Australia · 100 Days · 38 Moments · September 2017

Regan and Julie's adventure in Australia

28 December 2017

28th December is a bit cooler. just a paltry 31 degrees and overcast. Our determination to bike to wineries was strong so off to the first one 3km up an undulating then climbing gravel road. Regan's front tyre copped a slow leak. Has been a bad run with bike tyres. We opened the first tasting as were then just before opening time. Then after a lot of water and wine we headed another 6km along gravel still at 31 degrees to food and another winery. The next leg was mostly downhill so a few more tastings and headed back for a swim and well deserved rest. A few spots of rain later in the evening which was welcome even though it still 25 degrees

27 December 2017

Clare is warm! With the forecast for 38 degrees we abandoned the bike ride around a few wineries and retreated to the car. First stop was a village called Blyth. It's about 10km out of Clare on a barren plain. Note pic of Blyth and temperature gauge of car. The wind was like a blast furnace. Chose a couple of wineries for tastings then lunch at Sevenhills pub. 2 more tastings after lunch then back to the camp pool which of course was busy at 36 degrees. Some of the vintners were quite unique characters and of course are always happy to chat about their life stories.

26 December 2017

Boxing Day saw us pack up and move on from Mildura for the 370km drive across to Clare. Coffee at Renmark overlooking the Murray. Temperature was still very warm. Julie drove from there to try out the towing skills. The braking abilities of the car and caravan were put to the test as 4 large emus decided to run out in front of us at 100 km/hr. (we were also doing 100km/hr! ) The car and van stopped straight as an arrow and in quite a hurry. We were very much on alert after that. The roads are straight and long but some of them are narrow as well with lots of scrub on the verges. The 110km/hr limit isn't always comfortable with a van in tow so we were mostly around the 100 mark. Lunch was on the banks of the Murray at Morgan then onward to Clare. Was still very warm. Low 30's. We are slowly getting used to the warm nights without aircon. After setting up at camp which was very quiet we settled down to a few wines and food. Tomorrow's forecast is a lot warmer.
Christmas Day Part2 Lunch was ham/turkey salad and potatoes. We found some mint next to the camp kitchen which added to the potato pot and gave us a taste of home. We toasted the day with a lovely sparkling Merlot that we had bought at our last orphan Christmas at Albany in WA 3 years ago. It had been squeezed in the car for the trek across the Nullarbor and was very much appreciated with lunch. I rustled up dessert with raspberries, cream and shortbread. Relaxing afternoon reading, watching families swimming, and another short walk. We finished the day with sandwiches and a nice bottle of wine - pretty perfect. Regan had a bit of drama later in the evening when the shower head fell off and shot hot water over all his clothes so he returned to the camper looking like a drowned rat with everything soaked.

25 December 2017

Christmas Day Part 1 Much cooler night so we both had a good sleep. Our Aussie Christmas started with a wake up call from the kookaburras and a kangaroo hopped past us as we walked to the toilet. It was a lovely slow relaxing day, croissants for breakfast with a lovely large pot of coffee for me. We were responding to lots of messages which was lovely too. Next a walk along the river checking out the house boats, the trail is also a biking track so we decided to get the bikes out. It was a great track along the river and we were loving it when Regan got a flat tyre. Of course we were 5.7km from the camp so it was a long walk back in 26 degrees. Obviously we were rather hot by then so it was good motivation to brace the Murray River for a swim. It went against everything we had been taught about not swimming where you can't see the bottom but it was perfect. The river is a slow moving muddy lifeblood for 2508km of Australia.

24 December 2017

The campsite at Swan Hill was immaculately kept and the owners were very friendly. We had a easy dinner of cheese and crackers and another swim before bed. It was a warm night but we were able to get a good breeze through the camper which was a relief as temperatures are set to rise this week. Christmas Eve - after a walk around Swan Hill we hit the road to Mildura 222km away. There was pretty much nowhere to stop along the way, we tried to get a sandwich at Robinvale but there was nothing open. We had booked a campsite in one of the many parks on the river. We had a fabulous view. The set-up was a little stressful as we had only put the awning up once, it didn't take too long and not to many swear words. We had scoped out our Christmas Day treats at our local Aldi but discovered there is not Aldi in Mildura yet! Luckily we could make do at Coles and Woolies. Back to our camping site for a simple BBQ chicken and salad dinner and a very nice Rose wine.

23 December 2017

So we are off on our first camping adventure with our new camper. Two weeks of cruising around South Australia and hopefully a little wine tasting on the way. Our first stop was much quicker than anticipated. We had bought a new bike rack that fitted over the spare wheel of the camper, about 5 mins down the road we realised the bikes were hitting the road. It turns out the spare wheel was not as stable as we thought. Luckily Regan being the good scout had our normal bike rack in the boot just in case so a quick change around and we were off again. Lunch was with our friend Lorraine in Castlemaine, after a lovely lunch we headed out to see her new house being built. I had helped with the design stage so very cool to see it for real. She is about a month away from moving in. We did a few last minute shopping things in Castlemaine and hit the road to Swan Hill. Not much on the road to Swan Hill and we got there about 5:30.

7 November 2017

After a quiet night at Quest Albury we started the day at The Proprietor Café. Nice breakfast. Headed down to the Murray River and biked along the river trail for a bit. Had one cyclist warn us that there were a couple of snakes up ahead so we slowed. Then a jogger stopped us and said that we shouldn’t go much further as these snakes were big. So the two brave kiwis decided to return to the safety of our car. It’s not wise to venture anywhere near large snakes. When a local says it’s a large snake it probably is. On the road again and stopped at Wangaratta for a break. The road to Melbourne easy was getting busy as we got closer to home. Then I spotted a caravan for sale at a small town off the main road (80km away). Was worth the diversion so went and looked at it, bought it, paid for it, insured it, and towed it home. We now have a project to fill it with our stuff and plan our Xmas break.

6 November 2017

On Monday there was torrential rain in Canberra so any bike ride idea was quickly abandoned. Went to the National War Museum. Big place with so many exhibits. Suggestion is to visit this place in two hits as it’s quite tiring trying to see everything at once. It was really worthwhile though and not too busy. Left the rain of Canberra and within 20km the sun was shining. Stopped at a small town called Yass for a drink then back onto the freeway with cruise control set for an easy ride south to Albury. As mentioned the driving is easy. Cruise control is well used to keep the average speed up and to save any fines.

5 November 2017

Next morning was a bike ride down the cycle tracks to Canberra CBD. Weather was cool but sunny. Canberra is a planned city. It was designed in the early 20th century with lots of curved streets that radiate out from the CBD. There are also many laneways joining streets for pedestrians and cyclists. Footpaths are all shared cycleways too. Being a Sunday made town very quiet. Population is only 350,000 which we noticed coming from 4.7 million city. Back to the motel to drive to our next caravan viewing only to find out it had just been sold. So we did the tourist highlights and headed to Federal Parliament. It's massive. Built in the 80's and very accessible via airport type security, we wandered around for well over an hour looking at exhibits, up on the roof, and also into the debating chamber. Walked down around the old parliament building and through the rose gardens. Then drove into the diplomatic area spotting all the embassies. US embassy was enormous. Yet to locate NZ embassy.

4 November 2017

We decided to extend the Melbourne Cup day and make a 4 day weekend. The plan was to check the weather forecast and follow the sun. So on Saturday morning we headed inland as the coast was drizzle and cold. We also had an excuse to hunt down a caravan for our upcoming Christmas break. First stop north of Melbourne was Seymour for breakfast. A small town typically Australian but has a very large Vietnam war memorial area which is worth a look. Onto Albury along the Hume highway. This is a straight dual carriageway with 110km/hr speed limit so an easy way to clock up the distance. Viewed our first caravan but not suitable. Then Julie spotted 2 vans in and near Canberra. What's another 340km on the 330 we had already driven!! Hume highway made it easy. Booked accommodation on the way then found out one caravan already sold. Into our motel early evening then a 20 minute stroll to the local restaurants in Dickson for dinner.

16 October 2017

On the ferry leaving with Magnetic Island disappearing behind us. Such a lovely almost untouched island. Rain finally struck in full force today. Lots of thunder last night. An easy access island if you need to relax. We now head back to Melbourne and reality.

15 October 2017

One of the bonus of our accomodation booking is a full complimentary breakfast. What a great way to start the day with bacon and eggs and a croissant just to finish the meal. We spent the whole morning down by the massive pool having a quiet time. In the afternoon we took the bus to Picnic Bay and had a wonderful beach swim. The water is totally like a bath. Dinner was a simple meal from the IGA and watch the sun go down over our marina. Yesterday another quieter morning, swimming and reading. We took the bus to Horseshoe Bay in the afternoon. It is the biggest "town" on the island but is still pretty tiny. Another beautiful beach swim and great gelato and then a short walk. We stopped at Arcadia Bay on the way back and explored the very pretty Alma Bay. We decided to stay and have a early dinner at the Arcadia Village hotel and walked back to Nelly Bay as the sun went down.
Hard to believe it has been 6 days since the big day. We had an awesome time and everything came together really well, a huge thanks to Bec for putting all the pieces together. We had an awesome location, fabulous food and everyone had their shoes off dancing by the end of the night. As quickly as we seemed to finished all the hello's it was time to start the goodbyes. There were quite a few people who left on the Tuesday and then pretty much everyone else's all packed out on Thursday. All the goodbyes seemed hard, which I think was due to Regan and my exhaustion levels. We had a flight booked to Townsville about an hour after everyone else had left. It was a little plane just 80 seats and it was a fun flight as we basically tracked down the coast. We took a cab straight to the ferry terminal and made the 3:30 ferry. Magnetic Island is a 30 minute ferry ride from the mainland and our resort is right opposite the terminal so we were in our apartment for sundowner drinks.
We finally managed to fit in a big walk. The Forts walk is up to the WW2 gun emplacements built in 1943 to protect Townsville against sea invasion. These guns were only fired once in anger as the Japanese bombed Townsville by air only . No sea going attacks happened ( an American ship forgot to identify itself so copped a barrage of gunfire). There were 3 night time raids which dropped 21 bombs in total. It doesn't sound like much but I personally would've fled to the hills if that was happening. While we were walking the heavens opened. This was the first rain of our holiday and was really refreshing at 26 degrees. Once the sun returned it was very humid though. We walked back down to Arcadia bay for a drink then a short bus ride back to our hotel for a pool swim or two and relaxing book read.

10 October 2017

A few more wedding photos
Well hard to believe it was all over. Only a few photos, hopefully some more to share soon. Such a wonderful day.

9 October 2017

The wedding cake construction commences.
Today is the day. Started off with a walk before the heat of the day. The best way to keep the nerves in check is to share!

7 October 2017

Regan with nephew Cameron sporting Hawaiian shirts. The Bish girls 30 years on!
Another couple delivered safely to us thanks to Boeing
Morning walk in a spectacular destination
Boy our nelson couple Greg and Shelby look pretty excited to be going on holiday
Early morning colours of Christchurch airport for Pete and Jocelyn while Gerard and Deb do the transfer between terminals at Auckland. It's all coming together nicely.

6 October 2017

Surprise early arrival of our lovely Perth friend Lynleigh, perfect timing for bacon and eggs. Amanda also popped in to see us before our wedding rehearsal. Lovely to meet our celebrant Sarah but a little real standing facing each other running through the ceremony order. Next was the final checks with Bec, wedding coordinator and Ali the photographer and all the prep work was done. Pretty easy when you hire the professionals. We finally caught up with Emily and Frederick who were coping surprisingly well with the 28 hours travelling and time zone changes. Quiet afternoon for Regan and I trying to get some relax time before we start all over this afternoon. Yesterday evening it was all go with 13 off us for dinner and we only got to our unit at 4pm. Luckily we had planned ahead and all the alcohol was waiting at Bec's and dinner was a simple salad and BBQ. It was so fun to see everyone and it was hard to believe the week had finally arrived.
Nice way to spend a quiet hour getting into holiday mode.
The beach is safe to swim today. I'm guessing that the crocs and sharks have already eaten.

5 October 2017

Christchurch departures
Loaded onto our flight.
The first of the Christchurch contingent settle in to their flight
Our journey starts. Just a few items of luggage.
A quick chat with the locals in Abu Dhabi!

4 October 2017

Emily and Frederik leaving London.
Departure day at Napier Airport

3 October 2017

Celebrating the start of our next adventure. A sparkling shiraz (Aussie of course) after work.

30 September 2017

Well the first guests have started their travel to Port Douglas. The end result will be in 9 days with all of us together for the long awaited celebration. Keep watching for updates.

20 September 2017

Definitely an Australian wedding. The Grey Nomads commence their journey to Port Douglas.