Day 6: On the Great Ocean Road

A quick look out the window this morning told us the weather changed overnight from clear skies to overcast and grey. Today, we are driving the second leg of the Great Ocean Road, all the way to Warrnambool. The first stop today for us however was Cape Otway, where the Cape Otway Lighthouse stands. This is the first Lighthouse around there, and it has been in active operation since 1848. Unfortunately, you can only visit the grounds around it by paying an entrance fee and going on the full tour, and we passed on this as the road ahead was quite long still.

We were there for another matter anyway: koalas. The road leading from the B100 to Cape Otway Lighthouse is famous for the number of Koalas living alongside it. We, however, failed to see any on route to the Cape. It might have been due to the weather though, as it started drizzling. Luckily for us, the rain lifted pretty soon after this, and our luck finding animals returned: on a dirt road just off the main road, we got lucky and found not 1 but three sitting in the same giant tree! With another Koala resting in the tree next to it, the tally went up to four right there! We stood by them and watched the closest one perform acrobatic feats while feeding. Awesome!

On the way back, we even spotted more up to a point where we could look left and see one, and look right to see another. All very fluffy and generally ignoring our presence, these animals are just a treat to look at. The rest of our journey took us further down the Great Ocean Road where we visited the well known highlights on it. These are the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, the Arch, the London Bridge en the Grotto. They all are formations of the limestone rock set out in the sea or right on the shore of the ocean. And they all are really beautiful!

The weather still was acting up, we basically have had all weather types following each other up every 10 minutes. Ranging from drizzle to rain to full on sunshine, it all was there. Tomorrow, we are heading further inland towards Grampians National Park. It’ll be sad to say goodbye to the great views of the ocean, but we imagine it’ll be beautiful up there as well!


Day 4: Melbournian wildlife

We are still suffering from our jetlag which means we woke up really early this morning. This was partly a good thing as we were to go out on a tour to find some of the local wildlife, namely Koalas and Kangaroos!
Our guide Paul showed up right on time at the hotel, after which he drove us to the You Yangs Regional Park, where the tour company holds the tours. The guides are allowed not only to walk on the trails, but also to take their groups straight through the undergrowth to get them (us!) to where we need to be to see the wild animals. The tour pretty much guarantees sightings of wild Koalas and wild Kangaroos, so we were in for a great day!

At around 18 degrees and virtually no clouds, this was probably the best day to walk outside and to be actively strolling throuh the woods. The Koalas were very quickly spotted by the spotter, and this information was relayed through to our guide via WhatsApp. Now that is modern technology for you! The tour operator is actively participating in a study on the identification methods of Koalas, and therefore all details about a sighting like location, behaviour and the like are noted and sent to a logbook with data. The study aims to get to a way to identifing individuals based on external features. As it so happens to be, the pattern of light patches on the nose of a Koala matches all the criteria to be used as an identification method, and the operator is getting the research paper published in a journal shortly! We are glad to be helping them to do good work!

Shortly after getting the info on 3 Koalas, we found our own Koala, getting our count up to 4. The first one was most easily visible, and what a sight it is! Even though the animals sleep about 20 hours a day, we were excited to see them in the wild. The best thing is that they don’t seem to mind us being around, and they’ll continue doing what they did before. 
After all that, we went on to the Serendip Sanctuary, a square mile bird sanctuary for Cape Barren Geese now also inhabited by 2 large mobs of Western Grey Kangaroos. We even got to walk right up to them, and peacefully watched them roaming the area.

After all this, we have also encountered rare animals like Swamp Wallaby and Yellow Billed Spoonbill. Among the more common animals were Tawney Frogmouths, Magpie Geese, Galahs and the quintessentially Australian Laughing Kookaburra. It was a great day!

Tomorrow, we’ll pick up our car and will be heading to the Great Ocean Road. I’m looking forward to it!