Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Last Day in Melbourne and Great Ocean Road

Our last day in Melbourne was fairly low key.  Daniel slept in and I went to Prahran Market, which is a gourmet food market.  They had lots of separate stalls for various ethnic foods, delis, cheese shops, nut shops, meat, produce, and even a mushroom shop.  There was also a store called the Essential Ingredient which reminded me of A Southern Season, complete with cooking classes on the second floor.  The highlight, though, was the cooking demonstration.

Louise and I got pretty well acquainted as I parked myself in front of her mini kitchen.  It was technically a stall for Bloch kitchen appliances, but in such a non pushy way I had to ask her if she was just working for the market or a particular person.  I was particularly interested because she was cooking game-duck, rabbit, and kangaroo.  I don’t really know how to cook any of those, so I was an eager pupil.  I watched roast a rabbit and then put the meat into a rabbit pie.  I then did a bit more touring of the market and then headed back for the kangaroo steaks.  Not only did she show me how to cook the things, she let me ask lots of questions, explained how Aussies feel about game (you either love it or hate it, but lots of strong reactions, some of which I got to witness), gave me a short culinary history of Australia, and even art.  It turns out when she wasn’t cooking she was sculpting, so we did not run out of things to talk about.  I got to taste the rabbit pie and the kangaroo steak.  The roo as it is sometimes called was delicious.  I will definitely be cooking some more of that.  I also discovered that a lot of Aussies call roo Skippy.  This is a reference to a TV show much like Lassie with Timmy falling down the well and all that, but with a kangaroo named Skippy instead of a border collie.   Louise said it was rather fake at times with obvious stuffed floating kangaroo paws because you can’t train a kangaroo to do anything.  I wrapped up my time at the market by eating the best falafel I’ve ever tasted, so I had to take a picture of it.

After the market, Daniel met up with me and then we walked to St. Kilda, the beach closest to Melbourne.  It was nice and pretty, but pretty much like the rest of the city beaches we have seen.  There’s a picture below.  There is a penguin colony nearby, but we didn’t see any.  At this point we had walked probably 4 miles all told and I had two blisters, so Daniel was kind enough to go back to the market (the half way point) and retrieve the car.  We went back to the Italian place for dinner, mostly just to eat the sticky date pudding again.

The next morning we headed off to drive the Great Ocean Road.  The GPS said we had to cover about 3 hours of driving over the whole day, so we took our time.  It fibbed a bit, as the twisty coastal road took us longer than that, but we still were able to take a leisurely pace.  Our first stop was Bells Beach.  Bells is known for its surfing competition held there every Easter.  The waves weren’t actually too high, but it did look like good surfing.  The surfers seemed to be able to catch more waves and wipe out less, so maybe it’s good surfing, not big waves.  Here’s the beach. 

After eating our packed lunch, we hit the road again and next stopped at the Split Signal Lighthouse, a very picturesque place, but not much was there but the lighthouse.

We tried to stop at the Otway Lighthouse, too, where our friends the Webbers took some incredible shots of waves breaking around the lighthouse, but it cost $15 apiece, so we decided the signal lighthouse would do us.  However, we had to drive through part of Otway National Park to get there, and that brought us in close contact with some animals.  First of all were a lot of cows, who just sort of block the whole road and won’t move.  Honking and revving did not phase them in the least.  I offered to do my farm girl part and go slap some rumps, but Daniel decided trying to basically nip at their heels with the bumper, and that seemed to get them moving enough to get through. 

The real prize, though, were the koalas!  We finally found some munching away high up in the trees.  Daniel pulled over and let me snap pictures of a group of six of them.

On we went to the Twelve Apostles, a rock formation that is the most famous part of the Ocean Road, although it’s more like the six apostles now as some of them have crumbled.  We reached them right as the sun was setting, and it was just gorgeous.

Finally we had just enough light left to see Loch Ard Gorge, named after the ship that met its end there, with only an 18 year old girl making it to shore.  You can only go into the gorge at certain times a day, as at high tide it fills up.  The tide was coming in, so we didn’t tarry long.

I think this was the prettiest part of our trip thus far.

1 comment:

  1. wow, beautiful gorge photos. What a sight. And really that falafel picture was on up there too :)