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Entries about waterfalls

Columbia River Gorge

STATE 19 - OREGON

sunny 85 °F

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This picture appeared in my National Geographic Traveler magazine that arrived just days before my trip out west. This picture is the reason I am looking forward to visiting Oregon. Waterfalls, giant trees, moss covered trails—a hiking wonderland. This specific waterfall was to be my destination immediately upon leaving the airport. Unfortunately it is a six-hour drive west to reach this waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge from Spokane, Washington where I landed.

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To my surprise, the drive from eastern Washington into eastern Oregon looked nothing like the photograph in National Geographic.

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Where were the trees? Where were the mountains? Where were the breweries and the birkenstock-clad, bearded men I had been promised? Much like there is more to North Carolina than sandy beaches and the Appalachian mountains, a large portion of Oregon is void of mountains. The Cascade Mountain range cuts through the western edge of Oregon, and along with a prevailing westward wind, keeps most of the moisture near the coast. I was driving through an arid plateau, and it would be a while until I see any trees.

In fact, the first trees I saw where obviously planted by man. The trees formed perfectly straight lines, it looked like a never-ending tree farm.

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This tree farm was gigantic, stretching for miles down the highway. The Boardman Tree Farm stretches out over 30,000 acres. Eventually the tree lines ended, and I was presented with more dusty scenery. The highway I was traveling on, Interstate 84, runs along the Columbia River, the river that separates Oregon from Washington. Although the river was visible next to the highway, it was far from the view presented in National Geographic.

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Way off in the distance, I saw what looked like a mountain. A solitary mountain surrounded by dusty plains. In the middle of the summer, it looked to be covered in ice. What I saw was Mount Hood, the tallest peak in Oregon. The Cascade Mountains are actually part of the the Pacific Ring of Fire, the volcanic hotspot that we all learned about in 4th grade that circles the Pacific Ocean. This giant mountain was actually a volcano similar to Mount St. Helens. I was finally getting closer to the mountains and the waterfalls.

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The Columbia River Gorge is the only natural passage way through the Cascade Mountain range. The highway twists and turns as it follows the steep slopes of the mountains. I tried to follow the signs to get to the Eagle Creek Wilderness Trails, but I never saw the exit I needed to take off the interstate. After a couple wrong turns, I eventually was stopped by park security as I tried to enter a secure zone. Explaining that I couldn't find my exit, the park ranger informed me that the exits were only available on the westbound side of the interstate, there were no cloverleaf style interchanges. Following the ranger's directions, I was able to find the trailhead and start my hike into Columbia River Gorge.

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A 5 mile trail from led from the parking lot to the waterfall from National Geographic. The trail was beautiful. Gigantic trees loomed overhead (although not quite as big as the ones I saw while hiking in Tasmania or the Tingles in Western Australia). A picture doesn't really show how big the trees are because no one is in the picture for a reference, but the smaller tree in this picture was easily 50 feet tall, and it would take at least 4 people to form a circle with their arms around the big pine.

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The trail hugged the slope of one of the mountains, and a large pass hung precariously over a drop. A steel cable was bolted to the rock for support, but it was nerve-racking when I had to let go to pass someone on the trail. You couldn't beat the views though.

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The trail started to make its way down to the bottom of the gorge, and I was presented with my first view of the falls.

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Upon reaching the bottom, several waterfalls cascaded down the valley. People sat on rocks taking in the scenery, while others briefly swam in the cold waters. You can't see the waterfalls in this picture looking downstream, but it gives you an idea of what it was like standing on the edge of Eagle Creek.

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Following Eagle Creek upstream, I finally found the waterfall that inspired the entire trip.

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The waterfall (Punch Bowl Falls) is much larger than it looks in the picture (which surprised me). It is over 30 feet tall, but you can't get super close without swimming out to it. I saw a crowd gathering to watch the falls, and then noticed someone fly through the air and land in the water beneath the falls. A group of younger guys were jumping off a ledge 4 times higher than the waterfall! It looked insane, and only a couple actually braved the jump (I assume the rest climbed back down via a trail). I rested my legs and watched a dog fetch rocks from the water. I got someone to take my picture in front of the falls, and then hiked back to my car. My travel through Oregon has only started, as I planned to spend the next week in Portland, Oregon.

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Posted by Mike.Flynn 07:14 Archived in USA Tagged waterfalls mountains hiking state_park Comments (0)

Blue Mountains

sunny 88 °F

Finally we were able to go to the Blue Mountains. Dawn and I had been holding out until Greg arrived since he had expressed interest in going. The Blue Mountains are the mountain range that surround Sydney. The original colonists called them the Blue Mountains because they look blue when viewed from a distance (like a hazy gray color). Up close, they are your typical mountains. However, just like most of Australia, it seems like it has been totally untouched by human hands and the natural beauty is astounding.

We stopped on the way up the Blue Mountains because our guide knew a perfect place to see kangaroos. The novelty of seeing a roo had slightly worn off, but it gave the three of us a chance to take a hike through the woods. We ended up not seeing any kangaroos (to the disappointment of the rest of the group) and headed up into the mountaintops.

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Our guide had actually grown up in the Blue Mountains (he was 64), so he had plenty to tell us about the area. It was also cool because he knew the best lookouts and trails to take. The first lookout we made it to was unbelievable. It had views of the valley surrounding the 3 Sisters (more on them later) with more mountains visible in the background. It was a sheer cliff that dropped hundreds of feet, with no guard rail! Let the pictures speak for themselves:

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We drove around the valley to some hiking trails. We hiked down to another lookout. This lookout was one of the viewing points of the 3 Sisters. A large waterfall is also visible running down one of the mountains. The Aboriginal story of the 3 Sisters is as follows: A chief had 3 daughters, each unmarried. He was very protective of them. Three men from a foothills tribe fell in love with the women and tried to sneak them away. The chief found out and used his magic stick to turn the three sisters into stones so they couldn't go any further. He then turned the magic stick on himself and changed into a lyre bird to fly down and confront the men. However, he dropped the stick while flying. Without the magic stick, he couldn't change himself or his daughters back. To this day, you can still see the lyre bird scratching in the underbrush trying to find his stick.

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We then took a lift down to the valley itself. It was nuts. The lift just dropped off the mountain and plummeted to the valley floor (check out the picture). Once getting off, we were in the dense forest. We even saw a lyre bird scratching in the dirt! The guide hadn't seen one in months and was surprised to see one (in the middle of him explaining how rare they were, Dawn spotted one 20 yards away). We walked through the valley to the old coal mine. I stopped to fill my water bottle up at a mountain spring run-off, the guide wouldn't stop talking about how refreshing the water was (meanwhile my brother kept trying to tell me about all the bacteria in the water).

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Near the coal mine there was a lift that the coal workers used to use to get up and down the mountain. It is the steepest passenger rail in the world, averaging a 45 degree incline. The seats are reclined so that you can have a more comfortable ride up. It was awesome, and also a little frightening (especially when you go through the cave). It felt as if you were going straight up the mountain.

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We had one last stop before leaving the Blue Mountains behind us. The Blue Mountains are so mystical because it took a long while for anyone to figure out how to cross them. The steep cliffs made simply going over the mountains impossible. Eventually an explorer figured out that the only way over the mountains was to follow the ridge line (the original path is the current paved road, no better way has yet to be found). Of couse the Aborigines had figured this out long before the colonists. To help navigate the cliff lines, they had carved markers in the rocks. These carvings pointed the Aborigines along the correct path. We stopped to see one of these carvings, a kangaroo pointing back down the ridge line.

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Posted by Mike.Flynn 12:45 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls hiking tour world_heritage_site Comments (1)

Milford Sound & Deer Park

70 °F

Milford Sound is one of New Zealand's most beautiful areas. Sheer mountain cliffs drop into the calm waters. Frequent rainfall creates dozen of temporary waterfalls and feeds several permanent waterfalls. The cliffs can be over a mile high, the highest oceanside cliffs in the world. Despite being a 4 hour drive from the two closest large cities (we stayed in a smaller town 2 hours away), it is the country's largest tourist attraction. Arriving in the area, you wouldn't figure that it is a big tourist spot. There are only two places to stay, a small hotel and a fancy hostel. There are no grocery stores, no restaurants, no gas stations, and not even a McDonald's. Most people come on day tours from Queenstown and Invercargill, leaving early in the morning on large buses and returning later in the day. There are only a number of things to do in Milford Sound. You can hike the Milford Track (a several day hike from Te Anau), you can kayak through the sound, take a helicopter ride up the coast, or take a tour on a boat. The most common are the boat tours, and since it came highly recommended, Dawn and I set out in the morning to get on the first tour of the day.

We booked our tour at the hostel and drove down to the dock. I hoped our boat size wouldn't be directly proportional to the quality of our tour.

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We climbed aboard the smallest boat in the harbor with about 15 other people and set off. The views were absolutely amazing. The boat slowly chugged out into the sound, the captain only briefly pointing something out every 5 minutes and allowing us to absorb the beauty around us.

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As I mentioned before, many of the waterfalls were created by the recent rainfall, others strengthened. Milford Sound is one of the wettest places in the world, but the rain actually creates more scenic views. It wasn't a hard rain, just enough for me to want to keep my hat on (and glad that I had a waterproof jacket). I don't think even rain could dampen the stunning views available in every direction.

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Eventually the boat went out into the Tasman Sea (body of water between Australia and New Zealand). The wind was very strong and very chilly (the roaring 40s coming up from Antartica). The captain indicated that the waters could get very choppy. We turned around for the return trip through the sound. We passed by some seals napping on the rocks and continued chugging slowly along. Eventually we arrived back at the dock and departed the boat. I have uploaded tons of pictures from the tour, make sure you check out the photo gallery.

The rain also created waterfalls along the cliff walls as we left Milford Sound. It was hard to keep driving, you just wanted to stop and take in the views forever. We had planned on making it to Wanaka that night, so we had to keep moving.

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Our next stop was Queenstown, 290 km (180 miles) away.

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As we traveled to Queenstown, we passed more and more set locations for Lord of the Rings. One place in particular was supposed to have several sets on site, and also offered the opportunity to feed llamas, goats, deer, buffalo, horses, buffalo, and cows that look like yaks. Sounded like a great place to stop to me. Right before we reached Queenstown, we turned off to visit Deer Park.

After paying the $20 to enter, I drove up the path to the first animal paddock. I was surprised there were no rangers, no one monitoring where we traveled, just an automated system that sucked in $20 bills. I was eager to get to the buffalo, but first we had to pass through the llamas. I rolled down my window, stuck the tin of food out of the car, and rattled to get each llama's attention. As they flocked to the car, I rolled up my window, rolled down Dawn's window, and locked the windows. Every llama was forced to go to Dawn's side of the car. It was funny for a minute, but then the llamas started reaching inside the car to get the food. Before Dawn killed me, I pulled the car forward.

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We continued up the hill and through the deer paddock. The bucks wanted nothing to do with us and just moved further away as we tried to walk up to them. Since these deer weren't hunted (rather allowed to get nice and fat before being sent to the butcher), the antlers on these suckers were huge. Dawn managed to get a doe to come up to be fed. We got back in the car and kept our eyes peeled for the first buffalo.

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We passed a sign indicating that the buffalo paddock was on the way out of the park, so we decided to go up for the scenic views and find the areas where Lord of the Rings were filmed. Reaching the top of the mountain I felt like I had been transported to Middle Earth. I immediately began scanning the map for set locations, but Dawn was less than enthusiastic about reenacting movie scenes with me. See wanted to take more pictures of the mountains and valleys. I begrudgingly abided and got back in the car to drive to the summits. The views were absolutely outstanding.

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If you want to see more incredible pictures, make sure to check out the photo gallery. I uploaded tons of pictures, those included in the blog are only a small subset.

After spending a significant time driving around the top of the mountain, Dawn finally agreed to join me on my quest to find the filming locations for Lord of the Rings. Dawn snapped a couple pictures of me reenacting parts of the film, check out the gallery to see all the shots and descriptions of the scene from the movie. Here is one of me acting as Legolas spotting orcs running through the valley.

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It was finally time to see the buffalo. I had bought three more buckets of food to make sure we didn't run out. I drove back down the mountain to the buffalo paddock. We spotted the buffalo in the back of the field, but conveniently along a dirt path up the hill. Fully understanding that a Toyota Corolla is not intended for off road use, my desire to get close to a buffalo overwhelmed my fear of getting stuck or rolling down the mountain. We slowly pulled up next to the buffalo. I shook the food tin again, and one of the buffalo slowly made their way over to the car.

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The buffalo came right up to my window and I slowly offered some food in my hand. As he sniffed the food, a ball of snot dripped onto my hand. The buffalo opened his mouth and showed his huge teeth. I panicked, squeeled like a little girl, and dropped the food onto the ground. The buffalo bent over and began eating the food I dropped, not caring that he was scraping his horns along the side of the car. Fearing scratches and dents, I quickly offered more food in my hand to distract him from the food under the car. I slowly got used to (but not exactly comfortable) feeding this huge animal from my hand. A second buffalo made his way over to my window. I could not handle two buffalo both trying to eat from my hand at the same time, so I threw some more food on the ground. To my horror, the two buffalo began butting heads 3 feet away from my window! I imagined one falling into the car and pushing us down the hill (the buffalo were probably bigger than the Corolla). I frantically yelled at Dawn to wiggle her can outside her window to get one of the buffalo to go to her side. Thankfully the two buffalo separated. I paused feeding my buffalo to take some pictures of Dawn. Just like before, the buffalo began scraping his horns on the car to get to the food I had dropped. I realized that it would probably be prudent to continue on our way. I started the engine as quietly as I could (to make sure the big buffalo wouldn't confuse me as competition for its food and start butting the car) and began backing down to the main path.

I breathed a sigh of relief as we got back on the path and continued down the mountain. We turned the corner and immediately ran into a yak Scottish cow (until I went to Scotland, I thought this was a yak). Scottish cows are big, really big (and this is coming from someone who had just been right next to a buffalo). I got my confidence back up and offered a handful of food. The yak-looking cow smelled my hand, but wouldn't eat from it. I'm almost grateful it didn't want to eat from my hand. I made the mistake of throwing the food on the ground, and the yak-cow began eating at the foot of the car. The cow's horns are about 100 times longer than a buffalo's, so I was in an even worse situation than I was in before. Meanwhile, a herd of ponies had surrounded Dawn's side of the car and were obnoxiously eating anything they could get in their mouths.

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We distracted all the animals by throwing the rest of food as far away from the car as possible. I quickly moved away from the danger zone and worked my way back out of the park. Dawn and I continued into Queenstwon for some dinner. We began to realize that we weren't going to make it to Wanaka at a reasonable hour, so we checked into a hotel on the lake on the edge of Queenstown. Tomorrow we'd be making our to the Franz Josef glacier, but it was going to be a pretty long drive.

Posted by Mike.Flynn 03:42 Archived in New Zealand Tagged waterfalls mountains animals national_park world_heritage_site Comments (1)

Southern Scenic Highway

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Day 3 in New Zealand is a road trip, a travel along the Southern Scenic Highway to take in the pretty views along the southern coast. It was going to be a long day, but we were successful in getting an early start. We grabbed a pamphlet detailing good places to stop along the highway in Dunedin and we were off.

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The plan was to start in Dunedin (A), head south to Nugget Point (B) to see some seals and penguins, stop at Parakaunui Falls (C), Waipati Beach Hike (D), McLean Falls (E), see a fossilized Jurassic forest at Curio Bay (F), and then rest for the night in Te Anau (G). It is 500 km (315 miles) of driving, the most ambitious on the entire trip.

The brochure claimed the Southern Scenic Highway started in Balclutha, but we saw signs indicating the start before we had even left Dunedin. I followed the signs seemingly through neighborhoods and back roads (which were somewhat scenic, but not really). Dawn kept her camera ready, anxious to photograph any pretty view. However, I began to get the feeling that Joe's Fish-n-Chips Shop had made a significant contribution to the scenic highway fund so that it would detour close to his restaurant. We wound our way down to Balclutha and began the trip on the official beginning of the Southern Scenic Highway.

We turned off the highway and traveled down an unsealed road for 30 km to get to Nugget Point. As far as I knew, the speed limit was still 100 kph, so we went flying down the road leaving a huge cloud of dust behind us. Sheep went running for their lives as gravel slammed into the undercarriage of the car. Suddenly, we were in the midst of a few residential houses. I slowed down to a reasonable 40 kph so that I wouldn't scare a couple of housewives swapping the morning gossip. Eventually we reached our first stop of the day to see the penguins and seals at Nugget Point.

First we walked down a short trail to the beach to see the penguins. You had to be real quiet because the penguins don't come out of their nests unless they feel safe. A wooden shed was built about 100 ft up the hill for hiding while viewing the penguins. It's not like there was a camouflage net covering this shed, it was just a box made of plywood with half a wall missing to view out from (apparently humans are invisible to penguins if half concealed by a wooden box). No penguins were visible initially, but we didn't drive an hour down a gravel road to see a short beach. After 5 minutes of waiting, one popped out of nowhere (literally, suddenly a penguin was standing halfway between the grass and the water). He took his sweet time wandering out to the water, swimming very short laps in the pools of water behind the rocks, and then suddenly sprinted to the water (although running sideways down the beach).

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I snapped a quick photo of Dawn in the penguin hut after the penguin disappeared into the water.

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Since the lone penguin was now out of sight, we made our way up the hill to the lighthouse. The views from here were very nice. The bark of sea lions and seals could be heard in the surf below. After 20 minutes of hanging out here, we got back in the car to continue the trip down the Southern Scenic Highway.

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Our next stop was to be a hike to the Purakaunui Falls (I got the idea after seeing a postcard at the information center that morning). Unfortunately we ran into a huge traffic jam.

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Sheep were everywhere! However, I began to appreciate the role of sheep dogs and how important they are to herding. The two dogs did 99% of the work and there was no way the farmer could have cleared the sheep from the field without them. In fact, the farmer just idled down the street in his truck. The dogs would leap from the road over the barbed wire fence to chase the sheep out of the pastures. The dogs would then continuously push the sheep further down the road (and seemed to be enjoying themselves very much). Eventually the sheep were pushed into a new field and we were able to get moving again.

The hike down to Purakaunui Falls was an easy one and the view was very nice. You were limited to a lookout spot and couldn't go wandering around the base of the falls, so we snapped some pictures and continued on our way.

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We drove down a little further and came out of the woods as we crested a hill. Immediately to our left was a beautiful view of the beach. There was not a house or person in sight. We drove down a little further and found a walking trail down to the beach. After a 25 minute hike through the forest we popped out onto the beach. Dawn sprinted down the sand dune and ran to the water. The beach was extremely long and flat (during high tide I think the beach would be hidden). We strolled down the beach, stuck our feet in the freezing waters, and then hiked back to the car.

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We drove 10 minutes up the road to the turn off to another waterfall, McLean Falls. The hike was a little longer and tougher than at the other waterfall, but it still only took 30 minutes to reach our first view of the waterfall. There was two stages to the waterfall. You first come to the bottom half of the falls, a large drop with a lot of noise. The mist from the waterfall felt good after the hike.

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We climbed up the hill to see the top of the falls. There was another large drop but then the water fanned out over another short drop. We waiting for a couple of other people to finish taking pictures before walking out to explore the base of the falls.

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The coastline was very scenic offering plenty of pretty views. I was glad we had extended our trip this far south (most of the tours did not travel along the Southern Scenic Highway) and the extra time in the car was being rewarded.

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Our next stop was the petrified forest from the Jurassic era. I don't know why we were interested in seeing trees that had been turned into rock, but it was something different than all the other stops available along the highway. We turned off at Curio Bay and walked down to the beach. The sign claimed this "is one of the world's most extensive and best preserved examples of a Jurassic fossilized forest." The first thing we noticed on the beach was a fur seal taking a nap. A little further down the beach penguins were hopping around on the rocks. We walked past the seal to get a better look at the penguins. However, I couldn't tell where the petrified forest was located. I scanned the cliff walls to see if it was in the rock, I looked further down the beach, I looked back where we had walked, but I didn't see any rock trees. I then looked down and realized I was standing on a fallen tree, only it looked like a big rock. What I had thought was just a very rocky beach was actually a series of stumps visible above the surf. I'm sure the view would have been even more impressive if we had come during low tide. We walked back along the beach to view the penguins across the bay. It was getting late in the afternoon and we still hadn't even covered half our trip yet. It time to get in the car and hit the road.

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We didn't make any more stops (other than for lunch and dinner) until we reached Manapouri. We had been driving along the Fiordland National Park, and we had reached scenery that I had expected to see when driving around New Zealand. Heavily forested and steep mountains that had rivers and lakes with clear water scattered between them. We were almost to Te Anau and our stop for the night.

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We reached Te Anau just as the sun was setting. We checked into our room and went for a walk down to the lake. The sunset was beautiful. I couldn't wait to see the views along our hike tomorrow. Te Anau is known as the walking capital of New Zealand and supposed to have some spectacular trails. We went back to the hostel, it was time for bed.

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Posted by Mike.Flynn 23:15 Archived in New Zealand Tagged waterfalls animals beach national_park Comments (1)

The Great Rainy Road

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After arriving late on Thursday night, Dawn and I woke up at 7am to leave on our 3-day tour of the Great Ocean Road. The weather forecast wasn't looking great, but we were hopeful that the weather would cooperate (and we were only in Melbourne for 4 days). We hopped in our little bus, said hello to our fellow travelers, and set off down the Great Ocean Road.

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Above is the route we took along the Great Ocean Road. We left out of Melbourne (A on the map) and traveled west around the bay through Geelong (B) until we reached Torquay (C), which is where the Great Ocean Road starts. We were going to be traveling for 2 days along the road and eventually turning off to visit the Grampians (which I'll talk about in my next post).

The Great Ocean Road was built by soldiers returning from World War I in 1919 to commemorate their fellow soldiers lost in battle. It also allowed the country to keep the soldiers busy as the world wound down after the war. The idea for the road had been around since the 1860s and the plan was to use the scenic coast to draw tourists. The road varies between beautiful coastal sections and sections that take you through the forests of the national parks. When traveling close to the sea, the road hugs the coast offering great views of the beaches and coastline. The forested sections travel close to marvelous waterfalls and offer chances to spot local wildlife.

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Once we reached Torquay and turned down the coast, we were rewarded with stunning views over the water and the bays as the road curved around the rolling mountains. Our first stop was Bells Beach (D), where the group eagerly left the van to take in the views. We took the first pictures of the trip and walked down to the beach. There was a trail that allowed us to walk through the bush and along the beach. We made several of these type of stops at Anglesea (E) and Airey's Inlet (F) where we went out onto the beaches and took walks through the trails. Between Anglesea and Apollo Bay is a particularly scenic stretch of road which passes through many areas where mountains meet the sea.

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The views are absolutely beautiful and many extravagant houses populate the area just before the road begins (closest to Melbourne). One house particularly stands out because it is built on a pole.

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We traveled on to Lorne (G) and were now in the Great Otway National Park. We took a quick detour up to Erskine Falls (H) to see the waterfall. We hiked down to the base of the waterfall. The waterfall was gorgeous, especially when you were surrounded by all the ferns and trees (which were extremely tall). For those that have already seen the pictures, this is where Dawn and I were making fun of the warning signs. We walked along the stream, frequently crossing across the rocks, until we came across a second waterfall. It wasn't as pretty as the first waterfall, but the remote feel made it seem like we were the first ones to ever see it. We hiked back to the van and went to a scenic overlook to have some lunch.

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After lunch we went back on the Great Ocean Road and turned off at Kennett River (I). The trails around the Kennett River are a great spot for seeing koalas. We saw several (sleeping) in their trees. We got back in the van to drive through the rest of the area. Our guide, Steve, spotted more koalas in a tree. Dawn was leaning out the door to take a picture. She asked Steve to "pull up a little", and he responded "Pull up a little? I'm already stopped." They were both speaking English but had encountered a language barrier (apparently Steve had never heard the phrase "Please pull up to the next window").

We headed to an area called Mait's Rest (K) and entered a temperate rain forest. Temperate indicates an area that has a distinct winter and summer season (like most of the US). A rain forest indicates an area that receives a high amount of rainfall and most of the forest inhabitants live among the canopy of the forest. Mait's Rest is unique because the trail takes you through the rain forest and also the Eucalypts forest butting up next to the rain forest. It was here that I saw the largest trees I have ever seen (300ft tall and 60ft around the base). There were treeferns that grew taller than me. The beauty of the area was surreal. I felt like I had gone back to an age before people and were walking amongst the trees of the dinosaurs.

We reached camp for the night (L), cooked an awesome meal (Dawn makes a superb stir-fry), and washed up. Steve told us that we were going back out to see the glowworms. It was getting dark, the rain was really coming down, and our guide said that we were going back into the rain forest to see some worms. We reached Mulba Gulley (M) and started hiking back through the rain forest. The glowworm isn't a worm at all, but a fly larva. When the egg was laid, the mother fly spun a tiny web and rubbed a florescent gland at its base to attract smaller insects. These insects get caught in the web and the larva feasts. Imagine going into a rain forest, at night, where there isn't a light around for miles, and there's no moon or stars because it's raining, and then put a blind fold on—that’s how dark it was on this trail. I couldn't see two feet in front of my face, but we are walking along cliffs and gigantic trees (not to mention amongst the dozens of highly poisonous critters). It was all worth it. Under every leaf and overhanging rock you saw little beads of light. It was like walking into a fairy village. It felt like a million little eyes looking at you from the pitch black. It was unbelievable.

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We woke up the next morning to head out to the most popular sight on the Great Ocean Road, the 12 Apostles (N). The rain was coming down in droves now and the window was throwing it violently against the side of the bus. The raindrops hurt, a lot. No one was eager to leave the safety of the van, but this was the reason we came on the trip. We hustled out to the view point, snapped some pictures, and fought the wind back to the van. We continued up the road (and thankfully the rain was lightening up at each stop) to take in the rest of the coastal stops. We saw The Arch, The Blowhole, Thunder Cave, London Bridge, Bay of Martyrs, The Razorback, and a number of other beautiful sculptures the rain, surf, and wind had created out of the seaside. I posted several pictures of these sights, make sure you check them out.

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Don't believe me about it being windy? Check out these videos (both are from the viewing platform of the 12 Apostles):

We still had a little further in our trip along the Great Ocean Road. We worked our way down the coast and then turned north to head to the Grampians. but that's a story for another blog post.

Posted by Mike.Flynn 02:35 Archived in Australia Tagged waterfalls hiking beach Comments (2)

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