Wild Warrnambool and my Birthday

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
Trip End Jan 04, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's midnight. I'm tired and I just pull the car into the Hostel after a 2 hours drive from Phillip Island. "Why the hell is the car reversing even though I don't have my foot on the accelerator?!"
"It doens't matter, we're back - lets go to bed"
"But I want to know...ah...Happy Birthday to me..Happy Birthday to me..."
"Your not meant to sing it to yourself..."
"I'm tired, I've just driven for two hours...I'm going to sing it!....Happy Birthday to me...etc etc"

Anyways. After a few hours sleep, we checked out of the hostel. We had intended on visiting a ye olde town for some gold mining but I was shattered. I decided it was more useful for us to drive to Warrnambool and prepare for our drive along the Great Ocean Road. It would spread out the driving a little more and give us a more relaxed day for my birthday. A win win. While sitting over breakfast I tried to book the hostel in Warrnambool (a place which features in "Charlie and Boots", the first film we watched on Greyhound but was sadly cut short by a bad DVD). The place was booked out and so when looking for somewhere else I found a motel which cost the same as our hostel. Bonus. We were off.

After the night before Kate had intended on staying awake for a bigger majority of the 4 hour drive. Impressively, considering Kate slept the journey home (bar a few lines of random songs in which she woke up, sang and then quickly fell back to sleep) she also managed to sleep the majority of this journey. After selecting 'Ace of Base' to be played on the stereo after some discussion "Anything but Tina Turner" being my proviso..."and no, not celine Dion or Shania Twain either", she slept the entire album.
The drive took in a few hours of nothingness and if I'm honest, it was great. The consistently changing scenery of a few farm houses, wooden churches and signs with "Feeling Tired, Take a Powernap" and "feeling Weary, Powernap Now!" do have a tendency to make you feel more tired, but I love being able to take it all in. You do feel a little bad when you drive through a town which relies on it's famous tree or famous monument to draw in the tourists and you just plough right through though.

Warrnambool. Nice town to drive through. On the A1, pretty much the start of the Great Ocean Road. Good weather (after thunderstorms all night). We pull up to our motel and I speak to the lady in reception. After an awkward start where she doesn't seem to have our booking she changes completely to the nicest middle aged lady in Victoria. She shows me everything we could possibly do in one afternoon and one evening in the oddly named town, shows places we can enjoy on the Ocean Road and gives me the keys to 'the cottage' in which she has dedided she will put us in. I drive around the corner into the main collection of motel buildings and I realise our 'cottage' isn't what we booked online. We booked a 'budget one bedroom apartment'. This place is a two bedroom...Cottage. A proper cottage, with kitchen, and bathroom and living room. Didn't need to visit a mine, we had struck gold! (ok, this is exaggerating a little but we have been staying in a lot of shared accomodation and for the same price we now have a house!). That is the biggest point. This had cost $85 and the lady had just upgraded us to a cottage. Excellent service. My heroine.

We looked through the leaflets she had inundated me with and decided to go for a walk, get some food and then have a 'home cooked' meal with the remainder of our cellar door wine from Hunter Valley.

The Tower Hill Reserve is pretty close to wilderness but with a few tracks put in to make it easier for the few tourists that take the diversion off the A1. What a find. The lady had done well again.
Through two of the circuit walks of the area we came across wild black wallabees, grey kangaroos, about 8 or 9 Emus, a couple of Koalas (they were up having a sleep - they sleep more than Kate somehow), a Skink (look it up) and an array of rabbits (not as impressive but we saw them nonetheless). There is something about seeing animals in the wild that is so much cooler than seeing them in a zoo.
The short walk took us much longer than expected because we have learnt that you do not see anything if you charge around like a bull (like a family of Americans that passed us), and instead we took our time listening for movement and seeing everything.
Very much recommended to anyone visiting this end of the Great Ocean Road, if only for the wilderness - just remember to shut up, look up for Koalas, look down for Snakes and Skinks and listen carefully.

Via Woolworths (the supermarket) for some Soup, Pie, Mash, Bananas (on special offer! Woohoo! - these have been massively overpriced since the Cyclone earlier in the year) and cake we then returned to the Cottage. A nice meal, two bottles of wine (one good and one bad) and some cake and I'm now snuggled up in a bed that reminds me of sleeping at the Grandparents place.

The last couple of years have been pretty tough for me on my birthday as it was 3 years ago today that was the last time me and Kate both saw and spoke to mum before she passed away. I have found my birthday difficult since and harder work than it should be. Without really trying to make the day anything, it has become one of the best days I can remember, just for the simple things. The weather, the drive, the wild animals, the cottage, dinner, wine and a comfy bed.

Kates watching 'Homes Under the Hammer', I'm feeling content. That works for me.
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