The Great Ocean Road…
The name of it alone sounds like something I needed to see!
My Australian friend Alison is the key reason why I’m able to experience a photographer’s dream known as the Great Ocean Road. I met her while backpacking in Laos, completely fascinated by how many countries she’s traveled to and how she’s able to work all over the world. Interesting fact, Alison is the one who taught me how to ride a motor pad for the very first time ever! We managed to get out of a little trouble then, thanks to her quick thinking. She’s unfortunately away in Dubai on business but still she kindly offered her home to me over the weekend in Torquay. Her house is large enough to have just a handful of guests, so I invited a few notables to come along with me, much to their delight. I used some of my points from my travel credit card (I have tons of points to spare) to rent an SUV to drive along the road. Luca and Mahid would join us using their camper van.
I picked up Mychaela, a fellow Michigander, from her au pair job in Melbourne along with a couple of others and off we went! The drive down to Torquay was about an hour and a half south of our hostel. Once we pulled up, we were floored by just how spacious the place was! Alison’s mom met us there to welcome us and gave a brief tour of the house.
“If you need anything, I live just ten minutes away,” she said. “Plus, you have my number.”
Upon entering, I told my comrades, “Everything needs to look like we weren’t even here when we leave on Sunday night.”
My friends were amazingly respectful. I knew they would be, otherwise I wouldn’t have brought them along.
Now, as far as food is concerned, the whole plan was to buy groceries and cook our meals at the house. As a group, we all went to the nearest Coles to stock up. Grocery shopping for a large group at once was not as easy as I thought. Everyone had different ideas and had different tastes. I already knew I wasn’t going to cook anything, so I let the others choose. Mychaela is a huge fan of tacos (as am I) so we got stuff to make those. Luca had a pasta dish he saw from tasty.com that he wanted to prepare for everyone. I was happy that I had a few good cooks among the group because the world knows that I can’t cook without a YouTube tutorial at hand. Even then, it’s risky.
It was Friday. We planned on feasting and hanging out at the house and setting off early the next day down the Great Ocean Road.
Chef Luca hard at work on his pasta dish…
With Tara helping out. I was glad I had a crew full of capable cooks.
I invited another traveler I met in Vietnam a few years ago to drive with us down the Ocean Road. Her name is Tara and she lived just 20 minutes away from where we were staying. Nicolas hopped in her car and they followed us as we made the driving journey.
The road is twisty and curvy as all heck, but absolutely stunning. We had the Pacific Ocean to our left and rain forests along thundering mountains that towered above us directly to our right. We had plenty of good music at hand. To describe the feel as a driver, it was hard not to keep looking at everything. This had to be one of the most scenic routes in the world.
We stopped in Lorne upon Tara’s suggestion because she knew of a place with a few cool waterfalls. We easy trailed to Sheoak Falls, the first of a few waterfalls in the region.
Upon arrival to the second waterfall, Luca and Mahid’s camper van began to smoke from underneath. They bought the van over near Perth on the Western Coast and drove all the way along the south. Maintenance issues were bound to happen but they were able to fix it…I think?
Luca and Mahid aren’t mechanics, but they were sure they could solve the problem.
The second waterfall led us along a trail into the forest. The girls stayed behind while the guys trekked deeper until we eventually decided to go back as not to keep the girls waiting all day.
That night, Tara left back home to visit a friend but Debbie came to join us for the next days drive to the Twelve Apostles.
As a group, the nights back in the house were quite entertaining. We played random games where both Mychaela and Luca both lost to my bets and had to suffer the consequences. Mychaela had to take in a spoonful of Vegemite while Luca had to take a shot of Sriracha sauce.
Video evidence below.
I introduced a few other social games I play with friends back home in which they all enjoyed.
Tarek and I were full of dabbing attacks.
The plan for the next day was to drive all the way down to the Twelve Apostles further down the Ocean Road.
The Twelve Apostles is a group of limestone formations off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park. Currently there are eight apostles left, the ninth stack having collapsed in July 2005. The name remains significant and spectacular especially in the Australian tourism industry. (Wikipedia)
We took a shortcut through the backwoods instead of going along the coast to cut our driving time in half.
L to R: Myself, Debbie, Mychaela, Nicolas, Tarek.
Further down the coast, we dropped of Nicolas in Warnanbool, where he volunteered over the week. Later on we returned to the house in Torquay, spruced up, packed our belongings, and drove up back to Melbourne.
As great as the weekend was, this would be my last night with all of my Melbourne cohorts. Mychaela would stay in Melbourne for several more months continuing her au pair job. I’m sure I’ll see her back in Michigan seeing as how she lives ten minutes away from my mom. Debbie and Tara both returned to their respective jobs, while the backpackers I spent so much time with the past week all continued to look for jobs for their working visa. Luca, Mahid, Tarek, and Jules all landed farming jobs together the day after I left them. Good luck guys!
This is what they sent me a few weeks later.
As for me? Where was I going? I had an early flight the following morning all the way to the west coast of Australia in a place called Perth.
There I met a friend who took me to one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to…along with the happiest animals on Earth!