At complimentary "breakfast," or toast and tea, there are still no
takers to drive with me. It'll be a solo journey, meaning pricey but
flexible. A ride from the rental shop is a drive with a guy who, if
he's not on speed, is among the most naturally energetic people I've
Getting used to driving on the left is awkward, especially because the turn signal stick's now to the right of the wheel and I'm not quite sure which lane is the passing lane on the highway. I probably would have crashed if they hadn't given me an automatic. My Nissan Pulsar performs well enough, although she's none too fond of exceeding 140 km/hr.
Within a few hours, I'm on the twists, turns, and vistas of Great Ocean Road. It's hard to keep myself from stopping at each of the many scenic viewpoints, but I've got a lot of road to cover and many necessary stops. Speaking of which, the first is Pixie Caves, tiny indentations in a cliff wall. Hiking down stairs to see them, I find an utterly useless souvenir whose presence my imagination explains with an assortment of grisly scenarios: a sole flipper. Needless to say, I take it with me.
The near-miss in the outback didn't satiate my desire for kangaroos, so I stop at a golf course that Let's Go warns is good for marsupial sightings from afar but poses risks of attack by kangaroo and / or golf ball if you get too close. The "absolutely no entry to course for kangaroo viewing" sign is small enough that I can reasonably argue I didn't see it, so I head towards the putting greens. With multiple kangaroos and only 1 golfer, at least I'm likely to get the interesting kind of attack.
The closer I get to the nearest kangaroo, the less intelligent my plan to pet him becomes. I'd thought I could just punch one of the strange things in the mouth if it tried attacking me, but that was before I realized how tall it'd be standing on its hind legs and that it would have large claws. Considering this new information and wondering if kangaroos can carry rabies, I'm content to stand ~5 feet away.
Koalas are similarly surprising. I climb a tree to pet one, and before I'm even all that close it's holding out a hand full of large claws. It's small enough that I could probably just whack it out of the tree, but I'd probably also fall out in the process. Besides, its sleepy appearance could be a clever diguise for rare, rapid tourist attacks...
Next main event is a wash. The Otway National Park Tree Top Walk is the longest and highest forest canopy walk in the world. Sounds worth doing, right? I drive half an hour off-track to it to find it's almost twice as expensive as I thought and doesn't look half as cool as it sounded.
It's almost nightfall when I arrive at the road's infamous Twelve Apostles, rock formations rising high out of the water. These are more intriguing than satisfying, especially with signs proclaiming how amazing the structures' underwater surroundings are. I wish I'd brought my snorkelling gear / brought a wetsuit / completed my SCUBA certification. Like many of the places I've seen on this trip, I guess I'll just have to come back.
Only 1 kangaroo sighting during my dusk drive to Warrnambool. I finally get my fill of marsupial with a kangaroo fillet that tastes almost exactly like steak. Quality conclusion to the evening is reading in a bar with live music as my ambient noise. With my car / bed parked less than a block away, I've got primer real estate than anybody else in the place.