April 19, 2010

MM's Ramblings 1

This is what happens if one becomes lazy in blogging. Lot of happenings/thoughts, which I had to pen down, got insignificant now either because it's too late now or I don't have that vigour. Nevertheless, I need to record them, so that later at some point of time in my life, I can read through them and feel nostalgic!
Here they go...

1. My hubby and I had been to the Melbourne International Flower Show on 27th March. I was very eager to go to this flower show. This was the first time I had been to a really HUGE flower show. It was arranged at the Carlton Gardens in the city. As we went along the various shops and exhibits, my urge to buy a plant grew. Since this was the first time that we planned to buy one, we wanted to buy the kind which needed least care, like once-in-a-week watering, and one that could be grown in a pot.

So, after much deliberation, we bought 3 asiatic lily bulbs and a carnation plant sapling. Our lily bulbs on blooming shall look like this.

There were flowers of all kinds from roses to orchids, from herbs to chinese bamboo, from strawberries to a fruit salad tree (a single tree which can bear 8 types of fruits!).


There were also flower exhibits by various universities and florists on display in the Royal Exhibition Building behind the garden.

My hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed walking along the different shops and exhibits. It was a pleasure to the eyes to see the beautiful and exotic plants. This is the best flower show I have seen till now.

I should say that my hubby cares more for the plants than me. He is more regular in watering them and putting fertilisers. Now I needn't fear and can go ahead and buy more plants at the next flower show..;-)

You can find more photos of the flower show here.

2. This Easter break was for 5 days. My hubby and I had been talking about doing some sightseeing since it was good enough for a getaway. I had wanted to go to the Great Ocean Road (GOR) and Phillip Island (PI) since I moved to Melbourne. Thanks to this break we had a wonderful road trip for 3 days. Poor hubby drove almost 1000 kms in just 3 days. Thanks honey...:-)

This time I rendered help to my hubby in planning the trip, which he usually takes care of. Thankfully, we managed to get accommodation at Apollo Bay because motels were quite full during this break.
So our 3 days plan was as follows:

Day 1 (Friday 2nd April, 2010):     Bells Beach (in Torquay), Anglesea, Lorne, Apollo Bay (spend the night here)
Day 2 (Saturday 3rd April 2010):  Proceed further from Apollo Bay to Cape Otway, 12 Apostles and near by attractions, Port Campbell
Day 3 (Sunday 4th April 2010):     Phillip Island (4 attractions)

We started on Friday morning at 8:15 after my hubby got the rental car. We had enough Google maps and directions to help us in navigation and some music CDs to entertain us during the drive. Luckily we escaped the morning traffic in city and managed to reach our first halt, Torquay, to grab some detailed maps at the Information Centre. Here is one thing I was really impressed about the Information Centres here. There are so many volunteers to assist us, wonderful maps and guides to help plan our travel, good restrooms and lot of eateries near by.

The volunteers gave us maps, explained in detail the attractions near by and said that the International surfing competition was going on then in Bells Beach and it was worth a visit.  

So we headed to Bells Beach after a quick lunch at Subway. Bells Beach in Torquay is officially from where the GOR starts. Since we had to buy visitors ticket for seeing the surfing competition and didn't have enough time, we drove past the beach.

Words fall short to describe the beauty of GOR. On one side of the road is high mountain/rock structure, and on the other is the ocean (Bass Strait and Southern Ocean) just 2 metres from you. We travelled 300 km of this along the blue ocean enjoying the cool sea breeze. Mind you, the roads are not straight all the way. There are all kinds of hair pin bends, turns, steep cuts along the route.

On the way we stopped at many scenic lookouts to take pictures of the breathtaking ocean and surroundings!

After seeing the Split Point Lighthouse near Airey's Inlet, we went to see this beautiful Erskine waterfalls which is approx 8 km inland at Lorne.

We drove past Lorne and reached Apollo Bay, our halt for day 1. After refreshing in our accomodation, we drove to the Marriners Point. It was a trail walk to a hill from were hand gliding was done. After returning we had our dinner at the town centre and called it a day. 

We vacated our room the next day and continued our journey from Apollo Bay to a rain forest called Maits Rest. OMG..it was wonderful to walk through the green foliage with trees as high as 60 m and as old as 100 years. The next stop was at Cape Otway Lighthouse in which we could walk to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the scenic lookout of the ocean from there.

Next we drove to the Magic belt, 12 Apostles and near by attractions. This was the highlight of our trip. We were enthralled by the limestone structures and our eyes were not enough to capture their beauty!

We could count upto 10 of them though there were 11 in total (yup not 12 since one got destroyed by the waves recently).There were helicopter tours also to see these which we shall cover in our next trip.

We stopped at Port Campbell for lunch and continued our final lap of the tour to see more remarkable limestone structures like Loch Ard Gorge, Thunder Cave, The Arch, and London bridge.

It was around 4 when we finished seeing all the above and decided to return back since it would take atleast 3:30 hrs from there to reach home. The inland route was not anywhere close to the GOR yet it was the shorter one and we called it a day after reaching home at about 10 pm.

On the whole it was a fantastic trip to GOR and you will agree with me after you see these photos.

As planned previously, we headed to Phillip Island on day 3 which was fairly closer, about 2 hours drive from our place. We started at around 8:30 and reached the Information centre at Phillip Island at 11. Since the Penguin Parade happens late in the evening, we had to finish seeing other attractions by then.

After buying the 3 Parks pass (Churchill Island, Koala Conservation Centre and Penguin Parade), we headed to Churchill Island first, which didn't fascinate us much since it was mainly for kids. This is mainly famous for the basalt residue along the coast due to the volcanic eruptions long ago.

My aim was to see the KKPs...Koala, Kangaroo and Penguin which got fulfilled in the following tours.

Koala Conservation was where we went next. We took all 3 trail walks and spotted about 10-15 cute koalas blissfully sleeping in the branches of eucalyptus trees. We learnt that since they feed on eucalyptus which is difficult for them to digest, they spend most of their time sleeping (Lucky Koalas!!!). After accomplishing my first goal ('Koala'), we went to the town centre for some food. 

We next went to the Wild Life Conservation Center. Here I not only accomplised my second goal ('Kangaroo'), I fed them too...yuppy!!! It was simply wonderful to see so many animals and birds left free to roam about. Yes you read that right..FREE RANGE ZOO. We saw kangaroos and wallabys jumping and running all over the place.

Along with the entrance tickets, we were given food packets to feed the animals. Initially, I was bit hesitant in feeding them, but after looking at other tourists feeding and making sure they didn't bite them, I fed the kangaroos, wallabies, cuckatoos, cassowary and swans..;-)
Unlike me, my hubby was more outgoing in feeding the kangaroos!
After being there to my heart's content, we started for the Nobbies Centre where we could supposedly see and hear the seals that live ~1.5 km off the coast. Unfortunately, we were not able to spot any seals but enjoyed the trail walk and the scenic look out from there.
The last pit stop of our entire road trip was the most awaited Penguin Parade. We were asked to be there by 5:45 pm (due to daylight savings) by when the penguins would walk back to the shore from the ocean. Wanting to get a good view from the stadium, we reached there well ahead of time around 4:45 pm. Then came the worst part..WAITING!!!

It was about 7 pm when few penguins gradually appeared from the sea and walked towards the shore. We were told beforehand about their size (30-33cm) and so I was not disheartened by seeing their tiny structure. Their wacky-wacky walk, shaking their butt was so cute to watch! A pelican bird which flew to the shore from somewhere caused the penguins to panic since the former were their predators. The volunteers too wanted us to witness a cinematic climax and so didn't bother to shoo away the bird.
Hence after a small drama, the penguins (a group of ~8) gathered courage and walked fast to the shore to their respective burrows. Photography was strictly prohibited since the flash light could blind the penguins. So sorry readers I don't have any photos of the actual parade. But I have put up a photo which can give you a rough idea about the stadium. On the whole we saw some 10-15 penguins till then. (The previous day there were about 67) I suppose the best season for the parade is during December. So plan your trip accordingly..;-) It was around 7:30 by the time this drama ended and I started getting little impatient and hungry. So we had our dinner and headed towards home. We reached home by 10 pm and hit the bed.

You can find our Phillip Island trip photos here.

Poor hubby was given complete rest for the next 2 days to regain energy and get back to schedule the following Tuesday.
Thus our Easter holiday was fun packed!!!

Sorry guys for the lengthy blog, but I would not be doing justice if I didn't describe atleast "briefly" about the trip since it needed one.

Look for the MM's Ramblings 2 in next few days. Ciao..:-)


  1. Oh, I'm so jealous of the KKPs!!! And I see your husband feeding a kangaroo!!! How cool is that? :) Hope you guys are doing well :)

  2. Haha yeah, he first didn't want to, but then I insisted. Now we are officially residents of Australia..;)

  3. Wow.. All these places look really wonderful.. Both of you must have really enjoyed it.. and well written..

  4. Thanks Sandy!
    Yeah these places are worth a visit! Let me know when you are planning one..;-)