After almost a year living in Australia, working in super trendy and fast paced Melbourne and relaxed rural SA, our Australian road trip has begun! Highlights of Melbourne included their amazing coffee; AFL matches; trips to Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley; wandering around the different suburbs and markets; and of course Melbourne’s favourite cocktail, the Espresso Martini.
In South Australia McLaren Vale was amazing for wine tasting and bike rides, as was the Barossa; and the Innes National Park and Point Turton beaches on the Yorke Peninsula were incredible and deserted.
The loose plan for the road trip is to drive as far as we can from Adelaide up the east coast via Tasmania, into North Queensland. We bought a ‘travel’ van in Adelaide before we began visa extension work on the Grain Harvest on the Yorke Peninsula. The van had been modified to include a second battery; plugs; sink; water tanks; kettle (!); a bed; table and cupboards. We took it for a 2 week, almost 6000km return road trip up to Alice Springs and Uluru which gave us a taste of life on the road, and we loved it! I’ll cover this trip in another blog post.
Our first stop just before arriving onto the Great Ocean Road was Mount Gambier (The trip had almost failed before we’d even begun – we had to call the RAA after the engine cut out just outside Adelaide. Luckily he was able to fix it at the side of the road, in the pouring rain). We stopped at The Blue Lake which was a really gorgeous vivid shade of light blue, before visiting the sink hole gardens which were kind of surreal!
That night we stayed at a campsite surrounded by fields of horses in the small village of Fort O’Hare, the sun was shining and we made a pretty tasty Mexican dinner out the back of the van, Millie (named after our neighbour’s gorgeous blue Russian cat in Melbourne).
The next day we had lunch in Port Fairy, which had a stunning beach, and as the weather wasn’t great we stopped for the night in Port Campbell and sat on the cliffs watching the sun set into the sea.
In the morning Dan went for a swim in the sea but it looked too cold for me!! We had a coffee and breakfast and headed to Loch Ard Gorge which was absolutely incredible. A boat from England called the Loch Ard was shipwrecked here in 1878. Since it was now quite warm and the sea was so clear and turquoise I went in for a quick swim which was amazing.
The 12 apostles were a ten minute drive away, and although we’d both seen lots of pictures of them they were pretty breathtaking! We jumped back in the van for the stunning drive to Apollo Bay where we stopped for a coffee and picnic lunch on the beach, and carried on to Lorne. The drive to Lorne was so insanely stunning that it’s hard to concentrate on the road! And we managed to pull over and check out some koalas in the eucalyptus trees.
We headed to a popular camp spot in the forest half an hour from Lorne where we got the last spot in camp, right beside 4 other young British couples! After it being such a hot day, it became a very humid night and was almost impossible to sleep, even with the window down and mosquito nets – something we’ll need to look at before heading up into the tropical north!
After such a hot night we drove back down to the coast in the morning and ran straight into the sea, which I was so glad was cold – and I never thought I’d say that! We set off towards Torquay and stopped off on the way at ___ lighthouse which is famous for being in the programme Round the Twist which was on tv a lot when we were younger so it was cool to see it in person.
We got to Torquay at lunchtime where we’d organised to meet our friend from Melbourne who’d recently moved there. We were considering buying a surf board and our friend convinced us to go back to the shop where we’d seen one earlier, and where she’d bought hers too. We went for a new 7ft epoxy lime green board which would be good for both Dan’s surfing ability (good) and my ability (yet to stand up)! Since we don’t have a roof rack, we managed to get some straps from Bunnings and strap it to the bars on the wall inside the van where it fits pretty snug – we were pretty chuffed with our ingenuity!
We stayed in Jan Juc that night and in the morning went to Torquay surf beach which had amazing waves near the shore which were perfect for beginners. Dan managed to catch a few waves and turn the board and I managed to catch a wave and half stand up so we were pretty pleased! We carried on to Melbourne where we caught up with friends and got prepared for the ferry to the next stop…Tasmania!