We left Adelaide with a new air of excitement about us. The Great Ocean Road had just opened back up after some pretty bad bush fires, we were headed to Melbourne for two weeks to experience the tennis and we had just short of a week to give the South Eastern Coast a good little comb through on the way!
Our first bit of sightseeing was at Blue Lake in Mount Gambier. The lake is in a crater formed by a now extinct volcanic lake and, luckily for us, in the summer months is a magnificent blue in comparison to it’s winter grey colour. It was the first time we had been struck by the beauty of a place in a while. Whilst we were there I took the opportunity to Skype Elliot, a friend from back home, for his birthday before getting back on the road. Unfortunately near our next stop we noticed one of our back tires had a puncture and so we limped around the corner to a tyre place for what we believed would be a costly new set of rear tyres. 33 dollars and a patch up later we made it to the camp site!
The next day we started The Great Ocean Road, which I feel the need to advise people, is really not that great. First of most of the journey you spend without a view of the Ocean and although in this section there are some great stopping points to view the limestone stacks and bridges which line the coast, it still wasn’t worth the hype. We made a point of stopping at the following points to check out the stacks but you really need not do them all:
- Bay of Islands
- The Grotto
- London Bridge
- The Arch
- Loch Ard Gorge
- Thunder Cave
- Twelve Apostles
We spent a whole day trundling along to Princetown but, if you were a little more pressed for time, you could get away with just doing the first three to see the variety of the formations, Loch Ard Gorge for some great walks and skipping the Twelve Apostles as it really is just a tourist trap and the views are ruined but the couple hundred people who come off tour buses as their one stop on the road. The weather was also a little “British”, so after the long drive and around 5km of walks we ended up in a pub for dinner which was really very welcome.
We took a drive to Wreck Beach the next morning where we were presented with the most amazing little beach all to explore and we had it all to ourselves. We spent a couple hours wandering the shore, contemplating where we would build our houses before heading back up the steps, which had increased in number since our descent and even spotted an Echidna on the way up! Having had nowhere to buy milk the night before, we had skipped breakfast and after the climb up back up the steps from the beach we were ready to have a good brunch. We stopped off at a tiny little town we can’t even remember the name off and had the most surprisingly good meal we have ever eaten, before heading onwards to the more scenic part of our drive.
The second half of the Great Ocean Road was a lot more like we had expected it to be, hugging the foreshore as we headed the final leg up towards Melbourne, just a lot shorter. We are kind of jaded to great roads having spent so much time driving through the ranges between Cairns and Port Douglas on the Captain Cook Highway which, although only a half hour drive, offers spectacular views, less people and a new beach to yourself at every turn. Although we stopped off at a couple little towns, down south they seem to be much more generic than North of Brisbane: maybe we are Queenslanders at heart!
We’ve now checked in to the Airbnb in Melbourne for our stop to see the tennis. We’ve got tickets booked and two weeks to enjoy the tennis around us before moving onwards for Nicola to find her farm work.
A Ginger Down Under
18th January 2016