Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Not the most ideal camping conditions...

Monday 17 Feb-Friday 21 Feb

We awoke on Monday morning to SUN!! The SUN was shining. We enjoyed our delicious free breakfast and hit the open road.

We decided to veer off the monotonous motorway for a bit and hit the tourist road(we are tourists, after all). We stopped at Hyam Beach to check out the surf, but it wasn’t ‘working’ as they say in surf lingo. We got a coffee at the cute cafĂ© and continued on our way.

Ok, the sun WAS shining

We drove along the coast to Bateman’s Bay---our destination for the night. The campground was super clean and again, right along the ocean. The waves were lapping gently by the camp, so we decided to find a surf beach before the sun went down.

Around a bend in the road---we (Preston) lucked out with an awesome surf spot (far out dude!!). McKenzie Bay was obviously a local favorite. Preston enjoyed the sweet surf set ;) while I snapped photos and read on the beach.

Back on the road in the morning, we drove through some hilly forest and farmland before finding the coast again. We took a chance down a gravel road in Mimosa National Park to find a surf spot for the day.

The gravel road ended at a stunning (nearly--4 people were there. Jerks ;) ) deserted beach. As we walked along, we noticed dozens of dead birds :-/ I was freaked out. Later we found out that many of this species die on their long migration from Tasmania. The flight weeds out the weak and keeps the genes strong.

When Preston was done surfing, he changed from his wetsuit to a towel on the beach and we walked back up to the car.  As we were nearing the carpark, a kangaroo and its baby bounded across our path!! Hilariously, Preston FREAKED out. Hehe. He figures kangaroos to be quite aggressive and kept screaming “I’m buck naked under here”. I couldn’t stop laughing. I felt that we were within a safe enough distance not to pose a threat. Preston didn’t feel he could fight a boxing kangaroo as well in the buff ;)


V. threatening

We met more crazy wildlife on our drive…an adorable porcupine and a giant lizard…as well as what might have been (?) a wallaby.

Our cozy campsite for the night was wedged along a river that met the ocean.

Wednesday morning found us entering the state of Victoria. Almost simultaneously the air was hazy with smoke. There have been forest fires raging in Victoria to our west. The air was hot and dry. Temps were around 35C (quick conversion to Farenheit? Double it and add 30 :D).

We checked out another surf beach. An older man told Preston that he looked like Chuck Norris on the side of our car and that he was ‘doing well’ in the red bandana. Lol.  Made his day.

Chuck Norris #1 and #2

 We found a free camp site for the night along 90 Mile Beach. It was quite isolated. We set up our camp and stupidly realized our gas stove did not have any gas. We knew better to check it, but just didn’t :P Camper Fail.

We walked up the road about a mile to the small general store for fish and chips. As we ate on the porch, ominous clouds darkened the sky and a steady, strong wind blew. We raced back to the tent as the raindrops fell. I love storms, so I didn’t mind, but it was a consistent thunder wind and rain.

The temperature dropped quickly and before we knew it…it was FREEZING. Our child size sleeping bag and sheet were suddenly not sufficient. We closed the flaps on the tent and did our best to stay warm.

Around midnight, I was awoken by a camper van pulling loudly into our campsite. In my stupor of sleep, I was terrified. It was pitch black. The rain was pounding down and the wind was whipping all around. I just imagined these people as murderers or something. Really, they were just looking for refuge, same as us ;)

It was a bit of a rough night. The rain had reduced to a light drizzle in the morning, but the wind continued to howl. The radio told us that the temp had dropped to 6C. (For those following along…we went from around 100F-42F. That’s a HUGE drop in temp!!).We drove along 90 Mile beach and made our way through strange gravel backroads through the trees to the main road.

Our plan for the day was to hit up Australia’s ‘best’ National Park (and southern most mainland point)—Wilson’s Prom. By the time we got there, the rain had returned in force. It came in bursts. The sky would start to clear and then…SIDEWAYS RAIN!! Biblical rain. Hurricane type wind. Here is a video of us driving

We had to forfeit our hiking plans L and decided to just drive through the main area of the park. The campground there was like some horrible circle in Dante's Hell:P Everyone was soaking wet, covered with mud and miserably huddled under the shelters. We decided NOT to camp there for the night ;) We grabbed a quick sandwich and were on our way.

Being that we couldn’t escape the rain or the freezing wind, we decided to get a cabin at the next campground for the night. I’m so grateful that we did. The wind was SHAKING the cabin. Every time I woke in the comfy, WARM bed to the screaming wind…I smiled to myself. Video I took of the wind. 

We arrived in Melbourne on Friday. The city was bustling and lively. The sky remained grey, but the wind had let up a bit. We walked to Flinder’s St Station and Federal Square along the Yarra River. Then…the SUN came out!! We giddily ordered some nachos as a treat to ourselves and got a beer. The nachos cost $15 and were in the smallest bowl I’ve ever seen!! Haha. We each had about 4 bites. Live and learn, I guess. We are a long way from Mexico :P Either way…eating out here is SO expensive. A typical dinner is going to cost you way over $50. Even McDonald’s is much more expensive. #stopavoidingthepeanutbutterandhoney#justgotoWoolworths

Woolworths (Woolies) is the grocery store here and it is just so cheap and just fabulous and we should probably own stock in it at this point ;)

Venus Bay

Melbourne Hotel


It really touched me that there was no end date here

Melbourne is famous for its trams, which crisscross the streets and drive amongst the cars. We took the free city tram from the Docklands back to Federal Square.

We headed to funky Chapel St. for dinner. We walked nearly 4 miles for $4 pizzas at a cool bar called “Lucky Coq”. We are pretty sure it was a gay bar, but the vibe was cool and the pizza was good. Here's a ten second video :D

Cool display

Tomorrow we start on the final leg of our journey along the famous “Great Ocean Road”.