Published: November 21st 2010November 3rd 2010
Maybe it was the clear air of the forest or maybe it was because we were exhausted, but we had the best nights sleep we’d had in ages - not waking up till 10am. We had planned to have toast for breakfast but finding our grill to be somewhat underpowered had to settle for bread and jam. Thankfully we took allot less time to pack up than it took us to set up and we were soon on our way to Dandenong. Apart from the bike rack it offered nothing of any excitement so we soon drove out the other side and back in the direction of Melbourne. After a rather panicked call to the highways agency after seeing signs telling us we would be fined for driving on the highway without first paying our toll, we left the big city behind and headed for the coast road. When we caught our first glimpse of the Great Ocean Road we understood why it was named. The sea was so blue and inviting, it was just a shame that the weather was so cold, rainy and uninviting. Not wanting to leave the warmth of Hilda and knowing that we would be travelling
this road again in better weather once we had dropped Gemma and Kieran off, we drove on looking for a suitable place to stop for the night. It was on this road that we had out most Australian moment so far…. It was dark and raining, on one side of the road was the ocean and on the other side was forest with nothing in front or behind us. All of a sudden Andy put his foot on the break and we came to an abrupt stop. Quite worried I asked what was going on. Andy just pointed to the road. There with a tiny baby on its back was a Koala crossing the road. We would have loved to have taken a picture but the flash would have scared it even more that a huge van stopping a foot in front of it so will just have to take my word for it. Day two and we had already seen a Koala. I wondered how long till we saw a Kangaroo,
Realising that we wouldn’t make it to our chosen campsite we pulled into a lay-by next to some woodland. Two other campervans had already had the same
idea. There seems to be very few restrictions about overnight parking. One group had even lit a campfire - now try as hard as I can I cant imagine pulling into a lay-by at home and lighting a fire without causing a commotion. Mind you I cant imagine wanting to camp overnight in a UK lay-by!
The next day we carried along the great ocean road. I cant even begin to describe how beautiful it is so just have a look at the pictures and I’m sure you’ll understand. Our first stop was at the 12 apostles. These are amazing rock formations in the sea. Over millions of years the ocean has warn them away into the most stunning sight. Once over there was a rock called London Bridge that could be walked over, sadly London bridge rather aptly fell down some years ago. Our next stop was at Thunder Point a gorge and blow hole that has been formed by the waves. On our walk back we saw an Echidna snuffling in the ground for food. These look like a Porcupine with a nose like an Anteater. Apparently not that easy to spot. Sadly it was more interested
in food that smiling for the camera!
Back in Hilda we made a brief stop in of all places Peterborough. It was a little smaller than the one we know. On following the sign posts for the town centre we found ourselves at a general store which also doubled as the local pub - not sure it was really worth the signpost. Although it was here that we saw another rather amusing sign next to the golf course.
We drove through Warrnambool and onto Killarney where we would pay for our first campsite. Killarney - unsurprisingly by the name, had a large settlement of Irish. The bars in town all served Guinness - sadly we were too far away to check them out. Our campsite was right next to the beach,. All we had to do was walk over the dune behind Hilda and we were on the sand. All this, laundry, showers and electric for the bargain price of $20. That night we drank wine and ate cheese while watching the sunset - how frightfully English!
There are more photos below