Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag English (part 2): Melbourne - Lorne
7 januari 2015
English (part 2): Melbourne - Lorne
Wednesday 29th of October: Melbourne
After a good night’s sleep we are ready for more exploring in the city. We take the train from Burnley to Melbourne Central Station and walk to the Public Library, where our guide Mathew from ‘I Am Free Tours’ is already waiting for customers. As the name says,’ I Am Free Tours’ offers free walking tours in Melbourne’s CBD. Mathew is a very knowledgeable and entertaining guy, who takes us to all the important buildings and sights in the city centre. We learn a lot about Melbourne’s history, the different minorities living in Australia’s most multicultural city and of course about the many cultural and sports venues Melbourne is famous for. Even Helen and David, who had both grown up in Melbourne, discover places they have never been to and learn a lot of new facts about ‘their’ city. One of the things, that are new to them, are the many lane and alleyways hidden in the CBD. When they were young, this was forbidden territory to them, as it was considered too dangerous by their parents. Today lots of these laneways are covered in the most superb looking street art or contain quaint little shops and cafés. They have actually become a real tourist attraction. After three hours of walking through the city the tour ends on the terrace in front of Hamer Hall, Melbourne’s premium concert venue, overlooking Princes Bridge and the Yarra River. Although the tour is free, tips are of course appreciated. They are not compulsary though and you can tip the guide whatever you think the tour was worth. We reward Mathew with a generous tip for this excellent tour. After that we purchase something to eat at the foodcourt situated in the basement of Hamer Hall and have lunch on a picnic table outside in the sun. Then Helen and David invite us for a one hour cruise on the Yarra River. Aboard the historic MV Grower we first cruise upstream along all the big sports venues such as the Rod Laver Arena (home of the Australian Tennis Open) and the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Then we turn around and go downstream to the Docklands. Once Melbourne’s harbour the Docklands are now being transformed into a luxurious housing area with lots of interesting modern buildings. Back at Princes Bridge we go for a stroll along the Yarra and have a look at the huge casino located here at Southgate. Just one week before Melbourne Cup, everything in here is dedicated to what is Australia’s greatest horse racing event. Finally we cross the river again and walk north up to Franklin Street, not far from the Queen Victoria Market. Here are all the city outlets of the rental car companies situated. At 89 Franklin Street we find Europcar, where we pick up a brand-new Toyota Rav4, our means of transport for the coming four weeks. It is huge and I’m very grateful, that Klaas is taking the first shift in driving this monster back to Sally’s place in Richmond. Helen is sitting beside him navigating him through the busy rush hour traffic and keeping him safely on the left side of the road. After a pretty nerve-wracking half an hour we arrive ‘back home’ and park our monster in front of Sally’s door. Then we take Helen and David’s car and drive to Sally’s boyfriend Bernard’s place in Albert Park, a district in the south of Melbourne. Sally and Bernard have kindly invited us for dinner tonight. Albert Park is not far from the beach and as the weather is still nice and sunny, we take a short stroll to the sea in order to work up an appetite. Back at Bernard’s place he and Sally proof to be excellent cooks. An appetizer of asparagus wrapped in prosciutto is followed by a delicious tuna steak with greens and rice, then a cheese board and finally a ricotta tart with strawberries and ice cream. Every course is accompanied by a matching local wine. Yummy! When we finally return to Sally’s place, we are so full, we quite literally roll into our beds.
Thursday 30th of October: Melbourne – Lorne
Today we leave Melbourne and start our road trip across the State of Victoria. Our first task after breakfast is trying to fit all our luggage and camping gear into the car. Helen and David kindly offered to borrow us their tent as well as all the other equipment necessary for a camping trip. During the past few weeks they have brought heaps of stuff down to Melbourne, blocking half of Sally’s garage. Actually we had to decline quite a few things they brought, because otherwise it just wouldn’t fit into our rental car. Helen and David also brought us their sat-nav, which will help us to get out of the city and to find our destinations. We owe a lot to them for being so generous to us, as not having to buy or rent all this gear saves us a lot of money we can use to splurge on other things. We don’t plan to camp all the time though. Depending on the weather, our budget and availability we will make use of accommodations such as cabins, motel and cheap hotel rooms too. And of course we will have another home-stay, once we reach Helen and David’s place in Moama.
Once we managed to pack everything into our car, it’s time to say goodbye to Helen and David. It is a bit of a sad moment, as we had a great time with them in Melbourne, but luckily we will see each other again in less than two weeks’ time. Unfortunately Sally isn’t home, so we can’t say goodbye to her. But hopefully we will meet her again at the end of our trip. As I don’t dare to drive in the city traffic, Klaas is taking the driver’s seat again. Luckily most of the rush hour traffic has disappeared by now and our friend’s TomTom navigates us safely out of the city in direction of Geelong. The first part of our journey takes us along a toll-motorway. Luckily our rental car is equipped with an e-tag and the toll fees will be billed to our credit card automatically. There are no toll plazas here, where you could pay the toll in cash like on most toll roads in the US. If you don’t have an e-tag there is only one alternative to pay the fees and avoid a fine and that is buying a Melbourne pass online. You can actually do so until three days after you have travelled on a toll road. Quite handy, if you don’t know in advance whether or not you will make use of toll roads. Having an e-tag installed in your car makes it even more easy though. So ask for it, if you are renting a car out of one of Australia’s big cities.
Our first stop is the visitors information centre in Little River just out of Geelong along the Princes Highway. A very sympathetic and enthusiastic lady with Dutch roots supplies us with brochures, maps, a nice bag to store it all and heaps of valuable tips on what to see and do along the Great Ocean Road. She also gives us the advice to make a short stop in the city of Geelong before going on to the start of the Great Ocean Road in Torquay. We take her advice and let the sat-nav navigate us to the water front in the centre of Geelong. Although the sat-nav does its job, it is driving Klaas crazy with all the little peeps and noises it makes, whenever he is driving a little too fast or when we get close to a speed camera or even a traffic light. That’s why we decide, that in the future we will only use it, if we can’t find our destination otherwise.
In Geelong we park the car at the Cunningham Pier and take a walk along the waterfront. All along the beach we find groups of funny sculptured bollards representing swimmers, fishermen and even a marching band. At a little kiosk we buy some fish and chips for lunch. The weather being warm and sunny we can enjoy our lunch al fresco. Not far from the waterfront is a big mall, where we buy our first supplies at the Coles supermarket. With two huge bags full of food and a 10 litre tank of drinking water we return to the car. After putting everything away, we then drive south to Torquay on the Surf Coast. At Bells Beach we soon find out, where this stretch of the coast gets its name from. The waves are huge here and perfect for surfing. Although the water must be freezing, there are enough daredevils out there showing us their exceptional skills. On the way to Bells Beach we have a few scary moments, when suddenly something starts to hiss in the back of the car. It sounds like one of the gas cartridges is losing pressure. Because we don’t want to risk an explosion, we stop the car immediately and have a look. Luckily it turns out to be the container of the insect repellent and not the cooking gas , which is leaking. A lot less dangerous, but unfortunately very smelly.
Our next stop along the Great Ocean Road (GOR) is Point Addis, a beautiful cape with high cliffs, huge breakers and lots of birds such as cormorants and the stunning white, black and blue coloured superb fairy wren. Continuing our way along the GOR we drive through Anglesea and reach Aireys Inlet, where we take a short stroll up the hill to the Split Point Light House. From the light house we have a beautiful view of the wonderfully coloured and whimsically sculptured cliffs along the coast line. As it is almost 5 pm by now, it’s time to go on, if we want to reach our destination before dark. Tonight we sleep in a cabin on Lorne Foreshore Caravan Park. Unfortunately we had booked this accommodation way in advance, because had we known about the state of this cabin, which is in desperate need of remodelling, we probably would have preferred camping. The caravan park is in a good location though, just off the main road into town and right across the street from a supermarket. It has a beautiful setting on the banks of Erskine River and the beach is within easy walking distance. We put some steaks on the barbecue and have them with a Caesar and a potato salad seated at the picnic table in front of our cabin and carefully watched by a bunch of cockatoos, ducks and cormorants. After dinner we take a stroll along the beach and through town, have a cup of coffee and tea and make some plans for tomorrow, before hitting the sheets.