Traveling On The Great Ocean Road To The Twelve Apostles
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Traveling on The Great Ocean Road to the Twelve Apostles

Today I am still on holiday. I love it.

Last week I was at Apollo Bay, Victoria for a break, just enjoying myself and relaxing. In the Easter break I was at the same place for holiday. I found on the Internet a simple, but fabulous little motel with Ocean views. I already had a few big trips to the breathtakingly beautiful Great Ocean Road. I love driving on the serpentine of the Great Ocean Road. The drive is enjoyable and the view is magnificent! There are plenty of places to stop for a rest.

One of my favourite place coming from Melbourne is Torquay, Bells Beach. This it the paradise for surfers and the birthplace of icons like Rip Curl and Quicksilver. When I was there at Easter, the big surf competition, the Rip Curl Pro took place and attracted huge crowd. It is quite an experience to see the dedication of people, mostly men, getting up early, changing into their wet suit in the car park, grabbing their boards and heading to the waves.

There is a fantastic view from the car park to admire those who ride the waves and spend their whole day waiting for the perfect waves and riding them. You will see surfers of all ages. Young and old, from all walks of life. It is truly touching to observe fathers taking their sons to the ocean and passing them their knowledge and skills. What a way to spend their leisure time!

My big favourite, Lorne, is a lovely town to spend a holiday or have a stop over on the way to the Twelve Apostles. As soon as I get to Lorne my body relaxes. The fresh ocean breeze, the buzzing art community, the cute little cafes and the surrounding Otway National Park guarantees that you won't be bored. I love the Mediterranean atmosphere I feel in Lorne. I love shopping there and it is easy to find a great meal on the way to my final destinations. Lorne's population can swell up incredibly during holidays.

This time, I spent a night there in one of the hotels. After settling in my hotel room and I went for a big walk on the beach then searched for dinner. In Lorne there is quite a choice of good cafes to eat something while you are there. This time my selection was Chopstix Asian Noodle Bar. I love Asian food and this place had two very attractive and decorative lanterns with fire out on the street to attract guests. The lanterns with the fire attracted me to choose the place and have my dinner there. Busy bar, quick service and delicious food. You can't go wrong with them.

I was so tired from the trip and the driving that after dinner I was quite happy just to chill in my room and rest. I so deserved this holiday! I truly needed it to rest and to get away from work. My nutrition business was growing and my new internet businesses started to pick up seriously and with my busy music studio already being at almost full capacity, I had quite a workload this term!

In the morning I had a nice surprise when I checked out from my room. The receptionist likes birds and he feeds them every morning. Just when I was leaving was feeding time. Beautiful Kookaburras, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and Rosellas came to the feed making a huge noise. Some of them were very friendly and flew on Terry's shoulder. Just to be able to watch them from so close was an incredible experience! That morning started well! I just needed a good breakfast!

Terry recommended a little place called the River Tea House that was hidden in a little lane. They serve a great selection of teas, home made cakes and delicious food. There is a little shop next door with some unique decorative ideas for the home and you can enjoy your food and drink sitting outside in the sun. While Lorne's main street is always busy and cafes can be overcrowded, this place didn't disappoint me. Both on the way to Apollo Bay and on my way home this is where I stopped and enjoyed a meal in the sun. It was a truly relaxing time to read the newspaper and enjoy some delicious food at River Tea House.

On the way to Split Point Lighthouse, I drove through a beautiful forest. I saw lots of koalas sleeping and munching on eucalyptus leaves some of them being so active like I've never seen before. I took some amazing photos and videos. I even had time to pull up under one of the trees and set up my camping chair and watch these beautiful creatures eating and sleeping on the trees. Then when a group of Asian tourists arrived and took over very noisily the forest, I decided to move on.

As I made my way back to the highway after enjoying the view from the Lighthouse, suddenly two beautiful cows wondered on the road looking at me like I was in a tale and the forest was an enchanted forest. After a short encounter they disappeared just the way they got there. I was left wondering if I have dreamed this or it was real?

I love the smell of the eucalyptus trees. I can't get enough of it. In Canberra, during my seven years this was the favoutite thing about living there. The eucalyptus trees and their perfume. I drove on the forest road inhaling the perfume of the eucalyptus in the air with rolled down window. There were hardly any other people around. It was an amazing feeling of freedom and connection with nature.

I noticed a kookaburra sitting on one of the tree branches. As soon as I passed the bird, it flew up from the branch and flew parallel next to me as I was driving with rolled down window. The kookaburra followed me for kilometers. Many times I looked at the bird while driving and the bird appeared absolutely comfortable with its company. It was an experience of a lifetime. I will never forget that bird flying with me. I also felt free as a bird. We were one.

Next day, I made the big trip to The Twelve Apostles. It is quite a sight. One can’t help just wonder these sandstone structures standing in the ocean. They have been standing there for thousands of years. They saw a lot of things. They survived huge storms, high waves, the most glorious sunshine and the flock of tourists. The erosion of the ocean is destroying them slowly, day by day. However, another force is killing them lately...helicopters.

The vibration of the helicopter rotors contribute that these rock formations that survived for such a long time, now one after the other suddenly collapse. I remember when the first big rock collapsed, probably in 2005. I was in Tasmania, conducting at the Festival of Voices Festival. I was staying in Zero Davey Apartments. It was on the evening news. When I saw the news I almost cried. Just a few weeks before I was there and I saw those rocks! Now gone! It was a truly historical moment. Something has disappeared that was there, survived for a very long time, now disappeared, gone and will never come back. Can’t be restored, can’t be brought back. I felt like with that news I became part of history myself. I was lucky. I saw that rock. Many others won’t.

The trip to the Twelve Apostles is always an uplifting experience. The open ocean view, those solid rock formations, the vegetation that is on the road, not to mention the sky and the light conditions, ever changing and always beautiful. I have noticed that the air near the ocean is even fresher and more charged with negative ions than here at Phillip Bay where I live. A few days there and I sleep like a baby.

This holiday, I had a secret wish. Just on 4th July I had the 19th anniversary of my arrival to Australia. I was aware that this is the season when the whales are migrating and are in the area. My secret wish was to see a whale. On Facebook, I wrote a humorous invitation to the whales to come and see me. I was checking two blogs and the Facebook pages that follow the movements of the whales so I knew they are around. I was planning to drive to Warnambool to Logan's Beach which is a known whale spotting area. The blogs gave good information on daily sightings and I realized that I probably don't need to drive all the way 200km-s to see a whale this time. The first few days at Apollo Bay were just beautiful and sunny. Then the weather change dramatically. It was sunny and beautiful one minute, stormy and pouring rain the next. However, there was something I have never seen.

From the time the weather has changed with the rain and storm, the most spectacular rainbow accompanied this change. This was the first time in my life that I have spotted a full-arch rainbow above the ocean and it was there every day during my stay. One of the days I even saw a double rainbow! I took several pictures of these incredible rainbows above the ocean. One day, while driving around chasing these rainbows I drove up to the highest point of the Great Ocean Road to have a great view of a very intense rainbow. Looking down to the water after taking pictures guess what have I spotted? A Southern Right Whale with a calf!

I was totally enchanted, breathless and I had tears in my eyes from this incredible sight. I was so emotional! I have seen whales from boats on whale watching tours in Eden, New South Wales. However, this was different. This felt even more real and beautiful to watch them playing in the ocean from above. I got a real sense of their size and beauty. Enjoyed their playfulness and studied their gracious movements in the water. This was another experience of a lifetime. The loveliest anniversary gift from nature. My secret wish came through. I spent probably an hour just staring at the water watching this pair having fun. I felt great satisfaction. When I posted this experience and the photo on Facebook, one of my musician friend commented. "Of course they were there you silly, you invited them, remember?" She was right.

A few days later with a joyous heart I made my way back to Melbourne from my holiday. I gladly would have stayed for another week. Somehow I never get enough of this area, the ocean and the natural wonders of the region. I already know. I will return!

Cheers, Piroska


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