We have finally completed a lap of Australia…..14 months later.
Although technically we haven’t fully completed our journey until our Dreamtime motorhome gets back to its original home where we bought it. However Glen and I set off from Sydney on the 18th March 2016, in a hire car with all our wordily goods squeezed in the back, to pick up our new home from the Goldcoast.
We have done a full circle, back to Sydney where we started, yet nothing will ever appear the same for us again. We have been pushed, squeezed, tested, amazed, inspired, over joyed, overwhelmed, thrown off course, thrown back on course. We have seen so many amazing sights, experienced so many things. We have laughed, cried, sung, danced, talked, screamed, gazed, swam, slept, walked, worked, played and worked more. We have been up and down and around the bend many many times. We have also sat on our backsides and done nothing but drive. A hell of a lot of driving, all 28,000 miles of it in fact. Thats the equivalent of driving from the South pole to the North pole and back again.
I think we need a rest! Except that’s not quite on the cards yet, we still need to get up to Brisbane, where the van will have completed its full circle and where I fly back to the UK for 6 months. Glen will be staying in Australia to continue his Men’s work he’s busy building.
From Tasmania we headed north into Autumn. I had no idea Australia had such wonderful colours in Autumn which can only be found in the south and up the mountains where it’s cooler. It was odd being amongst the red, yellow and orange colours on the tree’s. The hills were green and rolling. We could’ve be in Wales!
We free camped most of our way through Victoria and southern NSW and because it is now cold at nights, we’d forage for wood during the day and light a fire at dusk which kept us warm.
The stars were so bright and twinkly and the milky way so clear. What made our evenings even more special is that we’d often share our night time spot with a marsupial. One in particular was very brave and inquisitive wallaby who almost hopped right into our van wanting to know what was for dinner. I know I’m not supposed to, but I did treat him a slice of carrot which he seemed to be very grateful for.
We went to Raymond Island just off the coast at Paynesville, which wasn’t a pain at all but rather delightful. We got the free ferry taking only 3 minutes as it’s only 200 metres from the mainland, we then we spent the next 4 hours with our necks bent gawping up at the trees. There were so many Koalas! Almost every tree had a Koala hanging out of it, dangling in its own unique sleepy koala way. Some bothered to open their eyes to stare at us staring at them, however the excitement was obviously too much for them and off they went back to sleep to catch up on their 20 hour per day quoter. Raymond Island is one of Australia’s best kept secrets as far as I’m concerned as it wasn’t teaming with tourists and we seemed to be the only one’s taking selfies.
Next on the agenda was a platypus mission. I hadn’t yet seen one even though we have hung about in loads of places they are supposed to live. We heard that a place called Bomballa in the NSW hills was famous for them. The Bomballa river is teaming with them (apparently) so we risked the big steep climb up into the mountains and camped the night by the River and I planned not to leave until I’d seen one. I was there all day with my binoculars poised knowing that they are allusive little critters. Not a sausage. I was about to give up as it was getting dark and very cold. However it turned out to be just like the old Kit Kat advert, remember? The Panda at the zoo did nothing all day except gnaw on a bamboo stick and as soon as the visitors left, it jumped up and did a tap dance. Well this is what happened with the Platypus. As soon as I was about to leave, on cue, out they all popped. They were swimming, fishing, playing, diving. By this time it was getting very dark and I had to strain my eyes to see them properly…. but I DID see them and plenty of them too. Glen came along just in time to see their finale.
Tick. Phew. Finally we could move on.
We arrived at Bateman’s bay by the coast just as the storm hit. Luckily the storm was short and sweet and in its wake left the most amazing rainbow I’ve ever seen. It was as if it was our conciliation prise for putting up with the inconvenience the rain. The rainbow was so bright, so colourful and a complete unbroken arc. It was so close I was almost able to reach out and grab the crock of gold at both ends, one in each hand.
We then spent a few nights in the spectacular Jervis Bay National park. Here the water is turquoise and crystal clear and the sand white and squeaky under foot. I must’ve seen a hundred dolphins swim past at one point. I even braved it in the cold waters for a snorkel as it was so clear and the fish were so colourful and abundant.
Glen was visited by a family of cheeky King Parrots the next morning, expecting to be fed and watered while he was sipping on his morning coffee.
However the best was saved until last. Our best wildlife experience by far were the wombats! We drove inland towards Sydney via the kangaroo valley, a lush green pocket of hills, rivers, rainforest and waterfalls. We stayed 2 nights at a place called Bendeela reserve, a free camp nestled in the hills carved by the Kangaroo river.
This was home to many wombats and they all come out at dusk to roam about and munch on the grass. They are such funny things, a cross between a bear and a giant guinea pig! They are quite tame and content in their own little world of digging, scratching and munching.
I cycled to the nearest loo’s about 400 meters away on my first night there. It was pitch black and only my head torch for light. Suddenly one ran right in front of me colliding straight into me!! Luckily I was going quite slowly, but it still threw me off my bike. I was so upset that I may have harmed the wombat, I sat by it for ages until it got back up, started to munch on the grass, then waddled off back to its wombat hole!! Luckily I think I was more in shock than it was.
The nights were interesting, because we kept feeling the van rock from side to side. It was the wombats scratching their backsides on the wheels! We left our shoes outside as usual (so as not to contaminate our living quarters), however we soon learnt that that was a big mistake. The next morning Glen found a big pile of wombat poo in his shoe which I found extremely funny, Glen was not so amused! However, the last laugh was on me, because the following day, a wombat did an even bigger poo in my shoe! I’m not so keen on Wombats now.
It’s wonderful being back in Sydney, to my original Australian roots which began almost 22 years ago. It’s a real novelty chatting with people I know, the first time in over a year. It is wonderful being with close friends again and in the comforts of a real home, with real rooms with proper facilities. It’s a novelty to sleep in a big bed with a soft mattress and not woken up by a road train roaring past at 3am.
Once our batteries have been recharged with the nurture of friends, wholesome food and lots of good nights sleeps, we will complete the final leg up to Queensland.
And once this travel nonsense is over, I will be so content to get back to a ‘normal’ life, doing ‘normal’ things, staying still, being stable and feeling secure……
………until of course the next adventure calls.