“Congratulations Carolyne, you have been chosen to be our Easter Roadie trip.”
Feelings of excitement and happiness ensued. I was given the opportunity to have a campervan for five days anywhere I wanted in Australia and at the same time be able to spread some Easter Bunny cheer to the local community. I immediately told my partner, Roméo, who could not believe I had won. Doing the Great Ocean Road and the Mornington Peninsula was on our top list of places to see for some time now and so the decision of where we were headed was an easy one.
Alice from the Melbourne branch of JUCY contacted us shortly after and told us our mission would be to spread some Easter cheer to the local RSPCA in Burwood, East. We would be delivering some beautiful chocolate baskets to the volunteers and staff and handing out some even tastier treats to their dogs.
On Monday March 31st, Roméo and I departed our apartment, hopped on the tram and headed to the Melbourne JUCY branch to pick up on new home for the next five days.
We were greeted by the lovely JUCY staff and proceeded to check in with the awesome long-bearded American Josh. We were delighted to be given the Penthouse Campa. He even threw in a free GPS, making this the ultimate vacation package!
Once we got familiar with the Campa, we had the pleasure to met Alice. A beautiful, all smiles, British young woman. I could feel her excitement as she handed us our Easter costumes, cute bunny ears and matching tails.
Turns out she’s a huge animal lover, just like us, and so to spread the Easter cheer with her was a real treat.
Around 11:30am we were set to depart. Arriving a little after noon, we were greeted by the ever so kind Catherine from the RSCPA. She could not believe the size of our baskets nor could get over how cute we all three looked in our Easter bunny outfits!
We then proceeded to the break room, set up our goodies, and Catherine made the surprise announcement on the intercom!
As the staff and volunteers poured into the break room, they were a little confused but also very delighted to see three little Easter bunny handing waiting for them with huge baskets of chocolates! Basket openings, chocolate devouring immediately commenced! Just an awesome way to start off the week…only if all Monday mornings could be like that!
We proceeded to head downstairs to tour the animal area. We were secretly very excited for this as we would be able to give Easter doggy approved treats to the RSCPA dogs! Tails wagging, dogs patiently waiting their turns for the treats! It was a real delight.
The RSCPA experience was an amazing opportunity to chat with the hard working staff and volunteers of this newly built branch. It is simply inspiring to see first hand the attention that is given to every single living creature in this place. For Roméo and I, it could not have been a better why to kick-start our Great Ocean Road trip.
We arrived at the Great Apostles lookout area just in time to catch the beautiful sunset.
I can never get tired of the Australian sunsets, just absolutely beautiful. No words to describe the serenity that chills your entire body when you look onto the horizon.
The sunset was definitely the icing on the cake to end such an awesome day. Tonight was going to be our first attempt to making dinner in the Campa. On the menu: chicken spaghetti with sweet basil and tomato sauce and a side of green beans! Yummy! The Campa kitchen got our quick approval!
The next day, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and a surprising hot morning for an April 1st. It would soon turn out to be the hottest day on record, 26 degree Celsius!
On today’s route, Port Campbell for coastal town viewing, then back up to Johanna’s Beach for lunch by the ocean, relaxing, and walking around. Cape Otway Lighthouse to take in some of the breathtaking landscape.
We finished off the day with a stop over by the Lorne beach for a quiet night dinner and sleeping. On the menu tonight was a delicious rice and green bean Bolognese. We planned to drink our Peter Lehmann 2008 Barossa Shiraz bottle but given the fact that it was 26 degrees Celsius, the bottle was more than warm. Quick on his feet, Roméo, decided to make his own cooler.
Quick tip: if you want your wine or beer to be cool, find a shallow rocky area, make sure it’s low tide, cradle your bottle between the rocks, eat a little snack while you wait, and come back in 20 minutes. By this time your drink should be chilled and ready to drink! Simply open, pour, and enjoy!
At 7:00 am we woke up the next morning and it must have been still about 20 degrees Celsius. Thankfully by 8:30 am the temperature started to drop, and it started to rain. On program this morning was the Erskine Falls. We were graced with a huge rainbow on our way to the tallest falls of Victoria.
We felt like we were in the Amazon jungle surrounded with the lush and green plants and trees. For the afternoon, our plan was to head to Queenscliff and hop onto the ferry to Sorrento. The ferry is a great option, as we were short on time, and wanted to connect quickly to the Mornington Peninsula. 40 minutes later we arrived safely at our destination.
As today had been very wet and remarkably cooler compared to the previous day, one of the major highlights was us heading to the Peninsula Hot Springs in Fingal for an evening of pure relaxing. The moment we stepped into the reception area, we felt calm and soothed. We were delighted to weave our way around the 20 different baths. The other bathing experiences included the sauna and hamam, the reflexology walk, and the hydrojet pool. But the most special, must have been climbing all the way to the top of the bathes and immersing our bodies into the thermal hot spring bath that overlooked the entire city line. Just a spectacular experience.
The next morning, waking up refreshed and relaxed, we drove to discover the walking trails of the Cape Schank Lighthouse.
The Mornington Peninsula landscape does not disappoint. Our afternoon was reserved for wine tasting; this region of Victoria is very well known for its Pinot Noirs.
We created our list of the four wineries we wanted to visit thanks to our trusty wine touring map. On the list was:
- Montalto Estate
- Eldridge Estate
- Main Ridge Estate (the oldest winemaker in the region)
- 10 Minutes by Tractor
We had the pleasure of discussing with the cellar door staff about their 2014 vintage season, tasted some interesting pinot noirs, and even had a private tour of the cellar area at one of the wineries.
As this was our last night in the Peninsula, we wanted to do something special for dinner. We purchased at the IGA in Hastings a tandori styled chicken that we grilled on the BBQ. This is one feature of Australia that we absolutely love! Get your meat and grill it on one of the many free barbecues. We toasted our evening with a nice Shiraz. It was simply a perfect night spent overlooking the Shoreman Beach.
On Friday morning, we said goodbye to the Peninsula and started making our way back home. We took the long way and stopped in the city of Mornington. Then headed towards the Ocean Road and stopped along the Brighton beach houses for some final pictures. We drove our CAMPA back to its destination on Inkerman Street in St. Kilda and handed over the keys to Josh; our new American friend. We said our goodbyes to the Jucy team and headed back home the same way we arrived.
Until next time JUCY campa, you were great to us, and we can’t wait for our next adventure with you!
Carolyne and Roméo
Easter Bunny Roadie winners Australia 2014