Forgive the typos, spelling, and grammar, I’m curled up in a sleeping bag in Goulburn on my way to Glenworth Valley (it’s Monday the 28th as I type this) and trying to remember the journey of the last days, but my memories are blurring into one and it’s kinda freaking cold so my thoughts drift between writing and how cold it might get tonight.
Tuesday, 12/22: it is the start of The Great Ocean Road. This road links Melbourne to Portland. I feel most travel that way and not the way we are doing it (backwards) but I think we have chosen well because our side of the road is less busy. Also our night of the 21st landed us in Port Fairy a stone’s throw from Portland. (If you saw the welcome to Victoria photo you may ask why it took us so long to get to this point and it’s because we side trekked and went to Mount Gambier and the Grampians. A trek I suggest for all.)
You can do this drive in 1 day, we split it into 2 so we could get out and explore the scenery and honestly take photos at every lookout or point of interest there was.
I can’t describe to you each point because honestly my description would be redundant: beautiful, amazing what Mother Nature has created, awe inspiring, blah, blah, blah. I don’t mean to dumb it down or make it seem like the drive is less than awesome because it is not. Winding roads through mountains lining the coast…they don’t suck. So I’m gonna hit your with a list of where we stopped…
Starting at Port Fairy we head to Logan’s Beach in Warranmbool and search for whales (there were none 😒). After that, we officially start The Great Ocean Road and see the following:
-Bay of Islands
-Bay of Martyrs
-Loch Ard Cemetary
-Loch and Gorge
We land in Apollo Bay for the night. It’s a quaint little town and off in the distance you can hear the waves crashing.
Wednesday, 12/23: honestly we wake up with the birds…it’s been that way for days. I haven’t heard my 8:30 alarm lull me from sleep in days…actually weeks. Once the birds are up, it’s kind of hard to fall asleep again. We only have about an hour or two drive to Melbourne but we stop at Kennet River and search for sleeping kolas which we see and feed parrots. As we drive on, we do hit smoke from the bush fires in Lorne and it has shut down one of the hikes to a waterfall we want to do but we are able to do the 1001 steps to Erskine Falls. Tanguy, my wood sprite, tackles the steps easily, I tackle them and win. Tanguy now jokes with me about if I can do a hike or walk or steps, I laugh with him but the seed of competition somewhere inside me says I will never be defeated while he’s with me (that’s means I can’t quit if he’s around…sure I may feel like dying, just not on his watch. My ego is too big for that…okay, maybe not ego, but my pride is and it’s for damn sure not going to let me stop while with him. If he reads this, he should know I am grateful that he never let me stop or quit.).
After Erskine there’s not much to see and with the bush fire, traffic on the either side has become congested but we safely finish The Great Ocean Drive and head to Melbourne. We are not camping while here, but sleeping in real beds and no birds! YAHOO!
We meet up for beers with the super talented Lanks and then set off on our own walking adventure/sightseeing.
Thursday, 12/24: more exploring of Melbourne. If we could walk to it, we do. It’s Xmas Eve and we just take in the sights and sounds of Melbourne. For dinner we go to A La Bouffe. It’s a French restaurant so I let Tanguy take the lead and order…my idea of a good Xmas meal is stuffing with gravy and a half dozen bottled of wine. Not saying I don’t know food, but Xmas standards are pretty low.
Lapin à la moutarde
Coq au vin
After this meal, I’ve decided I’m moving to France just to eat. Everything was delicious! Huge mad props to Tanguy for a sea of foodie firsts…snails, duck liver, rabbit, and so on because I loved it all!
Friday, 12/25: Merry Xmas! No presents but we tackle the free public transportation the city is offering and explore the furthest regions our two feet couldn’t walk. We visit the giant Melbourne wheel…I think it’s now the in thing for cities. Want to be hipster cool, get a ferris wheel! Everything is closed because it is Xmas Day and we are more than aware of that but still explore. We hit St Kilda beach which is packed with peeps and wind that would be perfect for kite surfing or flying kites. I can’t tell if I have windburn or sunburn at times! We also head off to see a friend who I met through Couchsurfing. Eugene crashed on a couch a few years back and his family kindly invited us to their Xmas dinner. His family fed us and made us feel at home. A home cooked meal was the best Xmas present. Bonus was the apple pie…whaaaaat…this Southern girl was happy as a clam in sand I tell ya!
Saturday, 12/26: Boxing Day… It’s celebrated and that’s all I can tell you about it. The weather is a bit gray and cold when we wake so we decide to go see Star Wars. I mean, my inner geek might have squealed a little when Tanguy suggested it. Prior to the movie, we met up with a Twitter friend, Matt, for beers. The land of social media bringing people together across the world. Matt had been our weatherman as we headed towards Victoria, keeping us posted on the insane weather mood swings Melbourne has. Star Wars was fantastic and way better than expected. Afterwards, we go to Melbourne’s Ice Bar. Yeah, it might be cheesy to some but it was damn fun even if it’s negative -4C. Later we eat dinner and watch soccer (sorry, I’m not sorry cricket fans…no cricket was watched on this day). Boxing Day, you were all right.
Sunday, 12/27: we drive out to the Macedon Range and hike Hanging Rock. I use hike loosely. We end up separated at one point and I am climbing all over a side of mountain looking for Tanguy and a path. I finally find him chilling on a rock, waiting for me. We’re off and climbing rocks again like a couple of 5 year olds. I let Tanguy be the guide, if he says I should be able to shimmy down a rock, I trust him to catch me. He only had to catch me once but shove me up a rock more than once. My short legs just couldn’t reach. The one downside of being half Asian: vertically challenged. Afterwards we hit the Organ Pipes. They’re cool to look at but nothing worth to oooh and aaah about.
Monday, 12/28: I, sadly, have to leave Tanguy in Melbourne. He’ll be missed more than he knows. I’ll wax poetic thoughts in a separate post about our travels later. For now, know it was like leaving a dear friend behind. Being back to a lone traveler sucks. Doing “Goonie” shit by yourself is no fun. So I’m stuck in the car with just me, myself, and I…My 9.5 hours drive toward Glenworth Valley for Lost Paradise makes me wonder if that was the right thing to do for NYE, but I suppose in my gut I already know the answer, as I bought the ticket before I even had a clue about the who, what, where, when of this journey would include.
Tomorrow 3 days of music in a national park…tonight…it’s just me and my sleeping bag.