Venturing south from Melbourne the road passes through the aptly named ‘Surf Coast Shire’, home to Torquay and Bells Beach and the gateway to the Great Ocean Road winding its way south along the Surf Coast. Our weekend mission was to head south to get out of the city but with fairly small swell and the prevailing wind ill suited to our favourite spot, Winkipop, we took a friends’ advice and headed further down the coast toward Lorne.
Melbourne really does have some amazing countryside found on both coasts. Looking at these photos as I’m putting this post together brings back the memories of the sheer green walls rising up to one side and the feeling as though you will somehow slide off into the incredibly blue southern ocean far below the winding road. Ironically, no one warned us about the dangers that driving this iconic coastal route, and maybe those who don’t notice the waves won’t be afflicted as we were, but I found it almost impossible to keep my eyes on the road. Ben constantly pointing and yelling “look at that one!” as we rounded each corner and another point break appeared didn’t help matters at all with so many tour buses to dodge on the narrow tarmac.
After driving down the east coast and ending the last road trip with Phillip Island and Mornington Peninsula, I found it a little hard to adjust back to living in the heart of Melbourne’s suburban sprawl. The landscape in which the city itself was built is remarkably flat, and the inner western suburbs where we have settled are quite industrial being so close to the harbour and the main port. The landscape that surrounds Lorne provides the perfect juxtaposition; just the right proportions of nature and hills inverse to the concrete and plains of the city, perfect for the weekend getaway or holiday home.
There was no surprise when a local surfer began telling us about the rising price of living in the area, to the point that “the people who work in Lorne can’t actually afford to live in Lorne”. Although his comments were not intended to criticise, he himself lived in the city for four days a week, then came down to his house in this beautiful serene little seaside town for his four days off. He shrugged his shoulders as if to say “you would move here if you could”.
Being the end of August, the post-surf cold drove us to find a cafe with hot drinks to tide us over until the warmth found it’s way back to our toes. Driving into the town centre we spied a tea shop that looked small, warm and cozy, and small and cozy it was, and warm too once we snuggled into a deep leather couch with cushions and got our turkish hot chocolates and cake in our bellies.
As the sun sank toward the horizon we liaised with a kiwi/australian couple that we had met at the break that afternoon, and drove the 30kms to Apollo Bay to meet them for dinner. Be warned, in small towns the police have very few call outs and in Apollo Bay the police station is right behind the pub. Being borderline over the limit we played it safe and made camp where we were parked, our new friends were not so lucky. Despite being a bad idea to begin with, the ramifications are always nasty.
The last three photos were taken at the surf break we stopped at on the way home. Attempting to get some action shots, my eyelids became heavy and I had a little nap in the sun. I woke to find the sun sitting on top of the hills, changing the light and making the ocean look as though it was glowing, a beautiful deep blue, the tips of the waves translucent turquoise giving brief glimpses of the ocean floor glinting below.
Victoria’s Surf Coast, you’ve been beautiful. We will be back.