SA to Vic; crossing another line

 

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!

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Red ants subduing a European Honeybee; it started with one ant holding on like a vice and ended like this.

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).

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Pine plantations everywhere!
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Yep, another state sign for Ron to pose in front of (bloody show-off)
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Princess Margaret Road, sided on one side by pine plantation, and the other a thin strip of native gum forest.

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!

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Circle marks the spot?
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No one but this horse was interested in the guy with a butterfly net on the side of the road (it earned itself some nose pats… Just consider how many ppl missed out on nose pats!)

 

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Freaking Volcano Lake. I’m open to other suggestions. I also promise that there is some water on the other side of the island

 

The Bay of Islands: Great Ocean Road

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Port Campbell: Home for the night around this sports field – free drinking water nearby, why thank you!
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Port Campbell in the morning yes with some tourists taking touristy photos (not what I do, I never do that… Really)

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.

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One of the Great Ocean Road’s many bays… It probably has a name that I should remember
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The end of the world? …At least a stairway to heaven
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The Coast
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SherBrook River, which at least at this point in time never made it to the ocean (directly behind me)
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Loch Ard Gorge
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One of many black swans in a wetland next to Princetown
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The view from The Great Ocean Road
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The amazing township of Apollo Bae

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!

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The beach in front of where I stopped to do my editing, facing West towards Apollo Bay

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.

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The track to Marriners Falls
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It was actually closed due to tree falls
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We did not see any evidence of tree falls though, so it was all good!
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The path to Beauchamp falls
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The falls at Beauchamp Falls
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The road back down the hill to Apollo Bay

 

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!

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Apparently magpie geese were made locally extinct and subsequently re-introduced from the Northern Territories. I feel bad for the first one to come from tropical NT to freezing Victoria though, talk about cold feet!
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More awesome cliff-faced coast with Kelp forests!
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Free coffee (for some reason from Telstra) at a café that likes babies and boobies.
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A lovely resident leaves out water for the hikers going along the 103km Great Ocean Walk (the only way to do the trip without experiencing horrible tourist drivers trying to kill everyone and everything)
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We then went to the harbour at night for a quick look. I decided to go barefoot, which was all right until we got to the path along the rock wall with individually sharpened stones set into the path 😉

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).

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Koala and baby
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The Cape Otway Lighthouse

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 😉 ).

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A burnt hillside
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The Great Ocean Road
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Ron’s home in Melbourne for the night, near a friend’s house

Today, it is off to the Victorian Museum!

Bee count: 148

Kilometres travelled: >19 000

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5 thoughts on “SA to Vic; crossing another line

  1. Fabulous blog, James – as always! You really are having the adventure of a lifetime 🙂 And the pictures are amazing!

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  2. I wondered if you’d moved on before all the horrible stuff happening there. It’s weird. I just read a book set in Salt Creek (back in the 1800s) then you were saying you were around the area, then it was on the news! It’s strange how one day you’ve never heard of a place and the next it’s all around you!
    I’ve just come in from my garden where I spied not one but two! yes two! Neon Cuckoo bees on my lavendar! I was just thinking to myself that you might be pushing it to get here in time. Have you seen one yet? Maybe I need to invest in a butterfly net?!? Haha.

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    • It is strange, I only looked online to learn a bit about the Coorong, and saw a news article from three hours prior! And I still haven’t seen one on this trip, but I am hopeful! Otherwise I’ll simply need to trip back down the east coast come spring! …What a shame 🙂

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  3. Haha! Yes, that would be a shame.
    Took some snaps of the NCB last weekend – not great but I’ll get there. I’m so torn when I see them. On one hand they are so beautiful, on the other they are free-loaders! And if there is one thing I hate it’s free-loaders. Makes it even worse that they particularly target my beloved BBB!
    Enjoy Tassie!

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    • Free-loaders… Perhaps that is a societal concept. Perhaps the ecological way to put it would be an efficient use of available resources! They may be parasites, but they are still also pollinators 🙂

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