The day we picked up Ramsey and headed to a campsite in the Sydney suburbs was the day the weather changed for the worse. So there we were with a car full of unfamiliar camping equipment trying to erect a tent - a task neither of us have done before - and half way through it began to rain.
Luckily the guy in the tent opposite us came back and lent a hand, among other things he turned our fly sheet the correct way round.
As we lay in the small dome-style tent, barely big enough to fit the double mattress, with the rain hammering down, droplets landing on Richard's face, and the wind blowing the tent from side to side, we were wondering what on earth we'd let ourselves in for and were convinced the tent wouldn't survive the night.
To our surprise we woke up and the tent was still in one piece. The site was similar to New Zealand camps but had an open air kitchen and the people were friendly and talkative. There was a high proportion of young Brits who provided plenty of entertainment. I picked up on one girls accent and found she was from Dosthill - 10 miles from where I come from, and her husband was from the nearby village of Hurley.
That same evening, a young guy produced a full bottle of Jim Beam which provoked outrage from his girlfriend. She berated him for spending money when they were meant to be saving what they earned from their menial warehouse jobs so they could tour Australia. "Well, if you're going to keep buying Jim Beam then I'm just going to go out and buy more clothes and then we'll never even make it out of Sydney!" she yelled at him.
The wildlife roaming round the camp was in abundance. We saw our first two live possums - the ones in New Zealand were all dead acting like road humps. There were a few cute cotton-tail rabbits, and lots of birds. The birds here aren't your dull pigeon or blackbird, there are pretty, brightly coloured parrots and appear to be as common as a sparrow would be in an English garden. They do make a hell of a racket though, especially at 6am in the morning.
We got the tube into central Sydney as we wanted to visit the Australian Museum to learn a bit about the country before travelling around. The section on Aborigines was disappointing, Richard's explained more from the Aborigine book he's reading. The museum did have a good section on Australian birds, but for me the best part was the skeletons from all different species. Just from looking at the skeletons of birds and humans, you could see that wings are very similar in design to arms and hands.
We knew the little tent that came with the car would be too small for our needs, so after asking advice from my friend Laura and various other people who have had plenty of tent experience, we opted for a six-man Oztrail tent.
As the rain was intermittent we decided not to put up the new tent until we got to our next camp site. We drove up the coast with only a rough idea of where we were going to stay. I was surprised how mountainous the road became soon after we left Sydney. The small towns on the map were bigger than we expected - we're still on New Zealand scale.
After about an hour and a half we arrived at a campsite just north of Swansea. Luckily we arrived early, as it took us the next two hours or so to erect our new bigger tent - Oz as we've named it. The instructions were pretty poor, we could have done with some IKEA dot to dot style ones where they assume you know nothing. The next day we spent re-adjusting the tent. I don't know whether we are trying to be to precise or if it's normal for the door not to zip up properly. During our last night at the Swansea camp we survived a monsoon style downpour for a good chunk of the night, the rain was hitting the tent with such an almighty force it kept us awake. Luckily, Richard only got a few of drips on his head, well done Oz.
I have to admit the tent has been a lot more difficult to master than I expected. There have been many a times over the last week where I wished Blanche was here, but I keep reminding myself that Blanche wouldn't get us down the four wheel drive tracks I want to do. So I'm hoping that once we get quicker at putting up the tent, and when we get to the sunnier weather in the north things will become a lot easier - if not it's plan B!