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Published: February 6th 2010
Our last bus journey!
31 January 2010 - 5 February 2010
Sydney to Melbourne by coach--13 hours
Car rental for two days (Hertz)--A$199
Another long coach journey, another c**p meal.... well, leaving Sydney that morning we set off heading through some very scenic countryside. The one issue with Australian coach travel are the lunch and dinner stops. The lunch stop was a KFC (not the healthiest) and the second was a train station cafe in a small town called Aubury, a few hundred km's north of Melbourne. Firstly, it was here that we noticed a stark temperature and weather change. Sydney was cool and cloudy most of the time, but entering the state of Victoria, the mercury was fixed at 36C (at 6pm!), the countryside was stark dry, and the heat relentless. Secondly , dinner was terrible, with tasteless sandwiches and soggy wraps.
Arriving in Melbourne at 10pm we were greeted by a chilly 20C!! Bizarre! We headed to Amy's friend's house in the north of the city where we will be staying for our time in Melbourne.
The following day we headed out to explore. The temperature had crept from a cold 18C overnight to a bright
and sunny 35C! We set about getting quotes for a car, as we are planning on exploring the Great Ocean Road before heading home. We then headed out to St Kilda, Melbourne's beach area. Not much of a beach here to be honest, so we headed back on the tram to the city.
As for the next day it was even hotter! A roasting 38C as we set about (trying) to explore the city. We rode the trams (which cover almost every single street!), explored the river and Federation Square and the main CBD area. The only issue was it was just that little bit too hot, so Amy decided to pay a visit to a salon...to get her hair dyed...brown! It actually turned darker than brown!!
As we had booked our flights back to the UK we were due to leave on the 5th, so we decided to make the most of it and rent a car for two days and explore the Great Ocean Road area. So we set off early to pick our car up, which was very easy and set off, with all our bags (we were going to be dropping the car off
at the airport) and set off on a glorious hot summer day! It took a while to actually get to the Great Ocean Road, spending an hour just to get out of the city! But then we got to it and set about at a leisurely pace, stopping off at pretty much at every view point on the road. As Dan doesn't have a licence (except in Asia where none is ever needed!) Amy was doing all the driving!! About an hour into hour drive down this lengthy road we suddenly came to a road block. The police had blocked the road off as there was an accident up ahead. The Great Ocean Road was closed!! We had to make a long 2 hour detour inland and back down to the town of Apollo Bay, which we duely did. The road took us through some fantastic rolling countryside farmland until we headed south again and into Apollo Bay. We had heard a lot about this small town (all good things) and so we decided to stop for a coffee at one of the many cafes. However, they were all closed...at 4pm? So, Apollo Bay wasn't that great after all! We
hopped back in the car in a bad mood and headed to our next destination, Cape Otway. Cape Otway is home to the Cape Otway Lightstation, a popular stop along the Great Ocean. The drive there was pretty interesting, as you come off the Great Ocean Road and onto a small road through the bush. A road sign warned us of koalas, kangaroos, emus and echidna's (or enchillada's as we end up calling them). So we drove along, heads out of the windows, trying to spot these so far elusive animals. Surprisingly it didn't take us long to find some koalas high in the tree and very high on eucalyptus leaves. After a few great photo opportunities we carried on to the lightstation....it was closed! What was worse was that you couldn't even see it from the carpark! Why things had to close so early we just don't know! So we turned around and headed back. Sadly the kangaroos, emus and enchiladas evaded us but we were pretty happy with the koalas!
Just before reaching our overnight stop at Port Campbell, we visited one of Australia's landmarks, a fantastic natural sight called the Twelve Apostles. These rocks have been formed
by the mighty Southern Ocean eroding the cliffs away and producing pinnacles of rock that jut out of the sea. After taking plenty of photos and batting the numerous kamikaze flies away from us we made the short drive to the lovely little town of Port Campbell. We had trouble finding our accommodation as we were looking out for a hotel-like building. When we did find it it was just a house, with a one-room attachment to it. It was fabulous! Everything you could want for a comfortable stay was available. We had a TV, a kettle, a toaster, plates and cutlery, boxes of cereal, break, milk, juice...the lot! It was 5-star accommodation for as little as A$110!! It was ashame we could only stay the one night so we made the most of it and set out to eat at a great little family-run restaurant where we had what would be our last steak in Australia. It was a great last one at that!
The following day we awoke to a grey and wet day. We set off early...ish and stopped quickly at the Twelve Apostle's for a last look and photo opportunity. We then continued our drive,
in ever worsening weather through a non-descript town called Warnambool and on to Port Fairy where the Great Ocean Road ends. We headed northwards to The Grampian's and through miles and miles (or km's and km's) of bush that was devastated by bush fires in 2006. The weather, however got very bad. Yesterday they were worried about bush fires. Today they were worried about flash floods. Radio broadcasts were coming out advising drivers to stay off the roads (which we actually almost did a few times...not intentionally either!). We plodded on, over the hills and back down to a town called Ararat where we stopped for a coffee. The rain eased up and we set off yet again towards Melbourne. Nearing Melbourne it was only 7pm and as we weren't due to return the car until 10pm and our flight wasn't until 1am we decided to detour south again to Geelong. Unfortunately, Geelong was closed down for the day and we only managed to have a quick visit to the public dunny. We decided to head straight to the airport as the huge storm we had driven through was heading towards us. So, early to the airport it was, to
return the car and check in for our flight. Our journey, therefore, has come to a close. We say not only goodbye to Australia but to our trip in general. We still have a 25 hour journey back to the UK to get through.
Our last two blogs will run down Australia and then the whole trip in general. We hope you've enjoyed the blogs and found some useful info if you're planning on traveling to this region at some point. Please send us some comments...they'll be useful for our next trip!!
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