Friday, August 14, 2009

Come A-Waltzing Matilda with Cubbies to Melbourne! - PART 2

Grrrowl!!!

So we continue with the anecdotal account of our journey in Melbourne, Australia.

DAY 2 - Billy's Bush Tea (??!) And Why You Haven't Seen Victoria If You Haven't Been On The Great Ocean Road (GOC)!

Our journey outside of Melbourne City Centre began on Day 2. The day was spent entirely on the road. Tour starts from 7:30am right up till 10:00pm. We obviously couldn't wait to see the best first, so we journeyed to one of Australia's great spectacle - The Twelve Apostles.

To get to the great 12, you will take the coastal highway, also known as The Great Ocean Road. And if you are the squeamish, motion sick kind of person (like Cubbies), better hang on to those pills to adjust your sense of balance and equilibrium - the roads are extremely winding and quite bumpy too!

TTT initially planned to take a self-drive tour along the GOC but thankfully we thought otherwise because it is a loooooooooong journey that will not only take a toll on your body but forces you to concentrate more on the road and less on the sights itself.

Albeit the "long winding Cubby-unfriendly roads" and obvious "touristy" spot, you really haven't seen Melbourne if you haven't been on the Great Ocean Road.

I'm not even going to say much about the GOC because the pictures are pretty self explanatory.

First stop on our trip was the Bells Beach (BB), famous for its surfing activities. There were several tour buses that took their morning tea-break stop at the BB. WE were one of them, obviously. For me, it was a the long awaited pee-break! The weather, though absolutely gorgeous, was super duper chilly!

Surfer dudes and dudettes... I once knew a cool surfer chick business associate who travels from Sydney and surfs every single day at Bondi Beach. I must say, they are really something... She was due for a meeting one morning, donned a "power suit" and umm... flip-flops (you know, beach slippers) and this really huge black Billabong carry-all duffel that looked like she was going to have some surfboards up on display! I personally found it very amusing, but apparently, not the rest ;)

Cubbies is not a very good swimmer (well, she's only 2 you know..) and surfing in big open seas is like asking her to jump down from a high cliff! She is terrified about the pounding waves and all that Blue Planet DVDs she's been watching every night (with all the whales and the sharks swimming underneath) doesn't help either. Meebops however (the one with the gusto..), will want to give surfing a shot some day!

This is the overview of BB (on video!!!) on a semi cloudy day. It was freakin' cold and there were quite a few surfers who were crazy enough to surf that morning. The winds were blowing strongly but strangely though, the water was tamer than i expected.



That's our guide, Darryl, doing his spins on Billy the Tea and telling us amusing stories about Vegemite, Lamingtons, Matilda (which by the way, is not the name of a girl..), Victoria Bitter and his hilarious and outrageous stories of his wife and kids. Great guy by the way, so if you do get him as a guide on Grayline, you're really quite lucky because the rest of the guides that we've had were all BLEAH-boooring. The only thing with Darryl is you'd probably find it really tough to fall asleep.

Moving along... this was also where we had a taste of Melbourne's very own "tar-like" Kraft Vegemite (our VIRGIN experience) and Lamingtons and believe it or not, Billy's Bush Tea. Ok i made that last one up, it's actually Bush Billy Tea - the iconic black tea in Australia often brewed with an added touch of Eucalyptus leaves. Billy is actually the can that the outbackers / campers used to brew the tea in. Its really quite pleasant, with hints of soft menthol notes as you sip it. Goes better without sugar or milk!

Darryl doing his Sir Mix-A-Lot... Geddit? Bah!

Yada yada yada... sings "The wheels on the bus goes round and round..."

Oh wait... Here are MORE photos of the GOC, including Cape Patton. Cape Patton was a "photo stop" just before we head to lunch at Apollo Bay. Its really stunning for photos, with waves crashing into gigantic rocks and limestone.


Next up, lunch!

Lunch was at picturesque town of Apollo Bay. It is a stunning coastal town lined with cute little houses, tinted with backdrops of lush green fields and relaxing blue hues from the ocean ahead (Imagine!).

The breakfast Cubbies made (which was burnt bagels with eggs and cheese) finished by the time we got to Lorne, so we had to get lunch because Cubbies had an appetite after the vomiting episode. There are no halal food outlets here so we settled for seafood in cafes.

We got the Classic Fish & Chips... probably costs us about AU$12.99 or so.

And we also got the Fresh Handmade Vegetarian Pasta and Rice. Costs us about AU$6 for a small serving..

After lunch, the bus went pass the Otway National Park and we were sheltered by the scorching mid afternoon sun. The Australian rain-forest seemed like they were made up of nothing but fern gullies and Eucalyptus - actually those are the only two kinds of plantations there.

Along the way, we also spotted a wild Koala (not Koala Bears!) which is the famed and uniquely Australian marsupial. Poaching or killing of Koalas in the wild is a serious offense in Australia so watch out for those slow-coach crossing the road if you're driving. WARNING! Even though the Koalas are cute, cuddly and looked like they are begging for a big hug from you (like how sometimes Cubbies bat her lashes for a hug), they do not like to be stroked or touched!!! You will suffer and bleed when they paw you (not the good way) with their long and sharp claws - so do not try to touch them! They really like it that way :)

We didn't get close enough to focus on the wild koala but i'm sure its cute as the rest of them! Here's another photo of a SUPER cute baby Koala. It must be tough being a Koala though, having to live with white aging hair all their lives... *sigh* Hehehe! :P Fret not, we will post many more pictures of these charismatic marsupials in our postings!

Picture of Cutest Joey Koala borrowed from Erik K Veland

Just before the actual 12, we were stopped for picture taking at the Gibson Steps. These steps are small steps but goes all the way down to the sea front and my God, that was really a test of our strength, stamina and physical resilience (or the lack thereof...). It was here that i realise how pathetic my stamina is now. Bleargh!!! The scenery though, was absolutely jaw-dropping gorgeous-ness :)

Views from the Gibson Steps...



If you are as enthusiastic and persuasive as Meebops, yoan take the stairs all the way down... and you'll see that this is the closest you can get to the limestone Apostles. It was really tough walking along the shores tough, because the sand is really thick and makes it really difficult to walk on.

Next on the road is The Twelve Apostles - main highlight of the day. Honestly, after the entire episode of vomiting and waiting and waiting in anticipation for the great 12, the feeling was quite subdued by the time we get there. It was magical nonetheless, and to see the Great 12 in real time is nothing you have ver experienced before... but... you know the feeling.

Anyway, there are 2 options to take when you're here - either you walk through the tunnel to the viewing platforms at the Port Campbell National Park to view for yourself, the stunning and impressive nature-carved limestone cliffs standing so majestically and patiently, unfluttered by the violent waves crashing against it.

OR for an extra AU$75, you can also get yourself a comfy ride on nifty little copters for a chance of a lifetime!

that's right - an aerial view of the 12 Apostles! Breathtaking indeed but the price was a little too steep for Cubbies. I was quite reluctant (as i always will when it comes to forking out more money!) but Meebops (the more touristy of the 2) was so excited of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And so we did! It was our virgin copter ride, ummm... really nice... but kinda scary at the start :)

Here are the photos...

Nifty little machines they are...

Behold the views!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stunning ain't it??? :)

Along the same coastline is also the mysterious Loch Ard Gorge (LAG), which after visiting The Twelve Apostles, you will come to realise just how really charismatic these carved limestone looked like up-close. LAG is the real deal... Up close and personal - so close you can talk to it!

The Blowhole cave...

This is the Island Archway, before the arch collapsed in June 2009. TTT would like to consider themselves lucky enough to have witness the Archway in its full glory in May 2009 :)

This one's here called the Shipwreck Coast, and you can actually (again) take the stairs down for a greater appreciation of its sheer size and magnitude.


Some new friends i waved and smiled at....

Oh hellooo..! LAG was also where i met an acquaintance, Little Pet Kangoo. Someone obviously abandoned it. Though quite pleased that i met a friend, i am also sad that its there alone, waiting for someone to adopt it. I can't adopt it obviously... i have Meebops.

Our last stop for the day was at Port Campbell. We didn't get anything to eat while we're there cos we do want to have something back in the city. But it is a nice little port town overlooking a quaint pier.
Our drive back was a snooze ride all the way! What a day! :)

Oh! Not without what i snacked on all the way back to the city!!! Homemade fries in dog poo bag... :)


USELESS INFO ANYWAY: I don't know how many times i actually peed on that day. The reason being the fact that it was already late Autumn/early Winter and apart from the sweatshirt i was wearing (over the thousand strands of bear-fur on my body), i had only my socks and my cute little Crocs sandals on (that Meebops got me as a gift!) . Now Crocs has holes in it so i guess with the air-conditioning on the bus and the cold weather outside and the lack of necessary protection for my furs, i got cold! And if there was ever an award for "The Most Number of Times Someone Uses the Tiny Toilet in the Bus" - I would've won a lifetime achievement award for it!

Till our next post: Day 3 - Sleep In Day And My God, Aren't Those Tiny Penguins Bloody Exhibitionists?!!

Cheers, mate!

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Erik said...
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