Home' LOTL : November 2004 Contents TRAVEL32
EBONY LAWSON UNCOVERS SOME
POPULAR COASTAL GETAWAYS THAT DON'T
ALWAYS COST THE EARTH.
As blossoms bloom and heady jasmine perfumes the air,
a girl's mind usually turns from indoor pursuits to the
great outdoors, or at least a healthy dose of each! But if, like
me, you've spent the best part of your winter income on
escapes to the Mediterranean and crates of warming
cabernet, then dreams of seaside sojourns may seem a world
away. Not so. Australia is blessed with stunning shorelines,
lush hinterland forests and mouth-watering local cuisine. And
if you know where to look, you can find all this for a song.
Here are some sure-fire favourites.
Victoria's Great Ocean Road (pictured bottom right) is
widely acknowledged as one of the world's premier coastal
drives. And for good reason. As it wends its way from
Torquay, birth-place of Ripcurl and Quiksilver, past famed
Bells Beach and towards the iconic Twelve Apostles, the road
takes in some serene hamlets and striking seascapes.
Returning from the battlefields of WWI, men in need of
employ were put to work to transform what was then an
unsealed and treacherous track into a 300km long motor way.
With r udimentary tools by today's standards, the workers
toiled for years to car ve a road from the cliff face, completing
the mammoth task in 1932.
Today, the hand-crafted cur ves of the Great Ocean Road
weave in and out of villages built mostly on fishing, forestry
and tourism. One of these is Lorne, a popular holiday spot
with all the trappings of a luxury playground for the city-
weary, from 5-star apartments and high-class dining to beach-
inspired fashion and homeware boutiques. Yet those on a
budget can feel equally comfortable in this ocean-fronted
town, fringed by pines. There are some great accommodation
choices that won't jeopardise your mortgage.
Nestled in the gums that blanket the steep rise of the
Angahook Lorne State Park, the Great Ocean Road
Backpackers (11 Erskine Avenue, 03 5289 1809) is a clean
and comfortable YHA hostel that also offers doubles, twins
and family rooms. Those in need of more privacy can opt for
the adjacent Great Ocean Road Cottages (10 Erskine
Avenue, 03 5289 1070). Self-contained and tranquil, they are
far enough away from the bustle but a comfortable saunter
from the local supermarket and a la carte restaurants.
Another queer-friendly option is the Sandridge Motel
(sandridgemotel.com.au). A private and relaxed abode with
sweeping views, Sandridge offers deluxe and economy rooms
through to 3 bedroom apartments.
A few essential Lorne things? Takeaway fish and chips on
the beach, long treks through the Angahook Lorne State
Park, a beer at the Lorne Hotel and an obligatory stop at the
Louttit Bakery to stock up on gourmet, fresh-baked bread.
It would be remiss of me not to mention Byron. It's one of
my favourite places, as much for the hinterland as for the pristine
beaches and chilled out vibe. Here are some insider tips for an
Book early and stay at Belongil Beach House
(belongilbeachouse.com), originally a backpacker hostel that grew
into a bit of everything, from traditional dorms to luxury spa
suites. There are also private ensuite rooms with balcony for a
little over $100 a night. The superb on-site cafe ser ves three
square meals a day, showcases friendly local musos and makes
the world's best caprioska with sugar cane juice. Expect a 30
second walk to reach the beach and allow 15 minutes to hit
Byron township on foot.
High on the list of places that people would love to live is
Bangalow. Situated in lush, undulating farmland fifteen minutes
from Byron, Bangalow made me sigh at first sight. Wholesome
rural streetscapes, friendly shops filled with hand made crafts and
coffee beans, a massage therapy clinic and a rockin' local pub ...
sigh. Better known as the Bangalow Hotel, the pub hosts
excellent local musicians, as well as the occasional drag king tour
from Melbourne, and offers wonderfully hearty meals.
A Noosa friend recently described the experience of living in
the Sunshine Coast heartland as "boring, unless you're into
the outdoors ... surfing, bush walking, ocean kayaking, scuba
diving, mountain biking ...", and the list goes on. Sounds like
heaven. If it sounds good to you too here's some inspiration for
your next Queensland vacation.
There's no denying that Noosa (pictured top right) can be
expensive, any coastal locale can. All you need is a sensible
approach. My method? Skimp by day, splurge by night. Start
with a robust coffee at the whitewashed and breezy Season, a
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