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.
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.
Night sky over the campground.
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 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