Sunday, January 5, 2014

12 Apostles, formerly known as sow and piglets...

Interesting formations
Rocky Coastline
It was a dark and stormy morning. The clouds had rolled in, bringing rain with it. Periodically it was the PNW rain but all too often It was leaning towards heavy and even downpours! We persevered, however, wending our way along the coastal road...the great ocean drive...traveling ever closer to the twelve apostles.
Part of the 12 apostles
The coastline here has a lot of limestone cliffs, cliffs that are easily eroded through the actions of the relentlessly pounding surf. The surf isolated sections of the cliff, cutting them off into large stacks, standing on their own, separate from the receding coastline. At one time, these tall monoliths were known as the sow and piglets but some founding father...or more likely a founding mother, decided that the name had no class and since there were 11 of these huge columns, heck, it was almost twelve so why not change the name to the twelve apostles! There is a large debate if there ever were actually twelve but the name stuck. One toppled a while back but still...ten is close to twelve. Actually, there are a couple on the opposite side of the spit so if you count them...

The only downside to the viewing was the weather timing. I referred to the rain...when we started out it was a nice gentle fall but by the time we had hiked out, it was leaning towards the nice gentle downpour side of rainfall. We, of course, had only our normal PNW rain gear, which meant we were in sandals with a light jacket. It works well at home but we, and everyone else, were soaked! Rather than walking on the beach, we had to satisfy, ourselves with a view, a few quick pictures protecting the cameras, and a quick dash back up the path.
We headed inland, staying with the storm, heading towards the coastal city of Queenscliff. We stayed in the Vue Grand hotel, a rather McMinnamin’s kind of place...old hotel, refurbished in the same style, well developed dining areas and pub. It could easily fit in with the chain.
As we roamed the streets, we found yet another hotel with the same style amenities (hmmm....wonder of the visited Portland at some point?) along with a great menu. I am so impressed with the spice variations that were available on the foods. We had raviolis, stuffed with a mushroom spiced moisture, drizzled with oil  lemon juice and a splash of basaltic. We're seriously considering a pasta dish of some sort for our next family reunion, or perhaps wedding...some kitchen work will be needed .
The Sphinx
In the morning we caught the ferry to Sorrento. We were always heading towards Melbourne but at a very slow pace. Found a park with great ocean views and a walk along the rain today. I mentioned the limestone. Dissolved limestone turns water the most gorgeous shades of turquoise you've ever seen. The pictures rarely do them justice. On the beach walk you'll see the rock formation they call the sphinx, though it is fortunately carved out of more resilient rock than the soft limestone cliffs from the day before.

Wound our way around the coast to a lighthouse sitting out on a prominent point. This part of the coastline is extremely rugged with rocks strewn along the beaches, similar to the Oregon coastline. We sat out at a small cafe looking over the ocean. They have a surf rescue organization where they apparently teach all sorts of lessons. We saw tiny little kids, jumping up and down in the shallowest areas, under the watchful eyes of a number of lifeguards. A bit further up slightly larger kids were swimming out into the waves where the guards on surfboards sat, and body surf back in. Other groups were taking surfboards out, then working the catch a ride. There was yet another group that was practicing rescue skills....five kids went out, started waving arms like they needed help, and five others raced out on their boards to rescue them. Australia has made lifeguard skills into a competitive sport. They have annual events where lifeguards pit their skills against others in marathon type events that include swimming, surfing, various rescue situations and more.

Cactus Bloom
Roamed further along the coast, visiting a few other small, and not so small, beach towns along the way. Eventually ended up in Melbourne where we headed to the Royal Botanical Gardens.  There we spent the last few hours, roaming the paths and exploring the various flora of Australia as well as other parts of the world. A great ending to a great trip!

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