December 18th 2017, we are at the Victor Harbour library while it is warm (30Celsius) and rainy outside. Great to update our blog and post some pictures. In the mean time the Victor Harbour City Band arrived and is playing Christmas songs. (see our Christmas Greetings).
We arrived in Melbourne on November 27, 2017 after a 5 hour flight from Noumea. No time difference, no jet lag! We picked up our camper van near the airport, did some food shopping and were off to our first campground just outside Melbourne.
We spent 3 days in Melbourne before travelling to the Great Ocean Road, in the direction of Adelaide. Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city with a population of about 4.5 million people. We found it to be a delightful city. Plenty of nice restaurants, a lot of “green” places and nice museums.
We visited the Ian Potter Centre and the Heide Museum of Modern Art with its sculpture garden.
Great Ocean Road was built between 1919 and 1932, right after WWI. The road was to be a Memorial for the soldiers who died in WWI but also a way to employ the returned soldiers. More than 3000 soldiers carved the road with picks and shovels along Australia’s most rugged and densly forested coastline. They were helped by the jobless during the Great Depression.
Koalas are not bears but marsupials. They are mostly found in eucalyptus trees (also called gum trees) as the leaves make up most of their diet. Because this diet has limited nutritional and caloric content the koala sleeps about 20 hours a day. They were heavily hunted for their fur in the beginning of the 20th century and are therefore still listed as “vulnerable”. The biggest threat to their existence now is destruction of their habitat for agriculture and urbanisation.
While we were in the Grampians we also visited the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Here we learned how the immigrants (Europeans) treated the aboriginals. The stories are horrible. Land was seized and children were taken away from their families till the 1960’s because the government thought they could give them a better education. The missionaries wanted the aboriginals to dress like Europeans, sing English songs and play European games. Not a beautiful page in Australian history.
The Naracoorte limestone caves are the only UNESCO heritage site in South Australia and definitely worth a visit. This was a perfect reflection of stalagtites in the water below.
On thursday we take the ferry to Kangaroo Island where we will spend Christmas with our friends Katie and Karel and kids. New year eve we will be in Sydney.