Australia – Hawaii

September 10 – November 16, 2011

 

 

Richard and Anita Dyck left Vernon the afternoon of Saturday, September 10 under sunny skies and 32 C [89 F] to meet Marjorie Buckham at the Kelowna International Airport.  The three of us were traveling together on this extended vacation, Marjorie being a friend of the Dycks for some 30 years.  This would be our second visit to Australia, our first being in 2008 during February and March.  Planning for this trip had been ongoing for some two years with Marjorie and Richard working together, in consultation with Anita, to research and book quality and affordable experiences that would provide long-lasting memories for all of us. 

 

Throughout this journal the metric system will be a constant to record temperature, distance and the like.  For those not using our metric system, below is an abbreviated conversion table to the US system of measurement:

 

 

Temperature                                                    Distance

 

15 C  =  59 F                                                    100 km  =  62.14 miles

20 C  =  68 F                                                   

25 C  =  77 F

30 C  =  86 F

35 C  =  95 F

40 C  =  104 F

45 C  =  113 F

 

 

The Web Sites I have provided are to enhance the attractions we enjoyed and provide more background for you … enjoy!

 

Our journey was not without incident, some serious others comical.  Each will be described in the order of occurrence.  Remember as you read, this could happen to each of you just as easily!

 

This segment will cover our remaining time spent in Adelaide, our Natural Treasures Tours  3 Day Adelaide – Melbourne  [The Great Ocean Road] and Melbourne.

 

On October 16 our Kangaroo Island tour concluded and that evening we flew back to Adelaide and checked in to the Comfort Inn Haven Marina for a second time.

 

Our Adelaide hotel, the Comfort Inn Haven Marina, is in the beachside township of Glenelg, a suburb of Adelaide.  During our 2008 visit we had occasion to take the tram to Glenelg and enjoy dinner on the waterfront.  We chose to return and enjoy its beach and numerous restaurants.

 

 

 

 

Monday – October 17

 

Finally, a day to ourselves, no tours, just a day to relax!  Anita and Marjorie did laundry while Richard scouted out how to get to Coles, an Australian supermarket chain, as we needed a few things.  After lunch, Richard and Anita walked the short distance to Coles and purchased the needed items.  The afternoon was sunny, 25 C [77 F] and quite comfortable as we spent quality time around the pool reading.

 

Tuesday – October 18

 

Today was again sunny and warm, 29 – 30 C [84 – 86 F], and we took part in a day tour to the Barossa Valley, a major wine-producing region and tourist destination, with a visit to Hahndorf.  We departed at 8:15 a.m. on a Grayline Coach, with Dave as our Driver / Tour Director.  We were 22 in total.  The drive through Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills to the Barossa Valley was pleasant and scenic on a winding side road.  The passing landscape, a mixture of forest and farms was picturesque and we had occasion to glimpse some albino kangaroos as well.  Morning tea and fresh scones at the Lyndoch Bakery preceded wine tasting at 2 wineries.  The Kaesler Winery Restaurant served up a scrumptious 2 course lunch.  Next we took in the panoramic views over the Barossa Valley from the Mengler’s Hill lookout.  We then visited Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest German settlement where some “free” time was given to us before the coach returned us to our Adelaide hotel.

 

Our stay in Adelaide was relaxing and near the water where we enjoyed meals and good wine at the restaurants while overlooking the ocean and eating outdoors, of course!

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Barossa Valley                       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barossa_Valley

 

Hahndorf                                 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hahndorf,_South_Australia

 

Wednesday – October 19

 

We checked out of the Comfort Inn Haven Marina, our Adelaide hotel, to await our pick up to begin our Natural Treasure Tour that would take us on The Great Ocean Road through to Melbourne.  The day was sunny and warm and by afternoon, 31 C [88 F] the day’s high.  A 2009 Toyota 4-Door Sedan arrived to meet us and Jeremy, our “to be” Driver / Guide, informed us that we 3 were the Tour – no one else!  We expected that the car came to deliver us to a coach … how wrong we were!  Did we like being the only ones on this tour?  Yes! 

 

Departing Adelaide for the last time we again drove into the Adelaide Hills, this time via a different route, stopping at Hahndorf and Mountt Lofty Summit, elevation 727 metres, to photograph the sweeping views of Adelaide.  Continuing on our journey took us through grain and stock lands to Keith, our lunch stop.  Turning south we entered the wine region of Pathaway to the World Heritage Naracoorte Caves.  Here Marjorie and Richard participated in a guided tour of the Caves to visit, in part, amazing fossil deposits.  Anita visited the nearby Park Information Centre.  Later that afternoon, in the scenic Coonawarra wine region, by mutual agreement, we stopped at 3 wineries for wine tasting – Wynns Coonawarra Estate; Katnook Estate; and Coonawarra Cellar Door.  Our overnight stay was at Chardonnay Lodge.  It had been a most enjoyable and relaxing first day!

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Mountt Lofty Summit                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Lofty

           

Naracoorte Caves       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naracoorte_Caves_National_Park

 

Coonawarra                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coonawarra

 

Thursday – October 20

 

Day 2 began with our 8 a.m. departure under cloudy skies.  We did not see any sun today and encountered just a slight shower during our first photo stop on The Great Ocean Road.  En route we had stopped at Mount Gambier to see the “blue” lake, visited a cheese factory and then drove through Tower Hill Reserve, Victoria’s first National Park, a wildlife haven, to observe emus, koalas, kangaroos and numerous birds.  Approaching the start of the Great Ocean Road drive we listened to an audio recording of the clipper ship, Loch Ard that ran aground on nearby Muttonbird Island in June of 1878.  Of the 54 passengers and crew, only two had survived, both only 18 years of age.  We drove the Great Ocean Road for the second time, the reverse of our 2008 visit!  The Great Ocean Road is a 243 kilometer [151 mile] stretch of road.  We visited London Bridge and the less visited but equally impressive limestone stacks of the Bay of Martyrs and Bay of Islands followed by Loch Ard Gorge.  One of Australia’s icons, the Twelve Apostles, was our last stop for stunning photographs.  The day was long but most rewarding and driving to our overnight accommodation after dinner it was raining.

 

Today we left South Australia and entered the State of Victoria during our travel.  This also brought another time change.  We had previously encountered time changes moving south from Darwin then east.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Mount Gambier’s Blue Lake

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Lake_(South_Australia)

 

Tower Hill Reserve     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_Hill_State_Game_Reserve

 

Great Ocean Road                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Ocean_Road

 

London Bridge                         http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Arch

 

Loch Ard Gorge                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loch_Ard_Gorge

 

Twelve Apostles         http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twelve_Apostles_(Victoria)

 

Friday – October 21

 

It rained upon waking and continued through breakfast.  By about 10 a.m. the rain ceased and we had cloudy skies the remainder of the day.  We had a walk through the rainforest gully at Maits Rest scheduled but due to the inclement weather did a drive through instead.  Continuing on, at the seaside town of Lorne we stopped and chatted with owners of a 1927 Lancia which they had driven over from Brisbane.  The owner told us of restoring the car, that it drove at 100 kph and carried an 80 litre gas tank.  Fantastic!  Later, in Geelong, Victoria’s second-largest city, we visited Jan Mitchell’s Waterfront Bollards for a second time after leaving the Great Ocean Road and took more photographs of the Bollards.  Our arrival in Melbourne signified the end of the tour.  Jeremy, our Driver and Guide, was most accommodating.  He stopped for us at a Dan Murphy’s Bottle Shop so we could purchase some wine, even assisting in our selections!  Plans had been to deliver us to a downtown Melbourne hotel of our choice to be met by our friends but instead Jeremy drove us to a Macdonald’s Restaurant near to where they lived saving our friend, Ted, the drive into town and dealing with the Friday afternoon rush hour.  We were most appreciative of Jeremy for this, as was Ted!  We then arrived at our friends, Ted and Helen at 5 p.m. and enjoyed a home cooked meal – our first since leaving Canada.  We had a 10 day stay in Melbourne.

 

Richard and Anita had toured Europe in 2004 with Trafalgar Tours.  A good half of those on this Tour were Australians with four of them residing in Melbourne.  With the internet and email a friendship was soon formed and when these four, Ted and Helen, Phil and Sue came to Seattle in 2006 the Dycks drove to Seattle for an extended visit with them.  Helen and Sue are sisters.  It was Helen and Ted who convinced Richard and Anita to visit Australia and offered to accommodate them in their home when they came.  When it became known that Marjorie would be traveling with the Dycks, she too was included to stay.  The first stay with Ted and Helen was in March of 2008.

 

The time we spent in Melbourne with our friends, Ted and Helen, proved to be the coolest and wettest of our entire 68 day trip.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Lorne                          

            http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/Great-Ocean-Road/Destinations/Lorne.aspx

 

Geelong                       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geelong

 

Jan Mitchell’s Waterfront Bollards

                        http://www.intown.com.au/locals/geelong/attractions/bollards.htm

 

Saturday – October 22

 

The early morning was cloudy and by mid-morning it began to rain.  We reacquainted ourselves with their 2 small dogs, named Gin and Tonic, both of which were Helen’s dogs with Ted not factoring into their needs.  It was decided to visit the Melbourne Zoo in the afternoon.  Ted made sandwiches which we took with us for a late lunch and off we went.  We encountered no rain only cloudy skies which was great for our almost 4 hours at the Zoo.  There was plenty of walking involved, some on wet and muddy footpaths..  We saw the platypus which is not readily accessible in the wild.  The other animals we saw, in no particular order, were giant tortoises, meerkats, baboons, gorillas, bears, elephants, tigers, lions, leopards, seals, penguins, butterflies, pelicans, orangutans, and wombats.  It was time well spent!  Back home at the house the rains began once more followed by thunder and lightning … no worries as we were dry and well fed at dinner.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Melbourne Zoo                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne_Zoo

 

Sunday – October 23

 

It was cloudy during breakfast becoming sunny and warm later in the morning.  Everyone except Richard went to the Market in the morning, Richard spending his time on the computer.  Then Ted, Marjorie and Richard went for a drive to the beach.  We drove through the city, through south Melbourne to the St. Kilda Beach and Pier which we walked following a lunch break.  Driving home in glorious sunshine, Ted chose a different route.  Dinner that evening was a most tasty barbeque prepared by Chef Ted.  We were joined by Gordon and Liz, formerly from Torquay and now Ted and Helen’s neighbours.  In 2008 we had met them and spent one night at their house.  Dinners was a 5 course affair – gozlemes [Turkish hand made and hand rolled pastry], chicken wings, fresh Australian trout [caught earlier that morning], lamb and kangaroo sausages.  For dessert we had chocolate cake and fresh strawberries bought that morning at the Market.

 

Web Sites of Interest          

 

St. Kilda Beach and Pier          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Kilda_Beach,_Victoria

 

Monday – October 24

 

There was no sun today, only overcast skies and rain later on.  It was decided we make the 2 hour drive to Ballarat, a former gold mining town, and visit the nearby outdoor museum at Sovereign Hill.  Soon after we began our drive the rain began and continued through our visit to the outdoor museum.  Not a pleasant day for tourists but we made the most of it!  Sovereign Hill proved to be interesting and impressive [very similar to Barkerville, here in BCs interior, but on a much smaller scale].  The Main Street is lined with shops, two hotels and a theatre. Among the shops on Main Street there is also a blacksmith’s workshop, stables, photography studio, apothecary, bakery, jeweller's shop, grocer, tentmaker, tinsmith, bank, post office, nine-pin bowling saloon and library. Behind the Main Street there are a number of cottages which are open for visitors. There are also four schools where children in school-groups dress in period costume and attend as a child of the 1850s.  We rode the stage coach down Main Street and behind to get an idea of all there was to see.  Richard took numerous photos of the store fronts advertising services of the day.  The drive back home was in steady rain but, despite the inclement day, we 3 greatly enjoyed the outing.

 

Web Sites of Interest          

 

Ballarat                                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballarat

           

Sovereign Hill                          http://www.sovereignhill.com.au/sovereign-hill/

 

                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_Hill

 

 

Tuesday – October 25

 

Richard, Ted and Helen went to a nearby park to walk their 2 dogs, Gin and Tonic.  Here the dogs could be off leash.  The day was cool and windy, one that produced little sun.  We drove out to the Yarra Valley, wine country.  The scenery was outstanding and our first photos were taken at Kangaroo Hill Lookout.  We enjoyed wine tasting at 3 wineries, De Bortoli Wines, Yarrawood Estate, and Graeme Miller Wines [Dixons Creek Estate Wines].  Views from this third winery were stunning.  We enjoyed lunch at a nearby

bakery.  Our drive back home was a different route again, always nice not having to retrace a journey!

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Yarra Valley                           

http://www.visitvictoria.com/Regions/Yarra-Valley-and-Dandenong-Ranges/Activities-and-attractions/Food-and-wine/Wineries.aspx

 

Wednesday – October 26

 

What’s better than a sunny day for a ride on a steam train?  We drove to Belgrave to begin our journey on Puffing Billy.  The line runs between Belgrave and Glembrook, just shy of a 2 hour trip.  The Puffing Billy Railway is a narrow gauge heritage railway.  The railway was originally one of five narrow gauge lines of the Victorian Railway opened around the beginning of the 20th century.  The train ride was terrific with spectacular scenery made more so with the sunshine.  Afterwards we enjoyed lunch, eating outdoors, then dropped Marjorie off at the train station.  She was off to visit her friends in Warragul, retuning on Saturday. 

 

Driving in Australia one always has roundabouts to contend with.  We did encounter a good number today and knew we’d travel many more before leaving Australia.  Back in Canada the roundabout does not dominate the road system as it does Downunder, more proof that the British influence still exists there today.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Puffing Billy                             http://www.puffingbilly.com.au/

 

                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puffing_Billy_Railway

 

Roundabout                             http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundabout

 

Thursday – October 27

 

Today we had sunshine for a second straight day and 23 C [73 F] proved to be the day’s high temperature.  Helen chose to remain at home and Ted drove Richard and Anita on the freeway first to Frankston then down Port Phillip Bay beach road to Mornington, Mornington Pier and finally to Mount Martha which was Ted’s old stomping grounds.  We looked but his house was no longer there but we did see a good beach.  A brief walk on Safety Beach came next followed by a drive up to Arthurs Seat, a lookout that provided great views and photo ops.  We ate lunch at Rosebud then went on to Portsea to walk the pier there.  All of us were amazed at the size of sand bags that shored up the sand – perhaps to combat erosion.  Crossing the peninsula to the Bass Strait Sea and into Western Port Bay we stopped at Hastings, home of a natural deep port for container shipping.  We then joined the freeway once more to take us home.  We had a day full of driving but with magnificent scenery!

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Mornington Pier           http://www.discovermorningtonpeninsula.com.au/fascinatingfacts/mornington-pier.php

 

Mount Martha                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Martha,_Victoria

 

Bass Strait                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_Strait

Arthurs Seat                           http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthurs_Seat,_Victoria

 

Portsea                                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portsea,_Victoria

 

Friday – October 28

 

Today was a stay-at-home day with shopping and errands on the agenda.  The morning was sunny and warm with cloud cover during the afternoon, 24 – 26 C [75 – 79 F].  Richard got his hair cut while Helen and Anita went for groceries and returned with some wine that cost far less than at home.  South Australia Shiraz was A$4.50 per bottle.  Later, at a second location where we had lunch, cheaper wine was purchased – Australian Shiraz and Chardonnay was A$3.99 each; Lindeman’s Chardonnay was A$5.99 each; while a 6 pack of Coopers Beer was A$13.97 – higher than in Canada.  Later, at 5:15 p.m. the rain began, heavy at times, and continued most of the evening.  For dinner Ted prepared delicious skewers of scallops and bacon on the barbeque and followed that up with a white fish, salad, sweet potato chips and toasted Turkish bread.  Later we had ice cream for desert.

 

Saturday – October 29

 

Nothing definite had been planned for today due to uncertain weather conditions.  Ted and Richard went to Aldi, a discount supermarket chain based in Germany, to purchase a new barbeque that was special priced starting today.  Returning home assembly followed.  Marjorie returned from Warragul and we had occasion to meet the friends she had been visiting with, Geoff and Helen, as they had driven her back to Melbourne.  That afternoon the 3 ladies went shopping while Ted and Richard took the dogs, Gin and Tonic to the park.    The weather today was actually fair, cloudy with some showers in the early morning that gave way to partly sunny skies the remainder of the day.  Dinner that night was at a Lebanese Restaurant, a favourite of Ted and Helen’s.  It was the first time any of us had tried Lebanese food so Anita and Marjorie sampled all types, choosing the banquet option while Richard’s choice was more traditional, lamb skewers.  This actually was our last meal out with Ted and Helen and everyone came away satisfied.  All of us were surprised to find it raining as we left the restaurant for the drive home.

 

 

 

Sunday – October 30

 

This was our last full day in Melbourne and our coolest as well, with only 17 C [63 F] the high.  It rained most of the day.  We drove to the Macleod Train Station in the morning to take the train into downtown Melbourne, exiting at the Flinders Street Station.  Train fares were free on Sundays for pensioners and seniors.  We walked, in the rain, to the ferry berth for Williamstown.  Our ferry ride on the Yarra River lasted about one hour.

 

Williamstown developed at the same time as Melbourne and served as its first port. Located at the mouth of the Yarra River, it is now effectively a metropolitan suburb located 13 km south-west of the city centre at the tip of a peninsula which projects out into Port Phillip Bay. On its northern side is Hobsons Bay and on its southern side is Altona Bay.

In recent years Williamstown has received a face lift and become a major tourism drawcard. It retains the coherence and charm of a maritime village, due, in no small part, to the many historic buildings. A proliferation of cafes and restaurants are a major feature of Nelson Place which runs adjacent the foreshore while boats, yachts and dinghies decorate the shoreline and ships sail through the estuary en route to the Port of Melbourne.

 

Our ferry ride on the Yarra River lasted about one hour. Arriving in Williamstown we had an enjoyable lunch of fresh fish and chips followed by a walk to the Timeball Tower and back to the Train Station.  The train ride home was comfortable, fast and smooth taking only one hour and five minutes.  We walked to the car from the Macleod Train Station in the rain.

 

Web Sites of Interest

 

Williamstown                           http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williamstown,_Victoria

 

Timeball Tower                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williamstown_Lighthouse