Yet again we wake to rain, cold grey sky’s and a steady wind, not my favourite weather !!
By the time we’d finished breakfast the rain had abated slightly and was now a persistent drizzle. We, yet again were in full waterproofs, all our sensitive kit double wrapped and stashed.
We made our way out of camp, over the bridge and back through the town and on towards Apollo Bay. The scenery even in the grey, cold morning was beautiful, steep sided cliffs towering above deserted sandy beaches, angry seas lashing against time worn rocks. While to our right, trees clinging to rocky outcrops, there uppermost branches almost obscured by heavy mist, such drama, so difficult to convey even in photographs !!
The route rose and fell with the terrain, nothing to strenuous, just gentle climbs, giving plenty of time to look and observe the surroundings. After one climb, the descent led straight into a small village, Wye River, nothing more than the general store / coffee shop and a camp ground. We stopped for coffee which was good, as were we, no cake today 😉
From here we battled even stronger winds along an incredible piece of coastline, it truly is fantastic. Despite the beauty though, the wind and rain prevented to many photos and certainly any of good quality !!
By the time we got to Apollo Bay, I have to confess to being very cold, down to your bones cold, the sort that takes far more than a wind blown tent to fix. With that we went in search of cheap alternatives and thanks to the local tourist info, we found a twin room in a backpackers. Now we’ve not had much luck with backpackers up to now but this one turned out to be fine. The room was a good size, warm and cosy, the kitchens were sufficient for the number of guests and the lounge was large with ample sofas and a fire….perfect !!
We sorted ourselves out then went out for a walk by the harbour and back along the beach, we made it back in time before the next downpour and rewarded our efforts with hot coffee and a packet of biscuits.
I think we’ll be more than ready for tomorrow’s hills after a good nights sleep !!
But first, a few photos, I do apologise before hand for the quality but the rain was playing havoc with my lens !!
I think you’ll get the idea !!
Well, how good was that, we slept very well indeed, in fact it was an effort to get up, the room was warm and cosy and outside was barely in double figures. We packed, had breakfast and with the hosts words about the hills between us and Lavers Hill still ringing in our ears we set off. She’d made a point of telling us how high the climbs were, and to make sure I’d checked the elevation profile on my route planner…it was going to be a tough day.
We turned right out of the backpackers, still on the Great Ocean Road and headed out along the seafront for a couple of kilometres. After that you start to climb the first hill, if you look behind you there’s a great view of the bay just before the crest.
From here you rarely see the ocean again as the route takes you inland through the Otway National Park. Occasionally you get a glimpse of it through the trees, back down the sunlit valley, but it’s rare now.
We climbed steadily for about an hour and a half, a few short downhills but mostly climbing higher and higher. Finally the big yellow sign that shows your on the descent, then it’s hold on tight and let it go….whoosh…all the way to the stunning valley below.
The sun is out now making the valley floor a patchwork of colours, the sea, now visible in the distance shimmers, this is a beautiful ride. We follow the road through the valley for about 8km before it starts to climb the second of our hills. Just as it gets started there’s a viewing area and as you’d expect….it’s stunning. Not just the coast and cliffs but the view back down the valley where we’d just come from…fantastic !!
The second climb was about 15km, not all uphill but most of it, reasonable gradients so we weren’t giving everything we’d got. It was warm at the bottom but the higher we climbed it got colder and by the time we got to the top we were both chilled to the bone. Our tops were so wet with sweat that they were making us feel cold, we stopped at a cafe and very quickly dashed to the toilets to change into something dry and warm.
Lunch was nothing special but at least we got fed, then it was time to find a place to stay. We tried the Roadhouse Tavern, the landlord, Paul, greeted us with a smile and we had a bit of banter. He showed us a room and it was great, more than we’d usually pay but the welcome had us agreeing to the price.
We went to the bar later looking for food and got introduced to a few regulars, Brian, the local philosopher, Prof, because he reads a lot and a guy called Leon who’d apparently cycled round Europe back in the 80,s. They were a friendly bunch of guys and made us feel very welcome. The food when it came was also good, so we had a great night at the roadhouse, and to top it off, Paul gave us a couple of bottles to take to our room, thanks guys !!
And so to bed, we’ll be cycling past the Twelve Apostles tomorrow and we’re very excited, check out the next blog for photos !!
But first, the photos for this blog….