Doing The Great Road

16/04/17 Mt Gambier to Panmure 275km

It’s Easter Sunday, and we had a very light shower or two in the night, but things are pretty dry. As Will crawled out of the tent, he noticed something near the front wheel of his bike. “The Easter Bunny has been, Jen!” Three little Easter eggs delivered for us to share. How cool is that?

Thank you Easter Bunny.

Not much mucking around today, we just did the coffee, breakie thing, listened as the kids from Warrnambool told us about the Easter bunny, and wandered how he had got in their van, then packed and departed. On our way out, we saw the Easter bunny (the park owner, who does the same thing each year), and thanked them for our treat.

The Blue Lake was a nice deep blue this morning.

Trying to stay off the big roads, we headed south, via the famous old volcano and Blue Lake, towards Port McDonnell. A very nice little seaside village. Lots of beach shacks, and some newer holiday homes. A great day down here, sunny and minimal wind. Easy to imagine how rough these seas could get though.

Port Campbell, a neat little place with great views.

After a ride around, and a few pics, we carried on towards Victoria, along the Eight Mile Creek road, which followed the coast, and was a very nice ride. We were keeping our eyes open for the border, it’s not far, but next minute, we’re in Nelson, Victoria! Hey? Where’s the big “Welcome to Victoria ” sign? How can I get my trophy shot? Bugger! Looking on the map, it is 4kms back, blink and you missed it. So we stopped to check out the Glenelg river mouth, finish our coffees, and have a banana. While there, we got to see some people getting their boat out of the water, with no less than a full sized, old passenger bus, like the old MTT busses. Wasn’t a big boat, just the only vehicle they had, I suppose.

Victoria, we are here at the mouth of the Glenelg river.

Continuing along the way, through lots of pine plantations, we came to Portland. Majorly this was an older mining town, and obviously has a pretty big port for timber and Aluminium. It was an older town, with houses similar to older Kalgoorlie, wide streets, and an open fuel,station. Great. We refuelled, and found a nice little road that followed along the coast, parallel to the A1.

Found this nice road along the water. Mini Ocean Road. Nice and quiet.

Eventually, we had to get on the major road, and head towards Warrnambool. The place you decide how you are going to get onto The Great Ocean Road. It is getting to be a pretty big place now, and we were just riding straight through it. No need for changing directions, or roads, so just cruise on through many sets of traffic lights, and carry on. Not much to look at on this busy road, but we were on the way to stopping. We’d checked Wikicamps, and CamperMate, two good apps for finding free camps. We’d chosen a free spot in a tiny town called Panmure.

Behind the shelter turned out to be a good choice. Only two campers.

When we arrived, a Britz camper came in too, and we both were unsure if this was the right spot, but after a little investigation, found a guest book, and chose our spots, behind the little, BBQ area. A little away from the road noise. We set up, enjoyed the sun, and a chat, and started to watch the cars pour in. Tonight we cooked on our little MSR stove for the first time. Just the usual camping dinner, of pasta and sauce, with Chorizo and a few veggies. Is pretty good.

By the time we went to bed, pretty early, it was getting cold, there were about 25 vehicles of varying descriptions, parked up at this little free spot.

17/04/17 Panmure to Princetown 87kms

Again we were waking up with everything wet, only on the outside, but lots of heavy dew. About half of the cars had left already, crazy buggers, and the rest were in various stages of food prep, or packing. No rush for us, as we had today and tomorrow, to travel the less than 200kms, along the Great Ocean Road to Geelong. So we coffeed, had a little walk down to Emu Creek, which was gorgeous. Clear, flowing and even had a deep pool with a diving board. Nice!

Once dry and packed, we took a short cut down Rollos road to meet up with The B100, otherwise known as The Great Ocean Road! It was a single lane backroad, lined with tall gum trees. It was great riding, and Will reckons he saw a Koala. Hmm, gotta check the GoPro for that one.

Tried really hard to spot the Koala, no luck. I’m still a bit iffy on it.

At the T-junction, we turned left onto the famous Aussie tourist road. First sight, Bay of Islands. We turned into the car park, to spot an awesome Kombi camper. The owners were just returning, so we chatted about it, and the French man was excited to tell us about all the mods he’d made and how much money they cost him, but he loved it and had a splitty he was just starting to fix up at home. Finally, breaking off the chat, we got to check out another cool “Edge of Aus” formation. It really is an amazing coastline, the whole way.

Becky Beetle was interested in seeing the sights today.

The sun was shining now, and it was lovely sitting in the sun while we ate some lunch in Peterborough. Another place with the same name. Come on Victoria! The poor shop owners looked frazzled, it has been a super busy weekend, and they only had a couple of hours to go. They had run out of lots of stuff, but we weren’t fussy, so took what we could get. It was very nice and huge, chicken schnitzel in Turkish bread with salad. Yummy, thank you, and have a a great rest. A quick look around town, and we carried on down the road.

Such a great coastline, I can’t say it enough.

Next was Port Campbell, we bypassed London Bridge, it isn’t nearly as impressive since it collapsed. Lucky we’d seen it before that. Our bodies are very sore, mine from Ross River, which is still giving me grief, and the stupid dick knee/leg, and Will has done, god knows what to his left leg, that just seems to be getting worse. So we are having trouble walking too far, and getting on and off the bikes gets considerably harder as the day goes by. What a couple of whiners, feeling a bit older than we are, and maybe we just need to start doing more stretches before and after our rides. Hmm, something to consider.

Traffic was increasing, mostly in the opposite direction, and as we approached the 12 Apostles, it was pandemonium. Vehicles everywhere, people walking down both sides of the road, and all the visible boardwalks were chockers with tourists. We don’t consider ourselves tourists, we are travellers! Big difference! Ha ha ha, what ever! As we’d seen this before, in a better state, less eroded, we didn’t stop at the visitors centre, but pulled into the next little car park to get a couple of shots. Crazy busy, so many people.

Just down from the Apostles, Gibbons Stairs, you can get down onto the beach if you can manage the stairs.

After this stop, we were done in for the day. So we headed for Princetown, to check out the options. A small caravan park, a general store, and a tavern. We checked into the shop, bought some fresh milk and some Salt and Vinegar chips (Will reckoned they would cure his leg), had a chat to the owner, who was looking forward to her upcoming break. In two weeks, they close down for up to 5 months. Great job! Now we headed to the Princetown Recreation Reserve, that Wikicamps suggested was a great spot to stay. It was obviously an old sports ground, and initially looked okay, but after a ride around, it was a bit grotty. Not surprising after Easter, but a bit disappointing. But who really cares, $20 for the night, with toilets and hot showers, and a zillion rules to obey! Frickin hell people, frickin hell!

Bought some beers, camped in a spot we shouldn’t have, enjoyed the Roo’s.

They wanted a $10 deposit to use the Bbq, so we just cranked up the stove, and made Chorizo and veg rice. Yum, simple, and quick. We’d finished, charged our gadgets, and were enjoying a hot cuppa, when the Euro backpacker crew came in. Heaps of young energetic, good looking people, all with different accents and eating strange combinations of prepackaged cold foods, and drinking cheap casks of fruity lexia. I miss those days, well a little anyway. That was our cue to evacuate. Off to bed, it was freezing, and tomorrow, we get to enjoy the windy, beautiful real section of The Great Ocean Road.

18/04/14 Princetown to Geelong and back to Torquay 230kms

In the night, the rowdy backpackers set up next to us, almost running us over, and then woke at the crack of dawn to go check out some sunrise sights. Ggrrrr, you young whipper-snappers! Us decrepit buggers, snuggled in until the sun came up properly, to dry the tent as much as possible. Don’t want to pack it wet, but we want to be off early so we have time for some errands in Geelong, but not rush the ride. Will’s leg was even worse this morning, so he was straight on to Google to find a Myotherapist who could see him today. One sorted, we got warmed up in the sun, like a couple of lizards, had a coffee, then packed up. Tent, a little wet, we’ll have to clean and dry it when we get to Melbourne on Thursday. The plan was to ride, and stop in Apollo Bay for breakfast.

From here, we entered the Great Otway National Park, with beautiful forest lined, windy roads. There are plenty of Koala in this forest area, but we were too busy watching the road to look up. It was cool in the shaded areas, and the road was not in very good condition, just the result of so much traffic, with heavy campers etc, that the road was not designed for. It has become so popular. But we loved it. Not much traffic in this part, this morning, so we could just cruise along without pressure.

Otways with beautiful forest and windy roads. Cannot describe the smell of the fresh forest.

It took us a couple of hours to get to Apollo Bay, which has grown heaps since our last visit, many, many years ago. We stopped at George’s Food Hall, to have some breakfast and another coffee. Town was busy with foreign tourists, but George’s wasn’t too busy. We went in and ordered some bacon and eggs, only to be told they weren’t cooking breakfast, it was after 11am. Right! So, I’ll have a Bacon and Egg burger then! Okay, no problem! Can they not see the similarities here? Bacon, egg, bread! All the same ingredients, just displayed differently! Just give me the bacon and eggs man! Good coffee though! Maybe it’s the hanger talking.

From Apollo Bay, the road winds along the coastline, with the ocean on our right side. It was really windy, 50 – 60 kms an hour mostly, but super enjoyable. We took it really easy, so we could enjoy the views, and because our tyres were noticeably more slippery now. One more day then new tyres.

Such a great ride, the poor GoPro got a bit blurry with sea mist, and we had to clean our visors too.

We didn’t stop again, until Anglesea, as there were no pull overs on the left side of the road heading east, they were all on the other side of the road, and it was too windy and dangerous to cross over. It wasn’t a drama, we were enjoying the ride. A brief stop for fuel, then onto Geelong. It wasn’t very far, and the gorgeous views had disappeared, changing into suburbia. Double lanes, more traffic, and we just had to bumble our way into Geelong and Nevermind Adventures, where we met Matt, the owner. These were the guys we went to India with, and they kindly offered to have us for two nights at their home in Torquay.

Will just got needled and massaged at the Myotherapist, before heading to Nevermind Adventures.

We followed Matt back to his place, another 30kms, in the busy traffic, then settled in to meet the family, including Anna, his wife, who had been out on a Ladies Ride, to Castlemaine. Very nice people, and we really appreciate the help from them. Go check out their website . Get yourself on one of their tours, you won’t regret it. Tomorrow, the bikes get new tyres, and we have to get a new “Destiny GPS”.

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