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Friday, July 22nd 2005

12:01:47 AM

The Great Ocean Road!!

Tue 19/07/05

Feeling better again! Ready to start the 3-day "Great Ocean Road" tour. The Great Ocean Road is the road that goes from Adelaide to Melbourne, along the ocean (no really?). After breakfast together with Marie, who stayed in my room and turned out to be doing the same tour, we got picked up at 7am. Getting to meet the others, in total we were a group of 10 people, the perfect number! Marie (Ireland), Cristoph, Anna (Germany), Cecilia (Switzerland), Kim (Nebraska), Emily, Emma, Duncan & Tom (UK).Sorry for always writing down all the names, just have to remember so many names here...

Anyway, we drove past the Adelaide Hills, on to the Arapiles for lunch and arrived at the McKenzie falls around 2pm. After that to the balconies (a mountain formation) to watch the sunset, amazing! The scenery here is so beautiful, while sitting in the bus I couldn't stop staring out of the windwp and was afraid to fall in sleep because I didn't want to miss anything. The landscape kept on changing from mountains to endless plains to ocean, lakes,... amazing!

We then arrived at our hostel (Yes! No camping on this tour!!!), it was really cosy and we had one big dorm for all of us. After dinner we sat down together in the living room and watched... the Simpsons, that was quite funny.

Wed 20/7/05

Wake up at 6am for a looong drive to Port Campbell. With many stops in between of course, the first one was at Halls Gap, where we had a 2 hour hike, it was great! It was quite an adventurous route with many rocks to climb on the way, pretty exciting...

Next stop was the Brambuk Cultural Centre where we learned some more about the aboriginal dreamtime stories.

From there onto the beach for some whale watching! We actually saw a mother & baby pretty close to shore, even Danielle said she had never seen a whales come that close. Unfortunately you could only see parts of it, on the pictures it just came out as a black spot in the ocean. It was beautiful though, amazing how large these animals are!

After that we hit the road again, off to the scenic part of the Great Ocean Road. We drove straight to the famous "Twelve Apostles" a rock formation with 12 rocks (meanwhile 4 have collapsed though so it's actually the 8 apostles, doesn't sound that interesting though...) just in time for sunset once again! Those rocks are so much more beautiful in real life then on the postcards, the whole atmosphere is so peaceful, I loved it!

When we arrived in the hostel Danielle (our tourguide) told us that there were 4 other people staying at the hostel in Port Campbell (middle of nowhere). I met Steffi and Susanne (2 german girls) first while I was smoking outside, and it turned out that we knew each other from the Darwin-Alice Ghan, they were on the seats next to me! That was weird... Anyway, as we were talking I was by chance watching inside and I saw this guy reading his book. Then at once I realised that he seemed familiar, I looked again and then I remembered.. it was Simon!! Simon I met at the Kakadu tour... Turned out he was doing the Great Ocean Road with his brother Nigel (the 4th person!). It's a small world!!

Thu 21/7/05

Last day of the tour but lots of fun things ahead. Starting of at the twelve apostles at daylight. We had the option of doing a helicopter flight above them for just 50 bucks!! As I was already obsessed with the rocks and this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I decided to do it, it was great!!  

After that we watched the other rock formations: London Bridge, The Arch, Lord Arche. I particularly liked the story about the last one, named after a ship from Ireland that sank there in the late 1880s. Of 54 passengers only two survived, an 18 year old guy, who heard the cries of 18 year old Eva Carmichael and swam out to save her,.. so romantic!

We then drove on to Apollo Bay where we had lunch and after that to Bells Beach to watch some surfers!   And on to Torqay to visit the factory outlet for surfers clothes.

At last we arrived in Melbourne around 7pm, totally exhausted. We then had to find our hostel, Christoph, Anna & me were at the same hostel so the 3 of us were walking around Melbourne with our backpacks, that was the first time I felt like a real "backpacker" here!

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