A spontaneous plan, 2 wandering Women and some great adventures on the great ocean drive, some must see places in Australia and one must do Drive to coast of Australia. A true inspiration for road trippers.
Day 1 - Sydney to Melbourne via overnight coach
Day 2: Car hire and trip to great ocean drive
1. Port campbell
2. Apollo bay
3. 12 Apostoles
4. Loch-ard Gorge
Tom and Eva Lookout, London Bridge,Razorback The blow hole
5. The Grotto National park
Overnight stay at Camperdown Motel
Day 3: Great ocean Road to Melbourne to Philip Island
6. Lake Bullen Meri(Optional)
7. Ottaway National Park
8. Erskine Falls (Optional)
9. The Teddy’s lookout in Torquay for the beautiful view
Day 4: Philip Island to Melbourne
10. Cape Woolamai beach
11. Pinnacles Lookout
12. Philip Island nature park
13. Melbourne Yarra valley tour (not recommended)
Trip Budget: $540 Includes
1. To and fro journey from Sydney
2. Car hire (Fiat Punto) and Fuel
3. All accommodations
4. All tickets
5. All meals
6. All memories.
Please note: This is what we spent because of last minute planning for Easter holidays, can be comparatively cheaper otherwise. Also coach can be exchanged for flight to save time.
And here begins the Story..
As usual nothing was planned in time as most of the time gets wasted in convincing people to go for the trip, I am not in to Solo trips I just tried once and there was no one to share either my excitement or disappointment hence I just decided solo trips are not for me, for all the crazy stuff and jokes that I want to do their and then cant be applied without company.
So I convinced one of my friend Monisha she was also getting bored at home and we didn’t want to waste our Easter holidays watching TV and doing Laundry.
Since it was just two weeks away, flights were impossible so we found out a great deal on coach which was starting in evening and reaching early morning saving both time of travel as we were utilizing night to travel and also saving us night accommodation.
We carried our traveler bag and I kept my SLR bag near to me all the time, finally I couldn’t get sleep, so shifted it on cabin baggage. We reached Melbourne on time, got to the station.
For travelers who haven’t booked anything in Melbourne, king cross station is great, they have amazing breakfast, cloak room facilities etc. We used the paid shower facility and were provided with fresh towels soaps and a hot shower room in just $10, and its really useful if you don’t want to waste time traveling to get freshen up etc.
Once we were done with our shower, we had some breakfast and while having that breakfast, it occurred to me that my SLR camera bag was missing. I had already lost my two Cameras, once in Switzerland when I was having breakfast it was stolen with all the lenses my passport and all. Second time in my SOLO Thailand trip in to salt water, as I had no one to keep my camera when I was cherishing the seashore waves.
This was record third time and there was no way I was losing it again. It was 1.5 hours past we d-boarded the bus and there was no chance of bus standing there. I was still and my sudden response was, to run like crazy to the Firefly Depot. I was panting and out of breath and when I reached there was no one at the counter in few mins someone came and he was busy tidying the place and arranging things. I had no patience to wait for all this routine, so I desperately asked at the counter about the Sydney to Melbourne 07:00 AM bus.
To my dismay the person was extremely busy with setting up booth and for a min, I just lost it and then he gave me lecture about being calm, as nothing can happen it’s a public holiday no one will be at the headquarters where most of the buses keep the unclaimed luggage.Quite a scene like "Jab We Met". As per him, I had no hope of finding my camera and I should probably leave for the trip and check back on Tuesday. I insisted him to provide the address of the Firefly headquarters, which he provided, asserting again, that this whole activity is of no use.
I wasn’t ready to let go, and he had no idea what I was going thru, for me it meant my whole trip will be ruined, its not just financial loss, but also in my whole trip, I will be cribbing about how I missed, on an amazing photographic opportunity. There was no guarantee, if I come back they will have it. I couldn’t imagine associated consequences, so nonetheless I decided to go. I had to pick our hired car at 10:00 it was already 08:30 AM, we jumped in to the next available CAB standing outside the station and the story of another adventure had already started.
Every time, I plan a trip, troubles always accompanies me, sometimes because of my carelessness and sometimes sheer luck. This trip was just another episode of my travel journeys, that was later to become a story.
The Cab driver was a story in himself, he was huge, jolly face and in early old ages, super talkative and somewhat reminded me of my parents :D. As soon as I get in, I gave him the address provided by the firefly booth maniac. He started with his set of instructions as if I haven’t already had much.
He started telling all the stories and his opinions about, what people should do on Easter instead of asking for donations on roads, how I should be telling the address in Australia, how to check for luggage and avoid losing SLR bags like me. I was poured with a heavy dose of Do's and Dont's it was acting as a catalyst of headache for me and yet I had to bear all, to reach the place and find my bag of treasure.
Finally after so many stories and facts and repetitive instructions about how to find a place in Melbourne, how an address should be exactly provided with Suburb, Street name and then number, we reached. Nothing was priority for me except my bag which will save my trip and all the tortures I have been bearing since last 25 mins.
Once we reached the center it was completely vacant, I went to the main glass door and started knocking like crazy and at the same time I wasn’t ready to face the fact – that Firefly booth pessimist was actually right, and I am not going to find anyone on a public holiday which was for 4 days.
But when you really are looking for something you just can’t give up easily. I went around the building boundary and located an opening from a huge tin gate, I just peeped inside to check and saw fleet of buses standing there. Without a single thought, I jumped inside from that opening and started shouting anybody here?? And around the bus there were some bus drivers passing on smoke before leaving and one of them came around, I just narrated whole story in one breath. He asked me to follow and there was a room full of bags mine was on a table and I grabbed it, like I found my lost child. I was so happy I just hugged him and wished everyone happy Easter. That was actually a good Easter start for me a really amazing one. I rushed back to the Cab where that huge oldman was standing, for the first time he looked pleasant while he was watching me in surprise that I found my bag, I just hugged him too and said Thank you, it was really a Good Friday.
The happy story started again now, while I was picking up the rental car, I remembered a friend who was in Melbourne, but since he keeps traveling back and forth from India, there was only little hope that, he will be around. Just to take a chance I called, and he picked up.
I commanded “get ready in next 30 mins if you are not awake, it’s time to get up and we are leaving for Great ocean Drive”. Instead of reacting and making excuses, he just asked – “ so I do have 30 mins, right?: I said yes get going. Such short and yet sensible conversation and now we were 3. People who can take decisions spontaneously and play along are worth some admiration, so is he.
Now was the beginning of an amazing Road trip, below is the itinerary which we followed.
Drive to Port Campbell (around 2.5-3 hours).
Once there you can visit
12 Apostoles – try reaching before 12:00 PM otherwise its completely crowded with daily tour buses as is visible in our photos.
• Loch ard Gorge, another superb destination which can be, in some respects, comparable, or even better, than the 12 Apostles
•All these locations can be covered within Loch Ard Gorge
• Tom and Eva Lookout
• The Razorback
• The blowhole
• London Bridge
• The Grotto is another place with scenic view and beautiful sunset best part it won’t be crowded and you can spend some really great time around the scenery, sunset specially is beautiful.
The only catch was we just booked it for two people as picking up Yash on the way, was a spontaneous decision nonetheless we were hopeful. While on our way we started creating stories, about how we will convince the reception and we also prepared for the scenario that if no room is available, we will use our sleeping bag and may ask for a floor mattress etc. When we reached the destination, we approached reception with our story.
I just started with our additional accommodation plea and the receptionist was quick to offer us with 3 bed room in just $25 additional charges.
We were already delighted by the service and the room, was spacious neat and had heated beds. It was a great stay overall.
• Lake Bullen Meri
• Ottaway National Park
• Erskine Falls
• The Teddy’s lookout in Torquay for the beautiful view
• Split Point Lighthouse
• Lorne Beach
• Philip Island – always buy tickets online in advance if you wish to see Penguin Parade otherwise you won’t ever get a chance.
The Story of Day 2
So day two were were already happy with our last night in motel, now before starting I wanted to explore what’s around Camperdown and luckily found a beautiful lake within 5 miles. These are the advantage of a self-drive trip you don’t need to fix on certain places and can update your itinerary anytime .
I just opened the google map and located nearest water body which was lake Bullen Meri so the destination was set to that and we were on our way.
After Lake Bullen Meri, I started searching for nearest waterfall so finally we shortlisted Erskine falls, we anticipated considering the season there won’t be much water in the fall still we continued.
Now the GPS we fixed destination as Erskine falls and GPS gave us some short options which we happily picked. On the route we were another given a short cut option and being very optimistic we accepted this change too.
Now the real scenery began, we were driving on a semi concrete semi rural road with amazing greenery, not a single vehicle or person around which we assumed is normal in Australia.
We stopped the car wherever we wanted clicked the photos and were very happy with our decision to choose this route. After around 7 kms
we entered the Forest Territory of Ottoway National park now the real adventure begin. I was driving a Fiat Punto, very low ground clearance compact hatchback , Avg power and there was no road just the path made by trekkers may be or the people working to collect Forest logs etc. It went on deep in Jungle, and now we realised we are in mid of the jungle and if something fails we have no option.
There was no network, GPS lost signal too and now we were on our own. Now the wise choice would have been to turn back but the road was getting up and down like a hilly road and there was no scope or space for U turn.
I started chanting Hanuman Chalisa, while Yash was shooting our story and the route. The car was making noises from under as it was hitting the hard rocks and I was not able to drive over 20.
Monisha said now when we are already in to this I just wish we can see some Kangaroos in their natural habitat. As soon as she said it a Kangaroo crossed the path in front of us and for a moment we enjoyed.
Now the road was getting narrower and narrower and Forest was getting deeper and deeper and we were chanting louder and louder.
We saw two more Kangaroos from very near including a baby Kangaroo which was such a pleasant site, but somehow this adventure seemed to be never ending, we couldn’t speed up, we couldn’t get out of the car and we couldn’t get any network.
The noise under car was getting dangerously loud so I stepped out to check if we have broken something under. I checked the Tyres and the Engine and then we continued on to the troughs avoiding any deeper low ground levels, a new driving strategy was discovered.
Finally after 15 kms under deep Jungle we got the network signal and GPS showed Erskine Falls in 7 Kms. We drove 7 more kms of Adventurous route, until we got connected to a state highway and then to Erskine falls.
Erskine falls was nothing great but the path that lead to it was thrilling in every sense and made the best memories of our journey.
Here I would like to Quote:
“Its Good to have an end to Journey; but it’s the Journey which matters in the END”.
After Erskine falls, we drove along the coast of great ocean drive and covered Splithouse on the way back.
On our way to Philip Island we covered Teddy’s Lookout in Torquay. We stayed at Philip Island Hotel and bought the vouchers from groupon for Penguin Parade, always book for this in advance otherwise you would never get a chance to see.
Philip Island is famous for Penguin Parade which can be seen in Penguin park, these tiny penguin species are only find in this region of Australia. They return home with food in the evening and walk the whole trail, which is a pleasure for the visitors. Please note photography is not allowed and in order to enjoy the site, be there before 5:00 Pm as the whole stadium gets full. We had the same issue.
After watching Penguin parade for a while we left earlier than rest of the crowd to our Airbnb.
Next day we woke up hungry and the shops open around 08:30 so we went for a walk to beach which was just 7 mins walk from our place and 2 mins drive. since we were too early there was no crowd on the beach and we enjoyed the waves and the walk peacefully.
The only issue I always have while traveling, is food, since I am a vegetarian. But luckily while returning just 200m from our AirBNB was this place called "Burnt Toast". I swear I had the best breakfast there during our whole trip, all I wanted was some toast and butter and I got it with a few extras so I had a great start to my morning.
We left the place after breakfast and drove back to Melbourne, enjoyed exploring the Flinders street and Yaara Valley with some great lunch in the restaurants across the bank of the Yarra river. Later in evening we departed to Sydney in overnight coach.