Thursday, 21 March 2013

Adelaide & the Great Ocean Road

After the heat of the Outback it was great to get a little cooler weather in Adelaide before starting our trek back to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road. We picked up our rental at the airport and had a smooth trip to the hostel with the help of a borrowed GPS. I wasn’t very comfortable driving on the opposite side of the road but am now proficient after the 1500km we racked up in a few days.
Adelaide is a very clean hip little city that was a perfect reintroduction to civilized life. The best part of it was we had a local tour guide in to form of our friend Heather that we met/stalked on the STRAY bus in New Zealand. Heather met us for a coffee and then rounded out our plans for the next day by volunteering to chauffeur us to the nearby wine region and visit Australia’s oldest German settlement called Hahndorf for some pretzels, beer and sausage. I tried to convince the girls to join me in ordering a meter long hot dog but they opted out.
Hahndorf had everything we were looking for within its tiny street of shops. We did a free cheese tasting and a reasonable wine tasting followed by lunch. Then to top it all off we went to a farm and picked fresh strawberries for dessert. Heather then took us through town and pointed out the shopping and restaurant districts for later. She was great guide and made us feel at home in Adelaide.
Our last night in Adelaide we went out for pizza on the way to the fringe festival, which was taking place not too far from the hostel. The setup was great with food and entertainment venues set up throughout a garden that you could walk through. We took it easy as we were gearing up for the drive on the following day
 Our first stop on the way back to Melbourne was a small town called Robe. It was a very quiet town that was a needed stop because I didn’t really feel like driving more than 4hrs a day.
After Robe came Port Fairy. Port Fairy is another small town that had some cools cafes. We took a spur of the moment trip to a place called Tower Hill Reserve. It is advertised as one of the few places where Kangaroos, Emus, and Koalas live in harmony. It turns out that they weren’t kidding! Within 10 minutes we had startled a bunch of Kangaroos, chased an Emu down the path and found a snoring Koala. The weather started to turn and we were kind of freaked out trying to hunt down some photos.
 Following Port Fairy we stopped at Apollo Bay. The YHA here is the best Hostel we have ever stayed in. It bordered on Spa Hotel with its great views and two floor lounges and kitchens. This ended up being an epic day of driving because we stopped at so many places. Jess’s favourite was on Cape Otwaywhere we were enamoured with the sleepy Koalas crawling around and stuffing their little faces. I enjoyed a crazy bit of road that was the twistiest road I’ve ever been on. It made the Road to Hana (in Maui) feel roomy after we a came upon a head on collision in the middle of nowhere. The closest encounter I had was with four or five chubby little sheep that were too stupid to get out of the way and decided to sprint in front of the car in an effort to tire it out.
 If you look close you see two little front teeth - something I did not know koalas had. Hilarious.
This is an echidna. A curious little creature.
In the end we checked out all the coastal sites and stopped at Torquay to see the Surf Museum and the home of Ripcurl and Quicksilver. It was entirely underwhelming and a bit of a sour end to a great part of our trip.

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