So in the middle of 2017, my group of friends – shout out to the gals – bought my friend Ashlee a voucher for Red Balloon for her birthday. After she received the voucher I made the call “if you want to use that to sky dive, I will come with you”. Okay gosh, committed.
Well she agreed. So for Christmas, the top of my list, a Red Balloon voucher to sky dive, please. So mid January we sat down and we booked the weekday Tandem Skydive over The Great Ocean Road. Okay, wow we were doing it, last weekend in February we were jumpin’ jumpin’…
It come quicker than ever, so I took the day off work to volunteer to plunge 15,000 ft with Australian Skydive – spoiler alert, I survived. We headed down to Torquay for our 11am jump. Of course the weather was horrible and we were delayed an hour and a half, which was all good but nerve wracking. We watched a few people jump and I was feeling good, until it was time to get in the plane. Before getting in the plane we did opt for the video and photos, which I definitely recommend.
The guys at Australian Skydive were amazing, loved to have a joke and really tried to make our experience the best it could be, and it was! Although I did have a few moments while we were in the plane, one was from watching a guy jump out at only 7,000 ft. When it was time I watched Ashlee jump out, then everyone else – wow okay it is happening. Hanging out of a plane waiting to fall out was terrifying, and that first plunge is when you actually feel so much thrill, but so much terror at the same time.
First you free fall and it is so exhilarating, it is easy to understand why people can get so addicted! Then the shoot comes out and it is just silent and so peaceful as you float in the air soaking up those amazing views. Two completely different feelings, but two of the best I’ve felt. So they let you drive, which is also risky and just like that you float back to land – legs up and you slide to the ground. Wow, what an amazing experience and one I would recommend to anyone thinking about doing it – don’t worry I’m not even brave!
My instructor was so great, made the experience so amazing and so was all the staff at Australian Skydive, seriously book this now.
So after the landing we were actually shaking! So incredible and took us all day to believe we actually did it.
While waiting for the videos and photos to be made we headed into Torquay for some lunch. A quick google search, obviously a must to make sure you don’t end up eating at McDonald’s, and we found Cafe Moby. The duck tacos I had were amazing and this cafe is across the road from the water, just perfect.
After laughing for a long time over our faces in our video – you can never capture those moments another way – we headed to Bells Beach for a quick look and then onto Apollo Bay to our Air BnB.
Along the way we stopped at Airey’s Inlet to check out the lighthouse. Walking up the hill, Ash turns to me and says “it reminds me of the lighthouse from Around the Twist”, then strange things happened and we realised is was in fact the same lighthouse.
The Great Ocean Road drive is just so beautiful, if you get car sick I do suggest you be the driver. Those cliff faces and ocean is incredible to drive through.
Once we reached our Air BnB studio, hosted by Kevin and Rachelle, we were too lazy to get anything for food for breakfast for the next day so we stayed in. However, we were amazed and super grateful to discover we had milk, cereal, hot chocolate, juice, water bottles, tea – the lot! We were super happy with our overall Air BnB service. The place was cozy, welcoming and of course any extra freebies are a win!
So jumping out of a plane makes you extremely tired, lucky Ash had made our dinner so we didn’t have to leave all night – plus the hot chocolates were amazing!
Day two, wow what a beautiful morning. It was warm, so I dragged Ashlee to the beach for a practice ocean swim for the Triathlon coming up – although she is a much better swimmer than me – her main concern was the sharks.
Fair call we survived sky diving but we are just going to keep taking risks and ocean swim on our own in the morning. But it was a great morning and we encountered no sharks.
Back to our Air BnB for our complementary cereal and that is when the weather started to change – and not in a good way.
By the time we headed on our adventure, it was cloudy and raining. But we took off on route to the 12 apostles. If you are looking to stay along The Great Ocean Road and want to be fairly in the middle between the 12 apostles – or even further to the Bay of Islands – and Torquay, Geelong or Melbourne, Apollo Bay is perfect!
So we couldn’t really enjoy the drive, because we actually couldn’t see much at all! Our theory was, although there were places further than the 12 apostles, we would go there first in case the weather got worse. But it was horrible by the time we reached the 12 apostles just before 12, but Willy’s Weather promised no rain after 2pm.
Ashlee looks at me.. “okay I’m going to suggest something and if it pays off it could be one of the best gambles”. So we took a risk, and decision making can be hard for us at the best of times.
We drove to the last point we wanted to go to and headed back to finish one stop past the 12 apostles at Gibson’s Step. So where did we stop? Because there are so many!
- First stop: Bay of Island for a picnic lunch and wind blown, but the views were amazing, the rock formation is just incredible.
- Stop number two: Bay of Martyrs was similar to Bay of Island but you could go on the beach and really get closer. One thing we didn’t realise about the beach was…grasshoppers everywhere, like everywhere! All over the rocks, no idea why but it was terrifying. Oh and the tide comes in fast so if you are taking pics, be warned you might get chased.
- Next stop, The Grotto, such a cool place. A short walk down to the bottom where the rocks have formed a grotto. It was again super windy but we were lucky enough to have no rain at this stage.
- Onto the London Bridge, too many people who don’t know the meaning to personal space, but still a beautiful location.
- Shifting through the 1,000,000 tourists and on to my favourite, Loch Ard Gorge. So quiet, so eerie if you know the story on the ship wreck at Loch Ard Gorge. Again loads of grass hoppers, which got into our backpacks but loads of amazing photos.
- And guess what, our gamble paid off big time! By the time we got to the 12 apostles the wind died down a little, the rain was no longer and the clouds had lifted, Ashlee you genius. Gosh they are beautiful and we as Australian’s definitely take them for granted. So amazing. Got some great shots, got in trouble for sitting on their stone wall and got in the way of 1000 of everyone’s photos, standard tourist adventure!
- Last stop and definitely the final was Gibson’s Step. The steps are steep and the beach is again covered in grass hoppers, this time next level! All up the cliff face. So we set up Ashlee’s phone tripod for a cute photo of us with some rock formation in the background, super cute. Then when Ashlee was piggy backing me in the shot, a wave came in. I told her to run, she couldn’t, it was too late and yep her feet were soaked, her jeans were soaked and there was sand everywhere – wow.
So shoes off, pants off and in the car for the road trip back to Apollo Bay! The sun started to come out and we had a beautiful drive back admiring the ocean we couldn’t see on the way.
Back to Apollo Bay and it was definitely dinner time! So we booked in at the Italian restaurant, Casalingo. Although looking them up online it didn’t seem like their menu was very big, but when we arrived we were so surprised. It was a really nice restaurant and all their pasta dishes sounded amazing! We both got specials, mine the duck and truffle ravioli and it was delicious, like really great food!
Before heading back to our cute Air BnB we got ice cream from Dooley’s Ice Cream and sat on the beach, the ice cream was also incredible, it has won loads of awards – hooley dooley! If you are like me and always struggle to choose, just go for the award winning ones, the cookies and cream was amazing.
Saturday night was a big one for us, yeah no joking, I think I was asleep by 10pm. All this sky diving and road tripping was exhausting!
Day three. Before leaving the beautiful Apollo Bay, breakfast was definitely on the cards. We headed to Scorched Grill, fyi they don’t do card payments. Apart from that, their food was so yum, the BLT bagel special was delicious and yes they do good coffee.
Time to head back to Melbourne, sad times. Before heading home we stopped at Erskine Falls in Lorne. So beautiful and definitely worth checking out. If you have more time, they have great walking tracks too.
A coffee in Torquay for a stretch and then out little getaway was over.
What a great weekend, definitely recommend Air BnB and for Apollo Bay, Kevin and Rachelle were amazing. If you are looking for a weekend out of the city, The Great Ocean Road is a great trip away!