3600km road trip across Australia from Perth to Melbourne in 8 days for a dollar a day!
One of the things that let you know you're in Australia is the mellifluous and varied song of the Australian magpie. For me they are as iconic as kangaroos and koala's. Hear what they sound like on the audio track above.
Wendy and I are on an adventure! Our longest road trip ever, driving across the continent from Perth in Western Australia to Melbourne in Victoria – a mere 3,600km of mainly arid semi desert terrain! We're relocating a 6 berth motor home, complete with all mod cons, for a dollar a day! Relocating camper vans is one of the ways we can travel and keep costs down. There's many websites that organise this such as transfercar, coseats or imoova.
On this trip we've 8 days to cover the distance – 6 of them intensive 9-11 hours of driving enabling a couple of days to relax along the magnificent Great Ocean Road, south west of Melbourne in Victoria
Overnight we stayed either in camp-sites or freedom camping. This is the first time we've freedom camped and on our first night we pulled off the road somewhere in the middle of nowhere vaguely close to Boulder in Western Australia. It was a lay-by that extended back into the bush and we were the only people there. We parked and hid behind a clump of trees and as night fell we scared ourselves with stories such as 'Wolf Creek' where something very nasty happens to travellers in remote places. Nothing nasty happened but there was one thing we hated - mosquitoes, that had found a gap in the fly screen.
The early morning alarm was when the road trains thundered by.
Given the distance there are few highlights along the road. There's the start of the famous 'rabbit proof fence' the longest fence in the world that stretches for over 1100miles in a vain attempt to halt the march of the introduced and destructive rabbit.
Another highlight is the 90 Mile Straight, Australia’s longest straight road – as boring as hell except on the horizon where the sky seems to flow into the road! Heat and the curve of the earth combining to create a Fata Morgana mirage.
The second freedom camp was on the Bunda Cliffs, just into South Australia. Amazing to see the sun setting perched high on the cliffs overlooking the Southern Bight.
It's hard to describe driving across the Nullarbor Plain – it's vast. We took it in turns to drive 2 hours and then swap with the non driver taking a nap. 2 hours pass by and the landscape has not changed. When I first read about the Nullarbor I thought it must be an aboriginal name for the place, but no, it's from the Latin null and arbor – no trees! It's exciting to see any vegetation over 2 metres high!
Mount Remarkable National Park is another delight. Higher rainfall means more trees and camping under massive Red River Gums was great especially as the visitors are emus and wallabies.
Mount Gambier with it's blue lake in the caldera of an extinct volcano was another special place to stay.
The Great Ocean Road lives up to it's reputation as being one of the worlds great road trips – the coastline is staggering.
Our final destination was Melbourne where the motor home was dropped off and we met up with friends Keith and Jackie.
Mount Macedon is just north of Melbourne and our final adventure takes place at the well known landmark of 'Hanging Rock'. It's the location for Joan Lindsay's book 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' where a group of schoolgirls and their teacher go missing under supernatural circumstances, never to be found. It's another amazing volcanic outcrop, a maze and jumble of rock where we also got lost – spooky.! Eventually, unlike Miranda and her friends, we did find our way down!