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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

The Great Ocean Road

I have always wanted to see The Great Ocean Road.  I really should have gone when I was in Australia back 30 years ago… but my limited funds prevented it.  Any funds I did accumulate through picking fruit were allocated to things that would never be classified as cultural, historical or scenic.


Unless it included cigarettes, fast food or cheap booze, it wasn't important.


So… the Great Ocean Road was still on my bucket list. This time I was determined to see it.


I met Lisa and Tony while I was travelling in Kenya and Uganda last year.  We were all on a Nomad Overlander tour for the better part of 3 weeks and became friends quickly. I think a mutual love of wine may have played an integral part, but who knows?


When I knew I was coming to Australia, I reached out to the two of them, hoping to meet up at some point while I was in that area of the country. Much to my delight, they offered to take me on a road trip along the Great Ocean Road.


I was flabbergasted,


Seriously?

They were serious.


I had originally thought of doing a day tour, and I even briefly considered renting a car. This offer was well beyond my wildest dreams and I jumped at the opportunity. Leaped.


It was fabulous catching up with them again and as soon as I hopped into the vehicle, we just picked up where we left off.


Everything was perfect.



Well… the weather probably could have been better, but looking on the positive side of life, it also could have been worse.  Each weather network app I checked was predicting 100% rain, clouds, wind and chill.  For BOTH days we were going to be on the scenic drive. Nothing about any of their predictions was conducive to seaside sightseeing.


Absolutely nothing.


Thank goodness… for me, the eternal tourist… the weather predictions were slightly incorrect and we had so many pockets of blue sky and sunshine, that it made for an idyllic day.  Yes, there were moments of rain and dark clouds, but nothing too alarming or discouraging. The clouds in the background actually provided an almost haunting and dramatic vibe for the photos.


The second day was slightly worse, but still… there were still moments of lovely… though they were fewer and farther between.



Tony and Lisa were the perfect hosts and guides.  I could not have asked for better.  It was generosity beyond my wildest imagination.  They arranged the accommodation… AND provided road pops for the journey.  I was treated like gold and did my best to intervene with my credit card now & then when they weren’t looking!


We ventured from Torquay to Bells Beach lookout, Split Point lookout to Great Otway National Park… and so much more. We spent the night in Apollo Bay, in the cutest little caravan park. They had little half-caravans erected solely to rent to tourists.


Their personalized tour of the Great Ocean Road was so spectacular… and they were both so determined to show me everything there was to see, that we almost ran out of gas in the meantime!


When I say, “We almost ran out of gas,” we didn’t. There were no petrol stations within ‘making it’ distance from us, so we had to take refuge in a little cafe and wait for roadside assistance to bring us enough diesel to make it to the next town.


If anyone is looking to start a small business... a gas station on the Great Ocean Road might be a good start... and quite lucrative.


I think Tony was a little horrified about the empty tank, but I thought it all just added to the story! None of us were particularly bothered and considered it quite comical. It could have been worse. We could have been stuck on the side of the road... in the rain and the cold.  At least we had heat, coffee and food! And cockatoos!


We didn’t wait long.  A local farmer showed up with a jerry can of diesel within a half hour and got us back on the road again.



Lisa and Tony were determined to show me kangaroos and koalas… and they succeeded... somewhat.  We managed to find a wallaby while we were visiting the Cape Otway Lighthouse... but there were no kangaroos to be found.  Lisa, with her eagle eye, was incredible at pinpointing koalas up high in the branches.  I would have missed all of them.


Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the Twelve Apostles. When we reached the road that would lead us to this viewpoint, the weather had taken a turn for the worst and it was almost impossible to see five feet in front of you, let alone rock formations in the sea.  The rain was almost torrential, and because we were all a bit wet now, the dampness was causing a chill that would not subside. I was cold to the bone...


I convinced myself that I wasn’t interested in seeing the Apostles anyway.  There are only nine of them now, anyway.


Hardly worth my time to only see NINE… right?

Or is it only eight now?

I guess it just gives me a reason to come back.


But... all kidding aside, what I did see of the other rock formations and limestone cliffs on this scenic drive blew me away.


Highly recommended.


We made it back to Lisa & Tony's place around 7pm... and spent the rest of the evening gabbing away over a few bottles of wine.



The following morning, I was set to meet Bruce & Nancy in the centre of Melbourne at 11 am. Tony was still determined to find me kangaroos and he succeeded... There was a small park just outside of the city and we went there for a lovely walk. Not a word of a lie, there must have been about 200 of them.


Kangaroo ✔️

Wallaby ✔️

Koala ✔️


No snakes though... and that's ok with me. There were quite a few signs at Cape Otway, warning of snakes in the area... but thank goodness I didn't find one.


There was one more stop they wanted me to see, but I had to veto it when I realized that if we did continue to the viewpoint, I would never have made it into the centre of the city in time to meet Bruce & Nancy...


I felt bad to cut the visit a bit short, but there's always next time...

Right?

Thank you for a wonderful time ❤️... and the laughs... and the wine... and the road pops... and the memories... and the koalas...and the kangaroos... and the scenic drive... and the cool caravan... and everything.


See you in Canada...

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