Thank you to our awesome hosts 

Yesterday we departed Melbourne and said goodbye to our awesome hosts. 

Kathryn, Jem, Thalia, Maya & Indi – thank you so much for your hospitality and making us feel welcome. You’ve taught us things about Australia that we would have never known and showed us how beautiful this country is.

We’ve been armed with some key Aussie phrases, feel super relaxed and have been appropriately informed (scared) by stories of the wildlife. 

We are currently on the road to Sydney and feel sad to leave Victoria, it’s an incredible place. But we are super excited to start the next stage of our travels too, it’s going to be intriguing to see how the other states compare. 


Kicking Back and Surfing 

The feeling of almost complete freedom and relaxation that we feel in just two and a half weeks is quite hard to describe. It is surprising once routine is broken how much space you can feel in the mind.

Spending a week near the Great Ocean Road was super relaxing and allowed us to kick back big style, especially when down the beach. I took the chance to watch the sunrise and catch up on my journal one morning, it was amazing to absorb the atmosphere.

We also took a trip to Bells Beach near Torquay. It hosts a round of the World Surf League each year and to stand on the boardwalk over looking the famous break was humbling. The waves weren’t world class when we were there, but it was amazing all the same. After two tantalising weeks of looking at awesome waves it was now time to do what I enjoy most, surfing. 

Back near Ocean Grove we found a board hire shop and I chose one which stood out. I wasn’t fussy, anything would do at this stage. Paddling out into the sea I couldn’t help but think of the possibility of sharks or white pointers as the locals call them. I knew it was irrational and ignored it as best I could. Once out past the breakers I sat on the board absorbing the atmosphere. Before I knew it a lovely clean turquoise lump rose out the sea, I turned to the land and paddled hard. I felt the momentum take the board and I popped up to my feet. Suddenly the previously heavy feeling board came alive beneath me. As I peeled off the back of the wave after a nice ride I was grinning from ear to ear. Catching my first Southen Hemisphere wave felt incredible, all worries of sharks evaporated and I carried on riding for the next couple hours. Finished off by some sunbaking on the beach with Corker.

Afterwards we rewarded ourselves with our first Australian iced chocolates, which Ally’s cousins highly recommended. They were good, very good – see the photos below. 

We’ve now had a couple days back near Melbourne, and it’s been great to stop and reflect on the previous two weeks, what an amazing journey so far. Plans have been put in place for our next stop, Sydney. We’re looking forward to hitting the road. 

Getting lost in The Otways

Almost in complete contrast to our last post, The Otways was somewhere neither of us knew very little about.

It is a national park which sits just inland of the Great Ocean Road. It is different, very different to what we expected to find here. It’s a true rainforest and simply awesome. 

We enjoyed a great overnight camp near the Cape Otway, at the most Southern point of the Great Ocean Road. The highlight being when Ally suddenly shouted ‘There’s a Koala outside the window’. I thought she was joking at first, but sure enough there was. We ran outside and stood in disbelieve as it climbed the tree an arms length away from us. 

After a morning brew, we spoke to a local and were recommended a few routes to take into the wild. Turning off the main road onto a narrow, twisty and undulating gravel track, set the tone of what lay ahead.

We climbing for about an hour, only passing one other car. The rainforest getting more dense with every kilometre that went by. It got to a point where we questioned if we were in the right place. 

Eventually we reached our first stop, Redwood Forest. A section of the landscape which had been planted with Giant Californian Redwoods over 70 years ago. Being there was certainly one way to make yourself feel small in the vast wilderness.

Our next destination was Hopetoun waterfall. It was a long walk down the 197 steps (Ally counted) to the base of the falls, and to our delight there was a good flow over it. The water cascading over the edge and crashing into a fallen tree. The walk back up the steps felt even longer, but we had smiles on our faces. 

We faced a choice of destination next, eventually deciding on Beuchamp Waterfall – a leaflet we picked up rated the walk to it as ‘difficult’ – the gauntlet had been laid down. The rainforest was dense on the hike, both of us apprehensive about the thought of snakes or spiders after some of the recent stories we had heard. It was all good though and the reward was breathtaking. A stunning waterfall set to a jungle backdrop. 

We spent the rest of the day in awe of the forest, pulling the car over several times to simply listen to the insect orchestra, amazing. It really was a place where you lost yourself and were taken to a different world. Australia so far has been full of amazing surprises and we can’t wait to see what the next is. 

Road Tripping – The Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is one of those places that you have heard and seen a lot about before you even arrive. This sometimes can make you wonder if a place can become over hyped or live up to expectations. 

From the moment we rounded the first bend my worries that it might be too good to be true were left behind, wow – what a journey it was! 

Going south the route winds for a seemingly endless distance through breathtaking landscape. Rainforest stretches over the hills away from the coast, and brilliant blue crashing waves batter the cliffs and beaches to the left. It is like driving through a glorious multicolour painting. Constantly I kept nudging Ally to say ‘I can’t believe the colour of the water’, I must of said it 50 times.

The Australian’s luckily had the foresight to build plenty of lay-bys into the route and it is almost painful to drive by one without stopping. When we did stop, the car doors swang open and we would run to the edge to gaze in astonishment at what lay ahead. We were super lucky to have bright sunshine for the whole route and it was difficult to actually take all the beauty in. Often I was fumbling with my camera or GoPro to try and record the moment, but nothing can beat the mind and the memories it now holds. 

The beaches and coves we passed were unreal. Choosing which to stop at was near impossible. We would be concerned that we’d missed our chance or the best one had gone, but mile after mile of almost untouched paradise unbelievably kept coming. 

The jewel in the crown and the climax to our drive was reaching the 12 Apostles for sunset. We checked in at our campsite near Cape Otway and thankfully made it without a moment to spare. The sheer size of the cliffs and remaining apostles was far greater than any photo had prepared me for, at the first glance I froze in amazement.  We found a secluded spot and watched the sun melt slowly into the horizon. 

The journey down the Great Ocean Road made me realise that regardless of your impressions gained before being somewhere, nothing at all can ever replace being there in person and experiencing it first hand. That drive will live long in the memory, it’s a truly incredible memorial to those Australian World War I soliders, hats off to them. 

Today is the day… in a land far away

Today it is six years since myself and Ally have been together. It’s been an awesome journey so far and I could never of imagined that we’d be in Australia 6 years ago to the day.

We spotted some signs at an Opportunity Store (Charity Shop) that read ‘today is the day…in a land far away’ and they seemed rather appropriate. After a strong coffee we spotted another fitting sign. 

The rest of the day was spent exploring. We found an awesome wooden pier, set against stunning turquoise hues. 

We are currently in Ocean Grove, which is a small coastal town to the North of the Great Ocean Road. For the first time since landing in Aus we’ve had a couple of beach days, which has been incredible. Being at the beach is something we both love and share a passion for. 
Ally’s family kindly took us to one of their nearby favourites. Walking through the dunes I was buzzing with excitement to see what was ahead. After the final climb a glorious sandy bay was laid out before us. Turquoise waves were lined up like curdory, groomed by the gentle offshores, while surfers danced across the faces. All being well I plan to surf there in a few days time. 

I’m stunned by the beauty of the coast wherever I am in the world, but Australia really is setting a new level.  

I hope that in another 6 years time we will both be sat on a beach talking about this adventure 6 years previous. 

Phillip Island

After our visit to Wilsons Prom, we travelled North with the setting sun and spent a night at an Air BnB property. The only interruption on the journey a wallaby in the road, it was great to stop and see him hop away safely. 

We both woke after our best nights sleep yet (I think the jet lag has finally faded) and our Australian host made us both a delicious omelette each. She was really friendly and welcoming, like most Australians we have met so far. We sat outside to eat breakfast while staring into the beautiful natural landscape before us. It was one of those moments I told myself to make a mental note of.

After saying our goodbyes we set off up the coast and eventually crossed the bridge over to Phillip Island, which is about two hours south of Melbourne.  

Phillip Island is most famously known for the tiny fairy penguins that visit each night.  However our main focus of the day was to visit the beautiful beaches.  We hopped from beach to beach amazed by the golden sands and turquoise waters. Each one with pumping surf and perfect vistas, exciting Eddie’s desire to get in the water. 

After lunch and with a belly full of sushi we headed to a local beach to catch some rays and finally had a quick dip in the southern ocean – so refreshing! 

We were keen to see the penguins at Phillip Island, but the price was hard to swallow. We therefore came up with a cunning money saving plan. We had seen signs at St Kilda during our previous visit advising penguins visiting there, and it was available to watch for free – a deal too good to turn down. 

The plan was to reach the pier at St Kilda by dusk. We arrived in the nick of time, slightly later than we planned as Edd was keen to get his first barrel, see the photo below.

We hurried to the end of St Kilda pier under the setting sun, where quite a crowd had gathered. We spent the next hour watching the tiny fairy penguins come in. Some jumping up the rocks and preening their feathers right beneath our feet. They seemed oblivious to the admiring crowds watching on in amazement. An awesome experience to round off an inspiring couple of days.

I really like this quote and think it is rather fitting after a couple of quieter days near Melbourne to collect our thoughts:

“Adventure can be whatever makes you smile. It is often circumstance that makes an adventure, not a place or an action.”

Adventure in the South

Everyone has a different definition of adventure and searches for it in different ways. Since starting our travels I have learnt that allowing things to happen naturally in this amazing new environment is an adventure in itself and it is certainly not something that has to be bought or actively searched for. Being free of home comforts and habits allows adventure to find us, not for us to find it. 

We took a road trip this week to the most southerly point of mainland Australia, Wilsons Promontory or ‘The Prom’ as the locals call it. It was like driving into the set of Jurassic Park. Rolling mountains covered with tropical trees as far as the eye could see, that only gave way to white sandy beaches and stunning turquoise water. 

For me it was what I hoped to discover on the East coast of Australia before we arrived. I was completely mesmerised and awestruck. 

The highlight of our time in this area was the climb up Mount Oberon, one of the highest peaks on The Prom. For Ally this was a true adventure, overcoming her worries about the ‘active’ wildlife and fear of height, I was super proud of her.

The walk was a steep and sweaty hour climb through dense forest. Once breaking the tree line the bottom of a rocky outcrop was reached, only at this point was a hint of the incredible view seen.

The final ascent is a narrow, tight and rocky scramble. The true reward only revealed once reaching the summit, a breathtaking view stretched out before our eyes. 360 degrees of visual joy that one could only dream of. The clouds creating shadows over the vast landscape.

The pure sense of achievement, excitement and fulfilment is hard to describe in words. It felt like our adventure had reached a new level. 

The summit and our reaction after reaching the top