IP Day 32 – Warrnambool to Lavers Hill

Saturday 23rd April, 2022

119km +1211m
Moving 6:19, Elapsed 9:27
Max 58 kph, Avg 18.8 kph

We got away at 6.15. It might have been a reasonable temperature of around 15 degrees when we left the motel, but it dropped to about 3 degrees (‘feels like 2.3’!) within about 10km as we made our way over the river and along the bay! It stayed that cold as we followed the backroad back up north to Allensford (near the highway) and then turned south onto the Great Ocean Rd.

I had earmarked a cafe in Allensford at 13km. Coffee and food option, yes! We arrived just on 7am, opening time. No! Not on Saturdays, dammit. We ate a banana, sheltering from the wind chill under their awning, prompting the staff already there prepping to come out to check on us. “It’s ok, we’ve realised you’re not open till 8 on a Saturday (*sad face*)”

As we rode south along Great Ocean Rd (GOR), it was evident that we were now in dairy country – right on milk tanker time. (That, and the fact that we passed a large dairy factory complex that also hosted Cheese World.

The route took a 12km backroad detour after only a few kilometres, so we got a break from the milk tankers. It was pretty open farmland, so finding somewhere for a pee was a bit tricky.

As we met up again with GOR, there was a bit of traffic heading south.

Me, whingeing, catastrophising: “Oh my god, this is going to be a shocker… This is such a bad timing, hitting Great Ocean Rd in school holidays…” etc etc. For 1.5 kilometres. And then several cars turned off left onto a street that had a sign on the corner, with an arrow. “Nirranda Football Netball Club” and “Nirranda Recreation Reserve”. Ahhhh. Saturday morning sport, hey. Phew!

We then had a pretty quiet run till we hit the coast – at about the 50km mark. Bay of Islands. Parking area and scenic views. Ok. Time for a snack, AND a walk up the track to check out said views. It was worth it.

We stopped again 10 mins on to check out the Bay of Martyrs.

A couple more kilometres and we were at Peterborough, a little holiday town just big enough to have a General Store with takeaway and tables. It was around 10am – Brunch? Fueled up, we found the loo at the park around the corner, then pushed on.

It was only another 5km till we reached ‘London Bridge’ – or rather, what was London Bridge. We had actually, once, driven the Great Ocean Rd, in January 1987, three years before the collapse of the arch that connected it to the mainland. ( I’ve included a scan of that photo in the slideshow below!)

We couldn’t complain about the weather today!

Next stop, Port Campbell, at the 69km mark. It was a bit early for lunch, and not that long from the ‘brunch’ at Peterborough, but we knew that the only food option between here and Lavers Hill was the visitor centre at the Twelve Apostles. We bought some sandwiches and cake to take with us and rode down the street a bit further to check out the actual ‘port’ (very pretty)…

It was then only 10km to the visitor centre, but as it was our last toilet stop option, we made use of that, bought cold drinks, and ate our lunch outside amongst all the tourists, and the second-hand cigarette smoke from employees standing out the side on smoko. We skipped going across the road and down the crowded path to the Twelve Apostles lookout – cycling not permitted. It’s a bit of a shame, in hindsight, but at least had already seen them – 35 years ago! We still had about 40km to go, and much of it was climbing.

There was a bit of a 6k warm-up climb (before losing most of those metres gained), and then the last 18km of climbing. It wasn’t too bad – just a bit of a slog. A quick break at Yuulong, which deserved a photo because we have a Ulong near home that doesn’t need the extra letters to (presumably) sound the same! Plus country community halls are interesting.

We were pretty happy to reach Lavers Hill at 3.45. We’d booked at the Motor Inn there; the reception was in the restaurant in a separate building. We got a beer and chips because we’d definitely earnt it! The manager was a lovely lady, and we chatted with her for quite a bit, as well as a young couple who were customers, and interested in our ride.

Our room was, I suppose, fairly average, with an unusual closed-in patio with a sliding door. Great view though!

It turned out our tandem touring friends had stayed here a few years back. Their window was broken, and they swore they would never stay there again. (They even rode through there again later in 2022, but made a point of not staying there!) Either we were just lucky with our room, or maintenance is gradually being done with new management. The floor was just tiled, but it was by no means the worst room we’ve ever stayed in. We had a great meal in the restaurant as well – the menu was interesting and a welcome change from roadhouse and pub fare.

Today’s ride hadn’t been too bad. At least we had no trucks, and at least the tourist buses haven’t yet resumed, but we still did get the occasional dickhead car drivers.

Because it was school holidays we’d booked ahead for tomorrow as well. Destination: Aireys Inlet, with a similar distance and metres to climb as today.

One thought on “IP Day 32 – Warrnambool to Lavers Hill

  1. Chris Horsfield

    I’m impressed anyone who says they rode up Lavers Hill and it was not too bad! I have done it a couple of times but never stopped at Lavers Hill, pushing on to Apollo Bay so having to do the second one not long after. The first time I was cursing but the second I knew what was coming. It’s a great ride after Apollo Bay – I did it early morning before the traffic and it was magic. I did it in the dark on a 1000km Audax and that was a little less magic.

    Liked by 1 person

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