Tasmania, Great Ocean Road, Otways and Grampians - September / October 2007
We took the old VW beetle across to Tasmania on the ferry, and I discovered I had sea legs, even when I was on crutches with an unusable ankle. I loved being back on the sea, and was extremely disappointed that there were no open deck areas on the ferry. This was another trip where we didn't really have any pre-booked accommodation, except at Cradle Mountain, so we were flexible.
Squishing into the back of the beetle was not the most pleasant experience, but I got to have my feet up! The weather was mostly rainy and quite cold on most days, and it even snowed (a tiny bit) at Cradle Mountain. There were a couple of stunning days. The wildlife was very friendly - demanding food from the cabin occupants seemed to be a common pastime. The Skywalk through the forest near a forked river was stunning, if a little challenging on crutches! It was good to see the botanic gardens in Hobart, and see Pete Cundall's vegetable patch in real life - I had seen it so many times on the TV (ABC Gardening Australia). I happily played with macro photos, shooting many flowers (around the rain showers).
I had remembered Hells kitchen and the blow hole to be much more impressive from when I was there on a school trip, but this time it was disappointing. The wildlife parks were looking run-down, and it was sad to see the quarantined Tasmanian devils. I hope they find the origin and a cure soon for the facial tumour disease that is threatening to wipe out the devils. I remembered one park where they let you hold a baby wombat, and my partner was thrilled - wombats are his favourite animals.
|flickr | nifwlseirff | Tasmania 2007|
We were lucky to have fantastic weather for the trip down the Great Ocean Road (Victoria), and this time, we had a rental car, which was a lot more comfortable (at least for the passengers). The scenery was stunning, but the twelve apostles are even less than I remember (many have fallen over now), but the new tourist viewing platforms along the road are a nice touch and very accessible (I was on crutches with a badly sprained ankle at the time).
|flickr | nifwlseirff | Great Ocean Road 2007|
Along the Great Ocean Road we drove through the Otways, and I was reminded of Tasmania. There was another tree-top walk, with the structure created by the same company, this one was set in thick forest with a small stream at the bottom. There is currently only one more tree-top walk in Western Australia that I haven't been on. The walk to the start of the Flywalk was *very* long, and all down hill. I didn't manage to come back up on the crutches and caught a lift as the park was closing. I have to return when my ankle has healed, so I can explore more easily.
|flickr | nifwlseirff | Otways 2007|
We returned to Melbourne via the Grampians, and it was really interesting to see how they were recovering from the 2006 fires, which devastated the area less than a year prior. Many of the walking tracks were still closed, with unsafe or completely destroyed walking tracks. Being on crutches limited my mobility anyway, so we stopped at one of the more accessible (and open) lookout spots.
|flickr | nifwlseirff | Grampians 2007|