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Great Ocean Road and Adelaide

11.03 - 15.03.07

semi-overcast 25 °C

Another early start at 6.30am to get onto the Great Ocean Road Tour. I had a great group, although so there were a lot of Germans :-). We were only 10 including our really nice tour guide Jas. 4 Dutch - 2 friends and her Mum and aunt, 4 Germans: Alena, Sabine and Mathias and a Polish girl, Justyna, who lives also lives in Kingston and loves it as much as I do :-). Reunion arranged in La Tasca! For a change I really enjoyed my German company, all very nice and interesting stories to tell, like so many other travellers...

On our first day we started the Great Ocean Road and had our first stop at Bells Beach. Unfortunately it was completely overcast again, but I think I am getting used to it. Be grateful when it doesn't rain! ;-) Bell's Beach was used in the bank robbing surfing movie Point Break for the last scene. We then continued to Apollo Bay where we stopped for some lunch and some walking along the beach and went then for another walk in the rainforest. By now means as impressive as in the North but still nice.
I then found out that the 12 Apostels are actually only 8 as the others have fallen apart over time. The last bit that fell down was London Bridge while an unfaithful couple was walking on top of it and had to be rescued under a lot of effort. Try to explain that one...
Although it was still overcast at the 12 Apostels it was still very impressive and the scenary and whole atmosphare was incredible.
I have also seen my first Koalas today. They are so cute and it is just unbelievable how the tiny little twigs they choose as there sleeping spot is actually carrying them.
We went to see more rocks and rock fomations along the coast and then went to our hostel Port Campell. We all cooked toghether, Kangaroo Burritos... yummy.... and then had a few drinks, went to the harbour to meet some local fisher men and had a nice evening. We also went back to the 12 Apostels for the sunset which was really cool and we even saw some cute little penguins wabbling out of the water to get into their little caves and wholes. They are just adorable and I really hope to see them on Kangaroo Island again, maybe even a bit closer.
Another early start at 6.30 again. I don't think I ever had to get up that early that often while being on "holiday" :-). It's great though, you just have so much more of your day.
We carried on with some more rock formations including London Bridge and continued to Grottay a really impressive grotto. Lunch in a park and unfortunately we stayed for a while as Sabine was feeling so ill that Jas had to bring her into hospital. She is even thinking of flying back home again, which would be such a shame now that is finally fulfilling her dream. I really feel for her. I would be devastated if I would need to end my trip.
On our way to the National Park the Grampions we also passed an old vulcano but more importantly we saw some more koalas, a lot of emus and kangaroos which was great. I just love seeing all these animals! We had our own house in Halls Gap which was great. It is really nice here. Straight after arrival some of us decided to go for a quick walk and have a look around and besides all the cockatoos we bumped into hundreds of kangaroos. They were quite shy so we could only get to about 10-15 meters distance to them before they started jumping away, but it was just incredible to see a whole herd of kangaroos jumping around. Parots, cockatoos, kangaroos, koalas, I am certainly in Australia now! :-)
While we were having our BBQ on the veranda (fortunately we had the kangaroo the night before which actually made feel really guilty) kangaroos and cockatoos joined us again for our dinner outside our terrace. What a dinner that was, just amazing!
And another 6.30 start brought us to the Grampions on our last day of the tour. We climbed up to the Hollow Mountain and had fantastic weather and breath taking views. The climb was quite steep and not all of us managed it but I loved it. It was quite scary at certain points as you just had really steep cliffs next to you while it was very windy and the tour guide had actually never been up the mountain when it was so windy. Great! Heath and Safety doesn't really seem to exist in Australia. I suppose they don't really care about these kind of things, with all the lethal animals around.
We also climbed into the mountain, which was hollow as the name says :-) Again, nothing for someone who is a little claustrophobic but absolutely worth it. What a view you had once you got up there. The landscape here is so different. Nothing about rainforest and all that green anymore. Completely sparse and almost like prairie. Definitely a pre-stage to the proper outback. I really regret now that I don't have time to get properly into the outback, but the country is just too big. Apart from a really nice long walk and some Aboriginal rock art we spent most of the day driving to Adelaide through great scenary and some more kangaroos, koalas and emu! Tried my first Coopers for lunch which was nice but the fact that I was eaten alive by flies put a little downside to it.

Finally arrived in Adelaide I had another wonderful hostel, the Blue Galah. Clean, but so cramped.... beyond believe. I was fuming again for a couple of minutes and then decided to have a shower and quickly proceed with getting drunk! :-) What a plan. Strange how your standards sink and change when you travel. I also realised that it is probably the last hostel I am staying in on this trip which cheered me up. On the other hand I did have a great time in hostels and love how many and easily you meet people so I am actually getting a bit sad the more I think about it... Anyway...
We all met up in a pub and had some dinner and a few drinks before we went to the Fringe Festival to watch some comedians and some live music. After several drinks and good entertainment, Mathias, Sabine and myself decided it was time to explore Adelaide's night life and ended up in pretty much the only club that was open called Sugar. After convincing the DJ to change the music and meeting some very funny comedians from Scotland and the Ozzy Ozborne look-alike we had a great drunken evening ending with a water battle in a park with some lawn sprinkler and me being completely soaked....
Worst hangover the next morning though which resultet in my first lie-in. Still no change with regards to the headache. Damn alcopops!!!
I met Mathias and Sabine on the beach around lunch time still feeling very sorry for myself. We were joined by the other girls later on and decided to have some proper sophisticated dinner, meaning to sit down on a table and to eat with knife and fork :-)
We all had a great seafood platter and back on the white wine...;-) Had an early night though and unfortunately had to say good bye to most of them as they were all moving on apart from Sabine. I had one more day in Adelaide and had a proper culture day which started with the National Aboriginal Cultural Center (Tandanya), where I got some great souvenirs and a proper painting from the workshop. Aboriginals where painting in the workshop and you could watch them and see how they produced the paper and so on. It wasn't quite what I suspected, as I was hoping to learn a bit more about their culture and traditions etc. but again was disappointed. However, the center and the art exhibition was great and I really enjoyed it and was most happy about my great purchases. After that I did a sightseeing tour and saw things like the old and current Parlaments House, the Government House, SA Uni, Adelaide Uni, the Art Gallery and so on... I went into the South Australia Museum where I had a look at the Aboriginal department to eventually get some of the info I was looking for. I finished the day with the Migration Museum and met up for dinner with Sabine who had a complete nightmare day. We had a really nice evening and were just chatting away completely forgetting the time getting much later back to the hostel than planned.
I am getting ready for my last and final trip here in OZ now and although I am really looking forward to it, I am very sad that my time here is almost over. Of course I am really looking forward to New Zealand but it is also very difficult to leave Australia. It's a great place and I had a wonderful time here, that's for sure. And it certainly was the perfect place to start my travelling, exactely how I planned it.
The lack of history is sometime a bit strange and you can get quite fed up with it and I was also shocked how racist the place was and in certain places still is and how little the Aboriginal Culture and everything about it not integrated. I didn't expect it so difficult to find out anything about them. Strange.... how the only real history they have is not really spoken about that much but all that other made up history is in your face whereever you go....

Posted by Julia1976 21:30 Archived in Australia

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