We left the city and headed to pick up our campervan. The company we hired from is known for their vans with outrageous designs, and having seen some other designs, we hoped ours wasn't too controversial. When we arrived at the pick-up point we both let out a sigh of relief... even though it was criminally bright, it wasn't as rude or offensive as some we had seen. In fact it looked quite like the mystery Machine from Scooby Doo!
The van had two seats in the front, a mattress in the back and a small cooking area in the boot - with a gas stove, water can and pots. This was also was our first experience with a vehicle that has no power steering, after getting used to it we headed off in direction of the Great Ocean Road!
The weather had taken a turn for the worst since our lovely sunshine stint in Melbourne, but still the 12 apostles and the coastline along the way were very impressive to see. We stopped in numerous places along the coast at different points of interest mainly cliffs, rock formations, towns, fishing harbours etc.
Some of the places we stopped and then carried straight on because they looked very odd, backwards and quite like scenes from horror movies (90 mile beach comes to mind)! But others we stopped explored and camped up for the night. We found that a lot of the places we passed through were not what we expected of Australia, they were very backward and old fashioned with not much life to them, which made them feel quite eerie. On the other hand we were happily surprised by some of the scenery we saw - quite similar to NZ in places, very green with lakes and rivers - not the dusty, dry surfer scene we expected.
The vehicle we rented was not state of the art, we were given a keyset containing 4 different keys for the four doors on the van, as the locks had to be changed whenever the keys were locked inside the van. We found the ease of locking the keys in the van out for ourselves on our second morning, in the pouring rain. We were not in the best of moods at this point and were resigned to having to call a locksmith out and add our own key to the growing number. However, luck was now on our side. When we asked the park owner for the number for a local "pop-a-lock" he told us not to worry and then added "he used to do this for a living." We didn't know how to take this, either he used to work for the RAC or was an ex-con, either way after 15 minutes we were back in-side the van, slightly soaked and with a new plan to ensure we checked we had the key each time we got out of the van. "Key? Check!"
Having the van was a nice change to the pace of the trip - we could stop when and where we wanted and we enjoyed sleeping and cooking in the back of the van. It also allowed us to discover a lot of places that otherwise we would have just passed by - we were really glad that we took this time to make the trip along the great ocean road and along the coast up to Sydney, all without any major incidents!