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Great Ocean Road

I usually try to come up with some cool headings like “Lovely Los Angeles” or “Wonderful Wanaka”, but this time I struggled coming up with any. And that just made me think; I really don’t need one this time. Because the Great Ocean Road simply is a great ocean road.

So, what’s actually a great ocean road like then? In this case it starts an hour west of Melbourne and stretches along the Tasman Sea coastline for 243 kilometers. I didn’t go the last 40 since they are said to be less scenic. However, the 200 km’s I did go were just amazing. There are so many stops if you like along this road, so you have to be a little selective. Loads of small beach towns with fantastic beaches and also a lot of long wild beaches. The road is pretty much winding all the time, going like an S along the coast often offering amazing sceneries in both directions.

I had a few stops on the way, for example in an area where you can see wild koalas if you hike a little – which I did and I saw 4 of them and they sure look adorable. I say look, because they are actually not as nice as they look, they are pretty wild and aggressive. The ones you can hold in different parks and zoos are brought up by humans so that’s not a real behavior. The final destination and reward for driving 200 k’s is the Twelve Apostles. A coastal area with 8 rocks standing up in the ocean next to a scenic coastline (they used to be 12 but rough weather has taken some of them down). A really rewarding and epic place if you like nature – and Chinese people. The first night I slept in a cosy beach town called Port Campbell, really small and nice.

The second day I started driving back towards Melbourne but stopped in an other small beach town called Lorne, which was so nice I decided to stay the night there. Or, actually in the car along the road somewhere outside of Lorne. After sleeping 18 days in the car in New Zealand, sometimes with only 3-4 degrees outside, it was no match sleeping here with 15 degrees in the middle of the night.

Roadtripping, as mentioned in earlier blogposts, is one of my favorite ways to travel. The freedom to stop for a leg-stretch, coffee, ice cream, swim or even a whole night is exactly what I like. Some birds are not meant to be caged. I’v. been lucky driving some really scenic and nice ones like the Pacific Coast Highway in California, Overseas Highway in Florida, Icefields Parkway in Canada, the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, in the European Alps, in western Australia and, of course, the most scenic country of them all; Norway. But I must say the Great Ocean Road for sure are one of the better ones, especially if you are in a summer and beach mode. The PCH in California is perhaps my favorite, since it’s more dramatic, but being number two is not bad, not at all.

Next up is a place I’ve been before and really like. I’m really looking forward to spend a little more time there and as aa clue to where I’m going next, I can say that it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world – any idea?

The Europe of Australia – Melbourne

On the bus from the airport to the city centre, I was talking to a Melbourne local – originally from Pakistan. He told me: «Sydney is like America, Melbourne is like Europe.» I asked him if he ever had been to Europe and America, he said no. Though, the rumors seem to be true. I’ve been to Sydney before and it’s somewhat like a hybrid between New York, Florida and California. Now, after 2 days in Melbourne, I can agree on that it’s somewhat like Europe – but perhaps even a little nicer. Like a mix of Europe of Australia, sounds like the best of two worlds.

In 2016, for the 6th year in a row, Melbourne won the title «the world’s most livable city» in the annual «Global Livability Ranking» which is a survey done by the Economist: read more about it here. That’s pretty impressing! This measures quality of life in terms such as stability, healthcare, culture, environment, education and infrastructure.  Spending two days here, with perfect weather, it’s a little hard for me to have any thoughts on this – but I must say I really liked the city and it was beautiful, clean, had decent beaches and parks and over-all I got a good vibe. I really enjoyed it and especially coming from Auckland in New Zealand which in the annual Johan Travels the World survey over the biggest asshole-cities on planet earth, won by far in 2016 – with La Paz in Bolivia as number two.

When it comes to all these surveys (except mine just mentioned) it’s a little important to diverse from being a resident there and visit as a traveller. As a traveller you might want things like really good beaches, cosy streets to wander, good climate and lots of the thins you crave when booking a holiday. These things are of course also of great pleasure for the residents living there, but they probably appreciate things like healthcare, education and infrastructure a lot more since that’s part of their everyday life. So I recommend all my readers to keep that in mind. Melbourne was indeed nice, but there are nicer cities to visit. For me that would be for example Cape Town, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Vancouver, San Diego, Barcelona and Sydney.

For me, it’s always nice to visit the big fancy cities for a couple of days – but that’s enough. Those big +5 million cities are usually a little too big for a simple boy from the country side. It sure is nice to wander the cities and enjoy the architecture, beaches, weather and vibe but after a couple of days I really crave some adventure, nature and smaller places. So, being said that I very much enjoyed my stay in Melbourne I also really look forward to the next litte adventure: to roadtrip the Great Ocean Road.

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