Busy, Busy, Busy and a tad social!!

Trip Start Jan 23, 2010
Trip End Jan 29, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Since leaving Robe, we have been catching up with friends and been flat out 'like a lizard that drinks quite a bit' I think is the Aussie slang!

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!  Remarkable giant rock stacks of limestone that are constantly being eroded - as in 4 of the apostles gone.  They start off as caves as the Southern Ocean and the blasting winds hammer the coast.  The roofs of the caves collapse and form arches and before you know it (relatively speaking here) the arch also collapses and you are with a stack - which of course eventually gets eroded too.  Soon to be 'The No Apostles'!

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!  Oh my goodness, the weather was wonderful and we were zipping through the forest 20 - 30 metres above the ground.  I must admit I was scared at first and even watching the children gave me a fright (cried at one point I believe - but with the guidance of the fabulous informative staff, I was made to feel very safe and by the end of it, was even letting go and relying just on the harness from zip to zip.  An absolute must do.

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.  Just fantastic!!  Hopefully if all goes well with the lotto this week, will follow the rest of the season around the world!

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.......

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Flock of Peacocks on

Hey Begoli's!! Great to read your last entry and look with envy upon your great pics. We are so excited to have you all come to stay with us!! Just a few weeks away now! Woo! I'll get the JD and Coke and a bottle of Sav Blanc on ice, ready for our huuuuuuge catchup!! The kids are so excited, it will be wonderful to spend time together again, so hurry up and get here!!!!! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Heather on

Hey Travellers. So glad to hear of your great trip. So many things we saw when we were doing it, so it is just great to relive our experiences through yours. With our frantic pace back here I sometimes wish we did it at your pace and explored further like you have. All go here. Plans in Shire for reno's & backyard already ripped up ready. (So its a bit of a dust pit and I don't have a clothes line - thats just the start). Waiting for Shire to give go ahead before walls start coming down out back. Hope to have pool, gym, alfresco & granny flat all done by Xmas so we can live there whilst rest of house roof is taken off & the place massacured!!!! Brody got North Beach Yr 4 swimming champion & Reon got North Beach Yr 6 swimming champion as well as won all the events at the interschools, so was Yr6 swimming champion inter schools too. Very excited. Kids & Kim away at pre-season footy camp this weekend so of course I am diong major clean up & had "High Tea" at Kris's yesterday from 3pm till 10!!!! Unfortunately Bec was at a yoga workshop & Jacinta coudn't make it, but 12 of us had a lovely time!! Miss you guys.

The Leggs on

Again we are green with envy, you make the life on the open road so enticing. We will at some point do at least some of the things you've done.
Have just had visitors from the UK for 2 weeks which was lovely catching up on old times and then my ex mother in law for a week which was great. she never changes and the kids were wrapped to see her. Now she has moved to NZ we hope to see a bit more of her there rather than always in Oz.
Joondalup hospital has just opened the new Ed and as usual my kids had to frequent it just to check out the facilities. Tori with a concussion a couple of weeks ago she sustained playing a basketball game. Pretty horrible really as she was fairly out of it for 1.5 hours before she came back to normal. Not to be left out Stu managed to break his 5th metatarsal (foot) also playing basketball last Thursday so life as usual continues to be hectic.
Desperately looking forward to the Easter hols, I think we are all ready for a break.
Must away to bed, work n all that crap tomorrow. Happy travelling to you. Already looking forward to your next installment

Fiona & Co

Hutchens Family on

Hi happy travellers. As always it is great to hear about your travels and see the great photos. You guys are living life to the full. Am I envious? ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!...Well Mandy, Dazbeans is finally turning 40 in a couple of weeks and we are going to have a party. A 70's one at that. Complete with 70's decorations, dress ups and mirror ball. Getting excited now. Wish you could be here it would be great to catch up and have a disco dance to the music that Tim is preparing. Take care and can't wait for your next post. Travel safe xxxxx

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