History & relaxation in Warnambool

It was the usual sourdough with jam for breakfast this morning after a little bit of a sleep in. About 10am we headed to get a covid test – which we needed to have before we can enter South Australia. We went to the drive through testing site only to be told we didn’t have a booking and would need to go to another location. When we got there was a line out the door and it looked like it was going to be quite the wait. In the 15 mins we waited Kevin got online and registered for a booking at the drive through place. There was no option to select a time so we just went back around. Apparently we were naughty and should have gone to to the other place. But the lady hadn’t been clear enough that they were sending ALL interstate travellers there. But since the drive through place was quiet they did the tests for us there. It was my first covid test and honestly not too bad.

With the test done we drove back to Flagstaff Hill for our daytime visit. Upon arrival we got to read more about the ship wrecks that happened in the area, esp. that of the Loch Ard. It’s so hard to believe that this peacock statue survived- it must have been very well packed in it’s crate.

We got to read more about the people and relics from the Loch Ard and then look through all the village shops & buildings of this replica 1800s town.

The pub/inn rules

Kevin was very excited when the lolly shop opened and he was able to buy some lollies. The lady volunteering there was just lovely and we had a nice little chat with her.

It was so quiet today and there was just a handful of other people about. It was really like we had the whole village to ourselves. The buildings are really well created and interesting to see. Definitely well worth the visit (though if you have young kids it’s probably best to come during school holidays when they have more events on).

Kevin taking some inspiration from Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain

I was very excited to see the Mareema’s (famous for guarding penguins and the movie Oddball – but they were having their morning nap when we arrived and refused to get up so we could see them better. I had thought we’d be able to pat them but I can also understand why we couldn’t – esp. during covid times.

We did get to to pat the sheep though – he was much more cooperative.

We left here just after 12pm and went into town (about 3 mins away) to have a look at a store I’d heard about. It was certainly very impressive and we did pick up a few edible gifts. In the old days I know I would have bought a lot of things here. I did contemplate an apron I liked but reminded myself I had already decluttered down to 2 and I wouldn’t want to get rid of either of my Disney ones.

I had thought we could get lunch here but that no longer seemed to be the case so we went back to the Mexican place we had parked in front of. We ordered takeaway and sat outside while we waited for it to be cooked. The place was pretty busy which we took as a good sign.

We made a quick trip to IGA on the way home to pick up dinner for the next two nights, then it was back to our place to have lunch. I had vegan tacos and Kevin had a trio of 3 varieties. We both absolutey loved our meals. One of the best we’ve had on this trip.

There was just enough time for us to have lunch and watch a YouTube video before putting on our swimsuits and heading the Deep Blue Hot Springs.

Neither of us really knew what to expect here. We were booked in for a session time of 2.30-5pm. We put our things into a pigeon hole (there are also lockers available) and went through to the springs. We quickly realized most was outside in the sun so went back inside and bought some sunscreen.

Take two and we made it outside again. Turns out this place is a series of hot pools/waterfalls – some of different temperatures and water levels. We both LOVED it. 

Our favourite experience ended up being the shallow pool where you could like down and look up at the clouds. There were a few noisy groups which did spoil some of the tranquility of the place but we really loved our time here.

By 4pm we were feeling a bit waterlogged and very relaxed. We had a quick shower to rinse off the sulphur and got changed, then drove back to our home.

We watched some YouTube and I attending to a few jobs like ironing and starting to pack.

Tonight I had an Amy’s frozen meal for dinner – love these so much and can only usually find some gluten free ones (which this was) and Kevin had a fridge meal.

Not the greatest sunset tonight as it was pretty cloudy.

Great Ocean Road wonders

Today started with another visit from a King Parrot. Just one today and it was much more timid so I don’t think it was one of the ones that were happy to land on my head. We put out some more granola, but since we were checking out today I didn’t really have time to watch him enjoy his breakfast. Later he did get some friends – and there was a bit more arguing over the food. A cockatoo is came in to see what was happening (and scared all the parrots off) only to fly off himself when he realized it was only granola.

By 9.30am we were packed up and continuing on our journey along the great ocean road. And it was a stunning day for it. The last time we made this trip in June 2008 it was freezing and raining. Today sunny and warm – 24C. Just perfect !!

We stopped first at the Gibson Steps – but just to see the view from the clifftop, not to walk down (& UP) 89 steps. The beach did look lovely and I’m sure you get an awesome view looking up at the sheer cliffs but I knew it would be a real  struggle coming back up the stairs (I’m just not that fit).

Next up the very famous 12 Apostles (though there are now actually only 8 Apostles standing. I can understand why it’s such a big attraction though as it really is stunning, esp. on a day like today with blue skies and white fluffy clouds. There was a guy here is a little dog in a back pack and it was adorable.

 We course took quite a few selfies before heading back to the car.

Next up was Loch Ard Gorge.

Another simply stunning location with a steep walk down to the beach. We had recently seen a few vloggers visit here so Kevin wanted to go to the beach – which he did while stayed at the top taking yet more photos and video. Kevin was again pretty wrecked by the time he reappeared so I was glad I hadn’t made the attempt.

From here we visited the Arch. You can’t really see through the gap at the first viewing area.. It’s much better from the second one which isn’t too much of a downhill walk. It’s definitely worth it.

London Bridge has fallen down but not been renamed. There is an arch here so I guess maybe that’s the new London Bridge. The original was still intact when we were here in 2008 but has since fallen into the sea. Luckily no-one was on it at the time but some people had to be rescued from the island.

We thought we had seen most of the attractions and even drove past the carpark the Bay of Martyrs (thinking it would be another big walk down to see anything) but as we drove past I could see the view from the carpark so made Kevin turn around and go back.

This was one stunning spot, possibly even better than the twelve apostles. The rocks seems redder and there are islands dotted about. It was also the only place we stopped at to not have a NO DRONES sign. So glad because from the air this place is just magical.

At about 2.30 we arrived in Warnambool and headed straight for the car wash. We especially wanted to get the windscreen cleaned, esp since I finally had the go-pro working. 

We then headed to our airbnb. Even though I had seen photos I was super impressed. It was bigger than I had imagined and had EVERYTHING you could wish/hope for. So many little touches. And beautifully decorated. I was glad we were here early enough to get to enjoy some time this afternoon. 

I made us an Asian Noodle salad with a veggie burger for lunch. I probably should have sat outside and enjoyed the backyard area but wanted to get some photos sorted.

Later, when it cooled down, Kevin lit the fire and we ordered in Noodle Box for dinner. I had ordered a vegan satay but was instead sent vegan black bean sauce. It was okay but not great (later when it had cooled, I discovered I really like it cold!!). Kevin enjoyed his choice – chicken with egg noodles).

Amazingly we can see the sunset from here – which was a lovely surprise. It’s not quite what we’ve had so far this trip but it was still nice. It was a strange night because just before 9pm we headed out for our the show at Flagstaff hill.

After having a look around the gift shop and waiting for our “departure time” we were given briefing and lanterns to lead us through the village to the stands were the shows takes place. We did this in 2008 but I couldn’t really remember it. We both enjoyed the show – which was a combination of video stories/images, a water screen and lighting – telling the stories of the indigenous people who lived here, the whalers and whaling  industry and finally the shipwreck of the Lock Ard. Definitely well worth staying up past our bedtime.

Luckily our accomodation is right in town so only 5mins (after walking back up the hill and to the car) we were back home and off to bed.

A day in the Otways

I managed to get some sunrise photos today.

And when I went outside to get the camera 2 King Parrots came and landed on the handrail. Then almost immediately one flew on top of my head. I couldn’t believe it. But what an exciting start to the day. It’s Kevin & my 29th Wedding Anniversary so I asked him if he organised this as a surprise :-). The second parrot chased the other one off and also had a turn on my head !! Luckily I remembered we had granola so Kevin got them some to eat and I spent a long time hanging out with them while they had their breakfast.

We set out about 8am for our day to the Otways National Park. The first stop of the day was going to be the Californian Redwoods, but we rang into a bit  of a problem when we discovered that the road to it was closed/blocked. I had planned our whole day going in a loop and this really threw a spanner in the works – the main one being there was no way we could be at the Otway Fly for our treetop walk at 10.30am.

I realized we could change our day up and just do things in the reverse order – provided the two bookings could accomodate us. But, of course, we had no service so couldn’t phone anyone. None-the-less we finally made it to the Treetop adventure (one of the places owned by the company Kevin works for) and he was able to do the adventures climbs/ zippiness etc. We were the first ones to arrive and the girl who does the safety test every morning was just setting out so Kevin went with her for the first few courses. I wasn’t feeling the best so stayed in the car, enjoyed last nights leftovers for breakfast and read on my kindle. Apparently there was an area I could have watched from and would have done so if I’d known. Kevin tried to take some video but found it hard with having to hold on and do things as well. He came back to the car about one and half hours later absolutely wrecked but very proud to have done every course – even the Black one which is rated extremely hard.

There were lots of kookaburra’s around here and I managed to catch a few hanging out on some posts.

Next stop was a strawberry farm to pick our own strawberries. Neither of us had ever done this before and found it to be a fun activity. I loved that is was an organic farm so had flowers growing to help ward off pests. They also grow blue berries but they weren’t ready yet.

From here we headed to the NourishShed to pick up some lunch. They sold some local products and Kevin got himself quite a bit of soap. The staff here were lovely. We collected our lunch and drover on the California Redwoods – we were able to get to the them from the other side.

We had lunch sitting at a picnic table (my vegan wrap was ok – it was toasted and I would have preferred it not). But it was nice to sit outside and have a little “picnic” lunch. We then went to explore the forest. The trees are stunning. So tall. It was pretty magical wondering around the trunks and looking up at their branches.

From here it’s just a few minutes drive to Hopetoun Falls. The viewing platform is not far from the carpark and provides an okay view. The best is apparently from the bottom but neither of us were inclined to hike to the bottom…. And then back up. Kevin did decide to fly the drone though so we still got to see all of the falls.

Back in the car I was having fibro pains in my legs and Kevin was getting sore from his earlier endeavours so we decided to skip the last stop of the day – which was the Otway Fly that we were supposed to start our day with – and get started on our drive home.

We did end up making one last stop at a lookout. Kevin flew the drone again and he got a great selfie shot for us (and an even better one for the other couple you can see in our photo).

One and half ours later we had driven back through Apollo Bay and onto our accomodation. 

Before going upstairs we decided to head across the road to the beach. However we quickly realized just how far away (and downhill) the beach was and decided to give it a miss.

Instead Kevin took the drone out for a flight and I went around taking photos of all the beautiful flowers in the garden.

I washed up all our strawberries and we had some as a snack. They are SO GOOD. Just like the ones we used to grow at home many years ago. Dinner tonight was tacos again since we had enjoyed them so much last week. I was out of lettuce though (the horror) and had to improvise when some of the Asian salad mix had.

The day ended watching vlogs, having another lovely bath and enjoying another beautiful sunset.

Wildlife Wonders

Surprisingly we were able to see the sunrise this morning. I wasn’t expecting it so will try to get some better photos tomorrow. Boy was it special being able to drink my tea snuggled up on the lounge under a blanket and watching the waves roll in and clouds float by.

We had a slow morning watching waves, doing some things online and having some breakfast (sourdough toast with jam) before we headed out. There was rain expected later in the day but for the now the weather was lovely.

The coastline is just stunning and there are some spectacular trees around Apollo Bay. We hsd about a 20min drive to Wildlife Wonders where we were booked to go on their guided tour. We got checked in and had a look around the gift store since we were early. There were quite a few things we wanted to purchase but wanted to wait until after the tour so we wouldn’t have to carry them around.

Our tour started with a little info session at 10am giving us an ear piece & radio so we could hear the guide, some binoculars and a bit more info about the conversation center. Then we headed outdoors on our walk to learn about and see some of the wildlife and fauna that are native to the Otways. The animals are free to roam around the property but there is a fence that is fox and feral cat proof to protect them. We saw some emus, a wallaby, a cute tiny bird sitting on a nest, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, and a few koalas (most of them spotted by Kevin) high up in the trees. We also learned about some of the plants, including one (2nd row center) which was only discovered a few years ag.

One thing I found really fascinating with the Mother Shield fern, which grows a baby fern on a frond , the weight gradually lowers it the ground and the “mother fern” then protects/shields it.

It was nice easy walk along the boardwalk through different kinds of ecosystems that are found in the area and then out onto the open clifftops where we had stunning view of the ocean and could even see people hiking /walking the Great Ocean Walk. It was rather windy up here and chilly too.

We then visited the research center. It was odd because the staff who work there obviously leave (I assume) when I group comes on (or they are off doing something else) but their computers are mid work and their bags are left lying by their desks. There are some information posters and guides and cute little tortoise.

And there were a few kangaroos watching the going ons. On the way back to the center we learnt more about how they conduct research around the grounds.

It was a really good tour, and something different. Would be an amazing way for international tourists to see our wildlife in a more natural setting. We picked up the things we wanted from the gift shop and got a piece of this vegan ginger loaf. I ate in the car and it was AMAZING.

We drove back into Apollo Bay and parked near Food Works as we were needing a few more grocery items, which we got before walking to the main street to go to the bakery – which I had read had some vegan options. The vegan pasties looked good but we had walked past a noodle shop on the way and decided to get that for lunch. Instead I picked out a vegan lamington. Kevin got an apple cake. We had super quick walk the small markets that were being held and then want to Chopstix to order lunch. They had quite a few things on their menu that could be made vegan. Oh,how the world has changed for us vegans !! We decided to get it takeaway since we have such an amazing view at our studio.

Back home and we were super excited to dig into our lunch. I had sweet and sour tofu. And it was AMAZING. So sad I can’t get this at home. Kevin also really enjoyed thi beef & noodle dish.

We had a really lazy afternoon – some of which was spent writing blog posts in bed (since was nice and comfy and cozy). And yes, I had already gotten into my pajamas :-). Outside there was a bit of rain but it didn’t really come to very much.

Later on I had my lamington and it was really good. Such a spurlge having two sweet treats in one day but they were so worth it. Kevin really liked his apple cake (I really need to start photographing more of his food).

Dinner tonight was some veggie burgers.

After dinner we enjoyed a nice bath (complete with a lush bath oil). The nights still get pretty cold here so Kevin has enjoyed putting the fire on in the evening as the sun goes down. And I managed to capture another lovely sunset.