Renting a car in Adelaide airport was pretty simple, there was no traffic on Sunday morning so I quickly picked up Florian in his hostel, picked up my staff, greeted Max and we started.
First day was just about long highway transfer to Grampains national park. Well long – compared to Darwin – Adelaide it was nothing, we also saw completely different scenery. Instead of just red bush with nothing, here the land was hilly, green, with many sheep and cows along the road and way more populated:) On the way we also saw real pink lake:
In the little moments when it stopped raining (no problem in the car) we saw and could listen beautiful parrots.
I knew I am coming to Australia at the end of winter (officially spring already started on 1st September), but I still thought it is Australian winter, it will be warm enough… Strong wind, unstoppable rain and temperature just above 0 degrees Celsius is something I would not expect.
We found free camping in Grampians national park, the only problem was our tent – size for 1 and half person and single layer only – not a perfect equipment for this weather. We places our tent next to other travellers from Germany and protected them by cars – in thanks of this we survived the night quite well. Our neighbor tent felt down during the night and she had to escape inside her car.
And the first thing you see when you get out of the tent? Many kangaroos and wallaby which cheers you up 🙂
We left our car in Halls Gap and started our hike via Venus Baths, Splitters Falls, Grand Canyon, Cool Chamber, Silent street and enjoyed beautiful view from The Pinnacle. Rain and wind were really unpleasant (more than yesterday in the car), but Florian said an interesting thought “we are here to admire this natural beauty, rocks carved to amazing forms by wind and rain, therefore we should not be complaining about the weather, we can more easily understand the power that formed this” – and I think he was right.
Then came something what none of us expected – it started SNOWING! Well I knew people are skiing in Mount Cosciuszko, but I really did not expect snow here, especially not after the terrible heat just few days back in the desert “few” kilometers further north.
After enjoying the view from Sundial Peak we got down to Lake Ballfield and headed back to our car.
Another stop we did was at McKenzie falls and headed to south coast.
As spending another night in tent in this weather (on coast even stronger wind) was not really temptative, we were happy to find a CS hosts Shirley and Ken in Warrnambool. What was originally only an emergency request turned out to be the best night in Australia. This couple originally from UK has traveled a lot all around the world (around 90 visited countries) and have many amazing stories to share.
Their Thai friend works in Australian hospital as physiotherapist. When exercising with one old lady, she moved a chair to have more space. Unfortunately this lady did not see it, tried to sit down on the chair which was not there and felt down. As in Thai culture the lady could “loose her face” (feel dishonored), she immediately started laughing in order to cheer this lady up, to take it as something funny and not something to be ashamed – the normal behavior in Thai culture. Unfortunately this lady understood she is laughing at her and sue the hospital because she “moved the chair by purpose to cause her injury” It took a long to to explain this affair caused by culture differences.
We also discussed the heat without humidity, which is in Australia. It is incredible, but really you are not sweating here (you are sweating, but the heat dries it so fast you do not even realize) even if it is really hot (unlike Italy when you are sweating too much even if not doing anything). There was a couple who went on ride to desert when their car cot broken. Boy was injured so stayed in the car, while the girl went 100km for a help. The boy was found alive in the car, but the girl was found dead dehydrated just 12km from the car with full bottles of water – she simply did not feel the thirst, so she did not drink!
BTW. we also learnt that even if now here are about 24 millions of people living in Australia, when they moved here 30 years back, it was only around 12 millions of people. The country is 100 times bigger than Czech Republic, but 30 years back had +- same amount of people. Do not even want to make comparison to Taiwan or Singapore.
On their recommendation we went to Logans Beach to watch whales which swam close to the coast because of their babies and sometimes visible. I was lucky and saw one 🙂
Then we finally got to the Great Ocean Road, stopped at Bay of Illands, Bay of Martyrs, London Bridge (IMHO the best spot, there used to be 2 bridges earlier and people were walking on them. When one of the arches felt down because of the waves, some people remained trapped on the other one and had to be rescued by helicopter), Loch Ard Gorge and finally at 12 Apostles.
Apollo Bay beach was not really interesting in this weather, so we continued further. As the coast road offered many curves with beautiful scenery, I changed automatic gear to manual and started enjoying the ride 🙂
As in Melbourne suburb Altona Meadows it was not that windy anymore and also the temperature was higher in the city, we slept in the car next to a park, just next to this sign:
We drove 1055 kilometers in total.