So we’re back.
When the lady at the check-in desk asked us for our visas (we didn’t have any!- my fault!) our stomachs sank and I never thought we’d make it but Thai Airways managed to apply for one and off we flew to a and the furthest away from our birth as is possible.
Arrived in Melbourne and stayed at the cutest Airbnb in Collingwood ($107) the achingly cool looking and slightly rougher cousin of hipster mecca Fitzroy. We had an explore and a great meal at Attaboy Roy. We both opted for lamb and I had my first wine of many of the holiday.
Day 2 (238km)
Picked up the van from Letsgo Motorhomes. Had to get a train and a bus and did not enjoy the walk to the depot in the cold rain. Getting the van booked out was a bit slow took an hour all in all but what a beauty she was! After stopping to buy consumables we drove through the Dandenong Ranges National Park towards Wilsons Promontory and stayed at our first free wikicamps site for the the night- Franklin River rest area. The app lets you sort for sites with different filters and our requirements were free but with a toilet.
Day 3 (356km)
A small double back to visit Wilsons Promontory with some yummy chicken and guacamole wraps with obligatory stubby of VB from Norman Lookout and we hit the road staying at 90 mile beach campground. We nearly had to stay there more permanently if it hadn’t been for two aussie legends who helped us to push the van out of the sandy parking area.
Day 4 (526km) +45km fuel emergency
We made a beeline for a leisure centre in Bairnsdale for a much needed shower and Aussie brekkie then did an absolute beast drive to Bodalla Forest, crossing the VIC/NSW border and getting some serious miles under our belt. We listened to ‘Down Under’ by Bill Bryson on audiobook and took in the fast changing scenery with Callum favouring the forests and myself enjoying the rolling open scenery of Bega and Brogo. We had a minor crisis when after passing some ladies standing at the roadside with their campervan and waving signs with ‘out of fuel’ written on them I glanced at our fuel tank and realised we were down to a quarter of a tank. Callum took us on a diversion to Mallacoota which happened to be the nearest petrol station and I learnt how to coast down a forest road in fading light. The wikicamps campsite – Bodalla Forest Park Rest Area – was a beaut. SO well laid out with interpretation boards and super clean composting toilet which had been built by volunteers. It also had various circular hikes from the camp.
Day 5 (173km)
Went to a nearby paid campsite (Beachcomber Holiday Park) and paid the day fee of $5 AUS pp to use the showers. This does allow you to stay all day though if you’re not in a hurry- hey you could just drive back up to the free campsite.. It was a stunning place with its own beach and kangaroos and emus just wandering/hopping around. Next we stopped briefly to buy some more food from Batemans Bay including 6 shucked oysters from the faultless Wray Street Oyster Shed. One more food related stop at Ulladula Butchery to purchase some barbecuing fodder we arrived at our first paid campsite in Booderee National Park, Jervis Bay (Greenpatch $44 AUS). We’d booked and paid for this beforehand so just had to display our booking on the dash. The campsite was fairly busy as it was school holiday but it had toilets and showers- luxury. We had the best barbecue ever- such a good spread that a kookaburra came and stole a sausage.
Day 6 (192km)
Before we left we had a quick look a the exquisite beach. Probably one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. We then dove up to meet our friends in Sydney for a day of catching up, scrummy food and a real bed and clean shower.
Day 7 (34km)
Really this was a no-driving day to potter around Sydney. Sadly we established that the Digital SLR I previously threw in the sea in Bali has finally given up the ghost so there were a few tears from me in Bondi. We paid the obligatory visit to the Opera House and then drove the short drive to our second paid campsite from which you can access the city using the train but as we were rather tired we decided to just go back and put our feet up. Lane Cove River Tourist park was a nice place with good clean facilities.
Day 8 (711km)
A super early start to drive out through the Blue Mountains for some horse riding in Oberon. SO early that I unplugged the power cable but left it on the pitch. After 194km plus a brief stop at echo point lookout to see the Three Sisters we made it to the farm. We both had a great but sedate time out in the countryside with the horses and then set off to see how far we could make it towards our next destination which is Melbourne. Callum drove 142km to Goulburn which was a rather depressing town where we had a filthy KFC and then We drove to Ludlows Reserve at Hume reservoir some 375km away. It was very dark when we arrived but the free campsite was right next to a lake and we were very excited to wake up and see the view.
Day 9 (363km)
The last leg of our trip. After watching the sun rise over the lake we briefly checked out the Hume Dam then got on our way to Yarra Valley Dairy where I wanted to test some local produce. Sadly we hit some bank holiday traffic which was a little frustrating and we arrived at the dairy very hungry at about 3.30pm. We were soon refreshed after a whopping plate of cheese and bread. Picked up essential craft beer and wine combo for the evening then made quick work of the last bit of the drive. We stayed at a paid campsite, BIG4 Melbourne ($110.36 AUS two nights with hook up) where they kindly hired us a power cable. Everything set for a day of urban exploring the next day.
Day 10 (0km)
Went to Queen Victoria Market which sold various tat and had the most amazing food court and doughnut van. Walked through the city to soak up the Melbourne atmosphere stopping at the Library which is reportedly the oldest in Australia and had an exhibition on Ned Kelly including his famous armor. We then walked through Federation Square and had a drink on the Yarra river before taking the number 11 tram back to the campsite.
Day 11 (17km)
Had a clean up and chuck out from the van. Drove the van to the depot. Confessed about our broken glass and lost power cable. Took the free airport transfer to the store our cases then bought yet another pair of $18 AUS airbus tickets back into town. This time we made a beeline for the Melbourne Museum and had a last lingering meal in Fitzroy. Walked back to the train station and got our final airbus back to the station.