Beaches, beauty Down Under

Surfer Courtney Conlogue is ranked sixth on the Women's World Championship Tour after early-season stops on each coast of Australia and a fifth-place finish at both competitions.

In between the Snapper and Margaret River events, there's approximately three weeks available to either return home or stay in the land Down Under. Many athletes do return home to change their equipment and swap out clothing, while others stay around and become a little more local.

I decided to stay on and enjoy more time in Australia, one of my favorite stops on tour. I'd also get to avoid jetlag and the ridiculous board fees that come with traveling with many surfboards on a plane.

A trip to Victoria seemed in order. It would give me time to surf the well-known Bells break a bit, explore more of the local beaches, meet some locals, hike the trails and drive down the Great Ocean Road. I got some great shots from the trip and from the amazing scenery:

At Geelong Port they have several statues throughout the town. Sparring with the lifesaver!

Aireys Inlet lighthouse at my fingertips. Off the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.

Heading out to Bells Beach and getting my board ready. One of the most beautiful beaches in Australia.

In between surfs, enjoying the sunshine and the view at 13th Beach.

I have to drive on the other side of the road. This makes me seriously nervous, so I'm always looking both ways just to stay safe.

Enjoying some wild blackberries that I found during an afternoon hike.

When in Australia, you always keep your eyes open for kangaroos.

Off-road adventures. Watch out for any and all obstacles.

The best part about a road trip is taking in all the scenery!