The Great Ocean Road and a Bit of Parrot Poo
I had heard so many wonderful things about the Great Ocean Road that I knew it had to be a part of my trip to Melbourne. I briefly considered renting a car and driving it myself, but I’ve never driven on the other side of the road or the other side of the car, so I decided this probably wasn’t the time to try it out. So I searched through lists of companies that offer tours. I quickly decided I wanted a two day tour because I thought I would feel too rushed on a one day tour. I also wanted something small, and I didn’t want any overly adventurous, roughing-it-type activities. That’s how I eventually decided on this two day tour.
Walter, our friendly guide, picked me up at my hostel a little past 6AM. Most of the day tours start about an hour or so later, so we got to beat the crowds a little by leaving this early. He offers the two day tour a couple times a week, so this time there ended up only being four of us, plus Walter. This small group was really fun and made it feel more like traveling with friends than in a tour group. Though to be fair, even at maximum capacity I think there would’ve only been 14 people in the group.
The Great Ocean Road starts about an hour outside of Melbourne, which gave us time to chat and get to know each other a little. Our first stop was for morning tea, coffee or hot chocolate, and snacks. From there, we stopped at several beaches, each one more spectacular than the one before. I took an astonishing number of pictures, and my speech abilities suddenly dwindled, leaving me with variations of the phrase “this is so beautiful!”
We also hiked a short way through some woods to see a waterfall, which was a nice break from the sun. And I’m a sucker for waterfalls.
Late in the afternoon, we stopped to see koalas. I was especially excited about this because I didn’t get to see any on my first trip to Australia, though I did see kangaroos.
Walter also had bird seed to feed the parrots in the area. So we walked around and tried to find the koalas high up in the trees, and then went to feed the parrots. They landed on our outstretched arms so they could eat out of our hands. For some reason, one of the parrots landed on my head as well. It not only freaked me out a little, but its feet kind of hurt, so I did what I could to get it to fly away. But when it left, I realized it also crapped on my head. I was so grossed out – I had bird poo in my hair! I got some help wiping it out of my hair and cleaned off my hands with a couple hand sanitizer wipes, and then I just tried not to think about it for the remainder of the day.
Luckily the day was almost over, and we were soon dropped off at our hostel in Apollo Bay. Understandably, I got first crack at the shower. I slept well that night after an exhausting but fun day, knowing the second day on the Great Ocean Road would only be more gorgeous than the first.
Looking for a tour of the Great Ocean Road? I took this tour and loved it! You can read my full review of the Great Ocean Road tour here.
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March 22, 2012 @ 12:29 PM
Your post on The Great Ocean Road is awesome. That week to 10 days you were in Melbourne and its surrounds was really nice weather and it shows up in the pictures that you were able to take.
I’m glad you got to see some of the beaches. Torquay, Bells Beach and a few of the other lesser known beaches sport some of the best surfing in the world so you were really spoiled by the weather there.
The birds on the other hand, it seems you were spoiled by but I go there any further other than to say that I treat them as the wild animals they are. I wouldn’t go round feeding them for all the money in the world because they turn nasty on you for no reason.
I loved the picture of the waterfall the best. Could you tell me where you came across it because I never knew that such a waterfall existed in the whole Greater Ocean Road area.
I have to ask you the touristy questions; did you get to see the remains of the 12 Apostles while you were down there and did you get to see Ocean Grove at all? There are these huge sand dunes there that you have to climb there in order to reach the beach that act as a natural windbreak for the town. It’s a holiday town and very touristy during the summer months. And last but not least, being there during nice weather, did you get any snaps of the sunset down there? That is my most happiest enduring memory of the Great Ocean Road from when I was a child; seeing the sunset in the distance on a hot summer’s day on the beach. That’s the Australian lifestyle at it’s most stereotypical and iconic.
The Koalas are becoming harder and harder to spot though. Their habitat unfortunately is being destroyed more and more by development and urban sprawl along with various diseases and drought that have reduced the population of Koalas from millions back in the 1950s to the tens of thousands at best today. They have thrived in some areas of the country, in particular where they have been resettled in islands off the coast but in most areas the populations are struggling to stay level. They really ought to be listed as an endangered species alongside the Tasmanian Devil which is in a much much worse state than the Koala is in. Zoologists have gone as far as to establish a special captive breeding program in Healesville to the north east of Melbourne as a back stop in case the face tumour plague that has wiped off 90 percent of the Devils in Tasmania kills off they rest of the population they won’t become exinct like the Tasmanian Tiger did back in the 1930s. Yes we even had our own Tiger here in Australia until our forefathers hunted it to extinction.
March 22, 2012 @ 9:22 PM
Thanks Matthew! It really was great weather, especially while I was on the Great Ocean Road. Those beaches were really gorgeous. We stopped at so many I lost track of all the names. And you’re right, I really should’ve known better than to let those parrots land on me. At least I can laugh at it now.
I believe the waterfalls were Sheoak Falls. We stopped in Lorne for lunch, so it was either in that town, or somewhere between Lorne and Apollo Bay. It was a short trail that led up to a small stream, and the waterfall wasn’t anything huge, but it was pretty.
I did get to see the 12 Apostles. I decided the 2 day tour was too much for one post, so day 2 will go up on Monday, and that’s when we got to the Apostles. GORGEOUS! Sadly I did not get to see the sunset. We stayed overnight in Apollo Bay, and the way the shoreline there wasn’t facing west. It’s my one big regret about this tour was that I didn’t get to see the sunset over the 12 Apostles. If I ever make it back down there, it’s a must-do.
I didn’t realize the koalas are dying off, that’s awful! And I’ve never heard of the Tasmanian Tiger, just had to look that one up to read about it. You’re always giving me interesting information!
I’m glad you enjoyed this post! Look for day 2 on Monday!
March 22, 2012 @ 1:52 PM
I *loved* the Great Ocean Road, it was truly beautiful! Josh thought it was really cool too. I love going back and looking at my photos from that day, so glad you got to experience it!
We drove the whole thing, in a campervan, haha, which was a challenge. I’m the one who ended up being the driver as we took all the twists and turns. It wasn’t so bad, because we’d gotten used to driving, but it was a little stressful!
March 22, 2012 @ 9:25 PM
That’s so cool that you rented a campervan and drove the whole thing! I really enjoyed this tour, but sometimes I wish I had had more flexibility to do my own thing. But yes, I can imagine it was stressful driving it! It was one of my favorite things in Australia. I saw Ayers Rock 2 years ago, and I liked this better. I took 850 pictures in 2 days!
Andi of My Beautiful Adventures
March 22, 2012 @ 2:12 PM
I drove along the GOR and it was one of the best memories of my life to date. You can’t even begin to describe the natural beauty. Love your pics!
March 22, 2012 @ 9:25 PM
Thanks Andi! I totally agree, it was absolutely gorgeous there.
March 22, 2012 @ 2:32 PM
Beautiful post, and lovely photos!
Seeings posts like this makes me miss my home country, I always feel like I don’t take enough advantage of it when I am there because I ‘grew up there’ so always have the urge to head to Europe or Asia instead of properly exploring it like I should.
Thanks for the reminder of Australia’s awesome great outdoors!
March 22, 2012 @ 9:28 PM
Thanks Tom! I’m glad you enjoyed it, day 2 goes up on Monday. Australia really is great, but I know what you mean. There’s still so much of the US I haven’t seen for the same reasons, I always want to go to Europe or South America or Asia…. Now I live in Germany, so at least that’s still new enough that I want to explore my new surroundings.
March 22, 2012 @ 5:25 PM
Wonderful photos. I have been to Australia twice but not to GOR. Alas, next time.
March 22, 2012 @ 9:29 PM
Thanks Charles! The Great Ocean Road was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in Australia, you should definitely try to go next time.
Cole @ Four Jandals
March 22, 2012 @ 5:55 PM
Haha oh I shouldn’t laugh but it is funny! Great pictures and makes me pretty jealous over here in the UK.
March 22, 2012 @ 9:30 PM
Thanks Cole! I know, it is funny. I freaked out when it happened, but all I can do is laugh about it now.
March 22, 2012 @ 11:18 PM
We did this drive with John’s parents a few years ago and loved it! We saw so many koalas and really liked one of the towns along the way (not Lorne, the one after it). So glad you got to see it!
March 23, 2012 @ 11:13 AM
Thanks Andrea! I absolutely loved the Great Ocean Road! I don’t think we stopped in the town after Lorne. I’m glad you had fun too!
March 23, 2012 @ 4:13 AM
March 23, 2012 @ 11:13 AM
March 23, 2012 @ 7:24 PM
Beautiful photos. I’ve never heard of this and since I’m hoping to visit there next January this will come in handy. Thanks for sharing.
And, just think of the parrot pooh as him saying ‘welcome to my play ground’. 😉
March 24, 2012 @ 11:19 AM
Thanks Pamela! If you’re going to the Melbourne area, the Great Ocean Road is a must do. Check out my post on Monday, more photos from there!
April 4, 2012 @ 9:47 AM
I’ve never been to Australia but im dying to go! I have so many friends that have gone and come back with such wonderful and exotic stories! Let’s see if I can plan a trip soon! Loved your pics!
April 4, 2012 @ 11:21 AM
I hope you do make it there Anji, Australia is a great country!