A roadtrip is the ultimate weekend escape, the more unplanned it is the more exciting the journey becomes – or so the story goes. However,
it didn’t quite turn out like that when me and two friends decided to live out this fantasy on a public holiday weekend.
We had a cunning plan to leave before 10am to avoid the traffic. Only our Melburnian car-owning friend Sacha pulled up around 1pm, having evidently started the weekend the night before and been ill all morning. This was a slight set back, but with our spirits still high we flung are bags into the car, blasted out some cheesy music and crawled our way out of Melbourne… along with half its population.
We were going well when Sacha abruptly pulled into a rest zone, in need of a “fresh air break” and informed us that someone else would have to drive. I hadn’t driven for four years, let alone on foreign roads with a huge automatic car, but as the only other licence holder I was given no choice but to take the wheel.
Surprisingly Sacha kept her promise and managed to stay conscious enough to give me some direction to our first destination, coastal hotspot The Lawns, where apparently “everyone goes”.
Yes, it appeared that everyone was there. In fact, they were there several hours before our arrival and had taken every last booking, bed and caravan. It had been a long drive and by now it was dark and cold and we were starting to get a little narky.
With nowhere to go we parked the car in a remote spot and clung to the last remaining open bar before making our way back up the hill with the sobering affect of the sea air slapping our faces. We drew short straws for the back seat and bedded down for an uncomfortable and sleepless night in the car next to an eerie forest.
At the crack of dawn we were woken by the birds chirping and the light streaming through the windows. Slowly we stretched our limbs and had a humiliating public toilet basin wash before having breakfast.
At that point we decided it would be good for moral to see the Apostles and drive the Great Ocean Road, one of the most scenic drives in the world.
Of course being a nervous driver I saw none of these fabulous views as my eyes were firmly glued to the winding hills, blind bends and narrow roads with the occasional glance in the rear view mirror inspecting the biggest tailback known to mankind. I drove on cringing with embarrassment. With a sigh of relief Sacha said she would re-gain control of the wheel for the journey back. Amen!
We shuffled around the Apostles at breakneck speed, lingering long enough to take a few snaps with frozen smiles in the bone chilling wind. Twenty minutes later we were back in the car
and heading towards Apollo Bay.
It came as no surprise to hear that all the accommodation was booked out. The only space available was a patch of grass on a camping ground. We hurriedly bought a tent, threw it together and dashed back into town to enjoy a cheap beer. Finally the holiday spirit kicked in and before we knew it we were singing karaoke with some fellow travellers from our campsite.
At some point we gave up stumbling around looking for our tent and accepted the offer from our newly formed friends, adding another three persons to their four man tent. It was a very cosy and sobering night, broken up by the boys’ perpetual snoring and occasional leg kicks. Luckily, by the time we said our quick goodbyes and politely declined sausage breakfasts, we were able to find our unused tent still erected right next to our car.
Tired and hungover we packed up, drank a gallon of water, had three coffees and set off back to Melbourne, in silence.
Send us a travel tale (preferably about Oz) and if it’s published you’ll win a $300 travel voucher redeemable on Oz Experience passes ATA NT camping trips and with Wayward Bus. Email your tales (700 words max), with a picture of yourself, to email@example.com