The Great Australian Road Trip – Part 1.2 – Melbourne > Adelaide

Continuing from Part 1.1

Day 6

Hot hot hot! Was it really 26 degrees yesterday and today 41? and for the rest of the week back to 21? I don’t understand how weather works, if anyone does, please educate me. Anyhoo because of this extreme weather today consisted of me mostly jumping out of my car for a photo or two of whatever it was and sprinting back to my car which was still on with the aircon on full blast. Have you ever complained that the aircon in the car wasn’t enough? even on full blast and dial maxed to the blue? I have not until this day.

First stop was Geelong, nothing much to see so I didn’t stop (wasn’t worth stepping out into the scorching fire of hell outside), okay so technically that wasn’t a stop. Torquays surfing town was the real first stop and I tell you now, everyone was at the beach today, there was simply not enough sand for the number of people wanting to pitch their tents of lay down to bathe. That is all I saw, 5 minutes later I was back in my car with the (still disappointing) air conditioning.

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Now some of your guys know that i like lighthouses. I think they’re pretty cool, I mean their function and use are pretty simple to understand but I guess it’s just the thought of it in the dark.

“It’s the late 1800’s, you’re out there in the middle of the ocean and your main source of navigation is still a map and your trusty compass. The ocean waves are pounding against your ship from everywhere below, the strong chilly wind is fighting against your every will to keep any direction ahead and then suddenly you see a flash of light; and then another, and of course another follows. The one light in the absolute pitch darkness of the ocean where you have been for months guides you along the coast safely and soundly, a bright beam of hope and warmth.”

Neglecting the fact that I’ve not much accuracy in my historical facts and that the stars and moon had suddenly vanished from the sky those few months in my tale, I think it’s quite an inspirational image (in my mind at least). I guess I’m also a bit warm towards lighthouses because of one of my favourite games called “To The Moon”…but you can check that out yourself (10/10).

Anyways, here’s a picture of the Split Point Lighthouse. (While on the lookout my farm hat flew off my head and I had to fetch it from one of the cliff faces but hey I survived and that’s all that matters).

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The Great Ocean road continued and at about every 10 minutes drive there were cars parked all along the road and lookouts where so many people would go down to the beaches off the coast for a swim. There are literally dozens of beaches along the first 1/5th stretch of the Great Ocean Road and most of them were full of families. Did I stop and get out to have a look? hell naw.

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Shortly passing under the Great Ocean Road Arch I reached Lorne was a really nice seaside town (and trust me, I’ve seen many on this trip *rolls eyes*). It was sort of a combined holiday destination, pit stop and backpackers hut so it had a mix of everything. A cool line of Golden Cypress Trees lined one of the streets which I really liked, shops lined the main road and at the end was a pretty cool bar and rooftop bar which played some loud music that echoed through the town. I don’t think I was cool enough to enter though, everyone seemed to have long golden locks and surfer bodies and I had short black hair with a dad bod. Anyways, the award-winning chunky steak pie was nice!

 

Lookout’s galore! There was a particular lookout that stood out though, this one talked about William Buckley and his endeavours in the early 1800s. The text and his quote kind of touched me a bit, see for yourself.

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“It is sheltered by very high overhanging land so that the sun seldom shines upon it, the tide apparently never receding from it as the depth of water seemed to be always the same”.

I sat there for awhile, looking at the high walls of the cliffs and deeps waters of the ocean and understood him as if I were there 200 years ago.

“I remember a fancy coming over me that i could have remained at that spot for all the rest of my life; but this solitary desire was but temporary,…as it was never intended that man should live alone…”

This struck me hard, being on my own for the past few days on this trip, how right he was how man was not intended to live and at that moment I was excited to continue the trip, ever closer to being home with my family and friends.

Some drive later I reached Apollo Bay and another carnival. What is with these coastal carnivals I asked myself and they seem to be of such popularity as well. I thought hard and well for a moment and realized that apart from all the beautiful beaches and landscape, there isn’t much else to do in towns like these. I wonder, is the carnival some big event for them? is it like something really special when it comes? Do the families, couples and kids all come out to play when they arrive? I think it is all a yes. I giggle a little as I think about my options if I were to take a girl out on a date. “Oh Nancy, I heard about this really cool carnival coming to town later this evening, would you like to join me on some of the rides?” and excitedly she’d accept and we’d have a great time. Of course, this could only be true if girls were real and not some figment of my imagination.

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Pizza was for dinner and I think after all that loneliness of today there was only one really bright side to it all. That I didn’t have to share any of the eight beautiful slices of pizza. Oh how that was like heaven in my mouth, if I was kidnapped and tortured to death after that moment I would have died a happy man. I found it curious however that the price of a Margarita (all cheese) pizza and a pizza with “The lot” (ham, cheese, onion, mushroom, prawns, capsicum, olives, anchovies and pineapple, yes pineapple) were the same price. Of course, i’d go for the latter, who in their right mind would not right? I’m not sure I can be your friend if you said otherwise.

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For dessert, i got sucked into this ice cream shop which had a line all the way up till 10:30pm in the night….like what! Turns out it was Dooley’s Ice cream, apparently multi-award winning ice creams with over 378 awards and 30 trophy’s under their belt! Check out that wall! How could I say no to that? Half an hour later I was slobbering all over my chocolate and amereno cherry ice cream scoops on a cone and yeah, they were pretty good.

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That night, being as it was so late by the time I’d finished that ice cream, I parked by the side of the road and slept in my car.

Day 7

Rocks rocks and more rocks. Today I saw a lot of rocks by the sea, I met a french guy who’s hair was as wild as his ideas for life and an Aussie with two German girls who all worked at a winery which I may visit in the following days, maybe. I’ve yet to acquire the subtle fruity crisp dry oaky finish….okay I’m just saying random words now to describe wine but yeah, that taste. Cape Otway! Yay! another lighthouse, and this time I can see it for more than 5 minutes because it’s not flaming hot out there. Then I realized it was $20 to enter the park area…..or I could go on a little hike and see it from a distance, so I took the long route. I did, however, buy this cool little fridge magnet about why ships are typically called by the name “she”.

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A ship is called a she because there is always a great deal of bustle around her; there is usually a gang of men about; she has a waist and stays; it takes a lot of paint to keep her good-looking; it is not the initial expense that breaks you, it is the upkeep; she can be all decked out; it takes an experienced man to handle her correctly; and without a man at the helm, she is absolutely uncontrollable. She shows her topsides, hiders her bottom and, when coming into port, always heads for the buoys.

I saw some Koalas! omg, are they cute sitting up there on their eucalyptus trees eating and sleeping. The one closest to the ground, I could see him sitting on one thin branch, his butt wrapping around that branch and looking ever so comfortable and stable. I’m not sure if I could do that and still be that comfortable or even be able to walk the next day. Sadly I don’t have a good enough camera to take photos of small objects at a distance so yeah, you’re going to have to deal with this fuzzy one. DCIM103GOPROGOPR4306.JPG P.S did I mention Koalas are so cute?! ❤

And then I reached the great and almighty 12 apostles! Before that, i had taken a walk down to the beach which saw two of the 12 apostles. It was super duper pretty and I definitely recommend you do so if you’re ever in the area. I like the really high cliff face contrasts against the apostles, the cliff wall or whatever I’m making up names kind of looks like the “The Wall” in Game of Thrones if it were covered in Ice but hey maybe that’s just my imagination running wild.

 

Then we have the main lookout for the apostles and well it was pretty beautiful, you could look straight down and almost align the apostles together. Sadly with all the weathering of the apostles, there is kind of only like 7 left. They still look nice and the viewing platform is great for it although there were sooooooo many tourists trying to get their own perfect shot… I’ve never really enjoyed places where there are just too many tourists trying to take photos over and over again. So I bid the apostles goodbye and I made my way along. Oh and I also used that machine thingy to print my own penny, that was cool.

 

Shortly after there were more rocks at the Arch and the London Bridge (which has now since fallen due to natural wind erosion), not to jinx the real one but yeah, probably some conspiracy theory there somewhere.

Side note: Why are there so many flies everywhere I go???!?!? you’d think all the deadly Australian outback spiders would have webs the size of your car to catch them all right? if only they’d stop wasting their time trying to kill us, humans, they’d have plenty of flies for food by now.

A random decision to turn into this dirt road actually led me to one of the best camping spots I have taken upon this trip so far. In fact, I am sitting on a cliff face right now (the next morning) with my laptop on my lap writing three days worth of blog posts with a view which is just amazing. I guess a photo or video will mean a thousand words here.

VIDEO

Day 8

I spent a lot of the early hours today continuing my drive up to Adelaide. Nearing the end of the Great Ocean road and upon leaving Victoria and entering South Australia there wasn’t too much to see apart from lots of dried yellowed brush on the hills in the distance.

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A few small country towns also placed themselves on the great highway, most of which were quite empty and slow. It seemed like these towns were a great place to live the rest of your lives carefree, quiet and peaceful, a friendly and supportive community. I stopped by a small town looking for a place to have brunch. Not too many choices on the plate but I went to the one which looked quite busy (busy meaning more than 3 people in the restaurant at any one time). The food was great! Charcoal chicken and a salad on the side. As I ate I watched quietly, the restaurant owners would greet everyone who came in by their first name and strike up conversations as if it were just a continuation of the days before. When these people asked how the other was doing it really felt like they cared, as if already ready to offer a hand if ever in need.

Crossing the border was one hell of a sight. For hours on end, I would be driving through massive blocks of pine trees, lined perfectly throughout the hills. I was crossing the Palpara Plantation, hundreds of kilometres which were cleared and designated for lumbering. The trees, as densely packed as possible made it impossible for light to penetrate into the plantation floor making the view from the outside looking in, very grim. Dirt roads would lead into the plantation and it would be absolutely pitch black, I don’t think anything could survive in there, an environment only humans could conjure where nothing else lives but these wooden towers. The picture below, which is sadly the only one I remembered to take at the time is an area which wasn’t so bad compared to others I saw on the drive.

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Then I reached Mt Gambier. Whenever you arrive at a town or place with the title Mt you’d think you’d see some tall mound of earth towering over some town, but this was not the case here, I didn’t really see a mountain anywhere. The Umpherson Sinkhole is where I arrived at first, some of you may have heard of it before, recently popularized in some travel videos on Facebook and the such. It’s pretty much a really big hole in the ground created through thousands of years of corrosion in the ground. This big hole was owned by some rich guy with the surname Umpherson who’d made it into a garden in the backyard of his mansion, and then so and so until this day. I was actually quite impressed with it, it was really nice and cool down there and the plants and little ecosystem were buzzing (literally with all the bees) all about. Look how green and lush it is!

 

Another really cool attraction at Mt Gambier was the Blue Lake. At first hearing it you think omg not another one of these, lakes are such common attractions and they usually give lakes common names such as this to attract tourists so I really wondered how blue this lake would be (especially since I’ve been to New Zealand where the blue lakes are seriously blue like the sky blue (Yeah wow)). It turns out that the lake was actually pretty blue! the photo does it no justice though. Oh and the lake was not just any lake, it’s an old extinct volcano ❤ Oh and also someone built this house on the inside edge of it.

 

The sun was beginning to fall now when I hit this crossroad on the Princess Highway. To the left of me in the far distance was the longest strip of wind turbines I have ever seen, on the map I realised it was going to be a 2 hr detour out to the middle of nowhere if I decided to go, and the sun was falling fast, if my car got stuck out there i would have been in trouble but I went anyway. Wind farms have always been really beautiful things to me, so sleek and sexy, an environmentally friendly giant, whats not to love.

 

I bet you didn’t notice my super pro camera technique above where you can see the shadow of my car against the backdrop. You can thank me later for what you’ve learned.

After some Thai food, Pad Se Ew and Fried ice cream. I food coma’ed heavily on the sands of Beachport and slept like a baby.

Day 9

Salt creeks, salt lakes, clay creeks, clay lakes! they all don’t smell very good, do they? or maybe you’re lucky enough to have never driven through one before. The whole morning was spent driving through a coastal area known as the Coorong which leads up to the city of Adelaide, much of it was clay and salt and a mix of them both. From the Granites to the Salt Creek up to the lookout at Jack point there wasn’t much to see but salt, dead or struggling to survive trees and bush and clay.

DCIM103GOPROGOPR4644.JPG Once I got out of there and back to where things actually survive I reached this really cool little park called the Old Tailem Town. An old Pioneering town where you could have a glimpse of how early settlers lived. Super Super cool! It takes over 3 hours to see everything inside the park, sadly I didn’t have time to go in and see the majority of it but here are some awesome pics from the outside. I’ll be back one day Old Tailem Town!

 

And then I reached the beautiful city of Adelaide and the first thing I did was find a place to eat, any place. Ended up having a yummy gourmet hot dog, some calamari rings and chips, ahhh nothing better than fat food to satisfy bad cravings. The second thing I did, because I had arrived in Adelaide relatively early is I went to the YMCA for a swim, spa and sauna <3. The pools were right in the middle of this large park in the eastern posshyyy suburbs of Adelaide, so I had time for a bit of a stroll in the park afterwards as well.

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I was then off to the Botanical gardens where I spent the majority of the rest of the day. The gardens were really pretty! and there were plenty of spots where I just chose to sit down, relax and open up my book to read. a dozen chapters and hours later, the sun was saying goodbye to which would be my last night spent out on this road trip.

But before the night would end a friend would offer to take me on a drive throughout the city. From almost forgetting where she’d parked her car the night took a better turn from there, taking me on a route that would pass through Chinatown, the main road leading up to Rundle Mall and Adelaide’s tiny red light district. We then made our way to the 24 hour and very busy O’Connell bakery and had a drink to catch up at the bar next door. A shoutout and thanks for taking me around Liz!

With the last night of my trip, I decided I deserved a nice break and a good nights sleep. I took up a room in a backpackers lodge as it was quite late and slept on a comfy bed ready for my last day spent in Adelaide.

Day 10

I woke up early this morning, rolling comfortably in bed, quite missing my own one back home. I think when you get the feeling of being ready to go home, that means that you are quite content with where you have been.

Mt Lofty was only a short drive from the city to my surprise. 30minutes from the city and you’re on this mountain top looking over the entire city. The day was a bit gloomy, clouds overhead but that didn’t deter me from enjoying the lookout and taking some short hiking paths on the mountaintop. I was still early so there weren’t too many people about but from what could see, this would be a really nice spot for a family picnic. A small souvenir shop helped me make another cool little penny and the restaurant up top served me a big breakfast with a view.

 

I then made my way down the mountain to the Mt Lofty Botanical Gardens, sat by this tree and enjoyed taking some selfies and reading my book. It was a pretty big botanical garden with not too much to see around the park, after walking for like an hour you’d only manage to pass one or two areas where there were flowers or interesting plants.

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What is a trip to Adelaide without visiting the main downtown road of Rundle Mall? so that I did, making my way back into the city. After driving around looking for parking I quickly realised that the car parks are well priced unlike in the Sydney city CBD. I wondered the main strip of the CBD which if you asked me to describe it, I’d say it’s like a mini Melbourne. If the city could talk it would say that “when I grow up, I want to be just like Melbourne”! With street performers, art decors and savvy shops and events lined up throughout the year there’s no wonder I’d say that.

Note: Look out for Adelaide’s annual Fringe Festival! (16th of February to 18th of March 2018) where the entire city is transformed into one big cabaret, comedy, circus, dance, film, theatre, music, visual art and design centre and street performers from all around Australia get together to take part.

 

Staying for as long as I could, I took my last glance over at the city before making my way to the airport. There, I cleaned up the really messy car before I handed it back to the rental desk and made my way to my flight. Content with the success of this trip and ready to go home, I boarded the plane with a big smile and an eagerness to start what would hopefully be a big and successful year for me.

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Thank You for making it down to here! I hope that you enjoyed the read and that in some way I could help inspire you to take on the challenges and fears that you may face when you attempt anything that you have always wanted to do. For me, this has always been on my bucket list and it is something I have been putting off for a long time using the same old excuses. In the end, I just decided to go and follow my gut. It is with that one line that I continue to believe in, that if we trust ourselves to overcome anything, we can achieve it. A lot of the times we don’t do something because we are scared, because we fear the unknown, that we have not done enough to prepare. We hold back on doing it until it becomes harder and harder for us to complete that goal, to a point where it may feel impossible. At that moment we look back and realise how easy it would have been to start it when we had the chance.

Think about something in your life that you are holding back on right now. It could be something small like going to an event that no one you know is going to or something big like a career change / moving overseas and think deeply about the way that you are disguising the fact that it is actually fear that is stopping you from doing it Maybe you’re saying things like, I don’t really like that event anyways or there’s always a next one or wait till I have my life settled in this and that way before I do it. This is no easy task because it is in our nature to deny that fear has a part to play in why we can’t achieve something.

I wish you all the very best in taking on your goals for 2018! Remember to always dream big and use action as your blade that will drive through the mist of the unknown.

 

Love to all,

Jason L

 

P.S. End + Bloopers + Random

So this is like me the whole time driving on the road trip. Yes, those are pretty much like driving gloves, I don’t know what you call them but if it’s not obvious it’s to help shade my arm against the burning hot Australian sun or else I would have come back with one burnt and dark arm. And yeah, a towel for my legs. #YouLearnEveryDay

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Author: Jason Li

Jason Li (born 17th October 1992) grew up in the big bad city of Sydney. After all these years, he’s still growing up; or at least trying to. Sometimes he writes. Sometimes he gets lucky and writes something good. Most of the time, however, he has no idea where life is taking him, living life just one single day at a time.

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