Sunday, April 30, 2006

day six - Apollo Bay to Melbourne

Another wet start to the day and the same intermittent raining and sun all day. It was a fun day which saw us hook up with my cousin Pete and family in Kilsyth at the very edge of Melbourne. We left the Melbourne Zoo at 5.30 on a Friday night in the rain and had a slow but very civil journey on the Eastern Motorway. Got to love the Aussie drivers. Anyway, what did we see? We went to Lorne and had a cuppa...another dud I am afraid. A couple of chicks hanging out in Lorne
Headed along the very gorgeous coastline through all the lovely bays. Saw the 'house on the stick' which is used in the McCains pizza ad. Lighthouse at Airey's Inlet. Made up for the fac that we got to Cape Otway lighthouse and decided not to go and find the lighthouse due to the cost and the fact that the heavens opened.

We also stopped at the legendary Bell's Beach which was hugely exciting. They were setting up for the Rip Curl Pro which added to the air of excitiment.On the way out of Torquay all the outlet stores and was itching to get in there and spend money but we kept on moving. Bollards on the waterfront in Geelong
We stopped for a sandwich in Geelong but didnt do any exploring because N was asleep in the back. The we headed for the zoo.
Melbourne Zoo is just lovely although the elephant's were elusive and the tiger was playing hard to get. We had a great time in the Butterfly House and checking out some of the other treats. Nicholas really enjoyed it which was his reward for being sensationally good in the back seat of the car for 6 days. Lovely boy!

day five - Port Campbell to Apollo Bay

Yep, raining again. Didn't travel a huge distance today but saw lots and had a good day. There were a couple of highlights. Being the being the begining of the Great Ocean Road, we ran in to the 12 Apostles...what is left of them. And running was also what we did as it was really wet and windy. Nice to see but not what you get on the post is our version.

The other highlight was the detour we took off the coast in to the Otway National Park to experience the Otway Fly which is a private enterprise consisting of a series of metal paths set up through a 'rain forest'. It was fun. I was really proud of Nicholas because he climed tot he top of the 45m tower which had an external spiral staircase. I couldn't do it which was a shame. We were really excited about going to Apollo Bay, being N's middle name but it was raining and we ended up with pretty ordinary accomodation. Still it had a spa batch so we filled it with bubbles and poured a glass of wine and all was great.

Nicholas at the top of the tower as the sun came out.

Friday, April 21, 2006

day four - Mt Gambier to Port Campbell

Raining. I guess when a place is green and lush you have to expect it is because it rains a lot. Simple. We left the pit of hell Jayco cabin early. Never again can I stay in a place with artifical wood walls, floors and ceilings. Anyway, we got on the road and headed towards the coast again. The weather was pretty rubbish and reminded us of the Western Isles of Scotland. Here are some pictures that might give you some idea of what it was like. Still gorgeous to look at even through the rain.

It doesn't look that wet in these photos because the weather was moving very fast and we managed to get these shots between torrid shows. It was amazingly windy. This photo shows the most amazingly steep boat ramp ever. You have to have a 4WD and real guts to launch here.

Our journey for the day went down the Princes Highway and our first stop was Port Fairy. We decided to bypass Portland due to the rain. Port Fairy was gorgeous even in the rain. I did some speed shopping at a gorgeous little shoe shop called 'If the shoe fits' and bought two pairs of shoes. I can see this is a lovely town with two distinct types of residents.

On the way there we came across the Codrington Wind Farm. It was really windy so the farm was going for gold.

We were fascinated by this and were excited about getting a closer look but the 'tours' place was closed. Here is the website which is worth looking at. Codrington Wind Farm

Next stop was Warrnambool for lunch. Big yawn. We bought some things for Nic to do in the back of the car as the rain meant we were stuck there. Thus began our relationship with the Hi5 double CD. It worked though so thanks Hi5! On the way out of town we bumped in to Allentown Cheeseworld and what a hoot that was. Total disappointment. The sadest cheese place ever!! Anyway on we went in the wind and rain until Peterborough where we found a playground for Nic and had a play. We stopped and started all along the coast looking at was heaps of fun and kind of wild. We decided to head to Port Campbell for the night and found another super little place. It was wild and fun there too. We got the best ever accomodation of the trip. It was cheap and lovely... cheaper than the cabin at the motor camp. Great score thanks to the women at the Info Centre. Top experience. Eastern Reef Cottages

Here is a pic I found on someone elses website of the beach.

Overall it was super day with lots of great scenery and exciting weather topped off with a fantastic rainstorm when we were in the supermarket and a perfect nights sleep.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

day three - Kingston SE to Mt Gambier

Although it rained in the night, the day dawned sunny if not a little cool. It turned out the be the only dry day of our journey and it was brilliant. We took heaps of photos along the Limestone Coast. After having a look around Kingston we headed off to Robe which is a lovely little place on the coast. I could tell that it would be humming in the summer and was very happy to be there in the off season. After tooling about we found a lovely little bookshop/cafe called 'the Whistling Fish'. Nice idea in a lovely setting but the guy who ran it was somnabulistic and a tiny bit odd. When I asked if he made the coffee's he said 'oh so you want a coffee?' As always on the trip, the coffee was less than lovely.

the obelisk at Robe

The Whistling Fish

We then proceeded to Beachport along the alternative route that took us through the Little Dip national park which was interesting. It was blissfully sunny so we made the most of that and did lots of walking and outside things. Jonty had a swim in the Pool of Siloam which is 7 times more salty than the ocean.

Beachport...tiny in the back ground

below...little lake on the way from Robe to Beachport in the Little Dip national park

The Pool of Siloam
From there we travelled through to Mt Gambier for the evening and stayed in another 'Jayco' onsite cabin thing which totally did my head in with the dark fake wood on every, and I mean every surface. We saw the Blue Lake and raced off to the 'Umpherston Sinkhole' before dusk and it was gorgeous. There we came across the tame possums.

See next entry from more photos

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

day two Adelaide to Kingston SE (South East)

Up and out early. We headed back to Rundle St to do some shopping and picked up some clothes and shoes and gifts for the family birthdays coming up. It started raining which is pretty much how the rest of the trip went. It wasnt freezing but did put a big dampner on the day. Before we left the city we tiki toured around the gardens and parklands and I realised what a crappy part of town I had spent my time in. I would like to go back to A with N when he is older so we can have a good poke about at the museums and art galleries.

Our first stop was Stirling in the Adelaide Hills...groceries. Then we headed up to Handorf the German Village which was ok. N had a play in the playground and we mused at how much like Arrowtown it was. Lots of nice looking shops that would have been lovely to investigate but we needed to get moving.

Our journey commenced and we headed for Murry Bridge and then Meninge and on along the Coorong National Park which buts up against he Younghusband Peninsualr snad hills and the ocean. It was totally fascinating with acres of emptiness and no sign of any life...low shruby stuff and big blue/grey skies. We headed down a side road and discovered a lovely lake with lots of birds and smelly weed.

Emus on the side road

Cute birds

We rocked up to this cabin in the Kingston Motor camp early evening and settled in for the nite with a DVD from the camp shop. It was the Oyster Aussie film which was a little dull but some lovely scenery. Here is where we began our relationship with the 'Jayco' caravan park special. The light house in the back ground is from Cape Jaffa. It was loaded on a trailor and dumped here. It was the first of many light houses we saw along the way. One of many thousand that dot the coastline of Australia.

Before we embarked on our trip we visited the info centre and got some great booklets produced by SA tourist board. They have heaps of info and really good maps.

photos from day one

I couldn't get the photos to load yesterday so am trying again.

This is the Grange beach which was pretty lovely late on a Sunday afternoon. Obviously a popular place to live but not riddled with HUGE money which so often happens at lovely beaches.

Love this sculpture on the desk at the Grange Cafe

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

day one - Adelaide

We went out to the airport and picked up Jonty and Nic and then headed back to the hotel in our rental car. We decided to go to the Adelaide Central Market to get supplies for our journey. The air of anticipation was pretty high and we were so gutted when we got there to find that it was closed on a Sunday!!! and Monday as it turns out, (should have done more research!)So, no exciting fresh food for us. It was our plan to get ont he tram and go out to Glenelg for the day so that is what we did. Again, slightly disappointed in it. The tram, although authentic 1929 or something, was noisey and rickety. I guess we are used to our ChCh trams which are pretty flash. The difference between a 'tourist' operation and a day to day transport system I guess.

Nic and Jonty on the tram
Anyway, it was sunny which was great and there were heaps of families at Glenelg and fishers at the wharf. We had a cruise around the shops which were pretty much the standard dodgy crap you find at Manly in Sydney and New Brighton in Christchurch. Not quite the stunning place we were expecting.

After returning to the city on the tram we jumped in the car and decided to take a look around. As is normal with us we headed straight for the beach and headed out to Henley and Grange beaches which were lovely and then looped back to Glenelg to look around the marina and things. Adelaide is a great city to get around so we saw heaps.

Joan (my fellow conference goer) very kindly offered to babysit Nic so Jonty and I could go out for a rare dinner date. We headed down to the trendy end of Rundle Street and found an Argentinian restaurant called Sosta. As the review concurs the food and atmosphere were fab. Big meat meal though...good iron intake for me with lamb and Jonty had the goat...signiture dish for the restaurant. Got back to our room and Nicki was also there so we had a nightcap to finish off a weekend of over was great.

Monday, April 10, 2006

home again home again

Touch down...we are home from our Aussie road trip in one piece. We had a really good time considering how crap the weather was. Nice to be home in Christchurch with the warm breeze and the sunshine. Had a great weekend with Pete and Lisa up at Lake Eildon and the week previous driving around SA was good too. I also survived giving my paper at the library conference which seems like an age ago. Bought three pairs of shoes and lots of sparkly things as well as a few t shirts. Not a big shopping trip on the whole though. Probably not such a bad thing. Pictures to follow in the next few days.