The Final Day Down Under

It had finally arrived (in “real time” 3 months ago): my last day in Australia and the final day of an amazing three week adventure.   I started the day in the mountains of Grampians National Park (Gariwerd) and finished it on the coast in Adelaide, the capital city of the state of South Australia.  After enjoying my breakfast under the watchful eyes of the Kangaroos, I was soon on my way.

A gorgeous morning sun burned off the mist and I was once again awed by the beauty of the countryside.

The road to Adelaide was sometimes tree lined and at other times led me through wide open spaces.

As I passed through Coonalpyn, I was stunned to see these incredible silos murals.

Created by artist Guido van Helten, these silo murals are “already paying dividends, with an increased number of cars passing through town,  stopping and spending their money there”

Van Helten says that the children represent the future of the town, and he hopes the giant art work might inspire those children and others “to a path through creative industries”.

Pretty incredible!  I just wish I’d taken more time to capture each of the 5 children depicted on the silos.  Please follow this link to see much better photos and to learn more about how “the tiny rural town of Coonalpyn is showing signs of rejuvenation and community pride”.

After almost 800 miles in 3 days, my little rental car carried me safely to Adelaide.  Driving on the left was pretty fun, and with only the occasional correction, I had little trouble.  After checking into my hotel, I walked down to the ocean.

It was a beautiful evening and people were out and about, enjoying the pier, the boardwalk, and the beach.  The surfers were out as well, and although I’ve never been much of a sports photographer, I had a blast trying to capture the scene.

RIP Jordy

All too soon, I had to pull myself away from the water, and walk back to the hotel.  My early flight to Melbourne required that I check out at 4am.

My time in Adelaide was all too brief, and I regretted not being able to explore.  Even still, I’m glad I was able to spend even a few hours there.

Next Post: Final Thoughts and more photos of the Blogging Babes!

 

Continuing the Journey: Grampians National Park

In “real time” and since I last posted, I’ve worked many hours and traveled many miles, some for civic causes and some for fun, including a first ever trip to  Las Vegas (I cannot wait to work through those photos!).  In “blog time” though, I’m still in Australia.

After leaving the Great Ocean Road (see posts about my two days driving the road here and here), I drove to Grampians National Park (Gariwerd).  Gariwerd is the Australian Aboriginal name for the park, which is a nature reserve in Victoria, Australia. It is known for its sandstone mountains, which rise out of surrounding farmland.  The first views of those mountains required a stop for photos.

After checking into my motel, and knowing that I’d only have 3 hours or so before dark, I made the decison to hike the Pinnacle Trail.  Thinking “how hard can a 2.1k (one way) trail be?”, I hit the trail head guided by this sign.

Some times the trail was obvious, although challenging.

 

Other times, the trail was not as obvious, and I was thankful for the trail markers (which were also hard to find at times).  If you have a moment, click on the images to check out just how challenging that trail was.

 

As you can tell, the hike to the Pinnacle was straight up most of the time.  The view at the top was well worth the effort.

The wind was blowing hard all around me, and pushing me a bit, too, and I swear, when I sat down to eat my snack, I felt that mountain move!

The views were incredible and I dearly wish I’d been able to spend more time in this 413,000 acre park.  Soon enough, though, it was time to head on down,  and find that post hike beer.  After that, I sat on my little porch, watched the Kangaroos, and planned the next day’s route to Adelaide.

 

 

Three months after returning home, I only have one more day to share from my Feb / March trip to NZ / Australia.  Believe it or not, I have saved all of the notifications about your posts and dearly hope to visit soon!

The Great Ocean Road to the Grampians

 

At the end of Day 1 on the Great Ocean Road, and after a yummy dinner of Fish and Chips in Apollo Bay, I took a short walk along the water to end an incredibly satisfying day.

Thankfully, I still had several hours and many miles to travel along this spectacular road, so I was up and on the road early the next day.  Frankly, I’m really not sure how I ever completed the drive because I stopped … and stopped … and stopped.

What magnificent scenery, and a super fun road to drive.  My little rental car, with me on the right side of the car, on the left side of the road, drove the entire 243 km (151 mi).

Sometimes I was able to see the ocean and sometimes I wasn’t, but at all times I saw stunning natural beauty.

 I pulled over at almost every single stop, this one the London Bridge and I simply could not stop shooting!

I also made sure to take the time to be still.  I would just stand there, breathing deeply, and enjoying the sites, sounds, and smells of the ocean, the sand, and the air.

The power of the waves crashing against the rock formations had me spell bound.

I just never knew quite what to expect as I rounded the next corner of the boardwalk,

and I was never disappointed.

Arguably one of the most famous places along the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles.

“Situated in the Port Campbell National Park, the massive limestone structures that tower 45 metres above the tempestuous Southern Ocean, leave its visitors awe-struck in wonder at their size and beauty.  Behind the eight remaining stacks (five have fallen since their discovery) are majestic cliffs, around 70 metres high” (https://www.visitgreatoceanroad.org).

Absolutely stunning!

Before I knew it, I had arrived in Warrnambool. I left the Great Ocean Road and headed for Grampians National Park.  More on that next!

Let Me Re-introduce Myself

Along the Great Ocean Road

Victoria, Australia

Hello my friends!  You may be wondering if I’m still driving the Great Ocean Road, since that’s where I was when I last posted.  Actually, I left Australia two and a half months ago, and I’m still seeking time to share images from the last few days of the trip.  The last 9 months have been full, even more than normal, with organizing, chairing, co-chairing, and facilitating.  The next couple months, while scheduled with a good deal of travel, are not so full of leadership work, and I hope to soon post about the last few days of a once in a lifetime trip.

Just One

Along the Great Ocean Road

We are 6 days away from Local Elections here in Radford, and I am working hard to help the candidates that I support win the day!  Since I’ve not really got the time right now to share the story of the last 4 days of my trip, I’m leaving this teaser here for you to enjoy.  As I look at it, I can still hear the waves and feel the breeze.  Just incredible!

I’ll be back soon!

Making Friends and Riding the Rails: Sydney to Melbourne

When last I posted, I’d told you about my amazing day in Sydney.  I then took a pause in the storytelling in order to visit all of you.  Somehow, almost a month has passed since I arrived back in the States, after enduring lots of up close and personal attention at the security checks along the way.  Now it’s time to resume the tale!

You may remember that I took the overnight train from Melbourne to Sydney.  Even though the day time train was taking the same route back to Melbourne, for this trip I’d be awake and able to see the countryside.

Some might consider an 11 hour train ride far too long, but I enjoyed the whole trip!  I chatted with those around me and learned a lot from the train Conductor, who after learning of my interest, would come tell me when something interesting was coming up.   I kept my camera on the scenery flying by and while none of these images will win awards, I liked the movement they convey.

I could have taken a plane but I really wanted to see the rural part of Australia.

You really can’t get a feel for the country from a plane, but the train opens the world to your eyes.

We stopped several times and when there was enough time, I’d jump off to look around.  My favorite story from the day was when we were pulling up to Albury .  The Conductor had let me know that the Albury Train Platform, at 455-metre-long (1,493 ft), was the longest in Australia.  As I walked to the door, a woman jumped up and asked me if I was going to get off at the stop, and after indicating that I was, she said she wanted to come, too.

It turns out that Lorraine (nick named Laurie – what a coincidence!) was traveling for the first time out of her home state of New South Wales.  She and her sister were headed for Melbourne and other parts of Victoria, and she was as excited to be traveling as I was.

Laurie asked me if I’d send her the photos that I took and I happily agreed, of course asking if I could take her photo as well.  What a joyful part of the ride!

The ride continued and the other passengers got used to seeing the happy American walking up and down the aisle, camera in hand.

Before I knew it, we were back in Melbourne.  After a slight challenge getting my luggage out of the locker in the station, I walked to my hotel, which while a 1/2 mile away, was all down hill.  Thank goodness for wheels on suitcases! As I crossed over the Yarra river, I was rewarded by this beautiful view.

I checked into my hotel, enjoyed a cold beer and dinner at the Belgian Beer Cafe that Boomdee had recommended, and prepared for the next day: driving the Great Ocean Road!

A Pause in the Story

Some of you have been able to follow along as the Blogger Babes have shared happy stories from New Zealand and Australia.

Photo Credit: Alys’ camera on timer 🙂

Pauline (and her oh so much fun daughters Danella and Joanna, and Joanna’s partner Steve), Alys (and her husband Mike), Boomdee, and I had the most amazing time! Its hard to believe that after all the anticipation and planning, we are back home and blogging about it. I urge you to visit the blogs of these remarkable women and read their posts about the Blogger Babes Trip of a Lifetime. In case you are checking in for the first time, we:

All too soon our holiday came to an end, and some of our group journeyed back home. As for me, and for Alys and Mike, further adventures awaited. While Alys and Mike toured more of New Zealand, I prepared to fly off to Australia to begin my solo adventure. Before that though, I enjoyed hiking and jetboating in Queenstown.

Once in Australia, I spent two days touring Melbourne and one fabulous day in Sydney.

The trip was incredible and after a couple years of anticipation and planning, it is hard to believe that the trip is over, and that we are all back home. Of course, being back home means that the world intrudes and the fullness of life gets in the way of blogging, and visiting blogger friends. So while I have so much more to share from the trip, I’m going to take a short break from writing new posts to visit all of you.

I’ll be back soon to share stories and images from The Great Ocean Road and Grampians National Park.

Cheers!