Although I’m absolutely loving my job at Starlight, I’ve been working pretty hard this year and between the pressures of work, family, home and parenting I am desperately in need of a little break. So I’ve booked out a week’s leave at the end of August to tackle the Victorian Great Ocean Road. And because I’m a silly bastard I’ve opted for the wild and wet weather that the Shipwreck Coast is renowned for at this time of year. Fun!
My partner is working from Warrnambool that week, so I’ll meet her and spend a few nights together chilling out and enjoying the local hospitality, before she heads home and I depart on my way. I’ll ride from Warrnambool to Geelong over the space of a few days, camping along the way, with a hotel here or there, and even a spot of trout fishing planned at Aire River.
From Apollo Bay to Anglesea, I’ll ride along one of Australia’s best stretches of tarmac, the world-famous Great Ocean Road. I’m looking forward to the lower traffic that winter will bring, even if it means braving the elements.
Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.
A broad outline of the trip
Starting in Warrnambool, heading east towards Allansford and then meandering down towards the start of the Great Ocean Road and stopping for the night in Port Campbell.
Leaving Port Campbell and passing the Twelve (or less!) Apostles Marine Park before climbing through to Lavers Hill and stopping the night at Johanna Beach.
Leaving Johanna Beach, hopefully getting in a spot of fishing on the Aire River, then arriving at Apollo Bay.
Cycling along the coast all the way from Apollo Bay and stopping at Lorne for the night at the Mantra hotel.
Leaving Lorne and heading towards Anglesea, then leaving the Great Ocean Road through Torquay and then Geelong.
If I’ve still got the energy to ride home from Geelong, I might make another day’s trip out of it, but I’m just as likely to call it to an end and train it home. TBC.
Approximate Riding Time
The Great Ocean Road is heavy with tourists, and I’m going on the assumption that even in the off season there will be places to stop and eat. I’ll take some freeze-dried meals just in case, as well as my “fuel” for cycling, but otherwise it affords me the chance to slim down a little on the cooking gear.
I am also not needing things I would take into the bush, like firelighting gear, hatchet, fishing rod holders — I will fish, but not with bait — solar panels, water bladder and so on.
The reduction in bush camping gear will be offset by increased cold and wet weather gear. I’m planning to take both my sleeping bag as well as my wool blanket. I will take both tarps, but have managed to reduce the ropes a lot by using 1.75mm Dyneema lines with DutchWare hardware, tiny little titanium tie-offs given cute little insect shapes and names like Fleaz, Flyz, Ringworms and Stingerz.
I took a little test ride today (Sunday 21 August) fully loaded to test the handling and everything is hunky dory. I tried to wobble and throw the bike off and my trusty Serena just kept on true to form.
One of the weirdly perverse benefits of anticipating wet and windy weather is that I’ve paid a lot more attention to waterproofing and weight distribution, which in turn has led me to probably my most carefully-considered pack yet. Here’s hoping it goes the distance!
Photo of Anglesea road by Wee Ping Khoo on Unsplash. Aerial photo of road and beach by Gagandeep Singh on Unsplash.