So, my trip began in Melbourne in Victoria, which is the state at the bottom coloured in blue, and ended in Perth which is on the otherside of the country coloured in pink. The trip is 3,600 kilometers through some of the most desolate country in the world. I did the trip over a few days, day 1 was Melbourne to Adelaide which I did on my own, I then spent a day in Adelaide with my half uncle and the next morning picked my mum up from the airport and continued on from there. I have broken the trip down into days to make it easier to keep track of...
Day 1 - Melbourne to Adelaide
I drove out at about 8am on Saturday morning, on the 27th of February 2010, knowing that the drive to Adelaide would take me about 8 hours and wanting to get to my half uncles place before he went out to dinner. There is something very exciting about taking a road trip, even though the first part was on my own, I cranked the music up and made sure I had plenty of coca-cola, water, and a bottle of V stashed under the seat where it would get hot. It was a gorgeous day and after a couple of hours I realised I needed to start with the sunscreen so I didnt end up burnt to a crisp - especially since the sun was only hitting one arm and my knee! I only stopped twice that day - to get a cold bottle of coke (my drink of choice...caffeine and sugar!) and have a bit of a walk around. I did think about stopping when I saw the "giant koala" on the side of the road. For those of you not from Australia there seems to be a bit of an obsession in this country with creating supersized animals and fruit out of fibreglass, from the giant pineapple and strawberry to the giant koala and kangaroo.
The second time I stopped was less of a planned stop and more of a necessity - I was coming down the massive hill into Adelaide when I felt something move under my leg - given I was wearing a miniskirt this concerned me. I though it might just have been a hair or something so I reached down to brush it away at which point I realised it was a bee. I swerved over to the side of the road, stopping more quickly than my bottle of coke appreciated and leapt from the car, arms flailing, and drawing quite a few confused glances from drivers passing by. After this I was definately awake which was proabably a good thing given I knew I was about to face city traffic and I was getting tired. Then again the most challenging thing about Adelaide is not the traffic but trying to get around the streets! I was definately greatful for the GPS on my phone and by the time I made it to my half uncles place I was hot and sticky and looking forward to sitting down and doing nothing.
I had a bit of a catch up with my half uncle and after he went out I wandered down the road, got myself a kebab / souvalaki / yiros (called different things in every state) and then promptly fell asleep.
Day 2 - AdelaideI woke up to another absoluetly gorgeous day, made myself a cup of tea, and put my feet up in my half uncles backyard (pictured left). Had a very relaxing morning and when my half uncle and his lovely lady were organised we headed off to the South Australian food and wine festival that just happened to be on that weekend, not part of my planning but a very happy coincidence none-the-less! The food and wine festival was part of the Adelaide Arts festival which completely transformed the city.
The streets had been cordoned off for the food and wine festival and there were people everywhere. It was around 30 degrees (celcius) and people were clustered underneath trees trying to make the most of the shade - Im sure the wine stands made a huge amount of money just because everyone was so hot and thirsty! They also had live music and you could smell the salt and pepper squid being cooked at little stalls on the side of the road. After a few hours of wandering around with two of the most popular people in Adelaide (I say this because we bumped into someone they knew every two steps!) we decided we were hot and hungry and headed home for dinner with my half uncles house mates and their extended families - it seemed to be the weekend for the whole house to have visitors!
The pictures shown on the left are both of the same building with two different pictures being projected back onto it - the colours changed every few minutes and each building had about three or four different pictures. The buildings ran all the way along the street and you could spend a couple of hours just wandering up and down looking at the buildings and then the incredible colours.
Day 3 - Adelaide to Port Augusta
I picked my mum up from the airport at about 10 or 11 am on the Monday morning and after stopping for a coffee we jumped straight in the car and began driving towards Port Augusta. We had discussed how far we would go the first day and it was either Port Augusta or continue on to Ceduna which was another 3-400kms further. Once we hit the open road we realised it was crazy to try and get to Ceduna as it meant we would be driving through Kanagroo country in the dark - not smart in my little, overly full, Lancer. While we didnt do a huge amount of driving the first day (roughly 600 kms) we certainyl did a lot of catching up! It had been 18 months since I had seen mum, and even though we talked on the phone almost every daym, its just different when you are catching up in person.
Day four - Port Augusta to Nullarbor Plain
This was the first of the "big days" of driving - roughly 796 kms - which seems a lot more when you travelled 600 kms the day before... a cycle which would only make the following days seem bigger and longer! We made it to Ceduna about mid-morning and stopped for a bite to eat and to stretch our legs. It was definately an interesting stop! We went and had a meat pie at one of the bakerys in town - an excellent meat pie actually! Then we wandered down and had a look at the visitors information centre and met the evil dragon lady on a power trip that was managing the visitor centre - when I say met I really mean observed her being rude to a tourist and decided not to buy anything! Went back to the car and realised the the bottle of coolent I had been badgered into bring had indeed (as I had predicted) exploded in the car and gone all over my laptops and the floor of the car. It was at this point I burst into tears and sat in the passenger seat feeling very sorry for myself - this was the only break down I had on the trip and I think maybe I just needed to get it out of my system! Mum went over to wash the mat out at the Holden dealership - kudos to the guys in there for beinf so nice! And, as only mum would, went to ask the two bikies on the side of the road if coolent would damage the laptops. The bikies assured her that they would be fine as long as we dried them and after frantically drying everything and wrapping the now saturated car mat in a bag we set out again.
Our next stop was a town called Kimba, which proudly boasts that it is halfway across Australia, not sure how accurate that is but it's their claim to fame so fair play to them! It also happens to be the site of the giant cockatoo.
We pulled up to the Nullarbor Roadhouse - the only place to stay for at least 600 kms in either direction - and noting the number of motorbikes parked outside we raced inside to ask for a room wondering what we were going to do if they said they didnt have any. Fortunately for us they did and the lovely guy behind the counter handed us the key as well as an invitation to the 'staff BBQ' that night when they finished around 10...and making sure that mum knew the invitation was for both of us! When we walked out from the reception and back to the car there was a wild dingo wandering around the carpark. The dingo came right up to us - at which point mum made a beeline for the car - and I pretended to be the dog whisperer (the little shush noise worked on the dingo for those of you who know what Im talking about!).
Once we had escaped the dingo (it really looked cute rather than vicious) we both headed to the bar...looking forward to a nice glass of wine and something to eat after a long day in the car! We sat at the bar and chatted to the bar-man, who told us that he really was serious about the staff BBQ, and we chatted to the bikies who explained to us they were having their anual general meeting down in the south of Western Australia, which was the reason there were so many of them on the road. We had a little snack and went back to the room for a rest before we headed out with the staff at 10pm... it had started to feel like a very long day! At 5 past 10 there was a knock on the door and we opened it to find two of the boys who had been working in the bar standing there and asking if we still wanted to come up for dinner. We rugged up as warmly as we could - it may have been summer and 30-40 degrees during the day but it dropped to 7 degrees that night and we were told it had something to do with winds from Antartica coming straight up across the Nullarbor as there was nothing in the way to stop it.
Day 5 - Nullarbor Plain to Norseman
But before we could leave we had to get a couple of picci's of the Giant Whale... in the middle of the desert there is a giant whale... oh the irony!
The next stop was border village...and you guessed it... a giant kangaroo!
All in all it was a great trip - filled with laughing and music - I think the only way you could think the Nullarbor trip was boring is if you have no imagination!