So, yes, we did dawdle over breakfast at Quamby Homestead. First time in ages that we were made such a fuss of. Thank you William and Ailsa. But we finally did get going.
I’d seen a sign for Tower Hill Nature Reserve on the route here. The guidebook said if we did not see a koala here, we needed to see the optician. So…
Our first view of Tower Hill was incredible. The usual ‘lookout’ sign, a lay-by and a few steps between a curtain of road side trees, reveals this prehistoric panorama. Far below less a massive lake, which appears shallow and clear. Yellow ochre patches of week pattern the lake and the surface is covered with patterns of thousands of black dots.
Over your head 20 or more butterfly dance in pairs or trios. In the mid-distance 50 dragon fly hover.
On the far side of the volcanic blast crater, the trees wrap the hillside. But the body of water! It’s massive! Still, massive, reflectingly peaceful and this commands your attention. Those thousands of dots turn out to be ducks! Brown, simple but overwhelming in number. In addition, there are black swan and white egret punctuating the setting.
I can’t wait to get in!
A couple with a motor home pull up and share their map – leading to a conversation about mutual journeys, families, retirement. They show us the way to the entrance.
Once in the reserve, a single road leads us round and almost the first thing we saw was a pair of emu.
We walked up the side of the crater, whilst it was only 35 degrees, that’s enough to break into a sweat, yet the geology of the place makes it so worth while.
We met emu, but a koala? We need to visit an optician!
The Great Ocean Road follows a particular rock formation in beautiful tans, coffee, creams, caramel and burnt sienna limestone. It has eroded into amazing patterns.
All along the Great Ocean Road, literally every half mile of so, look outs allow you to pull up, get out and marvel. A series of stacks, arches, broken arches and doors build up your anticipation. We were lucky because we are traveling East towards the famous 12 Apostles landmark, so our expectation was built gradually and each site superseded the last.
Not only is it an incredible distance of similar geology but the quality of colours, their balance, intensity and clarity are amazing.
At the end of the day we shared a bottle of wine on the porch of our motel and had a long chat with the owner who had spent the previous three months sorting out his new acquisition. We left him to wander down the street away from the street lights and marvel at the stars.
It really is a wonderful world.