I managed to leave the Cooroong National Park in one piece, after reading of some disturbing happenings that occurred at the same time that I was there. Thankfully the most violence that I observed while there was that inflicted by some red ants on a European honeybee!
The road to Victoria wasn’t a terribly long one with only a few hours of driving along the coast towards Robe, then inland to Mount Gambier coming across a few different habitat types, including some fairly large pine plantations, especially closer to the Victorian border! I decided upon a great campsite near the Princess Margaret Caves just over the border. There I met a lovely Dutch couple, who I spent the night and morning chatting to and just generally taking it easy (I think I only had a few bees to photograph that night).
After a beautiful night under the gum trees near the border I set off towards the Great Ocean Road and Port Campbell. Along the way I got to see some pretty cool stuff, including: What appears to be a rather large real-life map marker, an extremely curious horse, a freaking volcano lake (I should really read more about things as apposed to making outlandish guesses…) and a pretty alright ocean road!
The Bay of Islands: Great Ocean Road
After spending a bit of time relaxing at Port Campbell and turned my sights on Apollo Bay, where I intended to stay 1 or 2 nights before heading on to Lorne and eventually Melbourne. Needless to say I saw some really cool coastline and had a lovely drive along the Great Ocean Road before reaching the lovely, relaxing town of Apollo Bay.
I wasn’t sure where I wanted to stay when I got to Apollo. I spent some time chilling at the harbor, before driving around town and just out of town to do some editing. There aren’t really any free campsites in the area, so I decided to go and stay at a hostel which would cost me $15/night to stay in my van and use their facilities, great! While I was by the beach, a random guy decided to pull up behind me while I was parked, beep his horn and tell me that he would fine me if I stayed the night… Yeah, I think that he might need to get a job as a ranger first!
Once I booked in to the hostel, I was immediately met with an amazing group of people also staying there! We chatted a little into the night, and I went for a trip to see some waterfalls with one of them (Camille) the next day.
Well, that took most of the day. So the next day I decided to try and find some bees in the town itself. I did find one species in the late morning, but it was still a bit chilly for the poor buggers. So I decided to go for a quick fish (where I once again caught nothing) and take some photos of birds, while I relaxed near the water! After that I did manage to find some more bees, but only one more species that I hadn’t already collected elsewhere. Funnily enough the native bees seemed to prefer the white, followed by the pink but not orange coloured flowering Eucalypts along the street, but the European honeybees didn’t seem to show preference.
A female Superb Fair Wren and Grey Fantail
The next day again I decided to give the bees a rest (it was too bloody cold for them to be out and about anyway). So I went for a drive with one of the other ‘residents’ Fleur, who had to drop off and pick up a friend along the great ocean walk. So we just drove around, saw a re-introduced Magpie Goose, some more cliffs, free coffee and free water for hikers!
Next day, being too cold for bees (again) I went with a couple of people from the hostel to see the lighthouse at Cape Otway, and go to a talk by some bush-tucker guy. Obviously we saw some cool stuff along the way, such as lots of koalas (often marked by a dozen or so cars and the upward-facing eyes of tourists… Such as ourselves).
I had to leave a little before the rest however, as I wanted to make it to Melbourne before dark! As such, I headed off at around 3:30 to complete the Great Ocean Road. Of course it was equally as amazing as the first half, and just as many poor drivers! I got to see some burnt-out hillsides and houses along the way, as well as a sign to declare that I had just driven along the Great Ocean Road (in case I didn’t already know by this point 😉 ).
Today, it is off to the Victorian Museum!
Bee count: 148
Kilometres travelled: >19 000