What we planned for this day:
City sights are stimulating, but today it’s time to hit the road. Not just any road, but one so respected it’s literally termed “The Great Ocean Road.” We didn’t need much encouragement to see ocean frontage, despite plenty of opportunities of that ilk at our later down-under destinations.
What we saw this day:
This was a full day tour. The van logged hundreds of about 300 kilometers away from Melbourne for us to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells all along the way. Our accommodating pilot was Shane, who recently relocated from Port Douglas, our Saturday destination. Sixteen other passengers joined us in a 24-person vehicle, representing France, Germany, Taiwan, Philippines, and Japan; note no Australians other than Shane.
The Road runs southwest from the city, west of Port Phillip Bay. Those waters provide this city a protected port from the ravages of the seas beyond. Then we ventured west to the open spaces of the Southern Ocean. (That ocean doesn’t seem to appear on globes, but Australians seem fond of recognizing the water to their south in that way, so we will play along.)
Weather was sure to be critical for the degree to which we would value this day’s tour, and Mother Nature’s offering did not disappoint. While starting in fog and mist, the skies lifted through the morning to be partly cloudy. Once again we rocked in the 70s for temperature … or low 20s if you prefer Celsius.
Depiction of the sights we saw is left to our photos.
What we learned this day:
The beach area is famous for world class surfing on waves with the height of city buildings and probably the weight of a house should one crash down atop you. We didn’t sample surfing, but one of the 100-plus movie choices during our flight to Melbourne was a documentary centered on this area in the 1960s and a famous surfer named Wayne Lynch who tamed the waves in a style like nobody before him. I doubt you could find “Unchartered Waters” in your U.S. video selections, but I can recommend the 2012 movie “Chasing Mavericks” for a terrific story about a man, a boy, and the lengths they went to tackle surfing and “real” life at the same time.
The road was built by servicemen after the First World War, providing jobs and a link to a slightly remote but beautiful and desired area of Australia.
We learned about three geologic zones this day because we passed visited them:
- Summer beaches
- Temperate rain forest
- Limestone cliffs
Other bits I can share:
One thing consistent about both “Unchartered” and “Mavericks” is to find that avid surfers are avid weather watchers … even forecasters. They study meteorological conditions that produce the best waves, then flock to those conditions akin to “storm chasers” zipping hundreds of miles to view tornado-producing conditions.
My mention above of “100-plus” movie choices on our flight is not a mistake. I knew we would have the modern convenience of a 10-inch video screen in front of each passenger, embedded in the headrest portion of the preceding seat. I thought that meant we could watch “the movie” up close, which was actually the case jetting from home to Los Angeles. I had no idea that this touch screen would allow each of us to make a personal choice from a library of movies grouped and numbering as follows: premier/current (18), encore (8), Oscar classics (79), family (7), Australian (7), art house (8), and world (12). That’s 139 in total!
Being that “football season” and “basketball season” are behind us, the best of TV now becomes “movie season” in our household. I could have stayed on this plane around the world and watched more good flicks, but the choice was to focus non-sleeping and non-eating hours on three Australian-made movies, suspecting I wouldn’t see them anywhere else. They didn’t have the classics that I love, such as Gallipoli, Breaker Morant, Mad Max, My Brilliant Career, or Walkabout – to name a few. The 2008 movie “Australia” with Nicole Kidman was our choice during the flight we had to the west coast, being one of four downloaded to my PC and Kindle to pass the time. We would support watching that one for you (adult) movie fans.
What’s great about movies from another land or set there is that you can get a feeling for life in that locale. While educational or helpful, it can be a narrow view. Thus, we landed a few days ago where expecting all men to sound like Paul “Crocodile Dundee” Hogan, and all women to look like Nicole Kidman. They do not; they do not. (Editor’s note: The “we” used in this paragraph might actually refer to just one person, your narrator!)
Let the photos speak for me now, not in any particular order.