As many people across Australia celebrated the Easter long weekend with the last ‘warm’ trip to the coast, or with hot cross buns and a family egg hunt, I was waking up on the side of the highway. In the back seat of my Toyota Camry, with a kink in my neck and some seriously cramped up legs. At least I was warm, unlike the group of people outside in swags next to me in the rest area.
Headed for Melbourne with pieces of a plan I set off with some snacks, my car and a camera with an empty SD card. Not even thinking about the fact that I would end up driving at least 4,000km completely solo. Not the slightest bit concerned about where I would be sleeping, eating or showering. No cares in the world. Just a determination to see as much as I could and enjoy myself while I was at it.
Headed for the Great Ocean Road after a long night of driving, I bypassed Melbourne and headed on the ring road for Geelong. After making it to Torquay, I got out and had a look at the first sight of ocean I’d had since leaving Sydney and Canberra. I only made it another beach down to Jan Juc before getting out to enjoy the coastal walk that was engrained with local footprints. Jumping the fence I headed towards the cliff side to admire the beautiful landscape. Hours flew by while I was enjoying the sea breeze and the incredible cliffs before me.
I was going to meet a few old school friends in the city for dinner – lets go with Beth and Megan (mostly because that is their names). The drive away from the ocean seemed so much longer than the one on the way there but eventually I made it. It was the first time I had worn shoes since I had left but I suppose for dinner in the city it was necessary. After a great catch up, Beth invited me to stay with her. Little did I know she lived on Floor 53 right in the heart of the city. The view was breath taking to say the least. The room (yes I know) I stayed in had an ensuite AND a floor to ceiling window overlooking the south-west side of the city so on a clear day I could see Port Phillip Bay.
When I woke up, Beth had already left for work and I headed straight out for the Twelve Apostles. Luckily I made it there in time for all the crowds. It was a fairly cloudy day but the lighting proved perfect for bringing out the raw colours of the rocks themselves. Regardless of the people, it was great to have that time in nature to appreciate some of the incredible things it can create. Finally it was time to tick of one of those Aussie bucket list items. I went straight for the Great Ocean Road stopping for snacks and a toilet break – it was Easter Saturday and most shops would be closed the next day to I wanted to stock up on what I could.
Here’s the thing… The Great Ocean Road, isn’t that great. There’s actually really not that much ocean. It’s a lot of beautiful countryside but I think I’ve been spoilt living in the south coast where Grand Pacific Drive literally parallels the ocean for most of the way. Eventually I turned off and went via the highway because it was nearly dinner time and I was going to be driving Beth into town.
For my final day before heading home I decided to explore the city I was in a bit more. I had always wanted to see all the amazing street art and graffiti in Melbourne. I found a website with all the street names and even a map. (https://whatson.melbourne.vic.gov.au/Placestogo/PublicArt/Pages/StreetArt.aspx)
Unfortunately I only got to see a few streets and laneways because then I lost my car for about two and a half hours in the city somewhere.
After filling a 32GB SD card and draining three camera batteries I started my way back up the coast to Sydney (via Lakes Entrance, Canberra and Wollongong). Listening to all manner of podcasts, music, radio on the way. It was an amazing moment when I was almost in Canberra and realised I wasn’t lonely once. Not even for a second. Sometimes you just have to learn to appreciate what is around you and you forget the things you thought you ‘needed’. It’s a very humbling experience learning to live with the basics. Learning to live with what you need and not just what you want is great and I would recommend it to anyone who’s open minded enough to try it.
That’s it for Jax Goes (to Melbz).