Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Great Ocean Road Trip Part Deux - Lorne

In contrast to the camp site in Sorrento the one in Lorne was a much bigger affair and a lot more strict. As well as paying for the 3 days up front we also had to give a bond amount which we would forfeit if there was any rowdiness. They also gave us 3 keys to get into the bathroom and toilet complex (not nearly enough!)

Nina likes the new campsite

Chris's 'Delorean' and tents

We pitched our tents beside some caravans then walked into town to have a look around. The first night in Lorne was a rather subdued affair. We did not want to be chucked out the very first night so after some beers and street cricket:

Street cricket - break a window and your out.

we headed back into town to suss out any bars. The bar we found seemed to be 90% male but did have a fossball table. The German team of Thomas and Nina proceeded to whip all English challengers. After a while people started heading back to the campsite. When we got back we found we had a visitor on the tree beside our tents:


They are apparently quite common around the campsite.

The next day we were going SURFING!!

6 of us hired out surf boards but me being a complete woose decided to only hire out a body board (as did Katy) It took a lot of thought and effort to get the boards from Lorne to the surf beach beside the Great Ocean Road sign. Because the cars had no roof racks the only way we could transport them was to put them inside the cars with the ends sticking out the back. I managed to fit 3 of the boards into my car with just about enough room for me to drive. Colin had another couple of boards and most of the people crambed into Chris's car. Even with that Chris had to do another run to pick the remaining board and James.

We all got into our wetsuits and then it was off to become beach boy surfers:

Sexy or What?

Chris the Duck-billed Playpus

Alex: 'Does my bum look big in theis?' YES!

There was only one slight problem. With the exception of Xenia and I think Thomas none of us had ever surfed before. We hadn't even had any lessons. The next half an hour resulted in numerous failed attempts to climb onto the board each one resulting in a unceremonious dunking in the water. Only Thomas managed to stand on the board - for all of 1 second before being flung into the water.

I was not fairing any better with the body board. Each time I tried to 'Ride a wave' I ended up in the water sometimes somersaulting over the board headfirst into the sandy bottom. After a while I gave up but as some of the others had also gone back for a bit of a rest I decided to borrow one of the surf boards.

My first attempts were disasterous. I was not getting anywhere. I soon realised that the knack to getting on the board was to wait until the wave was nearly on you and then to paddle as fast as you could to match the speed of the wave. Then you could try standing up on the board.

Of course thinking it and doing it are two entirely different things! Each time I tried getting up I immediately fell off. What I did manage to do every now and then was ride the wave in while lying on the board - what I should have been doing with the body boards.

After a rest we all tried again with the same disasterous consequences. James managed to stand up for a split second but as far as I know nobody else did. I still found it really enjoyable and not half as dangerous as I thought (thats because I wasn't doing it right).

Of course there was a somebody who made it all look easy - who knows no fear!

For our second night in Lorne we had another BBQ only this time we made sure we got good food and the camp site had free gas BBQ's which made things a lot easier to do. Another session of Street cricket followed by another trip to the town for beers then it was back to the camp.

There was no possum to entertain us so Pete dutiful substituted.

For our final full day in Lorne we headed to the 12 apostles with a couple of stops along the way.

The first stop was at Kennett river which Chris whose surname is Kennett insisted we do so he could phone his mum and tell her he had been there.

Chris Kennett River

Beside the river there was a car park area which had a cafe and store. You could also feed a tame parrot but I preferred to get my picture taken as surfing koala!

Beach Bear Ray

We soon came across the real thing. Further along the route was a patch of gum trees which had several wild koalas dozing away. There were loads of people taking shots of the funny looking bears.

Wild Koala - at last!

Our final stop before the rocks was to triplet falls but first we did another pitstop for supplies, toilets and ice creams photos infront of weird statues:

To get to the falls we had to do a 2km loop along boardwalks and up and down endless steps. Still it was a nice enough view when we got there.

triplet falls

Then it was back to the cars ASAP and on to the apostles.

The 12 apostles are a set of large rocks stuck out into the sea towards the end of the Ocean road and are its most famous attraction. One slight problem - there aren't 12 - at least not anymore. Several of them have fallen into the sea through erosion and I think only about 8 remain. The ocean road also had a rock structure called London bridge which was a natural rock bridge but it too has collapsed. I hasten to add that I was not in the vacinity at the time of either event!

The place was packed with tourists. We parked the car in the visitors car park then walked through an under pass to the actual cliff boardwalks and views of the rocks. I was surprised on two counts. First it was free - if this had have been Rip-off Ireland they would have charged you a fee to see them. Second it was actually quite impressive. I had been doubting that the view would not live up to its billing was pleasently proved wrong. We walked along several clifftop boardwalks trying to take pictures off ourselves and the rocks. The only problem was the number of people trying to do the same thing. Everytime you tried to take a photo some Japanese or Aussi tourist would get in your way. I felt like flinging some of them over the side but decided that would not be in the interest of good Northern Irish Foreign Relations.

Here are some shots I managed to take.


More Apostles

Oi! bog off Mr New Zealnd Top

Over more!

I suppose that will have to do - Xenia and Chris

On the way back to Lorne we stopped off at Apollo bay for some food. Than it was back to Lorne for more drinking - this time we ended the night on Lorne's beach before going back and feeding the possums which had reappeared.

For the last day of our road trip we had to pack up the tents - after a large meal of cooked bacon sarnies on the BBQ. Then it was off back to Melbourne. One last stop on in Torquay on the way back for lunch shopping and a quick trip to the beach for beach cricket. Then it was back to Melbourne, Collingwood Backpackers and the balcony for a right royal Xmas eve piss up!

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