A Travellerspoint blog

Great Ocean Road - Just a few beauty spots to pull in to!

14th - 16th Jan By Mark

sunny 25 °C

One of the great road trips of the world, the road and it's surrounding towns and scenery did not disappoint!

We ended up whilstling through at a fair pace but still made a number of stops at various intervals to snap a shot of the ocean and its outcrops. A nights free camping was had at a spot within a national park at the end of another long unsealed road not necessarily designed for our type of transport!

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Posted by MarknKate 12:06 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Melbourne - 5 Star luxury!

12th - 14th Jan By Mark

sunny 39 °C

As a leaving gift the lovely people at the Topia Project, where I'd been working in Sydney, had forked out for a night in a 5 star hotel in the heart of Melbourne (The Windsor) for Kate and I - after a few night winging it at the side of the road and in car parks a hotel bed, hot running water and a flushing toilet was a welcome change! We weren't dissapointed, the hotel was in a fantastic position and the room was beautiful. Thank you once again guys!

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We'd arrived in Melbourne right in the midst of 39 degree days, not great for trapsing around a city taking in the sights, but we perservered and cracked on regardless.

Whilst not as visually appealing as Sydney, Melbourne does have a really nice feel to it - I can only describe it as a European essence with winding alleyways full of one off stores, quirky cafes and restaurants as well as tree lined streets with Vesace, Prada and Tiffanys stores.

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Our second night in Melbourne was spent in a campsite 9km north of the CBD, that day had maintained a steady 39 degrees for maximum discomfort so after jumping from one air conditioned shop to another we headed to our base for the night to take advantage of the pool and cool off. On the way up we caught the news on the radio that the temperature that night was not going to drop below 27 degrees...that's right, over night the temp was going to be as high as a typical summers day back in the UK, oh how we laughed and then wept.

Two days wasn't really enough but we crammed in plenty of walking and sight seeing, a trip to the Melbourne Mueseum AND a drive by Ramsey Street (disappointing no filming was going on) and exceptionally smaller in real life.

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Posted by MarknKate 11:59 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Cowes and Penguins

11th -12th Jan By Mark

sunny 27 °C

About 2 hours south from Melbourne is a small island called Phillip Island. A little bit like the Isle of Wight (even with some of the same place names, but without the slack jawed inbred locals ; ) ). It's a nice enough place with some good beaches, one or two decent surf spots, a Grand Prix circuit (Motorbikes) and the famous Penguin Parade.

We arrived early in the day and after a trip into the main town, Cowes, for a spot of lunch we headed over to Woolamai so I could get a surf in and Kate could work on the old tan.

We'd called in at the visitors information cente on the way into town to secure our place at the Penguin Parade that evening so at around 7:00 we headed over to the south-western point of the island to pick a spot and await the arrival of the wee lil Fairy Penguins.

Around two hours later the first little fellas started waddling up the beach to the homes in the sand dunes. We were lucky enough to arrive during the time of year when the baby Penguins are just old enough to make it out of their burrows to greet Mum and Dad after their day at sea and get ready for some tasty regurgitated fish...Mm Mm Mmmm ain't nature grand!

The Fairy Penguins are just too cute for words, at about 15 inches tall they're the smallest of all Penguins. Whilst the whole parade is overly commercialised we're both glad we took the time (along with about 3,000 other people per night) to watch their evening commute home.

Posted by MarknKate 11:57 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Squeaky sand, Mountains and sunsets

10th Jan By Mark

sunny 29 °C

Sticking out of the bottom of Victoria is Wilson Promontory, a national park that we'd highlighted for a visit. As we were travelling during the main summer holidays the campsites within the park had all booked out months in advance but we managed to find a place in a little town called Foster about 30 minutes away from the parks entrance.

As national parks go, Wilsons Prom is pretty large with a number of mountains, forests, lakes, rivers and coast line all contained within it - all of it teaming with wildlife. After a little exploratory drive around and a wander along Squeaky Beach (the sand squeaks as you walk on it, rather gratting actually) we decided to set off on a hike up on of the parks mountains, Mt Oberon. At 550 metres it's no Everest but still at 35+ degrees a worthy hike!

A little out of breath we make it to the top just in time for the clouds to roll in and our view of the park to be almost completly masked from view...typical! Regardless we spent some time at the top of the mountain feeling rather pleased with ourselves and enjoying the cool mountin air before embarking on the journey back down.

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We'd read that sunset from any one of the vantage points within Wilsons Prom is worth waiting around for, so we set off in Betsey to find a suitable spot to wait for 20:45. It's apparently one of (or the only, i forget) place in Victoria where you can watch the sun set over the sea. It was pretty impressive and worth the wait.

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On the way out of the park we were on the look out for wildlife in all it's Aussie glory and weren't dissapointed with numerous spottings of Kangaroos grazing as well as one special sighting of a Wombat hustling across the road, those little fellas are just too damn cute.

Posted by MarknKate 11:00 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Where's the damn Snow?

sunny 34 °C
View Mark and Kate's 12 month holiday on MarknKate's travel map.

Leaving Canberra on Tuesday afternoon we headed back out north in order to loop round and come into the Snowy Mountains from the top.

The temperatures we're still in the high 30's so not surprisingly the snow was non-existant, the scenery was stunning regardless however, although a little hard to picture any of it covered in snow!

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We made good time through the ups and the downs and the round and the rounds and with no fixed place to stop for the night it was left to the threat of running out of petrol for the decision to be made for us. To say we lucked out would be an understatement.

Just before leaving Sydney we picked up a large road map which includes a list of all of the rest stop and tucked away free camping spots for the whole of Australia...it's already been a godsend as the spot in the Snowy Mountains just outside of a small town was simple stunning.

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After a dip in the creek to wash off the toils of the day we settled down to prepare some dinner and spend the night in this stunning setting - now this is what travelling is all about.

Posted by MarknKate 16:07 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

And so the journey begins...again!

sunny 39 °C
View Mark and Kate's 12 month holiday on MarknKate's travel map.

Monday, the day of departure saw us packing the last few bits and cleaning the flat ready in time for our inspection from the agent. After waiting 15 mins and still she hadn't turned up we phoned the agency only to be told she was off sick and there was no one else to complete our final inspection. Basically my advice would be don't use Ray White Estate agents in Manly, they are shit!

After taking one last trip to the mall for final goodies and to pick up our new debit cards from the bank (our original cards got cloned over Christmas resulting in $3k being taken out of our bank...worry not, we're getting it al back!) we were off, Canbera here we come....

The drive down was extremely hot, around 39 degrees, the hotest either of us have ever experienced! Betsy didn't let us down with her air conditioning though and we had it cranked up to a setting of high to drive the long straight roads in comfort. We arrived in Canberra at around 6ish and headed straight for Parliment house for a quick look around the grounds and as well as a brief orientation of the city.

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Canberra is a strange city, the road in from Sydney is a two lane road with fields either side and it seems as if you're driving to a small country town - not a continents capital city! The city itself is all man made, kind of like Milton Keynes but without endless roundabouts and concrete cows. It doesn't have the wow factor of Sydney or Brisbane in terms of skyscrapers and a bustling city centre but it's nicely laid out with multiple parks and open spaces all based around a central lake.

After a quick dinner in central Canberra it was time to decide on our first nights stop. We hadn't got any where booked and there aren't any known rest stops in Canberra itself so the options were limited to finding a park which looked like we could get away with staying overnight. We opted for Commonweatlth park mainly because there was another set of backpackers settled in for the night and pulled up alongside them.

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Our first venture into freebie camping was uneventful if not slightly unrestful with both us waking frequently as a car pulled in in the hope that it wasn't the rozzers coming to move us along. Next morning following a quick brekkie over looking the lake we headed back to Parliment House for a full look round before heading over to The War Memorial at the other end of the city which was fantastic and well worth the visit.

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Next stop the Snowy Mountains and the Alpine Way.

Posted by MarknKate 15:57 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Farewell Sydney

Kate and Mark are on the road again!

sunny 28 °C
View Mark and Kate's 12 month holiday on MarknKate's travel map.

Today we had a farewell breakfast with some of the friends we've made over the past five and a bit months in Sydney at a beach front cafe in Manly.

We've both said that if we didn't have five months worth of travelling and adventures in front of us, leaving would have been much much harder. You can't help but love the way of life living and working over here. Work is work wherever in the world you do it, the jobs are pretty much the same and the pressures and stresses get to you regardless of office location. The difference seems to be how the hours outside of work are spent, a weekend on
the beach makes every weekend feel like a mini holiday. A stroll along the seafront or a surf after work makes the days seem longer and the hours "wasted" at work float into the background... it is easy to see why so many people end up coming back.

Here's a quick run down of our forthcoming stops:

Canberra
Snowy Mountains
Wilsons Prom
Melbourne - another thank you to the guys at Topia for the night in a 5* hotel - Bath towels will no doubt be stollen and the mini bar cleaned out!
Philip Island
Great Ocean Road
Adelaide
Kangaroo Island
Port Augutsa
Cooper Peady
Uluru
Nulabor
Esperance
Albany
Maragret River
Perth

The plan is to arrive in Perth for early Feb and have two weeks with Mum before leaving for New Zealand and the next leg of our journey on the 23rd Feb.

Hopefully, wifi connection depending, a more regular blog update can be expected now that we're back on the road!

A few more random shots of what we're leaving behind:

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Posted by MarknKate 22:16 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

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