246 Days ·
157 Moments ·
22 October 2018
My last week in Australia flew by. We successfully sold Tilly with new tires and RWC for the asking price to the two Dutch girls, and said goodbye on Friday. We spent my last week going out for lunches, going to gigs and parties, walking along the Yarra, watching movies and playing with Macy. It was a relaxing week and just what we needed.
Almost eight months on the road, 226 nights, 5 caravan parks, 3 house sits, a lot of public toilets, free camps and rest stops, no barefoot showers, one breakdown and 27,410kms later, we finished our trip around Australia. We had incredible time, hiking in gorges, feeding dolphins, swimming in thermal pools and waterfalls, watching for whales and admiring kangaroos. We slept in forests, on beaches, it cities, in mountains and in the middle of the outback with a blanket of stars above us. We rode camels, saw seals, caught mice and ate pasta, pasta and more pasta. It was a trip of a lifetime and one we will never forget.
15 October 2018
My birthday! We woke up early to take the van to a mechanic to get the roadworthy updated and had our fingers crossed that they wouldn’t find anything that was too expensive to fix. We then went back to the house where I was spoilt by birthday wishes and flowers and a beautiful necklace, and Liam sorted out our plans for the evening. We then headed to the high street for lunch, where we had burgers and chocolate milkshakes, and then rolling back to the house, we settled in and watched a movie. It was soon time to get ready to go out, and my chance to wear my new dress. We went into the city to a bar on the Yarra river for cocktails and had an early dinner before going to The Silkroad Ensemble concert. It was an incredible performance with infusions of music from around the world with a selection of unique instruments played by eight musicians. I loved it! As it wasn’t too late in the evening, we then went to a rooftop bar before heading home for the night. It was a great birthday.
14 October 2018
It was a hot day of 30 Celsius, so Liam and I decided to make the most of the weather and went for a walk down Brunswick street to see what had changed. From there we ended up walking into the city and we’re astounded at how big and busy the city was, there were people, cars and trams everywhere we looked. We stopped for a lovely lunch just off of Degraves street, where I had smashed avocado and a poached egg and Liam had salmon, something we had both been craving for months. Feeling hot and full we left the city and walked back to the car, where we grabbed our blanket and books and sat in the park reading. It was crowded, full of dogs and people, everyone enjoying the sun. Getting our fill, we ended the day by heading to the cinema, fulfilling another craving, and watched a fascinating story about triplets who were separated at birth for a scientific study on nature versus nurture. There was no conclusion.
13 October 2018
After a late night we had an early wake up to prepare for our first two van viewers. The first was a man from the Netherlands who had been in Melbourne for two weeks. It was a short viewing, lasting only 10 minutes, and we weren’t able to work out if he was actually interested or not. In between the first and second viewing, Liam and I took a quick walk to the high street to see what had changed in the town, there were quite a few new apartment buildings and restaurants. We got back in time for our second viewing which was two women, also from the Netherlands. They took a long test drive and had a very thorough look at the van, about 30 minutes later they came to us and said they wanted to buy it. With just an updated roadworthy certificate to sort out, we took a deposit and said we’d let them know when it would be ready for pick up. A little later we then got another offer from the previous viewing, which we had to turn down, and we set to business canceling all the others. Success!
12 October 2018
We woke up bright and early, had breakfast and hit the road, our fingers crossed that we’d reach Melbourne. It ended up being a slightly stressful drive with more and more cars appearing the closer we got to the city. It was the most cars we’d seen in months! We arrived in Preston to hugs and warm welcomes, and we quickly unpacked and cleaned the van ready to take to the mechanics and for viewings. It was surprising the amount of stuff we had in the van, especially since it was such a small space. It was a sad moment seeing the van completely cleared of our belongings, it had been very good to us overall. The speedo and oil leak quickly got fixed, and Tilly looked good as new. We then spent the evening eating a delicious roast dinner and watching the royal wedding before going out to see one of Liam’s friends play in a band. It was a good and very loud evening, and it felt strange to be around such a busy and vibrant area.
11 October 2018
We had a very relaxed night at the motel and we woke up early for our continental breakfast. Filling up on cocoa pops and vegemite toast we fueled ourselves and headed into town. The plan to go shopping for a birthday present, walk around town and figure out what to do with a whole day in Traralgon. The shopping trip was successful and we’d walked around the whole town, so we went back to the motel to eat our lunch. The weather was warming up so we ended up sitting on the balcony reading and enjoying the sun. Our reading session was then interrupted by a phone call from the mechanic, “the van is ready, you can come and pick it up.” Elated and stunned that it had all happened so fast, we picked up the van, pleased when it started and drove smoothly. Having already booked a second night, we parked at the motel and walked into town for dinner, plans for getting to Melbourne in the morning underway. After dinner we turned the heater on and settled in for the night.
10 October 2018
What a surreal day. After 27,361km, 7 months and 5 states, 166kms away for Melbourne, Tilly (our van) gave up. We heard a grinding snap, smelled smoke, the rpm gage fell to zero, the steering went stiff and we pulled over with the hazard lights flashing. After sitting in disbelief for a minute we looked up the closest mechanic, 6kms away in Traralgon and decided to crawl there with the hazards on, knowing that a tow truck would be extortionate. Once we arrived, the mechanics, probably seeing how desperate we were, set to work, the verdict was a snapped drivers belt, broken valves, and coolant everywhere, the overall assessment, not at all good. We were told to go and have a wander, leaving them to work, so we set off to McDonalds for an early lunch and to look up what it might cost us. My rough estimate $5000. We then walked the town, researched tow trucks back to Melbourne ($880), and went back to the mechanics, lost. Good news, it wasn’t as bad as they thought and it would actually..
...only cost us $723 in total, a small sum to what we imagined. However they were going to have to order replacement parts from Melbourne, so the earliest it would be finished is Friday, or if not, Monday since they are closed on weekends. Feeling slightly relieved we quickly packed some over night bags and set off walking along the highway to the cheapest motel. It was a fairly basic place, however it included breakfast and WiFi and it was a short walk from both the mechanics and town, so we booked to stay two nights. Fingers crossed for Friday. It had been a long day so we ordered a takeaway dinner and settled into the hotel room and watched TV. We were in a state of shock that this had all happened so close to the end of our trip, however also relieved because at least it didn’t happen in the middle of our trip when we were in literally the middle of nowhere.
9 October 2018
We put up our for sale signs and left our campsite early, eager to get to somewhere with phone reception. We drove to Bairnsdale, parked and went for a walk around town. It was quite a large high street however very quiet, the sunshine had disappeared and there were ominous black clouds, so everyone was probably sensibly staying indoors. We retreated into the van when the rain did start, and set about putting up online adverts for our van. Not realizing there was a limit on the number of pictures we could put up, we chose the best and hoped that would be enough. Putting the adverts up took longer than expected and it was already the afternoon by the time we were done. Quickly leaving Bairnsdale we drove in the rain to a campsite in Yallourn North, a patch of grass behind the town’s pub. We thought it would be a nice treat to have a pub dinner, but it turned out Tuesday was the day the kitchen wasn’t open, so one of our last nights was spent eating tinned soup and watching a movie.
8 October 2018
We set off from our river campsite having been woken up early by the cows mooing, and drove to Lakes Entrance, a popular holiday destination. It was a great seaside town, with the ocean, cruises and delicious smelling fish and chip shops everywhere you looked. We walked around town and spent a bit of time on the beach, unfortunately the water was way too cold to swim in. After lunch it was then time to get to business, so we took the van to a car wash where vacuumed it and washed it until it looked unrecognizably clean, and we could see our reflections. We were then able to have free hot showers, and once we felt as clean as the van looked, we set of the a campsite in the woods not far from Lakes Entrance. We then set about tidying the inside of the van, and took photos ready to advertise it. It was finally starting to hit us that the trip was nearly over. With that in mind we had dinner and lit a campfire, and toasted marshmallows while looking at the stars in the sky.
7 October 2018
The sky was a bright blue and the sun was shining, so we decided to leave Cann River and do a couple of the walks in the region. Both were rainforest walks through trees and bushes, and over suspension bridges. They were two very short and sweet walks, and were a great start to the day. We then did the tourist drive to Orbost where we got short glimpses of the sea along the way before we came to the river. We made a mental note of the numerous free campsites along the river bank and headed into town. We visited the information center and picked up some maps and recommendations for the Snowy River National Park, looked around town and then headed back to the river site, which we had all to ourselves. It had the river on one side, and cows, fields and hills on the other. I sat outside reading in the sunshine while Liam finished his last bit of work for the semester.
6 October 2018
We woke up to a bright blue sky and the sun shining, the weather had turned! Making the most of it we jumped out of bed and consulted the pamphlet on good hikes in the area. We decided to head directly south of Cann River to the coast and do a rainforest walk. The drive took a little longer than expected as we got a little lost, however we final made it to a narrow road with some big rocks, the start of the walk at the end. It was Liam’s time to shine as he walked ahead of the van moving the rocks out of the way. At the end of the road I parked and spotted a red-bellied black snake, and after telling Liam to get in the van QUICKLY, we moved away. Unfortunately the walking path turned out to be flooded, so all of that was for nothing and we soon left to try a different walk. It was a very paranoid walk, and we soon turned back thinking it wasn’t smart to continue after the sighting. We then drove back to the campsite where I did some washing and relaxed in the sun while Liam worked.
5 October 2018
We made it to Victoria! It was just a short drive until we crossed the border into our sixth and final state of the trip. We drove through forests and past green fields, hills and cows to the small town of Cann River. We parked our van in what is now a unmanaged caravan park, where we could camp for free and is equipped with running water and flushing toilets, and walked across the bridge into the town. It was a small town with a row of three bakeries, each looking as good as the other, a playground and a friendly grocer. We bought some milk and sausage rolls and the went back to the campground where there was a wonderful walk through the forest, over wooden bridges and to a small sandy beach along the river. Then, with the sky threatening to open up, we headed back to the van and settled in doing work and reading, amazed at how lucky we were to find such a peaceful spot.
4 October 2018
Once again we woke up to rain, we should never have left the sunny coast! Deciding that since we weren’t going into National Park there was no point staying in Cooma, so we headed into town were we got a free hot shower and then off we went south. Instead of going back the way we came we went the inland route. Most of the time we drove through low hanging clouds and drizzle, making visibility pretty bad. We stopped in Bombala for a little bit where we spent some more time hiding from the rain while Liam submitted an essay. From there we went to a campsite for the night, which was in the middle of a NSW state forest. It was tricky to find, but we were the only ones there and it was beautiful. The rain had stopped so we set off for a brisk walk through the forest near the van while we could. We were surrounded by big eucalyptus trees, an abandoned bridge and lots of singing birds.
3 October 2018
We woke up to the sound of rain on the van, a chilly wind and an ominous grey sky. The weather forecast was right, there had been a change. We decided against heading into Kosciusko, the idea of hiking in the cold and rain with poor visibility was not appealing. As well as the fact that it was meant to reach -4 Celsius overnight so our clothes would only begin to smell with damp and we would be miserable with cold. Instead we stayed around in Cooma and went to the library to do to some work, and sat around reading and watching movies in the van. We stayed at the same campsite as the night before and fell asleep to the sound of rain hitting the roof.
2 October 2018
We left the campsite early and set the navigation to Cooma, the main town before entering Kosciusko National Park. The route took us along the coast to Bega, the famous cheese and dairy town, where we stopped to have lunch with the company of two black swans at the lake. From there we drove inland up steep winding roads, where we were able to stop at a lookout and go for a short walk, and up to the Great Dividing Range. Once we arrived at Cooma, we entered the visitors center seeking advice on which route to take in the National Park and the main attractions, however we were soon told that there was going to be a dramatic weather change. The warm balmy spring weather would be no more, a cold change was coming and with it heavy rain and below freezing temperatures for the next two days. We were then told the mountains were very steep and narrow and had only just opened because of snow. Heading to a site not far away, we sat outside ate some cheese and figured out what to do.
1 October 2018
We left our campsite near Sussex Inlet early and set off down the coast to Batemans Bay. Along the way we stopped in Ulladulla for a quick look around, noticing that the cafes were bustling and the traffic was backed up kilometers out of town in the direction of Sydney, everyone was going home after the long weekend. Arriving in Batemans Bay we parked near the marina and walked along the coast into town. It was a town that seemed perfect for people on holiday, with beautiful cottages and cabins overlooking the water, lots of cafes, restaurants and beach shops. There were also people kayaking, water-skiing and sailing. We then moved on to a small coved beach not far from town, and I set out a towel and lay on the beach watching the surfers and reading, while Liam stayed in the van working. We were the last to leave, watching the sunset from the beach, before heading to a site for the night, a rest stop just off the highway but surrounded by trees.
30 September 2018
After a late night we decided to spend another day in Sussex Inlet having a relaxing day. It was a holiday weekend so everyone was out and about having picnics, having parties, launching boats and water jet skis and playing loud music from their campervans. It was a beautifully sunny day and everyone was making the most of it. We parked in a park area overlooking the water and watched the festivities. I got in some good reading time and we had a lovely walk along the coastline.
29 September 2018
It was another working day. We left our campsite early and headed to the aquatics center in Sussex Inlet, where they were kind enough to not charge us for hot showers. Feeling like new people, we had a look around Sussex Inlet, a small beachside town, and then settled into a park that was also a boat launching area. I spent the morning preparing for a video interview, while Liam did his coursework. Eager to watch the grand final football game, Liam then left to go to the closest bar while I made the van look like an office, dressed in my one business shirt and had my video interview. Once it was completed I went to join Liam and was surprised at how busy the bar was. It turned out though that we were the only two watching the football, everyone else was enraptured by the horse racing. After the game the place got more and more lively with the introduction of a live band called the Zombies, which we stayed around to watched, and the opening of a dance floor.
28 September 2018
We decided to venture a little further down the coast to Jervis Bay, hoping to go into the national park and do a hike. Instead we were able to go to the Beecroft Peninsula, which is often closed for training as a weapons range. After getting instructions of the various walking routes, we picked the longest, a 6km hike from Honeymoon Bay down Longnose Point. It was a beautiful walk to secluded beaches, shipwrecks and stunning ocean views. We had a picnic lunch on Target Beach watching the waves crash and the tide rise. After the hike we left Beecroft and headed down the coast to Huskisson. Once there we found a park overlooking the ocean where we settled in to do a little bit of work before relocating, as we could see a storm rolling in, to a rest stop for the night. The rest stop was very basic with drop toilets and not much spaces, but it suited our needs as we watched a movie with the sound of rain hitting the roof.
27 September 2018
We had a slightly interrupted sleep when we were woken up to the van rocking and the sounds of something underneath us. We soon realized that a wombat was rubbing up against the wheels of the van, trying to scratch what must have been an insatiable itch. The rest of the night was uneventful, and we decided to leave the camp early as buses full of kids on a school camp started arriving and setting up. We drove back to Nowra where we parked at the showgrounds and went on Ben’s Walk. A 5km loop walk along the river and through the woods. Taking less time than we had anticipated we then had a quick lunch in the van before heading to the city’s library for the afternoon, where we tried to do as much work as possible. Feeling tired we then drove to a campground outside the Shoalhaven Zoo, where we watched the sun go down over the river.
26 September 2018
We left the site early and headed down the highway to Nowra, where we visited the extremely helpful information center and were given maps, advice and recommendations galore, trying to brighten the otherwise very rainy and grey day. From there we went north to a small town called Berry through winding roads and forests. It was a very quaint and charming town, full of black and white cows and cottages with beautiful colorful flowers out front. We had a bite to eat and then drove the scenic drive to Kangaroo Valley and Fitzroy Falls, determined not to let the fog and rain stop us from doing anything. Driving higher and higher up into the mountains and the clouds there was an eerie feeling, which was only heightened when we got to the falls. We didn’t choose the best day to visit, it was so foggy the falls were barely visible. Not staying long, we went to one of the best campsites yet. It was spacious, scenic, with flushing toilets and drinking waters, and full of adorable wombats.
25 September 2018
We left our campsite and after a two hour drive we made it Wollongong. After a successful park in a very tight car park we got out and explored the town. We were able to do a loop along the coast up to the lighthouse and then into the town. It was a very bustling town with lots of nice shops, shopping centers and parks. Everyone was being very active as well, walking dogs, jogging and cycling along the coastal path. After a bit of time watching the yachts we then moved the van and set about finding hot showers, unsuccessfully. From there we left Wollongong to head to the campsite for the night, taking a more scenic route away from the highway, in between a lake and the coast. The campsite was quite unremarkable just off of the highway, however there were toilets and it was en route to the hopefully much more beautiful Morton National Park.
24 September 2018
It was a very rainy day, our first since our time in Perth. The sky was a dark grey most of the day, it was windy, cold and the rain would only occasionally lessen to a drizzle. Our plan for going on a hike in the nearest national park was dashed. Instead Liam spent the morning submitting his essay, while I braved the rain for another shower and cleaned the van. After lunch, and thinking that maybe the rain had stopped for the day, we left the van and walked through the town to Nobby’s beach and lighthouse. The waves were crashing and the sea looked ominous, but we enjoyed the walk and watching the waves and the big ships leaving the harbour. We were particularly glad that we were not on the ships since they were really being knocked around. After walking up endless hills back to the van (turns out it was a bit of a hike), we then left Newcastle and set off back down south to a campsite an hour north of Sydney, with the aims to get to Wollongong the following day.
23 September 2018
Having found the perfect place to work, a place designed for studying, with good desks, plugs, nice bathrooms and a water fountain, we decided to head back there. I started the day off with a free hot shower at the beach, we walked to the supermarket to get more bread for lunch and then we set up at the university. Time flew by as I once again set about applying for jobs and Liam worked on finishing his essay, ready to submit it the next day. Once again, as it got dark outside we headed back to the van for dinner before heading to the cinema. After a day of hard work, we decided to have a rare treat of cinematic magic. We watched Ladies in Black, a film set in Sydney in the 1950s and focused on a group of women that worked at the biggest department store, Goodes. Unfortunately, we were slightly disappointed as we felt that it tried to deal with too many different stories lines and didn’t develop any of them. However, we still had a good time, and it made all the hard work worthwhile.
22 September 2018
After a surprisingly peaceful night we decided to be the most productive we could be and sought out the city’s library. With a packed lunch and everything we might need, we left the van at Bar Beach and walked the 2kms. It was a great library with lots of different spaces to hide anyway and really focus, unfortunately though our time there was cut short by reduced weekend hours. Not feeling deterred, we agreed it was a good break, so off we went to look around more of the town. Along our way we stumbled across one of the University of Newcastle buildings, which we decided would be a great place to set up for a few more hours. Liam worked on his essay while I continued the job hunt. The sun set and darkness rolled in and as some of the last people in the building we thought it was a good time to head back to the van for dinner. After dinner we did the same walk up the hill and along the bridge as the day before, but this time the whole city was lit up, ready for a big Saturday night.
21 September 2018
Not getting as far towards Newcastle the day before as we had hoped, we still had about two hours of driving to do. We briefly stopped in Gosford for breakfast, loving our first view of the ocean since Port Augusta, and before that Darwin. We took a detour to do the scenic tourist drive to Newcastle, and we were eventually rewarded by a few glimpses of blue. Once in Newcastle we tried to avoid the roadworks, parked the van and walked to the beach baths and around the town. From there we made our way to Bar Beach, which had a large free car park and a great view over the ocean. Despite the chilly wind there were surfers everywhere, we really felt like we were on the east coast. There was also a walk up to the top of the hill, which we walked up giving us great views over the sea and city. We also had a look at the old crumbling gunner lookouts and the war memorial. After the walk we spent some time in the van doing work before heading to a bar to watch the football, go Magpies!
20 September 2018
We got up early and successfully made it up the long hill to Blackheath without too many hairy moments. Without stopping we continued back to Echo Point and the Three Sisters in Katoomba to do one of the hikes. We settled on the hike to the Leura Cascades where we walked along a cliff edge, through a rainforest and out to different lookout point before getting to the cascades. Overall we walked about 7kms and it was worth every step. From there we went to Scenic World to have a look at the cable car that went between the two valleys, finding it too expensive and busy, we decided against going for a ride. We then continued on our way to Wentworth Falls and the other little towns throughout the Blue Mountains, admiring the scenic drive before getting on the highway and heading towards Sydney. Even though we avoided the CBD we still got stuck in quite a bit of traffic through the outskirts, but we finally made it on the road north to Newcastle.
19 September 2018
It was a tricky but successful start up an extremely steep hill, and even though the van was slow we made it to the top...of the first hill. Luckily from there we gained momentum, and the steep winding roads were soon no problem at all but instead a fun and beautifully scenic drive. Soon enough we had made it to the Blue Mountains where we stopped to have a look around the town of Blackheath and Katoomba. At Katoomba we made our way to the famous Three Sisters lookout where we stopped to take photos and marvel at the blue haze that gave the mountains their name. Back in the town we visited the Blue Mountains cultural and heritage center, and from there we made our way back to Blackheath to a campsite nestled in a valley. It was a long, winding downhill journey but the van handled it just fine, and the scenery was stunning. Once at the site we claimed one of the last remaining spaces and set off to explore the area.
18 September 2018
Our last day in Canberra had arrived so we decided to pay a visit to the National Museum, which detailed Australian history, culture and ecosystems. We then drove to the Mount Ainsley lookout over the city, where we had lunch and admired the view. It seemed to be quite a popular hill for joggers to run up and down, which we did not envy. Climbing back into the van, we then set off north to Goulburn, just 80kms away. Once there, we explored the high street, filled up our water tanks and got recommendations from the visitors center. Instead of going north along the highway, we instead took a more inland and scenic route through the hills and mountains to a beautiful campsite nestled in the hills of the Abercrombie nature reserve, not far from the Blue Mountains. There was one other van there and lots of kangaroos and wombat holes. It was a very peaceful night surrounded by a river, trees and mountains.
17 September 2018
After a very comfortable night, we met Liam’s dad for breakfast where we helped ourselves to fruit, eggs, bacon, toast, pancakes, croissants and orange juice, all the things we don’t have while on the road. Feeling very full and like we ought to be rolled out, we left the hotel and walked to the National War Memorial. It was a very grand building, and extended much further than we had first anticipated. There was a large museum detailing all of the wars that Australia had been involved in, from the First World War to the war in Afghanistan. With films, personal memoirs and model displays it was extremely interesting. We then went back to the hotel to pack before moving the van, going for lunch and saying goodbye to Liam’s dad. We then drove around the embassies circuit before heading back to the farm. Once there we had a log fire to keep the chill away, and had the privilege of bottle feeding two kangaroos soy milk, as a little treat.
16 September 2018
We spent the morning at the farm where Liam finished and submitted an essay and I packed a bag, ready for a night of luxury. After a quick lunch, we set off on the 20 minute drive back into Canberra where we met Liam’s dad at the Crowne Plaza hotel. After putting our bags in our room for the night and plugging in some torches to charge, we walked through Floriade, over the river to Questacon. We spent most of the afternoon at Questacon, an interactive science museum, trying to dodge school groups and trying all different activities from building towers, to measuring changes in heart rate and seeing how fast we could throw a ball. Having done all that we could, we then went to the national library and walked around the exhibit before heading back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We had a very filling dinner at the Irish pub of steak, potatoes and greens. Back at the hotel I had a hot bubble bath, turned the heating right up, lay on the huge bed and marveled at how luxurious it was.
15 September 2018
After being woken by the crowing of the roosters at the crack of dawn we showered, did some laundry and fed the sheep before driving into Canberra. Our first stop for the day was the Parliament House, which was open for tourists. We were able to walk around most of the building and read the displays and exhibits throughout. We then did the parliamentary walk to the old Parliament House, and down to the river, where we crossed the bridge into the city center. Canberra’s celebration of spring festival, Floriade, was open and very busy, so we walked around the market stalls, smelled the flowers and sat and watched the school choirs and bands. Eventually managing to navigate our way through the festival to the city, we walked around and marveled at how spread out, clean and quiet it was for a Saturday afternoon. With tired legs we then crossed back over the bridge to the Parliamentary zone and our van to head back to the farm to feed the pigs and rest after a busy day.
14 September 2018
We woke up early to make the most of our last day in Wagga Wagga. We packed up the van, filled up the water tanks and drove to the library. Liam wanted to spend a bit more time there before we set off for Canberra. Managing to secure the same spot as last time we settled in for the morning, with the plan to be on the road by 2:00pm. Time sped by and soon we were on the road. It was only two and a half hours to get to Canberra, and the scenery was beautiful - huge green rolling hills with hundreds of kangaroos, cows and sheep. We arrived at the farm where we were staying just 20 minutes outside of the city center before dark and met Joanna, Karen and the various animals. There were about 40 kangaroos, either wild or rescued that came for food, a sheep, lots of chickens, two pigs, 7 baby kangaroos, lots of rabbits and lots of birds. It was a full house and we were tasked with the job of feeding the sheep and pigs, and avoiding the big aggressive male roo.
13 September 2018
After a cold night’s sleep we got ready, packed some lunches and set off into town. We walked to the library which was spacious, comfortable, friendly and with free unlimited WiFi. We found a corner and settled in, ready for a day of productivity. Liam had a 3000 word essay due in a few days time and he was prepared to make real headway on it. I spent my time researching what was happening in the world, living in a van and usually not having reception, it is easy to miss the news, reading my book and looking at job options. Late-afternoon we left the library and walked back to the campsite, glad to see that everything was where we had left it. We sat outside for awhile reading and enjoying the sunshine before the cold made us retreat into the van for dinner and a movie.
12 September 2018
After a cold night we left our campsite for the town of Wagga Wagga. It was a relatively short drive of just over two hours, and once we had arrived we set off to explore the town. The town was mainly just a long high street, and it felt strange to be in a place with so many shops, cafes and bars. We had grown accustomed to the small towns with limited options. We also discovered Wagga Wagga’s beach, a man-made sandy beach on the bank of the river, which looked a little too brown and a little two cold to be at all appealing. After a quick trip to the visitors center where we loaded up on information about Canberra and our future destinations, we headed to another wonderful free campsite. This one was once again near the river, had toilets, drinking water and was walking distance from town, a real novelty. We picked a spot and decided to explore the surrounding woods before it got too dark and cold.
11 September 2018
The wind was picking up and after a knock on our door from some park rangers advising us on campfires, we decided to set off on the road. We soon realized that the strong winds were picking up quite a bit of dust, and unfortunately we were heading into the heart of it. There were a few moments driving where visibility was a bit hazy and the wind was pushing the van around, but as quickly as it had started it disappeared. The only thing to worry about on the roads were the road trains. We soon arrived in Hay, a small town to top up fuel, and after a few hours of driving and it getting later in the afternoon we went to the campground for the night. After an unexpected detour, we found a different but just as lovely campsite right next to the river, and once again we had it all to ourselves. We spotted a lone kangaroo on the opposite bank to us, but apart from that there wasn’t much else around. We had an early dinner before watching a movie and heading to bed.
10 September 2018
We had a leisurely morning at our river campsite, eating breakfast outside and listening to the birdsong. There were a pair of birds that sat in a tree near us singing a call and response duet with a pair of birds elsewhere in the forest. The longer we stayed there the more confident they became at coming near us. I then had a warm camp shower after having left the water to warm up in the sun, and we packed up and headed to the library in Mildura. Unfortunately they had a limit on the computers and the wifi, and with people constantly chatting we weren’t as productive as we’d hoped, so we had a quick walk around town and headed backwards to the campsite, eager to not lose our spot. The same people were there and our spot was still ours so we parked our van and went on a walk through the woods, collecting firewood along the way. We then built the fire and settled in watching the river and the birds, waiting for the sunset. We cooked a delicious dinner and spent the evening by the fire.
9 September 2018
Heading east the rolling green hills disappeared and were replaced by dust, dry grass and low bushes. We joined the Sturt Highway and once again left South Australia and crossed into Victoria. We reached Mildura in the afternoon, and after topping up our groceries we sat by the river and watched the boats. We found a wonderful campsite in the King Billabong Nature Reserve where we settled in right next to the river, no longer with the threat of crocodiles. On a walk around the area we spotted four kangaroos, at least two had babies in their pouches, a platypus, pelicans, water rats, swans and many more birds. We then watched the sun go down over the river and the lights turn on in the nearby houseboats.
8 September 2018
After a very cold night, we awoke to a lovely, sunny day and a chilly wind. On my way back from the bathroom I starting chatting to a woman also staying at the campsite who recommended the short walking trails around the site. So with the recommendations in mind we set off noticing that spring was in the air. We passed a lizard sunning itself and a couple of parrots that looked like they had flown through a rainbow. Feeling we had stretched our legs a little we set off in the van towards Renmark. We stopped a little way out to try and capture the rolling green hills and bright yellow fields of flowers, a sharp contrast to the red dust and sand that we had just left. We then stopped in Burra, a quaint little mining town, where we walked up to the town lookouts, saw the dug outs where the miners first lived in the banks of the hills and rivers, and walked around the town, pausing to watch a lively game of local football.
7 September 2018
Another day of endless driving through the outback. Officially back in South Australia we could already feel the drop in temperature, we were the only people not wearing long trousers and I had taken to wearing a jumper. We also didn’t have the windows wide open as we were driving to let in as much cool breeze as possible, something that we have done everyday since we left Perth. With a few stops along the way we made it to Port Augusta, a town we were already familiar with. We went to fill up our water tanks and top up our tuna, milk and fruit supplies before setting off to one of our favorite campsites just outside of Port Pirie. It was just getting dark as we arrived, and there was already a chill in the air.
6 September 2018
We made our way to Yulara for the last time to top up with extortionately priced fuel and go to the town’s lookout over Uluru. Saying our goodbyes to the rock, we once again hit the road with the hopes of making it to Coober Pedy. The drive was very long and quite boring, the only things breaking it up were fuel stops, toilet stops and lunch. We made it to Coober Pedy just as the sun set, stopping at the roadhouse to watch the first game of the football finals before heading to our campsite for the night, one that was already familiar to us.
5 September 2018
Having hiked all of the trials in the park, bar climbing Uluru, we decided to have a semi lazy day before undertaking the long drive south. We spent the morning at our private campsite, unfortunately with strong winds that only seemed to be getting worse, it was not as enjoyable as we had hoped. We decided once we had spent time chasing one of our chairs, that it was time to head into Yulara, the Ayers Rock Resort. Once there we sat in the main square for a while and visited the museum, learning about the history of Uluru, the animals that were around, and the importance of the land. We then met up with Caoimhe, Jonathon and the kids where they were kind enough to give us their hotel room key so that we could have hot showers, a luxury. Feeling clean and fresh and probably smelling a lot better, we met them in a restaurant for dinner. It was a wonderful night full of stories, riddles and laughter; a perfect goodbye for now, until a visit in Dublin.
4 September 2018
After our busy day the day before, we had a leisurely morning and set off to explore Kata Tjuta, another rock about 50kms away from Uluru. The first walk we did was a 2.5km walk through a gorge, we crossed bridges and watched flocks of small birds take rounds drinking from a puddle of water. We then drove to The Valley of the Winds, which had a series of three walks that all connected and led to lookouts in between the rocks. The whole walk in total was estimated to take around 7 hours and would shut if the temperature was 36 degrees or over. The walk was still open, however we only made it to the first two lookouts, finding it too hot to do the whole walk. We then drove to the sunrise lookout to do a couple of the cultural walks, however we soon realized that it was best done at sunrise as we were the only people there. Deciding it would be worth heading to the sunset lookout instead, we raced the sun and managed to just catch the sunset on Uluru from a car park that was packed.
3 September 2018
We woke up early and watched the sunrise over Uluru, turning it a light orange. Once the sun was high in the sky, we packed up and set off to the big rock. With three different walks available, we settled on the base walk, which incorporated all three, took us around the whole base of the rock and was 10.5kms long. Along the way we read indigenous cultural stories and went into caves that used to be inhabited. Halfway along the route we turned to read a sign when we heard “Tori?!”, turning around it was a shock to see Cleo, Milo, Caoimhe and Jonathon who I worked for in Melbourne. After a quick catch up and a photo in front of Uluru we arranged to meet up for dinner later. Liam and I continued the walk, went to the cultural center, saw all that there was to see, and headed back to the campsite for a quick shower. We all met back up for a lovely dinner at the Pioneer Outback BBQ where we cooked our own steaks to perfection and had a wonderful evening.
2 September 2018
Avoiding the temptation to stay at the camp site in Alice Springs another night, we set off early for Uluru. The drive wasn’t as bad as we had expected, with podcasts to listen to and music to sing along to, the hours and kilometers passed quickly. Our friends Simone and Laurent recommended a free campsite to us, however to get there all we had were the coordinates and the instructions, drive on this random dirt road for 10 minutes and you’ll get there. Thankfully we had enough time before dark, because the road was more sandy and more bumpy than expected and had a divide. After driving down both ways, we decided on the left, which was later confirmed to be the correct way, and came to a small, secluded sight with a perfect view of Uluru. We sat outside and then climbed up a small hill to watch the sunset over it, taking photos and marveling and how lucky we were to find such a perfect site. Later in the evening we were able to look up and see the Milky Way shining over Uluru.
1 September 2018
We left the campsite with our coffees in our travel mugs, eager to get on the road and make it to Alice Springs. We made a slight detour to see the Devil’s Marbles and do some of the short walks around the large clusters of rocks, giving our legs a bit of a stretch before really settling into the driver’s seat. There was not much to see between the campsite and Alice Springs, just an occasional roadhouse, rest stop or cow. With about 500kms of driving, we arrived in Alice mid-afternoon, so we parked the van and walked to the visitors center to pick up a map. We walked through the bustling town, which was busy and vibrant with a race car rally about to start. However, feeling exhausted we decided not to stay too long and instead went to the campsite, 15kms out of town. The campsite was surrounded by hills, and was a relaxing and tranquil place. We had our first hot showers in weeks, planned the rest of our trip through the middle, saw a cat on a lead and made friends with an excited dog
31 August 2018
We left our campsite early ready for a long day of driving with the goal to get to Tennant Creek, halfway to Alice Springs. The scenery was much the same for the drive, the only difference was patches of trees and grass that were black from fires. There were surprisingly quite a few cars that we passed, a couple of cyclists and many wandering cows. We stopped a few times along the way to have lunch and get out and stretch the legs. When we arrived at Tennant Creek we were surprised at how busy it was. There were people everywhere, tourists and locals alike, and quite a bustling main street. We didn’t stay long however as we were keen to get to a campsite for the night and unwind after a long day of driving.
30 August 2018
It was an early start with a quick trip into Katherine to buy another water tank and fill up our others before heading to Kathrine Gorge in the Nitmuluk National Park. There were quite a few long hiking trials but because of the 35 degree heat we decided on the shorter walk, a 5km loop hike up to a lookout over the Katherine river. The estimated 2 hour hike took us just under an hour, so with the extra time we decided that it would make the most sense to get some of the driving out of the way and head to Bitter Springs and the Mataranka Thermal Pools in Elsey National Park, 101 kms out of Katherine. Once we arrived we found that they were actually a lot warmer than the other thermal pools we’ve been to, and at the start did little to cool us down. We stayed awhile though and by the end of it we felt refreshed. From there we drove another 39 kms to our campsite where we settled in for the night, dreading the next few days of driving to come, the closest town - Tennant Creek, 550kms away
29 August 2018
We spent our final day in Katherine at both the campsite and the Katherine hot springs while Liam finished and submitted an essay. The goal, to clear as much of his schedule as possible before going through the middle where the phone service may be unreliable or nonexistent. It was also great news to find out that he had been awarded a certificate of academic excellence in international politics, proving that studying while traveling is a winning combination. I also met some people at the hot springs who I ended up chatting to for a while, one was a girl from Sydney who wanted a change and had driven up to Katherine to pick mangoes, another a 19 year old German boy from Füssen who doesn’t know what to study so came to Australia to travel (he kicked his travel mates out and is now going solo), and a couple from France who are looking for anyway to stay here permanently loving the quality of life in Australia. A perfect end to our time in Katherine.
28 August 2018
It was another hot and restless night with the sounds of animals walking around outside the van, and one very scary encounter with a massive huntsman on a trip to the toilet. We left the campsite early with the rising heat temperatures and swarms of flies, and headed to a short walk and lookout over the landscape. With green palm trees and mountains in the distance it was a beautiful sight. We then began driving to the last attractions of the park, a plunge pool and waterfall and a series of hikes. Turning off the highway we were disappointed to realize that the unpaved 2wd road on the map was actually only suitable for 4wd or us going very very slowly. With the knowledge that the 38kms would take us all day, and no waterfall is worth the damage the road would do to the van, we decided to head back to the highway. From there we left Kakadu and headed back to Katherine and the welcoming, croc-free hot springs, feeling disappointed with the park and the wasted $80 park passes.
27 August 2018
After a hot and restless sleep we set off early into Kakadu National Park. It was a lot of driving with not much to see before we came to Jaribu, the township of Kakadu on the opposite side of the park. Once there we filled up with fuel and had a quick lunch while we watched the cockatoos trying to cool down in some sprinklers. From there we drove to a loop walk that took us to rock art, which has been estimated to be at least 20,000 years old. It was fascinating to look at them and read the mythology behind the drawings. We then continued the drive to the park making detours to see a river, and the Aboriginal cultural center, where we learnt about their connection the land that is Kakadu National Park. Exhausted from the heat and the driving we headed to the campsite, where we tried to cool the van, with little success in 38 degree heat and no wind. We had a quick dinner before hiding in the van away from mozzies, spiders and growling animals, fanning ourselves with saucepan lids.
26 August 2018
Our last day in Darwin. We spent the morning at the campsite as Liam finished up his essay and submitted it, while I cleaned the van and packed up ready to go. With a final goodbye to the neighboring wallaby, we headed to the supermarket to stock up on food. As it was too late in the day to head to Kakadu, we instead headed into the city where we spent our time exploring the botanical gardens. They were beautifully shady and quiet. From there we went to a bar called Shenanigans where we watched the last North Melbourne match of the season. Even though it was only 5pm the bar was full of backpackers and locals alike dancing to live music. When the game finished we went back to the van and encountered two stray kittens. As much as we wanted too we knew they couldn’t come with us, so instead we left a tin of tuna so that they knew that we cared.
25 August 2018
For the last couple of days we have stayed in Darwin making use of the public library in Palmerston, an up and coming suburb. With air conditioning, free unlimited WiFi, and power points, it made a perfect location to settle down in do some work. Unfortunately, yesterday the library had reduced opening hours and closed at 1pm, so we headed back to the campsite, parked in as much shade as possible and tried to stay cool. It was a relaxing day of working and reading.
23 August 2018
It was a day of chores today as we are coming close to leaving Darwin. We stripped the bed and packed five bags full of towels, clothes and bed sheets and headed to a laundromat. After negotiating the correct change for the machines, a trip to Woolworths took place where we bought some tuna for lunch and tried to convince the cashier to give us all our change in $1 coins, we put on the loads and waited. By the time everything had finished it was lunch time and we drove back to the campsite for lunch and to hang up some still damp clothes. We then went to Palmerston where we spent the afternoon in the library doing work and reading before heading to the famous Mindil Beach night markets. They were quite big and were particularly famous for having delicious Asian food. We bought a curry from a Sri Lankan stall and noodles from a Chinese stall. We wandered around the market, which was full of stalls with earrings, floaty clothes and croc skins, and watched a couple of street performers.
22 August 2018
After consulting our list of things to do in Darwin, we set off to the Northern Territory national museum. It had a range of exhibitions from the evolution of animals and ecosystems and how they’ve adapted to survive in two very contrasting and harsh environments - the rainy season and the dry season, to pottery from the Tiwi Islands, the history of Darwin from 1880-1930, boats that have arrived in Darwin from Asia, the devastation of Cyclone Tracy and local art. We spent the whole morning there. We then had a quick lunch before walking the coastal trail from the museum to the botanical gardens, where we found a shady spot to read our books. From there we went into the city center, did a bit of food shopping, and visited Survivors Lookout, which talked a little bit about the Darwin bombings. After seeing all of the crocodiles in the water we decided against going for a quick swim, and instead headed back to the campsite for dinner and a movie.
21 August 2018
We sat down for what may well have been our very last breakfast, as today was the day we were finally going to come face to face with the fearsome crocodiles of the Adelaide River. Once we arrived at our tour, we were greeted by a life size statue replica of the largest crocodile ever found, sitting at 8.63 meters in length. Hopefully today wouldn’t be the day that record was beaten. Once on our boat, the crocodiles weren’t shy about making themselves seen, and quickly made their way over to the boat for some lunch, jumping out of the water to grab it. One even sat back and enjoyed a back scratch from one of the tour guides it was familiar with (although the tour guide still used a long metal pole to do this). Safely back on dry land, we made our way to an exhibition called “spectacular failures” which examined the issues and setbacks often experienced with progress in the Northern Territory. Finishing the day, we caught a free evening musical performance at Darwin festival.
20 August 2018
The worst night in the van yet. It was unbearably hot, the road trains going past the campsite were frequent, long and very loud, and there was a mosquito in the van. We both woke up feeling grumpy and tired. Determined to turn the day around, I gave Liam a haircut and then we headed to Berry Springs Nature Reserve. At Berry Springs there were beautiful natural springs, and because we had arrived to early it was virtually empty...apart from the man who wouldn’t get out of our photos. It was a lovely way to wake up properly and cool down. We then lay on the grass reading and had a picnic lunch before driving the 60kms to Darwin. Once in Darwin we parked the van, visited the Information center and wandered around the main street and the esplanade. The city was a lot smaller than we had both expected, it was very clean and not very busy. After picking up something to eat we then headed to our campsite for the night, which was 30kms out of town and someone’s garden.
19 August 2018
On our way to Darwin we decided to take another detour to Litchfield National Park, famed for its waterfalls, accessible swimming holes and the magnetic termite mounds. Arriving first at the termite mounds we were awed by their size and were surprised that people were allowed to touch them. The largest one had taken 50 years to get to that size. We then drove to Florence Falls where we had to descend (and then climb back up) 341 stairs to get to the fall, it was surprisingly busy however most people stayed around the edge of the pool as it was quite chilly. Then we went to Buley Holes, our favorite, which was a river with lots of little waterfalls and plunge pools. A perfect place for a day trip. We then went to the Wangi Wangi Falls, which warned of an occasional croc sneaking in, and was the most popular. It had two waterfalls and a large pool of water, it was very busy with families and kids. Then onto the Cascades, where Liam’s flip flop broke and we had to climb over rocks and mud
18 August 2018
With the temperature rising we left Katherine and drove to Leilyn (Edith Falls) in the Nitmuluk National Park. The Falls had three sections that we could swim in, the bottom requiring a short stroll, the middle a short hike and the top a longer more extensive hike. Our intention was to hike to the top pool, however with temperatures in the thirties and little cover from the sun we decided to settle on the middle pool. It had a beautiful waterfall, slippery rocks and slightly shallower pools that were good for lounging around in. We spent our time hiking the loop and swimming to cool off. When we had had enough we left the National Park and began the drive to Darwin, stopping at a rest stop for the night about half way along.
17 August 2018
We decided to spend another day in Katherine before heading to a national park and then onto Darwin, as Liam had quite a lot of work to do. We based ourselves at the Katherine hot springs where I made the most of my gtime reading and swimming while Liam worked. We then filled up all our supplies before heading to the campsite where we set up, had an early dinner of Thai Green Coconut curry and made a campfire, we may be on our way to becoming experts. It was an early night ready for an early start onwards.
16 August 2018
Not keen to do too much driving, our main activity for the day was to visit the Cutta Cutta Caves that were just 20kms out of town. We had hoped that the caves would be a welcome escape from the heat, however we quickly learned that they were tropical caves and therefore typically hotter than outside, and could sometimes reach up to 90% humidity. The cave is the home to bats, snakes, spiders and other wildlife. The tour guide tried to placate our worries about entering the cave by saying the mouse spider hadn’t been seen for two years, and the resident python that was 4 meters long scared away all the poisonous snakes. I personally found the knowledge that there was a resident python that hung on the walls and was frequently seen little comfort. Despite this, it was a beautiful cave with crystals and fascinating history, definitely living up to its name of a cave of many stars. After the tour we went for another paddle in the hot springs, went back to the campsite and had a campfire.
15 August 2018
We had a late wake up with the hour and a half time change catching us off guard, and were one of the last to leave the campsite. With just 190kms until we reached Katherine we made it there just before lunchtime, and headed straight to the visitors center for a town map and things to do. As it was a balmy 31 degrees we had a quick wander around town and then headed to the Katherine Hot Springs, the accessible thermals pools that were in the town. Once there we had lunch, looked at the brochures that we picked up and went for a dip, escaping the building heat in the van. The hot springs were crystal clear with a mixture of a rocky and sandy bottom, and were devoid of wildlife, apart from the spiders in the trees above. We just stayed in the middle of the pools, as far away from the sides as possible. Feeling refreshed we then headed to our campsite for the night where we lounged in the shade of the van doing work and reading until the sun went down.
14 August 2018
Welcome to the Northern Territory! We left the campsite early and spent the morning at Lake Argyle, having our morning coffee at the lake’s vista lookout. It was a stunning man made lake, holding over 15 times more water than the Sydney Harbour, and it was a rich blue. Apparently it was also home to 30,000 freshwater crocodiles, which they try to relocate but never very successfully. We were unable to get near the lake, and it turned out that there was no town at all, only a caravan park charging extortionate amounts. After a look around we didn’t stay long. We then set off and quickly crossed the Northern Territory border, disposing of our citrus fruit beforehand, and getting the customary photo. It was a long day of driving, with a couple brief stops along the way, one at Timber Creek, where every building looked to be temporary apart from the police station. We then found a campsite where we were able to sit outside and enjoy the warm evening sporting our very fashionable fly nets.
13 August 2018
Not wanting to stay around the campsite for too long with dust storms growing, the knowledge of bulls in the area, and the fear of fires, we left after a quick breakfast. It was a slow crawl back into Halls Creek, and thankfully the road was back open so we went on our way. We took turns driving, stopped for a quick lunch and walk around, listened to podcasts and read books, and watched out for wildlife. We saw a small dingo, lots of roaming cows, horses, eagles, a feral cat and a fox. The hours slipped away, and before we knew it we were in Kununurra. It has been hailed as a modern town, and it’s where people start to get pretty serious about crocodile sightings. We visited the information center, read about crocodile myths and warning, and found out what to do in the town. Unfortunately being 2WD we are a bit limited, however we were able to go to Kelly’s Knob lookout and Celebrity tree park. With not much else to see in town we then headed to a campsite not far from Hi Lake Argyle.
12 August 2018
We woke up at the crack of dawn, had a leisurely breakfast and then continued the drive. The landscape was becoming slightly more mountainous however still quite orange and barren. It was clear that bush fires had been in the area as well, as we passed big expanses of charred grass and trees. We found a lovely spot for lunch where we sat on some picnic benches surrounded by the view of orange mountains. We then kept driving, coming to Halls Creek. Our van full of fuel and our next campsite mapped as about an hour away we came to an abrupt halt with police having closed the road to Kununurra. Apparently there was a big fire and they said we probably weren’t going anywhere for at least four hours. With the advice to not camp in town but instead at a site 20kms south of town, we set off down the very corrugated road, taking us 45 minutes instead of 15 avoiding sharp rocks and big bumps. It was a peaceful camp, however we did not explore very far when we stumbled across a wandering bull.
11 August 2018
We woke up to the sound of wind howling outside our van, and our chairs being blown over. The campsite was quite gravelly and sandy, so we decided not to stick around and instead had our last hot showers for the foreseeable future, packed up the van and left. It was the Saturday courthouse markets on in Broome, so we headed there for a look around. It was the classic market stalls with food, handmade jewelry, soaps, cloth bags and massage stalls. We then headed to Coles to stock up on food before setting off for our days of driving ahead. It was a long day of driving with little to see along the way and we kept going until we were about 60kms before Fitzroy Crossing. The campsite was small, had a drop toilet and had a small flock of galahs. We set up outside, watched the sunset and had an early night.
10 August 2018
It was a day of searching for dinosaur footprints, something the coast along Broome is famed for. Unfortunately our search along the beach and over rocks was unsuccessful, and the tides were too high to see the most famous one. Luckily Broome has been kind to tourists like us and made a plaster cast of some of the ones found and put it on a cliff that was easy to access and see. Not feeling too disheartened, we went to Cable Beach to watch the sunset, something we were told was essential to do. It was a beautiful sunset, however we think that the main reason people recommend it, is not because of the sunset itself, but because of the large number of tourists, predominantly backpackers, who dominate the beach doing all sorts of activities from hula hooping, to badminton and soccer to head stands. It was a sight. We then finished the day by watching Mamma Mia: Here we go again in the “Oldest Cinema in the World”, which was outside and accompanied by bats and planes flying overhead.
9 August 2018
The day started with breakfast in the sunshine and people watching around the campsite. We then headed into town where we booked a camel tour before doing the historical Jetty to Jetty walk through Chinatown and the main pearling district. We also payed a visit to the town’s old, historical cinema which was partly outdoors and screens only a few movies a week. We managed to buy tickets to Mammia Mia for the following night. After that we headed to Cable beach where we sat reading under the shade of a palm tree waiting for our tour. The camels were a little fussy, and not as smelly as predicted. They were also a lot taller than we thought and quite wobbly to sit on. We had the privilege of riding Kabina along the beach, he was described as a tank of a camel, very strong and loyal and above having affection and friends. After the camel tour we then headed to Broome’s Thursday night market where we indulged in a delicious coconut curry and watched two folk musicians.
8 August 2018
We made our triumphant arrival in Broome and were welcomed by a warm and sunny 29 degree day (which we overheard a local say was the coldest day they’d experienced all year). After stopping by the visitor center and picking up some pamphlets to add to our collection, we set about exploring the town. Broome has historically been built around the pearl industry, and has a wide range of cultural influences, which made for an interesting journey through the streets, taking in the diverse heritage as we went. We then drove to Cable Beach, just outside the town, and cooled down with a swim. Feeling refreshed, we went to our campsite to settle in and get some rest before the big day of exploring that was to follow.
7 August 2018
Our plan for the day: get as far along to Broome and we can without driving the whole seven hours. Already getting a bit tired of driving long distances we decided not to attempt driving the 611kms from Port Hedland to Broome in one go, but instead take our time and stop when we got tired. The plan worked. We found an access point for 2WDs to Eighty Mile Beach, where spotted a tiny wallaby and two iguanas (or we think they were anyway). We walked along the beach were we got given a beautiful shell, and had a picnic in the sun. There was a potential incident with all sets of keys in an inaccessible van, however we were quickly able to resolve it without too many accusations being thrown around. We made a swift getaway back to the highway before continuing on to a lovely campsite just two hours from Broome.
6 August 2018
After a busy two days in Karijini doing all that we could, we set off back to the coast. It was a full morning of driving and we could feel it getting hotter and hotter the further we drove, finally arriving in Port Hedland. We managed to find free hot showers at a truck fuel station, washing away all of the red dust. We then headed to the center of the town, or what we thought was the center, before realizing that the town was split into three sections all twenty minutes apart. Port Hedland was an industrial town solely focused and built around oil and salt mining. It had an interesting history, however was our least favorite to be in. We managed to find a nice grassy spot with a view where we opened everything up, cleaned all the red sand from the van and unwound after the long drive. We then drove to McDonalds to use their WiFi, along the way we encountered police stopping and breathalyzing every car, it was 4pm on a Monday afternoon. We decided to not stay much longer.
5 August 2018
We woke up with heavy legs, still sore from the day before. This did not stop us though, and we headed straight back into the park to Weano and Hancock gorges, which both had a few hikes that we planned to spend the day doing. Both were class 5 hikes, and required us to wade through water and cling to the sides of rocks. After giving it our best shot, we had to give up on the hikes before completing them, they got a bit too treacherous for comfort. The sections of the hikes we did see were still amazing, and we even went for a swim in the ice cold water of one of the creeks.
4 August 2018
Our first day in Karijini was incredible. We began at Dales Gorge where we hiked down into the gorge to see Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool, where we swam to and under the waterfalls. We then hiked alongside the creek trail using rocks to step across the water, through forests and over and around bigger rocks to Circular Pool. It was shady there and we found it too cold to swim. It was a tough hike back up to the top of the gorge where we then followed the trail along the ridge back to the car park. Our legs feeling like jelly after having walked a tough 6kms we had lunch before setting off the lookout over Joffre gorge. We ended up doing the 3km hike to the bottom of the gorge where we saw impressive waterfalls, cold pools of water and the river. We had to scramble down the rocks, cling to ledges and hop over the river to make it to the waterfall. It was a huge open space that echoed and felt truly magical. Definitely worth the challenging climb back up.
3 August 2018
We woke up well rested, ready for a big day of driving. The plan was to get as far as possible inland, towards the Karijini National Park. It was seven hours of driving with nothing much along the way. The scenery stayed mostly the same, although surprisingly the closer we got to Karijini the more green trees and hills there were. It felt very similar to South Australia. Even with a few rests along the way we managed to make it to our campsite for the night, just 1km away from the National Park. We were surrounded by red earth, green trees, yellow grasses and orange mountains. It was already stunning. And already we could tell that the area was going to make our van, floor and shoes orange from all the orange dirt and dust.
2 August 2018
The day started off by eating breakfast with the view of the sea, however the idea of a relaxed morning quickly dissipated due to high velocity and bone-chilling winds. We left our beachside camp and headed out of the National Park and back to Exmouth. We walked around the small town center before heading to the town’s public library where Liam did some work. We also spent some time at the town’s beach, where we stayed in the van out of the wind, doing work and reading. Once enough work had been completed we drove about an hour away from Exmouth to our campsite for the night. It was an early night, with a big day of driving ahead of us.
1 August 2018
Up with the sun, we set off from Coral Bay to Exmouth and the Cape Range National Park for a day full of hiking, swimming, reading and exploring. We stopped in Exmouth to top up water supplies before driving through and into the National Park. Unfortunately dark clouds loomed over the National Park and there were winds that were only getting stronger, causing strong tides and big waves over the Ningaloo Reef. The lady in the information center advised against snorkeling and said it was only going to get worse. So instead we visited the lighthouse, found out about some hikes and donned our walking shoes. It was a treacherous hike in and along the Mandu Mandu gorge with steep rocky inclines and declines. We then visited the Yardi Creek Gorge and did the short hike there along the river before heading to our beachside campsite. We set up our table and chairs, and had a quick dip in the sandy shallows of the sea before reading our books and watching the sunset.
31 July 2018
We arrived in town early for our morning glass-bottomed boat cruise. We picked up our hired snorkel masks and fins and headed to the boat for a two hour ride and snorkel around the Ningaloo coral reef. Since the boat had glass panels we were able to see fish, coral and even a couple of turtles as we were driving. There was a bit of time to snorkel where there were reef sharks, unfortunately neither of us saw them due to foggy goggles. After the boat cruise we headed back to the van for lunch before hiring a kayak for an hour. With strong currents and a bit of wind it was harder than anticipated, however we made it to a secluded beach for a little break and were able to see some more coral. The rest of the afternoon was spent reading on the beach and doing work before we watched the sunset.
30 July 2018
We started the day by filling up our water tanks, having hot showers and packing up ready to leave the campsite. We left Carnarvon Campground for a nature reserve called Chinaman’s Pool, where we sat for a couple hours, Liam doing work and I reading in the sunshine. We then topped up our fuel tank and went on our way to Coral Bay, famous for three things, whale sharks, the Ningaloo Reef and the best pizza in Australia. The drive was another long four hour trip, with little to see along the way and few and far between fuel stations or rest stops. We finally arrived in Coral Bay and were surprised that it was purely a tourist resort. We walked around comparing the tour options and decided against spending $400 each on a whale tour and instead booked in for a more reasonably priced glass-bottomed boat tour the following morning. We then wandered along the beach before heading to the one and only pizzeria for dinner, it was as good as anticipated.
29 July 2018
We spent the day in Carnarvon, a small regional town where the main attraction was the space museum. The day began with a nice leisurely coffee and breakfast sitting outside in the sun. I then made use of the water, space and sun to do some laundry while Liam did some work. After a productive morning we set off to visit the One Mile Jetty, a Carnarvon highlight. Unfortunately it was closed due to unsafe conditions. From there we went to visit the space museum and old space station, which was instrumental in the first moon landing. It was an interesting place with free tea and coffee and a cat that we could cuddle called Buzz. We then went and did a bit of food shopping before heading back to the campsite for the evening.
28 July 2018
What an absolutely incredible day! We woke up early and drove to Monkey Mia to see the first dolphin feeding at 7:45. These wild dolphins come up to the shallows of this bay everyday to hunt fish, and have been for decades. The dolphins get three feedings between 7:45 and 12:00 everyday where four from a family get fed a few fish, not enough to make them dependent. Liam and I watched each feeding and had the dolphins swim right by us. I was lucky enough to get chosen to feed one dolphin, Suprise, a fish. It was incredible being so close to such beautiful creatures. After Monkey Mia we then headed to Eagles Bluff, a lookout on some spectacular coastal scenery, before setting off on our drive towards Carnarvon. It was a long drive on straight barren roads, and with quite a few breaks and driver change overs, we arrived. With very little camping options near the town we decided to check into a caravan park for the night, settling in for an early night after an exhausting day.
27 July 2018
Feeling that we had seen all of the Kalbarri National Park that we could, we felt it was time to keep moving. The day started with a very brisk camp shower (our first since we left Perth), before setting off to Denham and Monkey Mia. It was a day of driving, driving and more driving. Fortunately the increasingly dry and barren landscape was broken up by splashes of vibrant yellows and purples from the wild flowers that are in season. On our way to Denham we stopped at Shell Beach, one of the only places in the world where the beach was made entirely of this one particular type of shell. It was very pretty to look at but it would be a bit uncomfortable to spend a day at, the shells weren’t the best to sit or walk on. From there we kept driving to Denham where we visited the information center and booked a night at a local campsite, which was right on the beach. The evening was cold and windy, but our second showers of the day were nice and hot.
26 July 2018
We spent our second day in Kalbarri exploring the National Park with the Hawks Head and Ross Graham lookouts. They both overlooked gorges and with the latter we were able to walk down to the river banks. From there we drove 40kms further into the park where we went to the Z Bend, apparently the most stunning feature of the park. We were not disappointed. The Z Bend lookout gave us a view through the red cliff gorge and along a bright blue river. From there we were able to do the Z Bend river hike, only 2.5kms but a class 4, taking approximately two hours. It was an incredible and challenging hike where we had to clamber over rocks, shimmy through rock crevices and climb up and down ladders. The end result was definitely worth it when we reached the clearest blue river, which would had have been perfect to swim in if it was a bit warmer. With our legs feeling heavy and a little sweaty, we then headed back into town for a water and fuel top up before heading to the campsite for the nigh
25 July 2018
We decided to leave Geraldton behind and continue on to Kalbarri, a quaint town on the coral coast that is surrounded by the Kalbarri National Park. Once there we bought a park pass, got hold of a map and did the coastal drive, starting at Natural Bridge and ending at Blue Holes. For much of it we walked along a cliffside boardwalk and luckily spotted a pod of about 10-15 dolphins. It was extremely windy at some points and was always a challenge to get back to the van before the rain started. The incredible coastal views were worth it though. After lunch we decided to head into the National Park where we went to the Natural Window, giving us a panoramic view of red cliffs, green trees and a blue river. With grey clouds threatening to burst we decided to leave the rest of the National Park for the next day and head to the campsite for the night.
24 July 2018
There’s no better way to wake up than to the sounds of the waves. It started off being a lovely day with a rainbow spotted in the distance. After eating our breakfast with the view of the sea, we set off to Geraldton. Arriving around lunchtime we payed a visit to the visitors center, picked up brochures for the next few major towns and figured out what to do in Geraldton. We walked down to the pier keeping an eye out for sea lions, filled up our water tanks and then went to the old hospital and gaol where we joined a free tour. We learnt a bit about the origins and history of the town, the role convicts played in the town, and how the town was a major nursing hub for Western Australia. We then payed a visit to the town’s war memorial and lookout before heading to our campsite for the night. The campsite wasn’t too far from Geraldton, overlooking rolling green hills. Unfortunately there were quite a few bugs, so we stayed inside, watched a movie and had a peaceful night’s sleep.
23 July 2018
We had a leisurely start to the morning, trying to get back into our van routine, and ended up being the last to leave the campsite. Once we did, we drove about 40kms to the Pinnacles where we were able to do a 4km drive through them. There were hundreds of these towering rocks, and very little known about them. They were fascinating to see. After that we decided to do the two hour drive to a campsite we had found, deciding to settle in for the night early. The campsite was free, had toilets and was on the beach! One of the best yet! We spent the evening gathering wood for a campfire and settling in our chairs reading and watching the sunset. Once it was near dark we lit the campfire, which turned out to be so successful we managed to cook some corn and eggplant on it for dinner.
22 July 2018
Our first day back on the road! The day started off slowly as I had decided to meet my friend in Perth for a goodbye brunch. She kindly let us have showers and fill up our water tanks at her house, and after what then turned out to be a lunch we set off to the Pinnacles, leaving Perth behind us. As it was already 3:00pm by the time we actually left we decided to head straight to a campsite before it got dark. The drive itself was hard work with strong winds hitting the van on one side and random torrential showers. We managed to find a little shelter from the wind at the the campsite, but it still rocked the van, and I almost feared it would blow us away.
21 July 2018
Our housesitting in Mosman Park and our time in Perth has come to an end. Following four weeks of looking after the two cats and working we are finally leaving and continuing our journey. After afternoons of looking at maps and planning we have decided to make our way up the coast to Darwin before heading down the middle, past Uluru, back to Melbourne. It will be a long journey, but hopefully full of amazing sights, incredible views and funny stories.
3 July 2018
On a rare day of sunshine and as one of the last days that Simone and Laurent were staying with us, we decided to do a group trip to Kings Park in central Perth. There were botanic gardens, nature walks and incredible city vista views, a highlight was the tree top bridge crossing.
1 July 2018
A day out in Perth. With our house guests still with us, Liam and I decided to go out and explore the city of Perth. We did a free, self-guided art walk around the city, which featured street art, sculptures and fountains, and gave us a great tour of the city. Our particular favorite was the bronze statues of kangaroos, peaceful in a small oasis of park. The weather is definitely getting colder by the day, and the sun barely peeked through the clouds. It was very pleasant to be able to go back to a warm comfortable house where there were two cats waiting, always wanting a cuddle.
28 June 2018
Over the next few days we received some house guests, two boys, one I knew from school, who we met on Kangaroo Island. With storms forecast, we offered a place to stay while they had a look around Perth. We showed them around Fremantle, going to the markets, went to a night tour of Fremantle Prison and did a bike ride along the coast from Fremantle to Cottesloe. This storm never really appeared with great weather for all our activities. The cats were loving all of the attention though, with two new people to dote in them.
25 June 2018
Our first week of housesitting in Perth was great! The cats, Shinx and Mousie, are very friendly, fussy and love a cuddle. I spent my first few days finding a job and doing a trial shift in a fancy Middle Eastern and Australian restaurant, where I got a part time job. We also spent quite a lot of our time exploring Fremantle and the surrounding area, we are very fortunate to be between the beach and a river.
22 June 2018
It was a strange first night sleeping back in the van, but it was fully appreciated when we woke up to a beautiful sunny morning and cows in the green fields next to us. Slipping back into our morning routine was easy, and we set off to Serpentine Falls, happy, relaxed and with a full day of plans ahead of us. Entering the National Park, we encountered two very peaceful kangaroos dozing on the grass. I spent five minutes trying to get the perfect picture before we headed to the Falls. It was a short walk through a beautiful forest. After taking in the scenery and a quick lunch, we then headed to the Elizabethan Village not too far away. It was a disappointing visit with most of it closed down, so we did not stay long. We then drove to Subiaco for a quick look around the area before driving to our housesitting location, where we met the cats and settled into our home for the next month.
21 June 2018
After getting a good nights sleep, we woke up feeling back to our usual best. Our first priority for the day was getting the van clean. Our neglect of the van over the past three weeks had weighed heavy on our hearts, and we wanted to tidy it up to show it we still cared. Once we’d finished, we decided to go for a stroll and make the most of the sunny day. Unfortunately things quickly turned, and stormy weather drove us back into the van. We decided a visit to the movies would be our best course of action, so we went to see Jurassic World. We both thoroughly enjoyed it, despite it having us jumping from our seats during a scene or two.
20 June 2018
After hours of long flights we both landed in Perth for the next part of our van adventure. After landing, I had a quick airport shower before meeting Liam outside the international terminal. From there we got the shuttle to where our van was parked. We were both overjoyed to see the van just as we had left it, safe, sound and not smelling too bad. It was a tense moment when we put the key in the ignition, but as reliable as always, the van started with no problems at all. From there we set off to Mandurah where Liam had booked a hotel room for the night. It was nice to not have to worry straight away about finding a place to camp. The hotel was interesting to say the least, there was a swimming pool and jacuzzi in the restaurant area (which we used), and our bed had ants. They may or may not have been attracted by some wayward pizza that was dropped. Overall, it was a comfortable stay and just what we needed.
28 May 2018
Our day at Rottnest Island seemed to be the last day of good weather, after that storms rolled into Perth and we were mostly confined to the van. There were big storms with strong winds, thunder, lightening, hail and chilling rain. Despite the weather, we were not unproductive, and managed to arrange a housesit for our arrival back in Perth looking after two cats. We went to interviews, did a lot of reading, and I tuned and learnt to play the four most popular chords on ukulele. On our second to last day in Perth we met up with Liam’s dad to watch the football (North won), had dinner, and spent our last night in a luxurious hotel. Driving and parking the van in the city was extremely stressful, and it was probably the most frustrated Liam and I became with each other on the whole trip, especially when we thought we might be stuck in the underground car park. It was a comparatively smooth drive to the airport, where we left the van and went our separate ways home for three weeks.
23 May 2018
Our highly anticipated day at Rottnest Island. We woke up extremely early so that we could get one of the free, unlimited parking spaces in Fremantle before catching the Rottnest Express ferry to the island. Making it to the 9:30 ferry with plenty of time spare, we relaxed into our window seats and enjoyed the 30 minute choppy ride. Once on the island we picked up our hired bikes and started the 22km loop around, marveling at the fantastic coastal scenery. It was a challenging ride with a lot of steep hills that never seemed to end and a hot sun. We had a lunch on the beach, cycled up to the lighthouse, and saw plenty of quokkas. It was surprising how tame the quokkas were, they came right up to us (one even tried to climb up Liam’s arm), evidently wanting food. After the bike ride we then went and explored the settlement, had an ice cream and got the return ferry, thoroughly exhausted and ready for bed.
22 May 2018
After our evening visit to Perth we decided to go back to Fremantle and see the attractions there. We started the day off with a walk through a lovely park along a canal before heading into the town. From there we went to Fremantle and visited the maritime museum. We did a tour of a 1969 navy submarine decommissioned in 1991. Typically 60-70 people worked and lived in the submarine, and with just three of us, it already felt crowded. After the tour we then looked around the main museum and then headed to Fremantle south beach to fill up with water before settling down for the night.
21 May 2018
We spent our morning in Rockingham where Liam and I went our separate ways. Liam was busy doing an assignment while I did some yoga on the beach and some reading in the park. It was a very relaxed morning. After Liam had finished his work we decided to make the short drive to Fremantle. It was a very interesting and historic town and we only started exploring it. We went up to the Round Tower, the first gaol in WA, to Bather’s Beach, through the city streets and to the Visitors Centre where we booked our trip to Rottnest Island. We also paid a visit to the football ground. With a limit on our parking we then left Fremantle and headed to a beach area, which was popular with vans, to fill up our water tanks. We then decided to drive to Perth for the evening and to see the new bridge lit up. We parked with a perfect view of the city, ecstatic that we made it to Perth! Two and a half months of traveling in van and we have managed to cross the country and see a lot of sights a long the way!
20 May 2018
Mandurah was our next port of call after a relaxed start at the campsite. There was a small Sunday market on and a flood of pavement cafes along the esplanade. There were also tourist train rides that ran through city. It seemed to be a main town of attraction for people wanting to escape the city and spend their weekend in a place with a holiday resort feel. After spending the morning looking around we then continued on to Rockingham. Our first stop was at a lookout that gave us views of the surrounding islands. From there we headed to the esplanade where we parked and walked into town. It was bustling with families on the beach, birthday parties in the park and very posh restaurants. We then headed back to the van where Liam did some work and we watched the sun go down before heading to the campsite for the night.
19 May 2018
Our second day in Bunbury started with a climb up 198 steps to reach the top of a second lookout on the other side of the town. It gave panoramic views of the town and harbors. We then browsed around the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery, a building known for its pink exterior, which held a variety of art including quilting, photography, landscape paintings and bronze jewelry. From there we slowly made our way through the town back to the van for some lunch before we set off for Gnomesville. Gnomesville, an area throughout the forest near a roundabout, was much more extended than anticipated. We were bewildered, awestruck and amused to find thousands of gnomes placed on the ground, in trees, on trees, in buckets, in the river, each added by visitors and locals alike over the years. Now it is a huge tourist attraction and definitely worth seeing.
18 May 2018
Having seen most of Bussleton the day before, we decided to move on to the next big town, Bunbury, known for the wild bottlenose dolphins, street art and having water on three sides. We parked on the foreshore and from there set off to explore the town, the biggest one we’d seen for a while. There was a very trendy vibe with a lot of cafes in old shipping containers and hanging plants. We also went to see the lighthouse and a look out tower that gave an overview of the whole town. The last part of the afternoon was spent doing work and spending time on the beach.
17 May 2018
The day started off with a luxurious hot shower and toast, a novelty, before we headed to the Margaret River Chocolate factory, a must when in the region. The chocolate was very rich and delicious, although maybe it was a little too early in the morning. We then headed to Injidup natural spa, a rock pool where the waves pushed water over the tops of the rocks creating jet streams. The water was so clear we could see little fish and crabs living and hiding in the rocks. Refreshed, it was a short drive to Bussleton, where we walked the Bussleton Pier, which is famed for being 1.8km long and having a train that runs along it. From there we watched the sunset before heading to a campsite in the forest.
16 May 2018
We left our campsite in the middle of the forest early, keen to get to Margaret River, both the town and the region. The drive continued on much the same theme as the day before, thick woodlands and rich green fields, and the smell of woodsmoke from farmers burning off their fields. We arrived in Margaret River and was enchanted by the very relaxed surfer vibe that was around. After visiting the visitors center we headed to Garrunup Beach, a swimming beach on surfers point with bright turquoise clear water. We both went for our first swim in the Indian Ocean of the trip, it was not quite as cold as expected. This was then followed by a short beach shower before we headed off to the Rotary Park to do a popular walk through the forest that followed and crossed over the Margaret River.
15 May 2018
The day started with a beautiful view of the sunrise over the river, and from there we knew it was going to be a good day. We finally left Albany and headed to Denmark, a town rated the most tourist friendly town. It was a quaint little town centered around a river with a circular high street. Once there we visited a hardware store and bought a new bolt and screws for a few that had come loose and been lost on the corrugated roads. We then continued our drive to Walpole, Northcliffe and Pemberton, each town more lovely than the last, with trees turning autumnal reds and oranges. The drive was stunning with long winding roads through big, dense forests and rolling green hills filled with baby cows, sheep and kangaroos. We have never seen so many kangaroos in one field. We also stopped at Cascade Falls, just near Pemberton, a series of waterfalls not quite as large as anticipated. It was a great day!
14 May 2018
We were woken up at the crack of dawn by the garbage truck, so instead of sticking around we left the campsite and headed into Albany for showers and so Liam could do work. On the way we slowed right down to watch some kangaroos hopping alongside us, a great first sighting for us. Once in town Liam stayed in the van to work while I showered and walked around the town, picking up a few things we needed along the way. After all of the errands were run, we went for a brisk walk around Seppings Lake passing dog walkers along the way.
13 May 2018
The theme of today was adventure. Tori dusted off her hiking boots, and Liam put work on hold. The national parks around Albany are famous for their clifftop views, exciting walking trails and beautiful beaches. First we went to see The Gap in Torndirrup National Park, a walkway which extends over the edge of one of the cliffs where the waves crash onto the rocks. This was followed by a natural bridge where the waves and wind had eroded the rock. We then hiked the Promontory Point along beaches, through forests and along and over rocks, where we could see Albany and the narrow divide between Princess Royal Harbour and King George Sound. It was a spectacular hike! Exhausted and satisfied, we went back to town for well deserved hot showers before heading back to the campsite for the night.
12 May 2018
We had our morning coffee overlooking a river that ran alongside our campsite. It was calm, quiet and we were the only people around. After breakfast we drove back into Albany for the farmers market, where we bought fresh eggs and a small pot of homemade apricot jam. We then headed to a festival that was being held through the streets of Albany. There was a vintage bike competition, vintage clothes stalls, art galleries and live music. We spent quite a bit of time enjoying the festive atmosphere and buying a couple of souvenirs, a drawing of a whale and a pottery lizard, before heading to a beach just east of Albany. The water was too cold to swim in so I settled for reading my book on the beach while Liam did his work in the van. Then after a second hot shower in two days (an unbelievable luxury) we headed back to the campsite from the night before.
11 May 2018
Arriving in Albany with the sea on our right hand side we were immediately taken by the town. We found a lovely place to park where we filled up with water and then set out on foot to have a look around. We walked through the historic section of the town and around the marina before heading up the high street and to the most informative and friendly visitors center yet. The town was bustling, clean, RV friendly, and best of all had FREE HOT showers!! After showering and feeling like a million dollars we looked at the maps and pamphlets and set off on the short tourist coastal drive. Stopping at every look out point, we marveled at how turquoise and clear the water was. We took one of the coastal walk paths to a nearby swimming beach and read about the whales, before then heading to the Anzac Memorial and museum. From there it was a short route to the top of Clarendon Mountain, the highest vantage point in the town, giving us spectacular views of the ocean and surrounding archipelagos.
10 May 2018
Not really wanting to spend another day in Esperance we drove towards Albany stopping at a campsite about 60km away. The campsite was spacious and near a river, which we thought was a perfect place to rest, do some work, and relax. The last few days of intense driving was tiring, and it had caught up with us. We planned an early start the following day and fresh a mindset for Albany.
9 May 2018
Our first day in Esperance got off to a very early start, eager to see all that we could. We had a quick breakfast followed by a walk along the esplanade before heading to the visitors center. We picked up maps of the area and then headed back to the van to read through them while it poured down with rain. We then stocked up with food and headed to the Pink Lake. It should have been renamed the grey lake, although I’m sure the grey skies did it no favors. We then drove the Great Ocean drive, a circuit that took us to all of the best beaches near Esperance. Famed for their turquoise waters, white sand, lagoons and rock pools, we weren’t disappointed. We even managed to spot two large pods of dolphins near the shallows of one bay! The downside was the weather was too cold to go swimming and snorkeling, we’ll just have to come back another day.
8 May 2018
Setting off early we hit the road and continued the drive to Esperance. We stopped often to pay ridiculously high prices at fuel stations and then kept driving. We drove a total of 750kms and for about 9 hours, arriving in Esperance just before it got dark. We had a quick look around town before deciding to have an early dinner and head to bed, exhausted after a long day.
7 May 2018
After a very interrupted sleep we set off at the crack of dawn to drive the highly anticipated Nullabor. The road was long, very straight and full of camper vans and trucks, we fit right in. There wasn’t much to see in terms of scenery, however there was more vegetarian than we had imagined, and less road kill, which was a good sign. We stopped off at the Nullabor Roadhouse for a fuel top up and the the obligatory picture and Border Village before heading into Western Australia. Before entering WA we had to drive through quarantine and throw away all of our fruit and vegetables, there was even an inspection. We continued driving until we found a lovely campsite near Madura, which overlooked the vast outback. It was incredible view! I treated myself to a freezing shower with an audience of kangaroos before settling in for an early night. Almost eight hours of driving and 705km, it was well deserved rest.
6 May 2018
A slow start to the day, we made our coffee to go and headed to Smoky Bay and then Ceduna. There wasn’t much to see in either town, and we were surprised by just how small Ceduna was. Once there we walked around the small town, all the shops were shut, and then drove to Pinky Point lookout just on the edge of the town. We walked along the coastal path but swiftly changed course after spotting snake skin on the path. We then drove to Denial Bay where we did some reading, some work and cooked dinner. We were amazed by the incredible sunset, however it was beauty short lived. As soon as the sun was gone we were swarmed by a plague of mosquitoes, so we threw everything in the van and ate our dinner as we drove to a campsite. This was short lived peace as we were then ambushed by two mice running around the van. Startled, we got out the peanut butter, set the trap and left the site, opting for a restless sleep on the paved streets of Ceduna.
5 May 2018
We were the last to leave the campsite in the morning, which made us believe that we have lost touch with the unofficial schedule of traveling. After a surprisingly peaceful night we had breakfast and the set off down the highway to Streaky Bay. It was a long drive on a very straight and boring road, and seeing the coast again was a joyous sight. Arriving at our destination we had a wander around the town and along the pier, and parked up overlooking the sea. It was a very very quiet town and even though it was only 3pm everything was closed. We did notice though that despite the brochures advertising surfing and other water activities there was no one swimming. With further investigation we discovered, the photographs hung as proud evidence, that Great White Sharks have been caught here, the largest being 5 meters long and 1520kg. We’ve decided to stay clear of the water as well.
4 May 2018
After a sad goodbye to the dogs, we set off from Maslin Beach and headed west, our journey to Perth beginning. We were adamant that we did not want to stop in Port Augusta again for the night so we decided to camp just past it, which meant quite a bit of driving to do. On the way we had a quick stop in Port Pirie to buy van friendly food supplies before then stopping in Iron Knob just off of the Eyre Highway for the night. It was a small, quiet town that looked very run down but it was fine for one night. It feels good to be back on the road again.
3 May 2018
Our dreamy three weeks of house sitting at Maslin Beach have come to an end, and it will be a sad farewell to Macca and Toffee. The days were very relaxing as we spent time in the hot tub and taking long walks on the beach with the dogs. It was always very amusing to watch Toffee surfing the waves, Macca running up into the hills, and trying to stop both of them eating seaweed and sea slugs. It was a lovely break from being in the van, but now we’re excited to get back on the road and head on to Perth. Hopefully we won’t miss the dogs too much!
11 April 2018
Liam’s birthday!! We managed to spend the night right next to the coast, so we started the day with presents and then an early morning swim. Afraid the birthday cake was going to melt in the hot van temperatures, we then had birthday cake for breakfast. After a relaxed start and feeling ever so slightly sick from the cake, we headed to the closest shopping center so Liam could buy some new sunglasses, and to bask in the air conditioning for a little bit. We then headed to Moana Beach where we had a birthday lunch before driving to Maslin Beach to begin our housesitting. We sat by the beach for a little while, reading, playing guitar and eating more birthday cake.
9 April 2018
The next couple of days the weather was extremely hot. The van reached unbearable temperatures, so we decided it was the perfect time to spend some time in the city and look around the museums. The first day we looked around the South Australian Museum, which had content ranging from the mammals of the world, to space, to the traditions of the Pacific Islands. We spent the second day looking around the State Library and a bit of the migration museum. That is one we will definitely have to go back to.
8 April 2018
We once again spent the day in Port Adelaide, arriving early to look around the Sunday market. The market was full of antiques, books, toys and dressing up costumes. We then decided to spend the afternoon on a dolphin cruise. For $10 each we got a two hour trip up and down the river and saw two pods of wild dolphins. For the evening we drove to Semaphore where we had dinner, watched the sunset on the beach and set up for the night.
7 April 2018
We spent the morning apart, while Liam stayed in the van and did his work, I set off to explore more of Glenelg. I strolled along the river and through the marina. I browsed the shops on the main street and, and wandered around a Thai food festival. We then met back up at the van for some lunch and then set off to Adelaide. Parking a way away we walked into the city, went into a few shops and then sat on the banks of the river. We discovered a waterfall and peddle boats, an adventure for another day. With the plans to be up early for the Port Adelaide market tomorrow, we drove nearby for the night.
6 April 2018
We started the day by driving to a nice park for our breakfast of brown sugar and cinnamon porridge, and then straight to the local Port Adelaide library to use their resources for a little bit of admin. There was then a quick stop into Coles for a food top up before we headed to Glenelg, a tourist hotspot. It turned out to be a lovely area, very similar in style to cities on the Gold Coast. Along the promenade there were fair rides, water slides, playgrounds, volley ball courts and long stretches of beach. We spent the day having a leisurely stroll, going through a museum on the town’s history and admiring the yachts in the marina. After an early dinner in a local park, we then walked along the river to see the bright lights and the nightlife.
5 April 2018
The big smoke. We drove into Port Adelaide and encountered more cars than we had in weeks, and had a very stressful few minutes trying to park the van. Port Adelaide turned out to be a lot nicer than expected, especially walking down the marina and along the beach promenade. We then decided to do the tourist scenic costal drive, it went along the peninsula in a loop back to Port Adelaide. Some of the houses and apartments in the area were absolutely gorgeous, if anything the drive was worth it just to see them.
On a side note, the mouse was successfully caught and released back into the wild at 2:00am. Hopefully it will continue to live a long and happy life.
4 April 2018
The day did not get off to a great start after a very tense and interrupted sleep. We think we have a visitor in the van. A mouse! I was woken up at midnight to a rustling sound under the table in the box of cornflakes. We very quickly vacated the van and disposed of the cornflakes and all food that would interest a mouse. Despite our best attempts, the rustling could still be heard throughout the night. Morning came and with that the van was pulled apart and thoroughly cleaned. Once everything was back in place we left the campsite as swiftly as possible and headed to Yorketown, Edithburgh and Ardrossen, where we bought a mouse trap and peanut butter. Before heading to the campsite for the night we cooked up a nice meal on an outside barbecue, ignoring the sea gulls, and watched the sunset.
3 April 2018
After a good night’s sleep, we decided to continue our drive around the very end of the peninsula. Our first stop of the day was Corny Point lighthouse. There were spectacular views of cliff and rough sea. A little further down however there was a little bay and a completely secluded beach, which we managed to find a narrow path down to. Having explored all that we could around the lighthouse, we continued on to Marion Bay. It was very shallow cove area with crystal clear water, a few little fish and plenty of sea gulls. We made the most of the spot by going for a dip and sitting on the beach until the waves got a little too close for comfort.
2 April 2018
After two nights, we decided to finally leave Wollaroo and head down the Yorke Peninsula. Our first stop was in a town called Moonta, which was small and cheerful. We spent quite a bit of time walking the main street before heading to Moonta Bay, where we walked down the jetty and spent time looking in rock pools. There wasn’t much to see, except a crab which we think was dead. Deciding that we’d spend more time in Moonta later, we headed further down past Milaton to Warooka. It was here that we decided to set up camp, a little earlier than usual, and did a little (much needed) laundry and gave the van a much needed internal clean.
31 March 2018
Happy Easter! We woke up with the nice surprise that the Easter bunny had visited our van, leaving us each with a few nice treats. As it was Easter Sunday we decided to once again head the beach, where we parked and set up for a nice relaxing day.
Wallaroo! The town to be! We love it here! Arriving in Wallaroo, we walked around the town (places were open!), and along the pier. It was busy, there were lots of people fishing and swimming, and it was very relaxed. Then, spotting a beach, we realized that the sand was hard enough for us to drive onto, so taking the van with us we set up on the beach for the rest of the day. Liam was able to do his work in peace, and I spent my time lying on the sand, swimming in the sea, and reading my book. You can’t get a more relaxing day!
30 March 2018
Having felt that we’d seen all that Coober Pedy had to offer, and not wanting to stay another night in Woomera, we spent the day driving back to the coast. Along the way we found a salt lake, which was a welcome break from the endless orange dirt. We arrived back in Port Augusta, only then realizing it was Good Friday and discovering that everything was closed, even the supermarkets and all of the pubs. Unfortunately that meant we couldn’t go and watch the football. Not wanting to stick around in Port Augusta we decided to keep driving to a campsite near Port Pirie where we set up for the night.
29 March 2018
Waking up early we set off to explore the main attractions of Coober Pedy, starting with Crocodile Harry’s, an underground home once belonging to an eccentric crocodile hunter. It was a very quirky place with every bit of wall taken up by photos, writing, underwear and sculptures. Well worth a visit. We then headed to the Old Timers Mine, where we learnt about the history of opal mining in Coober Pedy, how they did it, and how it evolved over time. We did a self guided walk through the mines, ending with an underground show home. We then stopped off at a gallery to witness rescued kangaroos being fed, resisting the urge to take a baby with us. We the drove up to a look out point to see across Coober Pedy, and then to one of the famous underground churches, which was blessedly cool and vacant of flies.
28 March 2018
Arriving in Coober Pedy we immediately sought relief from the relentless dry heat inside the information center. Grabbing a map and a list of potential things to do we set off up the Main Street to see what we could find. Dying to see what an underground building was like, we went into the Umoona Opal mine and exhibit. Having just missed one of the tours we walked around the museum area and learnt that where Coober Pedy is, there was once a sea. We then went and booked an underground hotel room for the night, had dinner, and watched the sun go down over the town.
27 March 2018
Heading away from the campsite we made our way to Port Augusta to top up our water and fuel supply before heading into the outback. Deciding not to stick around for long we hit the road heading to Woomera. The majority of the drive consisted of long, straight roads and quite a few road trains and trucks.
Woomera was an interesting town, it was a base for testing and launching missiles, and was only open to the public from the 1980s. We had a look around the outside exhibition and then headed to the public swimming pool, which we had all to ourselves.
26 March 2018
The day started off well with scrambled eggs for breakfast and a drive back to Port Lincoln. Our path of travelled had changed and we decided to head to Coober Pedy after all. In Port Lincoln we made a quick stop to McDonalds so Liam could upload an assignment and then headed on toward Port Augusta. Along the way we stopped at Tumby Bay for lunch and Whyalla, two towns we drove through on the way down, for a quick look around. We then found a campsite between Whyalla and Port Augusta by the coast. It was quite a busy site and windy, but despite that was a little gem with flushing toilets.
25 March 2018
We started the day off right by taking up the offer of hot showers and cups of tea from the friendly bay locals. Then not wanting to hang around the campsite for too long we headed back to Coffin Bay where we treated ourselves for burgers, milkshakes and a walk along the coast. Continuing with the relaxed theme of the day we slowly headed back to the campsite, had dinner and watched movies in the van.
24 March 2018
After setting up on the beach for breakfast in the sun, we made haste for Port Lincoln, where we needed to do some shopping before continuing along the coast. On the top of our list, a stylish new hat for Victoria. With business in Port Lincoln taken care of, we set off for Coffin Bay. Don’t let the name fool you, this little town is most certainly alive and happening, and is home
to some of the freshest oysters money can buy. We then decided to go to the next campsite early, lured in by the promise of dolphins in the adjoining bay. This campsite didn’t disappoint, and within the first few minutes of setting up, we were greeted by not only dolphins, but a stingray as well. While going for a walk around the bay, we got chatting to one of the locals, who invited us into his home for a glass of wine. As fellow travellers, he and his wife understood the challenges of living on the road, and offered us use of their showers for a clean up. It was a kind gesture we were very thankful for.
23 March 2018
What a great day! We arrived in Port Lincoln and instantly loved the town. We wanted a more relaxed day, and with the soaring temperatures, what better way than swimming. We were a bit hesitant at first with Port Lincoln’s reputation of having great white sharks nearby, but we felt it was safe in the designated swimming area in the sea. We then set up on a grassy area near the beach where Liam did some work and I lazed around reading. We then decided to head to a campsite a bit out of our way past Port Lincoln. It had vehicle and foot access to a beautiful beach, which we explored before creating our very own little campfire.
22 March 2018
Despite a late wake up we left the campsite in record speed, the heat was climbing and the flies were relentless. We spent some more time in Port Augusta, mainly to figure out our next move, weighing up whether to go towards Port Lincoln or the opposite way, to Coober Pedy. We decided to head south. Preparing ourselves for a long trip we started the three hour journey along the coast, by passing Whyalla. We ended up stopping 30kms away from Port Lincoln in a little campsite in Louth Bay. Apparently you could see squid from the jetty, we were not that lucky.
21 March 2018
After having another look around Hahndorf we decided to set off on a big journey and head up to Port Augusta. We stopped and had a look around Port Pirie, which was a strange town because it felt like we were in the middle of the outback despite being a costal town. We didn’t stay too long before getting back on the road. When arriving in Port Augusta we had a brief look around the town, which wasn’t as nice as we had both thought, and then headed to the campsite. The site was just off a long dirt road and over looked the nearby mountains. It was a beautiful sunset.
20 March 2018
Saying goodbye to Gawler, we headed in to Adelaide, deciding to finally explore the city. The streets seemed wider than other cities and there was a very relaxed atmosphere. After having walked around most of the city in three hours, we then headed to Maslin Beach to meet the couple, and dogs, that we will be housesitting in a few weeks. We are already very excited about it all. After a very thorough tour and a delicious dinner we then set off back to Hahndorf for the night.
17 March 2018
From Saturday morning until Monday evening we house sat two adorable schnoodles, Queenie and Remus, and seven chickens in a house in Willaston, near Gawler. It was a weekend of relaxation for me and work for Liam. The puppies were excellent company, following us everywhere and always extremely excited to see us, even if we had just gone to the bathroom. It was wonderful to not actually go anywhere and do anything for a few days.
16 March 2018
What a long day! Our last day on Kangaroo Island started off early with goodbyes to my friend from school and a free sand boarding session on the nearby sand dunes. Too tired to walk up the hills anymore and completely covered in sand, we started the two hour drive back to Penneshaw to catch the ferry back to the mainland. The ferry ride was much smoother than our previous trip and seemed to pass very quickly. We then drove to Gawler, just north of Adelaide where we will be housesitting over the weekend. The drive took us through a little town called Hahndorf, a German themed town, which many call a little Bavaria. We took our time exploring this country town, not too impressed by its likeness to the real Bavaria, and then continued our drive, heading through the scenic Barossa Valley and many vineyard and apple orchards.
15 March 2018
This has probably ended up being one of my most favorite days yet. We had a relaxed morning before heading off towards Seal Bay. We stopped at Bluff Beach for a little walk, the water was extremely cold and apparently full of Great White Sharks, so we decided against going for a dip. Moving on to Seal Bay we booked a guided tour that took us onto the beach where the sea lions were resting, splashing in the sea and waking each other up. It was incredible sight! The day came to a perfect end when we were invited to go on one of the nature quad bike tours that were run by my friend from school for free. It was after hours so we had the tracks to ourselves. We were taken to the most secluded beach on the island, which can only be accessed by quad bikes or a three hour hike, and saw kangaroos and koalas along the way. It was a perfect way to see some more remote parts of this beautiful island.
14 March 2018
Today was probably the most relaxed day yet. We drove to Vivonne Bay, the beach ranked as Australia’s best and set up camp at the designated camp site. We wandered to Harriet River, to the jetty where you can sometimes see marine creatures such as dolphins and sting rays, unfortunately we were not lucky, and to different vantage points. We spent the rest of the day reading, doing work and chatting to our neighbors who turned out to be someone I knew from school in Munich. It was a huge surprise and coincidence. We ended the day by having a lovely dinner with them and marveling at how small the world really is.
13 March 2018
Setting off from Stokes Bay we decided to try and stick to mainly sealed roads therefore navigating us down to Flinders Chase National Park and two of the main attractions. First we went to Admirals Arch via a lighthouse walk, where we saw loads of New Zealand Fur seals sleeping on the rocks and swimming in the crashing waves. We then hiked back to the van and headed off to see the Remarkable Rocks, and never could a name be more accurate. Careful not to get too near the edge, we were able to wander around, through and into these rocks that have continued to baffle scientists. From there we went back to the visitors center where we did a short walk to learn about the history of the area and watch for wildlife. The highlight of the walk was coming across three koalas, one of which was moving!
12 March 2018
Kangaroo Island! It was a choppy 45 minute ferry journey from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw and a stressful few minutes of driving for me. From Penneshaw we drove to Kingscote, the largest town on the island. Unfortunately everything was closed, which we later realized was because of a public holiday. Not at all fazed we droves to Reeves Point, where the first Europeans landed, saw some pelicans and stopped off at Bay of Shoals winery for a little taste and to see the magnificent ocean views. From there we drove up to the south coast to Emu Bay, we is famed for its 5 miles of white beach that people can drive on. We decided against that and instead walked to the beach for a quick dip. From there we set off for Stokes Bay, we quickly discovered that very little of the roads are actually sealed...not good for the van. Upon arriving in Stokes Bay we found the secret beach through some caves, had a wander along and then set up camp for the night in the site next door.
11 March 2018
The day started off with a trip into Goolwa where we spent our time walking around a small market and watching a stand up comedy show. Once the market had finished for the day, we drove to Victor Harbour. While walking along the pier, we were greeted by a friendly seal splashing about in the shallows. After exchanging pleasantries, we parted ways, and wandered along the tracks of the horse-drawn tram that Victor Harbour is famous for. Once we felt we’d seen all that there was to see we headed to McDonalds to make use of the free WiFi before heading a campsite on a beach for the night.
10 March 2018
Today was a long and hot day. We drove from Robe to Strathalbyn taking a quick detour into Coorong National Park. All the lakes we went past were dried up, and with a heat of 34 degrees it wasn’t surprising. We went on a surprise free ferry ride across a river, and cooled off in Strathalbyn’s public pool.
9 March 2018
What a relaxing day! We drove to Robe today, which turned out to be a beach town through and through, the main tourist attraction being the swimming beaches. So there was nowhere better than in Robe to spend the day relaxing on the beach, swimming, sun bathing and reading.
8 March 2018
After getting off to a slow start in the morning, we quickly made up for our leisure time by taking a steep walk to centenary tower, which is perched on top of one of Mount Gambier’s highest points. This gave us the perfect vantage point to view the town and surrounding areas. Once we’d descended and caught our breath, we went in search of koalas in the wildlife sanctuary. Although we couldn’t find any, we did manage to see some clever turtles camouflaged in one of the lakes, which more than made up for the absence of koalas. From there, it was time to say goodbye to Mount Gambier, and begin our drive to Robe. We stopped off in Beachport along the way, and saw the Pool of Siloam. The water in this lake has seven times the salt content of the ocean, making it extremely buoyant, just like the dead set. Arriving at our camp site, we cooked dinner and watched on as the sun set over sweeping plains. The perfect end to the day.
7 March 2018
Only 20 minutes from the center of Mt Gambier we managed to check off the main tourist attractions before lunch time, starting with the Umpherston Sink Hole, then the Blue Lake, the old Mt Gambier train station and then the Cave Gardens. We then spent the afternoon relaxing at The Valley Lakes park reading our books and watching the ducks. After stopping by The Valley Lakes conservation park we treated ourselves to a pub dinner and a free light and sound show in the cave gardens.
6 March 2018
We started the day off with a circuit walk around the forrest we were camping in, going to a place called Whalers Lookout. According to the signs, the whales can be spotted between May and October. We then got on the road and drove to Portland, the first town in Victoria. It was the most industrial town that we’d been to so far and we ended up not staying long. From there we made our way to Cape Bridgewater with Liam driving. We briefly got lost in Mt Richmond National Park before arriving at Blowhole Lookout. We did a short walk to see the Petrified Forrest and the whale watching platform. From there we set off to Mt Gambier where we wandered the town, which was completely closed by 5pm, and set up camp just on the border of Victoria and South Australia.