Australia - Great Ocean Road & Grampians
December 11, 2006
After a night out with everyone in Sydney overlooking the opera house and early start (5am) to fly to Melbourne.
Hired a BMW 650GS Dakar from a place near the centre. It feels like a toy compared to my 1200GS, but fun to throw about.
Headed out of the city on some pretty unspectacular freeway in the direction of the Great Ocean Road. After riding for an hour or so turned off onto the start of the coast road and the fun began.
This has to be one of the best coast roads on the planet!! Absolutely amazing riding coupled with beautiful scenery. There was plenty of long sweeping bends and tight hairpins in the forest. Scrapped my pegs on the road round a couple of tight bends. I only wish I had a camera strapped to my helmet. Lots to stop and see along the way, the 12 apostles and London bridge to name but a few.
Stopped in Lorne and picked up a sandwich for lunch. Headed further down the road to a deserted beach and relaxed in the sun.
Rode until 5.30pm when the roads started to get straight and boring. Surrealy like the mid west of America. Decide to turn back and stay in a nice place I’d passed through on the way with the intention of riding the coast road back again the next day and leave a day for Melbourne. Spent the night in Port Campbell at a hostel and ate fish and chips while watching the sun set over the harbour. Brilliant Day.
The next morning I look at the map and see a massive national park with some great winding roads and so decide to head up that way and happened to meet another biker from London called Mary who’s going in the same direction. We decide to ride together for a while and so set off for the Grampians National Park.
After riding for most of the morning we reach the national park, which to begin with is alarmingly bereft of trees or vegetation. It was getting to 37 deg C and it’s gets pretty warm in the old riding suit. Head on further in to find some forests which turned out to be brilliant again. It had been swept by forest fire last January and so the trees were all burnt with leaves growing from the trunk like creepers. It looked like a what I’d imagine a prehistoric forest looked like. Another great day of riding through winding roads up and down the mountains. Saw my first Kangaroo and Emu, still not seen any massive spiders which is disappointing expected to find them everywhere. I’m sure I’ll find some before I go! Stayed at the Asses Ears Wilderness Lodge which was out in the middle of nowhere. Very hot dorm rooms and thankfully a swimming pool. Ate Kangaroo and VB pie which was delicious and not at all like Chicken. Spent the evening drinking VB and chatting with Mary and Steve, the hostel owner, who was a bit of a character. Found the dorm room to be overrun with bugs as soon as the lights go on. Superb view of the stars though. Attempt to sleep in the heat, expecting to be eaten alive by the bugs.
After not sleeping too well in the heat, but with no bites! got up earlyish and headed off after breakfast. Head off back through the national park and towards Ballarat. Nice open roads with plenty of overtaking through countryside you’d imagine in Australia. Brown, bone dry grass land with trees dotted about and sheep/kanga’s roaming. Ride to Ballarat stopping every 40-50km’s for water and stretch. Leave Mary in Ballarat to look at the Gold Fields and head on back to Melbourne. Drop off the bike and spend a couple of hours walking around the city before flying back to Sydney.
Arrive back in Sydney to be ripped of by the cab driver who had no idea where I wanted to go, despite me handing him a map of the city with a big cross on it. BBQ dinner party back at Craig’s. Delicious.