6 of 11 days - from Adelaide to Melbourne
Day 6: Mount Gambier (SA) to Nelson (Vic) to Portland - 113 km
We leave on the 26.12.13 South Australia with their friendly people, we are curious what will happen to us in Victoria. But first of all the question of where there's our second Breakfast? This is in Nelson, on the Glenelg River, at the petrol station shop. Later we ride for hours on the road through State Forests and Bush, but soon before Portland our colony of sea lions occurs - one of our targets. We ask a farmer, where we find the Lions she tells us, the critters are not directly at the Portland Nelson Road, there are still 24 km with strong headwind to go - and later after the lions we have to ride back to Portland. We say thanks to her and she goes to milk her cows. We decide to go directly to Portland because we are too tired and also we run out of food to do all this way. But that was the only and last thing on our holiday that I was really sorely disappointed. That was one of my most wishes to see this lions and now no lions not one at all !! -
In Portland we go tired and dusty in a restaurant with sea view at 4.30pm. - The kind waitress points us out that now it is food from the dinner menu, it was after 5pm, she told us, there is again a time shift to South Australia from 1/2 hour.
It is a good restaurant, friendly, the waitress asked: the water you like carbonated, with lemon, the salad, all kind of sauces and with bread, for all many variants and questions - overwhelmed by the sudden fullness we say yes to everything cakes including. Our food is this evening from the top class - we explain it to our Christmas menu.
We decided to stay here in Portland, at the Royal Hotel, here it is quiet, we are the only guests.
Day 7: Portland via Port Fairy to Tower Hill National Park - 106 km
In the morning we buy lots of food, and decide to let the sea lions at rest and continue on.
Soon we will be rewarded, the 1st Koala of 27 (->Koalas ) sits naughty on his eroded Gumtree after Narrawong, some 20 km from Portland - previously there was breakfast at the petrolstation shop in Narrawong. Later we reach the Crags, Lookout on the coast of the sea, harbinger of what we can expect on the Great Ocean Road. A friendly couple from Adelaide tells us at the lookout in South Australia you can fish freely anywhere and you can drive by car along the beach. Here in Victoria much is forbidden, no cars on the beach and for fishing it needs a license.
Next we drive to Port Fairy, Port Fairy is a small town, we swim at the beach at the Surf Club, and eat here with beautiful sea views. From Port Fairy there's a bike path on an old railway line to Warrnambool - we go along here to the Tower Hill Crater - and camp out here on the crater rim with a nice view into the crater and to the sea.
Day 8: Tower Hill to Warrnambool to Port Campbell - 98 km
During the night there was a storm and the headwind is also in the morning going strong. It is beautiful on the edge of Crater lakes and near grazing kangaroos. An Emu has strayed into a cow pasture and looking for the exit. We drive back to the Rail Trail bike path, which passes wetlands with pelicans, black swans, etc. Warrnambool is very nice with the Penguin Islands, where dogs guard the penguins against foxes - the fox is seen in Australia as a great plague. Warrnambool Surf Club Restaurant at the Ladies Beach is great and highly recommended.
Just good and well strengthened we start to fight against the Wind. We ride in a zig zag on side roads towards Port Campbell - the London Bridge and the Arch present themselves extremely cold and windy - while we are pretty worn out, we enjoy it and again spend much more time there than any other tourists, they have a crowded program, thanks to car and bus. We often have to make do with where we are, and what our forces rich. Soon we see Port Campbell, our first prebooked hotel The Best Western Great Ocean Road Motor Inn. (Is also good to stay here without motor) It is pure luxury, we have a shower, and then wash a few clothes, we have anyway not much with us. We waive the dinner, because here everything is closed at 20.00, and order a big breakfast for the next morning at 8 am.
Day 9: Port Campbell to the 12 Apostles and to Lavers Hill - 55 km
We ride by 10 clock comfortably to the 12 Apostles - on the way we visit 'Loch Ard'. Today is wonderfully pleasant weather so we spend hours at the apostles, near the Visitor Center most of the Apostles are to be seen - about 500m east is a staircase leading down to the sea and to two apostles - the number of visitors here is enormous.
Later we ride the first steep hills upwards at dusk to Lavers Hill - here it has beautiful bush with many fern trees - the right time of day to ride around here, we are almost alone on the road and camp on the outskirts of Lavers Hill.
Day 10: Lavers Hill via Apollo Bay to Wye River - 80 km
Lavers Hill turns out to be a snug village and if we had been here when shops and restaurants were open, we would certainly have been spoiled - also is there a nice hotel with a view - only about 1 km from our bush camp, would have been a real alternative. But we leave early, and we eat our breakfast cereal with milk, and all left overs.
There is a sea outlook by Glenaire where the Great Ocean Road meets the Great Ocean Walk, it is a beautiful view.
Later the great ocean road goes after Glenaire first along a valley, where it has many cows and we spot koalas again, then the second steep hills starts, and later we reach the Maits Rest Rainforest Walk, where we can see the giant Mountain Ash and Myrtle Beech marvel, surrounded by fern trees and grape vines. The walk takes a cosy hour - well rested and strengthened by the wilderness we head towards Apollo Bay. Here, on this famous place we find at the fish shop at the beach a serving for two hungry cyclists -> View Image
In Apollo bay we swim in the sea and on advice of our Warm Shower host in Mt Gambier Sandi we ride only after 6 pm. Between Apollo Bay and Lorne the road has hardly any shoulders, so it's much better to drive when less traffic. This evening is just beautiful on the Great Ocean Road to Wye River.
We have our bush camp on top of Wye River, at the border to the national Park. On a tree is sitting our Koala from the title page, just over our tent. He has the best views down to 2 bays, so he was special spoiled, he was not really a quiet fellow - He growled half the night on his tree, and about 10 other Koalas growl back.
Day 11 : Wye River via Lorne to Torquay - 76 km
In the morning we ride further along on this beautiful great ocean road by the sea - Large groups of racing cyclists use these early hours for training on the road. Cadel Evans, an Australian racing cyclist who win as first Australian the Tour de France, people told us he would training also with a group of racing cyclists on the Great Ocean Road
Soon we are in Lorne for swimming, then continue towards Anglesea - there we make a short toilet stop - when I want to go off again, nothing else will work on my bike, the changer is just broken and not to repair.
Like a miracle, in 500m is a bicycle-shop the mechanic on this afternoon of 31.12.2013 fix everything perfectly - just 1 hour later, we continue to Torquay.
In Torquay we visited the very friendly tourist info.
Then we ride to the house of our host family Kay and Ian, is as always a wonderful piece of luck for us.
Ian cooked us a BBQ and in the meantime Kay and I picking peaches in her beautiful garden with a lot more of different fruit trees.
Later we can accompany Kay and Ian to the Surf Club and the New Year's Eve celebration, with public fireworks on the beach. We have a great New Years Eve!
Torquay is the world famous surfing beach 'Bells Beach'
In the Morning Kay has to go at work - she has already prepared different cut vegetables and fruits, she is going to demo and hopefully sell a very new food processor which can do nearly everything even separate milk to cream, and bake bread etc.
Ian goes with us swimming and later we leave in direction Melbourne.
We are happy we will see Kay and Ian soon in Switzerland this summer.
We ride in the morning of the 1.1.2014 in direction of Marshall, (day 12, 16 km bike ride) It is drenching rain as we arrived at the railway station, we take the local train for the last 80km to Melbourne - Southern Cross Station. It is about 4pm, we stay on the 2nd and last prebooked hotel of our 7 week trip, the Victoria Hotel Ibis style. We decide in the evening to watch the musical 'King Kong' at the Regent Theater. Thanks to an important Cricket game for the Australians on this day there are still tickets available for the musical. The King Kong is impressively big and scary, and is moved as a puppet of several men.
On the 2nd of January 2014 at 8am the ferry leaves Melbourne for Tasmania, and arrives in the evening by 6pm in Devonport, -> Tasmania.
We spend the last 4 days of our trip again in Melbourne -> Melbourne.