Day 1 - Koala Day


My first day at the Great Ocean walk began with the visit in a Koala reserve. In the morning, they are a bit more active, as they have not eaten in the night. So the go for the next mouthful of gumtree leaves. This more southerly form is generally larger than the Queensland type and here, ones finds lots of them - they are all around in the trees. Some will even move! ;-)

The area is not fenced or something of that kind, still the Koalas are somewhat locked in. As they feed on toxic eucalypt leaves which also are poor in nutrition. They simply cannot jump around burning calories they wouldn't get back - they need to sleep for most of the day. Even more, they controll their metabolism by selecting different species of trees, so they need to travel somewhat to get what they need. Now the problem is the agriculture all around. Koalas cannot travel across the pastures so they need to stay in too small areas providing the required selection of gum trees. This results not only in in-breeding, it also harms the trees, heavily suffering from overgrasing. Australian forrests and woodlands are generally much lighter than the ones one is used to in Europe, but here, one does not get shadow at all anymore. To solve that problem, one needed to link the suitable spots, but that's difficult where ever you go. In Australia, one may add the problem of huge distances. It certainly helps the Koala to look so incredibly cute - it makes it easier to motivate people to support them.

Koala Overgrased gumtrees

Anyway, on this little spot one finds Koalas everywhere - but seldom outside the area. In fact, the population is more dense than in some sanctuaries one may visit. And if one hears impressive calls - that's the males looking for a chance to add one more joey to the population.

Phascolarctos cinereus Phascolarctos cinereus
little graveyard near Otway lighthouse

The day continues at cape Otway and it's lighthouse. In previous times, it was the home of the lighthouse keeper and his family. They had a hard time there, and one comes across a number of graves of little children before reaching the shoreline.

South Pacific Ocean shoreline

hinking track

The track is always signposted - one does not need a guide to find one's way around. Still, I found it better fun - at least for a foreign tourist like me. One certainly doesn't need everything provided - I, for example would have loved to skip that cultic streching exercise that has no proved physical effect. But it's so enjoyable to get first-hand information, to care about absolutely nothing. We had different people joining the walk every day. So sometimes, we were 4, sometimes more than 10. But still when we were many, the group streched and one could follow it's own personal style - chatting with many or alone in total silence. And the always changing, always thrilling track with the great views across the ocean were the same for everyone.

Mouth of Aire river
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