Wow, what a trip.. Such a long way to drive, just under 4000km we did all in all!! We, Kate and I, a girl I meet in Sydney, did so much in these 25days that I couldn't possibly write it all here without boring you all.. I will try and keep it short and sweet with the interesting points..
Day 1: Firstly I must mention that when picking the van up from the depot we were given no maps what-so-ever nor any petrol!! We had to find our way to the petrol station and buy some maps to even get us out of Sydney!! The van was a pink and purple van with 'Von Dutch' written along the side and on the back was some Dutch writing.. We headed that day towards Canberra..
Day 2: We caught the bus into the Capital City of Australia thinking this was much more sensible but as it turns out it is actually not that busy at all and we should have driven considering they have rubbish public transport!! We visited the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) and then went to the Australian Mint, the other side of the city to discover it had shut for the day.. We had terrible trouble then trying to visit Parliament as we missed the bus stop and got taken miles past it!! We did however eventually make it, fortunately it was open late as they were in session.. They were talking about binge drinking and alcho-pops when we were there and I must add, they do need some younger influence on this subject!!
Day 3: Drove in to Canberra this time.. Visited the Telstra Tower with its' Panaramic views of the City and its cirrcular design.. We then learnt about Australian coins at the Mint and had our very own Canberra Dollar made before driving around all the Embassy's which are built and designed in their countries specific manor (if that makes sense!!).. The Chinese and the USA buildings were particularly reflective of the countries.. We had a quick look at the War Memorial before heading towards the coast again to Batehaven..
Day 4: Played some crazy golf in Batemans Bay before seeking out some beaches.. We came across, what is still to this day, one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, Mossy Beach.. It was so spectacular with the clear blue water, golden sand and know one around!! It was so beautiful but unfortunately, with our excitment of exploring, we carried on in a rush after writing in the sand.. We stopped off for lunch at a cafe in Moruya where I felt for a Jacket Potato but they didn't have any baked beans included in any choices.. I naturally asked and it seems that to have a Spud with cheese and beans is unheard of!! They very kindly made me one though, were unsure what to charge me and said they were going to add it on the menu as an 'English Spud' :o) .. I'm an inspiration to all it seems!! hehe.. A few more stops on the way, even to Potato Head to find the Potato which we couldn't see and later informed it's a tourist trap!! Drove to Narooma where we had a lovely camp spot on the very edge, over looking the beach..
Day 5: Chillaxed on the bech in the morning and then off to find internet with no luck in the arvo.. We decided to go on a Tourist Drive, Number 4 to be precise.. This turned out to be an extremely long dirt track which the van couldn't cope too well with it and took us over an hour to complete 30km!! We joined some guys on there stag do for the evening at the pub where I was shown how to bet on horses and to play pokies (naturally with their money only!! I'm not that stupid!!)..
Day 6: Onwards and downwards from Narooma to Central Tilba which is a cute little village which looks like those you see at a theme.. Onto Bega and Bega Cheese factory.. We didn't have anywhere to store food to keep it cold and cheese was one of the foods both Kate and I had been craving so the cheese tasting was much appreciated!! We then went to Eden and to the Killer Whale museum.. This may not sound like much to some but for those who are unaware, it is my life long dream to touch a Killer Whale therefore a must to visit this place.. Unfortunately it turned out to be more about whaling and the story of a pod of Killer Whales who helped the men kill the other whales.. Fascinating story actually, Old Tom was the leader.. Of course I had to then buy a small Killer Whale teddy who became New Tom and was our mascot throughout the rest of our travels!! Stayed at Mallacoota for the night..
Day 7: Drove to Orbost and went horse riding in the bush.. It was very nice being just Kate and I and we had horses that we had to actually control rather than the plod-along, in a line, horses you tend to get in England!! We carried on all the way to Yarram..
Day 8: Got to Philip Island today.. Stopped at the chocolate factory first and then onto 'A Maze N' Things' which was as it says, AMAZING!! It was such great fun.. It was pretty much just the two of us so we got to run around like big kids, playing on all the puzzles, games and optical illusions.. There was also a massive maze outside which we had to get help from the maintance guy to find our way!! The Seal cruise wasn't running due to the bad weather unfortunately so we wasted the day away at the Nobbies centre and luckily found some penguins under the boardwalk.. We were on our bellies learning over, taking photos of the cute things.. We were literally 10cm away!! We visited the penguin parade that evening where you sit and watch all the penguins returning from the sea as the sun goes down.. They're very scared little creatures and it took one group a good while to run the beach.. They got a quiet cheer from the crowd when they finally managed it :o)
Day 9: Very very windy this morning.. Headed off for Melbourne.. I bought a new camera on the way to get better photos of my amazing travels.. We hadn't planned ahead much and when we hit Melbourne we weren't sure as to what to do.. We made it to St. Kilda and then to the ferry port to Tasmania where we had thought to go next.. Unfortunately, after much hassel, it turned out it was unsuitable for us to get over to Tassie when we wanted to, let alone the cost!! We got very stressed out and getting drenched on the way into Melbourne city centre didn't help.. We eventually found a campsite for the night, north of the CBD.. Today was the first day I actually really wanted to be at home!!
Day 10: Mood didn't change much today either.. Weather was still rainy and horrible and we were drenched trying to get into the city.. Both the Victoria Market and the MCG tours we missed.. A lovely Boost smoothie and a bit of internet time was the only real highlight of the day.. Melbourne was not living up to my expectations at this point!!
Day 11: Having planned what to do today inorder to actually do something we managed to wander around the Victoria Market (they had such cute little puppies there but we decided the back of a campervan would not have been suitable for one!!).. Next we went to the SkyDeck88 which was definately an experience I will never forget.. it was sooooooooo scary.. The tower is 300m above the ground and you have the option of going on 'The Edge Experience' which is where you stand in a glass cube and it moves out so you can see 280m below, the ground!! I was very nervous of this as I'm not a fan of heights.. Everyone else found my fear rather funny.. AND THEN they take photos of you at the furthest point.. I was happy clinging to the rail, closest to the building!! But no, I had to go to the end and the photo reveals my nervousness rather nicely!! The school kids on a trip found this rather amusing too!! We missed the MCG tour again and also the Old Melbourne Gaol.. Instead we saw the movie 'He's just not that into you'..
Day 12: Old Melbourne Gaol this morning.. Was really quite interesting and found out all about Ned Kelly.. We also were taken into the Old Watch House and treated like criminals!! Walked around Federation Square with lots going on due to the long weekend (bank holiday weekend!).. We fell upon the Boomba festival down by the river where so much was happening; Yarra River info, fun fair rides and games, water jumping comp, skate park comp, foreign cuisines, beach volleyball and so much more! I tried out a new CrazyCoaster ride which was a mix between a roller coaster and the waltz!! It was a horrible sensention yet so funny.. I had tears streaming down my face by the end!! We wasted the day away till the fireworks at night which were amazing (but loud!!).. Slept in the van outside on the street as the campsite had extortional prices for the night!!
Day 13: Macedon Ranges today which are North of Melbourne.. We climbed Hanging Rock and were blessed with a blue sky, first time for a couple days!! We then drove to Sanatarium Lake which I had thought was the amazing, beautiful picture in the brochure but it turned out to be a grotty swampy thing!! Haha, well we walked round regardless and heard a lady saying she had seen an Echidna.. Naturally we went in search of this and came across one on the path, right by the edge, just pottering around.. He didn't care much about us and we were able to get in touching distances of him although obviously this may have hurt if we had tried!! He even sniffed at my trainer which was amazing!! A Memorial cross and some wine tasting followed before finding a campsite for the night.. It was at this campsite where I had my first encounter with hundreds of Millipeds.. They were revolting and since then I have discovered that it is occurs in most Australia with millions of Millipeds everywhere.. Yuck!
Day 14: Drove to the Peninsulas, firstly to Frankston and then to Mornington Peninsula, Sunny Ridge Strawberry farm, where we picked a box of strawberries each and munched them all up rather quickly!! Onto Sorrento to stay the night..
Day 15: Rented bikes and rode to Point Nepean which was fun as we tend not to do much exercise in the van.. We had planned to swim with dolphins today but that fell through so we caught the ferry across to Queenscliff and saw some dolphins playing anyway.. Torquay was next and the Surf Museum which was interesting but would probably have been much more to a surfer.. A detour to Bells Beach was inorder afterwards as this is the famous surfing beach in Australia.. It is the beach in the film Point Break where they surf!! Not the nicest beach but I get grilled for saying that by a surfer!! hehe.. Last stop of the day was at the archers of the Great Ocean Road for the photo opportunity.. We got our photos and as we went to leave the van made a horrendous scrapping sound and then stunk of burning rubber!! After being put through about 5 different people and an hour later, we found out it was the alternator which had snapped..
Day 16: Having been put up for the night we had to go into the garage early in the morning with Nathan, our resuer!! We had a long day today, pottered around the beach, visited the information centre, cut my hair, walked up and down the shops on the front a good few times and up the VERY steep hill to the garage.. Our van was to be ready tommorrow and the nice receptionist dropped us off at the local YHA for the night..
Day 17: Built a sand dolphin on the beach in the morning and again walked the strip a few times before receiving the all clear and getting back on the road again!! We went to Erskine Falls which wasn't amazing but then again it would be hard with not much water I supose.. Then onto Kennett River which is a prime area for wild koalas.. We were very lucky to see one so close we could have stroked it (but we preferred to keep our arms!).. Drove to Lake Elizabeth next to push our luck at seeing a Platypus in the wild.. No such luck but the Lake was so peaceful and quiet, it was lovely.. Stayed at Apollo Bay for the night..
Day 18: Cape Otway Lighthouse was the first stop of today and then onto Wreck Beach which was interesting to see a couple ship anchors and what-not around.. There were also lots of Mother-of-Pearl shells around due to an apparent disease flux on them.. 12 Apostles next where we got our day time photos first and carried on to Port Campbell to get our campsite for the night before turning back to the Apostles for sunset.. It was so spectacular seeing this.. It was such a shame the sun went down so fast and a definate to see if you're ever around..
Day 19: Saw London Bridge first (was a very long drive for that I can tell you!) hehe.. Nah, it's only called that, and for good reason, but unfortunately one of the archers had given way and fallen so not so much any more.. Next was Warrnambol Cheeseworld, mmmmmmm... And then the International Amnesty they had on in the village green.. I then went horse riding in Dennington whilst Kate went swimming.. The sun had been out today but it decided to chuck it down when I was riding unfortunately.. I had specifically gone because it was a beach ride this time incontrast to the bush one last.. It was still a good experience though I must admit but hard work for the poor horses on that sand!! Drove to the end of the Great Ocean Road and onto Port Fairy where it hammered down with rain.. I thought the roof was going to collapse and where we found a lovely leak in the door.. Mattress soaked, Great fun!!
Day 20: Cape Bridgewater was our first stop of the day where we did a 2hr walk to a lookout point over a colony of fur seals in the water.. We also did the Petrified Forest, which was in such contrast to the blue sea right next to it, and the Blowhole, which was working immensely due to the rough sea conditions.. Drove over the border to South Australia to Millicent..
Day 21: Drove through Robe with the Obelisik and the old gaol ruins (not very exciting) and then Kingston which was so quiet but we got to met Larry the Lobster.. Onto Coorong National Park where we took another bumpy scenic drive past some spectacular salt lakes!! Stayed at Meningie for the night over looking Lake Albert.. Definately ready for the roadtrip to end by this point.. It had been fun but the time was definately coming!!
Day 22: Victor Harbor today and over the bridge on a horse drawn tram to Granite Island.. Then onto Deep Creek National Park where we saw lots of Eastern Grey Kangeroos leisurely relaxing in the sun and posing for our cameras.. Drove to Cape Jervis to look out over to Kangaroo Island where I will be heading to in the next week.. Second Valley for the night..
Day 23: Sun bathed on Port Willunga for a while then into McLaren Vale where we tried out the cheese shop and the chocolate shop!! I gave into temptation and bought some chocolate covered liquorice, yummy.. Stayed at Lakeside Caravan Park where we went for a swim which felt like a freezer!! Socialised with the fruit pickers who had set up camp there it seemed..
Day 24: Staying at McLaren Vale again we where able to go to Maslin Beach and sun bath again for the majority of the day.. Another cold swim at camp where I was joined by a few ducks!!
Day 25: Last day so we had to sort everything out including washing the van down!! It had become rather mucky from the tourist drive dirt tracks so we took it to a garage and used our dish brush, and the dribble of water supplied, to clean as best we could.. It worked enough anyway!! Luckily we found the depot much easier than the Sydney one but if we had been thinking sensibly we should have dropped our big bags off at the hostel we were staying at before handing in the van.. But no, we trekked them along afterwards and with the heat of the sun and the weight of my bag the wheel melted!!! No joke, the wheel became flattened and by the end of the struggle I had been dragging it along the floor!! No wonder that was such hard work..
Well that was the adventures with the Wicked Camper and we found out during the trip, by a few Dutch guys that the writing on the back was rather rude, and spelt wrong anyway!! I did have a great time and we saw soooo much more than I could ever have imagined doing it this way but maybe not for as long next time!!