22.12.2009 - 25.12.2009
In Thailand they have a saying “Same same, but different”. Which describes the similar, yet unique experience across the many hundreds of beautiful islands, and indeed that would have been the title of this blog if it wasn’t for a masterstroke of financial planning.
You see after months of intricate Thailand research, comparing thousands of island blogs & reviews against the Adam & Cheryl suitability index, we realised that a ‘cheap Thailand getaway’ was nothing of the sort… and then we thought… why not simply ‘save money’ and holiday in Australia instead! I mean there’s heaps to see here, and who doesn’t love a roadtrip?
Well needless to say, 3 months later, a new Suzuki Vitara 4WD, a touring tent that goes up and down in 30 seconds (sort of), Fibreglass Roof-Capsule and all the best camping gear, and well.. the trip didn’t exactly ‘save us’ any money, but hey we are taking a long-term view on this one, lets just that with all this ‘together time’, that our marriage lasts long enough to reap the dividends.
Planning & Strategy
Now for anyone who has worked or lived with me, they will know that I am annoyingly thorough in my planning (Cheryl, can you back me up?), a 2 week trip is normally 3-4 months research, but this time around I/we decided.. bugger it.. lets find out what happens when you ‘don’t plan the trip’, it sure saves a lot of time, and it frees us up to just hang out in each spot as long as we want.. I guess that is the beauty of having a hotel (of sorts) on the roof?
The (kinda) Great Ocean Road – Part 1
36 Degrees = Skin Cells in Trauma
We actually had a few days to kill before we could get the boat to Tasmania, so we decided to spend it in Victoria, and check out the Great Ocean Road,
It turns out that the Great Ocean Road is a kind of long affair.. and since we had time to kill, we decided to see all of it, so we started at the Torquay end and headed west, we didn’t realise that this half of the Great Ocean Road didn’t actually have any landmarks (see next blog entry), but nonetheless it is a beautiful drive, and there are heaps of moments to just pull the car up and take some snaps.
Today was 36 degrees, and like a pair of crazy brits, we managed to burn ourselves in all the wrong places, me across my scalp, because I thought I would get a ‘camp cut’ hairstyle (think Police Academy), and forgot that hair actually serves a practical function (the follically-challenged males in my family will be shaking their heads).
Our campsite for the night was Johanna Beach, and although a pleasant enough stay, I have to say that we are yet to really find that ‘idealic’ paradise place to camp, that was really the driver behind wanting to take up a camping lifestyle.
The Great Ocean Road – Part 2
Toilet Shovel Usage Count (Cumulative) = 0
So after being awake late into the night due the oppressive heat and humidity, we awake to our big day of exploring the 12 apostles (and their friends); problem was it was now overcast and raining, it had gone from a 36 degrees yesterday to 16 degrees today, and I quote the Victorian petrol station attendant when he says (with a smirk), “Enjoy our summer!”.
Still, we had a magnificent day along the Great Ocean Road, I had seen it as a kid, but the rugged beauty of this coastline is phenomenal, every pathway leads to another wonderful cove or bay, and it is interesting to hear all the stories about ships that have crashed over the years when they finally discovered land only to realise there are dangerous rock formations waiting in their path, and many many people died, not necessarily from the capsize, but when trying to find land. It’s frightening to imagine what it would be like to be floating in the freezing violent waters of Bass Straight, in the dark of night, and if you did manage to reach land, the sad reality that there is nothing but rock and rugged cliff to greet you… for there are very few beaches along this coastline.
The main dampener on this particular day was the rain and my lack of bringing a lens cleaning cloth, so most of the shots are grey or with a wet lens, and don’t do justice to this stretch of coast.. but hey.. at least we didn’t get sunburnt, and its excellent practice for the expected climate in Tasmania.
A lot of the weather had been caused by a cyclone off western Australia, and that night was a windy and cold affair, but we quite enjoyed camping by a quiet lake in the middle of Victoria with no other soles in sight.. and with all the rain, it was an excellent chance to continue our road-test of the “Shamwow™”.
Anyway, I am losing concentration, the headlamp is on, the laptop is nearly dead and this pack of Geese are running around like.. well.. Geese, and being rather obnoxious with their ‘Geese Sounds’, anyway, maybe if I go to bed… they will too..
Back to Melbourne
I am Lord of the Flies (gah I just swallowed one)
We awoke to a sedan pulling up to our lonesome lakeside campsite, and the driver was surprised that we had just spent the night in a tent.. it turns out that this fellow (lets call him Gazza for a personal touch) was the son of some local farmers, and was quite rattled because he had some large cat tracks in the nearby sand. You see the lake area is notorious for sightings of oversized black cats… cats that grew to a man’s waist in height. Needless to say this was not something I had been warned about in the camping manual!
Gazza left us, and after packing up the gear we went to check the area for ourselves, and sure enough, there really were large padded/claw tracks of a large cat like creature less than 50m from our tent. See the photo and make your own verdict:
Gazza re-appeared 30minutes later with a disposable camera to record the tracks for himself.. and you know what’s interesting… in hindsight of course... last night I had listened to a cat (that I has assumed was a domestic cat) crying out after the local geese (who as I mentioned before, were chattering all night), and also that night there had been an angry ‘something’ climbing & clawing above the tin shelter that was adjacent to our tent (which was protecting us from the rain).. I had assumed it was a possum, but it was very vocal and kind of hissed at us for a good 10 minutes before finally leaving us be, honestly looking back.. I was going to go and scare it off, but now im kind of glad I just stayed inside the tent!