Koalas and Fossils

Central Melbourne is convenient to get around due to free trams in the CBD (central business district). They also have a free tourist trolley that circles the CBD and has a recorded commentary pointing out landmarks along the way. We took this free trolley to go pick up our rental car on Tuesday morning. Before long we were out of Melbourne and driving the start of the Great Ocean Road. To be honest, I’m dubious this coastal road is any more scenic than the Oregon and California coast we biked last Fall. I guess I’ll find out before the week is over.

Caroline and the Southern Ocean

Caroline and the Southern Ocean

Sea Stack along the Great Ocean Road

Sea Stack along the Great Ocean Road

Lighthouse along Great Ocean Road

Lighthouse along Great Ocean Road

Apollo Bay

Apollo Bay

Our first stopover was at a hostel in Apollo Bay for a few nights. Just north of Apollo Bay is Cape Otway where there are apparently wild koalas to be found. We decided that would be our first destination on Wednesday, and as we drove towards the cape, it didn’t take long to see other tourists parked alongside the road looking up in the trees. We followed suit and soon saw several koalas curled up in the trees around us. Most of the koalas were sound asleep, but a little further down the road we did see one moving around a bit. We only saw them from a distance, but they’re just as cute as I expected. However, I was surprised at how brown their fur was. I was expecting them to be mostly grey in color, but they were actually more of a light brown color.

A koala!

A koala!

They were mostly sleeping

They were mostly sleeping

Another koala curled up asleep

Another koala curled up asleep

OMG, one's awake, take its picture!

OMG, one’s awake, take its picture!

This one was in a branch right above the road

This one was in a branch right above the road

After seeing the koalas we walked along the shore at nearby Franklin Point, looking in tide pools in a rocky section of the coast. As we walked back towards our car we noticed a group of people working down the beach. We walked towards them and soon learned that they were digging for dinosaur fossils! One woman was nice enough talk with us and to show us a rock with one small bone visible in it. Apparently they’re researchers and volunteers from a nearby university. We watched them work for a little while before returning to our car. After a short walk through a section of rain forest along the way home, we returned to our hostel for the night.

Lots of rocks to walk along

Lots of rocks to walk along

Alan on the rocks

Alan on the rocks

Caroline notices some people up the shore

Caroline notices some people up the shore (and an old anchor)

Digging for dinosaur fossils!

Digging for dinosaur fossils!

Dinosaur bone fossil to right of pink circle

Dinosaur bone fossil to right of pink circle

More photos of fossil dig

More photos of fossil dig

Chipping at rocks

Chipping at rocks

Interesting tree roots

Interesting tree roots

Our last day in Apollo Bay was uneventful (thus no photos). We walked around town and along the beach a little bit. We also did a little shopping. I bought a new sunhat with a wide brim to shade me from the bright Australia sun and Caroline got a new pair of sunglasses to replace her scratched up pair. Beyond that we watched several episodes of Mad Men and enjoyed a lazy day.

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