After a great night in the Roadhouse Tavern and a good nights sleep we set off on what will probably be one of the most stunning days ride ever !!
From Lavers Hill it’s pretty much 30km downhill to Princetown, there are a few slight uphill sections but mainly it’s downhill. As you hurtle down you get glimpses of the view through the dense forest, sadly it’s almost impossible to get a good photo, just to much in the way !!
The last 7km is perhaps one of the best bits of road I’ve had the pleasure to ride in a long time. Yes it was downhill but it was the nature of the road that made it memorable, long sweeping bends that just keep coming, forcing you to bank hard from left to right. Good quality surface enhanced the thrill as did the fact we seemed to have the road to ourselves.
At Princetown we stopped for a cup of coffee, another one of those multi purpose shops that act as Post Office, general store, cafe, tourist info and gift shop…oh and it sells petrol too !
The coffee was good as was the cake..couldn’t resist 😉 From here the ride gets very interesting as we are now on the most photographed part of the Great Ocean Road. Firstly there is a viewing platform not far from Princetown where you get a glimpse along the coast to the Twelve Apostles….amazing !!
It’s already impressive and we’re not even at the best bit yet !!
Next is the Twelve Apostles tourist centre, there are walkways and viewing platforms where you get the chance to take photos of this incredible set of limestone sentinels !!
Getting better !!
You think you’ve seen it all but from there you stop at Loch Ard, a natural limestone arch, caves and more sentinels. From there there’s gorges cut deep into the limestone, waves crashing into stunning beaches…..breathtaking !!
I’ve tried to convey the sheer drama of this piece of coastline and I hope you get a sense of just how incredible it is !!
The road from here into Port Campbell is fairly flat and it gives you plenty of time to reflect on the fantastic scenery. We’d booked a room at a place called Port Campbell Flashpackers and Guest House. We’re having a day off here so yet again it’s a room rather than a tent, although to be honest it’s getting so cold now that camping is becoming uncomfortable.
Mark, the owner at the backpackers is really friendly and a great host. The place is clean, tidy and feels like home, really comfortable !
We spent the afternoon just chilling out and waiting for the other guests to arrive back, we’d noticed several touring bikes outside and were interested in who and what they were up to.
When they did return we found out they were slightly older than me and were two couples that had actually met on there ride from Adelaide. Firstly there was Gary and Marilyn, from Laurieton, we’d passed through there home town quite a while ago on our way to Sydney. They were riding from Adelaide to Melbourne when they met up with the other couple, Laurie and his wife Kate. They were riding a tandem, mainly due to the fact that Kate’s eyesight is slowly getting worse. There from Nelson in New Zealand, another place we’d cycled through.
Both couple didn’t actually know each other but have become good friends since meeting on there ride and now form a foursome, great story of bikes and friendship !!
They were all lovely people, Gary and Marilyn had cycled across the Nulabor a few years ago and Laurie and Kate had lived in The Everest National Park for two years and were both keen cyclists. We obviously swapped stories and made friends, so much so that we decided to all stay in and cook the following night and have a dinner party, yours truly would cook main course, Naomi on desert and they’d pay….brilliant.
A few more photos from our ride in and one of the bay at Port Campbell !
The following day arrived and it just rained all day, really heavy “I’m glad I’m not cycling in that” kind of rain !! We all sat around and chilled out, eventually making an effort to go out and buy groceries and stop for coffee and cake. Naomi and myself produced a tasty meal, pasta and homemade tomato sauce with garlic sourdough bread followed by Naomi’s fantastic apple crumble and ice cream….mmmm !
A few bottles of wine were consumed and as usual the conversation turned to rides done, countries that you’d been to and places you still wanted to visit, in all a great evening.
Now Naomi and myself were going to ride to Warrnambool the next day but due to a three day race meeting in this town we couldn’t find cheap rooms. So we looked at alternatives and decided to cycle to Port Fairy instead, it’s a 100km but at least we’d found a YHA there with a twin room…perfect !
The morning came and luckily the rain had stopped so after a photo call with our new friends we set off into a crisp sunny winters day.
Myself, Naomi, Marilyn, Kate, Laurie and Gary !!
We climbed the hill out of Port Fairy, pretty much the only decent hill for the day, and made our way along the Great Ocean Road.
There are still plenty of things to see along this final stretch and as we’re not likely to be back here anytime soon we stopped to take yet more photos. First there’s The Arch then London Bridge and finally we stopped at the Grotto, I’d describe them to you but it’ll be much better to just look at the photos ! Suffice to say that each and every one of them was incredible and certainly worth the effort and extra kilometres !
From this point on you start to leave the huge towering cliffs and rugged coastline behind as the road moves slightly inland. The route now passes through farmland and green fields, lush after the recent heavy rains. The road arrow straight for kilometre after kilometre until you finally arrive into Warrnambool . It’s a large sprawling town and as we rode in we both agreed that we were happy to be staying in Port Fairy. We stopped just long enough to eat lunch then set off yet again, just 28km to go until we reached our destination. The road continued to be flat although we picked up a slight headwind which became a bit chilly as much as a nuisance. The coast got nearer and nearer as we approached and just about 10km out we stopped at Tower Hill Reserve. It’s a wonderful place full of wildlife such as kangaroos and wallabies, koalas, emus and plenty of other birds….and no we didn’t see any of them ;-(
We finally cycled into Port Fairy and were instantly pleased we’d made the effort, it had that lovely welcoming feel and a bit of character. We went straight to the YHA where a lovely lady called Alison made us welcome and showed us round. She also suggested a walk over to Griffin Island to see the wallabies and lighthouse. Later we took her advice and made it in time to see the sunset behind the lighthouse which produced some great photos and on the way back we saw our first wallabies, what a great day and even better evening.
So I’d better share a few photos…
Great day !!!
Our day off in this lovely place started slowly, we slept in, and had a lazy breakfast before taking a long stroll along the fantastic beach. We passed the surf club on our way but walked a good kilometre past it before turning round to stop for coffee. Great views out over the ocean and across to the lighthouse make you realise what a great place this is. After coffee we made our way into town, a little window shopping, some grocery shopping then back to the YHA to make lunch. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon, planning, emailing, booking things for the rest of this trip and our next trip to Turkey.
And so to the last of the photos for this blog….
It’s been a great few days along this bit if the Great Ocean Road but the weather is slowly getting worse and the scenery is no longer as impressive. Let’s see how we get on in the next few days as we head to Adelaide !!