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Published: November 21st 2010
We had spent weeks in the rain and cold that was hitting Melbourne searching for a van that was suitable to carry all four of us. Finally after receiving a complete clean out, new upholstery and curtains Hilda Hiace was born. Our leaving day was Sunday. The plan was to help Gemma and Kieran move to their new apartment then be off on out merry way… well that was the plan anyway. What actually happened was we helped Gemma and Kieran move then decided that it would be a good idea to have a BBQ and a few drinks on their balcony. A new plan was formed to wake up bright and early and leave on Monday, head over to Dandenong to buy our bike rack and find a camp ground. Monday morning came and Hilda had other ideas… she wouldn’t start! After calling round we couldn’t find a mechanic to come till Tuesday. Disappointed there was only one thing for it… we has a BBQ and a few drinks on the balcony! Tuesday morning at 8am the mechanic came and quickly diagnosed Hilda with a poorly starter motor. After many phone calls he finally found a suitable donor, it seems
that Hilda being an older lady new parts are not made anymore. By 3 o clock we were ready to go. The trouble was that it was Melbourne Cup day. This is the day when Australia gets the day off to partake in the much loved pass time of gambling! Since we wouldn’t be able to pick up the bike rack today we used our camps 5 book to find a free campsite near(ish) to Dandenong. Camps 5 is the backpackers bible, listing most free and cheep campsites in Australia. We drove to Kurth Kiln National park which is in the hills east of Melbourne. On our journey we were pleasantly surprised to see the scenery change from City sky scrapers to what looked like Welsh farmland then onto roads reminiscent of Scotland. As darkness started to settle we turned off the main road onto a gravel road heading into the forest. Eventually we came to a clearing with many other vans and tents, found our spot and started to set up for the first time. We then proceeded to spend a tense hour searching for the lantern which in out haste to pack could be anywhere in the van.
After a few stern words the lantern was finally found and we made our way to the sites facilities. The camps 5 book is good in that it also lists what facilities are available at any site, however it is not in much detail, therefore when we found the only toilets available we long drop toilets with cobwebs and a rather unsavoury smell we were a little disappointed. I say we, I actually mean me - well girls don’t have the option of standing at a distance from said smelly toilet! Back in Hilda we closed the door on what was starting to be a very rainy night, had a few glasses of wine and played cards (I played Andy lost badly) When it was time for bed, the realisation that we had left a little unprepared set in when we couldn’t figure out how to set up the bed…. I think it will take us a few days to get used to this backpacking malarkey!
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