Graz´s Update - On the Road
I think the first thing that struck me and Adele were the colours. The sky is so blue and seems higher, the trees are bright green, the earth itself is always the deep red and yellow tones. It makes everything seem cheerful and puts a lift on your day. From Sorrento we caught the ferry over to Queenscliff allowing the boys to see the ferry. We stopped in Queenscliff to try our hand in the supermarket and then were overawed by the fish 'n' chips shop...there was a choice and not just white mush in batter. The downside was the picnic. This quickly got out of hand with the flies hounding us and a selection of gulls waiting nearby forcing us to enjoy our picnic in the car...the hire car that needs to be handed back in reasonable condition was going to experience my children and fish and chips...anyway.
From Queenscliff we went to find the Great Ocean Road and the start of our trip. As a drive it is outstanding and on a motorbike would have been bliss...i think this may be a trip out next year. The car was ok except for a physcotic automatic gear box that dropped one if not two gears each time you touched the accelerator :-? Still we cruised through small towns and parkland always in view of the ocean with deep clear blue seas and breakers.
Photos colour will be uploaded and added. First stop was Apollo Bay, a pleasant motel with our own kitchenette with two rooms, meant we could lock the boys in one and relax together with a bit of tv and a book. The next day bought an early start and postcards and shopping (we all needed hats and sunglasses to protect against the aussie cancer lamp (sun). The days driving took us winding along to Port Fairy with a small detour through to the Otaway fly treetop walk, a chance to get to the top of the gum tree forests on metal gangways, an enjoyable hour detour although the hill back up was hard work with two tired children. Back on the ocean road but this time through gum tree forests and rain forest gave a different persepective. All the other traffic seemed content to cruise along as well so there was no rush and no sense of always being pressured to go that little bit faster, I was enjoying driving in Oz.
We saw some nice seaside towns with Lorne standing out for both of us, The night ended in Port Fairy, almost Crocodile Dundee meets coast with wide emtpty dusty streets and the pub on the corner, I could get used to this, The motel was clean and fitted our needs although for the second night running they had put us upstairs (with 3 cases and two kids to lug around, we had repacked the car so 4 cases could stay in the boot overnight).
The half way point over we had a longer drive today especially given there was more to see on the roads, First we had the 12 (or however many are left) apostles, sandstone crags that have been left from the mainland through erosion, again it was the colours that struck first, striped red and yellow cliffs, green grasses and mosses and a deep blue to turquoise sea with cream breakers. The boys enjoyed this stop, not because of the view but because of all the helicopter sightseeing tours going over the top. We then got back on the road with some time to make up meaning we missed the bay of islands and other outcrops as we sped past trying to make Mt Baker for lunch. Mt Baker has a old volcano with a lake, the lake is deep cobalt blue (or was when we arrived, apparently it changes to grey through the seasons in a matter of hours before reverting later in the year), lunch was had on the grass overlooking the lake. These two parts alone would have covered a couple of days sightseeing but it was back in the car with two children to make the next leg and our final stop Narracorte as we were hoping to take the boys on the minature railway.
Naracoorte did not work for us, maybe it was the industrial sprawl but the town did not stand out the same (and we saw enough of it trying to find the motel, thanks GoogleMaps). The mini train was closed but we found a disused steam train in a shaded hut by one of the parks that the kids played on for 30 minutes so they were happy anyway and we got to sit down. The last motel was the one we were looking forward to, we had managed to get a spa room and the website pointed and something special...it wasn't, it was tired and run down with a funny smell in the bathroom which meant the spa was not something to sit in and enjoy, once you had got past the ants, the boys were on fold out beds and not there own as we expected and everything looked in need of some renovation, but the food was top notch, the beer was cold and the owner/barman was a good laugh and very friendly to us and the kids. After the good meal the bed was comfy enough and before we knew it we were back on the road for the final slog into Adelaide.
The last day was just driving, firstly through the end of Victoria and then into the barren dry south of South Australia. The change was incredibly fast. Then through the managed pine forests avoiding the huge road trains full of timber (I will give the aussies that, they like their big trucks) then into the wine regions of the deep south were we happened upon Penola, a picturesque town surrounded by grape vines with an olde worlde main street with all the shops, we could quiet fancy living there but given the 3 hours plus still to go to Adelaide decided it was a bit far, maybe some other day. Then we were in Adelaide, well it's suburbs, and finding our way to our new home (at least for a little bit)
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