Anne and I have started clocking up a significant amount of kilometres on our van since we got the keys for it, we headed straight for Torquay which is approximately 2 hours south of Melbourne and is known as Australia’s surf capital, in search for some waves to refresh our minds and help us focus on planning ahead in our travels. We arrived late in Torquay and found the only backpackers hostel in the town which conveniently welcomed “van packers!” We spent the following day finding somewhere to fix my surfboard (which arrived in Melbourne with a beautiful ding in it after being in the careful hands of a courier) and driving down a small part of The Great Ocean Road once we discovered Torquay marked the beginning of the famous route and spent the day in Lorne and Anglesea where Anne found her new surfboard!
Lorne turned out to be quite a drive out from Torquay and with The Great Ocean Road being jammed packed with tourists, it made our journey about three times longer than it needed to be and our tiredness heightened so we decided to find somewhere to stay in Lorne. After driving multiple times around the town and finding out that every single campsite and backpackers were full we had no other option than to camp out “illegally” down a hidden residential road. This proved challenging with an 8’4ft surfboard that we had to hide under our van but we managed it and woke up early to avoid a big, fat, hefty fine and headed back towards a beachside camp kitchen we found the previous evening to cook pancakes for brekkie. Our first stop was the surf beach, being board-less for a few days Anne kindly shared her new board with me and we spent the afternoon on a fully packed beach trying to dodge others surfers, body boarders, swimmers and general clueless people in the water and headed back to our current home, Bells Beach Backpackers. We were really lucky finding this place to stay, it’s cheap because we sleep in our van and the majority of people staying here are people working in the town and are practically residents so it’s nice to see some familiar faces everyday and spend time with people that aren’t leaving anytime soon. We met two guys that had been around a while, one lived in the area and moved over from New Zealand and the other was on a surf trip/break from his home in Chile who invited us to go surfing with them the next morning. It’s always good to surf with locals or people that know the area because it’s a good way to discover local surf breaks and meet more local people! We spent the morning surfing Jan Juc which is one of MANY surf spots in Torquay until we went to meet to our friends we made in Melbourne that had travelled down on the train for the night in search of a surf lesson from us both so we decided to take them to Torquay’s surf beach for some beginner waves – The waves weren’t even quite beginner standard that day but we had fun all the same and made up for it in the evening having a BBQ and a few bottles of wine with everyone at the hostel!
My cousin and her now husband moved all the way from Wales to Adelaide with work just over 5 years ago and my Aunty has been staying with them for the past 10 months to watch the little one grow up. My other cousin and his girlfriend were also visiting on a 3 week holiday so I jumped at the chance to see them all considering they were only a 10 hour drive away (that’s hardly anything in Australia!) and I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be any closer to them! We got up early and took the inland route, saving The Great Ocean Road for our return journey to Torquay and were directed to their friends where they were spending the evening. We were welcomed with home cooked food and beer, we couldn’t have been happier after such a long, hot journey and Anne was immediately accepted into the family! The following day we all spent in Glenelg on the beach, it was scorcher and so we had a BBQ for dinner in the evening which then turned into an interesting evening after my Aunty Helen read mine & Anne’s tarot cards. – I know a lot of people are skeptical about card readings and physics etc but I’m a believer of them and I’d never actually had my cards read until now. Without getting into any personal details that came up in our cards, Helen read mine to begin with and then did Anne’s afterwards and we had drawn extremely similar, if not the same cards. The ones that linked us turned out to be a future business opportunity which we had briefly discussed rough ideas on previously so as you can imagine we got very excited and are both now eager to see what will end up happening later this year! It was so nice to spend some time with my family over here in Australia, I didn’t get to see them as often as I wanted to back in the UK and it had felt like we’d never been apart, I was already feeling like I didn’t want to leave or that I wanted to come back sooner rather than later! Kat and Lance took us all to the Fringe Festival that was on in Adelaide, The Garden of Unearthly Delights where I saw my very first “Freak Show!” – this wasn’t a show for the faint hearted, it consisted of The Lizard Man, a woman electrocuting herself and a guy who swallowed swords and lifted weights up from fish hooks attached to his eyeballs!
We also went for breakfast the following day before we left where Kat and Lance got married which was lovely to see. We previously planned to stop off on our journey back to Torquay to break up the drive a bit and try and find some surfing spots so we drove 6 hours down to Portland which wasn’t far from The Great Ocean Road and camped there for the evening. We checked out the water in Portland which turned out to be completely flat and made our way towards The Great Road, we drove through a large town called Warrambool and spotted SURF BEACH signposted where we raced too. After a few hours of surf we packed up again and hit The Great Ocean road making various stops for a break and a photo opportunity but each place we stopped ended up fully packed with Japanese tour buses and tourists and suddenly the beautiful views of the ocean didn’t seem as tranquil and peaceful as we’d first expected them to be!
Making our way down the Ocean Road ended up taking a lot longer than planned and by the time we got nearer to the end of it we were tired and decided to stop off and stay the night at the first campsite we came across in Apollo Bay. Fortunately we were only an hour from Torquay so we set off early and hit the beach right away hoping for a surf, unfortunately the waves weren’t great and as it was the weekend the beach was packed so we decided to body surf instead and just enjoy laying in the sunshine after being couped up in the van for a fair few days. Now we’re back at our base in Torquay, camping outside a backpackers in our van again where we feel at home :) Anne has started working with a surf school here as a Surf Instructor which is great for her so now it’s time for me to convince someone to hire me to earn some much needed dollar!
Sun, surf, Torquay :)