• Play ground

    If Mildura is too far for one day, we can have a halfway stop in Berri. Most famous thing in Berri is a big free playground and it might be a good idea to provide the kids with some controlled climb-and-do things by then.

    It is also nice to ensure that there are options, that we can decide on the spur of the moment depending on what we feel like, how much time we still have and what the weather is like. If it is cold, wet and miserable we probabely want to drive on to Mildura and going to one of the swimming pool.

  • Martian Landscape

    As you can see on the map, the first big town on the ‘inland route’ between Adelaid and Sydney is Mildura. I’ts about 5 hours drive from Adelaide so that would make a nice first stop after a travelling day. It is located next to a river (the Murray), so there are bound to be some activities with boats. And it’s pretty close to the Perry Sandhils, appearantly a known background for lots of movies:

    The Perry Sandhills are 10 hectares of striking red sandhills that were once part of the huge Willandra Lakes System and date back to an ice age 40,000 years ago. Evidence suggests that the Barkindji people lived here since ancient times and bones of mega fauna found in the sandhills also reveal that huge kangaroos, wombats and other creatures once roamed the region. Located 5 kilometres from Wentworth near Mildura.

    nsw_mildura.jpg

  • There and back

    Slowly our route planning is taking shape. Since we allready know that we want to do the Coast Road, our furthest point is Adelaide. So basically we want to drive to Adelaide and come back via another road. The distance between Sydney and Adelaide is 1400-1700 km, depending on which roads you take. So a ‘circular’ route would be 3100 km.

    We allready know that we want to stay a few days in Sydney in my uncle’s house. We also know that we want to visit my aunt, who lives in the Blue Mountains. That’s slightly out of the route, so let’s add a few hundred kilometres. Say that we have to drive approximately 3600 km in our time there. We have 30 days, we will stay in Sydney for 3 or 4, we will stay at my aunts for 2 or 3, so we have about 24 days to cover the distance. That seems a workable planning, with enough room for recreation and outings. So for now that’s the draft route, and we’ll just try to find a nice spread of things to see/do.

    Our current most likely route

  • Whales

    Appearantly June-July are great months for whale spotting. The cruises from Sydney are quite expensive and don’t allow for kids under 5 though, and our youngest will be 5 this August.

    But Jervis Bay looks like an even better deal. They have a range of nice cruises with family fees *and* younger children allowed. There is a whale spotting cruise with guaranteed whales in June and July. And we appearantly also can get 10% discount if we mention Jervis Bay Tourism.

    It seens a really nice area to spend some time with the kids. Originally we thought about doing this stretch last, but in view of this piece of information we might plan this earlier. Appearantly it is about 190 km south of Sydney, a three hour ride. Back to the maps…

  • Road Planner

    That might come in handy: a route planner for NWS.

  • Lorne

    One of the more popular places on the Ocean Road is Lorne. Appearantly there are some nice walking routes there, amongst others to Phantom Falls. It is supposed to be a rather low profile but nice walk.

    The major attraction is Erskine Falls, a hugh waterfall. More touristy though and thus more traffick. Still a nice option if we have some time.

  • Cookies for rookies

    As soon as friend L. heard that we were going to Oz, she begged me to buy here a package of TimTams with a vague story about how you’re supposed to bite off the ends and use it as a straw to drink beverages with.

    I wondered what got her so excited, and googled. Now I know I really have to try some – who can refuse something that is described as: The Tim Tam Suck, Tim Tam Explosion, Tim Tam Orgasm, Tim Tam Straw, The Tim Tam Slam, Shotgunning the Tim Tam or just plain Tim Tamming…

  • Follow the yellow brick….. eh….. Ocean Road

    After reading a bit more about New South Wales we kind of fell in love with the Great Coast Road between Warrnambool en Geelong. It is supposed to be one of the most scenic roads of the world, hugging the eastern coastline between Adelaide and Melbourne. It was built in honor of the fallen soldiers who fought alongside the Brits in WW1 and was finished in 1932.

    One of the most visited stretches of the road is Port Campbell. The wind and the sea have sculpted the rocks there in very unusual formations, also known as the ‘Twelf Apostels’. Actually only 9 of those were visible from the road and a few years ago one of those collapsed (July 3d, 2005) so there are only 8 left.

    Another famous rock formation, the London Bridge, also suffered some sudden damage when part if it just suddenly fell down. In both cases it all happened within minutes; two tourists walking the Bridge actually found themselfes in the water unexpectedly. For me, that lends visiting them a kind of weird urgency. Those formations have been there for millions of years – yet appearantly they can disappear completely right before, during or after we visit the sites.

    Along the Road are several nice views and recommended Parks. Several sites declare the Otway Park as one of the most beautiful parcs of the area, so that is on our current ‘have to see’-list too.

    This recommended drive between Adelaide and Melbourne says it takes 5 days to do it at ease and still have time to discover things. Which means that we should probabely reserve about a week for this stretch. But we still have to get from Adelaide to Sydney or vice versa. Probabely from Sydney to Adelaide since I have family in Sydney, including a beloved aunt in the Blue Mountains, that we would want to visit first. Which means we should plan this in the second half or our holiday.

  • Camper

    The camper company is quite efficient with email traffic. I got a reply immediately. Picking it up three days later is not a problem at all. It does mean that we pay more per day though, so our total rent will increase by approximately 120 euro (for four weeks). We are not supposed to leave it somewhere overnight, so officially we should either go for the new price or pick it up on the original date and park it on a camping for three days. Hmmmm…. seems weird too.

    Compared with the costs of the complete holiday 120 euro is a tiny amount of course, so we could decide to just follow the rules.
    Pick it up three days later and no worries about burglars or idiots driving into it.

    Knowing us we are likely to choose the legal yet more expensive option, but we have a few hours before we have to decide…

  • Inside info

    We just started to read about NSW and which things we can do there, when my uncle from Sydney dropped by. He is spending three months in… well, partly in Europe and partly elsewhere in the world. This week however he is in the Netherlands so he decided to drop by.

    Which also means that he is not in Australia when we arrive there. We can still see him before we leave though, and he kindly offered us the use of his house for our first days. He lives in Mosman, in the Northern part of Sydney. So we now decided to use his house as our base station for the first days, get a Sydney Pass to use all public transport freely, and make a little list of things we really want to see and do in Sydney.

    Appearantly Sydney has a public transport planner that’s very comparable with our Dutch system. Quite a number of busses stop in front of his house, some of which go to Sydney centre, others go southwards to Manley beach. The latter is a nice area to have a little walk in one of the National Parks, and you can also take the ferry to Sydney centre from there. Since you see most of the harbour that way it saves the cost of a specific harbour cruise. Therefore we’ve now crossed that from our list of things to do.

    This fortunate change of plans also means that I now have to call my cousin (whom I’ve seen only once in my life, years ago) to ask for the keys of the house and to see if he can pick us up from the airport. Not an unreasonable request, I know, but quite hard for someone who is a bit telephone phobic. I hate asking favours and I hate calling – but I know I sometimes just have to kick myself in the right direction and this seems to be one of those times.

    I also have to contact the company we rent the camper from, and ask if we can pick it up a few days later. That can be done by email though 😉