trees in the area were stripped of their leaves, and the future of this koala population is not too bright.

This guy was just walking along the road!

How many koalas can you spot in this tree?
Just some of many koalas we saw.

This guy was huge!
We didn’t get to see the lighthouse up close (it was already closed for the day), but that mattered little, because on our way back from our detour we saw somewhere near 100 kangaroos in a field.  And not little kangaroos, but big ones!  There were so many, and it was like a herd of deer, or as Justin put it “deer that could box.”  The largest of the bunch were a little intimidating.  Cape Otway ended up being quite the wildlife detour!

Aubree here now: It was awesome to finally see kangaroos and koalas in the wild in Australia! On top of that, the scenery of the Great Ocean Road is incredible. I didn't get to fully appreciate it, because I was driving, but the water is SO blue, and there are so many gorgeous beaches. If you come to Australia (or already live here), I think the Great Ocean Road (with the Cape Otway detour) is a must do. Scroll down past the scenery pictures to check out a rather entertaining video of my brother and dad hanging out with those kangaroos Morgan mentioned! We didn't make it all the way down the GOR on our first day, so the next few posts will be about the cool place we stayed overnight and then the Twelve Apostles and other neat things we saw. Thanks for reading!

Mom enjoying the sunshine and scenery.
Bee-you-ti-full...and only a couple of hours from Melbourne!

1 comment:

  1. I can't stop smiling! This was the most amazing vacation EVER!