Monday, December 3, 2012

Koalas, Birds, Waterfalls, Coastline, Part 1 -- Mon., Dec. 3

Today was a jam-packed day from beginning (8:30 a.m.) to end (2:00 a.m.). Let me start at the beginning.

Bob went out for a 1-1/2 hour walk this morning and enjoyed getting to know the town of Lorne. He especially liked the history on the pier. When he got back to the room, I took a quick walk along the Erskine River to see the suspension bridge near our hotel.

Erskine River with suspension bridge.
Best Western Lorne Coachman Inn
Pedestrian suspension bridge.
Boardwalk trail along the Erskine River.
Lovely early morning reflection.
Caravan (RV) park across the fence from our motel.
To start our sightseeing today, we went to Stony Creek Lily Pond Reserve to take a short walk to the cascades. Ha! No cascades here today, only a trickle of water going down such a small incline it looked flat in my photos, so I'm not including a pic, just the trail and the ocean on the other side of the road.

Stony Creek Reserve Trail.
A walk under the road from the Stony Creek Reserve brought us here.
We continued along the GOR (Great Ocean Road) to Sheoak Falls where we did a 20 minute round-trip hike to the falls.
Sheoak Falls Trail
Bob at Sheoak Falls.
After talking with the German couple last night while waiting to see the glow-worms, we learned koalas lived in the campground where they were staying. Today we stopped and, sure enough, found koalas in the trees.

But just as much fun and much more interactive were the birds! A very generous Asian gentleman shared his bird seed with us and immediately we had birds all over us! That experience was another fun surprise on our trip. [Note to any RV friends who want to stay here: Be prepared for tourist buses to stop in next door. The tourists overrun the park to photograph koalas, feed and photograph birds and use the toilets.]
Where the koalas and birds are.

Two koalas snuggled together sleeping.
Crimson rosella.

Too much fun--Australia king parrots.
For our RV friends, this is the campground at Kennett River.

So cute!
The next stop on our whirlwind day was Carisbrook Falls Lookout, a five-minute hike up a hill to the lookout, then a quick trip down again.
Carisbrook Falls.
We then had to make tracks to our next destination, Cape Otway in Great Otway National Park to see the lighthouse. On the way down the road to the lighthouse, we saw many cars parked. That usually means there are animals nearby. Sure enough, the trees in the area were populated with koalas...not just one or two but a lot. One huge tree had five koalas sleeping in it. All over the area, if you looked up you saw koalas.

Momma and baby (the baby is darker--held in front)

Mom scratching--you can see the baby better
Another koala in the same tree.
Baby and mom koala eating leaves side by side.
I just couldn't get enough of the koalas as Bob will tell you. He had to drag me away so we could get on with the day.

At Cape Otway we found there is a charge of $18.50 per person to go through the gate and walk up to the lighthouse which I think also includes a tour. We thought that was exorbitant. There was a short hike to a viewpoint of the lighthouse for free. We did that instead.

Cape Otway lighthouse.
Continuing along the GOR, our next stop was Castle Cove Lookout.

 At the Info Centre in Apollo Bay we had checked to see which waterfall trails were open and which were closed. We found we could hike to three waterfalls, but one of them was a longer hike than we had time for today, so we went to two of them: Hopetoun and Triple Falls.

Hopetoun was a two-minute hike to an overlook. Easy!

Triple Falls was 45 minutes round-trip on a loop hike through a spectacular, lush rainforest. Here we are enjoying the cool, scenic trail.

This old mountain ash is really big!
Triple Falls
Close up of right side Triple Falls--a beauty in itself.
History about early logging of the area on our Triple Falls hike

Click photo to enlarge for reading.
Timber bogie.
Steam boiler.
That finishes up our day until about 4:00 p.m. This blog is over-full of photos. I will make a Part 2 blog for today to finish up our Great Ocean Road tour and drive into Melbourne.
Travel Bug be continued.