I went on a little road trip. Though little is probably not the right word to use, seeing that everything we did, we did in large quantities.
Every PhD student needs a break now and then, so four of us packed our bags and hopped on a plane, Melbourne-bound. This would be my third time in Melbourne, having spent a year studying there before. There was a little bit of a panic the night before we flew, when the hostel we had booked phoned us to say that our booking was never processed and they actually didn’t have any space for us. Needless to say, a frantic search for a decently priced hostel commenced. Thankfully, it didn’t take us long to find one. Relatively cheap, not too far from the city and a brilliant view of the casino. Jokes aside, if you’re looking for quality accommodation with a cheap bar, and free breakfast then the Urban Central Melbourne is a good bet. We managed to get one of the ‘hotel’ rooms with a mixture of a double bed and bunk-beds. Slept like kings and queens. They even threw in a free continental breakfast 🙂
We only had 2 days in Melbourne, so sight-seeing was rather rushed. But for me it was a nice throwback to the year I lived in Melbourne. I tried to remember all the cool, quirky things to show my friends. Since my last trip was 2 years ago, it did mean a few moments of wandering around in circles. Good for the calf muscles, I say.
One way of discovering Melbourne is through food. We feasted on food from the hipster cafe alleyways.
And we did a lot of sightseeing.
Before we knew it, the weekend had gone and it meant it was time to hit the road! We picked up our hire car, from the good old Wicked company. A classic car with some interesting graffiti. We instantly become the object of everyone’s attention. Everywhere.
The plan: drive all the way from hipster Melbourne to festival-central Adelaide. Via the Great Ocean Road! Our first campsite was Bimbi Park, set in the Otways, or otherwise known as the Great Otway National Park. With unpowered sites at $20 per 2 adults, it’s a bargain in a scenic location. They even had a mini farm with horses! And of course many koalas roaming the trees. And if you haven’t heard of drop-bears, then you must visit this place, they run rampant…
It was still warm enough not to freeze in the tent, but in hindsight it would have been nice to have something other than the hard ground to sleep on. But I guess that’s all part of the fun. The common area had an indoor cabin/kitchen and a football table, which we spent many minutes playing. Goon at our side, it was a good night. Then we made a mistake of going to the toilets, without the goon. Next thing we knew it disappeared. So, word of warning, make sure you take your wine everywhere you go. Even if you go to the toilet. Even if it is cheap goon*.
Next stop, the 12 Apostles! You cannot get tired of that view. Blue oceans (or in our case grey) and massive neolithic structures. It’s awesome to gaze at. The hardest task was trying to get a photo without the hoardes of tourists, most of whom came by tour bus. These photos definitely give the appearance of empty coastlines with not another soul in sight! How deceiving. That’s a downside of travelling during a public holiday. But as long as you don’t mind squishing yourself between strangers for that all-important ‘I’ve been here photo’ then by all means, travel away! Oh, and make sure you remember your selfie stick. We obviously forgot the memo to bring ours.
This little island bridge was once attached to the mainland. But now stands alone and proud, almost taunting with a ‘you can’t catch me’.
Rain or shine, the Great Ocean Road is definitely worth the long drive, tourist hustle and bustle. Perfect for nature lovers and adventurers. And there are plenty of opportunities to go off-track (just make sure you have a 4WD ;)). For city-lovers, Melbourne is the hub. Up until last year, it was named the most-liveable city in the world. Give yourself at least a week to discover all it has to offer. Whether that be arts, shopping, beaches, sports, it has everything.