After Adelaide we drove to Mount Gambier, and spent some time looking around the Blue Lake before we headed off to Port Campbell via a great lunch stop in Portland (Trip Advisor scores again!). In Victoria we started to drive The Great Ocean Road and managed to visit The Grotto, London Bridge and The Arch before sunset. The next day we visited the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge. We were spending time on the Great Ocean Road (another iconic Australian drive) as we were meeting friends in Lorne to join in a birthday celebration weekend with Nola, who turned 99. Had a great evening and a lovely meal with Nola, Andrew, Clare and Hiliary. Then two days of driving to get home with our last overnighter at the Ettamogah Pub campground near Albury.
Amy says that I am anal, but I prefer to say ‘analytical’. I have kept fairly detailed notes on this trip about all sorts of things so will wrap up with a summary of some key stats about the trip. Who knows it might help someone else in planning such a venture.
Distance travelled 22,500 km’s (14,000 miles) over 157 days (average 144k’s or 89 miles per day)
Overnight stops were: Caravan Parks (40%), National Parks (25%), Stations/Resorts/Private Camps (23%), Free Camps (12%)
Our expenses were roughly 60% essential items and 40% discretionary items with the top items being – Tours 16.5% of total spend, Groceries 15%, Fuel 14%, Camping 14%, and Eating Out 11%. If anyone wants more detailed numbers let me know.
And in any such venture not everything goes exactly to plan, so I also did a list of lessons learned (which could also be called a list of all the stupid things we did). Thankfully we stopped adding to the list at the end of August. It includes travel basics (eg-get fuel when you can), 4 WD basics (eg-get out of 4WD before the bitumen), Explorer Motorhome basics (eg-shut all hatches before driving), and communication basics (eg-skype video uses lots of data$$$). Three of our best online friends were – Wiki Camps (for where to stay), Trip Advisor (for restaurants and cafes) and Fuel Map (for cheap fuel). In his normal fashion Dick ended up helping lots of fellow travellers get the most out of their travel technologies. All part of the experience!
Before we left someone said we would meet lots of interesting people. I sort of dismissed that idea as it wasn’t the reason for the trip. Well, not only did we meet lots of interesting people all the time, we invited lots of people into our van for coffee, drinks, cards, tea etc. In fact we hosted 18 different people and 8 of those visited in our place twice or more. We felt fortunate to have our van which was a comfortable place for getting together. We also had a few meals out with some of our new friends. All in all it was quite a social trip as we also caught up with old friends in Perth, in Adelaide and on The Great Ocean Road.
Speaking of the Lestervan, it performed beyond our expectations; especially on rough corrugated roads and in giving us great comfort in remote locations. We were very happy with it. So much so that we spent every night away in the van. Dick does have a list of 30+ improvements he wants to do, but thats all about increasing the level of comfort.
Thanks again to all who gave us input before the trip, and to all who gave feedback and comments or said they enjoyed doing the trip with us vicariously. It was nice having you along with us ‘in spirit’ and doing the blog gave me a project to focus on!
Love to all from
Pat and Dick