This is the day that the girls have been looking forward to for the last 3 months – the day we collect our camper van. After packing everything up into our rucksacks, for the last time in 2 months, we carried them the ½ mile to the van rental place. After 45 minutes of paying, instruction, and the most detailed pre-rental inspection I’ve ever seen, we were off. We drove though the centre of Sydney, and then across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, on Highway 1, the Pacific Highway.
This road will take us all the way up to Cairns, 1,500 miles away, and back. Our plan is to drive up fairly quickly, and then dawdle back – we’ve got 2 months to do the full 3,000 miles (plus, I bet, an extra thousand in side trips and diversions). This schedule is also partly influenced by the weather – as its so cold and wet here, getting 1,500 miles closer to the equator will help to warm it up (that’s the distance between England and Greece). On our first day, we decided to head just north of Newcastle (120 miles north of Sydney), and then sort out everything – a big grocery shop in Woolworth (“The home of fresh”!), unpack all of our luggage and get it put away, and work out how everything in the campervan works (mmm, looking forward to working out the awning fitting). We stayed at a big campsite on the coast, at Nelson Bay, which was not the kind of place we want to be staying at in the future. It had good facilities, like a barbeque and eating area, good toilets and showers, and easy access to the beach. But it was like a housing estate – all of the vans parked close to each other in lines, all standing on concrete blocks, and with no shrubs or anything else to hide them. So in future we’ll look for much smaller sites, with less facilities but more open space.
Those of you who know us well will wonder how Sarah ever agreed to this – 2 months in what is unarguably a caravan .