Anyone Seen A Pair Of Glasses?


Hello Victoria!

It’s funny how these things work out. We left North Queensland in a heatwave and arrived on the south coast of Australia to a lower than average temperature for the time of year. Over the course of a three hour flight a drop of over 20C. And a positively raging sea.

It was never going to be straightforward packing for this trip. Traversing the length and breadth of a country the size of Australia needs preparation for any eventuality including a woolly jumper or several. Three suitcases between the two of us then. It may be cooler, some might argue more comfortably so, but the landscape down south is no less dramatic. And neither is the bird life.. some of it closer to home than we’d come to expect.



Australian King Parrot

I hope Gerrie, at Canberra’s Green Spaces (here), will correct me if I’m wrong.




And of course the glorious yellow crested cockatoo.

The longer we spent in our new temporary abode the more we came to notice a greater than our fair share of avian visitors. Not least the morning Mike went to open the doors on to the balcony..



..and this happened.

Hmmm. Previous tenants might have shared their breakfast do you think? I was somewhat relieved to get our deposit back without being docked for any extra cleaning. Cockatoos are wonderful birds though. They have a natural curiosity, head tipped to one side as they observe and listen. And the fabulously flamboyant unfurling of that crest. Destructive in the garden they may be but oh, what characters!



A valley full of tree ferns

There are rainforests in the south of Australia too. Temperate rainforests. In five minutes I’d probably seen a million pounds worth of tree ferns at the price we Brits pay to import them.




So majestic, growing literally everywhere in the Great Otway National Park. The palm trees of the southern ocean.



We drove for miles through the national park in search of spectacular waterfalls such as here at the Erskine Falls. A steep descent to the bottom of the ravine. All that step training chez duck has a purpose after all.



Wow. The Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road.

The force of the wind hits you just getting out of the car. By the time we’d reached the viewpoint it was almost impossible to stand up. Clinging to the railings, facing the ocean and into the wind literally did take my breath away. But oh my, what a view. An iconic view. Mike’s photograph, taken in the most extreme of circumstances, perfectly captures the ferocity of the wind, the spray and the churning sea. A visit on a fine day wouldn’t have been nearly as atmospheric. If perhaps less costly. Mike’s reading glasses are down there somewhere, lost to the wind. Though they could easily have shown up in the Northern Territory by now.

The impact of the weather and relentless battering by the waves have constantly eroded this section of coast and it’s easy to see why the Great Ocean Road is running out of Apostles. Today only eight remain. The latest casualty, in the foreground above, was in July 2005.



It’s possible to walk down yet more steps and view the Apostles from beach level. And that’s just as awesome. Little Penguins come in on the main Apostle beach at sunset. A pleasure I unfortunately missed.



The Loch Ard Gorge


The Great Ocean Road is said to be one of the world’s greatest drives and justifiably so. East of the Apostles the road hugs the shoreline and is almost impossibly scenic, with no shortage of burger bars and pizza joints if that is what turns you on. To the west the going is quieter and it plays host to many of the key sites. Just minutes from the Apostles, the Loch Ard Gorge.

There’s a story behind this one. In 1878 the clipper, the Loch Ard, travelling from London to Melbourne was sunk just off these rocks almost within sight of journey’s end. Out of 54 people on board there were just two survivors, a young woman passenger and the ship’s apprentice. They sheltered for the night in a cave before the apprentice climbed out of the cove to summon help.



The Arch


It was on the Great Ocean Road that we had our first serious encounter with the selfie seekers. And there are hordes of them. Many make the trip out from Melbourne and back in a day. That’s at least three hours in a coach or a hire car (five and a half hours for the scenic route) perhaps an hour to move between the nearby sites, snap the obligatory square photos, then straight on the bus for the long trip back east. And I have to say, why?

In years to come will they regret that each of what could have been a great set of shots has been partially obscured by themselves? If indeed the pictures endure any longer than the time it takes to fire up Instagram. “Ooh look, here’s me at the Twelve Apostles.” And, “Oooh look, here’s me again at The Arch.” And, would you believe it, “Here’s me again at Loch Ard.” When we witnessed a woman spread prostrate on the tarmac between the cars in the parking lot just to have her picture taken I thought I’d seen it all. If anyone can explain it to me, please do.



How much better would it be to take the time to walk out over the headlands and experience the real tranquility and beauty this place has to offer by finding the glorious but hidden spots like this little cove?



London Bridge

Only I suppose that it comes with a danger warning. On 15 January 1990 two tourists wandered out across what was at the time a double span London Bridge only to find the nearest section collapse behind them, leaving them stranded until rescued by helicopter. Further evidence that this stretch of coast is in constant flux.



The Grotto


And finally. There is one other thing that the Great Ocean Road is famous for. I’ve been in Oz almost three weeks (already). Did you really think you were going to get off that lightly?



More may follow..


2018-12-11T10:55:01+00:00December 11th, 2018|Tags: |


  1. Mary December 11, 2018 at 11:36 am - Reply

    What a great trip and wonderful vistas–wild weather and all. Those views are just spectacular–made more so by the weather, as you noted. The cockatoos remind me of one that an acquaintance has had for more than a decade. He loves them, but not strangers. They have to cover his very large cage when others enter their house because he swears like a stevedore at any intrusion into his space. Of course, if I were caged, I’d swear like one, too. Can’t imagine what the 15 on your balcony sounded like–pretty noisy, I would guess. But what a view.

    The Great Ocean Road reminds me of the drive up Pacific Coast Highway in California especially as it heads up to Big Sur and beyond–a gorgeous, winding drive, but no doubt now more crowded than ever with selfie-seekers. Ugh–I agree with you–as if anyone truly cares about seeing their mug in photos of the glorious landscape while they entirely miss the point of traveling and being in the moment.

    Really enjoying your photos and descriptions. Hope Mike has found replacement readers.

    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 3:17 am - Reply

      The Pacific Coast Highway sounds wonderful too! The cockatoos are very noisy but I did so love seeing them. And Adelaide Airport solved the reading glasses problem for us. Except that we still have two pairs with the screws about to fall out. That could be another story.

  2. janesmudgeegarden December 11, 2018 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    I’ve never seen a koala in the wild- lucky you to have that experience. It was just as windy when we visited the Twelve Apostles some years ago, nearly blowing us away into the sea, but very bracing and also spectacular. That is a male king parrot. I have a solitary one visiting my garden most mornings, a delight to see. What a splendid view from your balcony!

    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 3:22 am - Reply

      Thanks for the bird ID Jane. I thought they were lovely, lucky you to have one. It’s fairly clear from the surrounding landscape that the Apostles are frequently windy.. very few trees! And those that are there are rather stunted. Much the same is true on parts of the north coast in Devon and Cornwall.

  3. stephanie o young December 11, 2018 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Oh, Jessica! What a trip!!!! Australia is definitely on my wish list/bucket list and I could very easily use this post for my itinerary!!! Lovely photos….and you magically avoided those selfie-takers in them. Good job!

    We just returned from a glorious trip, too…… to Iceland….and our friend lost HIS reading glasses in some unbelievable winds on that island. The winds closed the road we were on one day. We didn’t see northern lights….the purpose of the trip for me (our cameras DID see them through a long exposure….doesn’t count in my book.) Found the same selfie thing going on, but luckily you know if you wait a minute, they move on. Hope you’ll post more!

    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 3:28 am - Reply

      I didn’t realise until our Norway trip a couple of years ago that the Northern Lights seen with the naked eye are quite different to those you see in photographs, as you say, from the long exposure.
      The selfie seekers are infuriating. At the Apostles there are more waiting to fill the vacated spots, it’s never ending. I saw on the BBC website recently a picture of an actual queue of people waiting to get to a particular spot (in the middle of nowhere) just to take a photo. In New Zealand I think. Crazy.

  4. grammapenny December 11, 2018 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Love these… I am a sucker for off the rod little coves and beaches like these and the rocks and arches are magnificent.. my envy grows

    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 3:32 am - Reply

      It is beautiful. We went back another day, very early in the morning. No people at all, it was before the day trippers arrived. So peaceful. The pictures weren’t nearly as atmospheric as with the wind but it was nice not to feel we were about to be blown off the top!

  5. An Eye For Detail December 11, 2018 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this wonderful travelogue! Chances are I will never see all this….oh how spectacular!!

    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 3:34 am - Reply

      Thanks Libby. It’s been a fun thing to do and the posts will be wonderful to look back on when we get home. A kind of journal.

  6. Linda from Each Little World December 11, 2018 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Yikes, being stranded on London Bridge would not be my kind of excitement! And there is no understanding of selfie-takers. But they are hard to ignore and they can be pretty intrusive. These photos are so gorgeous I can almost hear the water.

    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 3:37 am - Reply

      Very intrusive. Plus they seem to feel they have a right to the space and almost push you aside. I may appear in quite a few of their photos as a result of standing my ground!

  7. Susan Garrett December 11, 2018 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    Taking portrait snaps in front of scenic views is a mystery to me too!

    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 3:40 am - Reply

      Personally I hate being photographed and generally avoid it at all costs. Perhaps that is why I find it all so difficult to understand!

  8. germac4 December 11, 2018 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Gorgeous photos, Paul and I are really enjoying your trip and reminding ourselves of all the places to visit again. Yes, you’ve got a lovely King Parrot there, sweet gentle birds, but who can beat the Cockatoos for personality! You could frame the photo of the cockatoo, crest up, against the sea. However, it looks as if you have been out number by them all waiting for breakfast! The Great Ocean Rd shots are fantastic, but sorry that Mike lost his glasses in that mighty wind. I watched a program about someone who built a house along that way, and sometimes had to crawl for the car to the house, the wind was so fierce. (you’d have to be crazy..) The koala looks very cute too, and lovely to see one in the wild.
    As for tourists who travel miles to take a photo of themselves, words fail me……one of the irritating parts of travel.
    Looking forward to more of your travels.

    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 3:53 am - Reply

      I thought I was going to be crawling back to the car several times, so I can fully understand it! At least the reading glasses got replaced.
      I shouldn’t complain about Instagram as I use it myself occasionally, as part of a community whose values I share, but I can’t help worrying about how shallow the world seems to have become.

  9. Heyjude December 11, 2018 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    Another lovely post full of memories for me. Though I did see Koalas on Magnetic Island too, in the wild. They are not easy to see! The story I heard about the London Bridge was that it was a couple from Melbourne who were having an affair (boss and secretary) which was outed when photos of the rescue were published in the newspapers.

    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 3:57 am - Reply

      I actually have a sore neck now, from all the looking up for koalas! They aren’t easy to see and are often so high up in the trees even the long lens doesn’t really capture them.
      I love the London Bridge story.. kind of hope it’s true! Although the people involved might not agree.

  10. marksgran December 11, 2018 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    Your photographs are magnificent. I love the scenery. My son has just left us this very evening to travel back to Sydney having been here for a week for work. It was lovely to see him but I know he can’t wait to get back to the sunshine and some heat! I hope the weather’s better than it looks for him!

    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 4:02 am - Reply

      The weather all down the east coast is crazy today. It’s the only day so far we’ve been totally housebound on account of the weather. It’s pretty much the same all the way up to Sydney, with a cyclone threatening the far north of Queensland. So much for summer! But hopefully it will improve.

  11. Kris P December 11, 2018 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    I love all your photos, birds and sleeping koala included. Australia has the most colorful birds I’ve ever seen. Why is a flock of crows so unnerving when a flock of cockatoos is simply charming? I can’t imagine Alfred Hitchcock could have made ‘The Birds’ using cockatoos, though.

    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 4:06 am - Reply

      It seems unlikely doesn’t it. Here even the crows are pretty, well some of them anyway. Black and white with a positively fluting call.

  12. Beth @ PlantPostings December 12, 2018 at 1:51 am - Reply

    Incredible! I’m so jealous: Australia is definitely on my bucket list–right at the top. My son will be traveling there next month. Thanks for sharing some of your trip highlights!

    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 4:08 am - Reply

      I could come back time and time again and never have seen enough. I hope your son enjoys his trip, can’t see any reason why he shouldn’t!

  13. derrickjknight December 12, 2018 at 7:30 am - Reply

    More terrific photos

    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 4:08 am - Reply

      Thanks Derrick 🙂

  14. offtheedgegardening December 12, 2018 at 4:29 pm - Reply


    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 4:10 am - Reply

      It is. Except today it is raining. If it weren’t for the kangaroos sheltering behind the house it would feel just like home.

  15. Carrie Gault December 12, 2018 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    Eeek! The ferns, the waterfalls, the secluded and the wondrous places. My eyes are popping out of my head and then….a koala!
    I’m now working on my photography again *blush*

    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 4:15 am - Reply

      I’ve seen loads of koalas. Don’t think you’ll get away with just the one!

  16. Marian St.Clair December 13, 2018 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Am enjoying your posts. Ditto on the selfie seekers. Happy holidays!

    • Jessica December 14, 2018 at 4:25 am - Reply

      Thanks Marian. Social media has so many positive aspects. But also so much that is hollow and pointless and can actually do harm.

  17. Charles December 15, 2018 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    You may be having the time of your life but I have discovered the leak in the roof in the spare room that my mother in law will be in next week for Christmas. I have fixed the leak, so now I am trying to preserve my liver with whiskey. On the garden front I am staggered that 6 out of 8 cuttings that I took from my step sons roses have taken. Oy vey life is good.

    Enjoy the small cuddly bears, oddly enough they can only eat eucalyptus and rather like elephants their digestion rules their lives.

    • Jessica December 15, 2018 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      That’s great news about the roses. If not the leak, mother in law for Christmas, or the liver pickling. You’re right about koalas. Funnily enough I was just working on a post about them. I also got some emu pictures. Just for you.
      We arrived last night in Sydney after the flight from hell, not one but two screaming kids in the row behind, delayed in the air by thunderstorms around the airport, eventually landing to chaos in the terminal. On a hunt to find which baggage carousel we were supposed to be standing by I spotted the bags two carousels down from the original announcement, purely by chance. Then to find Mike again in the melee, trying to steer three suitcases plus a carry on around the airport single handedly. Long wait for taxi. And Sydney now full of drunken Christmas revellers. Thankfully it’s only for a couple of days. Oh, and noise cancelling headphones don’t work. Even Bose ones.

  18. Christina December 16, 2018 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    Wonderful views. I don’t understand the ‘selfie’ thing either. Maybe it’s our age.

    • Jessica December 17, 2018 at 7:13 am - Reply

      Maybe it is!

  19. Cathy December 17, 2018 at 9:01 am - Reply

    I am enjoying these geography lessons, Jessica

    • Jessica December 17, 2018 at 11:44 am - Reply


  20. Diana Studer December 18, 2018 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Beware the drop bears.
    Selfies here seem to come with obligatory. Leap and YELL. No, again.

    • Jessica December 19, 2018 at 11:59 am - Reply

      It is extraordinary the lengths to which some people will go. But as you say, it is very intrusive. The peace of beautiful places shattered.

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