After 10 days on the road, 4 locations and nearly 2,500 kms, we are now back to the “normality” of suburban home life. Funny thing is though, it doesn’t feel so normal. The biggest thing we’ve noticed is that we don’t feel the cold. We haven’t even been looking to turn the heater on until evening and have been surprised to find that we are not cold, even when the house temp guage is reading 16. I guess that’s what happens when you spend 10 days between -2 and 12 degrees. I wonder how I’ll cope back at work tomorrow.
Here is the official km tally on the Patrol.
As mentioned in previous blogs, we used the app “Wikicamps” to map out our trip and find suitable camp sites. When camping in Victoria, we tend to do bush camping with little or no facilities, and usually standing camps. Touring is another ball game as we’re heading into unfamiliar territory, and also leaving the campsite during the day to do the touristy thing. We decided to stay at places with staff as much as possible to feel better about leaving all our possessions behind when we ventured out for the day.
Here are two maps from Wikicamps. The first one is the original plan where we were going to spend the last two nights near Canberra. With so much to do and see in the Blue Mountains we opted to spend an extra day there and have a treat on the final night. Excellent choice!
We certainly did cover quite a large part of Australia on this trip, passing through many country towns, visiting some top tourist attractions, and learning lots about Australia’s history – natural history of how the land was formed, native animals and plants, our indiginous people and more modern history. Touring by car gives you a real sense of just how big our country is.
As we made our way towards Melbourne we had one final tourist destination to tick off – the submarine at Holbrook. Holbrook was once on the main arterial road between Melbourne and Sydney and many people made a point of stopping off to see the HMAS Otway – a very long way from the ocean. A few years back though, the town was bypassed for the convenience of truckers and motorists and has since seen a decline in tourism. This is evident from a number of businesses which have had to shut up shop. You can see all the relevant info on the Otway here http://holbrook.nsw.au/AboutHolbrook/Attractions/HMASOtway/tabid/416/Default.aspx
Please take time when and if you are able while touring to stop in at little towns like this and spend a few dollars, whether it be on visiting attractions, souveneirs or food. It really does make a big difference to people living there.
Of course traveling as a family has it’s ups and downs too. I used to think toddlers were hard work but teens and pre teens present different challenges – moodiness & laziness to name a couple and we did have the odd meltdown. All in all though the kids were great – they genuinely enjoyed each others company, hiking together, having a joke and a laugh, and playing outdoor and indoor games at the campsite. Jamie and I felt very proud at how they are growing from children towards adulthood. We are also really lucky to have No 1 son at home making sure all our pets, pants etc are well looked after.
As part of our reflection on the holiday I asked everyone to have a think about what their favourite parts of the trip were.
Without a doubt Adam’s highlight of was his growing snow globe collection. He got one each from The Dish, The Blue Mountains and Jenolan Caves. He already has one from Tasmania and one from Merimbula and now wants to add one from Victoria.
Brodie’s highlight was the steepest train ride in the world, which he, Jamie and I did twice. I agree it was pretty cool.
Shaye’s favourite bit was the zoo at Dubbo. I asked her what particular part or animal and she said definitely the siamangs. Another wonderful memory.
Jamie found it really hard to choose his favourite part. We did so much in a short space of time and it was all awesome. Secretly though I think driving the Mount Panorama circuit at Bathurst ranked pretty high, even though he couldn’t go very fast with a trailer in tow.
For me, the choice is also tough but I think the winner has to be the sheer breathtaking beauty of the Blue Mountains and all the jaw dropping vistas on offer. Seriously – you have to see it in person to believe it. The sheer scale is mind blowing. Jenolan Caves comes a close second – again because it was simply breathtaking. I was so happy that a good friend sold me a wide angle lens the day before we left – without it my photos wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good.
Blogging from the road has also been a new experience for me. I’m new to blogging full stop and thought I’d experiment. When we were in Tasmania last year I kept a daily journal which I then made into a keepsake book. I think blogging was a good way to reflect upon each day, as well as share our travels with family and friends while the memories were still fresh. Having my laptop and plenty of battery power for charging, these blogs were usually done around the campfire in the evenings. Lucky we were in internet range the whole trip – on future journeys we may not be so lucky.
Finally – a note on our rig. When we decided to buy a camper trailer we went and checked out lots of different products. In the end we couldn’t go past the GIC Black Series Alpha when it came to features and value for money. Fully off road capable, it will take us places many people will never reach by conventional vehicle. This particular model also has extensive lockable storage arounf the outside of the trailer – not available on most models. Wer are looking forward to racking up many, many more miles with this baby. http://blackseriescampertrailers.com.au
Today’s was the only blog I didn’t do on the day. With all the hustle and bustle of coming home and the associated mountain of washing (which proved to be too much for our already ailing machine), I decided to wait a day and reflect on the trip before putting electronic pen to paper. As one chapter closes, another one opens and we are now talking about where the next adventure may be. For now though, I think it’s time for a well deserved bath.