Set off from our campsite and drove along the Great Western Highway to the Blue Mountains. Stopped off at Wentworth Falls a sweet little town where we visited a second hand bookshop and bought some delicious pies for lunch. Went to Leura where we walked to a view point over a huge valley. We could also just about make out the back of the 3 sisters. The name Blue Mountains was given because of the eucalyptus trees in the area which give off a vapour which looks blue in the sunlight. We drove around Leura for a while as it was such a beautiful town, specially with all the autumn colours. Next stop was Katoomba where we went to Echo Point Lookout for view over the 3 sisters. We were lucky with the weather and managed to catch them in the sun. Wandered around Katoomba for a while and had a coffee in a Belgian waffle shop! Then drove to Mt Wilson for even more beautiful views, this time with no-one else around. Found a parking spot in the Megalong Valley where we camped for the night. Met some german-speaking Italians and spent the evening chatting to them around a fire to keep us warm, while watching some possums in a nearby tree!
Woke up freezing cold despite having slept in 3 sleeping bags!! Drove to Mt. Victoria for some breakfast to warm us up and found a tiny cafe which served us the best breakfast we'd had in ages! Walked around some shops in the village including one which sold every imaginable nic-nac for your house and even had two rooms of christmas decorations!! We then drove to Canberra. Started off as a beautiful windy drive through the hills in the bright sunshine, but as we got closer to Canberra it started to rain and the temperature dropped. Because they have been having a massive drought in that area, the landscape was very dry and almost looked gray! We were very happy to meet our friend Robyn (who we had met in the elephant park in Thailand, and also gone to Laos with her). She took us to her Aunts' horse farm where we were given a warming cup of tea and a shower before being shown round the farm and introduced to their kittens, dogs and a few of the 160 race horses! Robyn took us for a night-time tour of Canberra, stopping for us to take photos of the main sights! Then we met her brother for dinner at the Hog's Breath, a restaurant which pretty much only serves steak! Went out for a few drinks afterwards before returning to our incredibly cold van for the night!
Robyn cooked us some fried eggs and toast for breakfast before we set off in the Melbourne direction. Robyn runs a market stall at the weekends where she sells elephant things in aid of the park, so we bought a few things from her. We stopped for lunch at Gudungai where we found a view point looking out over the hills, although we stayed in our van as it was too cold to sit outside! We stopped for the night at a small village called Chiltern, where we found a convenient parking space next to the public toilets.
Chiltern turned out to be a very old-fashioned tiny little town with one main street which had a couple of shops (including one selling antiques called 'Heather's at Chiltern!). We had breakfast at the local bakery before driving to Glenrowan. The town is famous for being the sight of Ned Kelly's last stand. We went to find out about the robot show, but we had been warned that it was really bad so decided not to pay the $20 to get in!! The cafe next door had a sign advertising their pikelets and damper. We weren't sure what these were so went in and asked and the lady brought out all her home cooked food for us to inspect! (pikelets are the same a scotch pancakes and damper is a traditional aboriginal loaf). We reached Melbourne and somehow found our way around the outskirts to Malvern where we met Lauren (a girl we made friends with at the elephant park). We went off into the city to use the internet so that she could get some work in for uni, then met her at her house later. She cooked us a meal of fajitas and we spent the rest of the evening playing charades with her housemates and friends and drinking the cheap wine we had picked up in the Hunter Valley. It was great fun as they are all actors and actresses!
Up quite early as Lauren had to go off to a lecture. None of us were feeling 100%, maybe it wasn't such a good idea to have drunk the cooking wine after all!!! I drove us to Phillip Island, stopping on the way for Alex to be sick! Arrived at a YHA which also had some campervan spaces. I spent the rest of the day sitting in front of a fire on a sofa in the YHA chatting to Andy (from Ireland), while Alex slowly recovered and slept off his hangover! When Alex was a bit better we cooked dinner and spent the evening playing pool with Andy.
Had a free breakfast at the YHA in front of the fire, then drove to the Grand Prix circuit. Next to it they had set up a smaller replica of the main circuit which we went go-karting on! We both got steadily faster on each circuit, and I just about managed to beat Alex! We then went to a look out point near seal rocks. Through our binoculars we could just about make out some shapes which could have been seals - but it was a bit far away to be sure! In the information centre they had some videos set up on Seal Rocks which allowed us to see that what we had seen was actually hundreds and hundreds of Australian fur seals. We also spotted a couple of tiny penguins (much closer than the seals) hiding in the grass in little hollows. Having seen the penguins we decided not to bother paying $20 to see more penguins later coming in from the sea, and spent another evening in front of the fire at the YHA. We met two English Boys and watched a rugby match with them in their room accompanied by a few beers then part of a very strange film before going back to our van for another cold nights sleep!
After another breakfast in front of the fire, we set off (giving a lift to Andy) for Melbourne.