After sitting around Canberra for a day, Nick and I decided to take advantage of our last fleeting moments of holiday and get out of town. Again.
It seemed only reasonable to head for the south coast, drive the Great Ocean Road, and see the 12 Apostles. We made our way to Melbourne (about 7 hours), enjoyed the deliciousness of Mamasita‘s (the only halfway decent Mexican food I’ve had in Australia), and enjoyed a bit of the downtown area.
We had a travel-heavy day planned on the 16th, so we woke early for the 3 hour drive to the 12 Apostles. We took the most direct route, as our plan was to drive the Great Ocean Road back to Geelong, outside of Melbourne.
The 12 Apostles (though not really 12 limestones stacks), is such a magnificent sight. There are a few different viewing locations, including an area where you can walk down a decently steep staircase to the shore. It was incredibly windy, and I’m thinking this is expected for the south shore, as the surfing in several towns along the Great Ocean Road are fairly popular.
The drive back to Melbourne takes a bit longer on the Great Ocean Road, due to the winding around and the driving through the small coastal towns. They majority of the road hugs the coast and it’s just gorgeous.
By the time we got around to the east side of Melbourne, it was late afternoon and I still wanted to make one stop. Mornington Peninsula (“su” pronounced like “shoe”). I had been dying to see the colourful bathing boxes that run along the coastline. (See what I did there with the “ou” in colourful?) So, with much confusion as to where exactly they were (no website actually spells it out for you, like “go to _____ beach to see the bathing boxes”), and only a little frustration on my part, we found some. Finally. And I loved them. And maybe wanted to live in one. It’s the perfect tiny house.
We hadn’t yet decided where we wanted to stay that night. We wanted to head into Wilson’s Promontory National Park, the farthest southern point on Australia’s mainland. So, we kept driving east. And just when we thought we found a little city so stay in, we just kept driving. Finally, we stopped just outside of Wilson’s, pulled into an overnight caravan park, and set up for some makeshift car camping. Luckily we had brought pillows and blankets in the event we did just that. And while it wasn’t the most comfortable nights sleep, we could lay the seats down and “mostly” lie down flat. Before sleeping, we made some decent attempts at taking night shots of the stars with our camera. It was a bit tricky for us amateurs, but with a few turns of the dials, a click click here, and a click click there, we took a few that we were somewhat happy with. So happy, I’m pretty sure I deleted them. We are on a quest to learn, so that we can take some glorious photos on our next holiday (coming soon, now).
Early the next morning, because we were car camping, and you can’t really sleep-in all that well, we drove into the park as far as we could. There are trails aplenty that will take you to the proper most southerly point of Australia’s mainland, but we figure we got pretty darn close.
And Nick was pretty giddy. Probably, because at this point, we were so tired of being in the car driving. Or me, passengering.
We had considered driving all the way around the southeast coast and back up, but like I said, we were tired of being in the car at that point, after nearly 4 weeks of on-and-off traveling. Plus, we have done most of that coastline, so we cut up to Canberra in Cann River and finally wrapped up our holiday.
15 January to 17 January
This Stretch- ~2168km/1347m
When you consider the overall route we took (granted, the mileage below is inaccurate since it doesn’t include the back and forth we drove the Brisbane and Sydney), it’s impressive to see how big Australia really is. Australia, at 7.62 million square miles, and the US, at 9.16 million square miles. It’s still a bit hard to fathom unless you are actually spending time in the country and driving around. I certainly knew it was big, but couldn’t put it into my own terms until I was here. On a map, it seems everything is just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from each other.
And then, when you compare the overall mileage (4792m) we put in for this Aussie east coast trip, to something we are more familiar with in the States, you might come up with something like this (though I wouldn’t recommend this route as it seems there is a lot of construction going on):
We are so happy that we were able to take the time to see so much of Australia. And although we were exhausted at the end of the 4 weeks, we wouldn’t have traded this experience for anything. A lot of pictures. A lot of memories.