Archive for Great Ocean Road
During this trip in southern Australia, we spent a day travelling the Coorong National Park, south of Adelaide. This is a long stretch of coastal wilderness wetlands protected by seceral rows of dunes stretching inland for a few kilometres before hitting merino sheep and Angus beef grazing prairies, with a laguna and lots of wild animals: we saw a few emus, (dead and alive) wallabies, a flattened echidna, pelicans, and even a dingo (or lone dog?) while driving along the Prince’s Highway (not mentioning the many road-kills that we could not identify!). It is a beautiful area in which I would have loved to spend (much) more time, especially with our rented camping-car being available: the dunes are fantastic, covered with a sort of maquis, there is hardly anyone around, and parts of the coast can only be accessed by the 4WD beach track (in good weather conditions). The surf was pounding real hard at the place we stopped (42 Mile Crossing) and there were a few fishermen sitting on the sand there. The sand was mostly covered by thick layers of pink seashells and there were also shells in most bushes, captured as the plants were growing. A truly magical place of rugged beauty that beat the Great Ocean Road in my opinion (even though I also loved this part of trip, presumably because it was winter and there was hardly anyone on the road, alas missing the Twelve Apostles at sunset by a dozen minutes or so!)…. The Coorong Peninsula also reminded of this great spy novel The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers, even though it takes place in the Dutch wetlands.
After about ten days in Melbourne, I am (getting) ready to move again. This longer stay in Melbourne and at Monash was quite profitable, both from a professional perspective as I had many discussions with faculty and students, gave several lectures with interesting feedback from the audience, planned MCMski IV on the side, and worked on ABC calibration, and from a personal perspective, as I recharged my batteries, shook off travel fatigue, had long and diverse runs every morning, including one to St Kilda’s beach, ate at diverse and mostly great restaurants (from Ethiopian to Thai, to French, &tc.) and truly terrific Australian wines (incl. a 20 year old Baileys of Glenrowan from Murray Smith‘s collection!).
Because of its compact downtown, I also found Melbourne easier to apprehend than Sydney, with the biases due to staying there longer and being walking distance from the centre. The Victoria market is as thriving as the last time I visited it, offering an impressive range of foods to pick from or sample on the spot. I also visited the National Gallery (Ian Potter permanent collection) enjoying very much the large collection of aboriginal paintings (as well as some of the other paintings).
I am now off for a family vacation along the Great Ocean Road and beyond so will not post (news) for a few days! Enjoy summer in the northern hemisphere/winter in the southern one, and JSM if you are in San Diego!