Day 40

In Geelong, a city an hour west of Melbourne, we went on an excursion to the Otway Fly Treetop Walk. Geelong was very active this Saturday morning with an Ironman Competition, girls in high school sculling races on the river, cricket matches on the Australian football league grounds, and general family weekend activities. Our excursion was an all-day outing, including a two hour drive from the pier. The tour guide decided to do the tour in reverse, meaning he would take us overland into the interior and through some small villages and countryside scenery and arrive at the Otway Treetop Walk from the back. He wanted to give us a chance to see more of Australia rather than doing a round-trip solely on the coast road. There was no traffic on the back-country road and the bus made good time, even after a brief rest stop in a quaint little village called Berrigurra. Time stopped there 100 years ago. There were cute little store fronts and a wide main street. The few people there seemed to enjoy their slower paced lifestyle.

Otway is nestled in the heart of a rainforest with many ferns and old growth eucalyptus trees, including the giant Mountain Ash tree. After a brief stop at the visitors’ center, we walked down a ½ mile path to the walkway entrance. The steep walk down got us thinking that we had better save some energy for the return trip back up the incline. The canopy walk is a steel-trussed pathway that passes high above the forest floor, with a birds-eye view of Myrtle, Beech, Blackwood, and Mountain Ash trees. We got to climb a spiral staircase around a tower rising an additional 150 feet into the air for a chance to be at, or above, tree level. We took the canopy walk to the suspension cable ending, called the Springboard, which gently sways and bounces above Youngs Creek. Some people chose to avoid this section. This entire forested area has been untouched for over 100 years and feels like primitive Earth.  We spent more than an hour and a half here. It was a lot of fun, and something we had never done before. The walk back uphill after the treetop walk was difficult for several of the older folks with us, so we intercepted a shuttle bus that drove the trail every hour and asked the driver to pick up those who were struggling. There was never any mention of the ½ mile walk each way. I guess we all thought the walk began right after the visitors’ center. More explanation may be necessary for future excursions.

After leaving the treetops, we began our trek on the Great Ocean Road, a more than 100 mile long, winding coastal road built after World War II. The beach scenery and coastline were beautiful, and we had a lovely, sunny 80 degree day to really show it off. We stopped for almost an hour in Apollo Bay, where we walked to the beach and later had a fish and chips lunch.

We also made an unscheduled surprise stop at a spot that the tour guide told us had koalas in the trees and colorful parrots eating out of our hands. This was a nice touch. We got back to the ship at about 6PM, just in time to change and get ready for dinner.

Mac decided to forego tonight’s show so he could get today’s photos downloaded and sent, so I went by myself and sat with some friends. Simone and Colin, an Australian husband and wife team, performed a high-energy show, a mix of guitars, violin, piano, and vocals. They played (or sang) “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions,” “Live and Let Die,” and some classical Hungarian and Irish melodies. They received a standing ovation.

We turn our clocks back ½ hour tonight. Australia seems to make-up their own rules. Tomorrow is a sea day as we head west toward Adelaide.

Yours in Travel,

Pat & Mac