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Published: January 28th 2008
Hello folks! Bet you're all glad to hear from us, I can just imagine you all biting your nails, losing sleep, constantly wondering whether we made it to Adelaide or were stranded in the desert living with the Nullarbor Nymph and the kangeroos! (Google it:P) Well it's good news, we did make it to Adelaide and left Western Australia for the first time in a lot of months! We had a few adventures and many more hours of very boring driving - it's a bloody long drive and we did it in 3 days which is nothing for a trucker but a lot of driving hours for poor Ben!
Our first 2 days were pretty uneventful, no camel sightings but lots of dead kangaroos - the way the road trains charge down the road at nighttime poor little Kanga and Roo have absolutely no chance of hopping away intact. We stopped a few times on the 2nd day to look at the Great Australian Bight, apparently the longest line of sea cliffs in Australia - not quite the white cliffs of Dover though eh? Our big Nullarbor adventure came on the 3rd and last day (so close!) when, 7kms from
a roadhouse (we had stopped to get me some bacon and eggs - yum!) when our car started flashing warning lights like a disco with very flashy lights. Our reliable old Smoky Belle had decided to bust her alternator belt (after we had had it replaced 2 weeks previously!). We stopped the car, hitchhiked back to the roadhouse and spent a pretty large sum of money getting the car towed back and fixed. But it was an adventure - after all the jokes we actually did break down on the Nullarbor!! But we made it, (now we are in Melbourne actually - I wrote that last bit a while ago:P).
It's been yonks since the last blog and we've been up to quite a lot since then so I'll give you the highlights, if you wanna see everything we've done look at the photos if we ever send them home, got a new camera for Chrissy so we've been rather snap happy since Perth! It's also only 3 months and a week until we grace ye olde Englande again so maybe we'll tell you about it face to face! Don't worry we'll try not to be boring:S! Everyone can
take us out and buy us drinks when we get home hows about that - I don't think we're gonna have a penny to our names! I'm dying for a Kronenbourg but I reckon it might taste pretty rank after all these nice imitation English ale but actually more like a lager Aussie beers that we've become rather fond of! Soooo.... highlights!
We went swimming with them! As a birthday present from Ben's sister we decided to go crazy and do one of those things that we always say.. hmmmm.. well we can't really afford it....hmm! It was a really really really great experience and something I think we will remember for many years to come. Sealions are such incredibly beautiful animals, and so graceful underwater. The more that you swam underwater the more they would play with you, until they were replicating your somersaults and dives only inches from you, looking you in the eye the whole time! You weren't allowed to touch them but they were allowed to touch you, one swam right up to me and touch my curled up fist with its nose, all very very special. You can't really
put it all into words very well (Ben would do a better job than me!), but it was wicked. There was one sealion called Football (named after his shape as a baby!) who was able to be touched, we both had a quick stroke but it was a bit of a hugging fest and I did feel a bit sorry for the poor pup, but he must have been enjoying it as he could have swam away at any time - they were wild! After the sealions we swam with dolphins, which I guess is an experience in itself - but compare to the sealions it was a bit like "shall we swim with dolphins now? Yeah, guess so.." How spoilt are we! The dolphins were massive and very beautiful, but they swam under us then buggered off - I don't blame them! This time we were in shark infested waters so it was all a bit less laid back than the sheltered sea lions - with people wearing shark repelling electronic thingys and all sorts.
Eventually we chugged into South Australia's capital, Adelaide. We found a good campsite just outside the city and did
our touristy stuff. The city of Adelaide was impressive, lots of old buildings, parks etc etc, and some good studenty pubs. A bit more like a city than Perth but less going on in the suburbs. A note of warning - don't go to Port Adelaide - it's rubbish!! Our main Adelaide adventure occurred on our second day, when we returned from sightseeing to find the area around our tent chocablock with fire engines and police! Our belongings had narrowly missed either melting or exploding from a bushfire that swept past the campsite - thank god for the wind! It was all very exciting, the whole area was evacuated and given free drinks at the pub all afternoon (damn!) - we even got interviewed by the local paper the next day, Ben cleverly told them he would jump into the swimming pool if there was another fire - intelligent!!!
We also heard our first koalas in Adelaide - they sound very very strange! Ben thought it was kids mucking about when we were kept awake by a male koala chatting away all blimming night in the tree above our tent! We got temporarily adopted by a family staying nearby,
who fed us beer, toast and pancakes - super! On our last day we went to Chinatown and I had an all you can eat meal for $5 (less than 2 squids 50 pence) and to that I say bring it on!
Coorong Wilderness Lodge
The Coorong is a National Park just south east of Adelaide, and the reason for our trip there was a stay on an Aboriginal Education camp. We had a good time and learnt a hell of a lot of things that are really just kept hidden from you when you travel amongst white Australians - and things that every white Australian should know. We didn't join in the Australia Day celebrations on January 26th, it seemed so wrong after what we now know and pretty damn awful that a nation celebrates a day which was in essence an invasion, without even apologising for the atrocities that the indigenous people suffered from that day just over 200 years ago - not a very long time. I could go on but I won't, lets just say that aboriginals have a bad image in Australia because a small majority are troublemakers, drinking on the streets, fighting
etc - and considering the terrible things that have happened to them so very recently I really can't blame them for being pretty messed up. Things are getting better though, and 30 years ago aboriginals were actually classed as citizens of their own country - took 200 years to get to that stage tho! Anyway, we had a good time and as I said learnt a lot.
We stayed in a former olympic cabin instead of our tent because with the wind being as it was we may well have flown off into the sky Bedknobs and Broomsticks style! But we paid the same amount as we would have for a tent site so it was a right treat sleeping in a bed with a roof and door!!! In the morning we went for a bush tucker walk where we learnt you could eat an awful lot of things that grown on bushes, and what to eat if you get a cold.
- If anyone has the chance, actually, actively seek this documentary down: "A Secret Country" by John Pilger
Ben here now, relieving the fatigued typing fingers of Sarah. Righto, Mt Gambier, cast the
mind back.. there we go.
Mount Gambier has a lake, called blue lake, that is incredibly blue. I apologise for their being no picture, there's probably some on the internet somewhere though, we have lost our cable thing in the mountain of random stuff that lives in our car, but hopefully next time. But yes, the lake was an incredible colour, really vivid, like someone was messing with your eyes. This town is a built on an extinct volcano, with lots of lakes, caves and sinkholes. One night we camped (or rather, parked our car and slept in it) next to a sinkhole, full of very clear and clean, but massively deep water, that we had a lovely refreshing early morning dip in after the stuffiness of the sleep in the car. We then walked up to the top of the volcano and looked down on the lakes and the spectacular view. We explored the area and saw one foolish child taunting a swan. His parents didn't seem to be around, so we thought about teaching this kid what he was doing was wrong and stupid - Sarah told him about the stupid bit as, as we all know,
swans can break your arm with a flap of their wings, but he paid no attention, and then the swan chased him, and the last we saw off him was him running full pelt across the park with an angry swan close behind. Well done that swan. (In the end the swan flew away without making contact with the boy, but hopefully a valuable lesson was learnt). We then saw a sunken cave that was smack bang in the middle of town, and was pretty incredible, but of course, being in a town, someone had thoughtfully thrown a shopping trolley down into the entrance, along with lots of other rubbish, which spoiled it a bit. Some people. And then we went to another sinkhole/cave that had been made into a beautiful garden, 20 metres or so below ground. Yes, Mt Gambier was an interesting and beautiful place (not the buildings or the people, but the stuff that was there before the people and the buildings), and i had the best pineapple fritter i have ever ever had (although i've only had maybe 6 or 7, all here in Australialand), but mmm mmm, it was super duper. (i have pineapple fritter and chips when sarah has fish and chips - the healthy option!)
The next night we camped next to a river (and a main road on the other side) and it had trees with rope swings where you could swing right out over the water, which i enjoyed immensely. I didn't jump into the water though as it was a bit chilly, being the evening, and it was a bit murky. And that night there was a full moon that reflected just perfectly on the river, which didn't then but does now make me think of Swindon and the moonraker story.
Nearly there guys, sorry. All these words and no pictures, we'll get our acts together for next time.
So the Grampians, a beautiful mountain range (not that tall though really) named, rather inventively, after The Grampians in Scotland, by a Scottish bloke a while ago, who thought it was a great idea to give them a new name of a place that already exists, rather than find out the name that has been used for thousands of years (which i've forgot, sorry).
Anyway, it was an incredible area. We did some walks through 'the bush', through gorges, leading to waterfalls, up the hills/mountains, up rocky scrambles. We enjoyed two days of good exercise, brilliant views and beautiful surrounds. Also there is a bakery in the town that sits in the middle of these ranges that does apparently the best veggie pastie in Australia, or maybe Victoria (the state). And i had two and they were the best veggie pasties i've had since a very long time ago. Well done that bakery. Sitting outside underneath trees eating our pasties, Sarah got poohed on by a bird (it hit her on the leg), and it was very runny, and quite funny. Funny too that it wasn't that long ago that a very clever bird (in Albany) managed to poo through a diagonal gap of the car door being slightly open, to land on Sarah again that time! She sure has had her fair share of bird poo accidents - it must be my turn now. I'll be watching these birds very carefully!
After that was the Great Ocean Road, leading us to Melbourne, but we'll save that for next time, and we'll also have Melbourne exploits possibly involving Neighbours cast, maybe.
Only 3 and a bit months til we're back! Crazy, time has really flown by, like the birds that fly over Sarah, and poo. ha ha.
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