Friday, April 13, 2012

My Great Ocean Road Adventure

“Kilometers are shorter than miles. Save gas, take your next trip in kilometers.”
-George Carlin

What an adventure it was! As I did research in preparation for my trip, I noticed that every travel site recommended seeing the Great Ocean Road if one was in the area. Which I was. The only problem? The best way to see the Great Ocean Road is, unsurprisingly, to drive it.

I should make it clear, I don't like driving under the best of circumstances. And, planning to drive in an unfamiliar place on the LEFT side of the road by myself, having lived in China sans car for a 2 and a half years, is definitely not the best of circumstances. Still, I knew I could do it, and I knew it would be amazing.

Turns out, I was right on both counts.

For four (five? I'm already forgetting) days, I and my driving companion (a little GPS unit) drove a sparkly little gold car along the magnificent Great Ocean Road. It was like living in a postcard. Large stretches of the Road are literally right along the ocean. One needs to be careful not to admire the scenery too much for fear of driving off a cliff. Everywhere I stopped though, I found pristine beaches with made-for-photography vistas.

I was so happy to have rented a car. It meant I had total freedom. I could stop anywhere I liked, go see whatever caught my fancy. I saw the famous 12 Apostles rock formation:

The Split Point Lighthouse at Airey's Inlet:

And so on. It wasn't all beach though, actually. I saw quite a bit of bush too, and even some rainforest. Little known fact: despite being the most arid continent on Earth, Australia is home to tropical rainforests. I did a bit of hiking in the rainforest that was nearby, but I'd love to go back and explore further.

The Great Ocean Road itself, despite its name, often vears into idyllic bush, and that was where I stayed. I rented an adorable little cabin about a 30 minute drive from the beach, with impressive views of its own:

One evening I took a stroll and got some beautiful sunset photos. I really love the silhouettes of Australian trees.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip. I'd never really done a road trip before, but I'd totally do it again. Although, given the choice, I still prefer driving on the right.