The plan for Australia was to travel along the east coast starting south in Melbourne up to Brisbane and maybe flying to Cairns. But at first we wanted to drive along the Great Ocean Road, which starts southwest of Melbourne. We rented a car (Hyundai Accent), named it Uma (japanese for horse) and hit the road (Jack).
The Great Ocean Road starts right after Torquay – where we spent a night in a campground-cabin for 200$ (!!!!) and called it a lesson learned for late arrival – and follows winding roads along the coast or through the hinterland to Allansford. We didn’t drive all 243 km and made it just to the Twelve Apostels. I always wanted to see these rock formations of lime stone, but when we arrived there late that afternoon there were still hundreds of tourist and three helicopters taking of every five minutes to fly people along the coastline. It was so crowded that it was hard to take a photo without people. The noise of the talking tourists and the roaring helicopters in the air were so annoying that we didn’t want to spend more time than needed. We saw the the Apostels, took a few photos and headed back to our car. There was no special atmosphere and so the Apostels were just rocks in the water.
But despite that, the Great Ocean Road was beautiful: small beautiful beaches, native rainforest, a short walk to a nice waterfall and – this surprised us the most – Koalas! We didn’t know about that, but when we took the road to the Cape Otway Lightstation, we drove through an Eucalyptus forest and stopped several times to look at the Koalas sitting in the trees, sleeping and digesting! It flashed us. We hadn’t expected this. Wild Koalas! So sweet and beautiful!
We spent the night in a nice B&B in the middle of nowhere, but close to the Twelve Apostels (the term „close“ has become another meaning in Australia. 50km is like around the corner, 100km is „Aww, yeah, lets just drive there for breakfast“, 200km is like a nice short trip for the day). The owners of the B&B were a great couple, Shane and Jo, who started their project just two years ago and had already built up the B&B, a café and planted their own vegetables and fruits, which they used for breakfast, dinner, and their café. We were impressed and happy to have a talk with them about their ideas.
On our way back to Melbourne we took a scenic inland route with a nice view over a lake and a short stop in the town Birregurra. A „Farm Foods & Provedore“ store which sold local products caught our interest and we bought wine and craft beer (of course). When we left the town a swarm of cockatoos appeared and we stopped with open mouths and starred at them with delight.