Hi friends! So big news, we did something crazy and bought a one way ticket to Australia. After my car was deemed a total loss there didn’t seem to be any reason to be in the states anymore, it was just the push we needed to get out into the world. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and I guess the Soob had to get totaled so we could go to Australia.
We flew direct from LAX to Melbourne, 15 hours. Oh my goodness was checking the bags a mission. We had a HUGE surfboard bag that was 30 kilos over weight. So there we are in LAX unpacking the bag we had so carefully packed only hours before. We took all the wetsuits out and packed them into an extra backpack. But we were still over weight. We were shoving random things from the board bag into other bags trying to get the weight down. Finally we came to terms with the fact that we were gonna have to take the tent, sleeping bags, and thermarests out. The bag was finally at 32 kilos, the maximum weight allowed. But we were bummed because we would have to leave our camping gear behind. I went to a luggage store to see if I could buy another bag to put the stuff in, but the cheapest one I could find was a shitty little duffle for $79.99, not a chance was I about to buy that. As I walked back to to where Chicho was waiting with the bags I had an idea... we could put the tent, blanket, and thermarests into the sleeping bag and just check that as a bag itself. Luckily Chicho had a roll of gorilla tape that we had had to take out of the board bag. We zipped up the sleeping bag and put the tent, blankets, and thermarests inside. Then we rolled it up and duct taped it all together. Stoked! We figured out how to bring all our things!
Cleared security no problem, found the gate, called our moms to tell them we’re crazy and bought one way tickets to Australia, hopped on the plane and bounced. Peace out Cali! The plane ride wasn’t even bad (at least not for me since I can sleep on planes no problem). And then a short 15 hours later we touched down in Melbourne.
February 3, Day One: Melbourne to Warrnambool
After collecting our baggage, duct taped camping gear, and board bag we went through customs where the drug dogs sniffed us thoroughly and let us through 😉 Before we left the airport I saw a phone store so we picked up an Australia SIM card. We were gonna need the data for google maps soon. Once the phone was activated I called the rental car people and asked them where the shuttle would pick us up. We had to wait 40 minutes for the shuttle which was almost a bummer, BUT the sun was shining and we were in Australia so it was hard to kill the happiness I was feeling.
Ace rental car was easy and smooth and within a half an hour we were driving away in our fully packed hatchback Kia Cerato. Luckily I can now surf a 5’10” board so all the surfboards could fit inside the car!
What a trip to have the steering wheel on the right side of the car and to drive on the left! Chicho and I were geeking out as we drove away from the rental car place and got onto a speedway (what the aussies call highways). We didn’t even bother going into the city and instead went directly South, bound for the beach.
Within about an hour and a half we arrived in Torquay an amazing surf/beach town. It was hopping on the Saturday afternoon and we were happy to be a part of the giddy weekend vibes. Chicho and I couldn’t stop laughing and saying, “we’re in Australia”. It just didn’t feel real.
After checking out Torquay and grabbing a smoothie from Surfcoast Wholefoods (not a Whole Foods like in the states, just a cute little coffee/smoothie bar and organic store) we began our drive along the coast.
First stop Bells Beach. The iconic surf beach that hosts the Ripcurl Pro at Bells Beach where Chicho informed me the winner gets to ring an actual bell. It was windy and the waves were small so no surfing, but we’ll be back when there’s swell.
The road that snakes along this part of the Australian coast is called the Great Ocean Road. The entire experience was surreal. The road hugs the coast cutting through cliffs, plunging down to beaches, winding up and down hills as the landscape along the sea changes. We were blown away. The Ocean was clear blue and in some places so crystal clear it reminded me of the Caribbean. Nearly every beach we passed had people surfing. Since it was Saturday the road was crowded and the beaches full of people. We didn't care, we are in Australia!
We couldn’t help but stop at every scenic overlook and white sand beach. We found an uncrowded stretch of beach after Lorne and laid in the sunshine soaking in the summer warmth. Of course we had to test the Ocean; it was chilly, but not too cold. But I’m thinking I probably need a spring wetty for surfing.
The road eventually curves inland and north into an incredible forest of eucalyptus and beech trees. There are also massive ferns growing everywhere. I couldn’t believe the drastic change between the cliffs and beaches to the forest, right next to one another.
We saw a sign welcoming us to Otway National Park and soon pulled off following signs for hiking. A short loop through the forest was perfect as we needed to stretch our legs from a long flight and immediately getting into the car and driving. The forest was magical, full of sounds of life and lush green colors. The trees were massive and had an energy of ancient beings and fairies about them. Yet again I was in awe.
Shortly after getting back on the highway we saw signs for the Cape Otway lighthouse, another detour.
The road down to the cape goes through the eucalyptus forest where we saw a mama and baby koala scampering around the canopy, munching on euca leaves and peering down at us. They are so stinking cute!! There was also a section of the road lined with giant spikey trees just before reaching the coast. Another short walk up a hill brought us to a lookout where we could see the lone lighthouse on the cliff.
The Great Ocean Road eventually winds out of the forest and back towards the great blue ocean. The scenery had changed and now consisted of massive limestone cliffs plunging into the sea thousands of feet below. This is where we caught our first glimpse of the 12 apostles, giant stone pillars standing free in the ocean, wore away from the cliffs from years of the waves crashing against them. What an incredible sight to see with ones own eyes, another magical place pulsing with ancient and intense energy.
Walking back to the car the wall of tiredness hit me and I came to the guilty realization that I was hangery. It was time to figure out where we were going to eat and stay that night.
Chicho kept us cruising down the gorgeous coastline as I looked for places to eat. In the end I decided we would go to Warrnambool a bigger ish town about an hour down the road, where we had been planning to stay anyway.
Arriving in Warrnambool around 9 we stopped at a Woolworths grocery store and found their tiny organic produce section where we were able to get organic lettuce, four zucchini’s (for $1!), mushies, cilantro and olive oil. Dinner would be simple salads with hummus we brought from Cali.
Since in was already 9:30 we went straight to the beach to watch the incredible sun set and thank it for its warmth and long lasting light. Watching our star golden globe sink beneath the sparkling mirage where the sea meets the sky is a special moment that we try not to miss.
After bidding the sun good night we went back into town and got a room at the Mahogany Motel where John a tattooed and goateed local checked us in and assured us that at $110 Australian dollars his spa room was the best deal in town.
The room was simple with a bed, a table for two, and a kitchenette stocked with a tea kettle, toaster and mini fridge. I whipped up two salads immediately before my hanger could progress into melt down state. A hot shower followed, then finally a well deserved sleep in a soft clean bed.
We are so excited to be here in Australia and we can’t wait to share our journey with you all! We don’t have an itinerary or plans as we believe in just being and flowing wherever we are meant to be. If you’ve been to Australia and have suggestions of where we should go please let me know! Love always.
Creeflow on my friends.