What’s in the box this time round, on the road trip to beat the travel bug? It’s time to leave the hustle and bustle of the busy city of Melbourne, and hit the road to find a hidden surprise, on the most travelled and most popular road in Victoria. You guess it. It’s the Great Ocean Road, with a twist.
The Great Ocean Road, it’s an oldie but a goodie. Just like the returning WWI soldiers who have built this road to commemorate their comrades, Miss Hoggy, the ever-returning traveller, has never failed to make a trip down this coastline every year, to remind her the beauty of home.
Sun and surf is the business of this road-hugging coastlines. Twelve-but-now-Eight-Apostles, stunning coastline, summer favourites, a must-go destination for any Victorian road trips, you know, the common knowledge. Knowledge so common that accommodations for this whole of 243-km stretch of road were sold out for two months!!! Okay, this could be an exaggeration, but any available rooms would’ve been FIVE times the usual rates, and it’s way too much for Miss Hoggy’s budget.
So this bugger of a common knowledge has pushed her to the off-beaten track alternative: CAMPING!! And Reader, we’re playing with the Wheel of Fortune, Miss Hoggy-style. With 20 camping sites on offer on Great Otway National Park, she, the designated driver, decided to just go to the nearest camping site entrance, wherever it maybe, at 6pm, without any prior reservations or research. And this, dear Reader, has brought her to the most surprising yet rewarding experience.
And here we are, at the Aire River East camp site: a small, shady site with only a toilet facility and a river to bath in. Even without the comforts of the First World bathing facilities, this whole camping experience made her discover the other facet of the Great Ocean Road, without the Ocean, but still equally stunning.
So far kind of faraway from any town centres, or proper shower facilities, can we survive this brutality of life? Sure, can do!
Life’s full of surprises that way, even the places that we thought we’ve always known to be true, just like the Great Ocean Road. The camping trip has been as exciting as well as challenging, with initial struggle with a certain thing called a tent, fighting the wasps in the toilet, a creative solution to a shower, and dealing with the sudden weather change of Victoria, but I wouldn’t change a thing on this trip. It was perfect.
P.S. We did congratulate ourselves surviving the wild for 3 days and 2 nights, treating ourselves to this:
Facts: Great Ocean Road is around 3 hours drive from Melbourne CBD. Aire River East camp site at Great Otway National Park is a 30 minutes drive from Apollo Bay. For more information, visit Parks Victoria.
Great Ocean Road, at Shipwreck Coast, courtesy of good friend Mel.
Dooley’s Ice Cream, at the Ice Cream Tub.