Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Floods

I finally feel like I'm on holidays. Today I actually did some things that were non-organisational. Went for a bike ride with Tori and the kids to see the flooded Hopkins River empty into the sea, had an afternoon siesta, drove up to the Hopkins Falls for a bit of sightseeing, had a barby around our campsite and played some cricket with Finn out the front. It's taken a few days of officially being on holidays to feel like I actually am, but I finally got there. Hooray.
The general theme of today was checking out the impact of the recent rainfall on the Hopkins River. The towns of Panmure and Allansford are just a few kilometres up the road from Warrnambool and were both flooded by the overflowing Hopkins River. Having spoken to a couple of locals, it sounds like the river is normally pretty placid, somewhat akin to the Yarra through Warrandyte. That definitely doesn't describe what it is now. Seeing the mouth of the Hopkins River in the morning and the way that it was crashing out to sea was a bit of an eye opener, but that had nothing on the Hopkins Falls. I've never sween anything quite like it. The ferocity with which the water crashed over the falls was frightening. The foam that the river had generated from pollutants picked up on its course in combination with the force of the water had created a landscape that appeared set in clouds, or as Jazzy said, like a big coke float.

Travelling across Victoria at the moment is not an easy things. All routes running East-West across the state have been affected by the floods and subsequent road closures. Our initial route to South Australia was going to be via Ballarat and the Grampians. That whole area has been affected with closure of Ballarat roads, Halls Gap being evacuated and the Grampians National Park being closed. Our alternate route was along the Great Ocean Road. Parts of that have been sliding into the sea, so that too was closed as an alternative. With the Hamilton Highway also closed for large sections, the Princes Highway was the only real alternative left. We were detoured off that at Cobden due to the flooding at Panmure, but were able to get through ok to Warrnambool. All just a minor inconvenience compared to the people who are actually living through the floods. As for the flooding in Queensland, well that is obviously at another level altogether. But it doesn't diminish the impact of seeing the effects down here.
As for us, having finally achieved a holiday state of mind, we're going to stay in Warrnambool for another day or two. Some more bike riding along the sea front and additional games of cricket beckon.

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