Hello there guys! Apologies it has been so long since our last update, it's been pre tty tricky finding anywhere with cheap internet on our travels of late. So what have we been up to since we last wrote we hear you cry?! Well, we are currently situated in a small city called Geelong in the state of Victoria, just an hours drive from Melbourne.
We will attempt to give you an update on some of the things we have been up to for the past week and a bit:
Saturday 13th January
After camping for the night in Gawler caravan park we headed off down to a small suburb called Parafield Gardens to enjoy some breakfast with Kerry's cousin Lynne, Andrea and Heather. Knowing that we would have a fair bit of driving to get done, we went for a breakfast called 'the lot' which as you can imagine was a fairly large cooked brekie! With breakfast over we headed over to Kerry's other cousin's Nic and Steve and said hello to them again.
We then made our way back to Gawler where we followed Kerry's cousin Keith to a place called Murray Bridge (so as not to get ourselves lost finding the highway!) where we said our goodbyes and headed south for a seaside town called Kingston. Upon arriving there we set up our tent and cooked dinner.
Sunday 14th January
Woke up early to set off again for the road. We stopped briefly before leaving Kingston to pose for a quick picture next to the famous huge lobster sitting outside a seafood restuarant, and then we were on our way to a town called Robe. Robe was a really beautiful little fishing town and we stopped briefly at a few of the little beaches and bays but it was a little too cloudy to properly enjoy them. We didn't stay too long before setting off again on the road and accidentally passed a little town called Southend(!) which we'd wanted to take some pictures at.
Our next stop was a city called Mount Gambier, the seconf largest city in the state of South Australia and home to pretty impressive natural features, what with the whole city being built around a dormant volcano. First to be visited was the Blue Lake, a beautiful lake in a volcano crater with a strange phenomenon of turning from dark gray during the Chrismas period to a brilliant blue colour. The colur was incredible, almost a neon blue, such was the intensity. Our last destination before leaving Mount Gambier was the Umpherston Sinkhole, a curious natural feature caused by an underground cavern collapsing, leaving a huge circular hole in the ground. An enterprising gentleman by the name of James Umpherston purchased the land in 1886 that the sinkhole was situated in and had the brilliant idea to turn the sinkhole into an exquisite sunken garden!
Just after leaving Mount Gambier we made our first boarder crossing by car, driving out of South Australia and into the state of Victoria! We briefly stopped in Portland, Victoria's oldest town, but there didnb't seem to be a great deal to see there other than a maritime museum. Our final stop for the day was Port Fairy, where we set up our tent and cooked dinner.
Monday 15th January
Drove away from Port Fairy in the early morning and arrived in Worrnambool, a fairly large seaside town, with a beautiful river. The river's mouth ends right by the sea and you get an incredible view of the Southern Ocean. From Worrnambool we were going to head straight to the Great Ocean Road but having looked at the map decided firstly to head North and see the Grampian Mountain National Park before coming back to the Great Ocean Road.
The drive to the Grampians didn't take too long and it was incredible to be driving along checker board flat land seeing huge mountains looming ahead in the distance, getting iver closer. We drove through a small town on the outskirts of the National Park called Dunkeld before driving right up through the middle of the park, taking in some incredible scenery of huge mountain ranges. Our first stop was Baroka Lookout in the Northern edge of the Grampians, which provided a stomach turning lookout hundreds of metres above the surrounding area. We decided to camp for the night in a free camping site nestled deep into the woods of the mountain.
Tuesday 16th January
Early in the morning we went to the Mackenzie Waterfalls, high up in the Grampian Mountains. It was baking hot and walking about was a pretty tiresome task! There were a few different viewpoints to see the falls from, however the most impressive was from the base of the falls, where Kerry decided to be brave and jumped into the lagoon with just her shorts and top on! After this we made the steep climb back to the top and headed off for Mount William, the highest peak in the Grampian Mountain range. We parked the car up and set off on the 4km return walk and by the time we reached the top we were absolutely knackered and sick of swatting off the annoying flies that kept bugging us, but the view was worth it! From the top you could see right across the mountain range far in the distance including the impressive peaks of Mount Abrupt and Mount Sturgeon. On our way back down we saw an Echidna walking across the path and stopped and watched it a few feet from us, make its way up the hillside back into the undergrowth.
We headed back out to the outskirts of the national park and stayed in a little camp site in Dunkeld.
Wednesday 17th January
Today we went back to Warrnambool, as we thought that it was so pretty yesterday. We saw the Bay of Islands Coastal Park, a rock that looked just like a head (I think it was called Broken Head) and London Bridge, a formation of rocks that until 1990 looked like a Bridge. In 1990 part of the rock formation collapsed, leaving a couple stranded for 3 hours! Just imagine standing on a walkway and part of it dropping 100 metres into the thundering ocean. Scary! To make matter worse for the couple, their meeting was a secret tryst, as they were married to other people- people who saw them being rescued by helicopter on local and national television!!! Now THAT is getting busted in style! I doubt they could've explained their way out of that easily. The weather was quite windy today, so we didn't stay at the ocean for long. It was a shame as the scenery was spectacular. We drove through Peterborough, which is well known for its excellent surfer beaches and spent our time leisurely travelling up the Great Ocean Road, stopping at several view-points to admire the waves crashing against the rocks. We stayed in a really busy campsite in Port Campbell. The facilities were good and we spent the night playing 'murder', a card game i'd play with my Nan as a kid. I think we were evens on the score, but ask Darren and he'll say that he won!
Thursday 18th January
WOW!!! What a wonderful, glorious day today has been. In fact it may have been my favourite day to date... The sun came out today and the temperature was around 35degrees, a nice change from the English-like cold and damp we have been experiencing. It's funny how when the sun is out you feel sooo much happier. We have seen and done a lot today. Firstly we went to The Grotto, then to the Lord Ard Gorge, The Blowhole, The Razorback and most impressively, The world famous Twelve Apostles. All of these sites are on the ocean front and range from caves, to tunnels, to rocks standing in solitary confinement, with only the Ocean as a companion. The strange shapes are caused by the breakdown of the limestone, through natural erosion, leaving the harder rocks exposed to the open. When you look at the Ocean's strength it is hard to imagine how all of the rocks don't disappear with a few weeks! In fact, this part of the coast can lose up to 20 metres A YEAR to the sea. We went on a few walks today and it was lovely to enjoy the great outdoors without the wind blighting our trek. We have taken some amazing photos today. The Twelve Apostles were so beautiful that we travelled to them twice, once during daylight and again at sunset. It was honestly the most beautiful sunset either of us have ever seen, with the sky turning shades of yellow, then pink, purple and red. The sky looked alight, with the fire peaking through the clouds, which varied in shapes and sizes. We tried to capture the sky with photos but my camera isn't good enough to pick up dusk/ night time shots, so we will have to keep the images in our minds. I should also mention a regular pattern that keep occurring. Every time the sun comes out after a few cloudy days we forget all about sun cream and we both got burnt again. My chest looks like the sky did in the evening!! We stayed in Princetown, in a little campsite with the most basic of amenities. Still the grass was GREEN, a rarity considering the apparent drought they have been having (what drought may I add...) After making dinner on the BBQ we started a fire, which didn't want to light. After collecting loads of kindling from the nearby area we got about 15 minutes of a tiny bonfire, which was enough to make us feel like true survivors, living off the land.
Friday 19th January
Had a late start as it rained last night and we waited for the tent to dry. We went to Gibson Steps today, a set of steps near Port Campbell that go onto the shore (near the Twelve Apostles. We spoke to a Ranger (surfer-dude in his spare time) who told us about the Massacre Bay Story. Long ago the farmers in this area would round up Aboriginal folk and would herd them off of the cliffs, to their deaths against the rocks and furious waves. They called this process 'land cleansing'. There are a lot of sad stories similar to this one around the whole of Australia. Today we headed up to the Otway National Park, stoppeing abriefly at Laver's Hill for a shared bowl of chips. Our main destination today was the 'Otway Fly', a steel walkway set among the tree stops (TALL tree tops) We had been told that it was $9 each to get in, but it turned out to be $20. The walk stared off in the forst, at ground level and took us through an enchanting area with lots of Mountain Ash and Beech trees. The walk on the metal path took aroung an hour. It was scary as the whole thing swayed in the wind. To be honest though since our Bridge Climb heights haven't affected me so badly. Maybe I'm cured??? At the highest point you could see how much the tall trees actually move in the wind. They look as though they are about to topple over. Aftyer our descent we took in the views of the rain forest and gullies, laden with ferns, insects and trees. On our way back we stopped off at some more view points and settled down for the night at Apollo Bay, in a nice campsite where we pitched our tent right next to the river. We drank 'goon' (cheap wine) and bundies (Bunderberg Rum) and ate a curry that I made on the BBQ. WE met a few girls who were on their first ever night of camping. They were even more unprepared than us and didn't even have a torch between the 4 of them! At 10pm it started to spit, then rain..... and rain.... and rain.... and rain.....
Saturday 20th January
....and rain... and rain...(I'm sure you get the picture) It reminded me of a scene out of the Winnie The Pooh & a Blustery Day video I watched when I was a child. There was no respite whatsoever. The tent last night leaked, we got soaked, our sleeping bags got damp and trying to put the damn tent in the car without soaking everything proved impossible. Once I got out of the tent Darren wouldn't allow me back in, as I was so wet, so I had to wait in the pouring down rain for him to deflate the mattress and pass it outside to me, nearly an hour later! Darren had plastic bags tied round his new trainers to protect them and I was wearing the poncho that Mumma Frost had so kindly lent me. We looked a sight and you'd have all laughed at us. Once we got everything in the car we drove to Apollo Bay town centre but couldn't do much as the rain didn't stop. To make things worse (funny now we can look back in hindsight) we drove through a big puddle and the car stalled. It didn't start again for 15 minutes, by which time we both wanted to cry. When the car miraculous came back to life it became apparent that the indicators had stopped working- not good when it's raining, the roads are as slippery as an eel in olive oil and you don't know where you going, so you need to do 3-point-turns all the time! We read the manual and decided to check the fuse, however Darren pulled the radio fuse out, by mistake, and then the radio stopped working, as it needed to be recoded! So now it was pissing down, the indicators didn't work and we had no radio for the rest of our trip. We ate two Tim-Tams to cheer ourselves up (they're like penguin bars). It didn't work. We drove to the garage, but it was a Saturday afternoon, so they were shut until Monday. Thankfully a prayer was finally answered and after an hour the indicators started working again. We have no radio currently, so Darren is having to put up with my singing- poor boy.
Monday 22nd January
Today we've been having a look around Geelong and trying to make the car smell better after some milk went off in the car, not a nice smell I can promise you! This morning we phoned the employment agency in Shepparton regarding fruit picking work and have been told to get up to Shepparton for the 25th and then they will have some work for us, fingers crossed, if not then we're going to have to head South and find some work in Melbourne or head North and try to find something once we get into the state of New South Wales.
Tomorrow we should be making our way North up to a town called Ballarat, which used to be a central part of the huge Goldfields area where the gold rush in Victoria began. Apparently a huge part of the town called Soveriegn Hill has been recreated into an old style gold rush town complete with people in old style dress and you can even pay a small amount to pan for gold! Hell you never know we might even strike it rich so we never have to work again! Ah, now wouldn't that be nice?!
Take care everyone and we will update you all again soon!