Port Campbell, Victoria

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I guess I can put up a Ramblings tonight, although I donít think I will take the time to process pictures and put up a Photos.


I got up this morning at the usual hour of 6:30 (South Australia time Ė Iím back in Victoria now, and it is a half hour later here).† I did my morning stuff, heated up my Woolies chicken pies (supplemented with chicken breast, for the protein), made my lunch, etc.† As you may remember, the wi fi at that place didnít work for me, and neither did dial up.† I went on over to the office at about 8, though, and I managed to upload Ramblings 33 and Photos22.


Before I left town, I wanted to see the Blue Lake.† It is in a volcano crater, and is the premier tourist attraction of Mount Gambier.† It was right on the edge of town, so it took only a few minutes, and I took a few pictures and took off.† The water was indeed a nice shade of blue, and they say it gets even more interesting in a few weeks.† Still when one has seen Crater Lake in Oregon a few times, this was small beer.† But, I did the local tourist thing, and I was on my way by 9 or so.


The weather was good, and the driving was easy.† The countryside had a lot of tree plantations while I was still in South Australia, at various stages of growth.† Soon I was in Victoria, though, and it was forest and farmland, which included beef and sheep.† I was several miles inland from the ocean most of the way, but I took a couple of side trips to beach places that I had read about.


The first one was to the mouth of the Eumerella River.† There are supposedly some interesting birds that roost there at the high tide, but it turned out that you had to walk an unknown distance to get to the point to see them, and it wasnít really high tide yet, either.† But, as I turned off the main road to get there, I saw some birds, and a couple of them were European Goldfinches, mixed in with a bunch of House Sparrows.† I had seen that species in Britain earlier in the year, and now I have seen it here this year, too.† They were introduced here by the British settlers, back in the 1800ís, I understand.† They missed the garden birds of home, and so they introduced several species.† I hope I have a picture, but I havenít looked at todayís pictures yet, so I donít know.† Nothing else at that stop, except a nice view of the ocean, which I love.


I moved on, and my next stop was at a place called Childerís Cove.† Again, I had nice views of the ocean, but no birds.† I had my humble lunch there, a double decker ham and cheese sandwich, some tortilla chips, and some cookies, with a Diet Coke.† I had passed two McDonalds in Warrnambool just a little while before, and a double quarter pounder with cheese, with fries, sure sounded good, but I knew I would feel better if I ate my humble lunch I had made, and I was a good boy.


Soon after that, the real ocean scenery started.† There are many view points and places to pull off the road and see spectacular scenery.† I took a lot of pictures, and they will get up eventually, in Photos23.† Maybe tomorrow afternoon.† I even saw a new bird at one stop.† It was a very brief view, but I had a good look at it, and I am calling it a Chestnut-rumped Heathwren.† Nothing else matches what I saw.† I would have liked to have had a better look, but Iím satisfied that that is what I saw.† It was a lifer, and it was my second trip bird of the day.


I am traveling what is called The Great Ocean Road.† I traveled it in the other direction on my 2004 trip.† The pictures I eventually post will explain the attraction.† The scenery is spectacular.


I stopped at several points and got to my current destination, Port Campbell, at about 3 oíclock, so I checked into my new digs, and put my cold stuff in the fridge, then went on out to check out a couple more places, beyond here, on the Great Ocean Road.


The places I had stopped before Port Campbell had other people there, sometimes as many as 8 or 10 cars worth of people.† But, I was completely unprepared for the crowds of people at the first place I went to, east of here, which was Loch Ard Gorge.† When I got there, there were about 7 or 8 tour busses there, and when I left, a short while later, there were eleven.† It was overrun with people, most of them non-English speakers.† I was hoping to see a bird there, the Rufous Bristlebird.† I had seen one in the parking lot there in 2004, and it is the classic place to see them.† But, with eleven tour busses of people walking around, plus a couple of dozen private cars and vans, there was no way a Rufous Bristlebird would be hanging around.† I took some pictures and got the hell out of there.† I plan to go back in the morning Ė it is only about ten minutes from where I am staying, and I hope to see the bird then, before the tour busses from Melbourne (about 2 or 3 hours away) will be there.


My issue tomorrow is going to be the weather.† It was great today, but it has clouded up, and rain is supposed to be on the way.† I am hoping that the rain will hold off until the afternoon tomorrow, but we will see. †It is likely to be windy in the morning, with rain on the way.† I deliberately planned to stay here for two nights, in case the weather was a problem, and I got my nice views of the ocean today, but I still need to see the Rufous Bristlebird, and I havenít seen one of the prime views yet, the Twelve Apostles.† I hope to see that and take pictures tomorrow morning, before the rain comes.


In addition to all the tourists from the busses, there were a couple of helicopters overhead most of the time.† I am intrigued by the idea of a helicopter flight over the Twelve Apostles and the rest of this spectacular coast.† It only costs $95 for a ten minute flight, and I am intrigued, as I said.† I highly doubt I will do it, mainly because it is such a toursity thing to do, and I just donít do those things.† I will probably blame it on the weather, since it is supposed to be windy in the morning, and flying in a helicopter when it is windy just seems a bit too much.† Excuses, excuses.† Iím sure I wonít do it, but this is undoubtedly my last chance to fly in a helicopter, and it would be a very interesting thing to do.† It is a good thing that I donít drink at breakfast, or it would be a done deal, I expect.


My digs here at Port Campbell are the best of the trip, which I had expected, based on the reviews I had read.† I had booked a one-bedroom apartment, but they upgraded me to a two-bedroom one.† I have a living room/dining room/kitchen on the ground floor, with a half bath, and upstairs there are two bedrooms with a full bath.† It is all very new, very nice, and very clean.† Free wi fi, and it works!† There was even a tray of ice cubes in the freezer of the pretty large refrigerator.† Definitely the best place I have stayed on the trip, and I have two nights here.


I think I mentioned the A380 airplane issue a while back.† A Qantas A380 (the new double decker super jumbo Airbus plane) had an engine fail a week or two ago, out of Singapore, and there have been continuing investigations and findings from that.† Qantas grounded their six A380ís at first, then let them fly again, and now they are grounded again, I think.† It turns out that Qantas has shuffled planes around, and they have now rescheduled everything so that they can carry on without the A380.† My flight from Sydney to Los Angeles next Thursday was to be on an A380, but now it has been changed to a 747.† My concern was seat assignment, since I much prefer the upstairs of the 747, and I prefer a window seat to an aisle seat.† There are even business class seats downstairs that are middle seats!† Horror of horrors Ė a middle seat!† But, when I went to the Qantas website, I see that I am assigned a window seat upstairs in the 747, so all is right with the world, if that is correct and if it doesnít change.† Iíll keep checking it every day.† Iím a skeptic, after all, and it seems too good to be true, that they assigned me one of the 10 seats I would have chosen, out of about 50 or 60 business class sets, depending on which version of the 747-400 this one is.† We could be back to the A380 by next Thursday, too, so who knows?


I guess Iíll heat up a can of soup for my humble dinner, and maybe have a piece or two of bread with butter-like stuff (actually butter mixed with canola oil, which I think tastes just fine) on it, followed by some cookies.


I donít feel like processing pictures tonight.† It is starting to feel like a tyranny, processing pictures and getting them up to the website.† Iím tired of it, and especially tired of the obligation of doing it.† The trip is almost over, so that is fine.† I can do them tomorrow afternoon, along with tomorrow morningís pictures, since I think I am going to be rained out tomorrow afternoon anyway.† A nice rainy day afternoon of computer stuff sounds just fine to me.


I have two nights here, and then five nights in Werribee, which is near Melbourne.† It is wonderful to think that I only have to pack up and load the car two more times, and the second time is the full pack for the homebound trip.† I am very tired of unpacking, packing, and loading and unloading.† Computer, CPAP machine, food, clothes, toilet stuff, birding stuff.† It is getting to be a huge drag to pack and unpack all that stuff every day or two.† I guess I am ready to be home again.


So, that is my report for tonight. †The weather is going to be a big deal for me for the rest of the trip, as it sounds unsettled and showery, after a purely rainy day or two.


Life rolls on, and it is quite a trip.