This six day leg of our Australian tour was memorable because of the beautiful scenery, the good weather (e.g. sun and very little wind), and the shorter kilometer days. T
Day 1 – Geelong to Torquay (35 km) Geelong is a beautiful small city with a combination of heavy industry along the bay and tourism. There are plenty of ethnic and seafood restaurants . Before leaving Geelong, we stopped at the famous National Wool Museum which we enjoyed more than we had anticipated. We left for Torquay after a picnic lunch by the water.
We followed cycle lanes and cycle paths along a river out of Geelong. This route probably added 10 km to the ride but made it much quieter and more scenic than riding on the highway. We arrived in Torquay near the famous surfer shop outlet stores including the original Rip Curl shop. After a delicious coffee to warm up, we found a great cabin at the Torquay Holiday Park. Leaving our panniers at the cabin, we then cycled into the town center and Torquay beach to watch the surfers.
We later learned that Torquay housed the world surf finals over Easter weekend. We found the local craft brewery where we met a young couple who saw us looking at our map and shared lots of “must-sees” on the Great Ocean Road. (This was a BIG help!)
Day 2 – Torquay to Lorne (50 km) We woke to beautiful, blue skies and light winds for our first day on the Great Ocean Road (GOR). We started cycling on the coastal walking path between Torquay and Bell’s Beach stopping often to watch the surfers.
We cycled on the highway from Bells Beach to Anglesea because the track was better suited for mountain biking at this point. A sign advertising “coffee” and “open to the public” at the Anglesea Surf Lifesaving Club gave us the excuse we needed to take a break.
We met an older, retired man who I think must have been a lifetime member at the surf club. He shared lots of information about the club and the lovely community of Anglesea. Further along the ride we stopped at the Split Point Lighthouse.
After stopping for a picnic at the wetlands park near the lighthouse, we enjoyed the relatively flat, scenic ride into Lorne.
Day 3 – Lorne to Apollo Bay (52 km) We awoke to another sunny, blue-sky, light-wind day and took time to enjoy the view from the Lorne Pier.
We then cycled past this Victorian hotel on our way out of town.
Continuing west, the Great Ocean Road (GOR) has lots of curves, but luckily for us, little traffic at this time of year (almost winter).
A highlight of the day was seeing my first koala (not a bear – thanks to a reader correction) at Kennett River.
The arrival into Apollo Bay along the wide bay with gentle lapping waves was spectacular.
We cycled up the hill to the Holiday Park, dropped our bags and cycled into town for some exploration. We enjoyed some Dooley’s “award winning” ice cream. It was delicious, but made us very cold so we headed back to our cabin. I cooked dinner and Eric did the laundry and some cycle maintenance. I fell asleep early, but the sounds of crashing waves kept me awake much of the night. (They don’t lull me to sleep)
Day 4 – Apollo Bay to Princetown (86 km) Cycling west out of town we could see lots of evidence of the beauty of this bay.
This was the hardest day of the week. Pedaling out of Apollo Bay seemed easy for about 5 km. At least we had it easier than film maker and surfer Dan Marsh pulling his loaded trailer who we met on the side of the road.
Then, the remainder of the day was mostly uphill with some fairly steep grades.
When we stopped for coffee and meat pies at Lavers Hill several people said, “It’s all downhill from here” which gave us a false sense of security.
It’s really NOT all downhill. As a matter of fact there is a really long, big uphill before Princetown.
We were hoping to camp in Princetown but both the campground and hotel in town were closed for the season. We were directed back up the road 1.1 km to the Twelve Apostles Cottages where we spent a beautiful evening overlooking farmlands that rolled gently down towards the ocean.
Day 5 – Princetown to Timboon including The Twelve Apostles (43 km) Today’s journey was my favorite! It was filled with amazing scenery, fantastic geological formations, and nice walking/cycling trails.
We took plenty of time to cycle down each trail, read the historical markers, and enjoy the scenery.
After a great lunch stop in Port Campbell which has many cafes, restaurants and take-away places, we then cycled uphill most of the way to Timboon, a gem of a town at some farm crossroads.
The distillery makes a great single malt whiskey and carries many fine local craft brews. We stayed at the Timboon Hotel and although not fancy, more than adequate/comfortable for the night.
Day 6 – Timboon to Camperdown using the Crater to Coast Rail Trail (44 km) Thanks to the owner of the Timboon Hotel who pointed out the rail trail, we had a beautiful ride to Camperdown.
The Craters to Coast trail is shaded in a canopy of trees and covered in soft eucalyptus bark making it a very pleasant ride.
Be prepared to push you bike along some of the detours around old, decaying trestle bridges and be mindful on the slippery track and sleepers still remaining along some parts of the trail.
The final 10 km into Camperdown is a long, slow uphill between two volcanic crater lakes that is both beautiful and tiring.
Camperdown is a cute, old railroad town with plenty of cafes, a great tourist information site, and a train station for a ride back to Geelong or Melbourne.