Date writ­ten: 29 August 2022

Date post­ed: 5 Sep­tem­ber 2022

This post was writ­ten by hand in my diary on the road, and entered into the blog when I got home.

I woke up ear­ly this morn­ing, packed my gear and got away as quick­ly as pos­si­ble, want­i­ng to max­imise the time I’d have to spend at The Twelve Apos­tles, Loch Ard Gorge et al. before tack­ling the long slow climb up to Lavers Hill, the high­est point in the Otway Ranges. Even fur­ther press­ing was the severe storm rag­ing its way across the west of Victoria.

I did­n’t want to be rid­ing a steel bicy­cle in a light­ning storm, so I had to reach Lavers Hill by about 13:00, when the storm was pre­dict­ed by the weath­er bureau to arrive. I left Port Camp­bell at 7:00, not even hav­ing break­fast as I hit the open road from Port Camp­bell to Loch Ard Gorge. The sun was ris­ing as I rode along and the tran­quil qui­et was very soothing.

The sun ris­ing on the Great Ocean Road near Port Campbell

I again stopped at plen­ty of tourist look­outs. First on the list was Loch Ard Gorge, where I took a shot from the view­point on the top of the cliff but due to the high tourist traf­fic, I did­n’t want to leave my bike unat­tend­ed for long enough to go down the steps to the beach for the best photos.

Next up was the Twelve Apos­tles, where I met a Span­ish fam­i­ly who were vis­it­ing Aus­tralia to see their son/nephew mar­ried and tak­ing in the sights whilst here. The young groom han­dled the trans­la­tion as I offered to take a pho­to of the fam­i­ly, and he then offered the pho­tog­ra­phy ser­vices of his soon-to-be bride who was reput­ed­ly the group’s “best pho­tog­ra­ph­er” to take a pho­to of me in return. I then broke out the break­fast kit and had some mues­li and long-life milk in front of the best break­fast view in Aus­tralia today. The sun was still low in the sky and slow­ly lit the Apos­tles whilst I munched on the mues­li and took in the vast rugged coastline.

The Journey

The views con­tin­ued all the way to Prince­town, where I decid­ed to try and find some cof­fee. Unfor­tu­nate­ly the four or so build­ings that make up the town are dead qui­et at this time of year, so I had to con­tin­ue sans-caf­feine. I saw some cute lit­tle lambs on the road out of Prince­town, which began a long, slow climb for the rest of the day. One hill led to anoth­er, and anoth­er, and another…

I bought some Bon­trager bike shoe cov­ers with the wet weath­er in mind, but I was unim­pressed with them. The zip would­n’t stay up and itched my leg ter­ri­bly, and in the end I did­n’t real­ly need them. At the end of just one ride the bot­tom of the cov­ers are all torn up, and they are not very durable for kit that cost $85!

The view on both sides of the road as I climbed was sim­ply mag­nif­i­cent, and eas­i­ly kept my spir­its up as I ascend­ed the ranges. I had ocean on one side, pas­tures on the oth­er, giv­ing way to rain­for­est all around as I passed through Otway Forest/National Park.

I final­ly found my cof­fee fix at the Great Ocean Road Wildlife Park, and though I did­n’t stop to see the park itself, I did have a good chat with the friend­ly gent who lives there/runs the park. I also got a pat of (one of the) house cats Addy. Then with the storm clouds brew­ing I head­ed off again.

Even though the going got tougher as I crossed the Gel­li­brand Riv­er, it was worth every metre. I saw beau­ti­ful black but­ter­flies with red, yel­low and white mark­ings called Impe­r­i­al Jezebels and there were hun­dreds of them. I smelt all the flow­ers, wat­tle, rain­for­est and ferns, saw wal­la­bies, kook­abur­ras, all kinds of flo­ra and fau­na one would miss from the cocoon of their cars. The only ani­mal I did­n’t see was a koala, and boy was I look­ing! I spent a good deal of the climb look­ing up for bums in trees.

I stopped in just about every turnout on the road to let cars behind me pass. I was only doing about 6 kph so it was easy enough to move right over and make things easy for all. Even­tu­al­ly, tired and cramp­ing and puff­ing like a loco­mo­tive I reached Lavers Hill, and booked myself into the Otway Junc­tion Motor Inn to ride out the storm. I had a good chat with some local fenc­ing con­trac­tors in the bar attached to the motel who just hap­pened to know my uncle and aunt who live in near­by Gel­li­brand (near­by but too far by bicy­cle). Small world!

The stats

1
Distance ridden
0h 0m 0s
Riding time
1
Elevation (climbed)
1
Average speed
1
Max speed
0ºC
Temperature
Down­load file: Great_Ocean_Road_Winter_Tour_Day_2_I_am_a_mountain_man_.gpx

On my trav­els today, I passed through such beau­ti­ful coun­try and would like to acknowl­edge the tra­di­tion­al cus­to­di­ans of those lands. First I rode through the lands of the Girai­wu­rung peo­ple, and then I passed through Gadubanud coun­try. I’d like to pay my respects to their respec­tive Elders, past and present.

Category: Cycling
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