|Adelaide to Melbourne
via Princes Highway & the Great Ocean Road
Because it is winter here right now, mid-July as I write, I have been procrastinating about leaving on this trip. But I'm determined, now my bike is ready and I'm fit, that during the next stretch of forecast good weather I'm going to take the plunge and 'go for it'.
I found some good advice on the Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum which suggested starting the trip from Melbourne by heading down the east side of Port Phillip Bay and taking the regular ferry from Sorrento across to Queenscliff and thus avoid the apparently boring stretch of road between Melbourne and Geelong. It looks from the map like a short ride from Queenscliff to join the Great Ocean Road at Torquay. The same forum thread also mentioned a web page I hadn't yet hit upon GreatOceanRoad.org which has a reasonable overview of the road. Watch for the downloadable pdf map of the Great Ocean Road and a number of other Victoria bike tours, when I visted this page the links to the maps was in the top right corner, or try clicking here. In the end I decided to head to Adelaide by train and cycle back to Melbourne.
My main pieces of literature en route were Meridian Map's Adelaide to Melbourne Map in their Discover Australia series ISBN 0-9750396-9-5 which is a good resource except all the map except the three main road routes between the two cities is faded out in the print which gives navigating off the beaten-track a bit of eye strain. Still I'm glad it shows the whole route to Adelaide because my other guide: Lonely Planet's Cycling Australia (ISBN 1-86450-166-9) only highlights the 280 km section between Warrnambool and Geelong. While it is only this section that is considered the Great Ocean Road proper it short changes the obvious main tour which is a grand total of around 1000 km all the way from (or to) Adelaide. L.P. describes the route from west to east (from Warrnambool to Geelong) which is the direction I intend to head cycling with the prevailing wind from the west.
From Melbourne I took the train west to Adelaide. I 'invested' in a VIP Backpackers card which as well as giving you a modest discount at certain listed hostels in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji can get you huge discounts on some tours and public transport. For example the list fare to Adelaide was around $160 and with the VIP card) which I think cost $36) the fare was less than $50! So that one is a no brainer if you are doing any kind of budget travel in Australia. So it was off to Adelaide through the night. To follow my cycle route I've divided up the trip report into three sections as listed in the menu to the right:
Coorong National Park | Limestone Coast | Great Ocean Road
Bike Touring the Great Ocean Road by Randy Millar