Drive Brilliant – Day 3. From the Ocean to the City

We woke up a little later than expected on the Monday, the last two massive days must be catching up to us! Oh well, we can rest and sleep when we’re either dead or at least finished our adventure. The show must go on! We left the hotel and stopped for a quick breakfast and coffee at a local cafe and decided that Warrnambool looked to good to not explore, so we headed around town. If I was 12 years old this place would be the best on earth! Heaps of parks (including a maze!), a bmx track, skatepark, beach, rivers and more more more!!! Once we finished our coffee we went for a stroll over the break wall.

Liv was driving the first half of our adventure today, I convinced her to stop in a park so I could run after some ducks and we could race through the maze. I was pumped! I haven’t been in a maze since I was tiny. Ready… Set… Go! It was either a really good maze, or I’m a bit slower than most. It took me ages to find the exit, Liv beat me by over a minute haha!

After our little park adventure we jumped in the car and headed back out towards the Great Ocean Road. This time we were to check out the coastline on foot. We stopped in at the usual touristy lookout points but thought we’d use our 4×4 skills and the Santa Fe’s satnav again. A few trails didn’t really lead anywhere useful, but then we found one trail that took us right the very edge of the world!

As we stood atop the very edge of the limestone cliffs the Antarctic winds blew right through us. I had left my jacket at the Adelaide Hotel in our rush to leave in the morning so the chill factor for me was ridiculous. Liv opted to sit in the car until I could confirm it was worth getting out and braving the wind. It was more than worth it. It was one of the highlights of my entire weekend of adventuring.

I can’t explain what made it so special, when you put it down on paper I was standing on a cliff in the wind. Big deal. But it was a big deal! I tried to explain it to Liv in the car as we continued our trip. It just felt right. Like, it felt like I belonged there. The surging waves smashing relentlessly against the colossal cliffs was calming and the cold wind that was cutting through me felt as if it were cleansing me.

If I were travelling alone I could have stood on that cliff in the freezing cold for hours. Even now when I’m writing about it, a wave of calm has come over me. I’m relaxed. I’m Zen. Little Bear loved it too!

Liv and Little Bear sharing their own special moment on the cliff face :p Unfortunately we couldn’t stay there long, we had to press on. We had about 500km and another couple of adventures ahead before we could hang up our boots and rest.

As I approached the Santa Fe it also looked as if it were right at home. So I took a couple shots. This car has really grown on me! It looks pretty sexy, handles better than most sedans has some awesome luxury items inside. I could see myself owning one and exploring the country on the weekends 🙂 ‘One more shot’ I said to Liv, she rolled her eyes knowing full well it wouldn’t be just one shot.

We headed on down further to the actual 12 Apostles lookout. As impressive as they were yesterday the sheer scale of these giants didn’t really click while flying over them. They’re gigantic!

We said goodbye to the ancient Monoliths and continued along the Great Ocean Road through valleys and over hills.

The wide open fields for farming turned into dense rainforests as approached our next stop, Apollo Bay.

Apollo Bay was a little over 2 hours of driving from where we were. Liv was still behind the steering wheel and fell in love with the Santa Fe through the twisty mountain roads. Her smile was infectious and I sat quietly in the passenger seat waiting for us to arrive at our next destination so that I could take the reigns and crack my whip through the next section of road!

As it was I was enjoying snapping with my brand new camera on some of the best scenery I’ve seen in my entire life! Say ‘CHEEESE!!!!”

We descended back down towards sea level and were in awe at Apollo Bay! It was paradise! What a ridiculously great view from the beach! I wonder what it looks like from out on the ocean?

We’d been sitting in the car for a couple hours so the opportunity to stretch legs was more than welcome. After a sandwich each we found our next destination, the local Surf and Kayak Shop. We were going Kayaking out to some rocks to say ‘Hi’ to some Australian Fur Seals! We met our guide and beach expert James who showed us a thing or two about getting out and maneuvering the kayak through the waves. Everyone agreed, including the bear,  that it’d probably be best if Little Bear sat this adventure out.

So we suited up and headed out into the FREEZING ocean! Who am I kidding, it was nice and refreshing 🙂 The cold was a reminder that we were alive and experiencing life’s best today!

We managed to get out past the breaking waves of the beach without falling out or tipping over. Amazing!!! Once we were past the break we paddled out using a couple of reefs for cover from the incoming swell and made our way over towards the Seal’s Bachelor Pad.

James told us that all the seals here were males, and they were basically just chilling out, looking for a feed and generally having a good time putting on weight before they headed off to stake their territory and set up a harem of lady seals! Sounds like a good life 😉

They’re a playful and inquisitive bunch, some of them came over to see what we were doing and have a bit of swim nearby. The angle on the gopro makes it look as though they’re quite far off, but they were playing as close as 10 metres away from the kayaks. It was great, except for the smell. They’re a stinky bunch for sure! haha

After we came in to the beach and dropped Liv off James and I went out again for a quick lap of the beach to try and find a few waves to surf in. The tide was high and there wasn’t much action but we finally managed to ride one in.  We thanks our host and were on way towards our final destination for our #BrilliantRoadTrip. Thankfully it was now my turn to drive, and the best road of the entire adventure was just ahead. The stretch of Great Ocean Road between Apollo Bay and Geelong! A world famous stretch of road that many locals take every weekend, hell, even international tourists make a point to drive the road purely for it’s driving pleasure.

We stopped breifly to look back on where we’d come from…

And then it was on! Like Donkey Kong! The long sweeping bends, the undulating road and the breathtaking scenery make the Great Ocean Road the best driving road in the country, and in the top 10 list of driving roads world wide. Before I set off on my little adventure I was wondering if I’d be limiting myself and be disappointed in the Santa Fe over the sportier Veloster Turbo during this leg of the trip. I can safely say at no point during the GOR was I disappointed.

Sure the Santa Fe has a higher centre of gravity but it’s handling made up for it. I was having a great time steering around the bends and cliff faces! I love this little car!

We were making good time on the way up into Melbourne, we saw a sign for a waterfall. I think a waterfall is the only thing we hadn’t seen over the last few days, so we decided to pull in for a quick look before we make the final dash into town. I think neither of us wanted to adventure to stop :p

That was the last stop. Time to hit the city to relax and unwind at our final destination, Crown Casino. After over 1200km in 3 days Liv, Little Bear and myself were all relieved to see the skyscaping CBD of Melbourne stretch up towards the sky. We were nearly done!

I have to thank Hyundai for not the whole experience, but also their Speed Camera alert system built into the satnav! Melbourne roads are very sneaky! I wouldn’t like to imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t had their satnav and speed camera warning systems built in :O
Reluctantly, I handed the key and the car to Valet and retired for some nice wine, a fine dinner and some well deserved rest and relaxation. 😀

As we entered the hotel room with our bags the sun was setting on Melbourne’s CBD, just as the sun was setting on our #BrilliantRoadTrip. It was seriously one of the best few days of my life and a life changing experience.

The journey has opened my eyes and made me realise I need to make more time to adventure, travel and explore. I’m in absolute awe of just how amazing our country is and the wide diversity of what it has to offer. I’d like to thank Hyundai for the opportunity to adventure and share with you all 🙂 Hopefully we’ve inspired you to go on your own #BrilliantRoadTrip in the near future. I know I’m already looking into where we’re travelling to next. 🙂

(if you’ve come in late and missed the first couple of days you can do so here: Day OneDay Two )