The DougBlog
"Et sans savoir pourquoi, disent toujours: Allons!" —Baudelaire

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Colleen and Doug’s Excellent Outback Adventure, Part 3: Melbourne and The Great Ocean Road

From Uluru we flew to Melbourne, which is in the southern state of Victoria and is also Australia’s second-largest city. It’s pronounced MEL-bun. No “R”. In fact, the Australians don’t seem to have discovered the letter “R” in their spoken language at all. Perhaps we should send them some.

We immediately picked up our rental car and headed to Port Campbell National Park, which is about halfway down the Great Ocean Road. One of “the world’s most beautiful drives”, the Great Ocean Road hugs the Indian Ocean along Victoria’s southern coast from Warrnambool to Torquay (which is near Melbourne). We took a faster inland route to get to Port Campbell (a little over 200 km) and then planned to drive the Great Ocean Road back to Melbourne the following day.

The inland drive was beautiful, too, twisting through a lot of farmland. Which was quite appropriate as we were staying at a farm that night. I quickly found myself quite comfortable driving on the “wrong” side of the road, so it wasn’t a problem (except that the turn signal and windshield wiper controls in this car were also reversed, so I kept turning on the wipers at every intersection; that was a little humiliating).

We arrived at Macka’s Farm just before dark. It’s a working farm that also rents rooms and cabins. Our cabin was lovely. We wandered around a bit and met cows, calves, sheep, goats, bunnies, cats, ducks, chickens, a pony, and a sweet-but-mangy white-bread-eating dog named Baby. We also met a few humans, including Macka and his farm-hand Lee. We drove into town for a preview of the Great Ocean Road and had dinner (fish and chips for me) in Port Campbell.

The next morning Colleen got up at some ungodly hour like 5:30 AM to go and help Macka on the farm. When I woke up (at about 9:00), Colleen was standing on the front porch in her jeans, my sweater, and a pair of Macka’s gum boots—all covered in mud and cows’ bodily fluids including milk, pee, and manure. Yes, she had helped (or maybe hindered) Macka in milking his 138 cows! You should definitely check out Colleen’s blog (click here) for a better account of our time at Macka’s, since she was so bitten by the farm-bug and went nuts.

Settling in at Cabin 2:

Colleen on our balcony (which overlooked rolling hills and a pony tied to a stake):

There were lots of cats and bunnies:

This sheep had the devil in him:

This little calf was Colleen’s best friend:



Colleen covered in crap…literally!:

A genuine hen party:

Macka and Lee feeding the calves their morning milk:

The calves were crazy…after they finished the milk in the trough, they started to lick it off of each other!:

We visited a bit more with the animals and headed back into town for breakfast, and then we were off on the Great Ocean Road. The portion near Port Campbell is the most dramatic, with sheer seaside cliffs and rough seas. The most famous is a formation called the Twelve Apostles.

Then came the Arch…(note the wind! it was COLD!)

…and Loch Ard Gorge, named after a famous shipwreck that happened here:

We also visited the Blowhole, but it was less-than-impressive and started to rain:

It was all unbelievably magnificent. We saw lots of signs for animals along the ocean road, including kangaroos, koalas, and echidnas, but the only actually animal we saw was a solitary echidna (who might actually have been dead at that).

We also took an opportunity to dip our feet in the Indian Ocean. I was excited because it meant that I had been in all four of the world’s oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, and Indian). But my joy was short-lived when I learned that a new ocean—the Southern Ocean—had been declared in 2001. It basically surrounds Antarctica. Ah well…Antarctica was on my list of places to visit anyhow.

My feets in the Indian Ocean:

Colleen taking her turn:

Continuing the drive through rainforests and along spectacular coastlines was absolutely beautiful.

Near the end we stopped in the fashionable surfing town of Lorne for dinner in the setting sun and ice cream on the beach.

Then the weather turned, and we drove into Melbourne in a downpour. Luckily my innate sense of direction (thanks, Dad and Papa!) helped us find the swank Melbourne Park Hyatt safely. It was a fancy-shmancy hotel with a big bathtub that windows to give free peep shows.

Me peeping at Colleen as she brushes her teeth In the giant triangular bathtub:

Colleen, still brushing in the bathtub:

The next morning we set out for a day to explore Melbourne. We started by walking around “Town” (the center of Melbourne).

Flinders Station, a Melbourne Landmark:
The cathedral:

Victoria’s Parliament:

More Jews!:

One thing I’ll say for Australians: they are the nicest and most outgoing people in the world, incredibly proud of their country (and rightfully so). Every time someone hears from your voice that you’re not from Australia, they ask you where you’re from and how long you’re in Australia. Then they tell you “you must go here and there”. One woman started to draw us little maps and directions to all of her favorite places in Melbourne. Can you imagine the average New Yorker doing that?

In any event, in the evening we wandered out to two suburbs: South Yarra and St. Kilda. South Yarra is a great neighborhood for walking around, with plenty of nice shops and restaurants. There’s also a gay section that we checked out. St. Kilda is on the water, with a beach and amusement park and more shops and restaurants. We had dinner and drinks (and drinks and drinks…) on the beach until well after sunset, when we headed back to the hotel.

Colleen in St. Kilda:

Drinks on the beach in St. Kilda:

I enjoyed watching this lady dine with her dog:

That evening we packed up, because the next morning we were flying up to Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef…

Some more random items:

Hertz takes no chances with right-hand-side-of-the-road renters:

Nice ads:

Interesting cover for the annual report of NAFA (National Australian Fishing Association):


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