Day 6 (25th September 2015): Melbourne
Caches found: 3 (#996-998)
This day was spent just hanging out in Melbourne city, and while we wandered I managed to collect a couple of traditional caches along the way. While we were in the city, I looked at a couple of the nearby ones up the side laneways, spotting one with a particularly high number of favourites, asking the geobro about it, he said he didn’t know why it was well favourited, other than it was in the city, but mumbled something about the CO being decent…. 65+ favourites was enough for me, so I steered us up the lane towards Murder in Gun Alley.
The hint on this one indicated that I would find a lock, and if I tried any random key I had in my bag, I might be able to open it, so I narrowed down on some appropriate looking locked spaces – the first I tried seemed not to be the one, but the second electrical looking box I tried easily allowed my house key to open the padlock, gaining access to the container within 😀 – A perfect urban hide, and with the added element that my own key worked, I had to give it a favourite of my own!
We lunched by the Yarra, so I made sure to take the obligatory shot alongside it, knowing there was an Earthcache about it I could do, but I didn’t do anything about it then a I left it up my sleeve in case I needed an extra find to make my 1000 milestone where I wanted it, and haven’t yet done anything about it yet, so it still sits up my sleeve for a rainy day I guess…. Afterwards though, we wandered around the Docklands area, and with a few hints GeoJorjy nabbed a little trad alongside some sculptures celebrating great Australian Variety Entertainers, and later, I popped over to the Melbourne Star Ferris Wheel to nab a cache that was a little too easy, and put me in a spot that seemed a little too exposed, but took about 2 seconds, so that was nice 😉.
Day 7 (26th September 2015): Melbourne to The Great Ocean Road (via the Otways)
Caches Found: 3 (#999-#1001)
We left Melbourne and commenced our drive west, heading for the Otway Fly Treetop Walk, where for one reason or another there was no cache to be had nearby, which surprised me, but knowing that I wanted to find 1 more cache before reaching the Great Ocean Road, the geobro made sure to pick out a quick find en route to the Otways, alongside the Winchelsea Golf course, and appropriately named Hole in One at Winchelsea … I enjoyed reading about the signature hole here, the “Quarry hole”, at the base of a disused quarry, and was pleased to find the obvious choice for a cache container here.
We then continued on to the Otway Fly, and enjoyed a morning walking through the tree tops, and along the Forrest floor, before departing ways with the geobro and co, and heading on our way to the Great Ocean Road.
As we approached the main 12 Apostles site, the first of many rock formations along this small stretch of road, we noted a turnoff for Gibsons Steps and lookout, where we could view the first 2 of the rock stacks… I checked the surrounds for caches, but couldn’t get to the one here, as the steps down to the beach were closed due to dangerous seas, but I noted that we had just overshot the TB Hotel @ the 12 Apostles, which I had bookmarked as one of my target caches down here… With the quick decision made that it would be my 1000th, rather than the Earthcache that was next on my list, we backtracked the 500m or so to the GZ, where GeoJorjy helped me to make my 1000th find 😃🎉 – As we sat sorting through the TBs another group of 3 pulled up and said “geocache?” in European sounding accents – we confirmed, and shared in the find, then Jorja showed them where to re hide it, wished them happy travels and we headed on our way the short distance along to the main tourist viewing area for the 12 Apostles.
I had already looked at the requirements for the Earthcache here, so while viewing I muscled my way into the crowd enough to take a photo of the info board I needed, and then happily went on my way doing the tourist thing, enjoying exactly what we’d come for – the rocks… But there’s not 12! – we counted 8. Apparently there never has been 12, but it was decided that sounded more impressive 😃.
Day 8 (27th September): Peterborough / Port Campbell
Caches found: 8 (#1002 – #1009)
Earthcache Day. With 5 more to get along this small stretch of the Great Ocean Road, this day was always going to be about the rock formations, and I saw the caches as a bonus to the learning about the area, so I made sure to read lots of signboards, and take lots of photos as we explored the coast. There were also 3 traditionals on our travels, which was a bit of a bonus too 😀.
We stayed overnight at Peterborough, a beautiful sleepy fishing village towards the end of the rock stretch, and the start of the Shipwreck Coast – in the morning we grabbed a couple of coffees from the local store, and took them down to the headland where the river meets the sea, and while we enjoyed the early morning view, I poked about the bushes surrounding the memorial until I uncovered the Spectacular and Tragic cache, which was a cleverly concealed fake rock hiding under some saltbush.
From there we headed back to the ‘start’, parking at the next attraction in line after the Apostles, the Loch Ard Gorge and surrounds, including the Island Arch, the Razorback, Thunder Cave and Muttonbird Island. We spent several hours enjoying the walks along the headland here – well, most of us enjoyed it… Summer was in a “mood” and so we cut short one walk, and skipped the walk to the headland to view the Loch Ard wreck site, but that didn’t matter so much as we certainly had gotten the gist of the spot. While we were walking up around the Thunder Cave and Broken Head, GeoJorjy and I paused to hunt for Rocks in Cave, which aside from pointing us to another cool rock formation, also gave us a chance to look for an actual box – but when I realised Jorja was searching very close to what looked suspiciously like toilet paper under a pile of rocks I pulled the pin on the search – noting the CO had provided a virtual method for this find, I grabbed that option, and we returned our focus to the geology rather than what dirty tourists had left behind. 😱.
We paused by in Port Campbell for a bite for lunch, and to dip our toes in the Southern Ocean at the beach, then headed onto the next lot of formations, The Arch, London Bridge, and The Grotto, each as spectacular as you would expect. I think my favourite of the lot was the Grotto, where we could go down to the bottom of it, but each of the spots held their own beauty. We returned to the London Bridge lookout at sunset, spectacular in its own right, and waited until sundown to watch the Little Penguins come up on the beach – definitely a highlight of the girls’ trip.
We also visited the Bay of Matyrs, and the Bay of Islands, another favourite spot for me, but oddly no Earthcaches for those locations – Jorja and I did take the time to head up one track near the Bay of Matyrs, where we found another traditional, Have a Nice Halliday, funnily enough at Halliday Point 😉 – I’m glad I spotted that one though because it guided us down a bit of an “off the beaten track” path, and onto a small beach, where we found a mini grotto, and got a better view of the rocky outcrops that caused all the shipwrecks along here.
Day 9 (28th September 2015): Peterborough to Mt Gambier
Caches Found: 4 (#1010 – #1013)
We continued our drive west along the Great Ocean Road, through Warnambool and Port Fairy. We paused at Australia’s first wind farm at Codringham, and I was surprised to find there wasn’t a cache there, so we continued on and I grabbed a quick rest stop cache and A Frank View of Portland, before venturing into the town where we spent an hour or so exploring the Maritime Discovery Centre there, learning about the shipwreck and whaling history of the area… And I was mildly disappointed that I was a reasonable distance from any nearby caches here – not that it mattered because I knew I had another of my target caches approaching, at the border as we crossed from Victoria into South Australia 😀.
After lunch, and a drive through Victoria’s Forrestry region we found ourselves at the border – We stopped and got out at the Ruskin Trig that marked the borderline, but as is Murphy’s Law, I didn’t have service so my phone wouldn’t play nice… Knowing it could be just about anywhere here I figured I was going to have to pass by without it, so crossed the road to take the obligatory tourist photo of mthe border sign as “compensation”… And as I did, my phone dinged, indicating I had service on this side of the border! I stood my ground while the cache info loaded, then excited crossed back over – I showed the girls the mark on the map, and left them to the find, which took them seconds and we were back in the car and on our way again (pausing again just up the road to quarantine/dispose of the fruit we were carrying), and onto Mt Gambier.
We checked into our hotel, then headed off again, this time to explore the geology of Mt Gambier – we stopped briefly at the sinkhole in town, mostly to grab coffee and ice cream, then continued up the road to the Blue Lake – surprise, surprise, another Earthcache, this time about the ancient volcanic activity and limestone formation that created the ‘lake’… And though not the vibrant blue we would have seen in Summer, we were pleased it was a beautiful blue for us to see. – while doing the tourist viewing and gathering the info I needed from the signs around, I also attempted a multi nearby… But after visiting the waypoint and doing the maths required I found GZ on the other side of town, where we were not planning to visit. So instead I suggested we head around the corner, where the girls could have a scooter along a pathway around the Blue Lake, and I could duck across the road for a simple traditional nearby… Based on the cache page for Mountopoly – House #1 I wasn’t quite sure what I would find, but hoped the 40 favourite points indicated something good… And when I reached GZ I smiled at the clever construction before me – a bird box that when opened, looked like an outhouse, red back spider included, and the film pot container the toilet seat 😂 – yep, favourite point from me too and a good choice for a random find 😀.
From there we drove the short distance to the coast, and South Australia’s southernmost point at Port MacDonald. We were there for more Fairy Penguins, but this turned out to be one of my favourite spots. It was freezing cold and blowing a gale (probably because we were so close to the South Pole – 5700km, or so the sign told us), but I enjoyed exploring the headland, guided by the multi-cache Lighthouses, Penguins and Guns. The lookout/boardwalk here was built upon the floor plan of the original Lighthouse and keepers cottage – the new lighthouse stood, much more sensibly, on a much higher hill, a little further inland. After gathering the details we needed from there, and had enjoyed the limestone rock formations Camel Rock and Rhino Rock, I calculated GZ, and pleasingly it sat on the other path, conveniently near the penguin lookout, but oddly the spot used to be a rifle range – tucked behind the remenants of the rifle range was the small cache, where we dropped one of the TBs we’d picked up at the Great Ocean Road. By that stage the sun had gone down, the winds had picked up and it had started to drizzle a little, so we stood and watched the first few penguins climb up to their rocky nests here, and we hightailed it outta there, back to the warmth of the car, and looking forward to feeding our hungry bellies.
Day 10 (29th September 2015): Mt Gambier to Adelaide, via Coorong NP and Hahndorf
Caches found: 5 (#1015 – #1019)
Before leaving Mt Gambier we had one more sinkhole to see, this time the garden at Umpherston Sinkhole – not yet adjusted to the half hour time difference in SA we had arrived there nice and early in the morning, so had the place to ourselves, which was great, because it gave me a chance to search for and find Revenge of the Nano, picking up a 2 for 1 deal with the Earthcache there.
Hitting the road we took quite a scenic route to Adelaide, enjoying the scenery of the South Australia South eastern coastline, including a visit to Larry Lobster, ticking another Aussie “Big thing” off our lists and collecting a cache for our efforts. The lobster was quite uninspiring as far as the big things go, and the cache was a pretty obvious find – the White limestone rock sitting in the V of a tree kind of gave it away 😉. From there we headed across some beautiful country, passing by the Coorong National Park, and getting to see some salt lakes and pink lakes along the way. We took the old road into Murray Bridge for lunch, and because there was a mega event held there a few years ago there was a plethora of caches all over for me to choose from – although Jen had ruled out any of the numerous PTs around the town… so I just picked the closest to our lunch spot, and grabbed that – a standard eclipse tin, I’m sure very typical of Urban Murray Bridge.
We then spent some time exploring the historic German town Hahndorf… There were a couple of caches in town that I contemplated getting, but decided not to waste more time on them, as we still had a couple of stops to go before reaching Adelaide. Next up we headed over the Adelaide Hills to the south-eastern suburbs of Adelaide where my uni was situated in Bedford Park, which quite conveniently passed me by the GZ for the interstate multi the brute of a geobro had alerted me to the week prior.We pulled up in a safe spot on the side of the road, and while Jen and Summer waited in the car, Jorja and I headed off to get the cache. We lucked in again, as there was an access gate to the walking trail wight where we had pulled up, and so in a matter of minutes, Jorja and I had nabbed The Fututive and we were back in the car. Another brief stop at the uni to collect my academic dress, and then it was onto the hotel in Adelaide.
👣👣👣👣👣 TO BE CONTINUED 👣👣👣👣👣