Day 14 – 14th April

Today we went into the city on the number 112 tram, it’s a short drive to the tram stop, we found a park on the side of the road that allowed all day parking. Tram ticket cost $6.80 per adult, or $3.40 concession which gives you all day tram travel. It does take a long time to do the 9km stopping at every stop which is a lot. Once in the city there is a City Circle Tram that is free as well as a Tourist Shuttle, both doing slightly different routes.

We walked around the city area and hit all the camera shops we found, (of course), went up Bourke Street mall, not a scratch on Brisbane’s Queen St mall. Went on the City Circle Tram and walked around the Southbank area. Melbourne makes Brisbane look like a country town, and me being a country girl felt like I was walking around with my mouth open gawking at everything. Some amazing old building’s it’s just a pity they didn’t tidy them up a bit, with flaking paint, and generally dirty looking. We did find Melbourne rather grotty from what we are used to especially the toilets.

We had an afternoon cuppa at a Mc Cafe, there where all these tiny little birds flying and sitting around everywhere even going in behind the counter, we thought they were rather cute until we had trouble finding a seat and table that didn’t have bird droppings on it, so maybe not so cute and more of a problem.

We had planned to go back in tonight but we were worn out from the big smoke, so early night tonight as we have a big day planned tomorrow at the Melbourne Zoo.

Day 15 – 15th April

Well we came home exhausted with achy feet but hopefully with a handful of good photos. We went to the Melbourne Zoo today, as far as zoo’s go it’s a pretty good Zoo, and the cost is reasonable, $24.40 for adults, we had a 10% discount card so cost us $22 for a full day out, parking cost us $4. There is a good variety of animals including the new baby Elephant, Mali.

We did line up to see Mali at one stage but it was packed, the queue was very long, we decided this was taking time off seeing other animals so got out of the line. They did have another afternoon showing that finished at 3pm, we wanted to see the adult Elephants so went to the Elephants exhibit, there were very few people around and Mali was still out, so we got to see her in the end, very cute and of course she took all our attention. She had a big ball she obviously loved as she kept playing with it while staying pretty close to mum.

Mali

Of course it is always a challenge to take pictures of animals through wires, especially the big cats which are my favourite. There were 4 male lions and at one stage they all started roaring, wow big roars wouldn’t want to come across that on a dark night.

Lion

The White Checked Gibbon were very cute, the white one kept coming right up to the glass, I bet he was thinking look at those animals in the cage, they look funny. Everyone, especially the kids thought they were very cute and thought it was lovely when it was licking its fingers until they saw where the fingers had been and what they were licking off, yucky.

Gibbon

We didn’t get to all the animals, we did redo a couple, we just ran out of time there is so much to see. We raced out and had lunch at the car, and only had very quick breaks just to rest our weary feet.

Baboon Bear Lima

There is still a few things we want to do in Melbourne and we don’t want to kill ourselves doing them so have booked in for another night.

Day 16 -16th April

Today we went to the Victoria Markets, which is an experience not to be missed. There are lots of fruit and veggies stalls, a big meat area with all kinds of meats and fish, a deli area, stalls of every description selling a big variety of wares. Of course you get s lot of stalls selling similar items all fighting for your hand earned cash. A tag may say one price but before you know if they have dropped a reasonable amount off. As soon as you stop or even glance at an item the shopkeeper is in your face telling you what the sign obviously says or you pick up an item and before you know it they are helping you by showing you every item in the store, rather pesky, instead of just letting your browse. This did improve once it became busier we did buy a couple of things.

After we had lunch we went down to the Crown Casino, wow what a huge place, we were walking around looking at everything trying to work out how the games were played. Heaps and heaps of pokies, that kept on going and going and going all the way in. People where just sitting there like zombies pushing the buttons. Every now and then we would hear the sound of coins being dropped from the winnings, but most where losers. There were black jack tables, roulette tables as well as electronic versions and other games being played which I can’t remember the names of. Each of these tables has different amounts of bidding minimum limits. We watched as one group just about put chips on every square on one roulette table of course they did win but I don’t know how much they lost from the squares that didn’t win. There were a lot of people there that looked they could not afford to be. We did feed the pokies for a bit of fun on the 2 cents ones, at least we got to use their loos which were the cleanest in town.

We then came home on the tram and bus, before doing the washing, making bread and doing the groceries.

Day 17 -17th April

This morning we are catching up on bits, cleaning up as we leave Melbourne tomorrow morning, visiting some friends along the way.

This afternoon we are going in to see the Old Melbourne Goal, apparently we can be arrested in a modern day police station by a Charge Sergeant, get locked up in the cells and experience an environment unchanged since the police and inmates left, Chris can do that one, I always thought he was a shady character or go maybe he can go on trial in an historic magistrate’s court. The watch house was built in 1908 and operated as the central “lock up” for the Melbourne Police until 1994, drunks, murderers and those charged with minor offences were all housed there together to await their day in court.

Old-Melbourne-Goal

The Old Melbourne Goal; this was great and highly recommended. Jail in the 1840’s was certainly a lot harsher than it is now, no comforts of home and no TV. Just a small cell with a small window would have been very harsh conditions. People were put in jail for what would be very minor crimes, if crimes at all in present day, some were just children.

Prisoner

The goal was built in the 1840’s and is one of Victoria’s oldest buildings. 136 people including Ned Kelly were hanged here. We will be able to gaze upon Ned Kelly’s death mask, sounds creepy. Ned Kelly was the son of an Irish convict and when he was captured and imprisoned his mother was serving a sentence in the women’s’ wing, now that’s keeping it in the family.

Old-Melbourne-Goal-2 Ned-Kelly

We were arrested at the Police watch house and lined up with the other criminals, must be Chris’s influence I was once such a good girl. Women were on one side men on the other. We had to spread out hands to show we weren’t hiding any drugs, lift our tongues to the roof of our mouths again to show we weren’t concealing any drugs ( if it was real we would of been stripped search, glad they leave that out of the enactment) then split into smaller groups and put into cells. I must of being charged with being drunk (see what he has driven me too) as I was thrown into a wet cell with a few other drunken women. Wet cells because they can hose it out, they turned off the lights and it was pitch black. When Chris was led away to another cell, I told him I would wait for him, I think he was charged with just being disorderly, that would be right. We were let out and led to a small exercise yard to stretch our legs, we also had our mug shot taken before being set free, warned not to be seen in there again.

Chris-in-Goal KateMug

After the Goal we had tea and wandered down to Flinders’ St Station to take some photos. Being Saturday night the streets were packed, a lot of strange looking people too. We then went up to the Eureka Skydeck; have to say it was rather disappointing. They have made it very difficult to take photos, not only are you shooting through glass and the normal reflections you get by doing so, they have scrolling neon signs on the walls behind you and on the floor, and other lights all creating a lot of reflections on the glass and just about making it impossible to get some decent photos. You can go onto on a Terrace which is outside but surround by chicken wire, we could not get any shots that didn’t have wire in them. Looking down onto the city there isn’t really any points of interest, just general lights that are coming from buildings. I think it’s something everyone has to do but we certainly wouldn’t do it again.

SkydeckView

Worn out we came home on the train, finishing our time in Melbourne.

Day 18 & 19

Day 18 – 18th April

We called in at some friends house at Diamond Creek and had lunch with them before leaving the Melbourne area about 4pm. We stopped for the night at Avalon Rest area, which is on both sides of the hwy and right next to BP service stations. They are fairly big pull off so we were able to get away from the road but it was still a noisy night with cars and trucks going all night, bothered Chris more than me as I had some ear plugs.

Day 19 – 19th April

We stopped at Little Creek, where I picked up some yoghurt culture and a Feta cheese making kit at Cheeselinks, they were very friendly and helpful.

We then headed to my Grandma’s at Lara and had a few cuppas with her as well as lunch. She is 89 but still as sharp as a tac and doing very well. Update; she is now nearly 92 and still going strong.

Grandma

We left Lara and headed towards Torquay and the Great Ocean Road, we stopped at the Torquay info centre, and at Bells Beach where we had a cuppa overlooking the waves.

We have stopped for the night at Hammonds Campground, first few kms are on bitumen then it turns into a gravel road. The Camps Australia Wide 5 book says it’s 8km NW of Aireys Inlet, it is in fact 12.3km, with 9.8kms of dirt road. The dirt road is ok at first but then gets a bit rougher with corrugations and some very steep hills. It is not well signposted with no signs to Hammond Camping until we were here. The camp area is like a big grass paddock, does have toilets. Least it is well off the road and should be very quiet tonight as we are the only ones here.

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Day 20 – 20th April

It was a lot quieter night last night, we did have a whiz bang van join us later in the night they were quiet once they stopped playing the guitar. In the morning we had some Crimson Rosellas come and have a bath at the dirty little water hole that was near our camp, it was nice to watch them.

Rosella's-Bathing

Aireys-Inlet

We arrived back in Aireys Inlet about 10am and went to the Spilt Point Lighthouse area. We first went for a walk along the inlet that led us to some rock pools and rock formations, we could of spent hours just photographing them, one of the rocks we thought looked like a ram half sitting up. The rocks are very interesting. A bunch of school kids were on an excursion learning about erosion.

Ram Rocks Chris-in-rock

We then walked up to the Lighthouse which has stunning views over the ocean. You can do a tour of the lighthouse but we didn’t as we plan to do a different one. It was several hours before we left this area. We think it is going to take us a while to do the Great Ocean Road.

SplitPointLighthouse

We passed under the Memorial Arch; the arch commemorates the building of the Great Ocean Road as a memorial to Victorians who served in the First World War, 1914-1918. It is the third arch built on the site. The original was erected in 1939 and was replaced in 1973 when the road was widened. The second one was burnt down on February 1983 in the Ash Wednesday fires. It is special time for Chris and I to be on the Great Ocean Road as it will be 25 years this Nov that we last passed through this area on our Honey Moon.

Memorial-Arch

We stopped at Lorne and had lunch before a quick walk around the town. We stopped at Sheoak Falls and did the walk, lots of steps, only to find there was only a small trickle of water going over the falls. Apparently it has more water in the winter months.

From there we kept our eyes open for a place to stop for the night as we didn’t want to get too far along the coast today. The problem is they aren’t real keen on letting people just pull over to sleep. They are plenty of signs around the place saying no overnight stopping for any vehicle, including cars, motorhome, caravans or any person. There are pull offs along the way that a small motorhome or whiz bang van could stop if they dare as the general rule seems to be you can’t stay at any car park either, so not very RV friendly. So we decided to stay at or near Apollo Bay in a van park and use it as a base to explore the “The Otway’s”. We picked up some info on van parks from the info centre that also had some prices which were out of date. We rang a mid range park in Apollo Bay for pricing but at $35 a night we said no, even the Shows Grounds was over $20. So we are staying at Marengo which is only 3km out of Apollo Bay at the Marengo Holiday Park which is right on the beach. Cost is $28 a night; there are several tracks from the park leading to the rocky pools of the beach. The sites are good size with sullage and water at each site, power of course. The amenities are old but clean, they have painted all toilet and showers doors to look like beach huts with differently colour stripes look great.

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Day 21 -21st April

Wow, ouch. Yep that is how we are feeling, mostly me as my calves are very sore from all the steps yesterday. They are ok once you are moving and the muscles have warmed up but when you have been sitting in the car and then get out and walk ouchhhhhhhhh.

We were a bit slow off the mark this morning enjoying sitting back having a cuppa. We then headed up into the Otways; the plan was to go to at least 4 waterfalls in the area. Ha we made 2, there is just so much to see on the way. There is a loop you can do from Skenes Creek, which back a few Kms up the Great Ocean Road, you then turn inland the road does a loop and joins back onto the Great Ocean Road further up from here at Lavers Hill, then back home. Well that was the plan.

Stevenson-Falls

First stop was Stevenson Falls, which is a bit further up, which meant we had to double back. But we had read the falls were great. There is also a camping area there, where vans can get into. Wow what a nice area, the drive there was beautiful, through tall trees, ferns and winding road, felt like we were driving in a rainforest. The camping area is one of the best we have seen for a while, from there it is either a 1.1km walk or you can drive to the falls day area, we drove. From the day area it is only a short walk on level ground to the falls. Lots of trees and ferns, it’s such a lovely walk.

Magic-Muchroom-2

In amongst the base of some bushy pine trees we spied the same red Fungi we had seen in the Mansfield High Country area, only these were much better and lots of them. They start as round red balls with white bumps on them and then open up to big flat plates, some quite large. They are like something you would expect to see in Alice in Wonderland. We have just looked them up and they are Amanita Muscaria, commonly called Fly Agaric or Fly Amanita. They are not native to Australia; they were accidently brought in with Pine Plantations and are referred to as the Quintessential Toadstool, the little ones are called buttons and the white spots can wash off in heavy rainfall. I should point out there are poisonous to eat and are farmed for its hallucinogenic properties ha maybe that is why we were so happy when we saw them, the real Magic Mushroom.

Magic-Muchroom

I had soaking wet and dirty knees by the time I had finished. The falls were great with plenty of water going over them into pools below. We spent several hours there all up, we enjoyed lunch back at the day area before heading back down and rejoining the loop road, which takes you to the Otway Fly tree Top walk.

Beauchamp-Falls-walk

Next stop was Beauchamp Falls, a 3km return walk, listed as moderate difficult in the walking rating, Stevenson Falls was easy. It’s 1.5km all downhill on a very well maintained track. Again lots of fungi to see, some we hadn’t see before including one that was growing up a tree that can only be described as they look like Stalactites, never seen anything like it. We think it is a Tooth Fungi, or other names, Coral Fungi, or Icicle Fungi. Apparently it’s edible and delicious like Lobster and can be used as a rice substitute, but I’d check on that before you start munching in on it. The walk is another pretty walk with tree ferns, moss, fallen down trees with moss, and lots of tall trees but it is steep in places and the last bit is straight down with stairs, does have hand rails and they do help as the steps were wet and slippery. It is worth the walk as the falls are wonderful. The viewing platform is up some more steps, we also worked our way down to the bottom of the falls to take some photos. It was 5 o’clock so we moved it back up the track at a reasonable pace, trying to beat the dark, stopping to take pics of a few fungi, gave us a break. By the time we got back to the car we were hot and puffed.

Beauchamp Falls Tooth-Fungi

Mycena Family

We took a short cut back home straight down joining back up with the Great Ocean Road, not completing the loop YET. Plan tomorrow is to go back up the short cut and rejoin where we left off.

We came home with sore bits, Chris is now saying ouch too, covered in a bit of mud from kneeling in wet rainforest floor and sitting on wet muddy rocks, but as Chris said we were as happy as pigs in mud, we had a ball, and that is what it is all about, can’t wait for tomorrow after a nice rest that is.

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Day 22 – 22nd April

The legs are not quite as sore today. We have had a couple of bus loads of boys staying at the park, even though they did quieten down at night they have made big messes in the toilet block every day.

We started off a bit earlier today, we headed back up the road we came down last night, the sign at turn off from the Great Ocean Roads says to Beech Forest. We stopped at Hopetoun Falls, which is our favourite, does have a quite few steps so is listed as Moderate, only 1km. There is a viewing platform 20m from the carpark where you can see the falls but it’s best to do the walk as they are amazing. The falls fall into a pool which then flows down over mossy rocks, surrounded by tree ferns. Very pretty falls, we got a lot of good photos going to be hard to choose. There were lots of fungi on the walk to so we got lots of photos of them including some tiny little blue ones. Why oh why are they always so low to the ground? I took a plastic bag to sit and kneel on but I still get muddy. We have worked out the falls are taking us 2-3 hrs to complete by the time we stop and take photos of things along the way, we still walked over 9kms today.

Mossy-Rocks Hopetoun Falls

Next we stopped in at the Otway Fly Tree Top Walk; we didn’t do the walk as we didn’t have enough time as at this stage we were having so much fun checking out the free things, we have heard it is very good though. We had lunch there Fish, Chips and Salad was very nice.

Triplet-Falls

From there we continued 3km’s past the Tree Top Walk to Triplet Falls, a 2km loop, moderate walk but with loads of steps. There is a recommended direction for the loop, which starts downward, with steps and boardwalks, the falls is towards the other end of the loop, the climb back out is rather steep up steps, where you follow the creek along. It is if fact shorted to the falls to go the opposite direction if you only want to see the falls but you would miss out on the whole walk, which again is very pretty through spectacular rainforest along an old logging line. Again lots of fungi, which had us just about lying down on the rainforest floor with the leaches and mud. People walking past must have thought we were nuts taking photos of what they can’t even see as some of the fungi were tiny. It rained just as we were finishing the walk; we had a quick cuppa at the car before moving on.

Pixies Parasol Ghost Fungi Fungi-3 Fungi Fungi-Family

On the way back to the van we stopped and checked out a few free camps along the way ready for us to move to and have a few days break over the Anzac long weekend, to avoid the crowds on the roads.

We had done some washing before we left and hung it out on the clothes line set up at the front of the van on the A frame. We thought we would be faced with wet washing when we got back, when we pulled in the washing was gone, first thought was someone took our clothes, but our nice neighbours had brought it in for us and had it lying flat underneath their annex, very kind and thoughtful of them.

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