GOING DOWN THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD
Visiting Australia, Adreen Nazirah crosses off the Great Ocean Road Run from her list – sort of.
Discover this beautiful coastal stretch on four wheels and two feet.
Quite a number of marathons around the world take place in a location with an amazing view, but perhaps the most famous of them is the Great Ocean Road Run, held annually since 2005 along the highway it was named after, in Victoria, Australia. Accidentally stumbling upon an image of the Great Ocean Road during sunset while surfing the Internet, plans to one day run the marathon was immediately added to the bucket list in my head, even though I was far from what one would describe as a ‘runner’. Nonetheless, I jumped at the chance to cross this off my list, much earlier than expected, when I was invited by the organiser to join it earlier this year in May. Now rebranded as the Great Ocean Road Running Festival, there were more activities to be enjoyed both by runners as well as their non-running friends, in between and after the respective events.
The Great Ocean Road is a long and winding stretch of about 243 kilometres, running along the coastline of the Tasman Sea between the surf town of Torquay and Allansford town further towards the west. Landing at Melbourne airport, I collected the rental car that was pre-booked for me, turned on my GPS app, and started to make my way to Peppers The Sands Resort in Torquay, my accommodation for the night.
Torquay seems to be one of those laid-back towns, where resort-like residential architecture is prevalent and you just know that everyone’s favourite past-time here is to go to the beach. Even so, I was surprised to find out that it hosts the headquarters of popular brand Rip Curl, which had its start in this town, making surfboards for the best surfers out there. It’s no surprise then that Quiksilver also has its roots in Torquay.
While here, I had the chance to visit the Australian National Surfing Museum and brushed up on its history – realising just how big of a role Australian surfing, in particular, has played in developing and popularising the sport, despite it usually being associated with the American states of California and Hawaii.
After the tour, I popped into Surf City Plaza just next door to browse and shop brands including Rip Curl, Quiksilver, Billabong and others. On foot, I walked past the Rip Curl headquarters and discovered a surf brand outlet selling off-season items at discounted prices and, across from it, a cool little café with a cute garden where you can rest for a bit while enjoying a cuppa.
Sizing up the waves at Bells Beach