The Great Barrier Reef, the Great Wall of China, Great Britain, great big tits… the best things in life are always great. And that’s why I was pumped to be on my way to another great – the Great Ocean Road.
Between 1919 and 1932, about 3,000 returning service men built the Great Ocean Road as a tribute to compatriots who had lost their lives in World War One. The stretch of road they toiled over, between the Victorian towns of Torquay and Warrnambool, is now regarded as one of Australia’s most scenic coastal drives. However, instead of turning back at the end of the Great Ocean Road, we were going to cross into South Australia and finish off in Adelaide.
My travel buddies were two of my bestest and sexiest friends, Renee and Jay. We picked up our compact Warrior campervan (who we aptly named Xena… as in Xena Warrior Princess. Keep up!) in Melbourne and headed straight to the supermarket. Coming out of the store I was sure we had all bases covered – crisps, sweets, water, more crisps, juicy baps and cream cheese. The next priority was music. With Renee and Jay a fan of “cool” music and me a devotee to cheese, it was a stroke of luck that the radio kept us all happy.
Our first stop was the home of Quicksilver and Rip Curl. The little town of Torquay oozes cool like nowhere else in Oz. Once we’d had our shopping fix we headed straight for the sea. Jay and I decided the only way to enter the water was to run in shrieking. It was cold, although not cold enough to justify the shrieking.
Next stop… Keanu Reeves. Hum-a-dah, hum-a-dah! The image of Keanu on a surfboard has been carved into my memory ever since watching Point Break. That’s why it was totally rad to be standing over Bells Beach, supposedly one of the locations of the movie (the beach at the end where Patrick Swayze rides “the wave” is meant to be Bells, but it was actually filmed at a beach in America to save cash). We stood gazing out to sea imagining Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze surfing naked in front of us.
Just over an hour later, we had calmed ourselves down, and were sat on a restaurant rooftop in Lorne drinking beer (not the driver) and eating calamari. Looking out to the ocean, it was one of those precious moments you want to put in your pocket and pull out on a rainy day.
The drive from Lorne to Apollo Bay was breathtakingly beautiful. The road twists and turns around the coastline and the sea is a stunning, shimmering backdrop. As Renee carefully navigated our van around each bend, it reminded me of playing a F1 racing game on an old-school computer console. The views were so enticing we stopped at a lookout point and had a little dance by the cliff to reggae music.
It was time to pull up for our first night on the road. We had chosen Apollo Bay as it is one of the prettiest spots on the coast. Spying the fun fair by the beach we knew we’d made the right choice. I may not have done any driving on the trip but I made amends by taking Renee for a spin on the dodgems. We were even now… phew! The highlight was the Octopussy ride that bounced us around on its tentacles in such a funny manner we couldn’t stop laughing.
When we got back to the campervan we reached for the light switch. Hmm… easier said than done. After 10 minutes of searching behind pots and pans, under benches, on the roof, walls and by the driver’s seat we were de-light-ed to find it on the light itself. Yes… we are dim.
Waking early, we were soon on the open road. Entering the Otway National Park, the 12 Apostles were not far away.
The 12 Apostles are one of the most visited natural attractions in Australia. They are huge limestone stacks which have been created by erosion to the cliff face. But before meeting the apostles, we went on the hunt for furry thrills. The Otway National Park is a great spot to see koalas in the wild. There, high in the trees, hid the floppy ears and fluffy bums of one of the Earth’s cutest creatures. Ahhhwwwwwww diddums…
The name 12 Apostles is somewhat misleading as a few of Jesus’ inner circle have crumbled into the ocean. However, this does not spoil the beauty of the region. The huge chunks of rock sit boldly in the turquoise sea that bathes them. Their vastness creates an image of superb, natural beauty. Dragging ourselves away from the peace of the apostles, we headed to the cute and chilled town of Port Campbell. After munching down a tasty BLAT (a BLT with avocado, don’t ya know) we strolled along the gorgeous beach and dipped our toes in the ocean.
The next treasured spot on the Great Ocean Road is London Bridge. The sight, which is also known as London Arch after part of the bridge collapsed, uncannily resembles London’s most famous crossing. Although it was tempting to sing, “London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady,” we didn’t.
A short drive along the coast, at Port Fairy, we went for another dip. It may have been f-f-freezing but it was the best way to relax after sitting in the passenger seat. Driving away from Port Fairy, with the wind blasting through our hair, we realised we may have allowed ourselves to relax a bit too much, leaving the campervan door wide open. Woopsy!
Our final night on the road (but not on the Great Ocean Road) was spent at another picturesque town, Robe. Although there are campsites available, and some naughty backpackers park their vans on the beach, we’d luckily secured a place to kip at one of Renee’s friends. We still went for a bounce along the beach, as Robe is one of the places you’re allowed to make tire tracks in the sand. Just watch out for locals on moonlit strolls.
Although, most of the attractions were behind us, there was one thing we were all very excited to see on our way to Adelaide. “What? What?” (I hear you yell). The Big Lobster of course. The Big Lobster is located in Kingston and stands proudly over the main road. After taking the mandatory photos of us being eaten by Larry (the lobster) it was only right to buy some fresh and juicy crayfish sandwiches for the ride back.
Rocking into Adelaide on Australia Day with Triple J’s Top 100 blasting out the van was the perfect way to end our Aussie road trip. There’s not many things that could top it… perhaps only, great big tits.
The damage and the details: Campervans from Backpacker Campervans (Freephone: 1800 809 944, www.backpackercampervans.com.au).