Darwin from Sydney, the road trip!

Trip Start Apr 17, 2006
Trip End Apr 16, 2007

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hi there all, well we have arrived in Oz and it's amazing. I know you haven't heard from us in a while. Busy and all that!? Afraid its another fairly lengthy travelpod for you to read, as we seem to be few and far between. Well The best part is its warm and sunny! The not so good part, is that Lou isn't sleeping for a fear of spiders, feeding on her in the night! All is still good so far though! Although it does seem that there are a lot of nasties within one country. Deadly spiders,snakes,crocs,box jellyfish,sharks and on and on it goes....!!! Be afraid..
We left NZ on the 17th of August to board our 4pm flight, only to be advised at check in that our flight was cancelled! (However the check in lady made it sound about as important as a bus being cancelled!) Anyhow we were luckily transferred over to a Quantas flight and made it into Sydney 2 hours early. We were booked into a hostel called "Funk House" which was pretty crazy with party animals running around all night...at this point we both decided we had become boring gits! For we were tucked in bed with a movie and vino,complaining about the noise! We checked out the whole of the city... We Did the Opera house, bridge,botanical gardens and some local walks. Its a great city to be in if you like a good atmosphere and plenty to do. Our next stop was a couple of days on Bondi beach, which was great. The sun was out and we spent a couple of days chilling, tanning, watching the expert surfers, whilst having picnics and drinking beer! It really can be a hard life this backpacking lark you know!! Next stop were more beaches.....we headed out to manly Beach area, which is a little bigger than Bondi and was really nice, unfortunately the weather was a little overcast whilst we were there, so no sunbathing. We did however find a bar that was serving $2 glasses of champers and strawberries, we were at first a little skeptical as to what it would taste like, however it was Great! However I think we might have over indulged as we just about slept through an extremely loud fire alarm in the middle of the night. Good job it was only a false alarm. Then came the cool bit (mostly for Lou though of course).. We took a bus out to Palm beach, which is where Home and away is filmed! It was weird seeing the beach and surf club. Alf Stewart wasn't there to call us flamin mongrels though! We did unfortunately miss the stars being filmed by just a day! Another good day was at Featherdale wildlife park. We got to feed Kangaroos and other critters. We got a token picture or two next to some Koalas. Although Dan was convinced that one was targeting him for a potential bite, so kept a nervous distance from the furry thing. They are pretty cute though!
After a great 2 weeks in Sydney and area, we prepared to head up to Darwin,for our incredible journey in a camper van. We struck another amazing bargain.......we paid $1 a day for the camper and the hire company also give us $400 towards fuel, which should hopefully just about cover half the cost of getting there...how amazing is that hey??.... a bed and wheels for 35p a day!! Basically it's a relocation deal, where we are doing the hire company a favour by returning the vehicle to it's original destination.
We covered a massive 4742km in 12 days!! (PRETTY MUCH LONDON TO MOSCOW AND BACK) Its fairly difficult to comprehend such long distances when on the road. It makes it that more surreal when the roads are so straight and the landscape around you is totally sparse. On most parts of the journey, towns are up to 300km apart and those towns are no more than populations of 100 (most not the most normal people), with a fuel station and a pub being the major attractions! We drove to Darwin (via Adelaide). The beginning of the journey was pretty green country, starting in the quaint towns of New South Wales (state), heading into the state of Victoria and south Australia,which hold the world famous wine fields. We thought it rude not to stop and sample free wine at the Wolf Blass winery near Adelaide. In fact that whole region (Barrossa) is home to other names such as Jacobs Creek, Penfolds and Banrock station! ......... A nice touch after a long journey! After leaving the vineyards and green hills, we headed to Adelaide. We didn't have a great deal of time here and wasn't that impressed with what we saw, but was a nice stop in what would be last big city for a while. The next few day saw us heading to the start of the outback and an even longer road ahead. The Stuart highway goes all the way up to Darwin and is 2000k from Adelade. We had a stop in a place called Port Germaine, which is home to the longest wooden jetty in Australia (1500 or so metes). From this point on,it was sheer desert for days, with LOTS of hours on the road and few stops.
It's not difficult to find the outback and desert highways totally fantastic though... The feeling of remoteness is ever telling, as the miles tick on. It sometimes feels like driving, through what would look like the end of the world. Quite ironically the Mad Max films were made here. Even on the highway, those ugly lorries racing toward you, make it seem like something out of the movies. But saying that, a place we did stop... called Coober Pedy was featured on most of the Mad Max films! If you want to see a bizarre place, then you gotta see this place. Its actually in Southern Australia (but close to the Northern Territory) and is only on the map for it's vast supply of Opal that is mined there. Its had its share of problems. The court house, police station and other buildings have been bombed, due to locals and other unsavory, international gangs disputing over land rights etc.
After all the dust and distances travelled, it is good to hit the oasis town of Alice Springs. Here we were able to stock up on essentials (beer and wine) and relax for a day off the road. We visited a reptile centre, where Lou held her first snake. It was a gorgeous 3 metre Olive Python called 'olly' and Lou loved him. We also both got to hold various lizards and creatures. At the campsite we stayed in Alice Springs we were able to feed some wild rock Wallabies at sunset. Lou has been in her element with all these animals and continually talks to the them at any opportunity. The new Dr Doolittle!
As we pressed on, the road became more and more isolated. This section of highway is one of the most remote. So, having decided we were paying too much for campsites, we decided to do a few nights of just pulling up in rest areas on the highway. A fairly dodgy concept, considering it was the same area where Peter Falconio dissapeared!! We survived though...! We were on the last leg back to Darwin... Our last few nights were spent in the Litchfield National Park. This place being a pretty wild section of the outback,famous for its waterfalls and swimming holes. Great to cool off in the heat of the day. The only potential downside though, was the potential of Salwater Crocs, also occupying the swimming area!! The signs around the park reassure you that,they have measures preventing them arriving in the same swimming area as the people. Also we were in the dry season and without the flooding of the wet period, its unlikely the crocs would end up there! Dan was skeptical at first, but Lou made the decision for us to swim in the pools and it went without incident!
We loved our camper a lot. It was our means to get around, our bed, our kitchen. It was a hefty 4x4 camper and allowed us go off road into the bush, to get a real outback experience!
Having arrived in Darwin pretty exhausted, we used the 10 days wisely! Plenty of sunbathing, beer and a good time in the lively backpacker bar, playing daft party games. We liked Darwin a lot. Its not a big place at all, but it was very hot and is a good base if want to check out the jumping croc feeding and aboriginal culture. Although we thought that would be too it to much to fit in around our hectic daily schedule! We would liked to have fit many more things along our long journey. We missed some places like Ayers rock etc, but we were happy to do what we could, in the time we were given to return our bargain van.
Its to Brisbane and the East coast next, to meet Lous folks, so there will be much to look forward to. We hope to visit the late Steve Irwins Zoo, but we'l see how we get on. There is just so much to see and do in this great land!.. I think Lou will definetley be making sure that the Neighbours set is high on that schedule... Take care all and enjoy the Winter at home!!!! See ya later....xxxx
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Bill on

What company let you rent a 4x4 camper for $1 a day?

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