Busy, Busy, Busy and a tad social!!
Trip Start Jan 23, 2010
27Trip End Jan 29, 2012
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Our first stop was the small town of Dartmoor, surrounded by trees and lovely to be back in the open air. We made the most of it and had a lovely open camp fire and just appreciated the smell and the noises of being back in the van. This delightful little town celebrates it connection to the wood industry with amazing scuptures scattered throughout. The biggest being that based around nursery rhymes.
There wasn't a soul in sight so we let the children ride their bikes without helmets - and the first and only car we saw was a police car! Of course it pulled over and headed straight for us - there was not another soul in sight - So we went into a big explanation about how we did not think it was a main road and he went into a bigger one explaining brain damage and the fine that we should get - but didn't (this time)
Onwards and towards the Great Ocean Road. We were excited to be starting this, albeit in the wrong direction according to just about every brochure on it. So it came as quite a shock as the majority of it was inland at the beginning stages! Rural and even rain forest! Not so much of the Ocean!
We stopped a couple of nights in Portland and was pleasantly surprised at an amazing car museum, which Fabio really enjoyed and brought him back a few memories of cars gone by! Around the coastline was Cape Bridgewater where I was keen to see the petrified forest - I thought, wrongly so as it turned out - that it was created due to volcanic activity and molten lava (this is a highly volcanic area) solidifying the forest and went into detail explaining this to the children on route. ONLY to find out that it is nothing to do with that in this instance! I have uploaded a photo of the explanation if you are keen to read - but basically erosion by the sea water in a particular way! Sorry kids!
So to continue the Great Ocean Road - as mentioned we commenced at the opposite end to which most must do this and therefore even before we got to The Twelve Apostles (although only eight are still standing) we were in awe of the coast line
I cannot convey just what a shock it was to us to see just how many people were at The Twelve Apostles! There were coachloads of tourists! So many Japanese that Adam in his innocence (bearing in mind this was shortly after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami) asked if this was an 'evacuation centre'? Love him! He meant it too. This particular spot was so commercial compared to all the other equally beautiful structures in the near vacinity. We were stunned, it reminded me of how I imagine the Great Wall of China would look in one spot!!
We stopped overnight at a beautiful spot called Cape Otway, full of Koalas! One settled right above our van all night and pelted it with poo. They only eat gum leaves, seriously how much poo can one do!? A LOT is the short answer!
We especially came to this area to do the fairly new Otway Treetop Zip Fly - and what a fantastic day it turned out to be
We continued along the Great Ocean Road towards Torquay and Bells Beach - one of Australia's iconic surfing beaches. Unfortunately we did not get to surf it. The weather was not good most days and the only day that we could go, it was too big for the children to surf. However Torquay's front beach did the trick and all of the children and even Fabio, managed to get some great waves. In Torquay we'd caught up again with friends from Coral Bay, Murray and Di - we spent some lovely time together and they loved being with the children as much as being with us.
From there we managed one of my highlights of the trip, the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix! Oh my goodness how good to hear those F1 engines again. We met up with the Howe family from Doubleview who joined us for the GP, which was great as the children were entertaining each other which left me more time to absorb the day
We spent some more time with the Howes and thought we would all experience Melbourne footy scene and a trip to Etihad stadium for the Collingwood vs North Melbourne game. We spend a lovely afternoon together and whilst no one amongst us are avid footy fans, we made the most of the experience and even a trip to the Docklands for a drink after. Lovely to catch up with friends all sharing this life on the road.
We said goodbye with Annette and Peter trying to convince us to join them skiing in July. I'm not so sure - I have sooo missed the Perth summer, that I really would like to be way up North by then and feel warm again. But who knows what the coming months will bring and where we will be by then. Meanwhile we're planning to go to visit the Tutankhamun exhibition about to open in Melbourne and enjoy what this busy Australian city has to offer.
Until next time.......