We eventually set off from Carolyn’s and made our way down the Hume Freeway. We swung off the Freeway at Epping to do some food shopping and came across an enormous shopping centre with a fabulous fruit and vegetable market and the inevitable Coles. Stocked up for a few days and carried on down the Freeway to Melbourne for lunch with Janet and John.
Great to catch up with them again and a lovely lunch too. Collected a few more things they had saved for us from our last trip and headed off again. Now we had really started our road trip! Down the M1, past Geelong and across, via Torquay to The Great Ocean Road. We stoped for a comfort break at a chocolate and ice cream factory. The ice cream was wonderful and the range of chocolates was amazing. We just could not resist and came away with a bag-full of chocolate bars and things.
On along the GOR, a lovely drive even if it rained or drizzled for some of the way and we finally arrived at Apollo Bay and the campsite. The manager, Bruce, found us the last site, a small one but big enough for our little camper. First set up went well, amazing how it all came back, dinner of barbecued lamb shoulder (butterflied), bed.
Some very drunk Germans returned, noisily, to their campervan at 4 in the morning, otherwise we slept well. Breakfasted on a stack of fruit, as we had bought lots at the Epping market forgetting we can’t take it with us into South Australia.
We drove further along the GOR to the Otway Lighthouse Road to look for koala. We called in at the fisherman’s Co-op on the way to buy some fish and prawns. We drove down the lighthouse road all the way to the lighthouse without seeing any koala, but on the way back there was a telltale gaggle of people by the roadside and there indeed was a koala. It was in a tree quite low down so was easy to watch, which we did for a while and then walked around and found several other koalas in the vicinity. Most of them were settled into a crook of a tree and fast asleep, but one in particular was actively feeding and he really was tucking in.
Back towards Apollo Bay we stopped at Mait’s Rest Rainforest Walk - a track through the rainforest with some huge myrtle beeches, said to be up to 100 metres high and 300 years old and lots and lots of tree ferns, some well over three metres high. An easy track with wooden boardwalks and info-boards. It was great to be there alone and hear all the birds, we even spotted a black snail, said to be rare and only found in the Otway.
Now back to the campsite for lunch and more vegetables ( I blame Epping Market!) and the prawns we bought at the Fisherman’s Co-op in Apollo Bay. They were good.
Ruth wanted to have a nap, so I drove back along the GOR to Kennet River. A beautiful sunny day but there was a cold wind, nevertheless the coast looked beautiful in the sunshine, a lovely drive. Arriving at Kennet River I saw lots of Chinese tourists, so drove through and onto the Grey River Road where, on our very first trip to Australia (with Jack, at that time) we had seen koala. And sure enough there were several, but all high up in their trees and fast asleep. One, obviously a male, started roaring, stopped and snuggled down into the branch and fell asleep again.
Saw some beautiful parrots - king parrots and sulphur-crested cockatoos. Then another group of Chinese arrived, they were given bird food which they held out and the parrots came and fed from their hand. The Chinese were delighted. I left.
Back along the road and back to the campsite. Ruth had discovered her ‘reading sunglasses’ had broken so wanted to replace them. So we drove into Apollo Bay township. Unfortunately the shops either had shut or were about to; it was 5.30. We drove back past the campsite and up Mad Dog Creek Road, which we though had a Reserve. Couldn’t find the reserve but it was a lovely drive, a deep river valley, lush with growth, and we spotted lots of birds we hadn’t seen before on this trip, including a crimson rosella which wouldn’t stay still enough for a photo (though I did get a photo of three of them from a distance) and a beautiful little bird with a red head and red breast. Will have to look it up!
Back to the campsite for dinner, a Bunderberg and bed.