Great Ocean Road, Australia (6th Jan 08)
We had been wondering for a few days what was the best way we would be able to go see the Great Ocean Road, the beach's and the amazing scenery. We were torn between paying a fortune to go on a mini bus tour group tour and paying a fortune to rent ourselves a car for the day. The choice became so much easier when we got back to Leah's house and she said, "Hey shall I drive us down the Great Ocean Road at the weekend, you've gotta see it while you're here!" This made things so much easier as we wouldn't have to get up and trek across the city early morning and pay thought the nose to do it.
Anyway, by the time Sunday came around we were ready to go, and by 9am we left the house and hit the road in Leah's big Ford Falcon. The car is unnecessarily big, as with all cars in Australia, Leah's just happened to be the 4 litre Ozone destroying automatic variant, which is seen to be quite a modest choice over here. After a short while we made it onto the motorway and were heading in the general direction of the coast. As we flicked on the cruise control the car pretty much drove itself and it made us wonder, again, why do people need a 4 litre car especially when the speed limit is 100kmh (60 miles per hour), god knows.
After about 90K's we stopped off in Geelong, Victoria's second biggest city and the home of the Geelong Cats who won the Aussie rules premiership last season. We parked near the sea and had some quick breakfast in a nice little café opposite to where Leah went to university. Near to where we had parked there was also a small market on that was selling all kinds of hand crafted work all of which we either couldn't afford or wouldn't be seen dead buying!
Before long we were back on the road and heading toward the seaside town of Lorne which was another 70K's away. After what seemed like an eternity on a carbon copy of the M62 we finally got on to the road everyone talks about, and it sure lives up to its name. The road that was now in front of us really was great; the coast alongside us was the most picturesque that you could ever imagine, truly the thing of postcards and what you dream of for a beach/seaside. Once we were on the Great Ocean Road it was hard to tear your eyes away from the sea, sand and winding coastline out the windows.
At around 1pm and in the high of the midday sun we arrived at our destination, Lorne. With the sun beating down on us and not the slightest of breeze we decided that it was going to be best to try and have some dinner now while it is so hot. The beachfront is still at the moment pretty undeveloped to say it is one of the more major places people visit along the Great Ocean Road and that every year it holds a pretty famous swimming event, "The Pier to Pub" which we found out had been on just the day before and was why Leah decided to take us when she did since most people would be on there way home and it wouldn't be so busy. The beach front here was also miles different to what you get at home, no 2p machines or dodgy fairgrounds, it was just lots of little family run café's, bars and bistros; this been said we still managed to find ourselves in one of the less classy establishments called, "Billy Bobs Chicken Shack".After dinner and the sun calmed down a bit we headed down onto the beach for some afternoon R and R, where we paddled in the water (too cold to swim), played in the sand and listened to some music while sunbathing. Before too long the sun looked like it was heading in for the day and the wind was picking up making it a pain to stay down on the beach as we were getting well and truly sand blasted and Mark had developed some interesting looking sunburn all over the back of his legs and over the entire of his back.
With the sunset looming we decided to go for a bit more of a drive to see if we could find anywhere decent to sit and watch the sun set, and after another 15K's or so, we couldn't so we gave up on the idea; we did on the way home however manage to stop off at another little beach which is pretty big with the local surfers and got a glimpse of the sun going down behind a hill in the distance. With a couple of hundred K's to cover before we got home, we stopped off at a bar just outside of Lorne somewhere so we could have a drink for the road and stock up on some bottles of water to re-hydrate. By the time we arrived back at Leah's place it was getting pretty late so we showered, made some tea and watched a bit of TV before crashing out and having a well needed sleep.