Sunday, December 19, 2010

melbourne and on to the Great Ocean Road

We made our way from Lakes Entrance to Melbourne yesterday. It was a pretty good drive and after a couple of stops along the way we arrived in Melbourne in the middle of the afternoon.

We moved into our Hostel in the centre of town and then we decided to get rid of the red car, as we were keeping the white car to use on the great ocean road drive over the next few days. Me and Donna drove the cars through the streets of Melbourne and were very surprised by the roads and trams here!! It is a nightmare city to drive through!! The trams mean that when you want to turn right over a tram track, you must pull over on the LEFT hand side of the road, wait for all the traffic to pass you on the right and then turn right, making sure the tram has gone!! It is pretty weird and a bit to get used to, but seems to work OK!! We found the Europcar office easily enough, but when we went out to find a garage to fill up with fuel, we ended up across the other side of town, by the MCG!! The one way roads, traffic lights and trams combined to make it an interesting driving experience.

When we got back to the Hostel, I went out to do a bit of shopping with Liv and Andrea, to try and get some secret Santa presents for the rest of the girls. I didn't manage to get anything however, so will try again later in the week. When we got back we met up with Lisa, Donna, Jennifer Parsonage and also Jaime, who had turned up for a night out with us. We had a couple of beers in the hostel bar and then headed out into the Melbourne night!!

It turned out to be a good and late night!! We met up with Donna's cousin in PJ O'reillys and while the girls drank cheap fizzy plonk, I had a few beers and joined them on the wine later. It went past 11pm, then midnight and onto 1am before we even thought about leaving the bar. Lisa was complaining that people kept nicking her bottle of wine, but always managed to find another bottle to drink!! At around 2am, I left with Andrea and Liva we wandered back along the river towards the hostel, looking for felafel's!! (I don't even know what a felafel's are!) but couldn't find any, so we made do with salt and vinegar crisps!!! haahaa! I took a diversion into the car park ,where the car was - you could only pay for 12 hours parking at a time and so needed to get another ticket, just to make sure we didn't get done! It was 3.11am when we paid for the parking and after that we spent at least 30 minutes sat in the corridor if the hostel eating the salt and vinegar crisps we had bought - we didn't want to wake anyone else in the room!!

Amazingly after such a late night, we were all up and ready to get off by 10.30am. All except for Jennifer Parsonage, who is staying in Melbourne to try and get a job and somewhere to live. Good luck mate - hope it all goes well!!! The rest of us got our shit together and I drove the girls out of Melbourne just after 11am. It was a shitty day and there wasn't much to see until we reached the Great Ocean Road, so the girls all had a good kip while I drove.

We reached the town of Torquay and the start if the Great Ocean Road, just about lunch time. Donna had a great idea and suggested we get some fish and chips and sit overlooking the bay to eat them. The food was great and we sat for a while in the car watching the crazy surfers in the sea. Summer seems to have ended for the moment down here and it was a chilly 18degrees, so we kept the heater on in the car and only ventured out into the cold, to throw away the rubbish and for the smokers to smoke!

After eating lunch, we continued down the road, stopping at a few bays and viewpoints to take in the views over the ocean. It is a beautiful and spectacular coastline and wasn't spoilt by the weather, but Liv, Lisa and Donna missed the fun as they were sleeping in the back of the car! It was fully enjoyed by myself and Andrea though.

Back in the car, we headed west along the coast and I loved the drive. We went from sweeping curves through woods and forests, to cuttings through the cliffs and then open road with the Ocean no more than 15 metres to the left of the road. Unfortunately the girls in the back were still sleeping and missed the best of the views. Andrea woke up every now and then when I poked her, to see the best bits!

We finally arrived at our home for the next few days - A stunning curved Oceanside town called Apollo Bay. Our home here is called Apollo Bay Backpackers and we loved it as soon as we saw it!

We are used to staying in big city hostels, where you may share the kitchen with 200 people and one of 50 or 60 dorm rooms - but this place is a small shack on a back street. The whole place is only about 100sq meters including the garden outside. It has a cat with a scabby nose that is NOT allowed inside! The whole building consists of 3 or 4 bunks/dorms and a lounge/kitchen/office/internet suite, that has non matching furniture and a TV in the corner. It is such a relaxed place that we decided pretty quickly that we would stay here for 3 nights! What remained of the afternoon was spent relaxing, drinking tea and getting our washing done in the one washing machine, before me and Andrea took the wet washing down to a local launderette to get it dried. We had a nice wander around town, but being Sunday and after 6pm, most place were closed, so we spent a while looking at the estate agents and the $2million houses that you can buy down here with stunning views over the ocean. Back at the hostel we met a few of the other guests that were staying, including 4 lads from England who were staying for one night and then heading onto the ashes in Melbourne and Sydney - just like me!! It was good to chat to some blokes after the last few weeks hanging around with the girls!

Lisa made herself some dinner, with mashed potato and beans and I heated up the beef and burgundy pie I had bought earlier from the shops. It was a massive and lovely hot filling dinner and went down really well after the long days driving I had done.
Its now getting on for 11pm and nearly time for bed - Tomorrow we are heading further east to see more of the Great Ocean Road, but this time I'm hoping we will all be awake and able to enjoy it!!

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