Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Australia Day 2 - Exploring Victoria

We actually slept until 7AM today since the jet lag caught up to us a little bit.  But, overall it was the most rested we had ever felt after long travel days at the beginning of a trip, which was nice.

Our cottage had a continental breakfast in the kitchen which we enjoyed before heading out for a quick final walk in the Dandenongs.  The goal of our walk was to find a superb lyrebird.  If you don't know why the lyrebird is special, just search YouTube for "lyrebird call" and prepare to be amazed.

Andrea decided to rest a bit so just the 3 of us ventured back out into the forest.  If this sign was any indication, we were in the right spot:
Realm of the Lyrebird

The forest was pretty thick in places and we did hear lots of different sounds that could have been a lyrebird. After all, they can imitate anything.  Then, we heard some rustling in the bushes so we stopped.  After a few seconds, Tim spotted some movement and up popped a lyrebird onto a log.

Unfortunately, it was blocked by lots of branches and constantly on the move so I didn't get much better than a proof shot:
Superb Lyrebird

But, our first mission of the trip was a success!

Next we headed southwest out of the Dandenong Ranges towards the Great Ocean Road.  This route took us through Melbourne so we got a chance to soak up some city life along the way.  It looked like a pretty nice place as cities go.

Before reaching the coast, we made a planned stop at You Yangs Regional Park.  This park was supposed to be a good place for echidna and finding one of those was another mission this trip.

You Yangs is a much dryer forest than the Dandenong Ranges but is still very pretty.

You Yangs Eucalyptus Forest

You Yangs Regional Park

You Yangs Trees

We hiked the "Big Rock" trail that led us right to, unsurprisingly, a big granite rock.  While we didn't spot an echidna on this hike, we did find our first reptile.

Jacky Lizard:
Jacky Lizard

Back in the car, it wasn't long before we reached the Great Ocean Road.  I must say that sometimes roads don't have the most appropriate name but the Great Ocean Road certainly lives up to its name in my book.  The scenery along this road is spectacular.

Our first stop along the road was at Kennett River.  Grey River Rd in Kennett River is known to be a koala hot spot so we naturally had to check it out.  Not 5 minutes after parking and leaving the car, we found our first koala:

Our 1st Koala, hiding...

Of course, it was doing what koalas do best which is sleeping and hiding and there were quite a few tourists under it.  So, we decided to walk a bit further up the road to see if we could find any more and to get away from the people.  We did find more including one that was actually being active.

Big reach...


Got it!


Adorable
Adorable...

Here is another one doing the 3rd thing that Koalas like to do in our brief experience:


Scratching:


Here is the view that the koalas had, not too bad:
View from Grey River Rd (The Koala Highway)

As we were walking up the road, Tim warned us about the sub species of koala called the dropbear.  For anyone that doesn't know about the dropbear, check out this video:



I had kind of heard about this before so Tim didn't take the story as far as the folks in the video did but I still decided not to walk right underneath any of the koalas. 😀

This one was just waking up:
Look who just woke up.

Back at the parking lot, Andrea found a beautiful superb fairy-wren that was doing a bit of displaying:
Superb Fairywren

We ended up seeing 8 different koalas which was really exciting and seeing some being active was even better.  Another mission accomplished.  We were 2 for 3 today which wasn't bad.

Next, we headed off to Cape Otway to find our sleeping arrangements for the night at Bimbi Park.  On the way, we encountered our first kangaroos just after the sun set.  Eastern grey kangaroos to be precise:
Eastern Grey Kangaroo

Eastern Grey Kangaroo and Joey

That last one was the only joey in a pouch we saw the whole trip for any marsupial. But, we were traveling in late summer so we didn't expect to see any.  Therefore, this was a bonus.  There was also a koala in a small tree watching the roos with us.

We found Bimbi Park which has a cornucopia of sleeping options.  They have everything from tent camping, to RV spaces, to cabins with running water. Of course, we opted for the latter.

Great Place to Stay at The Otways

Our

All the comforts of home

The cabin wasn't fancy but had everything we needed.  In fact, the cereal summed up our feelings about the place... it was "Just Right".

Since we only brought breakfast fixings with us, we headed out to Apollo Bay for dinner where we had one of the few average meals of the trip at George's Pizza (sorry George).  But, there was a koala in the trees across the street which was cool.  That made 10 for the day.

Back at Bimbi, we took a night walk around the grounds and along the road.  Right away we found a "brushy" out for a stroll:


We also spotted 4 more koalas (14 total now), 3 more brush-tailed possums, a grey roo, and a scorpion.  But, the highlight of the night was when we spotted a sugar glider.  It didn't stick around very long but I managed to get a proof photo before it glided away out of sight.

Sugar Glider

So, contrary to last night, tonight's night walk was very eventful and was a great way to end a very successful second day down under.  In fact, the only "downer" for the day was that at some point, I realized the band aid from last night was no longer attached.  It must have fallen off while I was sleeping.  Sorry Clarendon Cottages for the surprise when you go to change the sheets...

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