ROAD TRIP

road trip

ROAD TRIP

Start of our road trip on 26th May 2015.

CAMPER VAN

We went to rent a camper van to Melbourne with Spaceship company. They are a very good agency, very friendly & very “Aussie” ( = relax & peaceful ). You can find other companies around Australia, don’t hesitate.. but we had the best deal with them at that point. The orange vehicle named : “Cappuccino Kenny” was our one & we loved it straight away. After showing papers, knowing the few things to know about the camper van ( see Tips at the end for questions to make sure you ask ), we took the road in the automatic left side car !!

THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD – 2 days – 685 km

The first part of our big journey was the Great Ocean Road who join Adelaide on the other end. We learned quickly that other camper van wave to us when you cross them on the road, it is very funny & friendly thing to do. The view is beautiful & you can stop some few times on the way to take photos etc … You will find lots of different camper site on the side of the road.

In the middle of the Great Ocean Road, you have the border between “Victoria Territory” to “South Australia Territory”.

road trip

The next day, we see a wallaby & we drove to go to see the 12 apostles ( there are 11 left now ).  You will find a little track to see them across & along the way. It was super windy but amazing to see this magnificent rocks out of the ocean. The next stop “Loch Ard Gorge” is a little walk down to see a whole on the rock & be able to be at the edge of the ocean. “London Bridge”, “the Grotto” look out. “Bay of Martyrs”… Nice places to have a break to walk & see crazy rock formation. A Kangaroo jumping away in the bush. “Younghusband Peninsula Lake”, it’s a nice spot, a bit scary as you drive on the sand & you never know if you are going to manage to get out of it. The sky was darker & darker, time for us to find a site to sleep.

ADELAIDE – 1 day – 258 km

On the road again, we could see 2 giant ostriches & later on, a huge amount of Pelicans.. We get to Adelaide in the late morning. We found a parking space for some few hours & walked along the lake after visiting a Cathedral with a little old man who talked to us a bit. No 7 eleven for us ( our ritual in every places we have been visiting ). We walked around the town & went to the library ( to charge our phones ). Direction “Museum of South Australia” – Aboriginal Gallery. Then the “Art Museum”, a lot of very strange stuff ( half the body of a horse !! ). When we go back to the car, it’s start raining & we go to pack our stuff ( food / water ) for the desert trip. Found a spot to sleep out of the town. 

THE DESERT ; ULURU – 4 days – 1491 km

Cleaning our self in the public toilet sink for disabled people, is all about the road trip. The grey sky make the red earth around us quit poetic. We still see some bush & trees, but the red start progressively to invade the space around us. We saw an empty gas can on the side of the road. Stopping to pick it up & discover it is one of 20L, who is 40 AU$ in the shop !! Full it with fuel in case of. Drive until reaching “Coober Pedy”. It’s not a big town but it is practical to go to eat a cheese burger in the service station & use their plugs. The lake that we wanted to see is at 2 hours from here & is close because of the rain … Ah. 

Next day of our road trip, under the rain, we pursue our road in the desert & come across the famous long trucks with 3 or more trailers. It can be very impressive when they decide to overtake you … The next stop is forbidden to miss ; The border between South Australia Territory & North Australia Territory represented by a rock aside the road.

We arrived at “Ayers Rock, Uluru” in the end of the afternoon & stop for the evening in the camp just before the entrance of the park ; “camp Yulura”. 

road trip

Wake up 6 am. At the entrance of the park at 6.30 am. Entrance is 25 AU$ per person for 3 days pass. You will have a little map of the park ; we decided to drive first to the “Sunrise Viewing”. It is still dark when you get there. It is a huge mass of rock in the dark… Impressive. We get to the place & install the tripod, ready to see it in the light for the first time. It is unfortunately not possible to describe the feeling to be here in front of it in real. Whatever how many time you saw the photos of it on Google, it will always be a different feeling when you get to be in front of it.

“Kuniya Walk” 45 minutes on the side of the rock. There are signs precising that there is a portion of a sacred aboriginal signs & to don’t take photos of it. There is a bit with a lake next to the rock & some information about the Uluru’s story. We drove around the rock with the camper van & go to the visitor center where you can watch a film explaining everything from the day white human found it & wanted to own it ( as always ) & aboriginal people trying to explain that it was a sacred place for them for their divinities… That took quit a long time, but they still living around it & it is as much protected as possible ( can’t walk up at the top of it, taking photos of their signs .. ). 

We took another walk “Dune walk” who was supposed to be 45 mins but we did it in 15 mins. After this track, we parked in front of Uluru to have our dinner & wait for the sunset but there are some clouds. Still very pretty to be here to participate at it. We drive back to our camp site for the night.

Stop to the bus parking to enjoy the sunrise ( less people as it’s not the view point & still a nice place to see it ). It’s still cloudy unfortunately. Direction to the cultural center. We clean our clothes & our self ( we stink ). It’s actually a funny moment & take away your shyness ! “Kata Tjuta”, we stopped at the sunrise viewing & sunset viewing. This rocks have some vegetation on them & the rock forms are very impressive. It feels unique to be here. “Walpa Walk Gorge”, 1 hour to walk between 2 huge rocks, the wind blows. “Karu Lookout” at the “Valley of the winds”, 1 hour but in the middle of it a sign says the track was close because of the wind too strong.

road trip

We decide to make our way out of the park as we saw all we wanted & feel full of emotions about it. On the road, it is a sequence of wild animals from a “dingo” ; sort of fox, a wild grey cat & a camel running wildly along the road… very impressive. 

From there, I prefer you to don’t take the same road than us or if you are as crazy as we were, do it ! Thinking it was a shortcut, we went on a track exclusively for 4X4 as it is a bumpy road… just 90 km to go at 30 km/h …. everything is fine. Positive thing about it ; saw wild black cows, Parrots with ridgy red and white, white cows named sacred white cows for the aboriginal tribes. The red light of the sunset comes to us on this red sand & we just can’t continue without taking a photos. There is also a whole of meteorite to walk to in 20 mins. We couldn’t make it as it’s started to be very dark & we needed to be out of this road before dusk. When we reached the normal road, it is a huge relief.

ALICE SPRING – 1 day – 43 km

In Alice spring, we went to the museum & relax next to a dried up river. Visit another museum… Then we heard from the information center, you can drive to “Anzac Hill” to have a panoramic view for the sunset. After, we started to drive out of the town at 30 km from it to find our camp area.  

DEVIL’S MARBLES – 1 day – 1 774 km

On our way to see the famous Devil’s marbles. Arrive at “karlu Karlu”. You can drive around some of them but of course don’t touch them. We had our lunch break with millions of flies as it is very hot. Impressive round rocks in balance with others. The story about it is a bit scary ; Kids went at this place to play, the cave tribes didn’t let them go away from this place & they couldn’t leave as they forgot the way out & became crazy. The people coming to save them were singing a song to them but this song is forgotten now. It is a sacred place who close secret dreams. For aboriginal people, there still living people under it. 

road trip

Border from “Northern Australian Territory” to “Queensland” … how to describe it… it is a sign with some graffiti on it.. Definitely not the same than the other border. We went to full the camper van & then use our can from the desert & create with what we have got : brick of soup to make a hopper. 

We drove by night to reach our camp area, we nearly smashed 2 Kangaroos on the road. It is very dangerous to drive by night in Australia, especially in the desert. So please make sure you don’t.

Note : We saw a lot of dead Kangaroos on the road in the desert due to trucks driving by night & don’t care about killing them… We definitely saw more dead than alive.

CAIRNS – 3 days – 696 km

Shower, a real shower ! Note : We saw 4 ( Alive ) Kangaroos & 2 more next to a golf course. On the road, we go trough landscape of plains to forest. A little visit in town with the car & decide to find a place a bit out for the night. Direction ; “Yarrabah”, a beach in an aboriginal village. Be careful with the dogs in the village as they are aggressive. A bit unlucky as they had a party night next to our spot. The morning is much more calm & a beautiful sunrise welcome us on the beach. We go back to town & book our ticket to go for the “Great Barrier Reef” to do snorkeling, 145 AU$ per person. After this we park next to the ocean & walk along to discover a open air swimming pool free to go.

  Next morning, rdv at 8 am. We took our stuff ( Swim, snorkeling equipment & wet suit ) & go to seat outside at the top level. The way to go is very bumpy & a lot of people get sick on board !! Get to the spot “Norman”. Once ready, jump into the ocean ( 25 degree ) Amazing. This kind of adventure is different for everyone but I feel, we have been lucky as we saw a turtle & follow it until go at the top to breath & go back to swim … a beautiful feeling, millions of fishes with so many different extraordinary colors, the cliffs of corals are just stunning, 2 sharks … yes yes 2 sharks but baby one ( still pretty impressive to be just in top of them ), a stingray, nemo fishes with anemones.. 4 enormous fishes who loves when you caress them on the lips…. 

2 session of swim of 2 hours each. The colors, the silence & the beauty of the ocean life are worth it really. Don’t forget that it is one of the eight world wonders. When we get back to town, we go for our hot shower & start to drive to join our next step of our road trip.

MISSION BEACH – 1 day – 147 km

Rainy day, we drive to “Bingil Bay”, beautiful palm trees along the beach. We stopped for a long part of the day & lucky as we are the rain stop for a bit, time for us to enjoy the sun on the beach. The weather is really unstable & change again but this beach is a very beautiful spot to discover. We were alone on it. 

WALLAMAN FALLS – 1 day – 164 km

The road trip continue on our way to the next exploration. After few hours driving we discovered Wallaman Falls in a tropical & very humid area. Come across 4 – 5 wallabies on the road, the steep road to access it is wet as it is still raining. We meet some spaceship colleagues who exchange dvds with us. Then, we get lucky & see a beautiful “Cassoar” on the road. Arriving at the look out, it is super cloudy, we decided to go back to the spot to sleep & come back the next day in the morning.

road trip

8 am we could see something from the look out & 300 m the “Gorge Look out” & start to walk down the “Falls Track – Jinda Walk” 2 hours & 30 mins on a steep walk. When we get to the bottom of it, it is a spectacular scene that we are watching. Alone with this huge falls – height 268 m – elevation 545 m. On our way back to the trip.

PALUMA – 1 day – 164 km

Direction “Paluma”, the look out was not the best for us to see the islands away as we had some mist. The information center send us to “Rock Slides”. We stopped here for the night & see 2 Kangaroos jumping in the forest next to us. The “waterhole” is full of mosquitoes & have a natural swimming pool. We decided to move to the next place “Paradise Waterhole”. The view is beautiful & we still alone in here. Some little turtles are swimming just next to the rocks. I decided to have a swim & it was a beautiful moment. I advise to go there in this fresh & relaxing natural pool. 

TOWNSVILLE – 1 day – 109 km

During our road trip, we arrived to Townsville. “Northern Territory Capital”. We went to visit the museum with the “WoW” exhibition with theater costumes.. The information center said to us that we just missed 3 beaches on our way to this town. We go back to 2 of them, “Saunders Beach”, a very nice place to relax & mmm.. don’t go in the ocean here…crocodiles. Stay the night on the parking.

Stop to the next one, “Bushland Beach”, low tide, lagoon. A very beautiful area.  

AIRLIE BEACH – 1 day – 331 km

Get to “Airlie Beach” for the evening. During the night, we woke up from an agency man who explained to us that it is forbidden to park here & we could have a fine of 200 AU$ ( Oops ). Founding a place to stay for the night was not easy. In the morning we went back in town & went to the open free swimming pool to enjoy a moment there. 

CEDAR CREEK FALLS – 1 day – 421 km

When we get there, there is no “falls”, even if the night before it was raining a lot, the rock is visible & no waterfalls. However, we staid a bit in this place to see a turtle coming out to breath. 

ROCKHAMPTON – 2 days – 423 km

5 hours to drive, you will have the surprise of signs next to the road asking you questions & having the answer later on another sign. It is an amazing idea to make people staying awake while driving. Stop for the night.

road trip

Walk along the river, visit the “Art Gallery” who is a very interesting one. Then, we get to the FREE Zoo where you can enjoy to see Kangaroos, Wallabies, Koalas, Birds, Wombats,otter, ape lions, dingos, crocodiles… For me, it was the first time I saw Koalas. There were 2 & they were super excited & jumping from trees to trees. The ranger told us they are female – male & are 8 – 13 years old. He told us to come to touch them in the cage but show us to touch on their bottom as they don’t feel you there & they can’t be sick because of you. An amazing afternoon to spend at Rockhampton.

Next day, we walk in the “Botanic Garden” just next to the Zoo. Under the rain, but definitely a “To do list”.

RAINBOW BEACH – 1 day – 250 km

It is a wonderful white sand beach, next to it you will have a little village. We went to “Inkit Point”, if you have a 4X4, you can enjoy a ride on the sandy beach. A couple in a 4X4 asked us if we wanted to jump in their car to have a ride on the sand. Let’s go for it & it was really nice !!

NOOSA – 1 day – 83 km

Next part of the road trip, we drive to “Noosa” who is famous to be “the place to be”. & it is exactly why we don’t stay & decided to improvise & go to “Eumundi”, in the book description, it is talking about a “bobo” mood especially during the market day. It is tomorrow. Let’s go.

EUMUNDI – 2 days – 170 km

The village is very charming & lots of different little shops. We found a parking space on a street not far from the center where the market will be the next day.

6 am. We have a lovely breakfast in a Cafe, it is such a beautiful place to visit. Shawls are colorful, welcoming & smiling people, lots of artists & original products. So if you didn’t understand already, go to visit this little village & especially if it is the market day & enjoy walking around & talk to people.

BRISBANE – hours – 58 km

Coming back to a city was a hard one for us. Founding, you can’t park anywhere in town & it is forbidden to sleep in the car, bad weather, not much to see… We don’t take so long to decide to move on to our next destination.

GOLD COAST – 5 days – 71 km

Hello Sun ☀️ Let’s start our trip around the spots of the Gold Coast. A massive long beach who never end. Millions of surfers coming to catch waves. 

– 1st Spot ; “Main Beach” – lots of surfers, white sand, sunny.

– 2nd Spot ; “Surfers Paradise” – Surfers, town with amazing people on it, very festive place. Watching the sunrise from red – orange & then pink with clouds then yellow to let the sun coming out & illuminate the beach. All surfers are watching it from their board in the ocean.. It is quiet & everyone is enjoying it together. 

– 3rd Spot ; “North cliff Beach” – A quiet place to chill out on the beach of course.

– 4st Spot ; “Broad Beach” – The weather change a bit so we decided to go in town to walk around shops etc .. Country music on the street, What else ?

– 5st Spot ; “Kurrawa” – Chill out on the beach.. 

– 6st Spot ; Mermaid Beach” – Washing our hair in a freezing water ! Enjoy

– 7st Spot ; “Nobby Beach” – very windy spot, go on the grass to relax a bit more.

– 8st Spot ; “North Burleigh Heads” – enjoying a bit more sun on the beach.

– 9st Spot ; “Burleigh Heads” – Ctaching some rays on the beach.

– 10st Spot ; “Tallebudgera” – A little cliff with mountains & a walk around rocks, it is very windy at that point.

– 11st Spot ; “Pacific” – Take some shots from there & move on.

– 12st Spot ; “Palm Beach” – same same ! Watch the sunrise from there. The colors are just magical.

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– 13st Spot ; “Currumbin” – Beach with a rock named “elephant rock”. The rock is very sharp, it is flint.

– 14st Spot ; “Tugun” – Chill out under the sun on the grass.

– 15st Spot ; “Bilinga” – Our spot to sleep & take shower on a chilly day.

– 16st – 17st Spot ; “North Kirra” & “Kirra” – closer to the town & with a beautiful view of the ocean. The weather is not good so we went in town.

18st Spot & last ; “Coolangatta” – having our last moment with some sun before going down South reaching colder temperature.

NIMBIN – 4 days – 85 km

It is a Hippie Town with crazy, rare mood everywhere around the streets. First moment, we walked around the streets to take some photos & have fun. It is not big so in 30 mins you can do all. Many shops along the streets with Cannabis plants, colors & “peace & love” signs …The people are “happy” in this town. The first evening we get to a parking space to park, a woman asked us if we wanted some weed ( Haha, it is going to be funny ).

road trip

You can’t go to this town & don’t find anything to buy..Or you are in the wrong place ! The shop “Vines” is a second hand shop very cheap. 

The particularity of this place is of course the option of trying some … “illegal” Cookies 😵. We heard about a place to go to ask by a woman in a shop & everything is very discrete. We had 3 cookies for 20 AU$. It is quit impressive that this town have a school & kids around.. but nothing is visible, it is forbidden to be “happy” in the street. Our seller was really funny & gave us some tips ; if it is the first time for you to try one of this cookies, take a bottle of juice & have half one. Before leaving, a little “Enjoy girls” made us laugh. 

Our first experience was not great as we didn’t have any effect. The next day, we tried one each. A very funny experience to try but remember to don’t stay in the street when you will be “happy”. Enjoy Guys.

After days without moving the car, we run out of battery & go to ask to “our” restaurant if they have anything to plug our camper van to. We decided after a little time under the rain trying to make it happen, to call the assurance of the car. Thing absolutely amazing as they came in 10 mins & took the keys & said to us “just go to have your breakfast girls, i will let you know when i am done”. No papers to sign, nothing at all & just left the keys on the camper van & a “see ya”… I love Australia.

BYRON BAY – 1 day – 86 km

The light house at Byron Bay is the one to see with a panoramic view of the ocean. It is a busy place but it is nice to look around with deep breathe. 

Note ; Our shower with swim under the rain at the public shower on the beach with people watching us ! The next day, the weather is better & we can enjoy a little time on the beach. Getting bored, we walk in town when suddenly we heard some live music in the street. We discover a music group of 8, playing live with Trumpets, saxophone, bass drum, megaphone and collided..A very cool mood around them, we follow them to the next spot in the street until a little garden where everyone is around them.. The name of this band is : “Hot Potato”.

Drive to “Wategos Beach”, recommended by someone that we met in the public toilet, cleaning our clothes. It is a good spot to see some dolphins & Whales. Some surfers, & the sun comes out.

BALLINA – 3 days – 55 km

Drive late in the afternoon to get to “Shelly Beach”. An amazing view of the ocean… We see from there some jet of air from whales away. It is a peaceful place to go to to relax & enjoy listening to the waves.

The next day, we get lucky at “Public reserve – Observation”, we can see some whales not so far from us & I can see a jump from one of them … An amazing experience to see this in a life. Some dolphins joined the party & played in the waves just next to us. 

road trip

PORT STEPHEN – 1 day – 486 km

The last beach we get to, the weather is a bit more chilly & some rocks on that one. It is a famous port, but unfortunately for us, there is not much to do. We relax on the beach & decided to get back on the road trip.. We start to see “Sydney” on road signs… The end is close.

NEWCASTLE – same day – 132 km

When we get to “Newcastle”, we took all information to the center & took our shower in front of the ocean with some whales passing… 

The “Art Gallery” is a nice place to go & walking in the town.. Enjoy to relax in front of the ocean.

SYDNEY – 2 days – 24 km

Last day of the road trip. We arrived in “Sydney” in the late morning, drive on the “Harbor Bridge”, take bags, drive next to the “Botanic Garden”. We have our last moment in front of the “Opera House” & the “Harbor Bridge” in the background. This is the end of our choreography of our road trip. It is very hard to know that the next morning we will have to leave the camper van.

Cleaning the camper van was funny as it was still some red sand from the desert.

Leave the van to the Space ship agency without seeing them .. Left the keys in the camper van in front of the agency. Amazing. 

That’s it ; 9 200 Km in total.

road trip


TIPS

Questions to the rental camper van place of your choice ;

– Take notes of how many Km is on the dash board ( even if they normally do & wrote it on the papers of the contract ),

– Ask wish kind of fuel you need to use ( should be writing on the little door of the fuel cup ),

– Opening roof button, opening fuel cup button,

– The oil & battery,

– Automatic or Manual ( make sure you know how to drive on the left side of the road ),

– Utensils, bedding, Gas bottles, …

– If you prefer avoiding the fact to do it on your own to understand how that work ; ask how you make the puzzle to make the bed & the table etc .. Helpful.

– What to do when you bring the camper van back ? ( you have normally a choice online to know where you want to leave the van, ask closing hours of the agency.

– Last but not the less, TAKE DVDS !! They will propose you to take some dvds with you & you will probably feel like us, “Why are you thinking, we are going to watch films in our road trip ?!” But there are some days when it is rainy, or poorly or you feel tired …. & a movie is always welcome at that point.

– SHARE them !! You will meet a lot of other campers who got the same van ( not the same name hein ?! ) so you can change your dvds with them to have new ones ; we remember this guy who just pray that we took some dvds to exchange with them… They probably watched the same 2 girly films 100 times. haha 

I think it is approximately all you need to know …


 

 

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