The picture below was taken in 2008 when we were travelling home after a few weeks in the Flinders Ranges. We decided to take the long way home and turned down the Great Ocean Road for a bit of sightseeing.
The Great Ocean Road is 250-ish km of one of the most picturesque drives you can do in Victoria.
It was built by returned soldiers from WWI between 1919 and 1932 and is the worlds largest war memorial.
Much of it follows directly along the western coastline of Victoria, and there are many places to stop and marvel at the amazing views of rock piles standing out in the turbulent Southern ocean.
It is also known as the shipwreck coast, and is where the well-known wreck of the Loch Ard occurred in 1880.
The road is a hugely popular attraction to overseas visitors, and is the only place I have ever been that has the need for signs at each car park exit reminding the driver which side of the road Australians drive on.
Watch your step!
*Nicer, except for the little sign on that post. It is a representation of a person who strayed too close to the edge and is falling to their death….
On Friday we finally bit the bullet and decided it was time to return to reality. We had spent the last few days of our holiday within 3 hours of home, doing our best to pretend we would never have to go back, but, as always the day came when we couldn’t kid ourselves any longer.
Usually on a morning we are moving on the kids are ready early, with all of their stuff packed up before the Man and I have even crawled out of bed. Friday morning was a different story. None of us wanted to get going, and the kids climbed into bed with me and moaned while the Man made a start on packing up.
We were grumpy too….
Eventually we were ready to leave although it was in record slow time, all with sad faces. This evil eye I snapped, glaring out from a hole in a tree on the side of the road, perfectly fitted our mood too.
We stopped at the Bridgewater Bakery for some morning tea. The town of Bridgewater is only small, and a pub and bakery are pretty much all of it. On Thursday we had a counter lunch* at the pub, and dessert at the bakery next door.
Both of them do exceptional food so the chance to get morning tea as we were driving through the next day was too good to resist. The kids wanted to stop for lunch but we knew if we stopped we would never get going again!
With the dubious help of the GPS we were lucky to make it home at all. At the time I voted for listening to her directions, if we had we would still be out there, driving around aimlessly instead of being home.
No, we didn’t need her, we have been to Wedderburn a number of times before, but we are always interested to get the opinion of a person reading the maps from another reality and so we turn her on, purely for entertainment purposes. (I have posted about her crazy directions before).
Can you see the imaginary road through the windscreen?
As you can see in this photo she has no idea where we are, although we were driving on the Calder. The only road she could find was that small purple line in the corner of her screen, not the major highway we were actually on. We will have to update her soon but I would like to know what reality she is from so we can send her back to her own spacetime.
When we do get a new one I hope to fulfil a not-so-secret desire of mine download the Darth Vader voice for it.
After seeing this clip below I am not sure having that voice directing us will get us where we should go without a few unexpected turns though. If I was driving I can guarantee I would make a wrong turn far more than was necessary just to be reprimanded by Lord Vader!
One of the things you pass when you drive on the freeway into Melbourne as we did, is the Melbourne International Gateway. This is one of the first things international visitors will see. I didn’t know it was called the Gateway until just now when I searched ‘cheesestick’ because, well, that’s what everyone calls it. I think you can see why. I want to hate these sticks but I can’t. The sheer silliness of having a giant yellow beam leaning over a road lined by red sticks just makes me wonder how much money the designer was paid.
It makes me sad that international visitors see this first instead of the wonderful historic terrace houses and cottages that are in the area.
It just needs some giant crackers…
I will probably be doing holiday posts for a few more days even though we are home. I am in denial…..
*A counter lunch (or counter tea) is an Australian tradition. It is a meal in the lounge at the pub. (The menu for the bar and the lounge are different.) Traditionally a counter meal was sausages and mash, steak or a parma** served with either vegies, or chips and salad, but these days pubs don’t just serve snags, steak or parma, they serve gastronomic delights. I had a field mushroom stack, with grilled capsicum, feta, fresh spinach and balsamic vinegar jus on Turkish bread. Yum! Of course there is nothing wrong with a good parma, that would have been my second choice if the mushies didn’t sound so good.
This is one of the songs that we will be listening to in the car today, Rain, by Dragon from back in 1983. You Aussies (and New Zealanders, since Dragon are adopted Aussies) are probably going to be saying “Awwww, Dragon? I loved them!”
This song is very appropriate as we have now gone from the lovely sunny days of outback New South Wales to the cold and rainy days of Victoria. Damn. We can tell that we are on our winding way home now and we are not happy about it.
After my whining the other day about no power for my laptop I still managed to get out two posts didn’t I? Wanna see how I made the battery in my laptop last long enough to download my camera, check the news and do the posts?
I can thank the Man for almost instantly getting sick of my moaning and shhhh-ing everyone ( “don’t talk to me, I’m trying to write and the battery is going to die any minute!”) and, in true bushman style, rigging up a quick fix.*
Well, not really bushman style, maybe in true ‘I love things that go zap style’…..
He got out the solar panels and connected them to a power pack. Then he dug out an inverter plugged it in to the power pack. Voila! Instant power! I plugged my laptop in and tapped away happily until the sun went down. Of course, the cost of the panels, power pack and inverter probably exceeds the value of my laptop!
This kind of camping can hardly be called camping, can it? Gone are the days when we used to go off with whatever we could carry on a motorbike, and I can tell you that after a tent and sleeping bags that isn’t very much!!
Sitting out in the sun and still on the ‘puter, see why I never want to go home? 😀
When we were driving on the road to the Daydream mine the other day the Man pulled over for yet another photo opportunity only for me to almost grab the steering wheel and steer us back into the road.
missed by a nose!
We had pulled over right where a Stumpy Tail lizard was sunning itself, and nearly ran over its head.
They love heat of the roads and are often seen warming up on the sides. Unfortunately they are often seen squashed as well as they are not expecting a car to come zooming along.
This one was lucky that he stayed still as the tyre tracks from our car ran right in front of his nose! I got out to apologize, and take a picture and, unsurprisingly, I got a bad reception.
He put on a good show, standing up tall, well, as tall as a Stumpy Tail can be, hissing and showing his blue tongue and the kids were delighted. They are lovely lizards, this one was just a little more annoyed than the ones we usually see around, for good reason I guess!
(If anyone out there can supply a link to an actual photo of the teeth of one of these guys I would be most grateful. I think that there is a chance they have no teeth/ invisible teeth as my internet trawls have failed to find any views of them whatsoever!)
We have finally left Broken Hill and headed off down south again. We are staying in Wentworth, although the caravan park was so packed that not only did we get the very last site, we have no power or water. Oh well, our caravan is self-sufficient (we even have a toilet and shower inside and a shower outside) and has solar panels and a battery. The only problem is that my laptop won’t last too long plugged into the 12 volt!
Back through the cartoon fly line again!
I am searching for an unattended power point to recharge, but until then I will have to share this quick apology, I will reply to all of your comments soon! Sorry!
The only benefit is that we are staying right on the Darling river and the weather is perfect. The downside is the reason the park was full. The town in in full swing for the country music festival. Bands are touring around all the local towns playing, and there are happy music lovers everywhere. The Man doesn’t mind a bit of country, the kids and I hate it.
We got hot chips for lunch yesterday and wandered down to the river to eat only to find a band in full voice. Both number 1 and 2 stopped at the edge of the grass in horror, and one of them was heard to mutter, hands firmly clapped over his ears, “what is that racket?”.
Even though the Man was in possession of the chips and had found a nice shady spot to sit, the kids and I just walked away, off down the river trying to get out of earshot…..
Thank goodness the riverside stage is just on the edge of earshot, although the ocassional boat goes past, blaring a bit of country. Annoyingly the limit for boats in this stretch of river is 4km hr. Or knots, I’m not sure. No matter what it is, it is too bloody slow when the music is loud I tell you! 🙂
I thought I would share this sign the Man noticed on the door of the local pub.
HUSBAND DAY CARE CENTRE
Need time to relax?
Need time to yourself?
Want to go shopping?
Leave your husband with us!
We’ll look after him for you!
You just pay for his drinks!
We got a good laugh out of this but there might not be too much money left for shopping afterwards!
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