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Great Ocean Road Tour

Whisperer's picture

By Whisperer - Posted on 19 December 2009

With the cheap flights available, and holidays starting before Christmas, I thought I'd do a 4 day blast down the Great Ocean Rd.
It's going to be a lightweight tour, on the roadie with a minimum of gear to slow me down. I considered the single speed for this one - having done it twice before on the roadie's over the last 10 years, but there are a few pretty serious climbs along the way, and carrying my gear too would mean I'd have to add a tooth or two to the back, and that'd just slow me down too much on the flats.
Whisperer's touring rig2 Whisperer's touring rig1

So, on with the rack, change to a 12-28 cluster, clean and lube the drivetrain, strap on a decent pump, two water bottles and a small pack with just under 3 kg of gear and it's ready. Who says you can't 'tour' on a carbon frame with 23mm tyres Smiling
Whisperer's touring rig detail 1 Whisperer's touring rig detail 2

I fly out on Jetstar on sunday at 7am, and return on Wednesday with hopefully 400km to round out the year nicely.
Riding from Avalon airport to Warrnambool along the coast and staying in motels/pubs/whatever along the way.

I'll try to keep the post up to date as I go along.

chica's picture

your packing is impressive. have thongs will travel Smiling Have a safe but fabulous trip.

ar_junkie's picture

Sounds like a doozy... remember to take lots of pics!

Stay safe and will see ya in the new year.

Whisperer's picture

Day 2 and loving it!
Yesterday, got the train ro Warrnambool and rode to Port Campbell.
Ferocious headwinds to the coast (up around 30km/h+ at times), but once on the great ocean road it settled down a bit. The bay of islands and rock formations to the west of Port Campbell were amazing.
Bike's going well, I think it was 11kg ready to ride with tools, pump, empty water bottles spares and rack. I've got just under 3kg of stuff in my pack - super light weight travelling!
90km all up yesterday - felt a LOT more with the head wind though.

Today Port Campbell to Apollo Bay, 100km with some serious climbing over Lavers Hill and the Ottway ranges. Weather was perfect, a light breeze to keep it cool, but not too strong like yesterday. Saw 2 wallabies, and a blue tongue lizard sunnig itself on the side of the road. Traffic is light. Highlight of the day was the 12 Apostles, perfect clear weather for viewing them, and the breeze took away any haze.
Whisperer at 12 Apostles

GAZZA's picture

keep the newsfeed coming. very jealous of your trip. especially with work tomorrow!

Whisperer's picture

Awoke to a perfect Tuesday morning about 20 degrees, sunny and expecting a slight soth westerly tailwind - [wahoo!!] - for the run up the coast from Apollo bay up to Bells Beach or Torquay. A few pics from the last couple of days attached ....
Great Ocean Rd - apostles west great ocean rd - apostles east great ocean rd - over the otways great ocean rd - the arch

ar_junkie's picture

Looks like the weather gods are smiling on ya mate! Cool

Great pics of a beautiful stretch of coastline... keep 'em coming!

LadyToast's picture

It's quite pretty down there isn't it? Nice stuff W, sounds like you are getting some decent riding in there.

Caro's picture

Looks like you are having a great trip! Love the pictures...
How is the traffic?? Lots of crazy bus and caravan drivers or pretty good?
Have the best time and take care! Smiling

Whisperer's picture

Another perfect day on the GOR, temperatures in thelow 20's, light onshore breeze.
Rode up from Apollo Bay to Lorne this morning with stunning vistas along the way. This stretch of blacktop has to rate as one of the best in Australia! It's only 45km, but the view is amazing at every turn, with postcard views of the water.
It was so good, I checked into the Lorne backpackers, dumped my luggage, and went back for another run.
So time trialed back down and back to get my total for the day upto 100. Did 55km at an average of 30.3km/h without the luggage!

Got to go now - kiosk is closing, more tomorow!

Thanks for all your comments!


Whisperer's picture

Yesterday it took me nearly an hour to find an internet kiosk, then it closed 15 minutes after I got there, so a very short post!
Today, set off from Lorne for Geelong/Avalon airport. Stopped now at Aireys Inlet for a coffee and some Internet.

Those observant mobbers might have noted I'm not travelling towards Warrnambool, but away and towards Geelong. When I arrived, I'd been watching the weather and decided the prevailing winds would be more favorable for an easterly trip, so I jumped on the train from Geelong to Warrnambool, and have been riding east (unlike my original plan in my first post).

The road is good for bikes, a decent shoulder most of the way, plenty wide enough for the cars to pass by without having to come too close. The traffic is prety light too. Mainly tourists and travellers, not too many caravans or trucks. It undulates along the coast, mixed up with open views of the ocean and cuttings through the bush. Now and again it cuts inland, like over the Otways, and then emerges to yet another amazing view.

Yesterday I was lucky to see a bunch of koalas just above the road. A big male was trying to 'get friendly' with a young female, and she wasn't having a bar of it. He chased he right to the end of a long branch, uttering the deepest rumbling growling, while she was squeeling at him to go away. This went on for about 10 minutes, until he gave up and let her have her peace. I've never seen anything like it before.

ar_junkie's picture
A big male was trying to 'get friendly' with a young female, and she wasn't having a bar of it. He chased he right to the end of a long branch, uttering the deepest rumbling growling, while she was squeeling at him to go away. This went on for about 10 minutes, until he gave up and let her have her peace. I've never seen anything like it before.

You need to spend more time at the Tavern... Sticking out tongue

Re route direction: I thought my bearings were just way off! Makes sense now...
Sounds like you have had a good trip so far, safe travels through to the airport! Are you riding back home from Kingsford Smith? Eye-wink

So, would you be up for a road ride tomorrow?

garyinoz's picture

Sound like a great trip Steve, very envious, some of us are still at work!
Have a safe trip home.

Whisperer's picture

Whisper - Great Ocean Rd 1 Whisper - Great Ocean Rd 3

And Junkie, the koals... Eye-winkWhisper - Great Ocean Rd 2

A perfect section of blacktop Whisper - Great Ocean Rd 4

Whisperer's picture

Great ocean road - finished So I made it up to the Airport in good time today, traveling up the coast through Anglsea, Torquay, through Geelong (around the bay missing out on the main centre) and a final run up the freeway to Avalon airport. 95km, for a trip total of 387 km.

Got the plane home and now showered up and well fed!.

Couple of stories in reflection...
- When I arrived at avalon airport on the way down, I was putting the bike together and a security guard came up and asked gruffly 'what are you going to do with the bike box'. I replied I'd leave it there for someone else as they won't store it for me on my return. He stopped and thought for a minute, and replied 'the b@5tards just want to sell you a new box, how about we store it in the security lunch room. I'll put a note on it that you are a priest, and are going to pick it up on Wednesday'. So, he borrowed a marker pen from the Avis desk, and wrote 'keep for Father White, returning on wednesday'. I though it's bending the truth a bit, but heck, I'm a step father , so it's kind of true, and so off I went, with a few 'God Bless you my son's' in earshot of his collegues! Thankfully it was there today on my return. The guard on duty today 'did' give me a puzzled look when he returned with the box though....
Great ocean road - bike box

- Re the Koala story above: I've been riding through the bush for many years, but it took a road ride so see koalas 'doing their thing' in the wild - kind of ironic.

A few 'interesting' notes and comments (fwiw)
- Jetstar flying into Avalon is a great starting point for the trip, as there is a station nearby so you can easily get to or from Warrnambool to make it a one-way trip. cheap too - around $180 return.
- The Backpackers along the way are good value, $70 for a private room, compared to $110+ for motels. They do dorm rooms for $25 night if you don't mind sharing. It's nice to have cooking facilities as bought meals get really expensive when you have to relaod thousands of calories each day.
- This morning's breakfast was: 4 eggs scrambled, 3 rashers of bacon, 3 hash browns, an avocardo and a coffee. 'Bought' breakfasts are a bit light.
- My iPod charger worked fine for the iPhone and my Garmin 305 each day. The iPhone served as my camera, so the shots are not as crisp as would be with a decent camera.
- Took two spare tubes, about 10 patches and an unopend tube of glue; and sleeves for the tyres in case I slashed one. As a result did not get any punctures Smiling
- The bike was perfect, the only mechanical attention it needed for the whole trip was a quarter turn of the rear derailleur cable adjuster this morning.
- 'Purple Extreme' chain lube is amazing, two light lubes for the trip was all that was needed. (This is working really well off-road as well)
- Took one set of bike nix and top, and washed them out each night to keep the load down
- also took arm warmers, a waterproof vest, some thick socks and a mereno long sleeve top in case of bad weather. Needed them all at some stage!
- Internet along the way was cr@p, from dated browsers that wouldn't work with google maps, to wierd keyboards and tragic upload speeds (like 10 minutes to upload 4 pics), and pretty expensive too.
- Did 387km at an average speed of 25.7km/h, 3500m climbing, 15,850 calories, average hr 132 bpm (69% of max), 15 hrs total riding.
- Having a full length pump really helped to get to and maintain 120psi in the tyres
- The seafood down there is awsome, but you can only eat 'so much' fish and chips
- Thongs worked as lightweight footwear off the bike, but had cold feet a couple of mornings. They were a good light option.
- I tried my SPD pedals and shoes before I went, but the pedaling platform was not as stable, so settled for my shimano ultegra pedals and sidi road shoes. The shimano cleats were fine for walking short distances, and I put my thongs on if I needed to walk any distance.

Finally (even though there's probably lots of other things I'll remember later) the Great Ocean road remains firmly as my favorite road trip!

It was nice to know a few people were following the trip, and made it worth making an effort to get pics and a bit of a story up in spite of it being a challenge to get internet access.


LadyToast's picture

Well done Steve

Despite leaving little in the way of comments I did look forward to your updates, it looks like an awesome trip. What's with all these great trips people are going on at the moment? I really must get my 4rse in gear.

chica's picture

thanks for involving us in your road trip, it was really enjoyable to read your daily posting. must admit seeing the photos made me jealous. Jetstar have another big domestic and international sale on Boxing Day, starts at 6am! now everyone has a couple of days to plan their very own road trip!

ar_junkie's picture

Good to hear that you made it safe and sound...

That story about your bike box is classic! I sense a new name coming about... Steve 'Whisperer/Padre" White?

Caro's picture

Very nice Father White Smiling
Sounds like somebody was watching over you in every aspect (apart from the cold feet maybe?)
Thanks for sharing your trip and all the stories despite the crappy internet. Can't wait to drive along there in March, in a car, hehe.

leximack's picture

awesome adventure Steve.
Would love to do a few multi day trips but family doesnt allow me to get away to often for that long.
Luckily i can fit in some 150-200km 1 day rides to keep me going till i have time for these longer rides


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