The Victorian Road Trip Part 6 – the rest of the Great Ocean Road & Melbourne

Due to the tropical conditions in our apartment and some luck the carseat had dried ….. and it was still sunny, so we decided to head out for some Great Ocean Road sightseeing. For the second time that day we loaded up the car and headed off. This time Astrid was instructed to warn of impending vomit.  Now haven driven this section of road several times, we were worried about how windy it was and another car-sickness episode. Luckily Astrid was asleep about 5 minutes after leaving and missed all the stomach-churning action.  Soren lasted a few minutes longer than Astrid, but also eventually succumbed to car napping.  The skies weren’t quite as clear as earlier in the day but there were still some nice views to be had.

We drove through Wye River (scene of the morning vomit episode) but didn’t stop as most of it could be easily viewed from the car. We then reached Kennett River, which is known for having Koalas. Our haphazard research lead us to believe you could walk along the river and see the Koalas and we remembered which road the river was on. We took a drive there and it was a dirt road and quite windy. We followed it for awhile but it looked like another 5 or so kilometres to reach the river and we weren’t sure if we were going the right way. Since both kids were sleeping we decided to head back into town and see if we could find signs.  The road ran through lots of gum tree forest and was quite scenic. Once we got back to town we found signs that indicated we had been in the right spot but it wasn’t a walk as such, the koalas tended to be in the trees next to the road.  We hadn’t seen any but we they quite well could have been there. Since both kids were still sleeping we thought we’d better keep going and headed further West to Apollo Bay.

We drove through another few small towns, and admired the farms with spectacular views.  Lucky sheep!  We reached Apollo Bay after about an hour and reluctantly woke both children. Soren was happy to be released from the car but Astrid was very grumpy.  The beach at Apollo Bay is gorgeous and the late afternoon sun was making it look particularly so. We tried to entice Astrid with a walk on the beach, normally a hit……. but the grumpy bear wasn’t liking being woken. At least she got to have her tantrum in a beautiful location.

After the tantrum had run it’s course we wandered down the beach, making footprints in the squishy sand and playing in the sun.  After a nice walk we headed to the supermarket across the road to procure some biscuits.  We may have promised carbohydrate treats to placate the tantruming one and had left our supply back in Lorne.  Biscuits purchased we headed back towards the car, through some parks and back along the beach. Apollo Bay seemed like a lovely town and a really nice spot to stay.  Sadly though we needed to get back to Lorne.

Neither child was happy about being sentenced to more car time but biscuits provided a good distraction.  It was now after 4pm and the sun was starting to set. We got some lovely late afternoon views on the drive back.

We managed to survive all the twists and turns in the road vomit free.  After a lot of windy driving even the adults were feeling a little green.  Soren violently objected to the last 20 minutes of driving and we were all pleased to come around the last corner and see our hotel.

We had a voucher to use for the hotel restaurant and decided it sounded like a good and easy dinner option. The restaurant opened for dinner at 5.30 so we got ourselves organised and headed down there with a tired Soren, and excited Astrid.  We were planning on ordering a few different dishes and sharing but Astrid was insisting on fish and chips (yet again). They had a kids menu with fish and chips and Anto gave in to her whinging and let her have it. Nic would have been tougher but wasn’t going to argue.  The fish and chips were actually pretty good and she loved it. Soren stole quite a bit of her fish and then half his Dad’s calamari and risotto cake.  Astrid had a choc paddlepop as part of her meal so the adults decided we ‘needed’ cheesecake. Luckily it came with a bucketload of fruit that kept Soren amused……..

We managed to wrap dinner up by 6.30pm (just as both kids were about to lose it) and left the other diners in peach. We headed back to our apartment and got them bathed and into bed in a timely fashion. We had one voucher left from the restaurant that we weren’t likely to use for breakfast so we seriously contemplated getting a bottle of wine (or some coffees) from the restaurant for take-away but couldn’t be bothered walking back down there!

Morning dawned grey and rainy (and with kids up pre-dawn as usual).  After 3 days in the same place we had managed to spread our belongings far and wide so it took awhile to get everything packed and into the car.  A clearly overtired Soren was not making matters easier but wanting to be carried everywhere. One handed packing is not very efficient.  Luckily the cockatoos turned up at 8am and kept both kids amused for at least 20 minutes.  By 9am we were packed and ready to go. Anto left the rest of us in the warm and dry car while he checked out and Soren was asleep before he got back to the car.  He also returned with take away coffees, and a random assortment of biscuits from the restaurant. They were quite happy to let him use the last voucher up on ‘car snacks’ so we got our coffee and sugar fix sorted for the long drive ahead.

Our plan for the day was to finish the Great Ocean Road drive and then head to Melbourne. Lorne to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road is approximately 2 hours driving without stops. We hoped to do a little sightseeing on the way and be in Melbourne for lunch.  We considered trying yet again to go to Teddy’s lookout before leaving Lorne but it was raining and foggy and we figured we wouldn’t have seen anything.  Instead, we bid farewell to Lorne and head East towards Anglesea.

Like the road heading into Lorne, the road out the other side is very windy.  Astrid almost immediately alerted us to an impending vomit situation so we were driving very slowly, with the windows down and the car on antarctic mode. Soren managed to sleep through the icy blast and Astrid managed to keep her breakfast down.

We drove through Anglesea, which was another pretty town but didn’t stop. The next stop was Airley’s inlet, where we hoped to visit the lighthouse. You can actually see the Airley’s Inlet lighthouse from Lorne when the weather is clear.  Unlike our visit to the Port Fairy lighthouse, which involved a reasonable amount of walking, the Airley’s Inlet lighthouse was right next to the carpark at the top of a hill.  As we reached the lighthouse the rain had stopped and there was a pretty impressive rainbow. With a still sleeping Soren, Astrid and Anto went to check out the lighthouse (and rainbow) but returned very promptly before the next rain shower hit.

The next stop was Torquay. After Airley’s Inlet the road was much more Astrid friendly and we allowed her to have her TV shows back, with the threat of imminent vomit significantly reduced.   We reached Torquay about 50 mintues after leaving Lorne and it was once again raining. We had planned to go to Bell’s beach for a walk but with Soren getting some much needed sleep and the persistent rain we decided to drive through and head to Geelong.   A little over an hour of driving since departing Lorne and we bid farewell to the Great Ocean Road.  It had definitely been scenic and worth the effort. Some sections we drove multiple times, other sections we could have spent more time on (the perils of working around small children) but we all enjoyed our Great Ocean Road adventure.

While the Great Ocean Road part of the trip was done and dusted we were still a long way from home.  Since we pretty much had to drive through Melbourne to get home we planned a night in Melbourne, with a free afternoon to explore. Astrid loves Melbourne so was excited to be heading there again, although a little confused as to why this time we were going in the car. Every other visit with her we have flown, so to her Melbourne was a mystical place you fly to!

We had assumed Soren would only nap for a portion of the mornings driving and we would stop at either Torquay or Geelong for a break and to feed him. A tired poppet he slept like a champion and was still snoozing 2 hours after leaving Lorne.  He only woke up at a service station not far out of Melbourne where we had stopped for petrol and a toilet stop. Between a sleeping baby and a toddler watching endless Ben and Holly it had been a peaceful mornings driving.

Our original plan was to stay in St Kilda for the night but we ended up finding accommodation in East Melbourne.  Since it was rapidly approaching lunch time we thought we’d head to St Kilda for lunch and a wander first since it was too early to check in to our hotel.  As we approached Melbourne Soren was getting a little sick of the car (and ready for lunch) but we made it to St Kilda by 12. Being a Thursday it was actually quite quiet and we found free parking adjacent to Luna Park and headed down Acland street to find a suitable cafe for lunch.

We always love wandering down Acland street and looking at all the cake shops and cafes.  We promised Astrid we would investigate cake after lunch (although it was tempting to have cake lunch!). We found a cafe we hadn’t tried before and looked busy enough to be good but not busy enough to be annoying.  They did all day breakfast and there were lots of good options. In the end Anto had a massive hamburger, Nic had an awesome omlette and the kids shared soft boiled eggs with toast soldiers……  they thought that was a fun lunch!

All full we wandered back down the street via a supermarket for some supplies. We then had to go back to the cake shops to purchase afternoon tea. On our initial stroll down the street, Astrid had spied a chocolate sail boat cake and decided that was what she wanted. We located the chocolate sail boat and purchased it, along with some other tasty treats for the adults. We intended to walk down the Esplanade and along the beach but it was raining and really windy. We ended up walking down to St Kilda beach for a wander. It was very windy and it was us and other tourists there….. We didn’t last too long but the brief sunshine was lovely between the icy winds.  Melbourne was living up to it’s 4 seasons in one day reputation.

With a tired Soren we headed back to the car. It was only a short distance to our hotel in East Melbourne but it took at least half an hour through traffic.  The accommodation was a slight come down from the previous nights (as expected) but was still quite acceptable and Astrid was thrilled to have her own queen sized bed. Nic and Anto were thrilled to have a king sized bed for extra space when Soren inevitably joined us!  After Soren was fed we thought we’d better head out for our afternoons activities.

The previous night we had asked Astrid what she wanted to do while in Melbourne. She has been to Melbourne before and loved it but this was going to be a shorter visit. If we had more time we would have visited the zoo again, but thought it a bit much given how tired we all were. At any rate Astrid had requested ‘tram rides’ and that seemed easier to organise than the zoo! We had left our tram cards at home but figured out that the city circle tram wasn’t too far from our hotel.

On our last trip to Melbourne we had a failed attempt with the city circle tram due to it being over-run with business traffic, making it useless for sight-seeing. We thought it was worth giving it another go though.  It was a couple of kilometres walk from our hotel down to the tram stop but we walked through the Fitzroy Gardens which were lovely in the afternoon sunshine (well the 5 minutes between the wind and rain).  We could have spent longer there but Astrid enjoyed her run around.

We eventually reached the tram stop and waited for the city circle tram to arrive. Astrid was beside herself with excitement, which didn’t dissipate once on the tram. Luckily it was less busy than the last time we tried this trip.  We had a vague plan to head into the city for a wander and some coffee.  After a few stops we jumped off the tram and headed out of the wind and into the shops.  Astrid complained that her tram ride was ‘too short’ but we placated her by letting her share Anto’s chocolate milkshake.  After our afternoon tea we wandered the shops in the warm for a bit and decided to procure some chicken fried rice for kiddy dinner.  The adults decided we were too full and could live on cake alone.

After our shopping (which strangely didn’t involve us buying anything other than dinner), we headed back to the tram. Soren had finally succumbed to sleeping and Astrid was again excited about the tram.  The return tram ride was also pleasant but we got further complaints about it being too short. I know what we are doing next time we go to Melbourne, riding trams all over the city! She was even less impressed when we made her walk from the tram stop to the hotel. Anto took pity on her and carried her most of the way back…… especially since it was rapidly getting dark (and colder).

Back at the hotel the kids demolished the fried rice and Astrid was finally let loose on her chocolate sail boat.  It didn’t appeal to us but she loved it!  Of course Soren must have heard that we had cake stashed away for our dessert because he again managed to delay going to sleep long enough for us to think we should permanently give up eating cake!


Leave a Reply