A big highlight if the trip in Australia was finally meeting up with my childhood penpal, Jude. We met through the Girl Guides aged just ten, and wrote letters to one another until we finished school (and the internet took over!). When our trip planning took us near Melbourne I knew that we had to make a stop in Colac to meet up with her and her family.
The day after our Muse concert we caught the V-Line train out of the city for two hours, opposite the most excitable three year old, who spent the whole time looking for his house and tunnels out of the window. All training for the equally excited and sweet Simon, Jude’s son who totally won us both over with his enthusiasm for trucks, trains and lego.
While Simon was in Kindy, Jude took us out on a road-trip of the tourist attractions near where she lives, and we visited an area of amazing old forest, where we climbed down to see an impressive waterfall. Good to know our calves can still do stairs after a month of laziness and western food! We then headed towards the coast and the main tourist route of the Great Ocean Road.
The weather at the moment is pretty unseasonal, and kept flitting between cold but brilliant sunshine or wind and rain, so we opted for a lunch in the cloud and rain before heading to our first coastal sight of Loch Ard Gorge, where the sun came out for some great photo opportunities. Weirdly enough the ship that sank there and gave the bay its name, set sail from my home town of Gravesend in England. It was so beautiful, and we even got a chance for a quick paddle in the sea, although the water was freezing, not surprising, seeing as it comes straight up from the Antarctic.
Next we headed to the main attraction (at least as far as the guide books are concerned), the Twelve Apostles; a rock formation just away from the coast which was crawling with tourists. Not sure where they had all come from as the roads were quiet all day.
Apparently there were never twelve rocks in the first place, and now only a few are standing alongside a few more piles of rubble, just peeking out of the water. A good place for photos and the ol’ long arm shot which we have just about perfected in the last four months. It was just as beautiful as it looks in postcards, and a big tick off of my ‘to-see’ list. I’m not sure why other places along the road don’t get the same attention though as it was all pretty spectacular.
Our final stop for the day was at Jude’s Uncle’s farm – a massive dairy farm out in the Victoria countryside. It was great to get a taste of how remote some areas are, and we got to see some interesting milking on what looked like a giant merry-go-round for the cows. Those that weren’t being milked were busy staring out the intruders, and to be honest they were big scary cows!
That evening we took to the road again, this time with Simon on a tour of the Christmas lights around the town. Starting to get into the mood now, especially with this rainy weather. It feels more like our usual Christmas, probably more than the current UK snow would.
It was such a lovely couple of days and I can’t wait to catch up again next time we are on this side of the world! From Jude’s we caught the Overland train back to Adelaide on the first of three days of train travel – but more photos and ramblings about our adventures on the Ghan and Alice Springs later!
Nic & Rob