We reached the Great Ocean Road today!
I'm glad we deviated inland for a bit to breathe in the Grampians' cool, fresh foresty air. It also meant that we got to drive along some quieter back roads. It's fun to not know what's around the bend and be open to checking out whatever comes around. Remember - this is not me normally!
Today we headed towards the victorian coast in a roundabout way... We went through Halls Gap and then northish to the town of Stawell (pronounced 'stall'). Heard of the Stawell Gift? It's an annual 120m sprint race across a grassed oval that attracts some pretty speedy competitors. It's a big event in Stawell's calendar and there is a Stawell Gift Hall of Fame centre open to peruse if you choose to spend the money. I think I might have seen the race telecast on abc sports one time but Ben seemed familiar enough with it to be keen to visit.
On making the happy discovery that we didn't need to pay in order to touch our athletic tootsies on the oval itself, we spent quite some time tearing about on the most perfect turf I have ever seen and felt. Our recreation of the Gift race was certainly in a class of its own! The grounds around the oval included a surprising rose garden. To say that it was full of blooming roses would be an understatement. It was like stepping into The Secret Garden. Oh, I want to have a rose garden in Keperra!
As you know, Ben has a bit of a thing with AFL... There is a little intersection in a little town near Stawell, called Moyston, where there is a monument to a bloke who apparently started up the little game of afl (or vfl as it was). Of course we had to stop by and verify it for ourselves. It was all I could do to stop Ben from bowing down and kissing the feet of the man who had a part in creating his dream game - just kidding (but not much :)
A little drive further south, we stopped at Glenthompson for lunch in the park and a play in the playground, before dropping into the farm of Grampians Pure Sheep Dairy. We were able to do some taste-testing of their gourmet yogurts and cheeses - yum to the lemon and vanilla yogurts and pecorino cheese (like Parmesan but softer in texture and stronger in taste). On our tour of the milking area we found out that it takes 4 litres of sheep's milk to make a 1kg block of cheese, but 21 litres of cows milk to do the same. Also, sheep's milk is naturally homogenised and has four times the calcium of cows milk. Add those facts to your next conversation and you'll be sure to impress your friends/boss/in-laws! We thought the sheep at this farm looked very happy and content with their lot. The ones we saw were either chewing their way through fields of green turnip leaves or lazing about in the shade of lovely big trees. We purchased some dairy goods then hopped back on the road to our next petrol stop, Warranambool, on the Victorian coast near the western end of The Great Ocean Road.
It's amazing how much you can fit into these long daylight-saving days. We left Warranambool at around 430pm and still got to visit London Bridge, Twelve Apostles and Natural Arch before finding our campsite at Princetown Recreation Reserve. There was plenty of daylight left to set up, for the kids to have a long play in the playground (with kids including another William A. Richardson from Queensland!), to shower and eat dinner. Imagine how much we'd get done living in places where the sun hardly goes down at all. The mind boggles!