Day 3: Live update – Odometer 46165km. I wasn’t meant to take the Great Ocean Road route but, hey, it’s just down the road. Oh the things we do when we’re on bikes😉 … See you tonight, Adelaide!
The Great Ocean Road is like a great restaurant; a taste of its goodness will only lead to an infectious desire to return and experience it again, and again. The law of diminishing returns does not apply to this fantastic tourist route. A zesty combination of mountains and ocean scenery make it a sightseer’s paradise and, topographically, it’s simply second to none in the Victorian state. Melburnians are supremely fortunate that a world-class road trip experience is right at their doorstep.
I stayed at the Apollo Bay YHA hostel overnight, a place where I had previously stayed for three nights in last year’s trip, and it’s the absolute-best hostel that I’ve ever used, with modern finishes, eco-friendly facilities and conveniently located approximately in the centre of the Great Ocean Road. It’s location in Apollo Bay means that you have plentiful local amenities and excellent riding roads are a street away, making this place a worthwhile base for exploring the region, as I have done last year at a leisurely pace.
This time, leisure and sightseeing was off my priorities, and fatigue ruled out any chance of casual route changes. Checking out of the hostel at 9:30am, I head to the local servo for fuel in the morning. The sausage roll that I purchased here was to be my only meal for the day; it wasn’t meant to be, but the idea of eating and self-replenishment was soon forgotten. The day ahead of me was to be the ultimate time trial so far, with extreme rain and winds forecasted in South Australia later in the day. Time was my foe.
Leaving Apollo Bay at 10am, I was already 3 hours off my schedule. The estimated travel time from here to Adelaide is approximately 9 hours, and I had to get to Adelaide by 7:30pm so that I can attend a concert that I had booked for myself a few months back. This was a Swiss folk metal band that I’ve always wanted to see, and performances done by similar musical niches are hard to come across in Australia (we almost always misses out on cultural goodies that the rest of the world get to see!) so it’d be an immense disappointment to miss out on this prime opportunity.
Basically, allowing for travel times and the 30-minute time difference between the VIC and SA states, I had just a total of one hour to spare for petrol stops and breaks, a massive feat to achieve for a 800km day with less-than-ideal weather conditions.
Thankfully, I still had the rest of the Great Ocean Road to ride before proceeding to Warrnambool. As always, the road was plentiful with tourist traffic of the car, van and bus variety, as well as the odd truck.
For a more detailed insight of the Great Ocean Road, check out the blog from the Uluru-Tasmania trip in mid-2015.
One issue that bothered me throughout the day was the rear rack that was still missing the crucial bolt underneath the plate since the previous day. The wooden wedge eventually lost its effectiveness to hold the weight of the luggage, and eventually settled for an old Coca Cola bottle off the road. The bottle helped absorb the weight for the day, but my mind was constantly bombarded by the possibility of a massive breakdown due to the failure of the rack system.
What I didn’t consciously take into account, until this time, was that days during the winter season are much shorter. By 5:30pm, it was absolutely dark. Then the weather became worse. And then worsened even more. Rain pelted down like bullets from the sky, and visibility turned for the worst as the ambient cold contrasted against the breath in my closed helmet, constantly building up a thick fog on the visor.
My only solution was to stay behind any car that would overtake me. It was difficult, though, because some of these country drivers are pretty insane, driving over the speed limit in the worst of conditions. I’ve never experienced an aquaplane, but I couldn’t imagine conditions that was worse than I was in, and there was probably every chance that I could have ended up rubber side up in unfamiliar territory. Despite this, I insisted to myself that following the faint but visible tail lights of these cars would be the only way to make it Adelaide on time.
Thanks to the packet of Tim Tam biscuits that I had with me, I survived the day’s ride. The energy boost that it provided was, although not a substitute for a proper feed, was sufficient for me to get the bike across the finish line to Adelaide. But was it enough to make it to the metal gig on time?
I hurriedly ride to The Gov in Hindmarsh, the performance venue, by 8:30pm. To my relief, the only thing that I missed was the support act. And so, I enjoyed every moment, every second, of the ultimate Swiss folk metal gig with Eluveitie. The intricate and distinctive sounds of the hurdy-gurdy, bagpipes, flutes, mandolin and violin, together with the usual main instruments of mainstream metal that are the electric guitars, bass and drums, created an aural experience, memories for me to cherish for years to come.
After the gig, I spent some photos in the vicinity across the road where the Adelaide Entertainment Centre stands, right before a torrential storm swept the city. Taking shelter under the massive canopy of the entertainment complex, I wait out the storm and allow time to be the restraining force of the storm. Time was my enemy that returned to alleviate unfavourable conditions. Once the rain eased, I safely arrive in the refuge of a hostel where, once again, I settle for a night indoors.
Basic Statistics for the day:
- Route: Apollo Bay, Warrnambool via Great Ocean Road, Mount Gambier, Keith, Adelaide
- Total distance: 824km
- Range of temperature: 7°C to 21°C
Expenses for the day:
General map route: