Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The GREAT Ocean Road

With Christmas just around the corner, we decided to take a quick trip and explore more of this beautiful country.

We started off visiting Craig and Wendy Stratford in Beachport, SA and had a fabulous dinner of pizzas made in their wood fired pizza oven.  It got Roger thinking we need one in Idaho, so no doubt it is now on his "to do" list.

Craig with his catch of 4 red rock lobsters that he pulled from the traps just before we left
Australian lobsters don't have the big claws that their Atlantic counterparts have but are apparently equally delicious. 
We headed east, crossed the border to Victoria and started the famous Great Ocean Road (GOR) drive.  It really should be named the Gobsmackingly Gorgeous Ocean Road because it truly holds up to all the hype.  The winding roads that followed much of the rugged coastline also wound through hilly pasture and farmland.  It was built by Australian servicemen returning from WWI and stretches 243 kilometers.

At the far western point of the GOR, The Maritime Museum in Portland gave us a better understanding of the area dubbed the Shipwreck Coast.  Once we started on the GOR, we could easily picture ships running into trouble during storms.
This skeleton is of a 14 meter sperm whale

The museum had wonderful artifacts

Plaques line the walls with the names and details of shipwrecks --- not all lives were lost due to storms.

This formation is called London Bridge

The limestone rock formations called the Twelve Apostles are now down to 8 due to erosion, but spectacular nonetheless.

Monument to honor the service men who built the Great Ocean Road and to those who died in WWI

The beach at Torquay, the furthest eastern point of the road is famous for surfing

This house looked amazing....the huge platform structure is linked to the house by a covered walkway that juts out from the left side in the photo. 

Beach at Torquay
We ended up in Melbourne for 2 days and had a great time exploring the city.
We stayed at the beautiful Intercontinental Hotel that was once a hotel and office building built in the late 1800s.  A glass ceiling bridges the two structures.
St. Paul's Cathedral
The Block Arcade, built in the 1800s is known for its unique shops, tiled floors and gorgeous architecture.

I was wishing my favorite dessert buddy, Anette, was with me so we could have gone to this tea room!

Block Arcade. 
I left Roger to do his traditional Christmas Eve shopping and checked out Hosier Lane that is famous for graffiti.  There it is art.  When Justin Bieber spray painted graffiti on an upscale hotel in Brisbane, it was not art -- and he was an embarrassment to all Canadians for this, and other stupid stunts he did during his concert tour of Australia.

The Yarra River is a lively place to hang out with heaps of cafes and bars
We made the 8 hour drive back to Adelaide on Christmas Day in mid 30C temps.  We miss our friends and family a lot on days like today and will hopefully catch up with several over the holidays.  The drive was made happier by hearing from Paul and Paula Williams who called to wish us a Merry Christmas, and a chat with Don Moe.  We are really looking forward to Heather Moe visiting us in February and hope she can bring Don along with her. 

Anyone else game to leave a cold Canadian winter behind and visit down under?

We hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and wish you and your loved ones a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2014.

"I'll be home for Christmas......if only in my dreams....."

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