Sivu on muuttanut uuteen osoitteeseen


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You are here for one small moment in time...

...Begins about 100 km from Melbourne and goes almost all the way to Adelaide, South Australia. It's one of the most scenic coastlines in the world with top-class surf beaches and striking and dramatic limestone and sandstone formations created by erosion from waves and rain.

At the famous Bells Beach...

Surf beaches along the GOR make for some of the best and most consistent surf wave opportunities in the world.

Surf beach in Torquay
Torquay is a beautiful surf town with nice beaches, packed with tourists in the summer. The big surf brands Rip Curl and Quiksilver have their roots in Torquay. The Great Ocean Road starts here.

Road passes many holiday towns (Victoria's earliest settlements) where mountains meet the sea. We stayed at Port Fairy, at a nice 4 star apartment with a spa and a fireplace. It was a nice change after sleeping in cheap hotels and campervans :)

It took us 7 hours to get to Port Fairy, and because the weather was cold and cloudy, we decided to go and see the cliffs the next day on the way back.

Bay of Islands
... But, the next day the weather was even worse :( When we got to the Bay of Islands, the weather was so rainy and windy, that we just  had to quickly take a couple of snaps and run back to the car.

Chillin' at the Grotto... 
I'm wearing Anthony's clothes because (surprisingly) I hadn't packed enough warm clothes. 

The London Bridge, or the London Arch actually, after it fell in half in 1990.

The sun came out for a bit before it started raining again :)

'The razorback' 

'The blowhole'


the Loch Ard Gorge:




Around 180 historic shipwrecks pepper the coast, and there are as many stories describing the treachery of this notorious route. Read the tragedy of the Loch Ard:


And the last but not the least, the Twelve Apostles, a signature Victorian landscape. Along with Ayers Rock one of the most photographed sites in Australia:

The Great Ocean Road is also a good place to spot wildife. Whales are often seen along the coast, as well as seals, and koalas in the national parks. We managed to get really close to a seal in Torquay, and saw 4 koalas! I didn't expect to see wild koalas during my stay in Australia, so I was very happy :)

Looks like he's really stoned, doesn't he? Must have been munching on those leaves all day...

Because we didn't have enough time (2 days not enough!) and the weather being crappy, I want to go there again soon. 
You are here for one small moment in time... Make the most of it :) Life is short and the world is wide...

GOR Over and out.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tasmania day 6 - Cradle Mountain

In the morning we had to get up early because we didn’t have much time to explore Cradle Mountain. We had to return the campervan in Launceston by 4.30 pm. We did a 2-hour walk around Dove Lake, and after that it was time to head back. Cradle Mountain was really nice and the weather was sunny and warm again. It would have been nice to do a longer walk all the way up to Cradle Mountain, but it takes 6-8 hours and we were running out of time…

Before we left, I imagined Tasmania to be full of forests, mountains and lakes. This proved to be right, but it’s also so much more, and so much more beautiful than I expected. The landscapes actually reminded Finland a lot. The East Coast is full of long white beaches with no tourists ruining the landscape. I never could have imagined that I would find that in Tasmania! The west is green wilderness with forests, rivers and mountains. To discover Tasmania properly, you need at least a month. 6 days is nowhere near enough. People also told me that Tasmania would be freezing, but it was hot and sunny. Maybe we were just lucky, I don’t know. Staying at beaches was nice; going to sleep listening to the waves hit the shore and waking up to the same sound, so relaxing… :) Renting a campervan turned out to be a good solution, cheap, and you can stay wherever you want without having to worry about time and places we have to be. In fact, we stopped checking the time after day 1. 

Perfect holiday spot, but we didn’t have enough time. Beautiful landscapes and incredible wildlife! Tasmania is especially perfect holiday spot for those who enjoy bushwalking (heaps of walking tracks with nice scenery), wineries and unruined landscapes.
What can I say… To my friends at home or wherever: You have no idea what you are MISSING OUT! There is no place on this earth like Australia. It’s the most amazing continent on this planet with its AMAZING AND SO UNIQUE scenery, climate and wildlife. It really makes you see how amazing the world around you really is and appreciate it. I’m so happy I came here, I think everybody should!  So… QUIT THE RAT RACE! Quit it with the excuses, it’s about prioritizing! Make travelling a priority! You only live once! carpe diem!
Don’t worry about the world coming to an end, it’s already tomorrow in Australia!
‘The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only the first page’

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Tasmania day 5 - Tamar Valley wineries

In the morning we had a long drive ahead of us; We had to drive from the east coast all the way to the west. Cradle Mountain is the ‘must see’ tourist attraction in Tasmania, so we didn’t want to skip it. Tasmania is small and the distances are not long, but the roads are really winding and hilly, and that makes the drive much longer. Once we got to Launceston, the second biggest city in Tasmania, we drove the Tamar Valley Wine Route for awhile. Tamar Valley is really famous for its wines and on the wine route there are at least 23 wineries, I counted. We only visited two because of the time restrictions, but still we tasted at least more than 12 different wines :) 
We finally got to Cradle Mountain after 7 pm. There was just one campground, and it was quite expensive, 27 dollars for a night, but it was definitely the best campground I’ve ever stayed at. After not having showered in two days, a nice hot shower felt pretty good! The facilities were really nice, and there were even two fireplaces in the camp kitchen. We had dinner with some wine and cheese and after that we went for a walk in the dark with the torch, to look for night animals :)

And after a short walk, what do we see! A Tasmanian Devil right in front of us! I had some bread with me so I tried to lure it to come closer. And it did, almost so close that I would have been able to pat it, but then it got scared and disappeared in the bushes. Anthony was holding the camera, that’s why we don’t have a photo of it. So we kept walking and ran into a strange little creature:

It looked like a big fat rat with a possum’s head but it was jumping like a kangaroo. If anyone knows what it is, let me know :) Tasmania has a lot of native animals so it was probably one of them.
The stars were amazing once again here in Australia; You never see that many stars in the northern hemisphere. The sky was FULL of stars. You really have to see it for yourself, it’s so amazing… I don’t think you can really say you’ve seen anything until you’ve seen what the night sky looks like down under!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tasmania day 4 - Bay of Fires

The weather had gone cooler during the night and it was cloudy and windy in the morning. Friendly beaches were nice, white sand again, as far as the eye could reach. Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to go for a walk along the beach, since we had to hit the road again to reach our next destination, Bay of Fires. 
Friendly Beaches
But before we headed to Bay of Fires, we wanted to check out the lighthouse that was also in the Freycinet National Park. The previous day at lunchtime people had spotted whales there. But when we got there, we could hardly even see the ocean because of the fog. :(
Bay of Fires is ranked as the world’s hottest holiday spot 2009 by Lonely Planet, so we had high expectations. Unfortunately the weather was quite chilly, but Bay of Fires was amazing! White sand and crystal clear, turquoise water, we couldn’t believe we were in Tasmania! Long white beaches one after another as far as the eye could see! And once again, it was just us on the beach and sometimes a random fisherman here or there. Definitely worth of its ranking in Lonely Planet. If only the weather had been better, it would have been perfect! I haven’t seen as nice a place anywhere in the Mediterranean or elsewhere during my travels. See, in the pics, they are all different beaches:

We drove all the way to the other side of the bay until the beaches FINALLY turned into rocks. After that we picked a beach where we would stay the night. It didn’t really matter; They were all long, gorgeous, full of white fine sand. Anthony wanted to go fishing on the beach. I grabbed a bottle of wine to keep me warm. Anthony’s been telling me what a great fisherman he is, but after he was using the previous night’s pasta and carrot as bait, I wasn’t so sure anymore… The wind was also really strong and the waves big, so I got a good laugh of his fishing attempts. We stayed fishing on the beach until it got dark and the wine bottle was empty.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Tasmania day 3 - Wineglass Bay

In the morning we wanted to check out Seven Mile Beach before moving on, since the previous night it was too dark. The weather was still hot and sunny. Unfortunately the water in Tasmania is freezing cold, about 15 degrees, since it’s so close to Antarctica, so I wasn’t brave enough to go in the water. 

The landscapes in the East Coast are beautiful! Long, endless, white beaches after another and turquoise water glittering in the sun! We stopped for lunch and a couple of wineries and finally arrived in Freycinet National Park around 4 pm. We had to buy park passes for the national park and get changed for a 3-hour-walk to Wineglass Bay. Wineglass Bay is said to be one of the 10 best beaches in the world, so we definitely wanted to check it out! 

So we’re getting ready for the trek in the carpark, and a tame little kangaroo jumps right to us! The little thing was hungry so I gave him some pear, and he ended up eating the whole pear. 


The trek to Wineglass Bay was a steep climb tp the mountain to the lookout, and then down to the bay. It was really beautiful, nice sand and water and only a few tourists. The return walk took 3 hours, a good workout! I was very happy I packed my gym shoes.

On the way to the campground we stopped at honeymoon bay for the sunset: 
Looking for a campground, we turned to this dirt track. The dirt turned into sand and when we tried to turn back it was too late and we got bogged! At first we tried to get out, but the van just sank deeper in the sand. Anthony didn’t have network and my phone ran out of battery.  We remembered there was a resort nearby so we took our torch and went for a walk. It was pitch black so if our torch had run out of batteries, we would have been in trouble! We found some cottages and  the maintenance guy of the resort came with his tractor and we were saved! We jumped on the back of the tractor and drove through the forest to our campervan. With the help of the tractor we finally got out of the dirt track and decided to drive to a campsite at Friendly Beaches. It was a bit further away but we didn’t want to take the risk of getting bogged again :)

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Tasmania day 2 - Mt Wellington & Bruny Island

In the morning Anthony went to pick up our campervan while I packed our stuff. First we went to the  tourist information and grocery shopping to fill our fridge for the trip. We started our trip from Mt Wellington, a 20-minute-drive from Hobart. It was a beautiful day and the view from Mt Wellington was pretty  nice…

After Mt Wellington we took a ferry to Bruny Island. I wanted to go to Bruny Island because I saw these brochures with pictures of seals and dolphins and beautiful landscapes. We stopped for some cheese tasting and kept on driving to Neck Beach. A REALLY beautiful beach, and EMPTY which always makes it even better! 
There was a penguin rookery, too, but unfortunately we didn’t have the time to wait for the sunset when the penguins come out of the water. We continued to South Bruny National Park where there are white kangaroos. On the way there we saw heaps of empty, nice white sandy beaches. We didn’t see a white kangaroo, but instead we saw 2 echidnas and 2 kangaroos mating! Looking for the white kangaroo we forgot about the time and we had to hurry our way back to the ferry. 
We stayed the night at a caravan park at Seven Mile Beach, a short drive from Hobart. Again, I wish we’d had more time.

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Tasmania day 1 - Hobart

We landed in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, on Saturday afternoon. Hobart is a nice city surrounded by water, mountains, rivers, forests and lakes, and so GREEN I couldn’t believe it. Especially coming from Melbourne, we hardly see any green grass here :) The sun was shining and the weather was nice and warm.
We didn’t have high expectations of Hobart, so we thought we’d only stay there for 1 night. 1 night is definitely not enough! We took a cab to our accommodation and then we went to the harbor, Salamanca, for dinner. It was SO PRETTY! It looks a lot like any Mediterranean harbor town, same architecture and atmosphere. We had dinner at a Greek tavern and afterwards we went for a drink. It’s a shame we didn’t have more time in Hobart, I really liked it.

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