Today will be a day I remember forever (I hope!)! We arose to a clear sunny day which meant it was the day for my helicopter ride over the Twelve Apostles! Some of you may remember that ever since my first trip on the GOR I have wanted to take a chopper ride out over the ocean to get a different view and perspective of this spectacular coastline. It was not a cheap endeavor so I said the weather had to be perfect or I wasn’t spending the money to fly. “Perfect” meant clear, blue skies and low wind (I’m a wimp and was fearful of getting jostled around in a little helicopter over the ocean!), and today those parameters were met. I was thrilled when Jeannie and Britni said they wanted to go too!
So we headed out from our motel in Port Campbell to the car park at the 12 Apostles. The helicopter pad was behind the car park and we were their first customers. After paying our money, getting weighed, putting on our life jacket pouches and listening to the safety talk, the helicopter had been wheeled out of the hanger and was revved up and ready to go. It was just the three of us and a pilot from New Zealand. I got to sit up front!
I was nervous-excited as we were waiting around, but all that nervousness disappeared as we lifted off the ground and headed for the ocean. The ride was smooth and the scenery was so amazingly beautiful that being afraid was never a thought. The various shades of turquoise blue of the water, the white of the crashing waves, the golden tones of the limestone formations and cliffs, and the green of the fields on top of the cliffs were all feasts for our eyes! The pilot pointed out the various arches, bays and gorges ( we were all wearing headphones to hear his commentary) and I enjoyed seeing them all from this vantage point. Our 15 minute ride went by quickly and all too soon we were back on the ground. We had smiles plastered on our faces the rest of the day.
We walked back to the 12 Apostles viewing boardwalks and took some land-based photos with the sun in a different position from when we were there last night. The tour buses from Melbourne don’t arrive until about 2 PM so we had the place almost to ourselves.
There were a few more attractions along the GOR that we needed to visit so J&B could have the full experience. We had a great walk out to where the Sherbrooke River meets the ocean and enjoyed the power of the crashing waves. Jim and I loved this spot and it has been a favorite of all of our guests, now including J&B.
Back in the car, we continued heading west to the town of Allansford, where our destination was Cheese World. When we told one of the guys working at the helicopter place that we were going to Cheese World, he told us that they made the best milk shakes! So we arrived in time for a late lunch and had tasty toasted cheese sandwiches and milk shakes. Yummy! We did a cheese tasting and bought a block of their vintage cheddar for snacking tomorrow.
I planned this trip to include an overnight in Warrnambool because in the winter months the Southern Right Whales use the bay at Logan’s Point Beach in Warrnambool as their calving grounds. Reports were that whales were spotted there everyday recently. Our excitement grew as we pulled into the car park at the beach and realized that lots of people were there. We walked to the viewing decks and immediately spotted a whale. We quickly realized that we were watching a mother with her calf! Then we spotted another pair! They all slowly swam down in front of us, rising to the surface every few seconds. We were completely engrossed in watching them. Suddenly my eye was drawn to the edge of the water, where a seal was playing in the waves. We then watched him (her?) dive out and then ride a wave in! What fun he was having! This first whale photo is one I took. The second one is from Jeannie with her long lens camera. The third on has a dark spot in the curling wave, that is the seal with the whales just breaking the surface in the background.
We walked down to the beach from the viewing deck and enjoyed the sand and the surf. We are spending the night in a 2-bedroom apartment at the Best Western in Warrnambool and are most comfortable.
It has been a most memorable day and I am happy to have shared it with J&B!
Tomorrow we drive to Ararat to meet up with Jim who is traveling by train to get there. From there we will drive into the Grampian Mountains for some hiking.