Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Perth to Melbourne... (Part 3)

Saturday 25th - Sunday 26th February 2012

It was late in the afternoon when we arrived in Adelaide and we were feeling a little tired after camping all week, but, we were excited to be meeting our friend Olympia again. She is a beautiful spirited, warm and welcoming. We met her and her two boys in Vietnam way back in October. Her boys Panayioti (19) and Harris (17) as you have probably already guessed are of Greek heritage and are similar to their mum in that they are just quality genuine people. I remember when we bumped into them in Vietnam, we just hit it off and she invited us to stay with them when we arrived in Adelaide. We bumped into them a number of times as we traveled around Vietnam. It was clear when we did as we would hear the familiar humble greetings shouted out to us by the boys...SCOUSERS!!!. She welcomed us into her home and made us feel part of her family. Beautiful aromas filled the Greek styled house as we first entered and we all settled down for a good catch up. Olympia lived only five minutes from the beach and Me and Laura would take walks up to the beach and along the pier. Lot's of people come here to relax, swim, kayak and fish. The first day I was at the pier I was lucky enough to see a young Bull Seal swimming about cunningly robbing the bait from the fisherman's lines and bait boxes. A local woman next to me said its was the first time she had ever seen a Bull Seal in the 27 years she had lived here and I said to her that it was the first time I had seen one and I had only waited 27 minutes. It was a great weekend to be in Adelaide as it was the start of the 'Fringe Festival'. On the Sunday I was in charge of the BBQ...which took me forever to light (I would never make a Aussie) then we all went off to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the festival at a place called 'The Garden of  Unearthly Delights'. We had a great time over the weekend filled with so much laughter and fun. It was sad to leave so early, but, us nomads had to get back on the road again.

First hours in Adelaide

Adelaide beach

The pier in Adelaide

The Bull Seal I watched playing in the waters by the pier

The calm waters of the Ocean

Sunset in Adelaide

Enjoying some fish & chips as the sun goes down

Me and a Pelican on Adelaide beach

This BBQ is having me on

With all the gang...Left-right: Emma, Harris, Olympia, Panayioti and Me

Monday 27th February

We said our good byes and left in the afternoon for new pastures further east. It's great to know we have good friends in this part of the world and that we are always welcome; virtue and generosity rewards you in ways that you can not know. We decided on heading up to the Grampians NP, one of Victoria's most outstanding natural features before heading towards the coast. The drive was very scenic and reminded me very much of the English countryside; the landscape of this incredible country was also changing once again. Unfortunately the weather was also changing. In the distance the clouds sagged stormy in the dark bruised sky above and the all to familiar sign of rain hung in the air. However It felt strangely reassuring to feel the familiarity of home and at times I felt like I was driving through parts of the Lake District. It was getting late so we decided to camp at Horsham just outside the Grampians NP and indulged in some home cooked Lasagna in the local pub near by.

Tuesday 28th February

It was a beautifully scenic drive through the Grampians NP surrounded by green lush trees and rolling hills. We visited the spectacular Mackenzie waterfalls and then drove up to the highest viewpoint overlooking the Grampians. We were treated to a magnificent panoramic view of this vast and wonderful range. The whole range has this beautiful blue colour that rises hazily into the air, an effect created by the thousands of eucalyptus trees that grow here. We drove on towards the coast until we reached Warrnambool late in the evening. It was 7:10 pm and we had just reached the start of 'The Great Ocean Road'. I was feeling so tired now, more mentally than physically, but, the world keeps on turning. We set up camp close to the windswept coast and as the sun was setting we visited the 'Bay of Martyrs' about a 10 minute walk from our campsite. With the strong sea wind in our face and the sun going down, we all stood on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the savage and untamed sea smash into the cliffs below. The whole experience is even more magical  at sunset. I just love watching sunset, especially over the ocean: the rich colours and light blend naturally together creating new shades and textures that reflect beautifully onto the ocean and in the sky painting the most dramatic of landscapes. If I was an artist this would  be the type of landscapes that I would paint.

Mackenzie Waterfalls

Laura and Nader at the foot of the waterfall

The stunning view of the Grampians

Notice the hazy blue effect of the landscape

On top of the world again!!!

The Bay of Martyrs

The Bay of Martyrs

Windswept overlooking The Bay of Martyrs

Feeling it now after 12 days on the road
Enchanting landscape at sun set

 The colours of Sunset

Taking it all in.

Wednesday 29th February: The Great Ocean Road

Breathe, breathe in the air.
Don't be afraid to care.
Leave but don't leave me.
Look around and choose your own ground.

                                                   Breathe-Pink Floyd:

We woke up early and packed our tents away for the last was a poignant moment to think that today was to be the last day of our road trip. Today was also a leap year so I was half expecting Laura to propose to me before we set off on our final day on the road. We were to travel along one of the most scenic roads in the world: The Great Ocean Road, and then on our way to our final destination, Melbourne. The Great Ocean Road is famous world wide and is said by many to equal California's Pacific Coast Highway. The road spans a mammoth 285km all the way from Warrnambool to Torquay and is actually a memorial to all the Soldiers that fought and died during WWI. We headed off towards Cape Otway and along the way stopped off at some stunning view points. This stretch of coastline is better known as shipwreck coast. During the 19th Century it was a notoriously dangerous stretch of water to navigate through due to the numerous hidden reefs and frequent fog...this resulted in over 80 vessels perishing in less than 40 years. This stretch however has some of the most dramatic and fascinating limestone rock formations, some of which tower to a massive 70m over some fierce seas. It's the power of this relentless sea that has created these rock formations: 'The Grotto', 'London Bridge', 'The Arch', 'The Lock and Gorge' and 'The Twelve Apostels'. The latter we missed because I was to busy listening to the album, Dark Side of the Moon; what can I say? I was lost in the moment, the atmosphere...the music of Pink Floyd really lends it's self to these types of drives. Each rock formation has it's own story to tell. One of my favourites was about London Bridge. In 1990 whilst people were on the rock formation, the connecting bridge to the mainland collapsed and fell into the sea leaving two people stranded for up to two hours 70m above the sea...imagine looking behind you and watching the arch collapse and being marooned on the cliffs edge. It was a spectacular drive through some rugged and dangerous coastline. The weather now was as threatening as the sea: untamed and powerful. It creates this wonderful atmosphere, one that makes you feel quite vulnerable as though you at the mercy of some omnipotent being; the force of nature...I loved every moment of it. 

When we arrived at Cape Otway lighthouse it marked the second most southerly point on the mainland of Australia. From here we entered the NP, It was here that I saw my first Koala bear in the wild. It was raining now, very overcast and blustery and I could feel the temperature falling. The road veered away from the coast before heading back towards Apollo Bay and again we were treated to some more stunning views of the turbulent and rough sea. From Apollo Bay the road hugs the coastline all the way to Anglesea and again the views of this stormy sea at times are breathtaking. The landscape to the left was similar to parts of the Lake District, in particular the weathered crags and mountains of Great Langdale and Wasdale. We nexted stopped at a place called Lorne, it was here that I watched surfers in action for the first time in my life...poetry in motion. They are crazy, adrenalin junkies, I mean the conditions were horrendous, but, I suppose that's the lure of surfing, the search for the biggest waves and as they say the key to adventure is risk. The final drive passed through the towns of Angalsea and Torquay; it was getting late now as we got onto the main high way that took us away from the coast and towards the city of Melbourne.

On the horizon I watched the blue city grow as we drove closer and closer until at last we arrived in to the cosmopolitan centre. I was sitting in the back of the car exhausted. We put on the song; 'Somebody I used to Know' by Gotye one last time and sat back reflecting on this amazing road trip. What an adventure, what a journey and what an experience. I remember thinking that that was one of the best 12 day's of my was an aesthetic voyagers dream and I had lived it.

      "...a country such as I firmly believe has no parallel on earths surface"
                                                                           -The Explorer Charles Stuart 1844 

Shipwreck Coast

Rough seas

London Bridge which collapsed in 1990 leaving 2 people stranded on the cliff

The road trip crew

The Gorge

The entrance to the Gorge where 2 people swam to safety after their ship sank in the 19th Century

It's a bit windy

Beautiful fresh it

The untamed sea

Poetry in motion

Surfing Oz style


1 comment:

  1. the sun is really big here.. and sunset is just awesome.. nice travel you got.. cheers ;)