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Campervan Cruising on the Great Ocean Road!

all seasons in one day 18 °C
View WORLD ADVENTURE on siandrach's travel map.

10th May – (Rach’s 25th!) Collecting our two berth ‘hippie’ campervan from Apollo, we drove back to the Melbourne house and loaded our worldly possessions (along with the pilfered food from the market) in to the back and waited for our friends Beth and Lee to arrive in their hired campervan as well.

Happy Campers start the adventure - what we captured of the sign says it all!

Happy Campers start the adventure - what we captured of the sign says it all!


Our Hippie entering the Great Ocean Road

Our Hippie entering the Great Ocean Road

Setting off for our 5 day Great Ocean Road adventure, we headed to the supermarket to stock up on the essentials – beer and goon, we did have a birthday to celebrate afterall! Getting a couple of hours driving under our belts, we stopped off at the iconic Bells Beach known for its big surfing wave competitions and watched the surfers in action.

Bells Beach surfers

Bells Beach surfers


Bells Beach

Bells Beach


Surfers brave the cold on iconic Bells Beach

Surfers brave the cold on iconic Bells Beach

Continuing on the road after sunset, we spotted a perfect lakeside spot for the evening in the town of Anglesea; free BBQ, car park and facilities. We were planning on spending as little money as possible on campsites and were looking to camp for free wherever we could!

Sunset over Anglesea

Sunset over Anglesea

With the light fading, we fired up the BBQs and whacked on the free rump steaks courtesy of the farm, along with an array of vegetables and enough food to feed at least 10!

Gourmet chef at work

Gourmet chef at work

To start the official birthday celebrations, Beth and Lee kindly handed Rach a lovely bottle of bubbly which she immediately cracked open and shared out.

Pop goes the bubbly!

Pop goes the bubbly!


Birthday bash!

Birthday bash!

This was shortly followed by two boxes of cheap goon (wine) and drinking games. Si soon disappeared and a few minutes later returned with a candlelit chocolate mud cake and a handful of party poppers.

Lets get ready to rumble!

Lets get ready to rumble!


How old!?

How old!?


Armed with the essentials!

Armed with the essentials!


Enjoying the cake?

Enjoying the cake?


Enjoying Rach's chocolate birthday cake - a little too much Si?

Enjoying Rach's chocolate birthday cake - a little too much Si?

With the cake soon demolished, 4 litres of white wine, 2 litres of red and Lee rolling about on the floor, we decided we better call it a night.

Did you miss your mouth?

Did you miss your mouth?


10 too many?!

10 too many?!

Sadly this was not to happen for Beth, as Lee swiftly rejected all that he had consumed that evening covering their only mattress. With Si trying to stop the wobbly Lee and himself from falling off the bench whilst sitting, Rach and Beth tried to clean the ‘mess’ so Beth had something to sleep on. Eventually managing to bundle Lee into the campervan, we stumbled back to ours for a well earned sleep!

11th May – Woken by our splitting headaches at 7am and vowing never to play drinking games with wine again, we lay in bed, cold and dying for the toilet! Rach on her return, found Beth’s camera and left shoe as well as both of their passports next to their van; all soaking wet.

The 'Cleanup' operation

The 'Cleanup' operation

Beth mortified tried to dry them while using the free BBQ, Si got on the case for breakfast – greasy sausage sandwiches!

Morning after cure

Morning after cure


Sunrise over Anglesea lake

Sunrise over Anglesea lake

With no sign of life from Lee, Beth delivered his to the van. 10.30am Lee finally emerged and after all he had been through, probably felt the best due to his long lie in! 11am we were on the road and after a brief stop at Anglesea golf club to see the resident kangaroos on the fairways, we continued to the location of ‘Round the Twist’ tv show; based around a lighthouse for all those not in the know!

Golf course grazing

Golf course grazing


Cheap lawn mower

Cheap lawn mower


Going Round the Twist

Going Round the Twist

With Rach (showing her new 25 year old age) suffering badly, climbed into the back of the camper for a snooze while Si, Beth and Lee stopped numerous times for photos – with Beth as keen on snapping as Si!

Great Ocean coast

Great Ocean coast

Arriving at the town of Lorne, Rach had recovered and was ready to drive on.

Lorne beach rainbow

Lorne beach rainbow

As we drove out of the town, our hearts raced as we came across a police car and to our horror, a random breathalyser test! Despite it now being 3pm, with Rach and Lee driving, we feared the worst due to last night’s over indulgences! Fingers crossed we took a deep breath and got a green light – phew!

Arriving to the Aire River Valley turnoff, having been directed by a local we followed the road and half an hour later through windy dirt track roads, we eventually found a campsite.

'Do not take this campervan on unsealed roads' - yeah right!

'Do not take this campervan on unsealed roads' - yeah right!

Parking up one behind the other to block the wind and rain, we went to explore the ‘nearby’ beach. An hour later and with it getting dark, we decided to turn back having only reached sand dunes and prickly hedges. Back at the vans, we cooked up sausages and mash under our tarpaulin as the rain thrashed against it.

Dining Great Ocean Road style

Dining Great Ocean Road style

Leaving the plates out, we hoped they would wash themselves while we slept...

12th May – Up with the clear skies but unfortunately dirty dishes, elbow grease was needed to finish off the work the rain started.

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On the bumpy, muddy road by 9am after successfully negotiating a very waterlogged dirt track, we made our way to the first stop of the day and the most anticipated of the drive – the 12 Apostles. Now only 8 Apostles, these large sandstone pillars stretch out into the sea in dramatic fashion. Being led to the ‘Edge’ Helicopter office, everyone knew but Rach that we were about to board the yellow Robinson 44 Helicopter over the Apostles.

Robinson 44's awaiting our arrival

Robinson 44's awaiting our arrival

With Si handing over his credit card, Rach suddenly realised this was the birthday present Si had been hinting at! Grinning wide and following the pilot onboard, Rach still beaming with excitement took the passenger seat next to him with a front row view and Si followed behind in the back.

Up, up and away!

Up, up and away!


Rubber ducky, rubber ducky, come in  rubber ducky

Rubber ducky, rubber ducky, come in rubber ducky


Rach and the pilot

Rach and the pilot


View from on high

View from on high


Birdseye view of the 12 apostles

Birdseye view of the 12 apostles

Soon the three of us were off and exploring the Apostles from above, taking the 45km trip along the scenic coast line up to ‘London Bridge’ and being able to see for miles around, before returning to our awaiting friends.

Rach's birthday adventure!

Rach's birthday adventure!

Being Rach’s first time in a helicopter she was ecstatic and proceeded to tell Beth and Lee all about the amazing views. We then all walked to the view point and drove to various other lookouts dotted along the coast to get a different perspective of the Apostles.

Twelve Apostles.....now 8

Twelve Apostles.....now 8


12 Apostles

12 Apostles

Continuing on our way we also stopped at Loch Ard Gorge, The Arch, London Bridge, The Grotto and Bay of Islands amongst other sandstone structures, until we reached what is known as ‘the end’ of the Great Ocean Road; Warnambool.

London Bridge

London Bridge

Stopping at a whale lookout, we were disappointed to discover we were a month early and the whales would not be passing through until mid June. After a wander around the town, we continued a little further to Tower Hill where we visited a nature park based in an old volcanic crater. Here we walked passed wild emus, wallabies, kangaroos and koalas which roamed the forest.

Emu roaming

Emu roaming


Wallabie  in the woods

Wallabie in the woods


Kookabarra keeping watch

Kookabarra keeping watch


What you lookin' at?

What you lookin' at?

Soon we were making our way back along the coast to Princetown and arrived at dusk, paying for powered pitches and charging up all of our electrical equipment. Despite the drizzling rain and cold wind, we had no choice but to brave the weather and cook on our portable gas cooker under our flip-up boot. With the rain intensifying, we retired back to our vans for an early night.

13th May – With the sun pouring into our van, we drew back the curtains and were shocked to see that we were surrounded by kangaroos, happily grazing on the green grass around us.

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spot the roo

spot the roo


boxing kangas!

boxing kangas!

Over breakfast we watched them bounce about and even saw two in a stand up boxing match! After our first showers in 3 days, we were back on the road and headed for Kennet River. Having parked up, we made our way to the eucalyptus trees and in them; the resident koala bears.

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There were also numerous parakeets landing on us searching for any food we may have, they seemed to like Si and Beth the most!

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Spot the furry face! (apart from Si)

Spot the furry face! (apart from Si)

After lots of pictures, we grabbed some lunch before hitting the road again en route to Torquay. Arriving into another sleepy village, we were disappointed to find signs up everywhere indicating there was ‘no camping’ overnight. With no option, we drove to the supermarket to stock up on BBQ supplies before using one of the many free BBQ’s scattered around town for dinner.

Chefs at work

Chefs at work

Cooking up a feast on the free hot plates, it was a fitting way to spend our last evening together on the Great Ocean Road. With night setting in, we found a quiet car park on the beach front and despite the ‘no camping’ signs, decided to risk it. Under the clear nights’ sky, we parked up our vans, opened our doors and once in our sleeping bags lay star gazing and chatting late into the night.

14th May – Up early, we decided to move the vans before we were moved on, so headed back to the free BBQ for breakfast. With Beth and Lee’s campervan due back that afternoon, we made our way to Melbourne. Only 10 minutes in and we had stopped at a big Rip Curl outlet in Torquay. With prices cheap due to the brand originating here, Beth couldn’t resist bagging a bargain or two! Back on track we continued on the road to Melbourne, stopping next at Geelong and in search of some traditional fish and chips for lunch we left disappointed by Victoria’s second largest city again like a ghost town!

Geelong soldiers

Geelong soldiers

As time was running out we stopped one last time at Williamstown – a small harbour town set across the water from Melbourne. Spotting some $6 fish & chips, we ordered swiftly and wolfed it down whilst admiring the impressive yachts and stunning views of the Melbourne skyline.

Fish & Chips goodness on Williamstown pier

Fish & Chips goodness on Williamstown pier


View of Melbourne City

View of Melbourne City

Wanting to explore more of this quaint town but with the campervan return deadline looming, we bundled back into the vans and onwards to the drop off point. Despite the abuse the van had been through from Lee, surprisingly their full bond was returned and soon Beth and Lee were lying down in the back of our van (the van only insured for 2 people), whilst we made our way to their friends’ apartment in Brunswick; North Melbourne. Arriving to Chris and Helen’s modern, rented flat, they kindly invited us in and after hot showers we poured some wine and got ready for dinner in central Melbourne. Arriving to a long queue in a small side alley off Chinatown, we hoped it would be good. $12 all you can eat Dim Sum, noodles and BYO – it doesn’t get much better than that for us budget backpackers! With our bellies full, we headed back to Brunswick and relaxed in the flat before saying goodnight and retiring to our van parked outside in the street.

15th May – Awake at 8am, we made our way across to the flat for a very welcome fry up breakfast cooked by Helen and Chris. The rest of the day was spent chilling out at the flat and shopping in Brunswick’s trendy town centre. The evening turned into a house party as Chris and Helen’s friends arrived but as the midnight hour approached and they headed out to the clubs, we retired to the TV and then to our cold van due to our depleting wallets.

16th May – Up and in the house early ready for the markets that Helen wanted to show us, we entered the lounge and the carnage remaining from the night before – what stood out most was the black marker pen faces staring back at us; apparently Chris thought it was a good idea at the time and covered all while they were asleep and so as not to be blamed, drew on his own face too!

Faces scrubbed, we grabbed the tram across town, said our goodbyes to Beth and Lee who were bound for Adelaide and continued our journey to Camberwell market with Chris, Helen and their intensifying hangovers and sick breaks – Helen with a quick dash off the tram had to catch us up!

Flea market madness

Flea market madness

After an hour wandering round the market and bagging ourselves 12 DVDs for $10, we left the others to it and headed back to our van and on to the motorway, bound for Phillip Island. It felt strange not to be exploring with Beth and Lee but with another 2 weeks left of the van hire, we were looking forward to our adventures ahead on the East Coast of Australia!

Posted by siandrach 16:08 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world

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