Our last night in Australia called for a special meal – and after three months of seeing it on the menu, I decided that I should try one of the “Bush Foods”. At the café of the Aboriginal centre in the Grampians they offered a ‘triple treat’ of Kangaroo Steak, Emu kebab and Crocodile burger […]Read more "I feel like Skippy tonight…like Skippy tonight…"
Another day of sightseeing today – our last day in Australia – before packing our rucksacks ready for them to be thrown around an aircraft hold (or is it on the tarmac they do the damage?). Whatever, we had a great last day. The sun shone. The sky was kind-of-blue (when the clouds parted). And […]Read more "Fantastic Sydney!"
It’s great to be back in Sydney again, and to be somewhere we are familiar with. Yesterday was spent shopping and replacing some more of our worn-out clothes – new bikinis for all the girls, new boots for me! And today was exploring day – walking around and about the city to see the sights. […]Read more "Around and about Sydney"
Finally, after 14 hours driving, we drove back into Sydney. Although it wasn’t strictly necessary to drive across the Harbour Bridge, we did it anyway to mark our return to the city! It had been a long, very hot drive, and we were all relieved to arrive. In the campervan the girls had enjoyed the […]Read more "Back in Sydney"
We’ve made it!!! We’ve all successfully survived a month in a cabin as an extended family together. For Charlotte and Emily, it’s meant that they’ve had their grandparents around all the time – and therefore lots of treats and ice-creams, and somebody to appeal to when Mummy and Daddy said “No” to something. For Sarah […]Read more "Breaking up!"
Note to self: Don’t ever, ever have another New Year Resolution that is “Try something new soon”. Well, it’s a new year, and we’re keen to do new things and explore new places still. So yesterday, after our coffee, we signed ourselves up for a 2 hour “Abseiling for the Nervous Beginner” course. Charlotte was […]Read more "Time to break a New Year resolution!"
It seems that it was only a few weeks ago that we were leaving home, and setting off on our trip. And then, when we think back to our time in Canada, it seems ages ago. Whatever, it has now been almost six months since we packed up our rucksacks and set off into the […]Read more "Happy New Year!"
Although we’ve been in Australia for 3 months, we’ve not really seen very much about the Aboriginal culture, and so we went to Brambuk Aboriginal cultural centre in the Grampians today. As well as the usual things (glass cases full of 200 year old didgeridoos and boomerangs) which museums love and kids hate, they’d also […]Read more "Rock Art"
We got out and about in the cars today, to see some of the sights of the Grampians. We drove up the top of a couple of mountains to the viewpoints (talk about making it easy!), and then walked to a couple of waterfalls. Although it is now summer here there’s still water coming over […]Read more "A day trip into the Grampians"
Well, after spending a day in and around the cabin, we thought we should go for a walk today, and work off the excesses of Christmas (how many people at home will have done exactly the same!). As you’ll have seen from the photos of the last 5 months, we haven’t done anywhere near as […]Read more "Boxing Day – time for a walk!"
25th December in Australia – a Christmas Day like no other (for us at least!). First thing was a bit like normal – presents under our tacky tree, but only for the girls. Gloria and Michael had carried a suitcase over from England, which was full of Charlotte and Emily’s presents from them and our […]Read more "Merry Christmas: Swimming in a Winter Wonderland"
We left the coast today, and headed inland to the Grampian mountains. A month ago we’d booked a cabin on the shores of Lake Fyans for Christmas and New Year – we’d been warned that as soon as Boxing Day arrives it gets incredibly busy, and most people book 6 months ahead for the sites […]Read more "t’was the night before Christmas…"
With the weather improving each day, we headed out to Tower Hill Nature Reserve today, which is inside the crater of an old volcano along the coast. Along the rim of the crater emus wandered around, ignoring our presence. It feels really strange walking close to animals that you would normally only meet in a […]Read more "Tower Hill Reserve"
Like almost everybody else, we spent the last Saturday before Christmas doing the shopping! In Australia, most smaller shops close around lunchtime on Saturday, even in the cities, so we only had a short time to get our shopping done. We were only after a few small Christmas presents for the girls (aware of the […]Read more "The last Saturday before Christmas…"
Finally, after seven days at Marengo Headlands, we’re heading off up the coast. After feeling that my feet were growing roots, it was a relief to pack everything back in the car and set off. Although the weather continues to be a bit overcast, it is broken up by occasional spells where the sun breaks […]Read more "The shipwreck coast"
When it rains, and we’re confined indoors, the cabin can seem a bit small – especially if the children decide to play a noisy game. But when the rain stops, and we can go outside, its great to be able to get onto the beach, or go for a walk. Today, after some early morning […]Read more "Water, water everywhere"
Melbourne has a reputation as the “changeable weather capital of Australia”, and now we’ve been in the area for a couple of weeks, we know how true that is. Every day seems to dawn bright and with blue skies, then deteriorate towards either too high temperatures, or in the opposite direction to cold winds and […]Read more "Victoria – 3 seasons every day"
Today was another day of rainforest and walks. After a picnic lunch and a short trek, we went to the Otway Fly, about 40 miles from Apollo Bay. This is a treetop walkway, suspended between huge metal poles up to 45 metres above the ground. They very kindly used a metal grid for the floor, […]Read more "The Otway Fly"
We’re staying in Merango, a mile from Apollo Bay, which has got the sea on one side, and the Otway State Park on the other. The coast here is lovely – sandy beaches in the bays, with rocky headlands in-between – and is great for rock pooling (yesterday evening at low tide we found hundreds […]Read more "The Otway forest"
When you’re travelling around Australia with a group of six people, you have to work a little harder to find the right kind of accommodation, at the right price. Fortunately, we found cabins, which are basically wooden or prefabricated buildings, which are all over the coast in Australia. Sometimes they’re either on their own or […]Read more "Cabin Fever"
For the next couple of weeks we’re going to be driving the Great Ocean Road, which was built by unemployed ex-servicemen after the First World War. Today we explored the stretch from Anglesea to Lorne – about 20 miles – which wound along a coastline dotted with beach houses. Some of the houses are older […]Read more "The Great Ocean Road"
Over the last five months of travel, I have mostly been myself, but I’ve begun to get used to having a few aliases. In Canada, when we were filming with the BBC, we’d asked Amanda from the BBC to confirm our accommodation bookings, so that we had hostel rooms in the same town as the […]Read more "Mr Fraudster – part 2"
What can we say – birthdays can’t get much better than this, can they? Surrounded by the ones you love, and who love you, spending the day on a sunny beach, surrounded by smiles, and with nice presents and cards. And we spent the day celebrating – flowers, birthday cake, sparklers, and then dinner out, […]Read more "Who’s the Birthday Girl?"
We’re starting the drive along the Great Ocean Road, the world’s second most beautiful drive (according to the literature from the local tourist board). Although it can be done in a couple of days, we’re planning to take a couple of weeks, by staying 4 or 5 days in various towns, and basically taking it […]Read more "The Great Ocean Road"
It definitely feels like we’re on a seaside holiday! Today we went sightseeing to the surf beaches, watching the locals ride the waves while tucking into a picnic on the beach. Australians love to get to the coast at the weekend, and on a Friday and Saturday night the camp sites fill up with people […]Read more "En vacation, en famille"
We all left Melbourne behind us today, and headed to the coast near Geelong (30 miles south of Melbourne, sandwiched between the sea and the Philip Bay which stretches all the way from the city). We also left behind all traces of accommodation luxury, and checked into a family cabin at the Pelican Beach caravan […]Read more "To the coast"
Let me explain the situation – I’ve arrived back in Melbourne a day early, having driven 600 miles in the last 36 hours, and flying back at midnight. Sarah and the girls have had a couple of days to spend time with her parents – they’re in the 5-star Windsor, and Sarah’s in a nice […]Read more "Welcome home darling!"
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 […]Read more "The Van"
By 6:30 this morning, we’d all roused ourselves from bed, got dressed, packed up the camper van and driven out the Melbourne Airport to meet Sarah’s parents as they arrived from the UK. You know how it is – you step off a long flight, and walk blearily through the terminal. But not for the […]Read more "Picking up the parents, and dropping off the hired van"
We’ve heard the line a few times in the last week – once when we re-met somebody we’d originally met in Fiji; then yesterday when we met a family that are spending 6 months going around the world, who saw us on TV the night before they left the UK (apparently we gave them a […]Read more "“Don’t I know you from somewhere?”"
Well, for the first time in 2 months we’re in a big city – and a confusing one at that! We bypassed Brisbane, so this will our first ‘real’ city since Sydney at the beginning of October. And it was a nightmare – the traffic was all over the place, especially after being used to […]Read more "Melbourne – arriving back in a big city"
We called today “Tom Day” in honour of our good friend Tom, who thinks that this year is just one long holiday, and who sees nothing arduous at all in our year of travel. So in honour of Tom, we decided to call any “day off” a Tom Day. So we’ve had a total slackers […]Read more "Oh I do like to be beside the seaside ?"
We’ve seen quite a lot of wildlife in the wild while we’ve been in Australia – kangaroo, emu, eagle, dingo, parrot, crocodile, tree kangaroo, platypus, wallaby, cockatoo, blue tongued lizard, koala, snakes, monitor lizard, iguana, possum, shark, whale, brumby (wild horse), turtle, dolphin, tree-frog, cane-toad and probably others. But today the highlight was spotting an […]Read more "Wildlife-tastic!"
Today we left Pambulla and drove around the south coast into Victoria, and to a village called Lake Tyree. We’ve just gone through 8,000 kilometres of driving here in Australia – added together with all of the other driving we’ve done on the trip so far, it works out at 11,000 miles. That means we’ve […]Read more "Driving round the world"
We’re sitting in the seaside town of Pambula Beach – well, it’s a village with a shop and a petrol station, but here in Australia that counts for a town (you should see what counts as a city!). The good news for us is that the weather is improving, and although its still cool, the […]Read more "Going south"
We’re convinced that Australians and Americans are the same thing – sure their accents are a bit different, and their countries are in different hemispheres, but there are waaaay too many similarities to them. Remember I wrote that nobody ever remembers who came second. Well, that isn’t quite true. In the table of “Countries clearing […]Read more "Coming Second"
According to the Guinness Book of Records, we’ve been staying on the “Whitest Beach in the World”. But sadly we’ve been staying here (Huskisson in Jervis Bay) on the greyest days of the year – it has rained virtually non-stop for three days (There, that’s a bunch of you smiling with a very smug grin, […]Read more "The whitest beach in the world – not"
Well, although we’re not the biggest rugby fans in the world (I don’t even understand the rules), there seemed to be only one thing to do today, after all of the Pom-bashing in the papers. We decided to go completely overboard and put our head into the metaphorical lion’s mouth – by painting our faces […]Read more "Like Christians to the coliseum"
Tired and frustrated with all the Pom-bashing going on over here for the rugby World Cup final, we thought we’d get in the spirit. So today we’ve tarted up the van with a nice logo and tomorrow it’ll be the turn of the face paints. Oh, and a nice official England RWC T-Shirt and hat […]Read more "C’mon England"
In one of those curious coincidences that turns into a treat for the girls, we drove back into Jervis Bay this afternoon (where we’ve been staying since Thursday night) at the same time as the official weigh in for the “White Beach fishing competition”. They were catching Meiko sharks, and when we arrived they were […]Read more "Shark!"
We continued to drive south, through Dubbo (nope, don’t think there’s a town with that name in the UK), and stopping for lunch and sightseeing at Parkes Radio Telescope. Perhaps, if we’d not seen the film “The Dish”, we’d have driven straight past, but who could resist visiting a film star, and the place where […]Read more "Dishy!"
We woke up on Monday morning (the 17th) to strong winds and grey clouds, and the forecast of rain for three days. So we packed up, and instead of staying for a few more days at Arakoon, set off inland. Before we left the coast we called into the local library in Kempsey town to […]Read more "Still inland"
We’re staying in the Arakoon State Park, which is a great place to stay – the campsite is spaced out, and pretty quiet normally (although its busier today because it is the weekend), and there’s plenty of space for tents, plus a dozen spots with power for caravans and camper vans (basically, we pull up […]Read more "A Prison, a park and a beach – what more could you want?"
We’ve now driven almost 4,000 miles in 5 weeks, so the picture on the left is what I’ve been looking at for a long time now. It seems amazing to both Sarah and I that Charlotte and Emily have adjusted so well to travelling around so much. They seem happy sitting for hours in the […]Read more "Still driving"
Since visiting the zoo, we’ve been driving down the coast again, leaving Queensland and heading into New South Wales, covering a further 400 miles. We’re now at a campsite at Mount Warning, inland from the coast. The site is in a field bordered by the edge of the forest, and is basically a big open […]Read more "Mount Warning"
We’ve finally arrived at the Australia Zoo, home of Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter. The visit was part of Emily’s birthday present, but just before going in she told us that she didn’t really want to see any crocodiles, which makes up 60% of what’s in the zoo! (Actually Emily told us that she didn’t […]Read more "Crikey! Nice necklace!"
This morning we woke up to Emily’s birthday – and like Charlotte she was excited to open her presents and cards, including some from home. We’ve had to choose presents carefully, as when we leave the camper van next month we’ll be back to carrying everything in our rucksacks – so most things will be […]Read more "Emily’s Birthday day"
Today was spent driving from Emerald to Roma. On the way out of Emerald we found yet another example of the ‘Big’ phenomena – the Big Easel. The small picture doesn’t really do it justice – so the one below gives better context. There’s something strange in the Australian character that makes them create these […]Read more "Another Outback day"
For the last day we’ve been driving through the Outback. Although our drive up north was entirely along the coast, we wanted to see some of the inland of Australia as well, so we opted to turn inwards from Mackay, and drive down for a few hundred kilometers through the inland areas. Pretty soon we […]Read more "Heading through the Outback"
Today was an antidote to yesterday – a day full of excitement and a bit of adventure! We’d booked a trip to the outer Great Barrier Reef from Airlie Beach. Run by a company called FantaSea, it involved a 2½ hour catamaran trip out to a floating reef platform moored just off reef miles out […]Read more "Great Barrier Reef – Part 2"