Already behind schedule, there was a rush to put the final touches on the apartment, and get out of the door. Unexpected tasks have already ruined our previously pristine timeline, making the last moments in the apartment hectic. In hind sight, we should have planned for that, as moving out of a place usually is a bit crazy. Never the less, we eventually close the door behind us, return the keys, and are on our way. As we drive away from Melbourne, we are treated to views in our mirrors of the sun setting over the city. It is an appropriate gesture, our time in the city is ending, and we are moving north.
The coming week calls for a drive up the east coast of Australia, with several overnight stays and seeing of sights along the way. The car is packed to the roof with everything we can’t live without for the week, and everything that can’t live without us. It’s a tight, but cozy fit. The first stop on the journey is Bear Gully Cottages, tucked into the coast near Wilson's Promontory National Park. Following the late exit from Melbourne, the drive through southern Victoria is dark, and only grows darker as we move further from civilization. The long stretches of country road are nicely accented by a clear view of the stars and numerous stops to let wallabies and wombats cross the road. When we finally pull up to our cottage it is late into the night. The owners are gracious enough to accommodate our late arrival, and we make our way into the cottage and unpack from our exhausting first day of travel.
Waking up the next morning we are greeted by a wonderful sunrise over the ocean, perfectly viewed from the deck of the cottage. With only 2 days to explore the area, we get out of the door early in the morning. Wilson Promontory has a lot to offer: coastal and mountain walks, untouched beaches, beautiful views and a variety of wildlife. We take in as much as we can over the following days, before finally relenting to our tight schedule, packing the car, and heading to our next stop.
Lakes Entrance is next on the agenda, with an overnight stop at a hotel along the Princes Highway. The following morning allows for a few hours of exploring, which are happily done around the waters that run through the area. Cormorants, gulls, swans, and egrets are all going about their days, and I happily snap away. I even stop to lend a hand to a pigeon that is stuck in a whirlpool, unable to make it back to the shore. My good deed done for the day, we load into the car again, and are on our way. The next leg moves us inland, as we feel the need to pass through Canberra on the way north. A long day of driving and site-seeing eventually leads to our next stop in Wollongong.
With the rain setting in there is not much to do the next day, except for drive. We make the soggy journey up the coast and through Sydney, making sure to pass over the Harbour Bridge to film a few scenes(watch the video below!). Coming out the other side of the city we continue up the coast with our eyes set on the next hotel a few hours ahead.
Waking up in Port Macquarie the next morning, the rains have cleared, leaving a few clouds still hanging in the air. The drive that day is one of the shorter legs of the journey, so we had some time to see the area. We discover that there are a lot of banana trees in the area, including the Big Banana at Coffs Harbour. Tours of the country side prove rewarding, and we are treated to wonderful views of the harbours and shorelines as we continue north.
Lismore greets us that evening with a wonderful sunset, and plenty of bird life on the lake near our hotel. The next morning is just as wonderful as I am able to spend a few hours chasing the birds around the lake. I’m greeted by a pair of kookaburras, and also spot a royal spoonbill and a jacana. I eventually realize the sun is starting to get high, and it’s time to move on. So we load into the car one last time and start the drive to our last destination, our new home in Tweed Heads.
We probably over indulged on the campervan. A six person rig with built in shower and toilet, and plenty of sleeping space, as far as a campervans go. We would at least be traveling in style over the next week on our holiday to Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia.
The trip starts off with a familiar drive down the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. Having made the trip before, we skip a few of the more popular spots, and explore some of the areas we never had time to see. The drive is relaxing, the height of the campervan offering a different perspective on the passing landscape.
After a day of driving we pull into a parking lot to rest for the night. With all the essentials in the campervan we figure we'd be comfortable for the night. However, being first time campervaners, we didn't realize we needed to be plugged into power for the stove and outlets to work. It was an embarrassing lesson to learn, but we push through the night without being able to boil water for tea, or charge the laptop.
We carry on west through Victoria, and then into South Australia, with our eyes set on the Cape Jervis Station Campervan Park off the coast near Cape Jervis. We take a self-planned detour around the south of Adelaide, weaving through the small two lane country roads in our oversized campervan. After a few hours of less than efficient navigation through the rural roads, we eventually find ourselves pulling into the campervan park. With our lesson still fresh on our minds from the night before, we back into our powered campsite and settle down in the warm glow of interior lights and a laptop screen.
Waking early the next morning, I take some time to explore the campervan park. There is plenty of bird chatter, with wrens, robins, and galahs all making appearances. A small paddock in the back features a friendly sheep, which comes up to the fence to greet me. Just down the road, the ocean can easily be seen, and our next form of transportation awaits us, the Kangaroo Island Ferry.
The loading process is exciting, as I get to show off my newly acquired campervan driving skills, making the tight squeeze into the hull of the ferry. Once on board we choose a spot up on the deck, and watch as Cape Jervis shrinks behind us, and Kangaroo Island grows in front.
After unloading, we take the rig up to a visitor centre to get our bearings for the island, and pick out all the places we want to see. Having pre booked spots at campervan parks on either side of the island, our activities naturally center on these areas, making for easy daily drives. On the way west we go out of our way to see a honey shop, and then down to Seal Beach. A tour guide takes us right down to the sand, and we find ourselves within a few feet of hundreds of seals, watching as the adults relax in the sun and the pups constantly search for food. One pup in particular went out to greet an adult coming out of the surf, hoping to get a meal from his mother. Unfortunately for him he had the wrong mother, as she clearly and loudly let him know. Not to worry though, the mothers will spend days out at sea hunting before returning to feed their young, so the pup would soon be getting his fill.
Eventually we make it to Western KI Campervan Park, and settle in before sunset. The grounds feature a few walking trails and a lake filled with a variety of bird life. Over the next few days I spot yellow-billed spoonbills, egrets, cape baron geese, musk ducks, and new holland honey eaters . And appropriately for the island, there are kangaroos everywhere, making their way up to the camp ground at night to graze. Nearby is Flinders Chase National Park, Kelly Hill Conservation Park, and a Koala park, which fill up our days on the western side of the island.
Heading back east on our last day, we go through Kingscote and watch Pelicans and Black Cockatoos, and then on to Penneshaw Campervan park to watch the penguins come in. Out on the jetty at Penneshaw we even spot a few dolphins, and a seal soaking up the last rays of sunshine for the day. Up early the next morning I take a few last shots of Kangaroo Island, capturing the mood of the bay, and then board the ferry to head back to the mainland.
Back on the road, and still unable to grasp the frequency with which the roads in Australia change names, we inadvertently take a tour through Adelaide, and come out the other side pointed towards Melbourne. We make one last overnight stay at a campervan park in the Grampians, the cool air providing a nice break from the hot nights on Kangaroo Island. A few fairy wrens greet us in the morning and send us on our way, back to Melbourne in our oversized campervan.