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I decided to drive down to Melbourne from Adeleide taking the Great Ocean Drive.  It is one of the best road trips I have ever made.  It’s a life time opportunity. A friend of mine told me to travel by road if I wanted to see Australia.

Before I left India, I received confirmation from my host that I can drive in Australia on my Indian driver’s license.  They drive on the left side as we do in India and all vehicles are right hand drive.  After sharpening my driving skills on the Adeleide roads, I was sure I can independently drive without harming any Kangaroos crossing the roads.

The car rental executive was waiting for me at 8 am with the keys and documents.  He took a photocopy of the driver’s license swiped the credit card and wished me a safe journey.  The Vehicle a Hyundai SUV (most of the cars have automatic transmission) purred as I engaged the car into drive mode.  After setting the GPS, I was ready to take the journey to Melbourne via The Great Ocean Drive.

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The Great Ocean Drive is an Australian National Heritage stretching 243 kms along the south eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford.  The road was built by soldiers between 1919 and 1932 is dedicated to the soldiers killed during the World War I.  Believe it or not, the road is the world’s largest war memorial.

The beauty of this drive is it passes winding terrain along the coast with an access to some of the prominent landmarks which include the Twelve Apostles, the natural limestone formations.

Even after 75 years, the road is as good as new.

The Great ocean Road Marathon, a 45 km distance was run first in 2005.  The current marathon record as per the published record was run by one James Kipkelwon of Kenya in 27 minutes and 42 seconds.

The Twelve Apostles : Port Campbell

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Otway Rain Forest Layers & Skywalks

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Mount Gambier : The Blue Lake

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Warrnambool

A night halt at Warrnambool.  The place I stayed is a camper’s paradise.  Have a look.

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Next morning after a sumptuous breakfast, loaded the car with luggage without realising the flat tyre.  One call to the car rental company, in half an hour’s time, the on road rescue vehicle came and fixed the tyre in no time.  No questions asked.  And I was back on road once again.

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PORT ARTHUR, TASMANIA

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Located approximately 60 kms from Hobart, is named after George Arthur, the Lieutenant Governor.   It took me just about 90 minutes to drive from Hobart.  All the way it was very scenic with straight road and hardly any traffic.

What is Port Arthur?

The settlement started as a timber station in 1830.  But this place is better known for being a penal colony.  In India we have a similar settlement on the island of Andamans.  It is well known as kaala pani (black water) where the political prisoners were sent to the infamous cellular jails for life.

Port Arthur received the most hardest of British criminals from 1833 until 1853.

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The Island of the Dead where the dead prisoners were buried and none of their graves were marked.  Out of 1646 graves recorded to exist, only 180 belonging to the prison staff and military personnel are marked.

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THE PRISON CLOSED IN 1877.

Today, The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO has declared Port Arthur site as the World Heritage Site.

Port Arthur is one of the Australia’s best known historical sites receiving over 2,50,000 tourists every year.  As per the 2016 census, Port Arthur had a population of 1049.

 

 

The overnight journey onboard The spirit of Tasmania”, I landed on the Island State of Australia, Tasmania.

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 The first landing at Devonport in the early hours as the sun was breaking over the horizon, I picked up the Subaru station wagon from the car rental company. The journey on this island paradise begins.

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The first town to enter after Devonport was Launceston.  Noteworthy among the places to visit, I found The Queen Victoria Art Gallery and Museum quite interesting.  A small town of Launceston can maintain such a valuable collection is marvellous.

The Art Gallery a meticulously restored 19th century building located on the edge of Royal Park boasts of collection of Colonial Paintings including works by John Glover, Tom Roberts, Fred Williams and Bea Maddock.

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The Queen Victoria Museum located nearby is another treasure house.  The manner in which the Museum is curated and the exhibits restored and displayed shows the immense respect for their history and the Legacy of their Nation.

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SYDNEY COVE

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The narration of the first ship wreck on the East coast of Australia in 1797 on Preservation Island off Tasmania was so meticulously documented in this Museum.

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Sydney Cove was the Bengal ship originally named Begum Shaw was bought by the new owners in 1796 and renamed her as Sydney Cove.  The ship built in Calcutta carried a cargo to Sydney Cove consisting of various provisions, spirits and goods.  On 10 November 1796, she departed and encountered heavy seas and developed a leak.  With the water up to the lower deck, Captain Gavin Hamilton decided to ground the stricken vessel on the island now called Preservation Island

The wreck was relocated in 1977, partly covered by sand and water.

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The Ship’s rudder.

 

AUSTRALIA, THE PHILIP ISLAND

Penguin Parade, this is what Philip Island is famously known for.  People throng to the Island beach for the Sun to set.  All eyes are glued to the waves hitting the sands of the beach and wow from the sea as if it is a designated ritual, the small penguins start appearing as dots in the beginning and lo they appear striving hard to walk at a leisurely pace towards the people.  This happens every day and its nature’s wonder how these penguins remember their nests and Burroughs.  We respect their ritual and their habitat.  No documentation of this ritual is allowed.

Phillip Island, a popular day trip from Melbourne, lies just off Australia’s southern coast. At Summer land Beach, spectators gather daily at sunset to watch the Penguin Parade, when Little penguins come ashore in groups. The Nobbies outcrop is the viewing site for Seal Rocks, home to a large colony of Australian fur seals. The Phillip Island Circuit is a well-known track for motorcycle and car racing.

As the Sun sets, the beach starts to become a artist’s canvas.  The colours jump out of no where.  This I could capture in my camera.