I’ve driven the Great Ocean Road west of Melbourne six times before. Always from West to East in a comfy hire car. Usually it’s my post-Portland VW drag weekend trip back to NSW. Every time I’ve done the drive I’ve thought how great it would be to do in the splitty. This time was a great opportunity but I almost missed it, struck down by my own VW!
The original plan was to meet up with Patrick and his wife in Melbourne a week earlier, then take our time cruising in his and my buses along the coast line, camping for a couple of days and eventually ending up in Adelaide in time for the 2012 Bug-In show. A nice relaxed time to take in the beautiful sites of the Victorian south coast.
I thought my trip to NSW was going too smoothly. In 2008 the motor expired and the gearbox was knackered. This year was running incident-free until a slight noise in one rear wheel bearing turned into an entire four-wheel drum brake rebuild. This put a dent in my schedule by a week and I reluctantly had to send Patrick and Jean on their way without me. I had a week to knock about and all going well I could get the bus fixed and head directly West to Adelaide, meeting them after Bug-In and we could still do the trip across the desert back to WA together.
The only luck I had was that Luke Pell and his Dad did a cracker job working over their Easter weekend and got me back on the road a day earlier than I expected. Feeling a bit lucky I hit the road and thought I’d risk it by doing a whirlwind drive of NSW/VIC/and SA in record time. No time for sightseeing or taking time to camp for a few days but my aim was to hit the road in a classic car and see as much of the country as I could, albeit from behind a set of safaris.
Now I’m at the prettiest part of the journey. After a late late night in onshore wind battered conditions I slid unceremoniously out of the bed in the back of the bus, rubbed my eyes, and discovered I’d woken up in heaven. It was still pretty windy but there was a misty rain and a cracker double rainbow. Nice start to the day! I took a few snaps (below) and fired up the motor.
The further West you travel the more the road straightens out (above) and the countryside opens up. All the famous rock formation stops are reasonably close to each other. I’ve done the touristy treks out to the Twelve Apostles etc so the only quick stop I made was to the London Bridge, was a good opportunity to stretch the legs. Funnily enough the Kombi got more tourist photos in the carpark than the limestone structures.
The Gt Ocean Rd eastern side is made up of small hamlet villages connected by cliff side roads along some of the most stunning scenery in Australia. It didn’t take long to discover that the 40km/h twisty corners I had to crawl around at half the speed. The 17″ rims were doing a spectacular job of shredding the tyres under the guards on full lock and I was getting a little tired of the burning rubber smell wafting into the cabin. Thankfully it was early morning and a Tuesday so the traffic was non-existent, I could have driven the road in reverse.