The Forest meets the Sea – having a whale of a time

Today we didn’t really know where we were going to end up. We started off going back through Warnambool, and passing a sign saying “Whale watching – June to September.” We both liked the sound of that, but didn’t much like our chances, it being the very end of Sept. Nonetheless, we thought we would check out the beach for the heck of it. We actually went past the turn-off, but J being the lovely boy that he is hauled the truck around and off we went looking for the beach. I was trying very hard not to get my hopes up – I don’t often have much luck at the best of times, and this is the end of Sept – so I was very, very impressed to see a whale!! And a calf!! !!!!! When I say ‘see’, I mean of course ‘caught a glimpse of its back and flipper, and the occasional spurt of water’. Most of the time it just looked like a shadow under the water; in fact, at first we both thought it was just kelp. It was so exciting to see. And quite funny, too: J and I have a running joke that on lots of our trips bush, I [jokingly] demand that he show me some animal I’ve never seen before. I think this really started when we went up to Mt Buffalo a few years ago; we passed all these lyrebird signs, so I told him I wanted to see one. On our last day there, there was a lyrebird basically making its nest in the carpark. J therefore claims never to have let me down – and the whale today backs him up.

Anyway, after that excitement, we headed down the Great Ocean Road. We stopped at the Bay of Islands – sea stacks, very nice; skipped the Bay of Martyrs; stopped at London Bridge (which, of course, has fallen down); skipped Loch Ard Gorge; then went to the Twelve Apostles. The last time I saw them, you could still park basically right next to them. But no longer: now, you park in this massive supermarket-like carpark; go through some ‘Discovery Centre’ thing (which I don’t think had anything commercial, for which I am thankful), then under the road out to the lookouts. Come on people, they’re just sea stacks!! Quite pretty and impressive, but sea stacks nonetheless. And then there were these idiots who ignored the warnings about the crumbly cliffs and jumped the fence….

Next we drove up to Lavers Hill, then to Triplet Falls. It was nice enough – quite a pretty little walking track. From there we went down through the Otways, back to the coast, on quite a fun track (few too many potholes, and lots of curves that made me glad J was driving). We ended up at Blanket Bay, which we thought might be full but turns out isn’t – getting there, though; I’m glad we arrived early-ish.

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