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Monday, April 20, 2009

"The one with the twelve rock stacks..."

If you're the outdoorsy type that applauds in excitement over sandy coasts and the ocean, then the Great Ocean Road (GOR) would definitely suit your fancy. Situated a good 100 minute drive from Geelong, the GOR stretches a whopping 243km of beachside road in south-eastern Australia. For those enthusiastic enough to parlour till its end - awaits the outskirts of Victorian city Warrnamboul; a famous tourist spot that harbours a dedicated viewing space for great humpback whales that occasionally passes its straits.

We, on the other hand - just stretched as far as half the distance. However, that was sufficiently enough to prove a feat for all ten of us practically wowed by the scenery.

Realising the nature and extent of our travel this time around, Fendi had asked that we depart from Bundoora in the wee-hours of day; preferably by the break of dawn. Of course, fatigued from our Philip Island endeavour the journey had only set forth at an astonishing 7 am on a Saturday morning. It was still the Easter holidays and while everyone's still very much asleep, we Malaysians decided to scour the tarmacs of the M1 via Princes Hwy into Geelong. Luckily, we had racked up quite a soundtrack to keep us awake and sane throughout - any longer a journey we'd end up having an impromtu karaoke-ing session in the van.

Anyways - fast forward a practically uniteresting scenery of the usual plainlands and livestock we end up on the Princes Hwy; bound through to GOR. Our first stop - anywhere that permits a breathtaking view of the sea. Which was why we decided to make land for Splitpoint Lighthouse, just a few kilometres into the beachside outskirts of GOR.

This lighthouse is one of the many establishments within GOR, but Splitpoint Lighthouse remains one of the very first ones being built by the pioneers of the area. There's even a dedicated tomb which rests its first two occupants, a couple which names escapes me yet again. Nak tau lagi just google it up ok.

One thing that's a common intepretation of visitors coming into GOR; is that it offers an absolutely astounding scenic view of the sea. It does not get any better than this people. Plenty of cliffside viewing posts, and within just a few kilometres into GOR we found ourselves making quite a number of pitstops (which was contrary to the benefit of ongoing traffic) just to stare in amazement into the picturesque landscape.

Yes, everyone showed a healthy dose of their introverted jakun-ness and sakai-ness that day. When I think back about it, kadang-kadang malu pun ader jugak. Anyways, I have a theory for those coming in for their PhD studies that permit such behaviour. 1st year - Sakai and jakun aplenty; 2nd year - able to berlagak to juniors and newcomers to Aussie; 3rd year - blh buat2 tak peduli dah sebab dah tour most of the attractions Aussie can offer.

I, am at stage 1 so my deliberate actions were somehow justified (within means of my own conclusion that is).

Of course, being up at unearthly hours just to travel hundreds of miles onroad would take a toll on our apetites sooner or later. We decided that the town of Lorne, the first of a series (note to my dearest: and sequatious..) of minute towns alongside GOR would be our pit-stop for a quick brunch. It wasn't as we approached the confines of Lorne that we came across a caravan park, filled with Aussies scavenging for a relaxing retreat during the Easter holidays. Really kinda reminiscent of those pictures Mom and Dad had when we were in the States two decades ago.

The people of Lorne were both very warm and welcoming; offering smiles and greets, as well as a few waves to the camera upon most snaps. Cheerful crowd, considering they're separated a great distance to the hustle and bustle of Melbourne city and have the sea all to themselves.

Having the beach as the only thing in between you and the sea, it's particularly hard not to catch a glimpse of surfer dudes and duddettes taking a chance at the waves that morning. The skies were a bit cloudy, bordering to rain but there were ample gusts of winds to permit surfable waters.

The cool breeze and moderate temperature meant it was a wonderful opportunity for a picnic, so we thought no less of settling for a spot for brunch.

Omar, Mahathir, Mila and myself decided to pay a quick visit to Lorne town as they had their usual weekend market. Considering its the holidays, the market was packed with people - both looking for a good bargain from pottery and plants to vintage vinyl records and discounted CDs. There were stalls that sold strawberry (with vanilla ice-cream) and snowcones. It really does inculcate the very essence of conventional western suburb culture and livelihood.

A good 45 minutes stop in Lorne, we continued our pace into GOR. More seaside views and extensive horizons of the ocean, and almost an hour onwards we made another pit-stop for Zuhur and Asar prayers - this time in the surfing town of Apollo bay. Don't let my last sentence delude you; we actually had our prayers under a big tree in a park nearby the ocean. Very Lonely Planet Six Degrees kinda experience.

It wasn't until a day after our trip that we've come to know that an unlucky Malaysian student who'd also visited Apollo bay that day - met with an accident which claimed her life. More tragic, was that it happened just about an hour after we left Apollo bay.

Nauzubillah, we were all definitely under the grace of God Almighty that day.

On a much lighter note, after prayers and a quick tour of the town we continued on our tour of GOR. Shamely, the picturesque seaside views ended as far as our journey started from Apollo Bay. From there onwards our trail led us into the countrysides that has abundances of hills and great plains, which does again remind me of New Zealand or Scotland. The sun was shining and the day had settled in quite nicely for us.

Under the shade of trees and the forests, our next 90 minutes was a combination of boredom and sleepiniess. Found myself caught in between quick slumbers and snores, but luckily most of the gang had the same inclinations as well.

Like the penguins of Philip Island, our tour of the GOR was mainly due of what awaited us in Port Campbell. It is there that resides a geographical phenomenon of national protection and global interest; the Twelve Apostles.

No, it's not the name of twelve high-priests that lives on the beaches of GOR.

The Twelve Apostles are actually a collection of limestone stacks which are in close proximity to each other that it forms about twelve separate foundations of rock stacks. Originally known as Sows and Piglets, these apostles were once headlands forming the greater eastern side of GOR. Through years of sea erosion and wave break, the cliffs eroded internally to form arches. It wasn't until recently a few years ago an apostle, nicknamed the 'London Bridge' had its arch completely erode, separating a once majestic apostle into two. So instead of its former label, probably one should refer it to as the Thirteen Apostles from now on kot.

Regardless of how many are there (you won't even be able to see all twelve anyways!), this was nature at its best. Everywhere you looked, you'd be in astonishment as how marvellous and destructive the sea can be. As it destroys, it also creates.

The views are always almost postcard-worthy, and with the ladenful-presence of helicopter tour rides available - this is one tourist spot one must go to in Australia. To come Down Under and not be here, would be to live in Malaysia and not even set foot on KLCC. It's easy to just stare into space within the confines of its tranquil landscape and feel ever more loving for this place we call Earth. The stuff of legends, the marvel of God's creation. Yes, it is here that we're reminded of how small we are in collection to everything that is life. Testament that we all are just humble beings sharing a common living space in a temporary span of time.

We stayed for a good hour and a half, before (painstakingly) deciding to depart home. It was almost 6pm, and we had a long journey back home. After tons and tons of pictures among the hordes of people who were there as well that day, we called it even for the day.

To end our tour of the GOR, we decided to settled for some all-you-can-eat challenge at Smorgy's Restaurant in Geelong. It's kinda like Hartz Chicken Buffet, only much much better. We all had fun, and I've warmed up to more people equally worthy of kinship.

It was a memorable trip - filled with laughter, smiles, stories and tale. Along the way, gorgeous views and peaceful landscapes. All within the five doors of our Grand Carnival.

We reached home at about 11pm, tired and ready for bed. But what we achieve was the feat that we had experienced two of the best things in life; the realisation of God's creation, and the wonderful figure of friendship.

I wonder what's next in our travel list?


P/s : It's recovery week for chemoboy; wishing him a speedy and well-rested week, as he prepares for both the next dose and his upcoming practical exams.

1 comment:

PakTam said...

Assalamu`alaikum wm.

The trip down GOR memang scenic. Didn't u guys encounter the VERY strong winds at the Apostles? Masa PakTam pagi dulu memang angin kuat sangat, sampai ada orang terjatuh kena tiup angin sebab dia pakai wind-breaker.

Well, Ainul is 7 (20 April). Kitorang celebrate birthday dia @ DPP last Sunday (19.04.2009). Semua orang datang, fun as always! Ainul seronok dapat banyak present. Her friends pun datang (former P8 neighbours & schoolmates) Sekarang ni dia asik-asik "menari" pakai benda yang pijak-pijak tu (PakTam tak tau apa namanya benda tu), courtesy of Aiysha!

Sarah Munirah came with her silver "Cute Car Kakak". Nombor Myvi dia (CCK) with 3 digits. And.... of course with her betrothal plans this July. Anyway, told her not to get married while we are away.

Macam biasa, whenever and wherever PakTam, PakTeh, Mama, MakDe & PakChik got together, the inevitable topic will definitely be on the agenda - PakChik's wedding. Ada la fine tuning sana sini sikit. Looks like its gonna be quite a schedule for the family this year.

OK Jep, take care.


p.s. Glad Fifah pun datang for the birthday. PakTam & MakTam rasa si AKIM AF 7 tu looks very much like u & sometimes mannerism dia pun macam Jep!