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Archive for February 23rd, 2013

Koala Spotting Down Under

Kangaroo dodging, koala spotting, beach hopping, and vin-yard stopping takes its toll on a man.  BUT have no fear, the Green Light has returned from the Southern Hemisphere and I have compiled some of my best photos from my trip to inspire you to get out outdoors and appreciate the beautiful natural wonders this world has to offer.  I thought of writing a day-by-day recap but then I realized I’m not Anthony Bourdain (even though he is awesome and grew up in my hometown) and photos are better.  Most of my time was spent in Melbourne, and then four days in Tourquay, a beach town two hours west of Melbourne. Enjoy!

Day 1  - Drove to Phillip's Island, two hours south of Melbourne.  This was the first Australian beach I laid my eyes on, and swam in.  It was slightly chilly, despite it being summer.

Day 1 – Drove to Phillip Island, two hours south of Melbourne. This was the first Australian beach I laid my eyes on, and swam in. The water was slightly chilly, despite it being summer. Most days were in the 80s with one day over 100.

Last stop at Phillip's Island -  The Nobbies.  There were supposed to be seals, but they were hiding.  Phillip's Island is known for its daily evening march of the penguins.  Thousands of penguins exit the ocean to the beach shores and into the sand dunes, it's a tourist attraction.

Last stop at Phillip Island – The Nobbies. There were supposed to be seals, but they were hiding. Phillip Island is known for its daily evening march of penguins. Thousands of penguins exit the ocean to the beach shores and into the sand dunes, it’s a popular tourist attraction.

First winery stop of the trip.  The owner provided us with a tasting even though he was closing shop.  The wines were ok, but it was the red grape champagne that was the best.,

First vin-yard (as Aussies say) stop of the trip on Phillip Island (it was called Phillip Island Winery). The owner provided us with a tasting even though he was closing shop. The wines were ok, but it was the rose champagne that was the best.

I admit I planned my trip around the Australian Open.  The fourth rounds matches did not disappoint, especially the five-set match between two frenchmen, Richard Gasquet and Willie Tsonga.  Snags (sausages) made for a tasty lunch at the Open.

I planned my trip around the Australian Open. The fourth rounds matches did not disappoint, especially the five-set match between two french men, Richard Gasquet and Willie Tsonga. Snags (sausages) made for a tasty lunch at the Open. Unfortunately, Roger Federer did not show at his scheduled practice court due to the large crowds.

Two hours west of Melbourne are some of Victoria's most scenic spots.  A three-hour day drive along The Great Ocean Road has a variety of amazing stops including rainforests, lighthouses, beaches, caves, and geologic formations. This lighthouse stop was just before the official start of the Great Ocean Road. It was well worth it, it was a favorite among the group.

Two hours west of Melbourne are some of Victoria’s most scenic spots. A three-hour day drive along The Great Ocean Road has a variety of amazing stops including rainforests, lighthouses, beaches, caves, and geologic formations. This lighthouse stop was just before the official start of the Great Ocean Road. It was well worth it, it was a favorite among the group.

This is the beach at the lighthouse stop. You could spend the whole day there.

Lorne pier in the town of Lorne. There was a crawfish shack near the pier, AND the pier produce tidal wave energy.  Coolest pier ever? Just maybe.

Lorne pier (in the town of Lorne). There was a crawfish shack near the pier, AND the pier produces tidal wave energy. Coolest pier ever? Just maybe.

It's not everyday this Jersey-DC-Nola guy sees koalas in the wild - but this is the real deal, and apparently a very rare siting Australia.  We saw a few dozen in Cape Otway National Park.

Not everyday do you see koalas in the wild – but this is the real deal, and apparently a very rare siting Australia. It took about a half hour to find this spot where we saw about two dozen in Cape Otway National Park.

The Great Ocean Road is listed as one of the best drives in the world.  And the 12 Apostles are among one its top highlights. You may think, that's not 12; from the lookout there are two on the other side and over the years due to weather patterns some of the Apostles have broken off from land.

The Great Ocean Road is listed as one of the best drives in the world. And the 12 Apostles are among its top highlights. You may think that’s not 12, but from this lookout there are two on the other side and over the years, due to extreme weather, some of the Apostles have broken off from land.

Loch ard gorge stop on the Great Ocean Road.  By  far my favorite stop, it felt like something out of Southeast Asia.  There were caves on the right too!

Loch ard gorge stop on the Great Ocean Road. It was my favorite stop, it felt like something out of Southeast Asia. There were caves and stalactites to the right and in the opposite direction of this view.

London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down....

The London Bridge has not fallen down. This was the last stop on the Great Ocean Road before Port Campbell, where we stopped for a nice dinner and I ate shark!

Back in Melbourne after a few days at the beach, we headed to Mountain Goat Brewery  which is a local favorite, only open twice a week and great brews! These are my friends I visited, and I got to hang and meet a lot of cool Aussies too.

Back in Melbourne after a few days at the beach, we headed to Mountain Goat Brewery which is a local favorite, only open twice a week with great brews. We ordered the beer sampler and pizza.  This brewery was just written up in the New York Times.  These are the friends I visited, and I got to hang and meet a lot of their cool Aussies friends too.

Australia Day BBQ. Theme = thrift shop. Giant jenga, snags and burgers with white bread, and a whole lot of take tattoos.

Speaking of cool Aussies – my last full day in Melbourne was Australia Day, think Amurica 4th of July, and we celebrated it at a bbq in the afternoon and a music festival at night.  The bbq theme was thrift shop. Giant jenga, snags and burgers on white bread, and a whole lot of fake tattoos made for a great bbq.

Closed out the trip on Australia Day! You can compare it to the U.S.' 4th of July.  We went to a music festival with Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Killers - they both rocked it!

After the bbq, we headed to the Fairgrounds for the music festival called Big Day Out. We missed Vampire Weekend, but caught The Killers, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers closed the night. They both played great sets!

 

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