My Stage is the World

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive

Final destination

on January 14, 2014

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The Lonely Island

We’d technically completed the Great Ocean Road but we had one more stop before we headed back to Melbourne – Port Fairy. This ‘sleepy little fishing village’ is pretty quaint, with old style buildings present throughout the town and a cute little harbour.

We walked through the harbour and across the causeway to Griffiths Island and walked around towards the island, hoping to see some Kangaroos. But, yet again they didn’t want to show themselves, despite there being plenty of them around. The island had beautiful white sand, but it was ridiculously hot so we didn’t hang around.

Our original plan was to go to Hanging Rock (and have a picnic) as it wasn’t too far north of Melbourne. It was however a five hour drive and we’d have been cutting it quite fine to get there in time to see it and find a campsite. So we changed our plan and drove inland towards Melbourne for about 3 hours, stopping instead for a picnic at Red Rock.

As the name suggests this area (a 10km detour from the highway) has an unusual red rock and is surrounded by pools left by volcanic eruptions. This being the hottest day I’d had in Australia, it didn’t surprise me that there wasn’t actually any water at all. Each pool was a dried up hole, yet together they were eerily beautiful.

Driving further up we posed for a quick self-timed picture in our new T-Shirts although we took them off afterwards as it was too hot for anything but shorts and a cami. My feet were boiling in my Converse but they were the best shoes for driving so I swapped to flip-flops every time we got out of the car.

Running out of time

After that there was nothing for it but to head on to Colac singing our little hearts out and decide where to spend our last night. We settled for Geelong as it was only an hour or so past Colac and less than 100km from Melbourne. We were also told by the woman in the visitor centre that it had a pretty waterfront and lots of restaurants and bars. She rang up a campsite for us and booked us in. What could possibly go wrong?

As we’d been told to “return the car empty” I was reluctant to give it back with much petrol, but after filling up initially had put another $15 in that morning. We had half a tank and less than 200km to drive. No problem.

Averaging 90-100kmh on the highway by itself wouldn’t have been a problem, but having a lot of luggage and a tent on the roof affects the fuel economy. Suddenly, the petrol gauge flashed to empty and the promise of ‘169km of driving’ switched to ‘—‘.

“Find me a petrol station” I shouted! According to the SatNav our nearest one was 17km away and we were on a single lane highway where the speed limit was 100. We turned everything off and I slowed down to 80, ignoring the cars overtaking me and the drivers beeping at me. 10km to go… 5km. I was cool but slightly tense… If I had to stop the car, would it start again?

With 2km to go we entered roadworks and thankfully the traffic slowed to 40kmh. As the metres ticked down we saw several demolished buildings at the side of the road – had that been the petrol station? My heart sank, but luckily as we rounded the bend we saw it! “Turn left!” screamed Miss H, but I was already there.

“Need petrol darlin’?” asked the helpful truck driver. “Just a bit” I replied through gritted teeth, as I whacked in $20 just to be on the safe side.

Stupid SatNav

After that I’d had enough of driving and just wanted to get to the campsite and have a drink! But of course, that would’ve been too simple. It turns out that our campsite was 10km away from Geelong, near the ring road. So we couldn’t really walk down to the waterfront… Which was what we’d really wanted to do.

Not that we could find the campsite anyway. We drove along Ballarat Road and it just wasn’t there. After a few turns the SatNav lady tried to lead me through a row of houses and over a fence. We were big getting a little bit stressed and hungry now so used Google Maps instead.

Surprisingly, that was better and we got to the campsite in one piece, despite the car stalling several times on the way. We parked and went straight to the pool to cool off.

With no food (or patience) left we ordered takeaway pizza, although unfortunately they didn’t deliver alcohol, so we made do with Solo instead. Our last night in the tent was sleepless thanks to the lorries on the highway and some weird clicking bugs.

Happy campers!

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