The eastern end of the Great Ocean Road
02.02.2017 - 07.02.2017 24 °C
Bimbi Park on the Great Ocean Road
We based ourselves in a park on the edge of the Otway National Park. There were so many koalas in this area that the park has to put barriers on the bottom of most of the taller trees in the park to prevent koalas from climbing them. Why? Because there is such an overpopulation problem of koalas in the National Park that they were killing the trees (once the park owners counted 20 koalas in one tree). We even saw one area in the park where all the trees we killed off (see photo). So, a while ago, the government authorities actually relocated 238 koalas to other areas to alleviate the problem. What a wonderful problem to have. We enjoyed finding them in trees all over, including listening to them roar at night.
Three other interesting (trivia) observations from this camp: Had a good laugh with some Israeli backpackers telling me how they free-camp everywhere (2 person tent and an old Landrover) until they need to pay for camping to have a shower (roughly every 4 days!) Secondly, watching for groups of Asian tourists parking along the narrow roads in this area (sometimes blocking the road)… the reason? They’re all out of their cars spotting koalas up in the trees. No need then for us to strain our necks… we watch for Asian tourists parked in and next to the road and we know we’ve found more koalas. And one final anecdote: We shared the camp with 30 palaeontologists doing a nearby dig for dinosaurs. Students, lecturers and volunteers. It was a treat watching some (clearly first time campers) students erecting their igloo tents. Oh to be young again!
We visited the Cape Otway Lighthouse, the oldest operating lighthouse on the Australian mainland. The lighthouse commenced operating in 1848. The view from the top down to the ocean below the cliff is over 90m. Have a look at the list of shipwrecks on my photo below. The area also included a dinosaur exhibit, a whale viewing platform, an aboriginal exhibition area and, best of all, the Australian bush tucker garden where Dale had us riveted showing, explaining, and letting us taste the plants around us (like native Captain Cook spinach to prevent scurvy). Dale is a rough diamond not to be missed when in this area.
We had a day trip to Apollo Bay (including Saturday markets and much needed cappuccino) and another day to Parker River Beach with exquisite walks and views.
On our last day we went to Triplet Falls (which we missed because a huge shower came down) and Hopetoun Falls. The walk to the falls was truly magic, including a dense forest with tree ferns so abundant they all touch each other. And the falls were beautiful.
The last part of the Great Ocean Road was as good and even better then we remembered. Spectacular views, winding roads up on high and then next to the ocean and beaches. Lorne and Torquay (surfing hotspot) are wonderful coastal towns.