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.

Starting the Great Ocean Road

Today was the start of the proper part of our road trip. With Kevin now officially on holidays for a week it was time to start our drive along the Great Ocean Road. Packing is always more of an ordeal than you expect and with Kevin’s work sending things home with us, we didn’t end up with the extra space we had expected. After Kevin rearranged and packed the car we set off about 8.30. Our first stop was Geelong, where we charged the Tesla and walked over to a nearby petrol station to buy Pie Face for breakfast. Not the ideal choice but it was what was on offer. We decided to try the vegan sausage rolls and I’m pleased to report we both enjoyed them (though I did need tomato sauce on mine to cut the meaty flavour). By the time we had finished eating the car was almost fully charged, and we headed of to Torquay. First up, the Australian National Surfing Museum. I’m obviously not a surfer but it’s something I find fascinating and they have quite the collection.

Kevin really wasn’t interested in this museum at all but he knows I enjoy it so was a good sport about it. I found it interesting reading about the origins of surfing in Australia. And we watched some of a documentary, part of which focused on women in surfing and how big a roll the movie Gidget played in making surfing more popular with women. Another thing I learned was that skating boarding was invented by a surfer.

On the way out I made a little purchase at the gift shop and then we visited a number of the nearby surf shops to try and find a part for the gopro – I’m missing the part that attaches it to the car mount ! Sadly only one sold any parts but only for the older models. Apparently either surfers no longer use go-pros or they (like Kevin) already have ALL the parts they need.

I had two places listed as lunch options for today. – both of which were vegetarian. We drove to the first one Ginger Monkey – which looked really cute but there wasn’t really anything on the menu that we felt like and I don’t think either of us were feeling this cafe. We decided to hop back in the car, drive to Bunnings (for Kevin to pick up some double sided tape to try and fix my cameras wind muff) and then drive to my other suggestion – Little Things Big Things cafe. This turned out to be another cute cafe but empty when we arrived and thankfully had more appealing things on the menu. I opted for the create your own salad and Kevin had a peanut butter & jelly chia pudding.

Before leaving Torquay we visited the Super IGA to pick up a few things including dinner. I got very excited to discover they had Gardein Mandarin Chicken – just one packet left, which I scored. I’m sure they usually had more varieties but the shelves were empty. They had quite the number of vegan products and I picked up a few other goodies. A quick stop in at Bakers Delights for some bread…

Then it was time to visit Bells Beach. We stopped at the carpark, took photos and Kevin flew the drone. I wasn’t feeling up to walk to the viewing area. As we were leaving Kevin pulled into the next carpark (since I told him we had to stop at ALL the lookouts today) and it turned out we could see Bells Beach from here. No walking required. Silly thing is I think we did exactly the same thing on our visit here in 2008.

Not too far from here was the Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery. Loved the caution sign on the way in. There was a viewing area that you could see chocolates being made but this is mainly a store. A very beautiful store I must say, esp. with their Christmas items. Kevin found quite a few things he wanted to buy, and we got some stocking stuffers for the kids. And of course I got a few of the vegan chocolates to try. And since it’s an ice creamery Kevin felt he had to have one. They did have a few vegan sorbet options but I didn’t have any.

Back in the car (yep, there was LOTS of in and out of the car today) again and we were off.

We thought we must have missed the memorial arch but finally I spotted it, yelling at Kevin to pull over into the parking bay. I mean have you really driven the Great Ocean Road if you don’t have a photo with the sign? :-).

From here there were many, many photos stops (I won’t bore you with pictures from all of them).

The town of Lorne was especially pretty. At first I didn’t get why it was such a popular town, and then I spotted the beach… and this was at a cloudy moment in time !! Kevin flew the drone again but didn’t get any photos.

Finally around 5.30pm we arrived at our airbnb. Right on the Great Ocean Road in a cute little area/town called Sugarloaf. And boy did we hit the jackpot.

Can you believe that view? From the couch and from the bed !! Once we lugged up all the luggage (yep, the downside of this place is stairs) we sat and enjoyed some tea while watching the waves for a good hour or so. Later Kevin cooked up the Mandarin Chickn, which we enjoyed while watching some vlogs.

A great surprise was that, though we faced South, we still managed to see the sunset from the balcony.

A “home” day

Today was Kevin’s last work day for this week and our last day in St Kilda and so I decided to have a day “at home” before the real part of the road trip begins. I took the opportunity to do some laundry (Kevin made up a great make- shift clothes line), paint my nails, start on packing and trying to catch up on blog posts and editing vlogs. I’d forgotten just how long it takes to edit a travel vlog so I’m not able to keep up with those on a daily basis.

We have been facetiming with the Groodles (and CHristy) at least once a day, which has been lovely and helped not to miss them so much. Today Christy sent us is this cute photo of them looking out the front window.

Breakfast was the “usual”, lunch was a packet vegan mushroom mac n cheese (which tastes better than it looks) and for dinner I made taco.

I got as much as possible packed tonight so we didn’t have too much to do in the morning. And we were treated to another storm – this one even made the city disappear.

Exploring the Melbourne Botanical Gardens

This morning we were treated to a lovely sunrise – even though our main windows face West. It was another work day for Kevin and I decided to have breakfast (another Turkish roll with salad) and then catch the tram to the gardens. It was another hot day and was already approaching 30C by the time I arrived there just before 10am. I was a little unsure where the entry was as they are extending the underground train lines but I quickly worked it out. There were some photos showing how the streets and trams used to look like, which was pretty interesting.

Then its a walk uphill…

to the Shrine of Remembrance.

After stopping to take photos I continued my walk around the Shrine and across the roads to the gardens. At the Visitors Center I checked in for my bus tour around the gardens. Since she guessed I was Libby I was thinking no-one had pre-booked. Since I still had half an hour till my tour I had a look in the gift store (and made a few purchases).

I then walked over to the meeting point (past the kids water play area – which was nicely hidden behind a hedge) and the strange creatures in the kids garden. I then found a spot on the grass under the shade of a tree to wait.

Meanwhile Kevin was hard at work in the HOT sun on a rooftop installing starlink.

Finally at 11am the bus turned up, and I set out on my private bus tour. This was really good way to see and learn about the gardens and I really enjoyed it. The gardens are very large and there is no way I could have walked all around it.

After the tour I set off on foot to explore some more and take close up photos of the flowers.

There was also one tree that was full of lorikeets screeching and eating lunch.

One area I particularly wanted to explore was Fern Gulley. Being a “rainforest” area it was nice and cool so extra lovely on this hot day. I walked throughout the boardwalk area and sat for awhile to rest and relax.

I really enjoyed my time here but did find it challenging getting around – not sure if it was me or the map but I eventually found my way back to the visitors center. I had finished all my water so bought myself an orange juice and a lemon squash. I drank the OJ on my way back to the tram. I later tried the lemon squash but it was horrible – I didn’t realize it was brewed. i had to wait quite a bit of time for my tram (I assume I had just missed one) but eventually I got back to the apartment, feeling happy, but rather hot and tired. I quickly assembled an asian noodle salad for lunch and then put my feet up to relax and enjoy it.

It was actually only an hour or so later that Kevin returned home from his work day. Shortly afterwards a big storm rolled through. It was quite the sight from up on the 12th floor. And amazingly enough to cleared up enough for us to be treated to a beautiful sunset.

We ordered in dinner again tonight as I was still suffering with sore feet (I think more from the heat and fibro than anything else). After some debate we decided on potato bowls – which we really enjoyed.