This morning I hired (rented) a car and drove along the Great Ocean Road to Port Campbell. The Great Ocean Road is a coastal highway in South Australia that passes through woods, fields, rolling hills, and along beaches. I have been wanting to rent a car to drive the Pacific Coast Highway for some time now, and when I learned about this similar journey in Australia, I knew I had to jump on the opportunity.
I decided to go with the midsize SUV, a Mitsubishi ASX, and I love it! It took me a little bit to adjust to driving on the left side of the road, but after a short time, it was very easy. For those that don’t know, Australians drive on the left side of the road, also known as the wrong side. Which also means that the steering wheel is on the right side of the car where the passenger seat should be. The gear shift is on your left and the blinker and windshield wiper controls are also opposite. While driving in the city, I kept turning on my windshield wipers by mistake instead of signaling, but eventually I got that hang of it.
It felt so nice to drive a car again. It’s hard to believe I haven’t been behind the wheel of a car in almost two months. The hardest part is adjusting to the depth perception on the lefthand side. I kept checking my side mirrors because I felt like I was going too far to the left at times. On Fraser Island, we had the opportunity to drive the 4x4s, but since the cars were manual, I had to pass.
Side note. Somebody teach me how to drive manual when I get home.
Anyways, I remember during the safety briefing that one of the lead guys said, “For those of you that drive on the righthand side back home, you guys always tend to veer left.” I didn’t really understand why until I started driving on the highway. Your natural instinct is to center yourself in the lane, which back home would be the left-center, so in Australia you have to center yourself towards the right and it feels wrong.
After driving for about six hours on the Great Ocean Road, I was starting to lose daylight. My goal was to make it in time to see the Twelve Apostles, which are huge rock formations in the middle of the sea formed over millions of years from erosion. The sunset was so beautiful. On the right side of me, I could see a huge valley of rolling hills and the sky was a magnificent orange color. The entire horizon was blue for as far as I could see. I wanted to stop to take a picture, but I was on a mission.
I barely made it to the car park at 5:15pm as the sun was going down. I was nervous because I couldn’t see the beach from the lot but still decided to give it a try. I started walking towards the lookout point then broke out into a run. Once I got to the end, I was rewarded by the most beautiful sunset over the Twelve Apostles. I was literally in awe and just so happy that I made it in time before nightfall. I snapped the same photo at least ten times, had a stranger take my picture and spent the rest of the time staring at the view while the sun went down. The entire road was pretty, with lots of curves and spots overlooking the ocean, but this was definitely the highlight.