The Great Ocean Road - Otway Fly

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A life on the ocean road

Flushed with our successful walk up Mt. Alexander to the non Koala compound, Tony felt ready next day (Dec 12) to tackle our first road trip.  It's name is no misnomer, it's truly great.  Built in memory of fallen comrades, it is billed as the world's largest war memorial.   Up to 3000 soldiers returning from WW1 constructed it by hand under very difficult conditions

Geelong and my first Aussie lifeguards

 

The Volunteer Rifle Band, 1 of 111 Whimsical Geelong Bollards created by Jan Mitchell from old pier pylons, They represent the community and it's history.  Many are portraits like the one of lifeguard, Bill Coyt who taught generations of local children to swim

Bollard Bunnies
Jan had a wicked sense of humour, adding a bollard bunny to half of her character's 'feet'.  They represented one of Geelong's greatest claims to fame.  The introduction of rabbits to Australia.  In 1859 Thomas Austin Esq. arrived at the port in Geelong with Australia's first pairs of wild rabbits, deemed a necessity for the hunting gentleman's pleasure.  Of course they bred - like rabbits
Surf school on Anglesey Beach. Although from here they could be penguins

Overnight in Lorne and on to Erskine Falls

Unfortunately the weather has changed with a high of only 21 c, cloudy a bit muggy and threatening rain.  What ever the weather the coastline is lovely, but we were about to take a detour to drive through the rainforest of the Otway Ranges
 

Tony drove for two hours thorough temperate rainforest on sealed gravel roads not much wider than our car, to see yet another section of temperate rainforest

 The kangaroo bush telegraph was working overtime " hey mates there's a car on the road lets go play chicken"

 Seventeen roo's responded to the call.  In the next hour ten brave little fellas jumped right out in front of us, the rest took one look and chickened out disappearing from whence they came

Fortunately the road conditions were such that we were travelling very slowly, going from one bend in the road to another without benefit of a straight bit in between

Tony likened the driving to a game on X Box

 

 

We had decided to drive these deserted back roads  through the Otway Ranges to take a walk on the Otway Fly, a steel walkway built in 2003 to take visitor 25 meters above the forest floor

 

Occasionally the forest road would spit us out into glorious countryside stretching as far as the eye could see, where sheep and alpaca could safely graze and vines or fruit trees marched off row by row.  As suddenly as we erupted from the forest it would swallow us up again until the next time

Otway Fly

Opened in September 2003.  At 600 metres the longest and at 47 meters maximum height the tallest, steel canopy walk in the world.  The walkway at 25 metres takes you in amongst the Myrtle Beech trees with wonderful tree ferns below.  Above are the Mountain Ash,  second worldwide to California redwoods in height
 Amongst the ferns
The 120 tonnes of steel walkway was transported in 8 metre sections from Tasmania where it was built.  It is designed to withstand 280 km an hour winds, so we were pretty safe up there in the windy conditions.  The wind unfortunately made for a noisy swaying walkway which may account for the fact that we saw precious few birds.  A rare occurrence in Australia when the birdlife is so glorious and abundant
Look Up- Way Up

The dominant tree is the Mountain Ash but it doesn't look much like ours in Canada.

 The biggest mountain ash in this part of the forest was germinating in 1642, meanwhile Dutchman Able Tasman was discovering Tasmania, Sir Isaac Newton was being born and Charles 1st was cavaliering around England
 

The most spectacular sections of the Gt. Ocean Rd. were ahead, we couldn't wait to get there and neither could this little guy from the looks of things

He had been sitting by the roadside but took off very purposely when I stopped to take a photo  

We also narrowly missed a small hedgehog type critter crossing the road.  I looked her up when we got back.  She was a Common Echidnas, one of only three egg laying mammals in the world 

It hardly seems fair to call her common but she was most definitely camera shy

Our First Sighting of a Koala in the 'wild'

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