Apollo Bay Music Festival

Trip Start May 18, 2003
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, April 24, 2005

Our road trip started a little later than planned, but we were all very happy to be leaving the city for a relaxing weekend driving along Victoria's most famous coastal road.

The first hour or so was spent leaving the city and heading out west along the Princes Freeway. Once we passed Geelong and left Port Phillip Bay behind us we reached the start of the Great Ocean Road at Torquay. This town is the birth of the Australian surfing industry, and our first stop was Bells Beach where sure enough there were plenty of surfers catching waves.

As we had to keep moving to get to Apollo Bay before nightfall we headed back to the car (or "Bob" as named by Aileen) and continued on to Lorne, passing through the towns of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. So far the Great Ocean Road was fairly impressive, on a par with Highway 1 in California and most of the Scenic Coastal Highway in New Zealand. The road didn't always hug the coast but there was plenty to see along the way. We were not going to reach the more famous places (such as the 12 Apostles) until tomorrow, on the western side of Cape Otway.

On reaching Lorne we stopped for lunch and did our food shopping for the weekend. There was a nice looking campsite in this town but we saw an even better one a little further down the road. So if there was no room at Apollo Bay this would be a pleasant alternative rest stop for the night, being not too far away.

At Apollo Bay the festival was already in full swing, so we quickly set up tents at the campsite (who were cashing in by charging $10 per person) and headed into town. The atmosphere was electric! Music was being performed everywhere - in large marquees, in restaurants, in the park, in pubs & cafes, in the streets. There was so much going on at once it was difficult to choose who to listen to. We did not have tickets for this three day event so we could not get into all the venues. Having said that I still got to see several quality bands and acts, including an Australian Celtic band, a superb rock trio, Abba impersonators (the local favourite apparently), an excellent Folk/Blues guitarist, a Salsa group and even a hip-hop band. There was something for everyone here, and this was just a fraction of the line up for Saturday night!

As the evening drew to a close we headed back to the campsite whilst parts of the music festival continued into the night. Had I been able to spend the full three days at Apollo Bay I would have gladly bought the $100 ticket, as the quality of performances far exceeded my expectations. It was also nice to see a music festival actually taking place in the town, rather than in some muddy field on the outskirts.

Having spoken to travellers at my hostel back in Melbourne, I was keen to try sleeping in the station wagon this weekend; as so many travellers have done whilst travelling around Australia. To my surprise it was really comfortable and roomy, more preferable than some Australian hostels I've stayed in!
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