The great ocean road, slow travel at its best.

When I entered the state of Victoria I quickly noticed a change in weather. This is a state that gets a lot of rain each year, and in a way it’s the place in Australia that is most like Sweden in its weather, though not as cold in the winter. But I could really relate to the 18 degree temperatures, the rain and the relentless winds that the great ocean road brought me. After five months of almost constant heat and sunshine, this was a very welcome change. It’s weird how you can actually look forward to wearing a thick sweater again, isn’t it?

I left Warrnambool in morning, a bit later than I had maybe planned for. But I had just experienced my first night with temperatures dropping down to 7 degrees and no matter how much clothes I put on in the darkness of the night I was still shivering underneath the covers. The nights with 28 degrees just a week before was quickly forgotten, and the thermal underwear I had been dragging along for five months were quickly put to use. But as a true Viking (ha!) I prefer it to the nights spent sweating underneath my portable fan. 

  
The man I had met a few days earlier told me that as I was driving the great ocean road I should stop at every road leading towards the ocean and head out and see what was happening, so when a small sign said “Childers cove” I quickly made the detour. I ended up at a road work of course, and as I was slowly driving on the gravel with big sharp rocks and big holes in the ground all I could think was “I’m covered for EVERYTHING except driving on unsealed roads.” But I made it to Childers cove, and all my worries vanished.   

  

After that stop it felt like every single place along the great ocean road just got better and better.  
The grotto. This was one of my favorite spots. So amazing.   

    
    

London bridge. The part connecting it to the mainland fell in 1990. 
    
False promises! I’ve seen one single snake so far in Australia, and I’m pretty sure I accidentally ran over it with my car. Oh, please notice the backpacks on the girls in this pictures. Yes, they are kånken. Yes, they were Swedish. That’s like our national backpack, it’s as classic as meatballs at ikea. 

  The twelve apostles   
 After another freezing cold night, I had to get up early because I had booked a treetop zipline tour at 9:15.    

Night sky over the campground. 

Morning mist. 

I made my way to the Otway fly treetop adventures and with a group of four other people and two instructors headed out on the course after some safety instructions. 

 There were eight cloud stations and seven zip lines to be conquered, and at each one we were told about the trees and rainforest around us, about the animals living there and their random facts. The girls were so much fun and we all had a blast. Even the one participant who was crazy scared of heights…  
    
   After that I went for a walk at their treetop walk which was great too, but that was almost scarier in terms of height…   

    

After that I was back on the great ocean road. From having driven right by the coast I was now on small winding roads in the rainforest. I headed to Cape Otway which has a night lighthouse, but before I could get there I noticed people parked all along the road. Why? The trees were full of koalas… Heaven!   

    

In my camping app I found a place nearby called “camping under koalas” so of course I had to stay there. I wasn’t the only one obsessed, all afternoon you could see people wandering around staring up into the trees with their cameras ready. So funny. 

  The koala is at the very top right. 

  

  

 The next day I was driving the very last stretch of the great ocean road, from cape Otway to Torquay just outside of Melbourne. It was pouring down when I woke up, I loved it. First real rainfall in so long that I’ve seen. And that made the last stretch even more beautiful, as the road got small and winding in the rainforest by the ocean. Felt like being back on highway 1 in California, just greener.    

  
Now I’m taking a few days in Torquay before I head to Melbourne. I have promised my cousins boyfriend to go to the life saving club here and say hi, since he used to work there. I’m also bracing myself for a big city again… Spending so much time in nature and by myself has made me really reluctant to go to crowded cities. I want to see Melbourne of course, but I really prefer reading a book while looking at the roaring ocean to a busy city. 


There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,

There is a rapture on the lonely shore,

There is society, where none intrudes,

By the deep sea, and music in its roar:

I love not man the less, but Nature more. 

– Lord Byron 

Along the south coast of Australia. 

Two nights in Adelaide quickly turned into three nights. It was just so nice having a real bed and my own bathroom to give up on, so I extended my stay after just one night. I really liked Adelaide too, as usual I measure a city by its walk ability and this scored high on this list. Though I didn’t see too much of it, as I wrote in the last post I just needed a few slow and “boring” days and it was so nice. Oh and I got upgraded to a room on the executive floor and could enjoy free drinks and canapés each night. Perfect! 
Salt lake on the way to Adelaide.   


Red wine and tapas night at the hotel. I lived right next to the food market, Bought such good food there.  

The hotel had a really nice pool!  

 

A very bad picture but this is how far I’ve driven so far in Australia. Well, approximately, I’ve made it a bit further now. 
After three very lazy days in Adelaide I was on the road again, now I’m slowly making my way towards Melbourne. 

    Look at this amazing pink salt lake I found on my way  out of Adelaide. So pretty! Imagine if more lakes were pink, the world would be even more beautiful. 
  Wild camping for the first time in Australia! Such a great spot right be the ocean and there were four other couples staying there too so I felt safe. No toilets though, but I can manage.   
   Hanging out on a rock on the beach. And look at me having to wear a sweater for the first time in weeks! It’s much cooler down here by the south coast, it’s so nice to not have to be sweaty every single second of the day. I’m finally sleeping much better too. 

 Look at this magical sunset out the back of my van.   

 

I loved wild camping so much that the next day I looked up where I could wild camp next, found a spot just 250 km away so off I went. This one was even better! The app wikicamps Australia is really priceless if you’re camping in this country. 

I was all alone most afternoon, so I enjoyed the cool (okay fine, cold!) breeze from the back of my van enjoying an afternoon beer. 

 

I left south Australia and entered the state of Victoria.    
  The next wild camp spot was even better, just look at this! One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.   
    
As I was sitting there a man pulled up as well, and came over to talk. He was 79 years old and camping his way around Australia in a car he rebuilt himself to fit a bed. He had just come back from three months in the United States and as you can guess we had a lot to talk about. He grabbed a chair and I handed him a beer and we spent an hour or so talking. He was so cool, I hope I’m able to still camp around in a car when I’m 79. He didn’t stay the night though, he wanted a place with toilets and a restaurant. Soon after he left it was too cold to stay outside so I curled up in the car. Just as it was getting dark two other campervans pulled up to the spot as well, felt nice to not be alone. I didn’t go out to say hi though, it was 13 degrees by then and raining. I haven’t experienced that cold weather since Yellowstone months ago, but like I said, it’s so nice to be able to sleep well again. 

The man told me to go to the town of Portland close to where I was staying, so I did. It was very pretty.    
   
There was a lot of wind power up on that hill which I liked. I think they’re pretty and I like the sound they make. 

After that I went to Tower Hill reserve which is a wildlife reserve (naturreservat in Swedish) in an old inactive volcano. Their website claimed that they have an abundance of koalas living there, so I kept my eyes open. 

The first thing I saw was three emus down by the water.    
And then I was driving so so slowly along the road when all of a sudden I saw two lumps up in a tree. I stopped in the middle of the road, crawled myself up a hill and started jumping and screaming hysterically. Two koalas were up in that tree, the first wild ones I’ve seen! So cute! Too high up for me to be able to steal them though… Too bad. 

   
Another one I saw later. Can you even believe how cute they are?! I love them so much. 

 I went for a hike as well, it was too beautiful not to.   

Now I’m camped right at the beginning of the great ocean road, which I’ll begin exploring tomorrow. At a real camp site tonight though, I was in desperate need of a shower. I’m very excited to see all the beautiful sights along the great ocean road, I’ll take my time to really be able to enjoy it. I’m loving my life, that’s for sure.