Day 987 Wednesday 26th June
Waking early enough we caught the bus into town, well the second bus! As we walked to the bus stop we saw two ladies at the stop walk to the kerb, looking down the road we saw the bus coming. Unable to cross the road due to traffic we thought to attract his attention by getting alongside of the driver, albeit in the central reserve. As we managed to cross, and almost getting in front of the bus he drew away, leaving us speechless and with a twenty minute wait!
On boarding the next bus confusion reigned over how to pay for the fair. Our driver did speak much English and we did not speak any Portuguese, he gesticulated for us to sit. So we did, in town we got off and were still bewildered as how to pay.
We had enjoyed Melbourne very much when we had our flying visit at Christmas time. The city did not disappoint this time either. Now discovering the tiny side streets filled with restaurants and delicious smells. We walked for hours, completely forgetting to ask about public transport. By the time we had to be back with Jack and Dot for a planned supper with their children and two grandchildren, we had left it too late to find the correct bus, so a taxi was our best bet. The driver explained to us the system of buying a card, paying for credit on it, and swiping on and off the bus or train. Easy when you know……
Managing to get back without being too late we met their lovely family and had a great feed.
Day 988 Thursday 27th June
Playing it safe we took the train to town, first having bought our travel cards.
We took in a few galleries and the Chinese museum. The latter was very informative on the early days in Melbourn’s history and the gold rush days.
It also housed their new year Dragon, in full. It is carried by one hundred people, for whom it is a great honour. Also displayed were the severed heads of previous beasts. These certainly showed the patina of many years service.
Day 990 Saturday 29th June
Dot’s special birthday, Jack and I were on meat for the briaa duty, while Diane and Dot shopped for salads and bread. We enjoyed celebrating with them and their family. A great day was had by all.
Day 993 Tuesday 2nd July
Tearing ourselves away from the hospitality of Jack and Dot, who looked after us fantastically, we rode south west to the Great Ocean Road. As usual we commented on strange it was to be riding, especially through the commuter traffic.
We stopped for coffee at Anglesea and saw the southern ocean again, from here on it was constant coastal views for a day or two, or so I thought. The wind had picked up and it blew the surface of the water into a white mass. With the blue skies it was a sight to behold. Unexpectedly, at Apollo Bay the road turned inland and wound its way through forest so dense the road had moss growing on it in places. This coupled with the damp surface, wind and tour buses who wanted to move faster than us meant we were uncomfortable with what should have been a great ride. We stopped to let the traffic past a few times, and to recover from the strobe effect of sunlight through the trees.
With no wild camping to be had we took a site at Port Campbell. Walking the lovely tiny town that evening we mooched in and out of individual shops, which made a great change to the usual chain stores. The small square harbour was being pounded by the ocean, which could be heard throughout the village.
Day 994 Wednesday 3rd July
It took us three and a half hours to ride the first forty km, stopping at every viewing point to marvel at the scenic coastline, and to take a heap of pictures. It is a bit of a chore on the bike, getting off and on. However we were grateful to be there in winter as we had the view points mostly to ourselves, and we were pleasantly warm in our riding gear, not cooking as we would have done in summer!
When we had passed the last of natures wonders we made tracks for the boarder with South Australia.
Our book of free camps was letting us down a little in S.A. In other states it had been faultless in location and description, here we found some missing (!!), or unsuitable to stop at. Eventually, as the shadows started to lengthen we found a great stop seven km off the highway where we camped alone in perfect silence.