Leaving Melbourne towards South Australia.
Day 1: Melbourne to Warrambool, VIC
Didn’t sleep all that well, due to the anticipation of the upcoming trip. That’s normal and to be expected. I am certain this isn’t something new, and something that even the well-seasoned riders get at the beginning or even a race. Time stops for no one and soon the alarm clock went off. It wasn’t light outside yet and I certainly didn’t want to get out of a nice, warm cooshy bed into the cold. No heating in the place I was staying at, so even getting dressed was a very fast affair.
I needed to get out of dodge before the peak hour traffic started clogging up the city, as I needed to cross Melbourne city to get to the western side and away towards the Great Ocean Road. From the north to the west getting onto the Pricess Freeway early in the morning was the best choice. I was able to skip most the peak hour, albeit freeze my tush off. The first stop was for breakfast at Cunningham Pier in Geelong. Where I had the fruit and muesli bar I brought with me, but needed something warm, so went to one of the open coffee shops for a hot drink. Good to top up with warmth and sugar 🙂
It looked like Geelong was working on a slightly more relaxed feel than Melbourne city, since the people coming into and out of the coffee shops didn’t look as hurried as the multitude of business people in Melb. I guess that’s typical of seaside settlements or towns, giving it a more ‘holiday’ feel.
Strolling along the foreshore having my breakfast, gave me a change to get the flavor for the towns I was going to see all day along the Great Ocean Road (GOR).
Gave me a chance to mingle with the locals, although they didn’t find me appealing enough to give me their number… I did ask! 😉
At this stage I didn’t know where the GOR officially started; but later I was told that it commenced from a specific round in Bells Beach. To me it was when I came round a bend and I was confronted by rub-rail as far as the eye could see, the Bass Straight in front of me, and rugged cliffs were on my right hand side.
One of many little pull over areas along the bendy road. I made the best of those sunny patches for better lighting. The GOR is a very windy place, made very obvious by the vegetation all growing low and on an angle!
One of the places where was very striking, was east of Lorne. When I was in Queensland I heard news of a terrible bushfire that had ripped through this area around Christmas a couple of months prior. And it was very evident where the fire had been. The scar was huge, the vegetation looked completely dead, brown and spent. You could tell the fire was a hot one as even the canopy was charred and riding through, there were evidence where the buildings were than had been burnt L
Past Lorne and the fire deduction, the normal programming of sleepy looking village kept popping up. With the sea colours changing as the clouds would roll in from the Bass Straight, along with Antarctic winds. Brr.
Past the Ottoways and towards the main attraction for today: The 12 Apostles. Maybe not all 12 any longer, more like 8 or 9. Regardless how many there are left, it still is a pretty spectacular site. Considering how hard the wind was blowing, I can only marvel at geology for being able to stand up to the forces from nature for so long (measuring it from a human’s timeframe scale).
Trying to get a photo of this place had its challenges as being the jewel in the GOR crown, meant that I had to muscle my way through 3 double decker tourist buses to get the shot. And there was an added level of challenge, in not dropping the camera while doing a selfie, from the sheer wind gusts. 10 points for not cropping more than 50% off my face.
The GOR is full of national parks, reserves and conservation areas dotted along the coast line. Nice to see, as this gives very unique flora and fauna some secured refuge.
Since I was not sure when I would be back – if ever – I decided to make the best of it and stop at almost all lookouts. And there were many! Loch Ard Gorge, The London Bridge, other ridges etc
Once past the 12 Apostles, the sheer number of tourists plummets, making it a much nicer experience and better for photo opportunities.
The cliffline was just impressive, with such colours and the powerful waves crasing into the side of a rugged carved out cliffs.
Feeling rather blown about, I wasn’t being able to keep warm any longer. Way too much cold, unrelenting wind. So I skipped the last of the lookouts and maed a beeline for an airBnB I found cheap at Warrambool.
I much bigger sea-side town than I was expecting. Quite old looking according to other general Australian aged architecture. Mixed and matched between some modern elements like bars and shops, between the older cottages of settler’s times.
Although much larger town, it seemed deserted…?
I found the airBnb, tucked away the Lawnmower in their garage, had a hot shower and got changed in the thickest clothes I had to go for a walk through town. Still seemed deserted. Sometimes I life leaving the bike behind and walking through town, as this gives me a bit more time to look at the local character and little things that make it different from others.
I walked past a little Thai joint, and the smell… the smell was so divine I instantly started drooling. Without hesitation I got some take out for dinner and had that at the end of the town, overlooking at their recreation area / park / jetty. Not a bad way to end the day. Then an early night, for tomorrow… we enter South Australia.