My favourite memory of our Melbourne break will be the day we visited the Twelve Apostles. Of the day trips offered, there was a funny reason for choosing this one. I saw the journey, all 600km of it, would touch the town of Colac. Having grown up in Colac Bay in NZ, I just had to visit Australia’s Colac and compare these two place names.
We left Melbourne at 8am. It was an overcast day, but I had my fingers crossed rain would stay away. While the bus wasn’t quite full I’m sure the organisers where happy with their financial return. Off we went across the Westgate Bridge – which our driver said was over 3km long. But checking I had noted this correctly, I’m seeing its half a kilometre shorter.
Deb, our driver, was a joy to listen to. She obviously enjoyed sharing stories of the countryside with us. Amidst many of her facts/stories about Australia one detail surprised me. 40% of all Australian children attend private schools. I did not know this snippet.
On another visit Werribee Zoo is somewhere I’d consider visiting. Deb waxed lyrical about the park which initially offered “holidays” for animals housed in Melbourne Zoo. It is now a safari type zoo covering over 200 hectres. It specialises in working with endangered species, both local and exotic. I suspect Deb has a real soft spot for the work carried out here.
Soon we turned onto the Great Ocean Road and began the trip touted as one of the most scenic coastal roads in the world. Even from the bus, the coastline was amazing. Varying from rocky outcrops to golden sandy beaches, I could imagine holidaying in any of the small towns we passed/stopped.
We stopped to admire the Memorial Arch – now on its third construction – lunched in Apollo Bay and searched for illusive koalas and birdlife in the tree tops. We marvelled at the skill of our driver as we whizzed around the narrow, windy road, in some places reduced to one lane due to rockfalls. All this before we sighted the Twelve Apostles.
It easy to imagine how erosion divided these limestone stacks from the mainland. While the sea did not appear rough, the breakers pounding against these towers looked ferocious. I was in awe of their magnificence. I could have stayed admiring them for much longer than our tour allowed. The Melbourne visitor’s centre suggested one should visit when able as one stack had recently (2010) collapsed into the sea. It’s easy to imagine sailing ships foundering on this coast. The lack of warning lighthouses and difficulty in maneuvering those old ships against the power of the ocean lead to many deaths here.
The day was closing in on us as we said goodbye to the Twelve Apostles. What a great day, and only one mere skiffy shower. Now for my chance to visit Colac on the way back to Melbourne. Or so I’d thought. Deb seemed quite regretful when she advised it would be dark before we reached Colac. And that the bus would not stop.
Oh well. I doubt the Aussie town could hold a patch on my Colac. And it would probably have been a bit of a let down after the beauty of the Twelve Apostles.