"You are amazing, you do amazing things...!"

Trip Start Oct 04, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  ,
Thursday, May 26, 2005

Because of the mileage restrictions enforced by the rental company, we never made it down the South West side of Australia, our originally planned route. So we were more than happy when 2 girls at our hostel asked us to join them on a 4-day drive down there.

The 2 girls were Alex, who had only just arrived in Australia and Emma, who had been here for 6 months now. Their original plan was to hire a car between themselves, but after realising Emma couldn't drive because of her age (20), decided to invite us along to help with the driving. We actually helped them out as Dan had kept the password from his old job for corporate hire cars. Because of this we managed to hire a brand new Ford Territory (not sure if they are out in the UK) for the equivalent of 20 a day!

Although really nice girls, they weren't the quickest at getting ready, something we realised on the first day when or initial departure time changed from 10am to 4pm, due mainly to Emma taking so long to pack up her stuff. She had so much crap collected throughout her travels, that she actually had to buy another bag to put it all in!

Eventually, with Dan at the wheel, we headed out of Perth, bound for the famous wine and surfing region Margret River. Before we got there we stopped at a little fishing village called Busselton, home to the longest pier in the Southern Hemisphere. Only marginally smaller than ours, we were very impressed when I asked the receptionist if she had heard of Southend, and her reply was "yes, that's where the longest pier in the world is." The girls didn't quite share our enthusiasm but walked down the pier neverless!

Although they do have a railway track, its only used to ship fish up and down the pier these days, but unlike Southend, it isn't fenced off, so you actually walk down the middle of the track. It also is only fenced on one side, giving a health and safety officer a field day if anyone ever fell off! Like Southend though, its pretty disappointing when you reach the end, with no pub or tacky arcade, isn't wasn't long before we heading back. It was funny to see that this pier was as unlucky as Southend, with many boats driving through it and fires happening regularly to!

Because it is now June, winter over here remember, we turned up in Margaret River to a completely empty hostel, bar 4 other people. We quickly made friends with the 2 couples, travelling the same route as us, and just enjoyed having the place to ourselves. Having not to fight for pots and pans, and having room in the fridge in the kitchen was a welcome change!

Surprisingly enough we didn't leave the hostel on the next day till gone 12, waiting for the girls to get ready again... does it really take an hour and a half to plat each other's hair?

Whilst we waited, we watched the live verdict of the Schappele Corby case. Apparently it's not big news in the UK, but over here it's front-page news every day. Schappelle is an Aussie bird that got caught smuggling dope into Bali last October. Conveniently for Australia's media she is good looking, which means her plight fills the papers each day. Obviously she says she's innocent, so all of Australia thinks she's innocent, but neverless she still got 20 years! There was absolute uproar in the country when she was found guilty, with people saying they would boycott Bali as a holiday destination and even going so far as sending death threats to the judge and envelopes of white powder to the Indonesian embassy!

Being the cinic I am, I find it hard to believe Australia would have been so supportive if she wasn't good looking, or if she was a bloke? For instance an Aussie guy was sentenced to death in Dubai last week for the same charge. That didn't even make the news?! To make it even worse, another 9 Aussie's got arrested last month for trying to smuggle heroin out of Bali. All between 18-20, they are all certainly going to face the death penalty when they are sentenced. Surely, after seeing Schappelles case on TV, they would have thought differently?

Anyway the girls finally decided their platts were good enough to go out in, so we jumped into the car and headed South to Cape Leeuwin, the point where the Southern and Indian Ocean meet.

After the token photo with the sign and yet another lighthouse, we jumped back in the car to head back to Margaret River. We couldn't come all this way to Margaret River and not sample some wines! With just 30 minutes to spare we made it to a winery. After persuading the hag behind the bar we were actually over 18, we set about tasting the many wines on offer, using our newly learnt wine tasting skills. I think the woman thought we had just come in for a free tasting, probably why she was so rude, so to prove her wrong we bought a bottle of port - well it would be good for drinking games later on!

We ended the day doing what we would have done in the morning if the girls had got ready earlier, by visiting one of the many surfing beaches along the coast. Although now to cold to go in, watching the surfer's ride the barrels just made me more eager to buy a board myself. One day, they're not really that easy to travel with...!

[If you dont understand the travelpod title "You are amazing, you do amazing things...!" its the advert theme tune for the car we drove - sorry you probably dont get the advert over there! - Matt]
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