Woke up at 5:20am on Tuesday to make it into the city for my 7:30am pick up. The mini bus from Bunyip Tours showed up and this older dude with a crazy long white beard and long white hair was driving. I correctly assumed our guide was going to be quite the character.
We drove west out of Melbourne for an hour or so, through towns like Geelong, until we reached Torquay. (birthplace of surf lines like Quicksilver and Rip Curl). Had morning tea at Bells Beach, stopped at Split Point Lighthouse at Airey's Inlet and then began our Great Ocean Road drive. Picture a combo of the Oregon Coast and the road to Hana, then superimpose the colours and plants of Australia over it. Winding twisty roads, waves crashing against eroding cliffs, quaint seaside towns, blue blue ocean as far as the eye can see, and a cool wind that must have started in Antarctica.
Highlights of the day included a rainforest walk in the Otway mountains, with myrtle beeches & eucalyptus; spotting several koalas, including two within arm's length on some low slung tree branches; and the gorgeous rock monoliths called the Twelve Apostles.
We saw wildlife throughout the region, kangaroos, koalas, magpies, echidnas. A King parrot even landed on my head (they were attracted to all the dark haired people in the group). I was a bit nervous, despite liking birds in general: a tiny finch-like bird shit on me in the morning as I exited the train station in Melbourne. I didn't want a repeat performance from the much larger parrot.
The drive took the entire day, and we got back to the city around 9pm. Just in time to meet up with Kevin and the Melburnian coworker for a couple drinks and dessert on Lygon Street.