Thursday, February 7, 2013

Roses, kangaroos, and beautiful beaches- all near Melbourne Australia

We had a hired car for our first day in port at Melbourne, Australia, compliments of our travel agent.  We thought we'd like to see the coast if it was possible, although we only had the driver for 6 hours and it takes at least 3 hours to get to the famous 12 apostles of the "Great Ocean Road", so we had to work with the driver to see what he'd suggest.  He had a few really great ideas so that we could see the port towns near the beginning of the ocean road as well as some nearby attractions.

Our first stop was at Werribee Park, which is a mansion that has been renovated with a new hotel attached to it.  You can tour the mansion for a price, but the gardens are free and there is a stunning rose garden that boasts 5,000+ rose bushes.  This was by far, the prettiest and the largest rose garden I've ever seen, and the bonus was that it was in full bloom.  As soon as you got near it, the air filled with such sweet smells I have never experienced before.  We enjoyed strolling the different plantings set up in various geometric designs to compliment the colors and heights of the bushes.



After the rose garden, we drove to the coast where we met surfers at several bays.  By the way, if you're interested in more photos of the great ocean road, there's an array of scenic photos of the Australian Grand Prix that was recently held there at the facebook page for Melbourne.  The waves really weren't that good for this day, but there were still plenty of them in the water.  The water is so clear and the rocks so high.  As you watch them, you're high on a cliff, and there are walkways down to the beach.  These surfers are extremely fit, regardless of age.  One we met was 49 and joked about how he'd have to give it all up when he has the big 50 birthday, since no one believes it's a sport for old people.  He suggested we go to Anglesea Golf course to have our lunch because it was a great local spot to find kangaroos and cockatoos.  We did indeed try this and weren't disappointed.  We watched 2 white cockatoos in a nest right outside the cafeteria, and saw several kangaroo hopping across the course.  Sure made for some interesting lunch conversation.
There were both white and black cockatoos- here's the white

typical of the Ocean Road scenery
These information signs are at every turn out point



Kangaroo hopping on the green


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