I can't believe that my time in Australia is coming to a close already. I arrived December 20th and today (February 15th) I leave for Johannesburg, South Africa. I wrapped up my Australia trip with a week in Melbourne with my cousin, Emma and a few days in Perth with the last Australian relatives I hadn't met, my cousin, Jim, his wife Leah, and their lovely little 17month old daughter, Avaley.
Melbourne, Victoria is "The Place to Be" according to their license plates and it was really nice!
Emma had the great idea to drive down the Great Ocean Road to take me to see the sights. It was a gorgeous and spectacular drive and there is tons to see.
We stopped for lunch and this cocky cockatoo helped clear up the plates enjoying some French fries
The spectacular Great Ocean Road
Crimson Rosella at Kennett River
Lazy Koala at Kennett River
Big old Koala at Kennett River
On the road driving south towards the Cape Ottway Lighthouse we saw so many Koalas! We counted 23 wild Koalas including this mum with her baby on her back. Rick and Joy.. you almost had me convinced that Koalas were scarce when I was in Kyogle. They might be having a tough time in northern NSW but they are reaching plague proportions in Victoria!
Emma and I did a guided Platypus tour near the town of Forrest, just inland from the Great Ocean Road...well....Platypus are about the lamest creatures to see that you can imagine. It was a very peaceful paddle at dusk on a glassy lake in a canoe while we searched for the elusive "lame-opus". We saw about 5 of them from a distance as they swam at the surface of the water before diving down to dig for bugs and grubs in the muddy lake bottom. Basically, they looked like small muskrats when they swim and you might be able to convince yourself that you saw a small bill.... but pretty lame all in all.
WOW! A PLATYPUS!
Maits Rest Rainforest Walk was a lovely shady walk with boardwalks and giant tree ferns
Beach near 12 Apostles
Awwww, a rabbit at the beach ;)
One of the 12 Apostles
Some of the other Apostles
Loch Ard Gorge
After two days driving the Great Ocean Road with an overnight stop in Apollo Bay in the middle we spent a laid back day in Melbourne with a trip to the local Matilda Bay Brewery followed by drinks downtown in one of Melbournes funky alley pubs "Chuckle Park". The next day we headed out to Phillips Island to see the Fairy Penguins which were really cute! These penguins climb up the beach after sunset every evening and go home. They are the smallest penguins in the world and were really fun to watch as they waddled up the beach to their burrows.
Giant Koala on Phillips Island beside the Rusty Water Brewery
Got a kick out of this sign on Phillips Island
Windy day at the Nobbies (an area where knobs of rock stuck out of the ocean on the coast)
Emma frightening penguins
The Little Penguins have been weaponized! Just kidding, they put a sensor on the penguins to track their movements and found that they dive repeatedly to depths up to 75m when they are away from home hunting. Penguins stay away for a day or many days before returning home
The next day we did a snorkeling trip out of Queenscliff, near Melbourne to swim with Fur Seals and Dolphins! The tour operator, Sea All Dolphin Swims was excellent and we had a great time. I would highly recommend them if you are in the neighborhood! We got to swim with fur seals right beside us, get towed by ropes behind the boat while a pod of dolphins swam alongside us, jump off the top of the boat, swim, walk along a beach, and enjoy some sun near Melbourne. Melbourne in a nutshell has excellent coffee, excellent breakfast spots, cool pubs, cool alleyway art, and very funky vibe.
More Spandy Andy Shots!
Melbourne, Federation Square
Sculpture at Federation Square
Alleyway art with a projection of people walking past
Melbourne at night
Another day, another tasting paddle - this one at James Squire Pub in Melbourne
On February 12th I flew to Perth for my final stop in Australia. I had a great time visiting my cousin Jim, his wife Leah, and their lovely little girl Avaley. I got to catch lunches with two former colleagues who live in Perth now (Raymond and Kelsey) and got to check out the Little Creatures Brewery (Excellent), some of the coastline a marina, and a sheltered beach.
Tasting platter at Little Creatures Brewery
View of downtown Perth from Kings Park
Leah, Jim and Ava
Avaley is already a little swimmer at 17months and is totally fearless around water... I guess Dad being a former Olympic swimmer probably factors in
Sunset at the marina
Jim and me
Thanks so much to all my Australian relatives and friends for your hospitality showing me around, sharing your time and your homes, feeding me, looking after me, and generally being AWESOME! You all have a home when you come to Canada with me wherever I end up. I love you all and will miss you. Thanks for making my time in Australia so special!