The journey began the morning of April 30 – Melbourne to Cairns in 21 days. But first we had to say a proper goodbye to Melbourne and head out for the night. We started with a game of bingo at the hostel then headed to Turf Bar, which was surprisingly really good fun, considering it was a sports bar. We all said to one another to stop drinking early in order to be up in time for camper collection. Two hours before my alarm was set to get up I reached bed. That plan didn’t work out…but worth it. Two hours after the planned time to awaken, we eventually got ourselves together, and said our goodbyes to newly made friends, and headed over on the tram to St Kilda where we were to pick up our new home.
Of course I felt nervous and worried whether I was making the right decision to do a road trip, especially taking the risk of travelling with three guys, having only just met a couple of them two days before. But that’s the whole point of travelling – taking that risk, jumping into the situation, and making the most of every part. Once we reached Jucy, the camper van rental company for our trip, I think we were all very excited, but definitely sceptical about what to expect for the next 21 days. After insurance and licence checks and the shortest demonstration of how to use the vehicle we were ready to hit the road. Stocked up on food and water we headed out of Melbourne and onwards to the Great Ocean Road.
Along the way we stopped off at the surfing town Torquay not far out of Melbourne, famous for Rip Curls surfing championship. The beach was absolutely beautiful and I think the best I have been to so far on this trip. First off it was my favourite time of the day, when the sun was low and warm as it lay over the beach, the way the light hit the golden sand and crystal clear waves made the beach a perfect spot to have a stroll. It was also very quiet, we were the only ones walking along the beach at the time. Leaving behind our footprints on the untouched beauty. The sand was coarse, a deep yellow and cold on my toes. As the sun was dipping there was a cool breeze. Awesome first stop off.
That evening we stayed at a BIG4 caravan park in Anglesea, unfortunately having to pay $55 for the space, but it was a lovely camp ground, with indoor pool, kitchen area and the best shower! Not that it was desperately needed at this point being only our first night. Didn’t even need to use our mini kitchen in the back of the camper for dinner. The way the camper is set out for sleeping is a double bed inside and then a pop up bed on top, which can’t really be classed as a double. Getting to bed on the first night was different, with three guys and me, but actually I felt completely comfortable with them all, my only issue was that it was bloody freezing, and not a fan of the bottom camper bed. Top bunk it is!
Our second day we officially started the Great Ocean Road, stopping off at all the famous hot spots. It was a stunning coastal drive enriched with beautiful beaches. So far I still haven’t driven the camper, having not ever driven an automatic or a big vehicle like the one we were in, I did feel a little nervous, but had to be done. By the end of the day we reached the Twelve Apostles, just as the sun was setting. A bit of advice, do not visit at this time. Prime time for all the tourists waving their irritating selfie sticks, along with the fact that the sun sets in the west making it impossible to take the perfect picture. Instead, get up for sunrise or make it in time to see it during the day. As incredible as it was to see such a recognisable part of Victoria, unfortunately the camera on a pole and crowds did ruin the experience a little. So, we decided as a group to make it to sunrise the following morning.
On our second night we really didn’t want to have to pay out for another expensive camp ground and with no free sites around Port Campbell, lovely Tom with his English charm knocked on a farm-house and managed to get us a free night parked up in the yard of this lovely lady’s property. It is amazing how accommodating and kind people can be to others in need. She even offered me her caravan for the night so I could get a proper sleep and a hot shower. As we cooked dinner on our little stove she went one step further and came bearing cheesecake. Not doing too bad so far.
The following day we made it for sunrise at the Twelve Apostles, however no sun. Clouds covered the sky, and it began to rain. Brilliant. It was surreal to be in such a spot though. I keep having to shake my head and realise where I actually am and what I’m doing. I feel so lucky to be where I am right now. Despite the short rain spell it was incredible to see the different formations of the cliff edges and the views of the deep yellow rock stretching for miles along the Great Ocean Road.
Next stop; Grampians National Park and my first experience driving the camper. It only took about three hours to drive there – a short journey in relative terms to the next three weeks – and it was surprisingly easy behind the wheel, especially as the majority of the roads were straight. Again, another beautiful, picturesque drive.