There is so much to see in Australia and since we live here, we might as well see it all! Over a year ago we decided to spend the holidays traveling around Australia. We had 14 days and planned to cram as much in as possible. Our style of travel is not typically Australian. We are of course Americans, and Peter was accustomed to taking only two weeks vacation per year. Now this may be a generalization, but an Aussie friend of mine said that when they travel, they like to pick a destination and take their time. When I mentioned doing the Great Ocean Road in 2 days he thought I was joking. We weren’t joking and we did. Below is our wild itinerary.
We started out driving down to Jervis Bay, about 2 hours south of Sydney. As noted in a previous post, Hyams Beach has the world’s whitest sand according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Now I am not sure how one goes about making that claim but I’m sure it includes a lab and some scientists. How awesome would it be to have the job of going to all of the whitest beaches in the world and collecting sand samples, sign me up!
Since accommodation options are pretty limited in this area, and it was during the holidays, we stayed above a bar called the Huskisson. This provided the opportunity for quite the people watching experience. Let’s just say the crowd was very rowdy, and people were consuming premixed rum cocktails in soda cans…it’s a thing here. I probably had the weirdest dinner of my life at the Husky…I’ll just refer to it as the “Everything but the kitchen sink gnocchi.” Ingredients separate, good, all together, ick. However we had two other amazing meals that more than made up for it!
Next stop was to the state of Victoria. We planned to stay a few days in Melbourne (pronounced Mel-bun for all y’all ‘Mericans) and then whiz through the Great Ocean Road. Melbourne is such a great city; so much culture and an edgy vibe. We wined and dined and went to see King Kong Live…not much substance but really incredible special effects. The cafes, funky neighborhoods and hidden laneway bars make for a drinking a scavenger hunt.
So after we had stuffed ourselves silly with such amazing food, we picked up our Go Get car and headed out of town. The Great Ocean Road should be renamed the Treacherous Ocean Road due to the sharp turns, narrow lanes and plunging cliffs. Peter had a ball driving while I had my knuckles clenched and my eyes closed. When open, my eyes took in the incredible scenery and charming coastal towns. It’s impossible not notice the graphic speed limit signs posted along the road. Some have fake blood painted on them and others depict cars running cyclists off the cliffs. Lets just say they didn’t do much to soothe my nerves.
Arriving at the main attraction, the 12 Apostles, was incredible. These massive stone columns have withstood constant battering from the elements and only 8 remain. We were lucky enough to arrive on a stunning day (this part of Australia is known for it’s erratic weather) and I drove Peter crazy running around trying to get the perfect picture.
After our coastal route we turned inland to the adorable town of Biregurra. Not a lot there but it’s quality over quantity. We spent the night at the most lovely B&B, The Harvest Biregurra. The minute we pulled up Steve and Fiona, the owners, made us feel instantly welcome. Our afternoon was spent in the garden drinking, snacking and playing Scrabble. Fiona cooked up an amazing Mediterranean meal accompanied by local wine. If you want to splurge (we didn’t this time around), Brae, one of the best restaurants in Australia, is just down the road.
Stay and Eat:
The real adventure occurred the next day when we blindly followed Google Maps to a hike around Lake Elizabeth. We became a little suspicious when the talking lady in my phone insisted we go down an unmarked dirt road. Our mobiles started to lose reception, the road became narrower and the vegetation thicker. Peter said it would be “Ok,” but I started to envision being lost in the bush. Finally she said, “You have arrived at your destination.” Liar! There was nothing resembling a hiking track so Peter got out to investigate. When he opened the car door, a huge swarm of bees entered, buzzing loudly and flying directly towards me. I started screaming and couldn’t unbuckle my seatbelt. With Peter’s help I was freed and started running down the road in a zig zag formation (it confuses the bees?). Eventually we made it to the lake and Peter and I agreed to disagree that the bees were in fact large flies.