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Published: April 4th 2008
Firstly we would like to apologise for the amount of time it has taken to create a new blog, but i'm sure you are all very patient people and don't mind the wait! We have done a lot in the last 2 weeks so we will put it all in this blog to save time.
After a 6 hour flight with no sleep we arrived in Melbourne to be greeted by Adam (2nd Cousin). We were taken back to his house where we met Hanna, Rob and Emma and of course Angel the hyperactive dog! After a much needed sleep and shower we were treated to a huge lunch with Beer to help wash it down. Still feeling a little tired we felt the only way to reinvigerate ourselves was to use the hot tub........it worked a treat. This was aparently one of the slightly cooler days in the heat wave, in fact, this was probably our only hot day in Australia so far. We have brought the rain with us from England.
On Monday we went to Pete and Sandy's (Great uncle & Auntie) house for some tea (Beer) and cakes. We met Sarah and Rachel which was
nice and got to meet all the new Kittens. Hoping that on our return we will see them again for a big BBQ and get together.
We picked up the van on the Tuesday. We expected quite a basic camper, and we really were not wrong. We have christened her Doris, and each day we grow much fonder of her. It's what you call a developing relationship! We have a bed - quite comfortable, a sink which pumps water and a gas bottle with a stove on top. What more could we ask for... We took her for a spin to the mountains (James was brave enough to drive her first) where we parked on a hill when we were lost...big mistake....the handbrake didnt work so we were nearly rolling back down. Luckily the foot brake works fine and she has a lot of power in 1st and 2nd so she does just fine on hill starts!
Our first stop was at a lovely pub in the forest near Mt Dandenong where they opened up especialy for us so we could have a lovely cup of tea (how English). By the end of the day we both got
used to Doris's habits both bad and good!
The next day we went to Lake Lysterfield for a walk. This place was beautiful and we got to see our first Kangaroos, we were really close and we think that they were starting to threaten us so we moved on quite quickly.
After a day in the city.....in the pooring rain, we decided the next day we would see Peg and Rob (great Uncle & Auntie) and discuss our trip. They have done something similar and were able to give us some great advice as well as some maps. It was really lovely to see them again and see their new house.
On Saturday we drove down to Phillip Island where we stayed at Rob and Pegs Holiday Home right next to the beach. We went to a Koala reserve and saw them up close. We also saw a wallaby and its baby in the grasslands around the sanctuary. After a walk on the beach, we returned to the house to see Adam, Hanna, Emma and her boyfriend Mark. We all went out for a lovely meal where James tried his first oyster.
That evening we drove
to 'The Penguin Parade', which is where you watch the Fairy Penguins venture from the sea in large groups and make a dash for the land. We saw so many, including one group which was reluctant to make the journey through the two stadiums full of people ( japanese tourists!) rushing to get a closer look, and scaring the poor penguins. It took them about an hour to finally get to their nests.
We Left Phillip Island to start our journey on Monday morning and decided to head straight through Melbourne and on to Lorne. The Van held up very well and we made it through the hilly streets around St Kilda without any hastle. Kayley took over just after and had to endure the freeway all the way to Geelong before driving to the begining of the great ocean road at Lorne. As you can see from the pictures and video this place was absolutely amazing and was so fun to drive.....just a shame it was a big bulky van and not a sports car! Our first night was a free camp site in a national park which gave us a chance to try our cooking equiptment!
James & Adam
The next morning we headed along this incredible road seeing waterfalls, forest, ocean, beaches and cliffs. We crammed in lots this day and saw the 12 Apostles (not so many now), Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge and The Grotto. Our next night was at Port Campbell where we woke up to some pretty strong winds. This was the start of an awfull days driving!
The weather really was terrible and we were forced to stop a few times because visability was soo poor. We later found out that it was a cyclone which had hit Perth and was making it's way across Australia towards Tasmania. It was certainly a test for our driving. We made it in one piece, somewhat exhausted to Mount Gambier, where we decided to stay in a campsite. There were signs everywhere advising to park away from trees because of the strong winds. The rain was our biggest problem and the angles kept changing so wherever we parked the water came through the air con unit. We asked the owner if we could use their big shed that was used to store farm machinary so for that night our little van was parked under a
corregated iron roof next to a tractor and countless spider webs!
The next morning the storm had passed and we made our way to the Blue Lake and Sunken Gardens. These places were amazing and well worth the visit. The Blue Lake is an incredible colour which at this time of the year should be Grey, but because of the hot weather that they have had over the last few weeks it had tured a beautiful shade of turquoise.
We decided to really press on in the afternoon as we had lost so much distance the day before in the storm. We got to Adelaide (after 500 km!) and headed for the nearest fish and chip shop! After a healthy meal of chips and gravy we headed to a campsite listed in the lonely planet guide. We arrived at about 7pm and found out that the reception closed at 5pm. We quickly made our way to the next campsite - no space! While James was listening to the night manager give countless directions over a speaker phone to the nearest other option, a lady and her husband who were nearby said we could use their drive. After accepting
this incredible piece of kindness we followed them to a lovely house and parked on their lawn. We were invited in for some tea and snacks and we met the dog that they are training to be a guide dog. This in it self is something to be respected. We were invited for breakfast also and were treated to fresh fruit, tea, coffee, crumpets and poached eggs. The hospitality we were shown when we needed a bit of help was amazing and this really was an act of kindness we will never forget!
So we are now in Adelaide and plan to head to the Barossa Valley this afternoon. we will be heading to the outback soon so we dont know when we will add another blog. Please be patient and keep adding comments.
Hope you are all well, Lots of love from James & Kayley.
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