Welcome to Central Califor-Er Southern Australia!
Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
15Trip End Dec 01, 2010
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Where I stayed
Original Backpackers Hostel Kings Cross
Mt Eliza at Brits house
We crashed out and got up at 10am (three hour time change didn't help us get an early start) and we began our mission of figuring our situation out. First step, a car. We were majorly on the fence about whether to buy a car and sell it back for only a slight loss at the beginning of peak tourist season in Dec or rent a car which would end up costing waaaay more but with a lot less risk. We looked at some of the options to buy and realized we didnt really want to put up more than about $4000 which would buy us an older car with more likely problems, so without putting down about $6000 we felt the shape of the car wasn't going to be great. So we went to Rental Row where there are about 10 caravan rental offices in a row. We met a really good salesman names Gaz and I never trust a good salesman off the bat, so we went around trying to beat his offer and turns out he really did have the best deal. (but not as good as he was trying to make it out to be, lets be real.) either way he got us into a high-top campervan with good insurance for about the same as a smaller van most other places. but still, $65 dollars a day was more than we were expecting for sure. We definitly splurged as we were originally planning on living out of a stationwagon and camping, but it will be nice to have a little house on wheels for 6 weeks.
Our heads started to spin when we visited the ATM and realized we had somehow blown through $700 dollars each in three days when our budget was $500 per week
Back to the subject, We got my cell hooked up, headed to a pub for a beer, and then collected our bags from the hostel pack storage and took the train to pick up our van. Gaz told us it was a 10 minute walk to the camperman campervan lot, so we opted to walk...well, we went the wrong way, we had about 15 minutes before they closed, my spine felt like it was going to snap in two, and the phone was not hooked up yet to call a taxi or the place and tell them our situation. Finally exasperated i threw down my stuff and and said, i'm going to get help. I went to a salon and some girls helped me get the number for a taxi. Not knowing when it would show up, i sat on the curb with two giant packs, two smaller packs, a giant surf inflated board bag, and a carry on with fragile oddly shaped gifts...I mean packing light was really a thing of the past
We got set up, had some subway, and got on the highway to Melbourne. It really seems like things have been backwards and just all out disastrous in many ways this past week...why didn't we fly into melbourne? stupid. How did we spend $1400? scary. Why do we have so much stuff? not a problem anymore though with the van. So we set out into the dark night. The signs on the road are so funny...The lure into wanting to take a nap in a serious way..."Tired? pull over"...."POWERNAP NOW!" (thats my favorite)...."Napping doesn't Kill you"...."Only sleep can revive you." Along with the occasion billboard with a mangled car accident and a tag line saying something like..."Even a Micro Sleep will Kill you" (amend *my favorite i saw today is Drowsy Drivers Die) So, after we both felt slightly drowsy we pulled over at a rest stop (first one had a creepy cemetery so we went up a bit farther)
I must also sadly mention i saw my first Kangaroo...as roadkill. I threw up a quick temporary mental block on that though, so...I still got excited when I saw a live Wallaby. Next morning I bought produce from a local farm stand in an effort to stock up on cheap snacks for the road. We later discovered Aldi market which is like the trader joes meet food for less with really cheap but healthy food which will sustain us through the rest of our trip
It is spring here so still a pretty chilly...We were sent to bed at 8:30 and after layering up and running around freezing, we got a nice sleep until Brit woke us at 6:30 (she said it would be 7:30, but jumped the gun) which was 3:30am Bali time! But it was worth it cause we took some pictures in her garden (Dad he petastrum trees are seriously two stories or higher...long story, but she wins that battle for sure) Then we walked with her adorable dogs down to her local beach which was stunning. Little colorfully painted cottages line the pristine shore where people store bbq setups and boats and then in summer can just fling open the doors and hang out.
then we walked around the neighborhood and looked at all the beautiful homes and saw tones of parrots! I guess this is pretty normal, but they were just chattering away climbing around some trees fighting with the bird who apparantly lives there...it was pretty cool, although now ive discovered there are amazing birds all over Aus and its a pretty common thing.
We headed to Brit's son Gregs house and he took us down to his house house in Phillip Island
We headed then up and around the bay through melbourne's shipping yard to avoid the $13 toll road! and down the other side to the "Great Ocean Road" We made our way to a surf spot and Ryan, who was dying to surf went in solo...I still can't bring myself to get into the freezing water and am basking in the glow of Bali still...I walked along the beach and beautiful path looking around wondering where Charlie is when i need him :( he would have loved this beach with all the dead birds and sandy wet Golden Retrievers. We then found cooked some dinner and found a caravan park which was closed, so we parked outside and slept free on the side of the road, which is illegal, but we figured we had a good excuse. Up at dawn we headed on the road and I could not stop saying how much it reminded me of driving up PCH from Santa Barbara to Big Sur. Soooooooo similar...with equal parts rolling hills and stunning livestock and farm land, and Craggy ocean lined Cliffs....with quaint little towns dotting the coast... It was so familiar I really felt like I was at home, but without Charlie so it was a little sad. Photo opp unedr the great ocean road sign where i put on a stupid outfit and did an interpretive dance in the middle of the road while ryan took pictures on rapid fire. Hahah! they were super funny, but may not be able to be seen...will explain later :( We Stopped at the Ottways national park and did a rainforest hike. Which, at first I was really skeptical about calling Gum tree forest "rainforests" but with all the amazing ferns lining the ground I eventually decided these were in fact rainforests. Plus i guess the air just felt so dry compared to Indo it lacked that misty feel...but with all the birds it definately sounded like a jungle and if you imagine hacking through with a machete...I can see what they mean. We goofed around in the trees for a while and took some super funny photos that will hopefully emerge :(
That afternoon we made it up to the 12 apostles (there's really only like 8 left, but may be some more joining) These are stunning rock formations which we were lucky to see in the sunshine I hear, and hard to explain, but if you google it I'm sure there are some really stunning pictures. We then went on to do the 7 land features after this and they were all really cool especially the last one (which not many people have the patience to drive all the way to, so I got in a quick meditation solo in this fabulous spot) Its called the grotto and is a little open air cave with a hole and some funky colored neon green tide pools with clear turquoise ocean and blue sky behind them. We liked this spot a lot and took a really cool shot of us which...sadly, may not be added.
We went down to Joanna beach for free camping and unfortunately no waves or fires. But it was a really nice spot for a break and good jumping off point for (despite a late start) triplet falls hike and another possible Koala opportunity. We headed up some back roads through really cool windy rainforest and ended at this nature walk, now infamous in the history of our trip. We walked through the beautiful forest and made it to this giant water fall and luckily with all the rain it was really rushing...a lot of wide flat rocks and some more sheer drops, but as I followed some signage saying it was rare but possible to spot the elusive prehistoric platypus, Ryan decided to take a panorama of the falls...The next series of events requires a bit of explaining...The panoramic setting takes a shot and then moves it allowing you to line up the next frame and so on until you take three separate photos which it then turns into one. Ryan, not liking the job he did lining the three shots up selected "delete all" to delete the three shots and.....yup. you guessed it....all 750 photos from the trip. Stop time....drain blood. We both just sat in silence for a minute while I remembered to breathe and I've never seen Ryan get misty eyed before, but he felt so bad I was worried he might launch himself into the falls. Meditation in my life is precisely for moments like this. I just focused on how amazingly fortunate it is to have this blog!! we logged in our minds what we really lost, and by comparison all our best photos and a full album of the whole trip is right here...I seriously found myself going through all the stages of grieving a loss starting with denial and dismissal, anger, sorrow and ending with truly finding peace and moving on over the next couple days, but after contacting travel pod, they are able to fast track all my shots to my computer, and turns out we may be able to recover them (with the exception of 100 or so that I copied over) And honestly who needs 700 pictures! If we get them great, if not the job of narrowing it down is done! gotta stay positive ;) I think this is an appropriate time to say one of my favorite expletive phrases: "Shit Happens".
So, here are a few photos of Koalas until next time. These little buddies just lifted my spirits right up and made it all seem trivial. They perch, drunk for Eucalypt toxins, in precarious places sleeping 19 hours a day and awaking to munch and Snort and scream (we heard this from a guy right before he then dozed back off) and these branches are swaying around over the road...not sure if you get the full effect of how odd this is, but i love these guys.
Cheers! Good on ya!