Tom, Lionel (the boys I met during my Southwest coast Road Trip) and I hit the road in their station wagon (which was of course filled to the brim) on Friday, March 25. After staying in their Adelaide mansion, Callum, Karen’s husband, did a quick check-over of the car, and then gave us the thumbs up – so we were on the road! We made a pit stop at K-Mart so we could pick up a tent, a pillow and a yoga mat for me to sleep on and then it was south, down the peninsula to a little town called Victor Harbour.
It had been a beautiful day when we left Glenelg, but upon our arrival into Victor Harbour, the clouds came in and just made it a crappy, overcast afternoon. Not to mention, it was cold as balls! We parked the car, and decided to walk across the bridge to Granite Island – an island famous for it’s a)granite formations and b)colony of penguins that live there. Of course, it started spitting, making the now miserable day even shittier. But we continued on and did the 45min walk around the island, taking heaps of pictures and we even got to see a big fat sea lion playing in the waves and a pod of dolphins swimming around the calmer side of the island. After walking back into town, we decided to walk around the village – but of course, since it was after 5, EVERYTHING was closed (except restaurants and pubs). So after a good 1/2hr of wandering through what felt like a ghost town, it was off to find a place to stay for the night.
We found a little park area where there was a public BBQ and public toilets, and it actually didn’t have a sign saying ‘No Camping, fines will apply.’ So we got out the coolie bags and started to prep our dinner – smoked salmon on toast and kangaroo steaks. After dinner, since we were starting to lose daylight, it was time to set up my tent, so we found a spot that was hidden from the road, and set up my little 2-man tent that I fondly called “my room”, the boys also set up their car (they’d been sleeping in the back of their station wagon for the last 3 1/2weeks or so!). Thomas wanted to go to bed early, so Lionel and I watched the Hangover on my laptop and then before we knew it, it was time to also turn in, in preparation for the big day of driving we had ahead of us tomorrow.
Not gonna lie, I didn’t sleep well at all. It was my first time sleeping alone in a tent and it was actually quite scary. I was so happy when it was time to wake up and get the heck out of there. Before we knew it, we were on the road… 600+km later we were finally at the beginning of the impressive bit of the Great Ocean Road. When the boys met me in Adelaide and we discussed the trip we talked about our ‘wish list’ and I told them that the only thing I wanted to see was the Twelve Apostles at sunset. Our first stop was at London Bridge – a natural bridge that has been formed by erosion on the rocks for years and years. I actually just found out that its really called London Arch because the main bridge part had collapsed in 1990 thus defeating the idea of it being an actual bridge – its still pretty damn spectacular though.
The second and more important stop was just a few kilometers down the road when we hopped out of the car and made our way to the Twelve Apostles. The Twelve Apostles are a collection of limestone stacks that just out of the Southern Ocean right beside the mainland coastline. They are absolutely spectacular and a HUGE tourist draw. Before I left for Australia, one of the things that was on my MUST SEE list was the Twelve Apostles—especially at sunset. And of course, being camera happy, I was in my total glory for a good hour.
Alas, despite the absolute beauty, there really is only so long that one can stand and look at giant rocks, so it was back in the car and off to find a campsite that was nearby. We paid the fees, set up shop and cooked dinner in the dark – then it was off to bed early in hopes for an early start so we could finish the rest of the Great Ocean Road and make our way to Torquay where we’d be staying with Tom’s friend Cal.
The boys and I were up early, had a nice breakfast, hot showers and soon enough we were back in the car, backtracking down the same road we’d come down the evening before to get one last look of the Twelve Apostles – this time from the beach, after descending down the famous Gibson’s Steps. After taking some more snaps and making our way over to the lookout point one last time and getting our last glimpses of the beautiful scenery we hit the road. I fell asleep shortly after leaving the Twelve Apostles and woke up somewhere in the middle of what seemed like a rainforest!
Our new mission? Finding koalas! And we were in the right place. Along the Great Ocean Road there are beautiful, lush gum tree forests that the koala’s love to make their homes. So we pulled off the side of the road, and were looking high up into the trees, in search of the little lazy buggers getting munged off their chops eating their eucalyptus. After a good hour or so of looking up into the trees and spotting a good number of koalas, it was time to complete the remaining hundred or so kilometers to Torquay.
We had one more pit stop to stretch our legs and go for a short hike. Since Tom had already done the drive a few months prior, he knew of this beautiful little waterfall that is a good 15minute hike in from the parking lot. The three of us made our way through the foliage and eventually made our way to the waterfall and got a bunch of pictures of the beautiful scenery. On the way back to the car, we were finally joined by sunshine! It had seemed like a long time since we’d been graced by sunshine’s presence and we sure enjoyed every second of it. We made it into Torquay not a whole lot after leaving the waterfall place and Tom decided he was going to try out the famous Torquay surf, so Lionel and myself went for a good 2 hour walk along the numerous beaches. After a quick stop at the grocery store, we then headed to Cal’s place, made dinner and settled in for the evening.
The next day we explored Torquay and went to Surf City – a bunch of surf shops like Rip Curl, Quicksilver, Roxy, Billabong all in one fabulous outdoor mall setting. Of course, since we were all low on funds, we didn’t buy anything. Cal actually works for Rip Curl and offered to give us his family discount, but none of us really needed anything, so unfortunately we didn’t take advantage of that. After a few hours of shopping we decided to go check out Bell’s Beach- — one of the world’s most famous surf beaches. Just watching the surfers do their thing was absolutely incredible; every single surfer out there was amazing! It was crazy to watch! After another hour or so there, we decided to head home, where I was abruptly told to pack up my stuff cause we were leaving. I guess Tom had gotten a message from a girl he was seeing and he wanted to meet up with her in Melbourne that evening. To be honest, I was a little disappointed and felt kind of bad because Cal was very nice to put us up and offer out his home to us and we kinda just up and left – of course we stopped by his work and said goodbye, but I felt like Tom put us in a spot and we were kinda made out to seem pretty ungrateful.
Oh well… no biggie, after nearly 2 hrs of driving we made it into Melbourne, Tom was dropped off at the hostel where he’d be shacking up with his ladyfriend for the next 3 nights and Lionel and I were off to explore what Melbourne had to offer!
Now Playing: The Cave by Mumford and Sons