Last weekend we did proper Aussie things. We went to see Aussie rules football and we visited places outside of Melbourne!
First the footie. As we’re living in St Kilda at the moment we’ve become Saints fans, so we headed to the Etihad Stadium to see them in action. They were playing the Sydney Somethings and somehow managed to win, even though there was plenty of fumbling and dropping the ball at every opportunity. It’s possible even I could have managed some of those catches!
Footie games seem to go on for a while – 4 quarters of 20ish minutes each – but with 18 players on each team there’s always lots to see. Unfortunately I can’t tell you much more than that because I can’t remember any of the rules or anything particularly exciting that happened. (Let’s face it, I’m probably never going to be a sports journalist!)
The very next day we headed off on a Great Ocean Road coach trip and literally and actually left the confines of Melbourne for a whole day. First stop was Colac, a town famous (as far as I’m concerned) for being the hometown of the Rebecchi crew in Neighbours. We only stopped for half an hour, but that was long enough to get a good coffee and to sample a delicious Aussie delicacy, the coffee scroll. It’s basically an iced bun with currants, and even though I hate currants, I thought it was pretty good!
Next stop was the Otway Fly Treetop Walk, where we enjoyed a lovely stroll along an elevated boardwalk high up in a temperate rainforest, peering down at the massive ferns below. It was the perfect day for this experience – slightly damp and chilly but with glimpses of dazzling sunlight and touches of warmth through the branches.
After Otway we were on the road again. We took a slight detour, when our incredibly lovely coach driver accidentally went the wrong way and ended up at a dead end, so then had to do a 27 point turn – in a coach – in order to face the right way again!
But we made it to our next stop without further delay – the incredible Twelve Apostles. By this time it was gloriously bright and sunny, and with every step along the boardwalk there was yet another awe-inspiring view to greet our eyes. Next we headed to Loch Ard Gorge – the site of a 19th century shipwreck with a beautiful beach and a cove (where the only two shipwreck survivors sheltered all those years ago).
Our penultimate stop was the small (but perfectly formed) town of Port Campell. After a dash to the Surf Club loos SJ and I ate a tasty Magnum by the sea, while Alex watched teams battling it out on the beach as part of The Amazing Race Australia. We look forward to seeing whether Alex will be visible in the background whenever the show airs!
Finally we carried on a short way to London Bridge – another beautiful rock formation that is actually no longer a bridge because it collapsed into the sea in 1990 (while two people were standing on the other side – ooops!).
We arrived back in Melbourne a few hours later, feeling exhausted in that way people often feel after sitting on a coach for hours on end. But it was a fantastic day, packed full of breath-taking views and spectacular sights, plus our coach driver was a real treasure. I’d definitely recommend this tour to anyone who wants to experience the Great Ocean Road (and why wouldn’t you?).
Our specific tour was actually organised by the University of Melbourne’s graduate students’ association, but the coach and driver were from AAT Kings. Find out about their Great Ocean Road tour.