Hello again everyone,|
You all must be tired of hearing from me by now. Not much to write about today as I didn't do much except change locations. My plane landed here in Melbourne at about 11:30 this morning. Below is a lousy picture of the plane I flew on.
I didn't get to my hotel until almost 2:00. My hotel in conveniently located in the center of town. I'm staying at the Novotel Melbourne on Collins which sits above a shopping mall.
Below is my room.
Like Sydney, Melbourne is a very large busy city. After getting settled in my hotel I took a walk around the city. I walked down to the Rialto Tower.
The Melbourne Observation Deck on the 55th floor of Rialto provides an outstanding view of the city. The Eureka Tower seen in the picture below is the tallest building in Australia. It is 91 floors and was just completed a couple months ago.
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city of the Australian state of Victoria, and the second-most populous city in Australia after Sydney.
Below is Melbourne's entertainment and conference precinct (Crown Casino and Convention Centre).
From Rialto I circled around and walked along the Yarra River which runs through the city.
The weather is nice here, but very hot.
Melbourne is home to the world's largest tram network. You can see some cars below in front of St Paul's Cathedral.
I passed Flinders Street railway station which is the busiest railway station in Australia.
I also passed Melbourne Town Hall.
No Worries (the folks in Australia must say that 1000 times a day),
9 minute video of Australia's Great Ocean Road.
It was a beautiful day here in the state of Victoria. Today I toured the Great Ocean Road. It was a long trip, over 500 kilometers roundtrip from Melbourne. I wanted to fly to and from there but there is a minimum of two for those flights and they couldn't work me in, even though I gave them over six months notice. It was a bit longer than I wanted to travel by bus, but the sights were worth the effort.
The bus picked me up at my hotel this morning at 7:45. Our first stop was Torquay (below). Apparently people come from all over the world to surf the shark infested waters here.
Bells Beach (below), our next stop, is the home of the world's longest-running surfing competition.
It was a beautiful day. The stop below was near Lorne.
We stopped at Kenneth River to find some koala bears. We saw several koala bears in the wild. They are quite a lazy animal but very cute.
We continued along the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay.
The beach in Apollo Bay seemed quite popular.
We went inland for a short while and took a walk through a rain forest.
We stopped for lunch at Otway Junction.
There was a nice view from the restaurant.
After lunch it was on to the highlight of the day, The Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge. All very impressive rock formations along Victoria's coast on the Southern Ocean. I took a short helicopter flight over the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge.
The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park.
The apostles were formed by erosion: the harsh and extreme weather conditions from the Southern Ocean gradually eroded the soft limestone to form caves in the cliffs, which then became arches, which in turn collapsed; leaving rock stacks up to 150 feet high.
Loch Ard Gorge is 2 miles northwest of The Twelve Apostles.
The gorge is named after the clipper ship Loch Ard, which ran aground on nearby Muttonbird Island in 1878.
The Loch Ard Gorge is also part of Port Campbell National Park.
It was a very small helicopter but we got a lot of nice views.
The indescribable beauty of formations like the razorback and island arch make this a very special place.
The flight only lasted about ten minutes.
Unfortunately the helicopter flight took up all my time at the Twelve Apostles and I wasn't able to see them from ground level. But we did make another stop at Loch Ard Gorge so I was able to walk around there.
Currently there are eight Apostles left, the ninth having collapsed dramatically in July 2005. Below we are turning back to land.
After we landed it was back on the bus. Our next stop was Loch Ard Gorge. Below is Island Arch (note: this collasped in 2009, two pillars remain).
Below is the Razorback. This is a ridge of sandstone rock jutting up from the sea just offshore. Beyond it is Pudding Rock. The Razorback is really an elongated stack, which used to exend much further into the sea, but centuries of erosion have reduced it to the length seen today.
Below is another view of the Razorback. The layers and patterning in the rock were amazing.
The gorge ends in two coves divided by a dramatic rocky outcrop which share one beach. From here the long gorge heads out to the open sea.
Our last stop was London Bridge. Originally a natural archway and tunnel in an impressive offshore rock formation, London Bridge collapsed in 1990 and became a bridge without a middle. Before the collapse, visitors to the site were able to walk across 'the eastern bridge' that stretched across to the mainland.
The only bad part of the day was the flies. I thought the flies were awful in Melbourne but they were even worse out here. They are as thick as peanut butter at all times. There were people walking around with what looked like bee keepers masks on. The act of swatting flies away from your face is called the Melbourne salute. A man I was talking to in Tasmania told me about it before I got here. I couldn't imagine it being as bad as he described but it was, if not worse. When I got back to the hotel tonight I couldn't wait to take a shower after having flies crawling on me all day.
It was a long drive back to Melbourne, I got to my hotel at about 8:00. Tomorrow is my last day in Australia before moving on to New Zealand on Saturday.
8 minute video of Melbourne, Australia.
I didn't have anything planned for today so I slept in. It felt good. I have been getting up early most everyday to do something. I will have to rise early again tomorrow as I have an early flight to New Zealand.
Once I finally got up and about I spent a couple hours on a boat cruise of the Yarra River.
The lower stretches of the Yarra River are where the city of Melbourne was established in 1835. From its source in the Yarra Ranges, it flows 150 miles west through the Yarra Valley which opens out into plains as it winds its way through Greater Melbourne before emptying into Hobsons Bay.
Below is the West Gate Bridge crossing the Yarra River.
After the cruise I walked through Queen Victoria Gardens. Below is the huge floral clock that is positioned opposite the National Gallery of Victoria. Behind the clock stands a bronze equestrian statue, a memorial to Queen Victoria's successor, King Edward VII.
Queen Victoria's reign started in 1837. Her gardens measures 12 acres in size.
Below you can see the flag flying atop Government House from Queen Victoria Gardens.
Below is the Marquis of Linuthcow Monument.
The gardens lead you to the Shrine of Remembrance.
The Shrine was built as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I and is now a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. It is a site of annual observances of ANZAC Day (April 25) and Remembrance Day (November 11) and is one of the largest war memorials in Australia.
The Shrine is set in a large expanse of parkland officially called Kings Domain. Below is the north perspective displaying the Eternal Flame.
Below is the Melbourne skyline from the steps of the shrine.
Later this afternoon after I got tired of walking I went to see a movie at the Crown Entertainment Complex (below). Quite a large impressive place just across the river from my hotel. Movie Theaters, casino, hotel, restaurants, shopping mall, night clubs. Really a city unto itself. Also stopped by the casino after the movie but didn't stay long. Was running out of Australian money and didn't want to exchange more since this is my last day here and need enough for the cab to the airport in the morning.
At sunset this evening I went back to the top of the Rialto Tower. In the picture below you can see the Eureka Tower on the left and the Crown Entertainment Complex where I just was on the right.
Below is the Telstra Dome. I don't know what is going on inside.
The night shots didn't come out too bad considering that I didn't use a tripod.
Melbourne's CBD, compared with other Australian cities, has comparatively unrestricted height limits and as a result contains five of the six tallest buildings in Australia.
The city is recognised for its mix of modern architecture which intersects with an extensive range of nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings.
I will write more from New Zealand,
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