After having lived in the desert for around 3 months, no words could describe my excitement to once again be reunited with the ocean. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved all the contrasting features the Australian had. The clear blue skies almost everyday, the super hot days and extremely cold nights, the abundance of land from miles on end, covered in the distinct red dust which could make you feel as if you were living in that Post-Apocalyptic film that starred Tom Hardy, (Mad Max I think it was called?). And even though I didn’t miss it as much whilst I was there, the first thing I thought about the moment I landed in Melbourne was the 3-day road trip down the Great Ocean Road that I had planned ahead.
I arrived at the hostel shortly after and was greeted by my newest travel companion whom I met back in Alice Springs. She had gladly volunteered to drive due to my inability to do so and in return, I was to cook for her for the whole trip. Sounded like a great plan to me. Nothing like a little bit of role reversal to propel ourselves towards modern society. Anyway.
The morning after, we collected our camper-van from a company called “Wicked Campers” which I would definitely recommend for anybody who would like to do this trip. They are cheap and reliable with no deposit required. All you need is your card and a full drivers licence from any country. We were provided with your basic utensils, an esky (or cooler) and there was also a sink. On top of that, their vans are all painted with quirky designs which does make you stand out like a sore thumb but who cares. You’re on holiday. Our van did have the bumper sewn back together from what looked like zip ties so it’s not your most glamorous camper van but it if that’s not part of your worries then, get on the road with one of these bad boys and feel like a true backpacker.
After a good 5 minutes of nervously looking for my wallet which I thought I had lost. We paid for the camper and we were on our way. But just before we left, I forgot to ask a very important question, so, I ran back inside and interrupted the receptionist.
“Can I smoke in the van?”
“Yeah, of course, smoke away”
I smiled and ran out. We were on our way out of Melbourne onto the Great Ocean Road.
We went straight to a supermarket before we did any lengthy amount of driving as we were warned that prices would go up the further we get closer to where we wanted to be. Fortunately, there was an Aldi close by and where we bought all of our food. Since my travel companion was Vegan, I decided to adopt her diet to make it easier for both of us. We bought tortilla wraps, fresh vegetables, noodles, soy sauce and curry paste. And hummus. Hummus was the most important part. (This totalled to about $50 between the two of us and it lasted for more than 3 days. Maybe I should go Vegan?). After all of this was out the way, we were off. With pop/punk music in the background to remind us of our teenage years, we joyfully cruised down towards the Great Ocean Road, laughing and talking about just how amazing our lives were right then and there.
It was about half an hour at least until we saw the ocean on the horizon and once we did, I simply could not stop smiling. I found it hard to contain my excitement as oppose to my travel companion who was spoilt with beautiful beaches having spent the last four weeks travelling down the East Coast. I had just come from the desert. I felt like Charlie Kelly from It’s Always Sunny when he first saw the ocean.
We stopped off at Airey’s Inlet for a quick walk on the coast as my excitement drifted towards her. We shared this beautiful view.
And for lunch, we also stopped at Apollo Bay.
The drive was incredible. Long winding roads with the ocean on our left and the cliffs on our right.
After a long day’s drive, we decided to stay at a caravan park in Princetown which was 5 minutes drive away from the 12 Apostles, our next stop. The caravan park was beautiful. It was so peaceful and in the distance, there was a kangaroo sanctuary. Where you could see kangaroos hopping around going by their business. Here I made dinner at the camp kitchen and shortly after we went to sleep so that we were bright and early for the next day.
The weather the day after wasn’t the best of all weathers but what we saw was still magnificent. Beautiful rock formations on the ocean. Gorges and cliffs. It truly was magical. Walking through a sea of green grass to get to the cliff edge where we saw the ocean roar as the winds got stronger. We followed the Great Ocean Road and stopped at almost all of the lookout points but as the winds got stronger and as the rain dropped heavier we decided to get to the nearest town which was Warrnambool, to plan our next step. Here, we ate our leftovers from last night as we planned our route to The Grampians.
The drive towards The Grampians National Park was a contrast to the long winding roads along the coastline. Instead, it was long straight roads in the countryside of Victoria towards inland, which was where this national park was situated. The was until we entered the national park where the long straight roads transformed into the again, long winding roads but instead of being along the coastline, we were driving towards a mountain. It was a good 2 and a half hour drive from Warrnambool to this National Park and once we got there, we decided to stay the night and relax at Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park. A caravan park right next to Lake Bellfield. I didn’t like this campsite as much as the one before as this was a lot busier, full of families and tourists alike. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but if you were after a more secluded setting then I do not advise coming here.
That being said, it was quiet enough for us to get a good night sleep even though there was a lightning storm this evening. We fell asleep under the flashing skies with the sound of rain on the roof which provided a very soothing setting.
Now, this was the day we had to get the van back to Melbourne so unfortunately, we didn’t get to do the trek towards Lake Mckenzie which we’ve heard such great things about nor did we to head to the Pinnacle, which I advise anyone planning on doing this trip to do. And when you do, try and do it more than three days as there is so much to see around these parts. However, that being said, we still had a beautiful morning driving towards the Boroka Lookout, Reeds Lookout and a small waterfall in a place called “Grand Canyon” I can’t really say much about this day apart from our ordeal getting back to Melbourne due to a road closure which delayed us getting back the van on time as well as the torrential rained that accompanied our journey but hey, that’s all part of the fun!
For those that would like to do this trip, I highly recommend getting your own van as oppose to getting a tour, as you will have so much freedom and will have your own choice on the places you get to see, but saying that, I also suggest doing this trip for more than three days. I would recommend AT LEAST a week, as there was so much we didn’t get to see even though we had the freedom of the van to do so.
But then again, that’s an excuse to come back.