A Whole YHA to ourselves! – Monday 2nd April 2012


Raking through the options to fill our accommodation around the Easter Break, I stumbled upon this YHA gem. It begins with a trip into Adelaide city to pick up the keys, then a trip to the supermarket to purchase all food and water to keep us going for a few days, and finally we head out for Mount Lofty.
It’s not far, just down the freeway. At the foot of the hill is a botanic gardens, at the summit a large restaurant, serviced by a car park, and an information centre. Here is a vast viewing platform, and what would seem to be a lighthouse (?) below is Adelaide spread before you.

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The YHA is some 400 m below the summit, down a gravel road protected by a fire gate. The whole YHA must be booked by one group, all two of us, and no warden or other staff are present. It’s stone built with a verandah. The boys and girls have separate bathrooms outside, under a converted porch. There are three bedrooms, 2x doubles and one with 3 sets of bunk beds. There’s a living room with bare tiled floor, three plastic sofas and a tv which cannot receive any channel. Lastly, there is a kitchen which could serve 10+ in typical YHA style: loads of hot plates, large sinks etc.

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Basic? Yes! Clean? Moderately so but I ask John to brush the bedroom for spiders, and I note the clear instructions for bandaging a patient who has been bitten by a snake plastered on the wall!
The view, the peace, the concept is wonderful. It’s colder in than out and reminds me of sending year 5 camping in the New Forest each year and the staff comments on accompanying this trip (sorry guys!)

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We climb to the summit to watch the sunset, and observe the sun setting on one side and a thunderstorm on another. Although we cannot hear thunder, the clashes of lightning discharge form an upper cloud to a lower and just occasionally to the ground.
Operatic stuff!

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We walk back to our YHA by torchlight, but soon realise we don’t need this. The moon is bright enough to ought our way.
Magic!

Magnificent Sunset – Sunday 25th March 2012


I thought South Island New Zealand was quiet but the roads here in Western Australia can mean that nothing passes you, if you are static for at least 20 minutes and often half an hour; and that’s on the state highway!
We are heading back to Margaret River. John does the driving, I have not even tried to move the Transit yet. Today, I feel I really should, but John seems very confident.
We spread the journey by breaking for lunch and toilet stops, but most of today we drive.
We end back at Hamlyn Bay, where we saw the ray cruising round the beach.
Although the best of the sun has cooled by the time we get there, we go down to the beach. I swim for a while and we laze on the sand catching the last rays, admiring the view. Then a short walk takes us up the headland to see the neighboring beach. By the time we return the sun is going down. Sunset over the sea…can you beat it?

There is a group of photographers with a woman in a gold dress capturing the moment, but I prefer to snap with my Ixus. It is really good with sunset!

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Nothing like it for beauty, in my opinion. John and I gaze in wonder at the colours and reflection.

Port Campbell to Melbourne – 4th January 2011


It’s a long but beautiful drive from Port Cambell to Melbourne following the Great Ocean Road. The stacks and cliffs from yesterday continue for a while but soon give way to a new characteristic of coastal features; low slabs of sedimentary rock, intermingled with sand.

We frequently stop to admire the view, but decide to take the detour to the Otway peninsula, down to Otway Lighthouse. I am so glad we did! This takes you through Cape Otway National Park. The aroma of eucalyptus was incredible. Pine in the heat offers a warm astringent smell, far more refreshing than the dreadful pine disinfectant smell from a bottle! Eucalyptus shares some of these notes but adds those relating to Olbas oil. We simply opened the windows to get our fill!

Suddenly a posse of parked cars alerted us to a koala. So high up, we all had to peer and reassure each other that we might be able to see it! (I share with you now: I could not see it!) just 50 meters later, we stopped again. And then again. Up to 4 koalas in each tree! In all we must have seen 20 koalas – a real photo fest!

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At Kennet River we found another koala, who was walking on the ground.

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But we also see several different kinds of parrot, prepared to eat from the hand.

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At the end of the day we have a duel of photography. Who can take the most spectacular sunset? Judge for your selves!

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