Friday, January 28, 2011

Great Ocean Road Roadtrip

So on 17th Dec we said our goodbyes to "The Zohan" hairdresser at our hostel in Melbourne and trotted up the street with our backpacks to Hertz to pick up our little Toyota Corolla for our Great Ocean Road roadtrip!

Ah, got to mention something, before we left "The Zohan", he told us he was heading to Sydney for Christmas and New Year, he had booked a bunk bed in a Sydney hostel from 18th - 24th Dec at a cost of $20per night, on Christmas Day the price went up to $80 and then on New Years Eve the price went up to $250!!! not even a fancy hostel either!! Crazy prices. He wasn't going to book Christmas Day and New Years Eve until he got there, lets hope he wasn't in a cardboard box under the Harbour Bridge!? Bless him!

So onto the roadtrip... the tour of the Great Ocean Road was a part of our travels that we had both been planning since the day we booked our flight tickets to come away together, so we were really really looking forward to this and it was definitely worth it!

Getting the car and driving out of Melbourne was SO simple, Mart did all the driving as it cost extra to put me on as a driver (or so Martin said.. I think he just didn't want to be passenger to my driving! hehe)

Day 1 - Fri 17th Dec
Melbourne to Lorne
So an hour after leaving Melbourne we made our first stop at a typical little Aussie town called Queenscliff - we were proper grannys and parked up by the ocean and ate our cheese sarnies that we had made that morning in the hostel. Hehe.

After we ate our sarnies we found a really cute little cafe and had cake and a coffee..mmm... haha we sound like we're about 50! was a very good lemon cake though.

We left Queenscliff and headed to Torquay, unfortunately by this time, the rain had started to come down really heavy and the wind was picking up, so when we got to Torquay, we did a little trot around, took a few piccies and headed back into the comfort of the Corolla!! Little did we know that that little routine of getting out of the car, a quick look around and then hopping back into the warm car, would be become very familiar over the next few days as the weather was bloody awful and COLD!

bit windswept

We drove out of Torquay in lashing rain and headed to Bells Beach just outside the town. This is where the last scene of the film 'Point Break' is set... but actually it's not, they just said that in the film, but in fact it was filmed somewhere else. Fibbing little blighters! Still, it was an impressive beach and huge waves. We had to sit in the car for about 30 mins until the rain stopped and then we decided to take our Christmas hats onto the beach and take a few photos whilst the sun came out. In the end, we used the photos for Christmas cards and sent them to our families :-)

aaah here comes some more rain... story of our trip!!!

After we left Bells Beach the rain started to come on again, so we pushed on in the little hatchback to a lighthouse which had a stunning look out. I had to get a picture of the lighthouse as it was where the kids TV programme 'Round The Twist' was actually filmed. My Mum, my brother, sisters and I loved that show!!

The sun was starting to shine a little bit now, and looked like it would be a nice evening so we headed to Lorne which was where we were staying for the night. Before we left Melbourne, we had found a really cute YHA in Lorne and booked ourselves a bunk bed each. The YHA here is GORGEOUS.. if anyone is ever in this town, stay here as the YHA is set in these beautiful grounds with cockatoo's flying around and loads of nature around you, plus the people who own it were so so so friendly and welcoming.

We shared a dorm room with 1 German girl, who told us to shut the windows as soon as we came into the room as she hates spiders and bugs (get used to it love, you're in Australia!) and then another guy joined us later, who popped on his ipod at 10pm and went to sleep, bless him. After we checked in and dumped our stuff we drove back into the town and bought a bag of hot chips ('chips' are our crisps and 'hot chips' are our chips/fries) and took them onto the sunny beach for a bit of tea and watched the surfers for a while - was a really pretty evening.

We got back to our room and settled in the bottom bunk to watch a film, went to sleep about 12am and the German girl still wasn't back in her bed, thought it was a bit odd as there was NOTHING to do in Lorne at night, a real family holiday town type place. Anyway this girl decided to come in at 3.30am, banged around like a bull in a china shop, rustled a million plastic bags about and put the sodding light on!! I was getting sooo angry! THEN she got up at 6am, did the same again, got dressed for work (I think she worked in the local supermarket) and woke us all up again! I could have murdered her - surprised no backpackers have been killed because of this late night/early morning sleep disruption. So as a way of revenge, we opened all the windows of the hostel room before we left .... hope the bugs don't bite!! hehe.
Day 2 - Sat 18th Dec
Lorne to Apollo Bay

Got up to a lovely sunny day and we were both in a really good mood (despite the German girl leaving me with only a few hours sleep) and had a cup of tea in the sun before we left the hostel. Oh dear ... our morning was about to take a turn for the worst.

Firstly, we trotted down from the hostel to the road where our car was parked, to find a parking ticket on the car! The reason? our car was parked facing the wrong way, it has to face the way the traffic is going on that side of the road... seriously... that CANNOT be a rule?? It only serves to make the parking area look pretty... surely?!?! and $72!!!!!!!!!!

parking facing the wrong way! argh!

We then drove to a waterfall a few miles out of Lorne. I hadn't put any make up on that morning so quickly did it in the car before we hopped out to see the waterfall. Saw the waterfall and then unbeknowns to me, my make up bag falls out of the car door as I get back into the car and don't realise until that evening when I can't find it anywhere and have pulled the car apart looking for it!!! Aaaah. So since that, I have had to go out and buy a few new bits of make up, just to get by, which has totally killed me as I still have a full cupboard of make up sitting at home from my days at L'Oreal, so haven't actually purchased make up for about 7 years!! Plus, even a cheap mascara over here is $23 (Maybelline Great Lash)!!!!! So that's 18pounds!!! argh.

Anyway....parking fine in hand and a make up bag down we still LOVED the rest of the day together. We left the waterfall and drove to a place called Wye River, a really small little inlet along the Great Ocean Road, we sat in the car again... whilst the rain came down again... and ate our little cheese sandwiches again!! haha. 

After we'd eaten we hopped out and walked up a little road where apparently lots of Koala's live!! and they DID!! We saw loads in the trees.. just sleeping away. I'm sure most of you know, but Koala's spend a massive 18hours a day sleeping!! Sounds like something my sister Clare would totally love at the minute... being a new Mum! After we saw the furry little Koala bums sticking out of the trees, we walked by a tree full of parrots and Mart decided to grab a biscuit from the car and see if they'd take it... have a look at this!! As you know Mart's a twitcher, so I think Christmas came early for him! haha.

furry koala bum in the tree!

We then drove onto Apollo Bay where we were staying for the night (all the while listening to the cricket on the radio!). We had a little walk around the town and took a trot down to the beach, it was really stunning - reminded me a bit of New Zealand actually as it had lots of rolling green hills all around it. 

a close up

seriously, they have these signs for tourists!!

Apollo Bay

After we'd popped to the supermarket for some soup for our dinner we drove behind the seafront and found our little hostel (Apollo Bay backpackers). We had decided to push the boat out tonight and get a double room!!! oooh!! It was really cute as our room ended up being in an old wooden house in a residential street that was away from the main dorm hostel. It was really 70's style and was SO cozy, we were freezing at night so we ended up putting on the heater and 3 duvets that they had in the room - something we didn't expect to do in Oz!! We were sharing the little house with 2 other couples. Both were about my Mum & Dad's age. One couple were from the Isle of Wight and were taking a 2 week trip in Australia and the second couple were from Bromley in Kent and the husband had taken redundancy and she had quit her job and were both taking a year long trip around the world!! Good on them! They had done things in Asia that we hadn't even heard about.. I think he said he even tried Opium by mistake! haha. They were just like my mum and dad in terms of wanting to explore new places and they have even done the same as us in Australia and hired a campervan for the whole of January to travel the East Coast.. so we might end up bumping into them again, they were such a nice couple and had so many funny stories from their trip so far. However, as you can imagine, 6 Brits in a room together with some wine would result in another good moan about the exchange rate.. haha... was funny though as we were all swapping tips on how to save money whilst we were here!

Day 3 - Sun 19th Dec
Apollo Bay to Warrambool

After a LOVELY nights sleep we left our cozy double room (and after a long search for the lost never-to-be-seen-again make up bag) we were back on the road and today was the BIG day.. the Twelve Apostles! Today was also bloody FREEZING!!!! the wind was so cold, I had on 2 tshirts, trainers, trousers, a hoody, a scarf and a waterproof and I was still cold! If I had some gloves I would have worn them.  We went for a rainforest walk before we went along the coast.

 Seeing the 12 Apostles and all the other rock formations along that stretch of coast, took all day with loads of (cold) stop offs, but was def worth it. However, was glad to drive into Warrambool, check into our hostel and cook up some pasta and have a bottle of red wine whilst watching 'Pineapple Express' in the common room, love that film. Oh that night in our dorm room was again another joyous adventure in the world of backpacking... the WORST snorer in the world whose guttural snoring was so load that it broke through my ear plugs and so I had to wrap my scarf around my head twice to block him out! Argh! 

The Twelve Apostles

Day 4 - Mon 20th Dec
Warrambool to Mount Gambier

After brekky at the hostel, we stopped in Warrambool town centre to buy a few supplies from the chemist, it seemed like a nice seaside town and everyone was busy doing their Christmas shopping in the sunshine (still find it an odd sight someone carrying 5 rolls of Christmas wrapping paper in the bright sunshine whilst wearing flip flops and shorts).

We drove off to a nature reserve nearby called 'Tower Hill' we were hoping to see Kangaroos and maybe some more Koala's but we only managed to see Ostrich's and some black swans (they look evil!).

i fell over and instead of helping me up mart took a pic, nice

We did however find another nature reserve in a town called Port Fairy that had white kangaroo's in it!! Bit spooky eh? Like something out of Alice in Wonderland?

this is the spooky white one!

We stopped in a place called Nelson and took a look at the ocean from their beach... oh my god the sea was SO rough!! Couldn't believe it, the wind was so strong. On the way back from the beach to the car we spotted a black wallaby hopping along our path!! So cute!

We eventually arrived in (unimpressive) Mount Gambier and stayed in a little static caravan that had definitely seen better days (and I'm sure had smelt better, probably in 1972), but at least we had a TV and NO snorers or people coming in at 3am!! Oh and we made burritos for dinner...mmmm!

Day 5 - Tues 21st Dec
Mount Gambier to Adelaide

We had quite a bit of driving this day (about 6 hours) and along this stretch there wasn't much to see.

Although we did eat our little cheese sandwiches in a cute town called Robe and the sun was shining so no waterproof jacket for me! Yipeee!

Oh and we bumped into a giant prawn or lobster on the way out of one of the towns, that deserved a massive u-turn in the road for some photos!

We finally arrived into the outskirts of Adelaide about 4pm and drove into a little town called Hahndorf which is about 10km outside of the town. It's a little old German town with loads of cute little shops and restaurants, plus the sun was still shining so was a nice couple of hours wandering and looking in shops at things that we couldn't afford!

We then drove onto a place called Mount Lofty (original naming of the mountain there!) that looks over all of Adelaide, from here it seemed like a nice city, not too big and is surrounded by gorgeous green countryside.

We left the Mount and drove into town. The city plan is based on the easiest grid plan EVER, so we found our hostel within about 10 mins! We stayed at a hostel called "Annie's Place" which is basically an really big old townhouse converted into a hostel... so it had tons of character with a huge old style kitchen with a fireplace and a big courtyard that had FREE WIFI... unheard of whilst backpacking in Australia!!! As it was so close to Christmas, not many people would be spending Christmas in Adelaide, so we ended up having a dorm room all to ourselves with an ensuite and a tv.. bonus!

Day 6 - Weds 22nd Dec
Adelaide to Brisbane

After a lovely sleep and shower in our ensuite, we had some brekky in the kitchen and dropped the car back off at Hertz around the corner. The weather in Adelaide that day was really hot, so we walked down into town from our hostel and bought a few pressies for Martins sister Dawn and then sat in the Botanical Gardens all afternoon and read our books in the sun. 

Adelaide has some stunning historical buildings, but the thing that struck me most was that the streets were so wide and at the end of most streets there were mountains/hills, the city grid itself is flat but all around are mountains and hills, very pretty.

Around 8pm we caught a flight from Adelaide to Brisbane and excitedly met Dawn off the plane wearing our santa hats!! Roll on 2 weeks for Christmas and New Year at Dawnie's house!

Ems & Mart