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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Last Stop: Great Ocean Road

It was an early morning today. My alarm went off at 6:30 to get ready for breakfast at the hostel at 7:00.  I made sure I dragged Broy (my hat/ alter ego) out of bed for one last Australian adventure.  We carbed up with our assorted cereals and toast and headed off on our tour of the Great Ocean Road. As soon as we got on the bus the battle over the wifi began as only 8 people could connect at a time. After listening to our overly enthusiastic tour guide, Bec/Rebecca/Mate/but NEVER Becky, share a brief history of Melbourne and her personal position on Vegemite I nodded off to sleep.

When I woke up we were in Tourquay, a surfing hotspot and the start of the Great Ocean Road, which is 241 kilometers long. While in Tourquay we walked out to the beach for a view and watched some of the local surfers shred the gnar. When we went back to the bus Bec had tea and coffee prepared for us before we continued on the tour. The next stop was the Eastern View where we saw the Great Ocean Road archway and more views of the Pacific.  We continued down the road making several more stops to take pictures of the water and magnificent cliff side views but pictures really don't do it justice. Scattered showers throughout the morning resulted in multiple rainbows casted over the cliffs making the views even more incredible.  In between stops Bec gave us information on the local areas we were driving through and we were even privileged enough to listen to her plethora of indigenous Australian animal impressions.  What a treat that was!

 We stopped for lunch at Kafe Koala for chicken schnitzel burgers and walked up the hill to look at the wild koalas. We were able to find two koalas but photos were challenging because they were so high up in the trees.  We also had a chance to feed some birds out of our hands which was all fun until one of the birds used Laura's shoulder as a toilet.  We made another rest stop shortly after and I got cookies & cream ice-cream from the award winning Dooley’s Ice Cream Tub which definitely lived up to the hype.  Next, Bec took us through the rain forest and told us about the various plants and trees as well as some of the animals that can be found there during the warmer seasons including the echidna, platypus, and a carnivorous snail.  

We had a short nap session on the way to the 12 Apostles National Park, which was roughly an hour away. I severely underestimated the amount of time that we would spend driving and it showed in the plummeting battery life on my phone. Luckily the land we drove through was filled with a variety of landscapes that had my attention. The 12 Apostles was my favorite stop of the tour. Here we saw the massive limestone cliffs and rock formations of the coastline unlike anything I have ever seen.  These cliffs were formed by years and years of erosion from the wind and waves crashing against the rock. Unfortunately the weather was cold, cloudy, and the wind was beyond aggressive. However the occasional break in the clouds that allowed the sun to shine through unveiled the potential beauty of the Australian coastline.  A short drive away was the Loch Ard Gorge where we could walk down to the beach and get up close to the water and look at the surrounding caves. Before heading back for dinner we stopped to look at a mob of kangaroos on the hillside just before the sunset. 
           
Lisa treated us to dinner and dessert at La Porchetta where I enjoyed lasagna and my new favorite dessert, sticky date cake aka that sticky sticky.  After dinner everyone was in a food coma until we arrived back at the hostel.  Once we were back a few people went out for one last night on the town while others got a head start on packing.
            
Overall it was a great way to end an amazing trip.  It was a long and busy day but we got to see yet another incredible part of this country and also spend time together as a group one last time.  I made a lot of new friends on this trip and couldn’t have asked for a better group to share this experience with. I am sure we will stay in touch after returning home and hopefully we will see each other again in the near future.  I will never forget all of the laughs and adventures that were had on this trip.  It went by fast but at the same time it feels like we landed in Brisbane ages ago.  Now it is time to finish packing and get some sleep before we check out at 6:00 tomorrow morning.





Me, Broy, and the bus

Tea and coffee with Bec (far left)

Great Ocean Road Archway 



Broy and beach pics

Broy takes on the rain forest 


12 Apostles National Park

Loch Ard Gorge




Sticky sticky and ice cream

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