After exhausting everything that Melbourne had to offer (there is only so much time you can spend in little coffee houses), I decided that to hire a car and drive the Great Ocean before I flew out to New Zealand.
I hired a little Hyundai Getz, but the kind lady at Thrifty upgraded me to a Mondeo and when I picked the car up I got upgraded again to big 4.5L V6 Ford Falcon.As big muscle cars go, it was crap but as you would expect I ragged the nuts off it and had some fun on the fantastic great ocean road.I'm not sure if it was my unique defensive driving technique or just good manners but if you came up behind a slow car or truck they would pull over and let you pass.
Stopped at all the look outs to take photos and did a little trek to see some waterfalls.
It was a beautiful sunny day until I arrived in Port XXXXX when it hammered it down with rain, the unsettled weather created some amazing rainbows.The rain cleared just before sunset and the sky turned a thousand shades of orange, it was absolutely breath taking, I'm not sure my photos will quite do it justice.
The YHA was amazing, the Architect had used lots of glass and created a semi open plan space, the lounge was glass on two sides with a huge open fire.There were only 8 of us staying there I ate with three Irish guys, then chilled out on the huge sofas in front of the fire before whipping them all at scrabble! I know this isn't exactly a riveting story but it was just a really cozy place with a great atmosphere and it was a brilliant end to a great day.
The following day, I carried on driving up The Great Ocean Road to the see the Twelve Apostles.About 20 miles outside of Port XXXX I picked up a hitchhiker, a 19 year old German lad called Jitt.He'd been travelling for two years, aside from his flight Mexico, he'd hitch hiked his whole trip and sailed across from Rio to New Zealand, then sailed from NZ to Australia.I'm proud of my trip and feel it has been a real adventure with lots of tails to tell but his story kind of put mine to shame!
I'm really glad I gave him a lift, as I filled up with fuel shortly after and all my cards got declined, Jitt kindly paid the $70.
We stopped at the Twelve Apostles an iconic Australian sight, but if truth be told it was no more impressive than the needles on the Isle of Wight.
I drove Jitt on the next town where I managed to get some money out of the ATM and pay him back for the fuel before I turned around and headed back to Melbourne.Its funny how people make an impression on you, I only knew Jitt for a few hours but I'm really glad I met him. Just wish I'd had the guts to hitch hike round the world at 19!
The drive back was just as much fun as the drive there and I had the added bonus of a great sunset as it was a clear night.I was flying out of Melbourne Airport at 6am, so didn't want to pay for a hostel as I would only have been able to stay there for a few hours before having to get to the airport.So I found a row of comfy metal chairs and had a few hours' kip before checking in.
I've loved Oz, I love the way of life, and the respect people have for each other and things.I mean can you imagine a school kid offering you seat on a bus in England or our parks having free BBQs that don't get trashed?They have great climate, so everyone seems to make the most of the great outdoors.It's got it's Hyde side too, racism is ingrained in society, the aboriginals have been treated appallingly and the government seem to think money is the answer which in reality only causes further problems and greater racism as the whites recent the money being handed out the aboriginals.
Although Australia has some magnificent landscapes and natural wonders such as the Uluru, Cape Tribulation, the Great Barrier Reef, Frazer Island, the Whitsunday and Byron Bay it has a whole lot of nothing too 75% of the country is desert.
To sum up I love it and I could easily live here, but I have a sneaky suspicion that New Zealand will have all of the above and a little bit of culture too.