Whist in Melbourne I decided to do a 3 day Great Ocean Road tour with ‘Australian Adventures’ tour group before heading to Alice Springs. Had an awesome driver/guide called Todd who was from Adelaide, and he kept us all in hysterics the whole time with his wit and humour, and there were 14 of us on the tour, and a fantastic group they were. We started off in Torquay, then stopped at Bells Beach where part of the film ‘Point Break’ was filmed, then stopped at a little town Lorne to look around. It was a cute little seaside town, then onto Kennett River where we saw wild koalas in the tress and lorikeet birds. The koalas were so cute. I had seen them in sanctuaries before, but it was so lovely to see them in the wild, and they were a lot bigger, all snoozing and lazily munching away in the treetops. Next was Apollo Bay for lunch, then to the Ottway rain forest and we did a tree top walk which was like being in the middle of Jurassic Park. The birds were singing away – and they sound totally different to English birds, there were sounds of all sorts of wildlife amongst the giant trees. It was lush rainforest. At sunset we were at the 12 Apostles. These were spectacular at sunset, and the coastal views all the way along were breathtaking. Picture postcard perfect. We spent quite a while there just gazing and getting lost in the beauty of it all (whilst trying to ignore all the crowds). We settled down for the night at Princetown, which had a population of about 2 people. It was very much like the tiny towns we stopped in in NZ, and a group of us went down the pub which also was the local takeaway and bottle shop, and the same guy worked in all sections. We joked how he would put on a different disguise to work in each section. Very multi skilled!! I shared a room with 3 guys (all the girls refused as there was an odd number. I was so tired by this point I really didn’t care where I slept so I said I would), which meant no sleep due to snoring and smelly feet. Lovely as they all were, they really were typical boys. The French guy in the bunk above me couldn’t speak very good English, but we were laughing in hysterics at Paul the Scouser snoring. MY GOD!!! It felt like an earthquake. The 2 guys and myself got up and we were poking Paul, slapping him, trying to wake him up to shut him up – nothing. So back to bed, and the French guy kept leaning over the bunk to me to stimulate shooting Paul in the head.
Up nice and early in the morning (desperate to get out that bedroom and smell fresh air!!) and went back to get morning views of the 12 Apostles. We went down onto the beach and apart from us it was so peaceful, the sun was rising, the waves were crashing on the shore, the shadows were moving over the Apostles, it was already lovely and warm and the white sand was between my toes. Next stop was Loch Ard Gorge, then London Bridge, which is now called London Arch, as the bridge part collapsed in 1990 when an illicit couple had reached the other side. They were stranded and had to be rescued, but did not want publicity as it was a boss and his secretary on a weekend away for an affair – Oops!! We then saw the bay of Martyrs before heading to the Grampian Mountains where we took a hike up to the top, to the lookout point The Pinnacles. I almost died, and I mean I almost died. I am so god damn unfit, and all us smokers were almost comatose climbing up this thing, but the views were incredible. The little French guy kept waiting for me to make sure I was okay. Bless him. He didn’t really speak much; his brother talked more as he could speak English. We could see for miles and it looked pretty prehistoric. At least the way back down was easier. We stopped off at the tours private lodges in Halls Gap to stay the night (thankfully I was in a girls room which smelt lovely and fresh with a hint of perfume – and no snorers!!) , and there were kangaroos in the back yard who we went out to speak to. Obviously they didn’t talk back.
Another early morning back to the Grampians to see Mackensie Falls, and then there was another hike on the menu. Todd said it was quite challenging, so I declined along with 2 other girls. I told Todd that I find it hard to stand on flat ground, and the thought of killing myself over 2 hours really was not appealing, especially with my dodgy knees, so he showed us a shorter walk to some Aboriginal caves where the children did painting with their hands on the walls, and that was really cool. We then had a long drive to Adelaide stopping off to see some white kangaroos. We got to the border from Victoria to South Australia and Todd jokingly said we needed to get our passports. The English guy Paul who’s a 6’5″ Scouser got his passport out. I gently told him Todd was joking, to which the bus erupted in hysterics. Bless. When we got to Adelaide, we checked into our different hostels then met in the evening for several drinks later on to say goodbye. It was an awesome trip and the people were amazing.