Road Trip #1 Tom Sar and Trace (Go Team Rob!)
Trip Start Sep 02, 2007
35Trip End Sep 01, 2008
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When we were at Sonia's house, it was really cool to be able to chill out so much. We felt really at home and Sonia's housemates, Felicity and Kellisi were really welcoming too, and we made use of their computer and Internet access and their DVD collection
So, after our really great time in Sydney, we decided a road trip was in order. Tracey and ourselves hired a car in Sydney with the plan to drive to Melbourne and over the next seven days where we would stop along the way at various places and to include the Great Ocean Road, which all in all, we reckoned would cover almost 2000km (1200 miles). Sarah was very impressed when we picked up the car because it turned out to be a Subaru Impretza instead of a Toyota Corolla or something.....yes, Sarah does know her cars!
We headed off on a Sunday afternoon to Canberra which was only a 3 hour drive away. Canberra is a quiet place at the best of times, so an early Sunday evening there was like a ghost town! We seriously struggled to find a place to eat at 7.30 pm!
We spent the next two days in Canberra seeing all of the sights. As it's the capital of Australia there are plenty of sights to visit. The Australian War Memorial is very good, it has an amazing mosaic artwork display covering both World Wars and is very well done. It also has the largest collection of Victoria Cross medals in the world, more than the Imperial War Museum back home.
We took a guided tour of Parliament which was really interesting because there is so much the same as at home, but with an Australian twist
The best part of the parliament building is the grassed roof which covers both houses and means that the people can 'walk' over their parliament. This signifies that the people are always above the government and not the other way around which is a nice concept, albeit it maybe not always a true one.
Tracey decided she wanted to test her nerve and she booked a 'meet a cheetah' experience at the National Zoo. This meant she went into the cheetahs cage and sat next to it. No tranquilisers (for the cat, not Tracey), no other restraints just Tracey and the cheetah! She has the photos to prove it.
The next stop planned was the 'Snowies' or the Snowy Mountains and Kosciuszko National Park to those of you unacquainted with the area! It's still in the state of New South Wales but also borders Victoria. They actually ski here in winter. We stopped off at several towns on the way through
Since the early 1940's my nan, who passed away several years ago now, had an Australian penfriend called Joyce and my mum has continued to keep in contact since. Joyce lives in a place called Shepparton in Victoria and as we were passing near by we decided to pop in and visit her. My mum had given me Joyce's phone number and I called to invite ourselves for dinner and to stay the night. When we arrived at the address it was an old peoples home. The type with 24 hour care and I could see an elderly gentleman in the window in a wheelchair. My first thought was 'oh no, mum's done a mum thing on me' Now let me explain. Once my mum gave me a hand wipe she got from a plane. I used it and my hands turned brown. Turned out it was in fact shoe polish. Another time my parents told me to pick up a baby mole that had ventured into a tent when we were camping once. I did and it bit me very hard! You get the picture. Now imagine how I felt puling into the car park of this home
We drove on the next day to get to the start of the Great Ocean Road. This road stretches along the coast of Victoria and has amazing scenery. It was built by ex-servicemen who had returned from the war and is dug out from the cliff in places, all done by hand. We saw a colony of little penguins coming out from the surf at dusk at a place called the Twelve Apostles. We also had the amazing experience of seeing wild koalas. We were driving along a quiet road through a forest when we passed a car that was stopped on the side of the road and the people from it were looking up at the trees. We stopped and asked what they were looking at and they pointed out about 5 koalas in the trees around
Once at the end of the Great Ocean Road you can carry on or turn around to go back to Melbourne which is what we did. We took the country road this time as Tracey couldn't take any more of the bends and curves of the coast road. A great quote from her, after she had been sick for about the third time on the way through was " It's OK, it was only water!" Poor Tracey. Anyway, we managed to pass places that did chocolate, cheese and wine tasting on the way back which suited the girls very much.
In Melbourne we enjoyed the city and the market, the river and the parks and we stayed in St Kildas which is quite a funky place. We enjoyed riding on the trams too. The best memory from Melbourne happened on a Sunday morning after we had been to the Victoria market for breakfast and were walking down by the river in sunshine. We came across a group of local drunks. They looked like the drunks do back home. Dirty ripped clothes, unkempt appearence. Except instead of hurling insults as we passed as you might expect, one of them looked at Tracey and said in a most sincere voice " You are an immaculately beautiful wonderful creation" ! Brilliant.