Brad and I did a day tour of the Great Ocean Road the other weekend with Go West. We saw a lot! It was a pretty fast paced tour, not a lot of time to get out and explore areas. However, if you have a limited timeline, as in only one day, we were pretty happy with it.
The coast was amazingly beautiful, as you can see from a picture of the twelve apostles I took. There are crazy crazy rock formations. These were just some of the many we saw.
There was also a short trek through a beautiful rainforest. It’s hard to believe there is a rainforest in an area as dry as this. There were lots of amazing tree ferns and craggy, monster looking trees.
If you have time I highly reccommend taking 2-3 days to see the Great Ocean Road, but if you only want to spare a day, Go West was pretty good. Our guide could have used a few more jokes, but you can’t win them all!
Meerkat Manor! Kinda
Brad and I went to the Melbourne Zoo not too long ago. We were able to see a slew of native animals; Kangaroos, Wombats, and even a platypus! There was also lots of non-native species. I saw lions, gorillas, elephants, and meerkats (which were the cutest, see pictures).
I’m a bit on the fence about zoos. I’m not for keeping animals in unnatural, tiny settings, not letting them hunt and socialize like they do in nature. I remember going to the Oaklawn Farm Zoo in Nova Scotia for a biology class. They boast the world’s largest lion. As in weight. This lion was seriously overweight. It was sad to see. And this was on the main sign going into the zoo!
However, many zoos have animals that were rescued and can’t be released. This is often the case with birds. Other zoos really focus on pushing the message of conservation. “Hey Kids, love the river otters? Help protect our rivers!”, etc. I was really impressed with the aquarium in Shanghai, which I felt had a great focus on conservation.
As for the Melbourne Zoo, there was some conservation issues addressed, but nearly as much as I would have like to have seen.
So next time you make a Sunday trip to the zoo, think about what the zoo means for the animals and maybe decide not to visit those zoos without a rescue/conservation emphasis. Support things that are good for animals and good for the environment!
Roos and an Emu!
Blurry fire-damaged areas on the Huma highway
The other weekend we drove from Melbourne to Canberra. Along the way we went through the areas affected by the recent bushfires that have been burning for weeks. It was really amazing to see.
The area we saw seemed massive, and we only saw the damage on the sides of the highway. It went on for kilometres. As you can see from the blurry picture taken from the car window. the trees still have leaves but the ground is black and nothing is growing below the tree canopy. You could see houses that had survived, with blackened groud all around, right beside spaces that had one been a house but now there was nothing left.
I have never seen anything like it. You could tell just how hot and fast the fire burned. I couldn’t imagine being one of the people who stayed to protect their home or the people trying to escape seeing the fire front chasing after their vehicle.
Australia is not taking climate change well. Twelve years into this drought, bushfires and water shortages happen all the time. There’s flooding in the north. I didn’t really realize how bad it was when I was living in Canada. Why hasn’t Australia become the poster nation for climate change? Why aren’t Australia’s, who should be some of the most aware of the danagers of climate change, taking more steps to slow it down? They’re great about saving water, but they should be banging down the door of the rest of the world shouting “Hello! A little help here?” They should have solar panels on every roof! They should have pulled out all the stops years ago. I did see an ad on TV the other day saying a vegetarian diet will help reduce GHGs. Now that would never be allowed to air in Canada…would it Stephen Harper?
Biking on French Island
The hottest week in a hundred years. At least that’s what 7 News said. But they kinda seem like Fox News. Nonetheless, it was freakin’ hot last week. Over 40 for 4 days in a row I think. When you walked outside it felt like you were in a slow cooker.
So here I am in Melbourne. Got a flat off Flatmate Finders. Got a mattress and two desks off Gumtree (like Craigslist or Kijiji) and Ebay. These are good resources if you’re moving here on a budget or temporarily, both of which I am. If you try to get your own apartment you have to go through a real estate agent. Things aren’t done directly through landlords. And you need resumes and references…the market is tough here. So if you don’t have any Australia credit history…well it just seemed a bit much for us. We’re sharing with a lovely roomie (I mean flatmate) and I never had to talk to a real estate agent once. It was the first place we looked at, in an awesome neighbourhood just outside the downtown (or CBD – central business district), and it has a dishwasher. I guess we stuck in our thumb and pulled out a plum (I’m pretty sure that was a really lame thing to say, but I like it so it stays).
An interesting note on Australia…no pennies. Everything is rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents. It’s lovely. Paper money is actually plastic money with a little see-through window, just like the money in Romania I was so impressed with two years ago. They don’t rip, you can wash them in your jeans pockets til the cows come home (what is with me and lame sayings today!), and you can peek through the see-through window. It’s also lovely.
I know there’s been some discussion in Canada about axing the penny. It’s been said that it costs more than a cent to make one penny. Aren’t we looking for ways to cut corners in this economic downturn? Hmm…it seems so logical. But what about the sentiment…find a penny pick it up and all that jazz. Well I think sentiment needs to take a back seat to practicality. *BTW Happy late birthday penny. It turned 100 last year.*
Have fun in the snow/slush/rain Canada. I’ll make sure to keep updating you on the sun and warm in Melbourne.