We only had one night in Adelaide so we decided to walk it flat. And we did. It’s a lovely city and we wished we had a couple more days to explore it, and the surrounding areas and beaches. The following morning we collected our hire car and began our five-day road trip down to Melbourne. The trip included 4 nightly “stop overs” in Robe, Apollo Bay, Port Fairy and Mt Gambier. Oh yes, and a lot of driving.
The drive was awesome and the highlights were…well, actually, all of those places but, in particular, Port Fairy (as pretty as its name), Geelong (a nice surprise just before Melbourne) and the Great Ocean Road itself, which begins at Port Fairy and ends in Geelong (even better than everything we had read about it and worth spending time on).
If we had another week allocated to the drive down to Melbourne we still would not have ticked off all the things we wanted to or could have done, so we had to prioritise and allocate some spare time to allow a spontaneous stop here and there (including Grey River Reserve, off the beaten track, beautiful unspoilt forest and where we saw our first koalas).
The Great Ocean Road was incredible. We stopped at London Bridge, The Arch, the Twelve Apostles and Bells Beach. The latter was the highlight of the viewing areas.
But the huge Otway National Park was also amazing and we saw more koalas than you can imagine. And some were even moving and not just sleeping! After seeing so many we decided to head straight to Melbourne and jokingly agreed that we would not stop for another ‘koala shot’ unless it was a mother and baby encounter. And sure enough just up the road, a mother with her baby clinging to her back attempted to cross the road in front of us. As I parked the car, she scampered off the road and climbed a couple of feet up the nearest tree. We climbed out the car and approached slowly and then stopped. We could see her assessing what threat we posed. After a couple of minutes she clearly accepted our company and climbed back down, she then casually walked right past us as she crossed the road, which I managed to capture on video. And that experience will stay with us for a long time!
We then headed for Melbourne, last stop Geelong, and were pleasantly surprised with what we saw. The beachfront was well laid out with areas dedicated to family picnics, grassed areas, a promenade and probably the best swimming area I have ever seen. If you ever head to the Melbourne area, it’s definitely worth a day trip out to Geelong.
For a complete set of images from this part of our journey, please visit my website Urban and Travel section at www.justinwelchphotography.com