Saturday 12th January
We've decided to make a special trip today to visit a town called Keith.
We set off towards Victor Harbour, a cute seaside town with more than we bargained for. The information centre assistant was particularly helpful & explained a whole host of activities that could keep us busy all day in his home town. We decided to visit the local produce market, which was good but we didn't need anything really. Next we did our shopping for the next couple of days & headed to the waterfront to use the free BBQ facilities to make a bacon & egg butty. Beautiful!
With our bellies full, we took a walk along the jetty that connects the mainland to Granite Island, home to 'small penguins' & other wildlife. The alternative to walking was a horse drawn tram. I'll watch the Grand National no worries at all but I'll refuse to sit on a double decker tram with 50 tourists while a solitary shire horse drags you 300m over the ocean. Plus it was $6 each, at least on the national you can win something in return....
So without breaking a sweat, we arrived on Granite Island in time to watch the daily penguin feeding session. However, we didn't realise it came at a cost of $9 each so we by-passed it, agreed that Phillip Island near Melbourne will be a better penguin experience & walked around the Island instead.
We continued along the coast, passing through several small townships before arriving at our main attraction for the day - Keith. This just had to be the first place we'd experience rain since arriving in Australia! Overall, it was disappointing but the photos we got were good value & I'm sure Carly's Dad appreciates the facebook tag. Also, I reckon there can't be many other places in the World that have a Land Rover on a pole in the middle of a park as their main attraction.
We crossed the border into Victoria late in the evening, cooked up some burgers with our recently purchased Beerenberg relish as a topping then stopped in a lay-by somewhere near Horsham.
On our travels today, Terry, our Toyota Hi-Ace, took us past the 5,000,000 metre mark in terms of distance travelled since we liberated him from his previous owner. What a legend he is.
Sunday 13th January
Today turned out to be our most productive day yet in my opinion. I'll get to that shortly.
The lay-by we stopped in last night was all ours, not as appealing as it sounds when there are no lights & no people even remotely close. It can be quite scary! We were just settling down to sleep after some laptop movie entertainment when we heard fireworks. Not such a problem you think, well this is the summer here & bush fires can be started from almost nothing as there is moisture. This, combined with the lights of passing vehicles shining through the windscreen was enough to persuade Carly that she wouldn't sleep a wink.
We got back on the road in the pitch black at 10.30pm looking for a town or another lay-by, trying not to bonnet any kangaroos in the process. We made it to a town called Horsham & parked directly outside of a campsite! It was just as eventful, chavs burning up their tyres, blaring music out & generally being idiots, followed by the 5-0 lighting up the street & placing their full beams directly on the van for 5 minutes before leaving. Random.
When we woke, we made breakfast at a campsite after buying a shower each for $5, which set us up for our trip through The Grampians National Park.
The landscape here is epic. Winding roads led us up the mountain range to several amazing lookouts over the park, including Mackenzie Falls. The weather was a bit overcast, occasional spots of rain & as cold as we've felt since September 25th. You HAVE to check our pictures to see the views, not that they even begin to do them justice.
We made lunch by a lake, watched some people fishing while we ate, then continued South through the park. The road leading out of the park was superb, near empty & lots of great scenery all around. As it was only mid afternoon, we agreed to continue on to Warnambool, a large coastal town that leads nicely onto The Great Ocean Road. A quick stop in the information centre, a drive by the classic car show, a few pics of the beach (oh how we missed the sea over the past 24 hours or so) & then East to Port Campbell National Park.
The drive was, as usual, pretty spectacular. We saw part of this coast line on our last visit to Australia but it still blows you away. We visited various landmarks shaped by the ocean over tens of thousands of years, including 'London Bridge', 'The Arch', 'The Island' & '12 Apostles'.
We are beginning to remember how cold Victoria can be. By the time we had finished our road trip for today it was 7pm, blowing a gale & bloody freezing. We drove straight to a campsite & I cooked up a mean spag bol.
We've made contact with Ryan & Steph today, confirming that we should be in Melbourne by tomorrow evening, so we can make some sort of contact with family & friends via the tinterweb.
Looking forward to catching up with our Aussie pals, see their new crib & puppy, plus we get to visit all our favourite places from our time spent in Melbourne in 2008. We're so excited!!
Modes of Transport so far - 4 planes, 3 Taxis, 11 Tuk Tuks, 6 VIP Bus, 3 shared taxis, 6 minivans, 3 speed boat, 2 slow boats, 5 ferries, 3 pickup trucks, 6 sleeper bus, 1 kayak, 1 moto, 1 Campervan
Countries Visited - Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia
Beers Sampled - Chang, Tiger, Leo, BeerLao, Namkhong, Angkor, Anchor, Klang, Green Saigon, Red Saigon, 333, Larue, Caroune, Hanoi, Singha, Acha, VB & Tooheys Extra Dry, Carlton Cold
Miles Travelled - 18,568
Mum and dad Dad and i think your adventures sound amazing, but stay away from king brown snakes. Love the comment about our kitchen, ha ha, Jason stood outside the front door the other day as could not take the heat. I have just opened my card and wine, loved it on both counts, very clever. thankyou you both so much.In your case we would have to call it the porkers, on account of all the food you are eating, only jealous. You carry oo and have a wicked time. Love you both loads, missing you lots. Mum and dadxxxxxxxxxx