Everyone has their own travel style, if I had to describe mine, it would be “winging it!”
I’ve been travelling this way since I was 17. Of course, there are some things that need to be planned out, but my ideal trip involves a destination, a few stops I’m interested in and the rest is up to whatever happens along the way.
It’s always been on my bucket list to ride The Great Ocean Road, and when camping came into the mix I fell in love. After returning home from competing on the Freeride World Tour, I found myself living in Victoria, and after 115 days in lockdown what better time to tick this one off the list?
A week out from school holidays, perfect weather forecast and border closures meant no tour buses and less chance of people driving on the wrong side of the road. It was the perfect time to take off on my very first solo motorcycle camping adventure.
Before I even began, I started off with the biggest mission of the trip – figuring out how much will fit on my motorbike and how to strap it all on. After working my Tetris skills and some trial and error strap combos, I set off to the Sorrento ferry without a care in the world.
It’s an amazing feeling to just ride with nowhere to be, just you and the open road.
I chose to only stay at free campsites, which you can filter as an option with my new favourite app WikiCamps – I highly recommend it for any camper. Each day I would ride and while stopped for lunch I would search for my next campsite.
After stopping in at the Information Centre in Lorne on day one, I explored Erskine Falls before finding my home for the next two nights – Aire Crossing Campsite. This little gem is in the Great Otway National Park nestled among tree ferns close to the river and a short ride to a bush walk at Melba Gully where you can find glow-worms.
On day two I ventured out with only my daypack to do my favourite thing on a motorbike – corners. The thrill of going fast, manoeuvring a bike from side to side and leaning too far over and scraping my foot pedal gives me a good hit of adrenalin. For all the riding enthusiasts, there are some amazing windy roads through the cool rainforest of the Otways.
Keep an eye out for wildlife crossing the road; I met a super cute koala around a corner that almost had a death wish for us both.
A must see are the massive Californian Red wood trees. It’s a beautiful forest that’s close to Hopetoun Falls. Best tip for low crowds is to go early and during the week.
Day three was time to pack up and continue onto the 12 Apostles (we still call it that but there are only 8 left) with beautiful scenery, great lookouts and beaches from the Apostles all the way to Port Campbell.
The one downside to a bike trip is you can’t pack a surfboard. However, if you happen to meet a friendly local in Point Fairy, who comments on your bike, and you get to chatting only to find out they served you at a surf shop a few months back in Rye and they have a spare board in the car, then, like me, you’ll get some waves in.
Big thanks to my new mate, who not only came for a surf but also showed me a secret camp spot in Portland with million-dollar views!
By day four I figured I’d made it this far so I might as well cross the border to South Australia, as I’ve never been. Being a scorcher of a day and too hot to ride, I spent my day by the water and waited till the evening to set off to Blue Lake in Mt Gambier. It was a short but sweet trip to SA before I began the loop back home.
The beauty of this trip was the variety of scenery and roads each day. From coastal, rainforests, sweeping bends, and now long straight roads through farmland, as far as the eye could see. Not another car in sight besides a few trucks every now and then, let’s just say I had some fun.
Just when I thought this trip couldn’t get any better, I pulled up to an empty campsite in the bush by Wannon Falls and once again asked myself “is this real life?” Early starts work a treat when travelling, I woke up with the sun, and had the waterfall all to myself! So what better way to start my final day with a skinny dip before the trek home?
Day five was the biggest ride of the trip through some more country roads and tiny towns. I found riding solo very peaceful and enjoy my own company; the mind is clear and you really don’t have to think about anything.
I just made the last ferry of the day and due to bumpy seas I was advised to stay with the bike. You know you’ve had a great trip when you fall asleep sitting on the bike, one leg up, head in hand with your helmet on and dribble down your face.
I can’t express how fun and exciting this adventure was. My advice to anyone out there that has a trip in mind but no one to go with is just do it! Go by yourself and have the best time. My absolute favourite thing about travelling solo is you can do whatever and go wherever you want without having to consult others.
I would 100% do it again! I’m already looking up my next destination.
A few tips I learnt along the way
When you’re travelling in the middle of nowhere and see a petrol station,always fill up, even if you have half a tank left, because you don’t know where the next one will be.
Make sure any excess straps that secure your luggage are always fully secured. I had a scare where a strap came loose and got chewed up in my bike and ripped off. I was very thankful that it didn’t wrap around the chain.
Always fill up your water before arriving at your campsite.
What I took for my 5 day journey.
For each campsite I had The North Face Eco Trail 2 Tent with The North Face Sleeping Bag, a sleeping mat, hammock (best idea as used it daily), billy and Campers Pantry Meals, bowl with spork and knife and camp chair.
I also took a water bladder, head torch and backpack for day trips. Add a small microfibre towel and some joggers for the terrain. For clothes I packed some tees, undies, pants, beanie and swimmers and to record it all my iPhone 12 Pro plus a GoPro with suction mount for the motorbike.