How fortunate I am to come from Europe after having enjoyed a great summer time by some beautiful Alpine lakes in southern Germany and northern Italy, and then move to Australia and find out summer is not over yet and my holiday may resume! Thanks, God, for creating the globe round!
Planning a holiday in Australia is fairly easy, given the multitude of options to choose from. Being still new to the area, for our summer holiday we went for the most common and touristic holiday destinations, that I would still actually visit and recommend even after I’d be living here for years I imagine.
The Great Ocean Road
One of the world’s most scenic roads along the coast offered us breathtaking views of the ocean, shoreline, native vegetation and took us through Victoria’s most iconic places. I only wish we had more time to spend along this road, there’s just so much one can find on it – take a break on a surf beach and enjoy its surroundings, wonder around coastal villages and fish along with the locals, get lost in a rain forest breathing in the fresh air and taking in the great views, get close to the wildlife or just keep on driving.
One of the jewels of the Great Ocean Road is the monumental Twelve Apostles, from which actually only eight of them made it to this day, but who cares, you won’t be able to count them anyway because of some tourists constantly blocking your view. Jokes aside, the panorama is simply divine and the sound of the waves breaking against limestone rocks gives even more thrill to the place! The clear blue sky melts lusciously into the ocean’s rugged waves forming an enchanting yet deceitful skyline as you can’t tell where the ocean ends and where the sky begins.
Lorne and Erskine Falls
After passing by some idyllic beaches and towns, our next stop on the Road was Lorne, a seaside holiday town heavily crowded at the end of the year with enthusiasts of contemporary music and arts gathered together for the Falls Festival celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Not far from Lorne there are some really impressive waterfalls not to be missed! The first and most reachable one is Erskine Falls. The water plunges from a 30 metres height and makes its way flowing through big stones and tree-fern gully into Erskine River. There’s such a serenity and intimacy about this place that helps totally disconnect with the outer world and gives peace to mind.
The next one we stopped at was Lower Kalimna Fall, there is also Upper Kalimna that I’m very happy we didn’t adventure to seek as the Lower one was more than enough for reasons you will soon understand. The fall could be reached only hiking as you had to descend about a kilometre deep into the forest. After fifty metres hike on a narrow path through wild nature and no one around to be seen or heard, I was already cursing myself as it was my idea to visit this fall. As we descended the forest grew quieter and darker and my heart grew smaller, I could hear my own heart beats and each rustle of the leaves made my heart freeze. The problem is that there are too many articles written about poisonous animals and dangerous wildlife in Australia and I happened to have read too many of them.
I even suggested a few times to abandon the idea and go back to the car but my husband is not the type to step back after having committed to something, so I just had to carry on still inspecting every bush on the way if it hid any skeletons or body parts under its branches. It’s very funny now when I look back, but then my humour might have been frozen for a while by fear I guess. Anyway, once we finally arrived at the waterfall all my fear and misgivings went away to make place to new great feelings at the sight of another natural wonder! The Lower Kalimna Fall is a magic site, there’s just a small stream of water running down peacefully, but under it there is a carved cave with scribblings on the walls that makes the scene a bit mystical. On top of that we could also enjoy the view peacefully and secluded since, needless to say, there was nobody else around to share the view with!
Our last stop on the Road was Port Campbell, a place that pictures so well the stereotypical Aussie life Europeans have in mind when thinking about Australia. Port Campbell is a small fishing village where you can find a very relaxing atmosphere, amazing fish and chips, surf boards and surf motifs to decorate virtually every restaurant and pub. We spent the night in one of the pubs along with a cheerful crowd that I’d describe as most Aussieness I’ve seen since arriving on the continent. The guys there met all the Australian stereotypes, wearing long hair with crunchy curls from salt water crammed under their most distinctive trademark, the baseball caps, with the front containing waves designs and logos of famous Australian surf companies.
Something else that piqued my curiosity was a corner of the pub decorated like a kind of altar of worship consecrated to national surf gurus, books about Mick Fanning and his life teachings were expectedly on the top of the “altar”.
I can positively say that the Great Ocean Road helped me to get to know better and understand the country where we chose to live without actually knowing so much about it before, and getting to know it better reinforced our belief that we’ve been right with our choice.