Week Three: Great Ocean Road and Melbourne

G’day friends, family and followers,

We have returned to Melbourne after a three day trip along the Great Ocean Road. We started our trek along the Great Ocean Road on Sunday, traveling along the Bellarine Peninsula and “Surfcoast,” and stopped at a couple lookouts and coastal towns. We started off at Bell’s Beach, the famous surfing beach, before traveling on to Point Addis with it’s beautiful view of coastal cliffs and ocean. After stopping at the coastal tourist towns of Lourne and Apollo Bay, we arrived at Bimbi Park. While walking down the road to the camping grounds, we spotted multiple koalas. Some group members actually found a mother with her joey inside the actual camp grounds.

The second day started with a walk along a coastal environment with Richard, a local guide of aboriginal heritage. We learned more about aboriginal culture and the environment we are visiting. We went on to visit the Cape Otway Lightstation and Lighthouse, where we experienced a 360 degree view of the area from the top of the lighthouse. We also participated in the Otway Fly Treetop Walk, where we hiked up from the forest floor to the canopy. The group favorite was the tower rising to the treetops, 46 meters above the ground and the cantilever extending from the bridge into thin air. We ended the day with a walk through an old growth dry schlerphyll forest at dusk. We explored the centuries old trees and looked for glow worms once darkness fell. We were lucky and found a large colony of glow worms visible from a short bridge, and were able to watch them in awe for a while.

The third and final day of our voyage along the Great Ocean Road had us visiting the 12 Apostles. Interestingly, there have never been 12 Apostles standing together and were only about nine still standing when we visited. It was an amazing place. Here we took our second group photo with our Great Ocean Road tour guide, Mike Evans. From there we traveled along the coast to Loch Ard Gorge, the location of a number of shipwrecks.

Now we are back in Melbourne, staying in nice apartments near Federation Square and Flinder’s Street Station. Our time has mainly been filled with lectures at different colleges in the city area. Today we had the chance to visit the Western Water Treatment Plant which employs a more natural water treatment process using lagoons and ponds for multiple stages. Some areas once used for water treatment are now conservation areas for coastal birds, pastures for cattle and sheep, and agricultural land growing feed for livestock. After tomorrow’s classes we will head to an Australian Rules Football match, also known as Footy. It should be an exciting triple exhibition between St. Kilda’s, Sydney, and Geelong.

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7 responses to “Week Three: Great Ocean Road and Melbourne

  1. Thanks so much for the awesome descriptions on what you all have been experiencing. It’s “almost” like being there! Keep the updates coming as you continue on this journey of a lifetime!
    Have a BLAST!

  2. Great post! It’s wonderful to hear what you are doing (although I had to look up the twelve apostles…woops! :)) Hope everyone is having fun!
    Miss you πŸ™‚

  3. Ha, like Kaija above, we had to look up “sclerophyll” forests…always more to learn! What a full compliment of activities. We have been told that koala are not as soft and cuddly as one might believe, what did you discover? Yeah to the Aussies for their state of the art water treatment plants and preservation of wetland areas for wildlife. The football match sounds fun!

  4. And “Australian Rules Football” is?? (football or soccer or something else, and was it exciting to watch?) The tour so far has been enlightening and exciting to read. Thank you for such good, descriptive writing! Do you think the Melbourne aera is very progressive compared with U.S. cities in terms of environmental efforts? Amd how are you finding the aussies? Are they easy to meet and open and friendly? A little reserved? (Or a lot?) Is Australia a little behind the U.S. or really “with it”? And, are women’s rights still on the ‘back burner” or maybe you have not been there long enough to notice? ok. It is hard to generalize. But are you noticing overall cultural differences in these areas in Melbourne?

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_rules_football This Wikipedia link gives a pretty good overview of Australian Footy! πŸ™‚ It was a lot of fun to watch- we all chose different teams to support!

      Melbourne and other major cities are progressive in some ways with environmental efforts. One of the things that they do really well is having public recycling bins next to the public “rubbish” bins.

      The majority of our interaction with Aussies has been with professors and rangers, however they have been very welcoming and friendly!

      Australia is mostly behind when it comes to internet accessibility (as we’ve all complained about a fair bit :D), but the public transit is much better than the US.

      We have not had much of a chance to explore women’s rights/gender issues yet, but we’ll be sure to let you know if we find anything out. In terms of general cultural differences, Australians appear to be fairly relaxed and easy going. Business hours are shorter than what we’re used to in the US, and we have been told that time off of work is highly valued. Another aspect that has been a little challenging to get used to is the price differences here. EVERYTHING is more expensive, and the low dollar value is exaggerating that difference.

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