The road to Geelong
We woke early expecting to leave the hostel at 8-9am but after speaking with the hostel staff they informed us that we were best to leave after 10am otherwise we risk sitting in rush hour traffic. So instead we decided to make use of our time and walk up to Federation Sq and visit the tourist information office to grab some information brochures. The woman at the office was very helpful but too chatty, we ended up running over time and having to rush back to the hostel for check out and then running to the budget car hire company to pick up the car. It was 11am before we hit the road.
Ruchi took the first leg of the drive, sat nav set up, maps in hand and off we went. From Melbourne we took the princess highway too Geelong, from here we go south onto the Great Ocean Road via Torquay.
Our rental, Hyundai Getz
We make a brief stop at Bells beach because it is popular for surfers to stop here for a great rip curl surf. As you might have guessed the weather was wild, windy and cold and the clouds threatening rain! The surfers were on the beach rather than in the water. I guess its not the season just yet. The next big stop that we want to aim for lunch at is Apollo Bay, the lady at the information office said that this was a bigger town with another information office and lots of shops and restaurants. Along the way there are lots of scenic lookouts that give you a great view of the coast, the sea and the cliffs. The feeling of crusing down these roads feel so amazing with the sea on one side and the cliffs on the other. We encounter many other Hyundai Getz on the road, I guess this was the hire car choice of the day since it was the cheapest option.
Stopping off at Bells beach
When we reach Apollo bay the first stop is the information centre and then the post office to send my compulsory postcard. Lunch was an ordeal as it was now 3pm and most of the restaurants and cafes were either closed/closing or finished serving food, i.e. the kitchen was closed. Luckily for us we find a health food cafe that is still open and manage to score a bowl of mushroom soup and a veggie pastie. Enough to keep us going until dinner time or the next big stop I guess. We gobble up and head back on the road after a quick run around on the beach. We swap the driving and I jump into the drivers seat. I haven't driven an automatic before but hey, its not like it can be harder than a manual right. It felt strange to have a redundant left foot.
Great Ocean Road
Now that i'm in the drivers seat, full speed ahead to Port Campbell
, I didn't want the sun to set before we got there otherwise we wouldn't be able to see the sites. The roads are a bit curly wurly and also there are plenty of signs to look out for kangaroos. We spotted nil kangaroos and I managed to manoeuvre the roads without too much drama considering there were no other cars about. No cars ahead, no cars behind and no cars on the otherside either. No pressure. We past Princetown in no time at all. This is where we would have to come back to our hotel/hostel. We race past and onto Port Campbell. The first site The Twelve Apostles is supposed to be the best.
Great Ocean Road
We jump out of the car and race down to the boardwalk. There are supposed to be 12 lime stone rocks standing along the coast of the sea. I think I counted about 8 and a few collapse ones, a pile of shattered rocks. I can only assume that they were naturally eroded away by the harsh sea waves crashing onto them and the soft nature of limestone. The sun is starting to lower in the sky and the clouds are thick and fluffy looming right above us. Some great shots can be taken when the sun is at this level. We stopped to have a chat with another fellow traveller and he told us that he's visited the site several times and all his pictures of the rocks look different. He is pretty sure that the last time he was there the collapsed piles were still standing.
Even if we compare what I can see now right in front of me with the pictures on the website it is completely different. So amazing to see nature at work. We race off to the next site The Loch & Gorge, then The Arch, then London Bridge and finally The grotto. By the time we got to The Grotto it was too dark to see what it looked like. There was no one else about and we were too scared to walk all the way down to the bottom of the board walk just in case a freak wave crashed in on us and swept us out sea! The wind had picked up and we could just hear the sounds of the sea and... crickets.
We jump back into the car and the road is pitch black, we race back to Prince town to check in and settle into our room for the evening.
On the way back I had a fear of kangaroos jumping out at us on the road. Luckily we didn't encounter any. When we finally reached Princetown and pulled up to The 13th Apostle, the hostel we had booked the place was un-manned. We banged on the glass door and tapped on the desk and yelled through the back door until someone came. The woman basically came out, glanced at us and told us that our room had been given away and a voicemail had been left on our phone to inform us of this. I was absolutely mortified since our booking was CONFIRMED and we had paid a deposit and we had informed them of our arrival time! The woman did not seem apologetic at all. Luckily for us she had secured us a room in another hotel but bad news was that it was back in Port Campbell, where we had just come from.
The woman had absolutely no regard for us, she did not care that it was pitch black outside, she did not care that the rain had started to come down, she did not care that we were two lone girls travelling in the wilderness! and worst thing is she did not even bother to ask us if we had transport or whether we would be ok to travel back there. She literally wrote the name of the hotel down on a piece of paper and pushed us out of the door. I expressed that I thought it was unacceptable to leave a voice message on someone's phone to inform them that their room had been given away. Especially since we had COMFIRMED the booking and paid for the deposit as I said before. I would asolutely never go there again and would not recommend anyone to go back their either.
What a RUDE woman and a dump of a place!
Its almost 10pm when we get to Motor Inn motel, in Port Campbell. The guy, Ross, is friendly and very sympathetic to us I totally rant at him about treatment we got from The 13th Apostle. He gave me a FREE postcard to pacify me, easily pleased, i'm smiling because I LOVE postcards. The room he puts us in has a double bed and single bed so it can actually comfortably fit three people. A decent sized bathroom with a shower cubicle no bath tub. A tv, a small kitchen area and dining table and chairs.
We needed a proper dinner so headed back up the main street to find a restaurant, the only place that was obviously lit was the pub. We made our way in and everyone turned to stare at us as we walked in.
More great ocean scenery
Awkward. They didn't serve food or hot snacks. We tried the restaurant down the road and luckily for us they were still serving. The meal was wholesome. The restaurant owners friendly.