To conclude our month in Australia we embarked on two more stints on the open road: a “proper outback” experience and a splendid ocean-side jaunt. After much research we were able to score an RV relocation deal for free wheels. (Tip: watch out for by-the-liter fuel costs $$$!) While it would have been cheaper and faster to fly between cities, we were very glad to see the sights and would do again. Life’s a journey after all!
Leaving Brisbane, we spent our first night at Mann River Caravan Park, and our second at the Narromine Lightweight Airstrip for shower and power. Heading into the outback the third morning our AC broke! This was a no-joke, scorching hot summer day with some serious distance to cover. Heading to the center of New South Wales, we embraced the sauna. What else could we do!? We stopped mid-day and jumped in Lake Cargelligo for a moment of relief, grabbed some ice cream and carried on. Our third night was in the town of Hay at a “Big 4 Holiday Park,” complete with wi-fi, showers, and a visit to the local pub for fish and chips.
After a pit-stop breakfast for the best meat pie imaginable (at Deniliquin Bakery) we rolled into Melbourne for a few days with my cousin Abby whom I hadn’t seen since the ‘90’s. Our last time spent together as pre-teens we were choreographing lip-synched dance numbers for our family talent shows!
Great Ocean Road
Our final leg was smooth and quick, meandering West from Melbourne toward South Australia on the Great Ocean Road. As the evening was too fogged in to see the 12 Apostles and other classic coastal sights, we were pleased as the road swooped inland to Great Otway National Park for fantastic wildlife sightings of Koalas and Parrots. An extra day in this area would have afforded the time necessary to tour the 12 Apostles Gourmet Trail for a true “foodie” road trip with wine, microbrews, cheese, and ice cream from local famers and artisans. I suppose it’s always good to have hopes for a “next time!”
We spent just one night on the Great Ocean Road in Port Campbell camping at the town’s Recreation Reserve. A beautiful, relaxed campground situated above the town featuring wonderful amenities (and just ten bucks!) So...we glamped it up with a meat and cheese spread fit for kings at Tilly’s Wine Bar. Polished with true French champagne it was quite reasonably priced, especially compared to the hefty Oz prices we’d seen elsewhere.
The next day we squeezed in a little surfing in Port Fairy before heading into South Australia in the late afternoon. Sadly we missed ALL the winery tasting hours, but our night was relaxed at Padthaway Caravan Park, with beautiful hiking leading straight from the property onto the Padthaway Orchid Track. We had some playful evening Kangaroo sightings and stunning bird watching on the trail. The property is meticulously well-maintained with tasteful touches throughout. There’s and even a resident Emu named Elma! They have adorable vintage camping trailers for rent and guests are welcome to pick fresh fruit from the orchard. There is a super glamping vibe to be found here, especially surrounded by ENDLESS wineries in the region.
Our last days down under were spent in South Australia at Second Valley in the Fleurieu Peninsula with my generous Aunt and Uncle. We had fresh summer meals on their front porch, relaxed swims in the protected sea, and tasty times harvesting their peach and apricot trees. The last day Josh took a table at the artisans fair at the nearby town of Yankalilla, selling his jewelry and dreamcatchers. All in, we spent four weeks in Australia seeing four states five cities, and three different family visits. It was a truly stunning and accessible way to start a year abroad!