An Aussie Roadtrip Adventure pt VI
20 Nov 2012
Day 6 – Apollo Bay to Port Melbourne.
Ah! Rain on the roof, my favourite sound in the world...Hold on! Roof? Where am I? Oh, that's righ. We stayed in a motel last night! And after a few more minutes contemplation I recall I am in Apollo Bay, part of Cape Otway. Rain.....glad we chose the motel over the tent then. I drift back to sleep, enjoying the pitter-pattering.
We take our time this morning, it's still raining, and we don't have to be in Melbourne until 6.30pm to board the Spirit of Tasmania. I had planned to explore the Otways today but clearly the weather gods have other ideas. Bundled into the car, we hit the road and decide to poke along towards Melbourne, see what there is to see, and pray that the rain stops. It doesn't. I stop at a few picturesque bays and towns to take photos and we are in Melbourne by lunch time.
Lunch is a picnic on a jetty beside the Spirit of Tasmania pier. The jetty has a roof to protect us from the unabated drizzle. We sit cross legged on the boards and enjoy the view while sheltering from the weather. Now I have several hours to fill in, in Melbourne, with a 5 year old, without getting lost....hmmmm.....I spot a tram station, and after advice from a helpful Melbournian we figure out how to hop a tram into the city centre.
Once off the tram, the first tram ride for all of us, we walk along the Yarra. I know people say it's the dirtiest river in Australia, but I am still blown away by the sludge and rubbish filled, dark, murky brown water that snakes its way through the heart of the city. It is disgraceful! I am embarrassed that Australians have let such an important water system become so polluted. We hurriedly get on board another tram, wanting to get away from the putrid water, and after a few stops we are back in Port Melbourne. We wander back to where we parked the car. The parking meter will expire soon and we need to put more coin in....Uh-Oh....there is a little green ticket stuck to the windscreen. It appears the parking meter expired at quarter to three, not quarter past, and the City of Melbourne has given us a $70 lesson in paying more attention.
After shifting the car closer to the loading point for the ferry, feeding the meter and checking the expiry time twice, we head off to find some early dinner. Behind the tram station, tucked in a tiny out of the way corner, we find a little pizza shop with heavenly aromas wafting out the door. Now, I don't even know this little hole in the walls name, but it sure does have excellent pizza. So if you find yourself in Port Melbourne, in the vacinty of the Beacon Cove tram station seek it out!
After gorging on delicious pizza we wait in the car for boarding onto the ferry to commence. While we wait we watch the freight being loaded. Alli reduces us all to fits of giggles as she talks about the trucks with little heads. It takes more than a moment to realise she is refering to the small, yellow, forklift like trucks that shift the freight trailers into the tight confines of the ferry.
Around 5pm the boom gates open and we drive through a variety of security and customs checks and then, finally, onto the ferry itself. I have booked us into Ocean Recliner seats, kind of like a Lazy Boy recliner with a view over the ships stern. We are lucky enough to jag seats in the front row, which means we not only have the best view, we also have the most leg room. Once we have our seats settled we head of to explore the ship, it features several viewing decks, bars, restaurants, theatre, games rooms, cafes and even some pokie machinces! I buy some hot chocolates and head back to our seats, determined to settle Alli before the water gets rough. I may be of sound intestinal fortitude when it comes to sea-faring adventures, but her father is from a long line of pukers. After sipping her hot choccie, we watch the lights of Melbourne disappear and she is asleep by 8.20pm. I do my best to sleep, I drift in and out, the rocking motion is soothing, but the chairs are not particularly comfortable, the lights stay on until after 11pm and people wander about. It's a far cry from my quiet farm house at the end of a quiet road in the middle of nowhere.
At around midnight I am awaken by a change in the boats movement. No longer gently rolling along, but rocking side to side, lightning on the horizon, wind whipping spray from white caps. I settle into the new pattern of pitch and roll and go back to sleep.