A girl and a boy, packed into a $20 K-Mart tent and a Corolla from the 90’s headed (almost) all the way up Australia’s fabled East Coast. Oh yes, it was time for another road trip.
Although the end goal of the trip was to end way up north in Cairns, we began this road trip by heading south out of Melbourne down to Lakes Entrance.
The weather wasn’t exactly encouraging for the first day of adventuring, but we reminded ourselves it was still the end of winter and not a bad omen.
We set up our tent and had a dinner of incredible greasy sausages in the dark, and went to sleep freezing but excited for the trip that lay ahead of us.
In the morning, the weather had completely turned around to a beautiful sunny day. We breakfasted while waiting for the tent to dry from condensation.
A moment about the tent: I loved and hated (mostly hated) our mobile home.
I encourage anyone reading this to splash out a little when they buy a tent. It was $20 for a reason. Though the label said ‘3 man’, my toes would poke the walls and I am not at all tall. 3 hobbits, perhaps. Also despite our every effort to not touch the tent walls at night, we would wake up damp almost every morning from condensation dripping from the ceiling (until we got up north where it was too hot for that nonsense). As a consolation it packed down small enough and one person could put it up alone.
Splurge a little on your tent, it is not a place for bottom of the barrel.
As happens so often on road trips, I wish we had more time to explore Lakes Entrance, before we hit the road.
Our first stop was Eden, because I wanted to see the Killer Whale Museum.
Unfortunately there are no photos because I was using one of their outlets to charge my camera.
However, I was not expecting the tale that came with this little town. Back in the early 1900’s when whaling was still socially acceptable, the hunters had a standing relationship with a pod of orcas who lived near the bay. The orcas would herd baleen whales into Twofold Bay for them to be harpooned by men in boats – the rule being that the carcass would be left for the Killer Whales to eat the tongue before the rest was harvested. There were reports of the whales working in separate groups to drive their prey towards the shore, and even swimming protectively close by when whalers were tossed overboard. It’s a grisly look at the history of whaling but an absolutely fascinating example of a human/animal relationship that lasted for years.
We were hoping to see some whales ourselves at the lookout, but it was too late, they were already on their way north.
The next stop was Bega! (yes, the home of Bega Cheese for anyone who has bought groceries in Australia).
I am entirely convinced that ‘tasty’ cheese is not an actual type of cheese at all, and that it really tastes like nothing. However I had never seen canned cheese before, so that was quite a novelty.
We had planned to stop in at Bateman’s Bay on the way to our final stop for the night, but I had taken too long wandering the Killer Whale Museum and unfortunately it would have been dark by the time we got there.
We turned away from the coast and headed inland to Canberra.
Up and down a hilly windy road in the pitch black, with no reception. The front passenger tire decided this would be a good time to explode, luckily just as we were on a straight patch of road. A lovely truck driver slowed down to see if we needed help, with a load full of sheep in the back.
Fortunately we had a spare, and were back to an uneventful drive in a few minutes, happy to arrive to a house and warm bed for the night.
We didn’t exactly linger in Canberra, and I’m not too upset about that. I’m sure it is beautiful when all the plants are alive, but in the winter it wasn’t exactly the most exciting place.
I did find it fascinating that the city was designed to be best viewed from the Red Hill Lookout.
I may have delayed our drive by making sure we pulled over on the highway to take photos with the state border signs – but now I’m only missing Tasmania!
It was quite impressive at an 81m drop into the valley.
From here we moved onto lovely Kiama.
We were there to see the blowhole, but ended up spending more time exploring the rocks along the shore.
We were really into New South Wales now, approaching one of the landmarks I had been excited to see even before I left Canada: the Seacliff Bridge.
This had been on my bucket list for years, and seeing it in person absolutely lived up to the hype.
First we drove across the bridge, and then drove back so that we could park and walk along it, before driving along it one more time to continue on our journey.
Not only did we enjoy the bridge, but we also found an ocean-fed swimming pool at the end of it, all by chance while looking for a washroom.
It wasn’t a sand, but a shell beach.
When we arrived there was a man swimming in it, so I though I might dip my feet.
But it was freezing. I swear, nothing will stop an Australian from getting in the ocean, especially something as silly as ice-cold water.
We definitely took our time getting back to the car, dreaming about living in one of the mansions right along the cliffs.
But it was time to say goodbye and head inland again, to the Blue Mountains, and another nighttime camp set-up. We went to bed freezing (it was 3 degrees), and exhausted, but thrilled with our first three days.