”Jobs fill your pockets, but adventures fill your soul.”
– Jaime Lyn
Back in May (for work) we were doing some flights out of Melbourne– which was amazing because it gave us the opportunity to explore this beautiful city in our down time (although we didn’t have much of it). Since we didn’t have much time, I flew down early so I could have some days off in Melbourne and properly explore it like the tourist that I am.
I rented a room on Air BNB for three nights in St. Kilda– the popular beachside suburb of Melbs. To be honest, I didn’t even have a chance to explore this area because my trip ended up being way more exciting than I was anticipating. No complaints there!!
A few weeks prior to this, I met a wonderful girl- Gracie- who showed me around to some of the night scene in Melbourne. When I told her I was coming down to do some exploring, she said she was super keen. I was so stoked about this! As much as I love travelling and exploring on my own, it’s so much better when you have amazing company to join you. She picked me up from the airport and we headed straight to the Dandenong Ranges. It was a beautiful crisp Autumn day with the smell of winter approaching. I love that Melbourne gets properly cold in the Autumn and Winter. Having to break out a winter coat, tug a cozy beanie down over my hair, and tie up some boots over my snuggly warm socks- Bliss. I’m a snow bunny at heart. Autumn is my favourite time of year and for the first time in 3 years, I actually got a taste of it here.
With my window down and the crisp air blowing through my hair- hanging my head halfway out the window to fully absorb the smell of Autumn- I was on an absolute high. We had lunch in a cute little village and then made our way to The Alfred Nicholas Gardens in The Dandenong Ranges. This garden is filled with cute little bridges crossing over quaint ponds, colourful leaves falling every which way, and surrounded by lush forest. It was absolutely beautiful.
We ventured to SkyHigh Mount Dandenong for a glorious sunset over the city and ranges. Pictures never do it justice, as usual. After discussing what we wanted to do for the next couple days, we decided to go on a sporadic camping trip to The Great Ocean Road. I can’t even properly describe just how excited I was about this sporadic adventure! Camping in Autumn? Hey why not? I didn’t exactly pack for that, but oh well! I seriously adore this girl for being so keen and excited to do this.
If you haven’t heard of The Great Ocean Road, please do yourself a favour and Google it right now. It’s one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. And for good reason!
After a late night out, we crashed at the place in St. Kilda and woke up early to start our road trip. We picked up a few things from her house, stopped at K Mart for a tent and some other essentials, and of course stocked up on road trip junk food! What’s a road trip without junk food? We left later than anticipating, but we did pretty damn well. I believe we drove about 5-6 hours on the beautiful windy road. It was a blue bird and absolutely gorgeous day for a scenic road trip. Gracie was a bloody champion. She did all of the driving and stopped at every ample photo opportunity. Best tour guide ever! We made quite a few stops along the way and hauled ass to The Twelve Apostles for sunset. Unfortunately we didn’t make it in time for sunset. We went past The Twelve Apostles to The London Arch for a very cloudy and mystic sunset. This place was incredible! We then backtracked back to The Twelve Apostles with a lingering light in the sky illuminating the incredible view.
Once it was pitch black out and we were just about frozen solid, we set up camp at a nearby campground. I truly wish I had videoed this entire setup…. I would have titled it “Two hungry/tired/cold girls trying to set up camp in a dark wind tunnel.” Not a very creative title, but it’s very accurate. We obviously didn’t think this through very well… The setup that is. The weather was slowly turning to shit and we truly struggled to get this tent up in the freezing cold. It honestly was the funniest thing. The air mattress was an entirely different story. We made an absolute raucous in the process of this. You would think we had never camped before! Probably the funniest camp set-up I have ever experienced. We drove to a local pub for a nice hot meal and of course a beer! We filled our stomachs with the best meal ever, played a game of pool, stayed warm by a wood fire and laughed til our bellies hurt. A vicious rain storm rolled in and we were absolutely dreading making our way back to camp. Considering we bought a $15 tent from K mart, it was inevitable that our bed was going to be completely flooded…. plus all of our clothes we put in there. Oh boy!! BUT to our very pleasant surprise, the tent was not flooded at all! K mart, you rock! We got warm and snuggly inside the tent, ate lollies and sipped red wine with the company of kangaroos hopping around outside. I don’t even know how we fell asleep because it was the loudest night sleep I have had in a long time. But somehow we did…. for a little bit at least. Eventually it was damn near impossible to sleep in this pissing down and freezing wind tunnel. Welcome to Autumn camping in Melbourne!
The following morning I really wanted to watch sunrise at The Twelve Apostles, but it was still pissing down. So there was no point to get up for sunrise. We slowly woke up as the rain finally dissipated. We broke down camp just in time before the rain rolled in yet again. We headed back to The Twelve Apostles anyway in hopes for some daylight photos. I quickly gave up using my good camera in this weather. I resorted to my gopro, which doesn’t take the greatest of pictures, but oh well. I love the rain, but this was not an enjoyable rain. It was still beautiful- of course, but we didn’t last very long. It was SO COLD. We hopped our sopping wet selves back in the car, cranked the heat up and waited for our bodies to defrost. Road trip back to Melbourne! Unfortunately the rain did not let up for most of the day, so the scenic drive back was not very scenic. We were super lucky with the beautiful weather yesterday.
Once we arrived back to Melbourne, I had to drop my keys off at the place I was renting (so glad I rented a room since I wasn’t even there. haha! ) dropped some things off and changed at Gracie’s house, and then headed to The Yarra Valley. The Yarra Valley is known for its amazing wine country. Since we were running out of time in our day and the weather was absolute shit, we ended up going to a delicious brewery in Yarra Valley. I know, I know. “You went to Yarra Valley and drank….. beer???” Judge me all you want. Someday I will come back here and spend the entire day exploring the vineyards. Hopefully on a sunny day! After a few brews, we ventured to a lookout spot for sunset. We were so crunched for time, so we definitely did not make it. Instead, we were welcomed by a beautiful SNOW FALL!! I can’t even describe to you how excited I was to see snow and roll around it. It was the most glorious moment of the entire trip. This little snow bunny was beaming with happiness!!!!
All in all, we had about 2.5 days and I think we accomplished quite a bit….. especially considering we were in the car for a large portion of that time. I am so happy and grateful that I met Gracie and she was adventurous and crazy enough to go camping with me and be the best tour guide ever. Thank you so much Gracie!!! I needed this trip more than you know.
Someday when I have enough time I would love to do the entire Great Ocean Road. This was an absolute tease, but it gave me a nice taste of its beauty.
Stay tuned for more adventures…