The drive from Apollo Bay to Lorne was only 45 kilometers, but it took me an hour and a half, partly because of the winding roads, but also because I stopped every 10 minutes for photographs. Lovely bit of coastline–gentler than the one I left behind, but still impressive, with long beaches, sparkling water, and dark, green mountains.
I stopped for lunch in Lorne. I was here on my first trip to Australia, though coming from the opposite direction. It was on that first drive to Lorne that I decided that I’d have to return to this coast someday and explore it further. So glad I succeeded in doing that.
I had chicken and chips from a take-away shop, as I did on that first trip, eating on a beach that was sunnier but only slightly warmer than it had been on my previous visit. Lorne has grown since I saw it last, and it is prettier than I remember. I walked around a bit, looking for things I remembered, especially the golden cypress trees. Then it was time to get back on the road, continuing the drive, shoot photos, drive, shoot photos, drive routine of the morning. This was still a wildly picturesque bit of coastline, with the mountains (Otway Ranges) rising out of the sea, the road a narrow ribbon clinging to the land’s edge, forests giving way to beaches and small communities, occasional dramatic cliffs, lighthouses –all truly wonderful.
Through Aireys Inlet and Anglesea, and around Torquay. Leaving the coastline, I found myself amid surroundings that alternated between increasingly grand cities and handsome farms with broad, green paddocks. Up through the center of Geelong, and on into Melbourne. Driving in Melbourne is a special treat. Ha. Because of the trolleys, you can’t stay in the middle to make a turn, you have to go to the far curb and wait for the light to change, and then turn across all traffic lanes. Glad I only had to do it a couple of times. I dropped the car at the Thrifty office in Elizabeth Street at 3 o’clock. It would be almost an hour before Judy (of the white crash helmet, if you remember her from my book) was due to pick me up, but the folks at Thrifty kindly said I could leave my gear in the office if I’d like to go for a bit of a stroll through town. So off I went, to see how well I remembered Melbourne. There were, of course, changes, but there was also a lot that was familiar.
I was not far from the Melbourne Central Shopping Center, which has the unusual distinction of having a historic shot tower rising up through the center of the complex, and I headed there first. I was not interested in shopping, but I enjoyed exploring the shot tower. I then continued up Elizabeth Street as far as Bourke Street and the ornate, old Post Office. I picked a side street and then swung back in the direction of Thrifty. I was surprised (and pleased) to find Judy waiting for me. She said she’d known the gear in the corner was mine because she recognized my Akubra (the handsome gray Snowy River hat I bought on my previous trip). We grabbed my bag and set off down the two blocks to where Geoff, Judy’s husband, awaited us in the Land Cruiser.