Tuesday, June 14, 2005

On the road from Sydney South...

G'day, mates....well, we picked up our new home last Friday - a modified "Hi-Top" Toyota Hiace van - rented from a company called Get About Oz...

Click here to see what it looks like!

It comes equipped with a gas stove (2 burner), small frige, sink, pots & pans,
kettle and teapot (necessary when you are traveling with an irishman!), utensils, a small closet, a table and much much more!!

We bought a few things for the van on Friday and headed off on Saturday morning...we decided to head south along the coast of New South Wales, driving along the Princes Highway - also known as the A1. That first day was a bit hectic...Mike drove through rain, wind, and unsealed roads...quite a feat, let me tell you! But, we were rewarded with gorgeous coastal views of beaches, small fishing villages, tropical rainforests (!), fields of cows and dairy famrs and touristy towns. We took a small detour to a place called Pebbly Beach and sighted our first kangaroo on the beach! It was very surprising to see - very incongrous with the surroundings, I must say! We stayed near Batemans Bay the first night and figured out how to "plug in" our van so we could get power for the lights, frige, and outlets through the night. We found a "bottle shop" and bought a few beers, then w cooked up a lovely meal of lamb sausages and green beans and went to bed early. It gets dark at around 5:15pm here since it is winter, so when you are camping, you tend to go to bed quite early and get up early too!!

The next day, we had more coastal scenery, and more cattle and sheep farms, plus lunch at lovely Pambula beach. That afternoon, we made it all the way to Cape Conran for the night. We bought a steamer and enjoyed delicious steamed zucchini that night!

We continued our tour along the south coast, crossing into the state of Victoria and had lunch at a place called The Ninety Mile beach were we saw a lot of people fishing from the beach - we heard that they often fish for sharks around here!! We continued on to my personal favorite place so far - Wilsons Promontory National Park...this is the most famous National Park in all of Victoria - and I can really understand why. It was full of lush green forests, mountains, unspoiled beaches, and beautiful views of the ocean from all directions. We spent $16 AU to stay the night at an "unpowered" site - our first one of the trip -- and cooked up pasta with cream sauce and broccoli for dinner...yum! That evening, we went out in the dark to find some wombats wandering around our campsite -- small, shy pig-like animals that are actually endangered here...very funny to see them. We got some info on hikes to do in the park and headed out the next morning for a 3 hour hike out to a place called Tongue Point starting from Darby Saddle. It was a crazy hike through all different types of environments, pretty strenuous uphills and downhill sections - but the views were definitely worth it. We will try to get some more photos up soon so you can get an idea of what it was like....by the end of the hike, we were sweaty and tired but we felt great...

I neglected to mention that Mike came down with a slight cold - sore throat, drippy nose - the first day we left Sydney -- and has been recovering ever since...AND he did ALL of the driving for the first 4 days because I was too scared to drive on the left-hand side of the road with a manual transmission! I have been the mapreader/navigator/photographer, but Mike really did all the work...

We left Wilsons Promontory Nat'l Park after seeing a few emus crossing the road and hoping that we would be back there again someday. I would DEFINITELY recommend that place to anyone...

We headed off to Phillips Island...a small island that reminded us a lot of Nantucket...a small bridge connected the mainland to the island and there were lots of touristy things to do and see...mostly in the summertime, though. It was pretty deserted - and we could understand why - some sort of cold front blew in and it was unbeliveably windy there. We were pretty cold that night in the van, but our campervan park was sheletered and contained a youth hostel, bar, and restaurant as well...

I decided to brave driving today and actually took to it quite well almost immediately...maybe it has something to do with being left-handed, I don't know...anyway, we drove out to the furthest point on Phillips Island and viewed some rocks called The Nobbies and Seal Rocks where the largest colony of fur seals in the world live...we passed by a place called Penguin Point where "Little Penguins" come to shore every evening. There was also a Koala Conservation Center on the island - there is no shortage of interesting animals in Australia!!

We decided to leave the windy island and head into Melbourne. I drove all the way in city traffic and had no problems at all. There is a strange system for the toll roads here that we were warned about before we came, so we stopped off at a gas station and bought an "all day" toll pass. We made it to our campervan park and took the bus into the city (about 20-30 min ride).

Melbourne is very much like a European city...there are outdoor cafes around every corner and a tram system that goes all through the city. We have only been here for a few hours, so we have a lot more exploring to do - but it is quite cold and windy here in this coastal town so we might have to explore the inside of a few pubs...

Hope you are enjoying our blog....we are having a great time and loving every minute of our journey....

Christy (& Mike)

P.S. Christy is reading "The Da Vinci Code" and Mike is reading "Angels & Demons" and we are both totally engrossed!!


At 2:16 AM, Blogger Maire G said...

Christy - you really should take up writing travel books. I feel like i am over there with ye guys! Very eloquent writing!!!Some of us have to go back to doing some work now.
Ps Da Vinci Code - way better than Angels and Demons!!!

At 9:39 PM, Blogger Dave Bogart said...

Mike and Christy, believe it or not I actually looked at each of the 335 photos you uploaded to Snapfish in your "Sydney Collection". You appear to be enjoying yourselves, but I've got a couple of questions:

Mike, would it kill you to crack a smile once in a while in those photos? (and that surly grin of yours doesn't count).

Also, I noticed many photos of the marine life that is Christy's professional passion. But, alas, nothing to do with Oracle databases. What's up with that, Mike?

But seriously, I’m glad you are having a good time exploring Oz. Your new home on wheels is way cool. Keep up the travelogue!

At 1:05 PM, Blogger Eidan said...

Yeah, excellent description and details Chrsity! Good job! I miss you guys, and I am really glad you are having fun over there. It really sounds like you guys are having some serious good times over there. I have the feeling we will use your notes in our own Australia trip (after our wedding ;)

Christy watch out from Milks driving, if he is driving this van like he is driving a UHaul truck you are heading for a rough drive ;)

Miss you guys; keep sending us all this good info!

Eidan & Sharon.


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