Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Twelve Apostles (Victoria, Australia)

Landmark induced humility, that is what you can expect from a visit to Victoria, Australia's Twelve Apostles.

I'm not a geologist, but it's worth taking a moment to talk about the formation of these "apostles." These golden limestone pillars were formed from erosion, which I can only imagine took x hundreds of thousands of years (perhaps longer...I'm still not a geologist.) Apparently, the cliffs themselves lose about 2cm a year from the crashing waves of the Southern Ocean, but, eventually, more such pillars will form from the cliffs over time. There actually used to be one more cliff (around 50m in height), but it came crashing down in 2005. Such is the reality of natural phenomena.

The term "Twelve Apostles" actually comes from the Victoria tourism board's long ago decision to term these cliffs "The Apostles" to increase touristic interest. Eventually, they became known as the Twelve Apostles, despite the fact that there were ever only nine pillars. Depending on how you count, now stand seven or eight pillars. But there is no need to get melancholic about the discrepancy, it is a remarkable landscape to behold. To top it off, along the cliff's edge lies a wooden elevated pathway to take in the full breadth of it.

The whole journey to get here started from Melbourne around 8:30am. We drove along the stunning Great Ocean Road for hour upon hour to get here, but I will save those details for another post because that was a life-changing experience in itself. We arrived here, along with apparently every other tourist in Victoria, in the middle of the afternoon, the crisp breeze serving as a pleasant alternative to our stuffy car.

The coastline around this area, and in particular the Twelve Apostles, rivals most anything I've seen from the natural world, including the Giant's Causeway, Ha Long Bay, The Cliffs of Mohr, The Great Barrier Reef and the list goes on. I can only hope that Victoria continues to cherish and preserve this coastline. They have certainly taken steps to, by protecting this stretch of ocean and 17km around it as a marine park. That is something that, unfortunately, was completely absent from some of the natural sights I've seen in Southeast Asia and Central and South America.

Perhaps it's time for me to show you just why I found this place so humbling. Staring out at scenes like this truly is (and should be) a humbling, surreal sort of experience. For me, it gives me a much-needed poke - it's a kind reminder that you're definitely part of something greater than yourself, that places like this will be around long after you are, and certainly were around long before you arrived.

I think that, in this case, the pictures really do say it all.

G'day mate.

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