Ambling down Kororoit Street, Melbourne, I met up with Prince’s Highway – or Freeway – then passed through Geelong for the second time since coming to Australia and on to Torquay, home to the famous Bell’s Beach and so-called Surf Capital of Oz – equated to our own South Africa’s J-Bay (Jeffrey’s Bay), I suppose. It is also the start of the Great Ocean Road.
Of particular interest, though, was a visit to the local Bell’s Beach Backpackers Hostel, as it was my intention to start up something similar in Uniondale, and was keen to pick their brains. The timing was good. Now October, Marcia, the manager, had only been there since May and was willing to share the teething problems with me. They had yet to experience a full surfer season, however, and their full house was about 40 beds. Mine would be about half that.
Onward down the Great Ocean Road with splendid views of the sea and beaches –
Anglesea, Airey’s Inlet with its lighthouse, to Lorne where I had a full breakfast for lunch with a glorious view. I fired up my mobile with an Oz number for the first time and sent it off to relevant folk around the world.
Off to Apollo Bay; the sea was an amazing turquoise, then veered inland around Cape Otway through forests to Lavers Hill then south-west again via Lower Gellibrand. By Princeton I was getting glimpses of the famed sandstone cliffs and crags that, further on, became the Twelve Apostles. I did the tourist thing and parked at the display building; read the geological stuff and joined the procession that walked through an underpass to the cliffs on the far side of the highway to view the fingers of sandstone jutting up out of the roaring waves like a series of up-yours fingers. Columns of harder sandstone were once part of the cliffs, but have resisted the erosion and weathering by the waves over the millennia.
Well worth the visit! I retraced my route back to Melbourne and after a few wrong turns in the dark with poor lights, I got back to my nephew’s home in Newport.