The Great Ocean Road
30 Oct 2005
|HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! We headed out early in the morning to go horse riding in the bush for a couple of hours. I was really looking forward to it as I had thoroughly enjoyed the horse riding we did in the Pantanal, Brazil but I started to get a little worried when Pete and Susie got their horses and it took them a while to figure out which one to give me - it was my turn to get the old crappy one! The horse you get really can make or ruin such an experience.
My horse, Colonel, kept stumbling and could just about keep up with the trotting but Pete and Susie got to canter and I think Colonel would have actually keeled over if I had pushed too hard to keep up at that point :o(
At one point the horse actually tripped over and I fell over - I wasn't particularly hurt, just a little bruised and I wasn't very surprised, as he had been stumbling so much. Fortunately he was near a grassy bank at the time so I fell towards that and didn't fall the full distance to the floor.
The weather was superb - definitely the best weather I've ever had on my birthday and the views, riding through the bush, were good but on the whole it was not a good start to the day - the horse definitely spoiled the experience and it was very frustrating always being stuck at the back, watching Pete and Susie canter off in front - they had a great time though!
For lunch we went to a beach and I opened my pressies from Pete and Susie and I even had a few cards and pressies from home - thank-you! Pete managed to buy me some underwear that I had pointed out to Susie just the day before, but Susie hadn't told him and nor had I so it was a very good guess on his part! I also got a couple of books, an Aboriginal picture of kangaroos, a cartoon picture of a platypus, Turkish delight (yum yum - my favourite!), some socks from Mum & Dad and a necklace from Harvey & Jules (which is very pretty and funnily enough made from a shell found in New Zealand, they bought it in the UK and sent it out to me in Oz - it will have been around the world twice by the time it gets back with me again!). Great presents, thank-you everyone!
The beach was quite windy and sand was getting everywhere so we drove on down the coast to find a more sheltered beach.
There's a good reason this is called the GREAT Ocean road - the coastline here is very beautiful and there is one white sand beach after another and some pretty impressive rock formations - a beautiful drive.
We briefly stopped in Lorne to get some maps from the tourist office and a new book, from a book exchange, to read in the car - Life of Pi.
We found another more sheltered beach where we had birthday cake (with candles) and champagne. Pete and I went for a walk along the shore while Susie read a book - her favourite pastime!
We drove on to Apollo Bay where, unfortunately, after much searching around we couldn't find anywhere to stay - we had planned to find somewhere to stay and go out for dinner but we wasted quite some time driving around, with no joy and I was a getting a bit disappointed that the day hadn't quite gone as we'd hoped.
We stopped so that I could ring Mum & Dad and I managed to speak to Heather & Chris too - it was really nice to speak to everyone for so long and made me quite homesick. They pointed out that my birthday had only just started on UK time, which was after all my official birthday, being born on UK time and all! We decided to forget my birthday celebrations for today and try again tomorrow and headed out of town to find a free campsite in a reserve, where we cooked sweet & sour chicken with noodles and played poker!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME - TAKE 2!! First stop today was a beautiful beach at Gideons Steps and from there we went to the Twelve Apostles - rock pillars in the sea, as a result of the limestone cliffs eroding. From there we went to the Island Archway and Loch Ard Gorge, named after the wreck of the Loch Ard which was wrecked on the reefs of Mutton Bird Island - apparently in the late 1800s - early 1900s, the Victorians found this to be a notorious stretch of coastline, with over 80 ships experiencing problems in a 120km stretch, over 40 years.
Before lunch we also managed to squeeze in seeing Mutton Bird Island, The Blowhole and Thunder Cave - the names all sound like they're from an Enid Blyton novel - The Secret Seven or something!! Anyway, they were all very different and impressive and the sea was many beautiful different shades too.
After lunch we saw London Bridge, which was once a rock platform with double arch, linked to the mainland, but one of the arches collapsed in 1990 leaving some tourists stranded until they were rescued by helicopter!
Drove on through Port Campbell to Warrnambool where, after yesterday's fiasco trying to find somewhere to stay, Pete had booked us a room at a hostel - what luxury! We found a campsite for Susie and went for a walk on the beach before Susie dropped us at the hostel to get changed for dinner.
In town we had a look around the various restaurants and opted for Beach Babylon, where we shared bread with olive oil & balsamic vinegar and I followed this with risotto with pumpkin, spinach and tiger prawns, which was excellent. Pete had seafood pasta - the scallops were very nice - first time I've tried them! As it was my birthday I had pudding as well - orange pannacotta - yum yum!! All in all my official UK birthday went much better than my birthday on Australian time and even better, I still get to celebrate my birthday again with family when I get back to the UK!!