Start of the Great Ocean Road
I’ve never been a fan of driving in big cities. I suspect most people feel the same way. After driving in Sydney, though, the trip into Melbourne felt relatively tame. I was hoping the drive out of town would be similar.
Aside from one wrong turn onto the highway I made it out unscathed and close to relaxed. As long as you get onto the right part of the highway the driving is pretty easy. It’s taking the correct turn that’s quite interesting. With factoring in driving on the left-hand side and trying to figure out which way is north, split-second decisions don’t happen that fast. They seem to come a turn to late.
I’ve heard Geelong is similar to Nanaimo although I didn’t get to check it out much. I drove straight through it looking to see the most of the Great Ocean Road while the weather held.
Torquay is the official start of the GOR (Great Ocean Road) and it was beautiful. With a population of 6,600, most of the tourists or surfers, the town felt bigger than it actually was. I didn’t see any buildings over 3 stories so that might have been why it seemed to go on for a while. Half the city is usually at the many beaches along the coast including the famous Bells Beach. Bells Beach is home to the Rip Curl Pro Surf and Music Festival but there were only a few surfers there when I was.
Between the little cities was what I came to see, the Great Ocean Road. They weren’t kidding when they said it would be long miles of twisting and turning road hugging the coastline with gorgeous views sprinkled in. It was quite an experience to drive the road myself and well worth it but I didn’t miss out a bit on some of the vistas along the way. I stopped as often as I could sometimes to stretch out, sometimes to check out the view and sometimes to get out of the way of some crazy locals driving behind me.
Next up was the town of Lorne. Most of the small places along here are more townships than towns. A cluster of houses and shops that have the population of about 1000, Lorne is deemed the chic, fashionable place on the Great Ocean Road. It sounded expensive to me so I only slowly drove through the main street and checked out the sights from there. Looked like every small town to me!
After Lorne the road continued to wind it’s way along the coastline showing off the lush trees on one side and glittering water on the other. Slightly south of Lorne is a tiny trail off the side of the highway to Sheoak Falls. A place I had never heard of, I veered off the road just in time to catch the carpark and headed off into the trail. I saw a bit of a valley with a trail through it first and figured there must be a carpark somewhere.
It was a beautiful little trail that started off in a valley that wound it’s way up the hill for a ways. The stream trickled through under a bridge near the highway but not before going through a pile of tall bullrush type plans that glowed in the sun.
The trail quickly heads up to the falls and then past it if you want to a cave and rock formations but I decided to just see the falls and then get a bit of a run in back to the car. The rest of the drive was just as nice as the first but the weather started to deteriorate quickly. By the time I got to Apollo Bay it was raining heavily. My adventures there will have to wait till the next post!