28.10.2007 - 04.11.2007 23 °C
We had a good few days in the town of Warrnambool, spending most of the time exploring the rugged coastline. On the last day there, the weather took a turn for the worse and we had another disaster with the tent!! The wind collapsed the front end of the tent and unfortunately another section of one of the tent poles snapped. Luckily we had two spare sections left over from the repair kit that we had bought in Adelaide, so we managed to replace the broken section when we got to Melbourne.
The breathtaking drive along the Great Ocean Road from Warrnambool to Torquay was truly spectacular. It would have been lovely to have done the journey in the Speedster with the hood down. The road had lots of hairpin bends and winded its way through hills and greenery on one side and the rugged coastline on the other. We stopped a few times along the way to view the famous sights, the 12 Apostles, London Bridge and many others. Also on the way we spotted some Koalas in a copse of trees. Steve pulled the car over and I dived out, camera in hand.
We broke the journey in a place called Lorne, where we had lunch on the beach. Lorne was about halfway between Warrnambool and Melbourne, and as it was only lunchtime, we decided not to stay over but to carry on all the way to Melbourne. The road to Melbourne was very busy, and it took us ages to find our campsite, which was in the suburb of Doncaster East about 20km from the city centre. As we had been warned about the night time temperature in Melbourne, and as we needed to repair the tent pole, we opted for a cabin. The campsite was lovely, and although it was only 20km from the city it was like being camped in the bush. There were Kangaroos, Echidnas, Koalas and some very noisy Kookaburras.
One of the conditions of the guaranteed buy back of the car was to get it serviced after 5,000km. So on our first day in Melbourne, Steve went to find a service centre and booked the car in. We got the car back, fully serviced and inspected. The only fault found was a defective light bulb! We decided that rather than risk getting lost in the city centre of Melbourne we would catch the bus into town. Melbourne seems like a very nice city, it is very culturally diverse and there were restaurants and shops catering for every type of food. The city centre was adorned with Christmas decorations, and we found it really hard to believe that the festive season is nearly upon us. It seems strange to be walking around in bright sunshine in T-shirt and shorts, with Christmas lights and decorations everywhere!
After two days in Melbourne we headed east along the Princess Highway to the coastal resort of Lakes Entrance. The temperature seems to be getting much warmer and it isn’t so cold in the evenings, hopefully no more sleeping in fleecy jumpers! Lakes Entrance is a bit like Chesil beach in Dorset. There is a big long banked beach with the sea on one side, and lakes on the other. The main difference to Chesil though is that the beach is golden sand and ninety miles long. Whilst at Lakes Entrance we did a lot of walking around the lakes and beach. We also had a very boozy evening with a couple from Melbourne who were pitched next to us.
On Saturday we packed away the tent and headed north out of the state of Victoria into New South Wales to the old historic whaling town of Eden. We managed to pitch the tent and get some shopping before the sky turned black and it started to rain. We ended up being confined to the tent all evening, night and most of this morning whilst a thunderstorm and torrential rain ensued. Fortunately the rain stopped at about 10am. We had several pools of water inside the tent and nearly every thing was soaked. We had a damp breakfast and started to clear up. Luckily it didn’t take long to dry every thing out because as soon as the rain stopped and the sun came out, the temperature was in the 30s, so on the whole there were no real worries. Eden is really busy at the moment as it is the annual Whale Festival. We had a look round the Whale Museum which was really interesting and we learnt a lot about the whaling industry in the 1800s, about how people made a living by killing Whales and thus decimating the Whale population and how the descendants of these people are now involved in the conservation of these mammals.
Tomorrow we head further north with two more stops before we get to Sydney.
Hope everyone is ok and love to you all.