31st January, 2012
we slept a bit longer as we did not have big plans. On the Island we
first visited a chocolate factory. A sample convinced us that you can
also get good chocolate in Australia. After this sweet strengthening
we continued to the Wonderland Animal Park. The animal park was a bit
sloppy, so we decided also to visit the Maru Koala Park. I was here
already last time and this is a small and fine animal park. It is
lovely to observe the animals here. The interesting thing was that
they have 3 albino kangaroos and one albino peacock. Then we drove to
Foster. As we had time, we took the coast road and enjoyed the many
view points. While driving Konrad saw another Echinda. As I take a
picture of everything jumping in front of the lens, I had to do a
100m sprint to get to the animal. I was lucky it was still there. But
my arrival scared it and it run into a trunk and curled up. In the
late afternoon we arrived in Foster and went to our accommodation for
the next two days.
30th January, 2012
awoke in the early morning as the main street was just below our
window. Sow we packed our stuff and went to the ferry. Unfortunately
we were a bit too late so we had to wait for the next one. We used
that time to have breakfast. With the ferry, a katamaran, we went to
Sorrento. On the Mornington Peninsula we drove along the coast. We
actually wanted to go to French Island to observe Koalas. But a few
drops of rain made us to think it would be better just to continue
driving. We enjoyed the nice view to the coast a went a bit walking.
On the way we saw also a few parrots. Until noon we had luck with the
weather as it was clear in between. But the rain started again as we
drove over the bridge which connects Philipp Island with the
mainland. As we reached the Koala Conservation Centre it was
bucketing down. We waited for 10 minutes in the car and hopped it
will get better. Our prayers were answered and the rain got fewer. We
used this moment to run to the café. Then the weather went better
and better and we finally could go to see the koalas, kangaroos,
birds and insects. After we found accommodation, we went to the
Nobbies Centre, a place were you could see seals. At least if you go
at the right season. There was a very strong breeze and we had to
make sure that our caps did not fly away. We followed a boardwalk and
at one spot there were many people with cameras. Below the walk there
sat a small, 15 cm tall penguin. The penguins here, the Little
Penguin, is the smallest penguin species and they come back every
evening from fishing. With some skill it was possible to take a
picture of it. Also here we met some wild kangaroos, somehow there
are many animals on this island. As it was already late in the
evening, we decided not to go back to Cowes where our motel was.
Instead we made a hike to the Swan Lake. As the name tells, you can
observe swans there. But not white ones, as we know them. In
Australia the swans are black. We could observe them and other water
birds from two observing stands. On the way to the lake ww met an
echinda. Konrad explained it as a egg-laying cross-bread between a
hedgehog and a anteater. Can you imagine that?
evening we went to the Penguin Parade. First we educated ourselves at
the visitor center about penguins. OK, Konrad knew already quite a
lot about them. The we went over the boardwalk to the tribune. As we
were there very early, a ranger gave us the hint to go to the
bottom. The seagulls made the opening act and entertained the
visitors with their behaviour. It got colder and colder as we wore
only short trousers and a jacket. Slowly the sun set, now it could
not last long until the penguins arrive. But first we saw their
enemy. There was a seal swimming in the waves and was waiting for
dinner. Hopefully it did not eat too much! At 21:04 it started. The
first of 652 Penguins plash at the shore. It sounds like many, but in
the spring here there are many more. About 120 of the little animals
passed beside us. Cheerful is their behaviour. They arrive with the
waves. Then they wait until their group is big enough. Finally they
walk in zigzag through the gulls, so they are not seen by the
enemies. After the gulls they run as fast as possible over the beach
and then up the hill to their nests. Some will walk up to a
kilometer. As it started to rain after a while, we went back to the
visitor center over the boardwalk. Beside we there many penguins in
front of their nests or we could listen them chatting to each other.
After we made sure that there is no penguin hidden below our car, we
went back to the motel with many impressions.
29th January, 2012
on the veranda of our hostel and enjoy the cool breeze from the sea.
But one after the other.
yesterday went to bed quite early, we today stood up also a bit
earlier. After we got all our stuff packed, we went again hiking. We
drove until the car park of the Mackenzie Falls. A bit before and at
the car park we saw again cangaroos. But those were smaller as the
other ones we saw before. First we walked to the nearby Broken Fall,
then to the Mackenzie Fall. To our surprise it had a lot of water, at
least for local circumstances. It is very beautiful. First we went
many steps to the base of the fall, after we went up again to another
lookout at the top. From there we could see the complete waterfall
and it was very nice. Konrad wanted to do another mountain hike, but
we were not allowed to drive on gravel road with the rented car. As a
replacement we visited another fall. So we hiked to the Beehive Fall.
On the way we saw a wild beehive, parrots and also a cockatoo.
continued by car and stopped in Ararat. We just arrived as at least
200 motorcycles passed in a kind of parade. After lunch we went on
towards the sea. We passed Geelong and came then to Queenscliff.
There we were looking for the Youth Hostel. In the tourist
information they said it is the house just beside. From the outside
it looks like an old hotel. After booking a room we went to the beach
and explored a bit the town. The evening ended with a nice dinner. As
we did not know from which animal an eye fillet is taken, the
friendly waiter explained that it is something like a steak. Then it
must be beef. The fillet was made with mushrooms in the center and
wrapped in bacon. As it was Sunday we granted us the culinary
early morning we started with litres of water, food and my walking
sticks. We drove to the Wonderland Carpark. There we started the hike
to the Pinnacles. There were many lizards taking a sunbath. Our way
led through a small gorge with the name Grand Canyon, then passed the
Bridal Veil Fall. Only we saw neither a bridal veil nor a waterfall.
Higher up we passed the Silent Street, where you only should hear
your own steps. I agree with the travel guide: you hear only yourself
and no animal sounds. At the top we had a beautiful view over Halls
Gap, the surrounding mountain range and into the plain. There were
many other people on that track. But the shoes of some of them were shocking: flip-flops are definitively not the right choice
for a rocky hike.
going back we chose another route, but somehow with Konrad as guide
we short-cut it through a gap in the rocks to the original track.
Back at the carpark we took another track to a waterfall. I think
except of us nobody was interested in that fall, because we were alone
on that track. Finally we found a nice fall, but unfortunately with
very little water. But no wonder, it is summer and then water is rare
in Australia. Sometimes we also heard and saw parrots on that track.
stop was Boroka Lookout. Here you see over Halls Gap and its
surrounding from another side. As it now was about noon, we continued
to the Reed Lookout. From here you see to the west into the Victoria
Vally. The temperature was nice 32° C and we still had some energy
left, so we walked to the Balconies. This is the most famous motif
for taking pictures in the Grampians National Park. It is forbidden
to stand on these rock noses as they could break, but there are always some who cannot
resist, just to get the ultimate picture. We could resist, but had to
wait until I could make a picture which was free of people. With
tired legs we made a stroll through Halls Gap to finish the afternoon.
The town is very long, but the main part is very small. It is similar
to Davos, but much smaller. Also here they are living mainly from
preparing breakfast we realized that the lactose free milk of Petra
in reality is cream. After the breakfast we continued the Great Ocean
Road. We visited the natural rock bridges Arch, London Bridge and
Grotto. We made a few photo stops until Warrnambool and enjoyed the
last views to the coast.
Warrnambool we bought SIM cards for the mobile phone and Internet.
Then we crossed the country towards the Grampians National Park. It
was interesting how dry the country is and there is still livestock.
We knew that the National Park is not far as suddenly two forest
covered peaks appeared. Inside the park we had first to drive about
50 km straight, sometimes up and sometimes down. Then we made an stop
for the Silverband Falls. We had to walk for a kilometer to the fall.
A flood two years ago left remarkable marks, there was much wood
lying around the river bed. Suddenly I saw a kangaroo drinking water.
It was not shy and I could take my first kangaroo picture. During my
last stay in Australia I never saw one so close. The fall itself was
very nice and the walk was worth it. On the way back the kangaroo was
still near the river.
drove to Halls Gap, where we stayed over night. From our window we
could observe parrots.
closed the evening with a small walk. A hint from the hostel staff
led us to a nearby sports ground were many kangaroos were grazing.
They did not show fear from humans and we could take pictures from