15.03.2016 - 17.03.2016 91 °F
Three days on the southern coast was time well spent after five in Melbourne. The contrast was refreshing. A bustling city center with endless choices for meals, entertainment, and available wifi versus a secluded coastal town with no shops, stores, gas stations, or structures other than homes and farms (and certainly no wifi).
The coast felt like what I envisioned this vacation would be. Quiet, relaxed, and with few plans. I didn't miss communication with the outside world, and driving 40 minutes to grocery shop didn't feel a burden. Three days of this is perfectly lovely. Three weeks? Probably not for me. Though waking up to a sea side coastal view from the hillside is hard to beat.
We chose to stay in the small community of Johanna, about 3 hours from Melbourne via the faster inland route or 4 hours via the coast. That's what I was told anyway, but as we learned on our 4.5 hour central "fast" route, that really depends on construction and of course how often and how long you stop for breaks.
Given Des spent most of his day in the car we chose to stop and let him play at a service station pullout. He was hard pressed to leave.
It was a long drive. We didn't arrive at our cabin until almost 4 pm, having collected our rental car around 11:30 am. Des naps by 2, so he was very restless in the car seat. He calmed down when we made it to the cabin and was so excited to see the beach through our living room and groups of wild kangaroos sunning themselves on the hillside.
While Des took a late nap I went out for a bush walk around the property to explore. It was a blustery yet beautiful day, and while chillier at 70 degrees, I still watched for snakes. Fortunately none were spotted, but I did see an echidna searching for a meal.
I love walking--especially alone! Though I must admit I'm a bit hesitant to stray too far from camp while pregnant and in a land filled with endless possible deaths from the surrounding land and animals.
After my walk and post Desmond's nap we drove into Apollo Bay to load up on supplies. Lavers Hill, the nearest "town," had a small service shop, tavern, and a couple of cafes. Apollo Bay at least had a grocery store, even if it did close at 7 pm. The drive along the coast was nice and we stopped at Castle Cove to catch the sunset and admire the beauty of the beach as the last of the day's light slowly faded.
The next morning we awoke to bright sunshine in clear skies--a drastic shift from the overcast and chilly day before. We drove further west along the Great Ocean Road to see the Twelve Apostles, one of Australia's natural wonders, expecting a cool day.
Instead we were sweating like swamp pigs in the radiant heat. After a walk out to see one of the most infamous coastlines we grabbed cool bevvies and gave Des his first Popsicle. He devoured it happily and cried for a second. We also let him soak himself in the drinking fountain.
From the Twelve Apostles (of which there were never 12 and several of which no longer exist) we kept west to see more coast and check out the London Bridge.
It collapsed in 1990 (stranding two hikers on the now isolated island rock), so it's really just two big rocks next to one another. It was still very lovely.
All the coastal driving ate up our morning and we got back to the cabin a little late for nap. Des was super stoked about his day's adventures and couldn't settle. We made the executive fun parent decision (that scheduled and regulated parent frowns upon) to skip Desmond's nap and take him to the beach instead. We figured worse case he'd melt down and need an early bed--oh well.
Off to Johanna Beach we went. It was only two minutes from the cabin and we were settled pretty quickly, Des digging in the sand and me taking my afternoon walk along the empty and expansive beach.
The water was far too cold and rough for anyone to swim, but we dipped our toes regardless for some respite from the sweltering heat.
Play was had until it was decided Des had been in the sun long enough. He not only seems to take after me in many of his personality quirks, but he has also inherited my fair skin. Even lathered with six inches of sunscreen and wearing a hat he can only take so much.
Of course our intention to leave was thwarted by the allure of fields and trails, so Des ran around for a bit inland and we checked out some of the Great Ocean Walk. I would love to walk the coastline, stopping overnight at campsites or if I'm feeling really fancy, an inn. I don't foresee that anytime soon, though.
In the evening we cooked dinner and played some more. Des decided he needed to lounge for the rest of the evening.
In the morning we were up early to drive back toward Melbourne via the coastal route of the Great Ocean Road. What a spectacular drive! The small coastal cities were charming and the beaches just stunning. Every new town was a place I would have loved to stay.
We cut back inland in Geelong and dropped our rental car off and checked into our hotel. It was early afternoon and we were staying next to the airport to cut down on travel for our 8:30 am flight back to Sydney. If we'd stayed in Melbourne city center it would have been an extra 40 minutes to get to the airport. At least next to it we could leave at 7:15 am to catch our flight instead of 6:15 am.
The afternoon was stiflingly hot at over 90 degrees. Such a contrast to the day before we left Melbourne when it was a crisp 68. Prepare for anything in that city!
In the afternoon I traded my beach walk from the day before to a walk along a busy highway adjacent to the airport. What a letdown!
Des got up from his nap and hit the pool with Zac. I hit the gym in our hotel.
When everyone was clean and showered we tried our best to find dinner, settling on pizza delivery to the rooms. The hotel restaurant was that sketchy. While the Melbourne to Sydney flight is just over an hour, the last thing I needed was atomic diarrhea in flight from hotel buffet food. Pardon me, motel buffet food. We most certainly weren't staying in a hotel.
After an early flight back to Sydney we head to the Blue Mountains--one of my favorite spots in Australia.