I did it again!!! I went on another tourist bus trip.. guess I just don’t learn.. 🙂
This time we went to the Blue Dandenongs, a low mountain range just about an hour drive east of Melbourne. They tend to have a much cooler climate than Melbourne and apparently are known as a premium gardening district. It s also home to a temperate rainforest protected as a National Park. The bus driver kept talking about the Mountain Ash which is most dominant tree in this rainforest and could potentially be the largest (hardwood) trees on the planet.. there s no way to prove that though because all the old ones were cut down so the forest is pretty young.
Anyway, the first stop was in the middle of this forest, of course next to a souvenir shop.. 🙂
I relinquished and gave in to peer pressure and got some things for ppl back home, otherwise I ‘d never hear the end of it 😉
The local birds had apparently realized that this is where a lot of weird bipedal creatures hang around for a while.. obviously, as a well trained tourist should, they feed the birds, resulting in inevitable chaos. Dozens of birds – both cockatoos and some sort of parrot (not sure what they were) – scrambled to the scene. If food wasn’t being provided fast enough for their liking, they knew where to get it.. so it was no exception to see one of these bipedal apes with 2 or more birds on hands/arms/head…
The more intelligent bipedal specimens could do a short forest walk if they didn’t want to expose themselves to this potentially hazardous environment (falling bombs!).. I was pretty much the only one on that path though 🙄
Eventually the chaos was ended when yet another short shower began..
Next up was another typical tourist attraction: Puffing Billy. A relic from another era, it’s an old steam train running on a mountain track with some very nice views on the landscape – though here again, a clear sky would help. But actually, this was quite enjoyable.. it’s also nice to see that something like this can still be run like it did a century ago, and it is almost entirely operated by volunteers.. Again, the weather didn’t really cooperate, we did see something of the surroundings, but the horizon was obscured by clouds and we even got to verify whether the carriages roof was waterproof… who ever said Australia is a dry country..???
Next stop: the Yarra Valley where we were going to have our lunch in the restaurant of a small vineyard (I can feel someone getting jealous back at home! :)) Took a regular buffet with a meat à volonté, fresh from a piece of an ox still hanging over the fire. The food was good, but I shouldn’t have taken a dessert.. by the time I finally got it I had to rush to get to the bus in time, didn’t have time for anything else anymore.
And to my surprise, this bone-dry country has floods too.. the Yarra Valley was one big swamp.. the roads were on places almost part of the river and much of the fields and vineyards were under water.. not exactly how I was expecting Australia to look like.. it s barely any different than Belgium which also had some major flooding recently..
The last remaining item on the agenda for me was a visit to Healesville Sanctuary.. some other people opted for a wine tour, but I’m pretty sure I can do those in Europe too.. actually, on second thought, I can even do that in our basement at home… 😉
For this part of the trip the weather was actually quite good.. if it s hot all smart animals take a nap and wait till the evening.. only the humans are stupid enough to be active during day time.. 🙄
I don’t know how much I saw of the place, probably just a fraction, but the enclosures are quite big and you get to see the animals in the environment they belong in.. downside of this is that some animals prefer not being seen during the day and finding those in big enclosures isn’t exactly a cakewalk (Tasmanian Devil).. It s much bigger then most of the Zoos I’ve seen so far and to some animals I could get really close (koala, kangaroo, ..). They also have a very impressive birds of prey show where you have free flying predators shearing just centimetres over your head. Having a falcon do this is one thing… having a Wedge-tailed Eagle shear over your head is quite another! Of course some birds are – rightfully so – quite lazy so not all birds always did as they were asked.. who could blame them though 😉
And that was the end of the day.. just a bus trip back to Melbourne, where – of course – it had been a sunny, rain free day!
Ah, and maybe a tip… just because you speak a foreign language, don’t think no one can understand you.. there were two Dutch girls on the bus as well and they were constantly talking among themselves, about a lot of strange stuff women talk about I guess.. for example: how so many people in her family were called Jan and how to name her kids, about going out, boyfriends, sex and a ton of other stuff… I doubt they realized the guy sitting 2 rows ahead could understand every single word 😀
And thus I ended my trip with a peek into the minds of one of this planets most mysterious creatures: women… 😉