So often it seems that if you have to bump up the name of something with an adjective, it’s perhaps because it’s a little bit lacking in the first place, like Mount Remarkable in South Australia, which really wasn’t that remarkable at all. I’m looking forward to Deception Bay and Disaster Bay or perhaps Disappointment Bay in Tasmania, there’s going to be no raised hopes when I get to them
I didn’t find The Great Ocean Road which I’ll refer to from now on as GOR, to be that great at all, in fact many sections of the road are pretty damn horrible. Once again I want to have a whinge about the roads I’ve been driving on in the Eastern States.
They really are shocking. Firstly the sign postings on the GOR were just crazy, most sections near the coast were incredibly windy and twisty and there were constant suggested speed signs but these were intermingled with the normal 80 speed signs and often contradicted each other. In some spots there were three different speed signs in less than 100m, and one particular place as you leave the cliffs has a 100 speed sign, directly before a sharp 90 degree bend, followed immediately by another 90 degree bend. Then of course there’s my biggest gripe, the quality of the road surfaces, there were sections of the GOR that were newly surfaced with no lines marked, yet it was like a roller coaster, bumps and dips, like there had been no surface preparation before hand. They had even run the new bitumen around silly things like the little flexible road side marker posts, instead of removing it and doing the job properly, just run the bitumen around it.
Oh boy, I could go on and on, basically because it makes my life hell in the van. Most roads in W.A. I would sit on 90-100 no stress towing the van, today, in a 100 zone on Victorian roads I was on 60-70 the whole time. Even once I hit the main M1 highway past Geelong towards Melbourne, 3 lanes either direction I was at 80-90 as there were a few nasty bumpy sections.
Still enough of my whining, lets get into the GOR and see what it was like from my point of view. First stop I had was quite nice, lots of interesting cliffs, only perhaps about 30 or 40 people there, so you could manage to get some pictures without getting tourists in the images. Then I moved onto the 12
possums Apostles just a few kilometres down the road.
How about this majestic looking headland below? Oh hang on, if you look closely there’s shoulder to shoulder masses of people all the way along the top of it.
Hundreds of metres of walkways, viewing points and platforms and it was packed with people everywhere you went. Even this guys comb over was trying to escape the crowds of people.
This was the first time I noticed the phenomenon of “backs to the view” in real force. I missed the photo unfortunately, but at one small viewing platform there was perhaps 6 or 8 people and they were all facing away from the view, holding up selfie sticks. It really seemed quite surreal, magnificent views and they were all standing with their backs to it looking the opposite way, looking straight at me as I approached the lookout.
After leaving the 12
possums apostles, there’s a lot of assorted diving on the GOR. At first it’s wide open farmland quite lush and green while I was driving with a reasonable amount of traffic including many large and small buses and overseas visitors in hire cars. I’ve never seen so many signs saying “In Australia drive on the left”. Next you travel up through forested area of the Great Otway national park, this is quite lovely and there are some magnificent rain forest areas filled with large trees and tree ferns overhanging the road.
Then you hit Apollo Bay, a beautiful little town on a lovely bay and the day was pretty magnificent as well. The police woman who stopped me for a random breath test was very jealous of me travelling. So I continue on from here along the GOR winding around the coast and this is where it started to get interesting with the caravan. There were numerous sections of road that were very narrow with cliffs on my left going up and ocean drop offs on my right. Many corners were down to a recommended speed of 35km some even 25km and I stopped looking in my passenger mirror, it was just too scary in some spots. In many sections the road has a camber or lean back towards the cliff, this camber combined with a narrow road, tight corners and lots of oncoming traffic meant that there were some scary moments when my tall van was leaning very close to the cliff and I thought I’d do some serious damage to the passenger side of the van.
There are numerous little towns and beautiful spots along this section of road, if you’re in a car you could spend many hours if not days along here exploring but with a caravan on the back I had to keep pushing on, most parking spots or viewing areas were impossible for me. In fact I didn’t see any other caravans on this section of the GOR, and all the buses I’d seen earlier were gone as well, even the smaller coaster buses. I finally made it into Lorne, a lovely little town where I turned off the GOR and headed up to a free camp called Big hill camp, about 15 minutes up behind Lorne.
Just beautiful country around here, some nice walk tracks and small roads to wander along, great to see that they’re providing some free camp sites, especially ones this beautiful. I stayed a couple of nights, each night there were lots of backpackers arrived though they weren’t too noisy, well not for me anyway, I was camped on the side of the track up out of the camp ground, you can just see my van 2 pictures up.
The backpackers did leave a fair bit of rubbish behind when they left though, strange mix too.
I guess that has to be a contender for the worst photo that I’ve posted anywhere on this blog to date. Oh well, then I got bored and decided to dress up some mushrooms.
Now I’m camped on the side of the M1 for the night, not going to be a pleasant night 20m or so from the traffic. The caravan park I booked into just out of Melbourne at Werribee didn’t have a spot available until tomorrow. I need to try and get things done to the van while I’m here, fix my bent towbar, get another solar panel and have a gas heater installed in the van before winter really hits. I’m thinking about looking at the high country north of Melbourne and it will damn cold up there.