A Travellerspoint blog

May 2012


So we've started the last leg of our road tripping saga, the drive up the centre. It has been amazing so far and it's only day 3!

sunny 12 °C

We left you off at the beginning of the Great Ocean Road. It was cold and rainy the whole time. It wasn't constant rain instead we would get to a stop and get out look at the sky and say "Nah it ain't gonna rain." and leave the umbrella and jacket in the car because in the sun it was warm. Then we would find out that to get to the look out you'd have to walk 3Ks and it inevitably started to rain halfway there. So we would run the rest of the way because I wasn't going to get rained on AND miss the view, snap a few photos and then race back to the car and drive along the coast to the next lookout. The 12 Apostles were as amazing as you can imagine though, fun fact, only 8 of the 12 are still standing because the rest have succumbed to the power of the waves crashing on them. My favorite stop was called the Grotto which was a tiny little alcove under an arch looking out at the ocean. Sooo so cool. From there the road leaves the coast and we made for Port Fairy. On the way we drove through dairy farm country that if you weren't thinking about it you'd swear you were in Northern Michigan but then you'd look over and catch a glimpse of the ocean and remember that you're thousands of miles from Northern Michigan! So crazy. We stopped for some local cheese in Warnambool and made it to Port Fairy just in time for some more rain. Port Fairy to Mount Gambier was a much nicer day. Stopped in Portland and was my favorite town along the whole coast. Was one of the first ports in Victoria and still is a busy one today. Then we got to Mount Gambier and checked out the town just as it was getting dark. We heard that the Umpherston Sinkhole was cool even at night. So we walked down into this giant hole in the ground in almost total darkness. You could feel that you had went below ground but couldn't see it. Then when we woke up we saw that in addition to being a giant hole in the ground it is also full of beautiful gardens and even has a bbq area. Drove out to the Blue Lake and looked at how blue it was then, very blue. Also the source of drinking water for the town. Then it was the most boring drive yet up to Adelaide. It took bloody hours and was supposedly the "coastal" route, but we never saw the ocean, just a line of muddy hills with some small shrubs. But worth getting into to Adelaide. It was such a beautiful old town. I know we keep saying that each new city is our favorite (minus Canberra), and we're not stopping here. Adelaide is my new favorite Capital City. Spent the night there, wandered town the next morning, then on the road back to Mildura.

While we were out touring the Great Ocean Road Sarah and Mairi we're staying in Mildura and had heard back from a dude about some work! We were stoked for them and stoked because we hoped if they got in they could talk to the dude, maybe get us in too. So we drove back to Mildura and got in late in the afternoon. The girls were out and we were in the process of setting up the tent when they got back. Glad to see them again, and they us (really!). But sad news, the dude had issues getting ahold of them over the weekend, even though Mairi was trying to call him several times each day, and had given their positions to someone he could get in contact with. Yeah, not cool and upset us too. Well, we're all back together again, so there was that. Yeah, its not as good as actually having work, I know. We stuck around for a few days, hoping to find work, see if anyone will get back to us. No one with work ready for immediate start did. We kept hearing though that if we give it about three weeks then, then the oranges will be ready and there'll be heaps of work. We didn't have three weeks to just sit around and wait though. We said our goodbyes and left Sarah and Mairi in Mildura again. They were going to give it a few more days and then they too plan to leave Mildura.

From Mildura we drove all freakin' day through Broken Hill (just because) to Port Augusta. This trip did have one cool feature, it let us go through three states in one day. Mildura was in VIC, near the NSW border, Broken Hill was north in NSW, and Port Augusta was over west in SA. We pretty much just put up the tent, slept, and then up tearing down the tent before 8 the next morning. Long day of driving ahead we thought. And we were right. Pushing for Coober Pedy, a mining town on the only dot on the map of supposed size for many, many, kilometers. Got into town by 3pm, much to our surprise. The landscape changed so much though, went from being on the coast and seeing grass and tall trees, to red dirt, small shrubs, and an occasional tree less than two meters tall. Coober Pedy it seems is the the center of Opal Mining and for kilometers around there are mounds of dirt and abandoned machinery. The mining here is so intense we pass signs every now and then warning you that if you dare venture off the road there is a high probability that you will inadvertently fall into an old shaft and die. So be careful, don't run, and don't walk backwards! We'd read online that in Coober Pedy there is a hostel that is underground. And churches, and houses, a lot of stuff was underground in town. We found the hostel though and stayed the night there. We were over six meters underground (that's about eighteen feet-ish)! So cool, it was so quiet and dark down there. Woke up and got ready for another long day of driving.

We've been totaling up the kms that we've traversed since leaving Mildura, we're over 2000 and today we arrived at Uluru! The photos you may have seen just don't do it justice. When you see it yourself, it just feels so powerful, you just want to keep looking at it. It dominates the landscape. We got out there in time to watch sunset cascade across it, changing the color of Uluru as the sun dropped lower. We're camping at the resort thing nearby, its all there is out here and the resort is set up like a city, with the different hotels spread around, a shopping center, and the cheap campsite where we're staying shoved in the back. Getting up tomorrow to catch the rock at sunrise, see some of the other sites around, and then drive up to Alice Springs!

Posted by owensj11 03:36 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Melbourne to Mildura to Apollo Bay in a little over a week.

I haven't even had a job and I still find it hard to blog. Why?! Anyways here we go.

rain 13 °C

We stayed in Melbourne until our friends Andrew and Mary left for Adelaide and then our Scottish friends drove up to Mildura to look for work and call on some of their Scottish friends who are working that way. Nance and I had decided to drive south and see the Mornington Peninsula and from there to Phillip Island. We left Melbourne a bit later than intended so we drove part way down the peninsula and then turned and drove towards Phillip Is. We camped in a nice caravan park and then checked out the island. It was larger than I thought oh and even though it's an island it's connected to the mainland via a bridge so no exciting ferry rides or anything. So first stop was a place called the Nobbies and that was the southernmost point of the island. You look out over the Tasman sea and there is nothing from there to Antarctica. There is also a few camera of a seal colony on a island a bit off the coast. The Nobbies are some huge rock formations that you can almost literally see being eroded by the intensity of the sea. Such a cool spot. From there we went to the info booth and booked us some tickets to the penguin parade. Learned that it takes place at dusk when the little guys come in from a long day in the ocean to their nests. Wasn't sure what to expect but the lady said that they had 600 and some penguins come up the night before. We got there and met our ranger who explained how they count them every night and have been doing so for the last 30 years or so and that the population has been ever so slowly increasing especially after they got the land made into a national park. So with our ranger we walked down to the beach and met up with that night's designated counter. Her job is to start counting from the first 5 penguins who cross the beach and then count for 50 minutes. She explained how the little penguins form 'rafts' out past the breaking waves because they are the most vulnerable when traversing the open stretch of sand. The rafts were just dark patches in the distances so you have no idea how many penguins have amassed until they come ashore. And boy oh boy do they come ashore. It was a slow progression at first but then they started arriving in droves. One raft alone had over 100 penguins! So we watched from the counter's platform for a but and then headed down to the beach and watched many many many more waddle their way home. They would slowly emerge from the sea and then one would start running across the sand and then the rest would run after. It was a spectacular sight and one I'll never forget! We spotted our ranger as we were leaving and asked what the total was and it was 1599! He said that we picked the best night we could have because as the winter comes more and more penguins spend 2-3 weeks at sea and their numbers are less each dusk because of it. Sadly they ask that no photography be taken because it's dark and the flash isn't good for their eyes but if you're ever in the area it is more than worth a visit.

From there we went and did the Mornington Peninsula properly which of course included fish and chips for lunch and some aimless wandering along the piers that dot the towns along the way. Nance's friend from back home Brian has a relative who lives on the Peninsula so he'd given us her contact info and we dropped in for dinner and stayed with her for a night. Was so wonderful to not camp! Her name was Deb and she was actually Brian's mum's cousin so almost a distant relative but she'd spent her childhood around Reed City and was close to Brian's mum. She lives in a beautiful house and is neighbor's with a very cool little art gallery. We didn't know it but it was her daughter's birthday that day so when we came in the door we got to sing happy birthday to her. She was going out with some friends and had left for work before we had gotten up but was great to meet her.

The next day we took off for Mildura to pick chillies with Sarah and Mairi! We left Deb's a bit later than intended so we didn't get into Mildura until late so not much to report from that day except that all I wanted was a slurpee from 7 Eleven and they were all practically on the other side of the road until we were out of Melbs. Story of my life. Haha though since we were way out in the middle of nowhere they don't have gates on their railway crossings and we came up to a surprisingly long queue of cars waiting and waiting and waiting until some of them just started going even though they lights were flashing. When it came to our turn we could actually see the train just sitting on the tracks maybe broken down or something but it felt strange to just blatantly ignore the flashing lights and go. We are such rebels I know. Got into Mildura and set up the gazebo and tent and got pumped for picking chillies.

Ugh picking chillies...worst 6 hours ever. We got there and got handed a bucket and told to pick 'good' ones only. Umm ok but what are 'good' ones? Turns out good, which is of course a relative term, is also different to the same guy. I would go up and mine were too orange so I'd go back tell the group and then someone else would go up their's would be too soft. I'd go back up and mine were too this or too that. He told everyone something different. I picked 4 buckets and just called it a day. Made all of $36 bucks to boot. He said he'd call us tomorrow and let us know a time and when he didn't call the next day we didn't even bother calling him. He did end up calling us like 3 days later but we were 'busy'. We instead hung out with Sarah and Mairi's friends Karen and Martin who had just came up to Mildura a few weeks prior because Karen got a teaching job. Days were warm enough to hang by the pool and call around for jobs. When we had spent a week doing this with no luck Nance and I decided to go do the Great Ocean Road for a week or so and try again then.

So here I am. Apollo Bay YHA Eco Lodge spending my first night indoors since Deb's almost 2 weeks ago and the last day indoors before then would have been...Canberra YHA way back in March, wooft! We do love us some camping. Anyways the Great Ocean Road as far as we've driven it has been great. It's May so it's cold but that doesn't stop the views from being magnificent. Well that brings us up to speed let's hope that the weather warms up because we're going to see the Twelve Apostles tomorrow which is one Aus's most photographed places and I'm sick of being cold!

Posted by owensj11 02:51 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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