Australia 27 June: Lavers Hill, Vic - Port Fairy, Vic

The 12 Apostles

We started our day with some absolutely priceless moments this morning feeding and making friends with the Australian animals, at Fauna Australia Wildlife Retreat, our extraordinary wildlife park accommodation from last night.

Bob was very interested in this ring.

All too soon though we had to farewell our animal friends as it was time for our first school engagement at Lavers Hill P-12 school in the Otway Ranges.

This lovely school has fifty students in total ranging from prep to year twelve. It affords a perfect example of the need to practice all the qualities that children tell us peace means: respect, harmony, looking out for others. This was well reflected in the exemplary behaviour of the students.

Thank you to Ella for receiving the World Harmony painting and Certificate of Appreciation awarded to the school.

Jarrod, Sophie and Chloe hold the torch together at their school after their family kindly provided the accommodation for the girl’s team last night.

The team had a great start to a day of joyful running in pristine countryside that has one of the highest rainfalls in Victoria. No rain today but lots of water underfoot and misty cool running on quiet windy roads back down to the Great Ocean Road.

Chris, a local from Lavers Hill met Anubha this morning on his way to yoga.

There is a lot of repair work being done on the Great Ocean Road so there are many opportunities to greet road workmen and tourists in this area. They are all happy to pass on their good wishes for the Peace Run and this gives us all much needed extra energy.

While most southerners head north for their Winter holidays, this family from Brisbane is exploring Victoria.

Novak and Amy were happy to hold the Torch.

Whilst the distance for each day is known well advance, the elevation is often discovered as we run. The boys team were pleasantly surprised with the gradual descent of the first 30 km of today's route; it always makes you feel a lot fitter and faster!

The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park which we encountered at the 40 km mark of today's route.

It was a thrill to run with the torch in such magnificent surrounds.

Emily from ABC Warrnambool interviewed our team captain, Atul Arora.

Lunch on the hop.

It was a full day of running and we farewelled the majestic ocean views after a stopover at the iconic Twelve Apostles where there were breathtaking views and many tourists.

Next for the girls team was a 30 km run into Warrnambool.

The magic of The Flame.

It is not unusual to find two Peace Run vans parked outside an ice creamery.

We carried the Torch to the City of Warrnambool chambers to meet with Councillors Robert Anderson, Tony Herbert and Assistant to the CEO, Wendy Clarke.

Councillor Robert Anderson was first to greet the team.

We were spoilt with much needed hot drinks and afternoon tea ...

... AND these really cool City of Warrnambool hats and souvenir lapel pins.

Wendy Clarke.

It was wonderful to learn about the activities of the region, including the local Southern Right Whale Nursery just 50 metres off shore, where the whales migrate from the Antarctic to Australia in Winter to raise their young – not surprisingly a must-see attraction for thousands of people every year.

Thank you to the City of Warrnambool for such a warm welcome.

Councillor Tony Herbert.

Last night we stayed with the Australian animals and tonight our girls team are staying amongst the Australia flora, staying at Gum Tree Caravan Park in Port Fairy, our resting place for this evening.

Peter and Vic, the proprietors were so welcoming and we are very grateful for our warm and cosy cabin.

With a total of 147 km to complete today, the boys team pressed on into the evening with our Hi-Viz vests in order to cover the full distance.

Sarankhuu, one of our dauntless Mongolian runners ...

... bearing the horse-spirit of Mongolia.

We shall report on the boys team accommodation in tomorrow's report. Until then, good night and sleep tight!