Last night, when I called the hire firm to arrange to drop the van off earlier than booked, at the end of this afternoon, I discovered that I’d made a big mistake – I was already a day late! So instead of having three days to get to Sydney, I had zero days – and every day was costing me a penalty fee. Whoops. And that’s why I drove 400 miles yesterday in horrible weather, instead of taking it more easily. It left me with about 200 miles to drive today, into the Sydney rush hour. Today started at 5.45am, as I drove off the campsite and back onto the dual carriageway. And there’s not really a lot to say about the rest of the drive – except that I found out that Sydney’s rush hour is pretty slow going, even on the toll roads. But by 10:30, I’d made it into town, cleaned the van (the company insist on vans being cleaned inside and out before returning them), and delivered the van back in the same condition I picked it up in – but with an extra 6,000 miles on the clock. It has really been a long road trip over the last two months, but even though we’ve driven so far we’ve still barely scratched the surface of the country.
After such a manic trip I decided to treat myself to a flight back to Melbourne, so that I had to spend just an hour and a half in the air, rather than 12 hours on a coach overnight (splurged on the £45 flight, over the £24 coach!). That means that instead of getting back to Sydney on Friday as expected, I’ll get there late tonight (Wednesday).
So I called Sarah to let her know, and asked her to arrange accommodation for me when I get to the hostel. As she wasn’t at the hostel, I tracked her down in her parents room, down the road in the Windsor Hotel. Somehow the Nunnery wasn’t good enough for her, and they’d decamped for the day down there. I phoned as they had their mouths full, devouring the cream tea that room service had delivered. While I spent the rest of the day browsing the shops in Sydney for Sarah’s birthday present (Do you think she’ll like the “Koala” Hat, complete with ears and dangly koala-nose?).
The journey home was uneventful, apart from the airport being closed for an hour because of huge electrical storms, and I finally got back to the hostel in Melbourne at midnight – more about what happened then tomorrow!