Friday 1 February 2008

Adelaide to Melbourne

From Brisbane we flew to Adelaide and picked up our 6-berth campervan so we could meandre our way to Melbourne. This was our first go at a campervan holiday with the kids. We had six days and 1000km to cover.

CampervanKangaroo Road Sign

With all the little detours, we actually covered over 1500km. Dozen's of national parks, dozy little towns and everchanging scenery. Huge streches of beaches with pounding surf. Highlights for me were the bat caves at Naracoorte and the Tower Hill reserve where we spotted wild koala bears and kangaroo's. The Great Ocean Rd scenergy was nice but I think it's rather oversold.

However, I probably won't do a campervan holiday again.

A campervan is good if you like touring and you get to sit in the front seats. You don't get to see much in the back of the campervan and must while the time away as best as you can. A campervan is also quite awkward and ungainly to explore with or drive into a town. Note that there's no insurance coverage for overhead damage, water damange or damage caused if you go on an unsealed road. Once you arrive at a campervan park and settle in, you're pretty much stuck there shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the camping crowd.

On the plus side, the campervan isn't really camping. Ours had a microwave oven, air conditioning and even a DVD player. And it's nice always having a toilet with you unless you're the one that has to empty it.

I think it would be better to have a 4WD vehicle and tow a tent trailer or (dare I say it) a caravan. Then you can leave the tent trailer and go explore with the 4WD.

Sydney to Brisbane

We took the train from Sydney to Armidale and visited a friend there. It's a small university town in the middle of a ranching region. Nice cool climate as it's up on a plateau. It's also very white which was very noticeable. There's lots of Asian's in the more urban area's of Australia. Unfortunately, there was too much pollen in the air so I was overwhelmed by an allergy attack.

From there we took a scenic drive down to Coff's Harbour. It's a nice windy drive through an area reknowned for a great many waterfalls. I discovered there were such a things as dry rainforests. The temperature gradually rises as you get to the subtropical coast.

After some oysters and ice cream at Coff's Harbour, we headed up the coast to Brisbane. Lots of driving. Jenny managed to get a speeding ticket within 90 seconds of taking over the driving from me - 72 kph in a 50 zone. Nasty fine. Not overly impressed with any of the scenery we saw whipping by as we drove north. Lot's of strip development but I'm sure we passed some nice beaches.

In Brisbane, we took the kids to the Wet 'n' Wild Water Park and Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo. The zoo was great. The Irwin's did the croc feeding show and we got to feed the kangaroo's and stroke a koala bear. The museum and art gallery on Brisbane's Southbank were good too.

We didn't have much time but Brisbane impressed me as being very liveable. Doesn't surprise me that lots of people are moving there.