Great Ocean Road: the mountains

After spending the evening in Port Fairy we headed north from the coast to a little town called Halls Gap in the Grampians National Park. We decided to make Halls Gap our base for a couple of days so that we could explore the area around the Park and get in some hiking. To start we hit up the visitors center to route out a hike for the next day and then stopped off at a local vineyard, The Gap, to sip some shiraz.

Tasting The Gap

We woke to some rain and gray skies, but decided to give our hike a try anyway. We had decided to climb Mt. Rosea, a 1000+ meter mountain in the park with the trailhead close by. We got some nice views on our way up but as we reached the top the fog rolled in and we couldn't see much more than a few feet in front of us, so much for the view! We scrambled down, it felt pretty eerie up there in the fog, and headed back into town to scarf up some pizza after a long day of hiking.

A plus to our campsite in Halls Gap was the large group of kangaroos that would come into the fields in the morning and around dusk. The wildflowers were also in bloom so we got to see some stunning yellow fields of rapeseed all along our drive.

Hopping Through

We are wrapping up our drive now, spending the night in the coastal town of Anglesea before we drop of the campa tomorrow in Melbourne and head to Perth. We have had a blast driving around Victoria and I would recommend a campervan to anyone in Australia. I was pleasantly surprised to find most campervan parks well marked, easy to find, and quite nice. The parks all offered large camp kitchens (we opted to use these versus the stove off the back of the van due to space), laundry facilities, and clean bathrooms and showers. It has been great to have the freedom to go and see what we want when we want and sleeping in a van ain't too shabby :)


Great Ocean Road: the coast

We picked up our campervan, really just a minivan with a fold down bed in the back and a mini fridge and stove off the rear, to start our tour of the Great Ocean Road.  Great is the best way to describe it, spectacular coastline with amazing beaches, wildlife galore, and rock formations rising out of the water, it was beautiful!  Repeating our mantra "drive on the left" we took our time driving the coast stopping at all the scenic lookouts along the way.  Our first day we headed to Apollo bay to spend the night at a caravan park just outside the small beach front town.  We saw the famed Bells Beach and Split Point lighthouse as we winded our way along the coast.

Empty Beaches

The Legend

Bells Rocks

Bells Beach

GOR Beginning

We started off day 2 with a run along the beach in Apollo Bay and then a quick drive to Kennett River to see the koala bears hanging out in the eucalyptus tress. We saw lots of koalas and got pretty good at spotting the little fuzzy bears dotting the tree line.

Driving out to Cape Otway we even saw a koala on the side of the road. We jumped out of the campervan as he crossed right in front of us and gave us some prime picture taking opportunities.

Koala Bear

We finished off the day with a visit to some of the most spectacular coast scenery Australia has to offer: the Twelve Apostles, London Bridge, and The Grotto.  We also saw our first kangaroo roadside on our drive into Peterborough, our resting stop for the night.

On the Road

Down the Stairs

Rising out of the Sea

Twelve Apostles I

Twelve Apostles II

Twelve Apostles III

At The Grotto

Down to The Grotto

London Bridge Pano

Setting up Camp

We started day 3 with a drive out to the Bay of Islands.

Bay of Islands Pano

Whale Watching

We then headed to the Tower Hill State Game Reserve for some hiking.  Tower Hill is and animal reserve with several walking tracks.  Unlike a zoo you get to see the animals in their natural habitat, we spotted emus and kangaroos galore, we even spotted a joey in its mother's pouch.  We then drove into Port Fairy to spend our afternoon and evening.



Mother and Joey

Road to Somewhere

With the AFL Grand Final on, a BIG deal in Oz, most of the quaint port town was shut down to watch the game.  We decided to head over to the local pub, grab a pint, and see what all the fuss was about.  We found the town at the bar and watched with a rowdy crowd as the match played out and ended in a draw.  Compared to our Super Bowl Ross and I thought it was pretty nice that the commercial breaks were 30 seconds at the most, but pretty crazy that the game was allowed to end in a tie and has to be played again next week!

The Warf


Trammin Around Melbourne

We arrived in a chilly Melbourne to spend a few days seeing what Australia's second largest city had to offer. We both feel like Melbourne is a "little big city". Walking the streets in the CBD (central business district) feels like you are walking in NYC, jam packed with people of all different nationalities, bustling cafes, and trams, but the city's population is only around 4 million. Melbourne is a city of trams, the streets here are extra wide to accommodate the trams, and you can basically ride anywhere in the city and surrounding suburbs easily by jumping on and off.


The highlights of our time here included wandering through Queen Victoria Market, a huge market where you can buy anything from produce to jewelry. We got to taste our first bureka, one of the most popular stalls, and drink a cup of coffee while wondering through the market. I would love to do my grocery shopping at a place like this! They had everything you could imagine and you could really see the diversity of the city with all off the cuisines and fares being offered.

picking fruit

We also went to check out the Yarra River which runs through the city center and walked our tails off exploring central Melbourne and the surrounding suburbs.

Flinders Street Station

Melbourne on the Yarra

along the streets

Today we took a trip out to St. Kilda to see Port Phillip Bay and some little penguins which live just off the St. Kilda pier. We spied a few penguins burrowing in the rocks and saw the historic Luna Park with the the oldest continuously-operating roller coaster in the world. We are picking up our campervan tomorrow to start our Great Ocean Road tour, see you next from the "campa".

St. Kilda Pier

Port Phillip Bay

Boats of The Bay

Fairy Penguin

Scenic Railway