On Friday morning we left Apollo Bay and were looking forward to seeing the famous Twelve Apostles. They are a scenic group of sea stacks (rocky pillars along the coast) that are one of the most popular tourist sites in Australia. They are much taller than I expected and with the clear, bright blue water I must admit this coastline is even more scenic than Oregon or California.
Another attraction at the Twelve Apostles is a penguin colony. We could see their tracks in the sand far below and we plan to return in a couple days to see them return from the sea after sunset.
Near the Twelve Apostles is the Loch Ard Gorge, so named for the ship the Loch Ard which ran aground nearby in 1878. Only two people survived the wreck and there is a cemetery nearby with the remains of many of the shipwreck victims.
While walking along the foot paths in the area we saw a couple really large lizards. They’re harmless skinks, but they reminded me of the size and coloring of Gila Monsters of the desert southwest.
Our next stop along the coast was London Bridge. This small island used to have a natural bridge connecting it to the mainland, but that land bridge collapsed back in 1990, briefly stranding two people on the newly formed island.
Eventually we reached Port Fairy where we are staying in another hostel. The hostel is located in a historic building and our room is actually in a section of the refurbished barn’s hayloft. As dusk approached we walked to a nearby colony of shearwater birds. They return to their nests after sunset and we really enjoyed standing nearby as darkness fell, watching the silent birds fly all around us. It was too dark to get any decent photos, but it was a wonderful experience.
The next day we took in more scenery and wildlife at nearby Tower Hill Reserve. This is an old volcano crater which has some shallow lakes and a variety of birds and wildlife. We had barely pulled into the park when we saw our first emu. While walking around we saw another one walking in front of us.
While hiking back from a viewpoint we saw a wallaby up close. It was rather tame and didn’t mind that we got close enough for some good photos. We had seen one the night before at dusk, but we got a better view of this one during the day.
Later that day I struck up a conversation with a couple girls at the hostel. Lena is German and Rebecca is Swiss. We invited them to join us as we drove back to Tower Hill at dusk. We’d been told that is a good time to see wildlife at Tower Hill. Sure enough, just after we drove into the park we spotted a family of Kangaroos near the road. We saw more kangaroos near the visitor center and we watched them grazing on the grass as night fell.