During our brief nine days off between house sits in Albury we embarked on a 2200km road trip. The main goal was to experience the Great Ocean Road. Along the way we got a glimpse of Melbourne and Adelaide, as well as meeting a bunch of super friendly Aussies, we managed some diving as well.
After a 4 hour train trip to Melbourne we encountered our only hiccup of our trip. We arrived just late enough to have the car rental office close before we could pick up our vehicle so we ended up spending an unplanned evening in Melbourne. Other than the expense and stress of trying to find a hotel room at 6pm on a Friday when the city is hosting a Formula 1 race that weekend, it turned out just fine.
Stay tuned for another blog on our diving in Melbourne and Adelaide.
Day 3 saw us get our first glimpse of the Ocean proper and also the official beginning of the Great Ocean Road. Absolutely awe-inspiring for a number of reasons.
One of the truly impressive things I have noticed in travelling around Australia is the effort that has gone into recognizing and acknowledging the contributions of their veterans. The reason for building the Great Ocean Road was to be able to employ and help as many returning soldiers from the First World War as possible. (This was also the reason for building the Story Bridge in Brisbane)
The towns along the coast vary from tiny hamlets to full tourist magnets so you get to pick whatever suits you. The road itself is great. It would be even greater had we been doing this trip on a motorcycle.
Other than the first and last nights of our trip we did not prebook any accommodation along the route. This left us open to spend as much time as we wished at places we came across. The greatest serendipity of this was the people we met at the motor inns and motels we found on the way. Not once did we have a problem finding accommodation, (Thanks again Bryce for the sim card). We learned, despite its convenience, the evils of Expedia when it comes to small businesses. And most of all how universally helpful and friendly the locals could be to a couple of tourists.
The main purpose of this trip was to see the Great Ocean Road and the 12 Apostles along with the other unique coastal features in that area. We were not disappointed. The roads, stopping areas, and weather all combined to make it a spectacular sightseeing trip.
Having completed the Great Ocean Road our next destination was Adelaide. Luckily we stopped in Portland where we met one of the most interesting inn owners (Mariner Inn) and an incredibly helpful fellow at the tourist information office. The tourist info gentleman pointed out how we could make very efficient time and still be able to do some wine tastings near Penola on our trip to Adelaide. Love multitasking.
We loved Adelaide and would love to go back for an extended stay. For this trip we did some diving (awesome) and checked out the old town on foot.
Our last stop on this trip was in the city of Ballarat. As we drove into this city I was overwhelmed by the power of their Avenue of Honour. It took me awhile to realize there was a pattern to the trees along the road as we drove into the City.
Our Great Ocean Road road trip was an outstanding success. I highly recommend it to anyone who is going to be in the Melbourne area.