Friday, April 15, 2016

Ocean Road

Well, I just typed a humongously long blog post, and it evaporated when I checked another window to get a place name. Aargh. So I'll type as much of it as I can again on my phone, along with all the attendant corrections of misguided autocorrects. Sigh.

I've just been lazing about the hostel this morning. It's almost 11:30 am, and I've just been taking it easy. I guess after moving and moving and moving every day, I can use a rest. But I'll be getting out and about soon.

I'll be leaving Australia soon. Now I know a lot of the things I'd want to see in a later visit, should I return, and I hope I will. But I'll move on to the next adventure, which should be even wilder and rougher.

I am just about out of the cash I've gotten, and I'm going to try not to get more if possible. I don't need to spend money...I have a transit pass and plenty of food. In fact, I probably have more food than I can eat before I leave. So I'll leave whatever I have left in the free food bin, since I probably can't take it on the plane, and don't really have room, even if I could. That will help out new hostelers, and repay the karmic debt I incurred from partaking of free food left behind by others.

Yesterday I went on The Great Ocean Road, which runs along Australia's southern coastline with the Southern Ocean, also known as the Antarctic Ocean. Funny how I tried to get to the Arctic Ocean twice, and had to turn around due to attendant circumstances, but getting to the Antarctic Ocean was relatively effortless.

The Great Ocean Road has a widely varying topography. A lot of it runs along the coast, with gorgeous beaches, stunning cliffs, and a variety of artistic rock formations. But much of it also runs inland, through rainforests and gently rolling, striated hills. There are some castle and sheep ranches also.

I took a tour bus, led by Toby, our charming, capable guide, who somewhat resembled a redheaded Brad Pitt. I could have taken a public bus, but with all the stops, it might have taken more than one day. Or I could have rented a car. But getting native guidance and traveling with a group of people made it worth it.

We stopped in a few towns and vistas (I wish we could have made more stops, but it was already a long day with what we did). We took a hike through the rainforest, with massive Southern Ash trees (a type of eucalyptus that grows to stunning sizes, not unlike the California redwoods), and huge ferns with cuplike structures at the top to capture moisture from the rains.

The capstones of the trip were Loch Ard Gorge and the Twelve Apostles, magnificent limestone formations along the beach. Loch Ard is a massive shipwreck tap, and there was a famous shipwreck of the ship Loch Ard that the choice was named after. I hiked all around the area and down into the gorge.  At the Twelve Apostles (which are really much less than twelve, and some have collapsed into the ocean, making even less), we stayed until sunset and got great pics of the sun setting over the rocks.

Pics are on Facebook, sorry I can't post then here. It got dark quickly, and we stopped for dinner, whereupon I spent almost the last of my money, other than a small amount of change. Then I got back to the hostel, and hung out for a short time before crashing.

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