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Published: January 2nd 2013
It's 5:30am and we have 2 text messages on 2 separate phones. Panic short lived by the discovery of Vodafone welcoming us to Australia. Turn over and go back to sleep for one lovely hour.
Last big Kosherica breakfast and more farewells and more futzing before leaving the ship. Don got by Australia immigration to have his shoes because we were honest enough to declare we had been on a farm in NZ. I get off scot free. (Makes a change!)
We take a taxi to collect our hire car from Hertz which is to be our new mode of transport for the next 5 days. He has this magical brainwave to leave 2kg of stuff at the Marriott where we will stay (again) in Sydney. After driving around for what seemed like an eternity to find the place, we finally make the and get on our way towards Melbourne at 11am.
We pass Botany Bay which is very pretty. The freeway turns out to be not so much a motorway as an A-road with lots of traffic lights. When I am finally allowed to put my foot down we can do the amazing of 110 kph (69 mph) for very limited periods.
Observations about the driving: 1. People actually stick to the speed limits because very large fines and loss of license for 3 months are enforced rigidly. 2. Fines can also be imposed for not staying in the left lane except for overtaking. 3. For such a large country the roads are pretty lame.
We make a pit stop at Wollongong and get coffee.
After driving in the rain for a couple of hours we rethought our route. Through the mist we did see some pretty scenery - hills, fields, rivers, valleys green all around. Our original intention was to travel tbe southeastern coast on route 1 for a day and a half, stopping in coastal resorts. However it appeared we would see lots of sameness and be at it forever. So we decided to cut inland to Canberra.
Let me tell you about Kangaroo Valley Drive, Tourist route 7. Imagine a road almost 2 cars wide snaking up and down with every other bend being a hairpin. Being the driver I was unable to appreciate the views across the sheer drops - thank goodness. After about 20km we reached flatter open road.
It was plain sailing after that. The google map said that we were passing Lake George. Perhaps somebody should have told the cows who were grazing very happily on wet grass in between the puddles - maybe they were sea cows :-}
We reached Canberra and, talking of cows, the Laughing Cow website told us that there was a vegan Chinese restaurant in Dickson. So we went to the Kingsland Vegetarian Restaurant. Excellent glatt vegan. We have never seen so many kids and young families in a veggie place before.
So we now have to find a bed for the night. The only hotel/motel/guesthouse with positive reviews was the Mercure in the business centre and now that I have had a shower I feel halfway human. Good night!
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