Grand Pacific Driving
Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
92Trip End Apr 22, 2011
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Where I stayed
Mark & Diane's
Surf Beach Campsite
Monday 23rd August 2010
It was a wasted day, the money still wasn't in the bank so we headed home where I spent the day updating the blog and Gary finished putting the doors back together after they had been painted. We had a mandatory visit to the $1 Pie shop for lunch and River came along for the ride. Luke and Erin popped round in the evening and gave us our invite to their engagement party.
Tuesday 24th August 2010
Gary dropped me off outside the bank and I ran over the road with little hope that the money had cleared again for another day. I came back minutes later with a huge grin on my face and clutching a big fat cheque, success at last. We loaded up the sat nav and pointed the car towards Sydney. Two hours ten minutes later we arrived at Sydney RV’s and the first thing we saw was our new baby all clean and shiny waiting for us at the door. She was even better than we remembered, we spent five minutes looking round her before heading in to the office to complete the paper work. Once she was official ours we went back outside to do the final inspection and instruction on how everything worked. Gary drove her round the corner to fill up with petrol but then I took over to drive her home as Gary needed to drive Jay’s car back. She handled beautifully, not too fast so I was always in control but not too slow so I didn’t hold the traffic up.
We got back to Mark and Diane’s without any problems and after some lunch headed out to get some supplies. There is a wardrobe in the campervan that seems a bit pointless as all our clothes in the last year have been stuffed in a rucksack, so I have asked Gary to put some shelves in it so I can put groceries in there. We went to a DIY place called Bunning which is identical to B&Q and Gary bought some MDF..... which made him feel at home.
Wednesday 25th August 2010
Christmas morning, well it felt like it, we got up early to go and shop for our new toy. Firstly we had a trip back to the RTA to register the van and pick ourselves a Toll Tag up so we don’t get fines when we go into cities. The toll is a bit like the congestion charge in London you have to pay it before entering, with the Tag you just prepay and it comes off when you enter the toll gates. It cost $80 but $40 is a deposit for the tag and you are refunded any outstanding amount when you hand it back in.
Next was a food shop and a visit to Aldi’s for some cheap bargains, we picked up two big pillows and a St George Cross Flag....on sale (left over from the World cup). We arrived back at the house where Gary got to work on the shelves and I cooked Chilli-con-carnie and brownies for dinner that night. We went out in the afternoon to get a mini oven and some bedding. When we got back Mark and Diane where back from work and standing out the front. They looked at the piles of bags and boxes thrown in the back of the van and laughed.
We had planned to head out the next day but we were still so disorganised, piles of stuff everywhere and I hadn’t even moved stuff out our room yet, so we delayed it for a day.
Thursday 26th August 2010
We spent the day stacking shelves and unpacking boxes, trying to get some sort of system. We tweaked a few things like the cupboard that held the mini oven. Gary took the lid off and added rubber feet so it fits over the sink and gives us more worktop space.
The TV/DVD we had thrown into the deal is a brand new 19" flatscreen made especially for camping. It runs on 12v plug but also has an adaptor for normal sockets (for when we have electric at campsites). Our only problem was where to keep it during the day or in transit. There was a perfect space at the end of the seating but it would need some sort of box to hide it from prying eyes. Gary thought MDF, Mark thought metal (which is his business). Mark asked Adrian to make a box at work and he brought it home for us that night. It was just right, the TV fitted in perfect and it matched the decor of the van really well, so it didn’t look like we were trying to hiding something. Gary spent the afternoon fitting it to the van.
When Mark came home that night, we were all ready to go, except for the essentials details like where we were heading? We sat down with him and mapped out a route that would take us to Kiama, Batemans Bay, Canberra and the Blue Mountains. We are only going for a week, just to try the van out and see if there is anything we need to change. We are around for a while so we can help Mark and Diane get their new house up and running and get them moved in.
Friday 27th August 2010
It was a windy start as we set out on our first big adventure. Our first stop was to a Swedish store you may not have heard of called IKEA ......come on I haven’t had an Ikea fix for over a year.....there was one in Singapore but I controlled myself. I have to say it was great to be back. Only bought a few essentials, cheese grater, storage jars, candles.... Gary got himself a little tool kit.
The Journey to Kiama took us on the Grand Pacific Drive, which starts in the Royal National Park and then hugs the coast line all the way to Nowra. There is a stretch of the road that extends out over the sea in a big S and looks really impressive as you drive down on to it. The views are incredible each coast line is stunning and the sea looks like it stretches out to infinity.....and beyond!
Distance travelled - 275km
Cost of campsite - $29
Air temp – 18
We arrived in Kiama and found a great campsite situated between two beaches. The weather was windy but the sun was out and the sea was rough. We spent some time packing away our Ikea purchases before wandering out to explore the campsite. This site had a small swimming pool (which was closed for the winter) laundry room, camp kitchen with cookers, microwaves, fridges, freezers, washing up stations and a BBQ hot plate. Outside BBQ’s (free) and picnic tables. The toilet block was spotlessly clean and had ample showers and toilets. All in all it looked good.
Diane had sent us off with left over Veggie Lasagne so we tried out our new oven and heated it up....delicious. We set the bed up, fetched the TV out its hidey hole and settled down to watch some films.
Saturday 28th August 2010
Eleven months away already!! We had a really restful night, the bed is comfortable, we had enough covers to keep us warm and luckily neither of us needed a wee in the night. The sun beamed though the windows the next morning and we ate breakfast in bed and then ventured out to test the showers. I noticed really high waves splashing up against the rocks on the beach next to us, so thought it must be windy still, but when I went out the air was calm but the sea was fierce. Waves were smashing against the rocks and rolling in with amazing force, if you didn’t know better you would say you were in a massive storm.
After we were clean, dressed and ready to face the world we closed up the campervan and walked in to town. One of the attractions in Kiama is their blow hole, we picked a great day to go a see it, with the sea so rough there was enough presser to blast the water through the hole so it resembled a volcano exploding.
We left the Blowhole and walked towards the high street, as we walked round the shoreline we passed a rock pool, which is half natural, half manmade swimming area, and a lot of places in Australia have these. Some were original bathing pools in the late nineteenth century but a lot of them are just safe places to swim away from currents and aquatic predators. As we passed the harbour we noticed some pelicans in the water all facing a boat like they were watching TV. The fisherman on the boat was gutting his catch and throwing the waste over the side for the pelicans and seagulls to fight over.
There was a locals market on as we left the harbour and we do love a market. We found lots of great freebies to taste and try and unfortunately for our pocket lots of great things to buy too. We couldn’t resist buying some olives (big pot of Queens) and olive oil and some home-made relish for our cheese sandwiches. We carried on through the market and up into the town, carrying our litre of olive oil and bucket of olives, we spotted some surfer kids eating pies and chocolate milk outside a bakery....apparently this is the thing to do after a day surfing. We made our way to the outskirts of town where we found a bottleshop and bought some wine...to go with the olives!
Now fully loaded with olives, oil and booze we headed back along the shoreline to our campervan, on the way we passed a rugby pitch where I left Gary reminiscing of days gone by while I took a walk on the beach to watch the surfers battle the big waves.
A glass of wine, two chicken kebabs (cooked in our oven) and a game of cards finished what was a very enjoyable day.
Sunday 29th August 2010
Gary had a rough night, he hurt his back popping the roof up the day before and couldn’t get comfortable in the night, so at 6am we turned the DVD on and watched 'The 40 year old Virgin’. Once it was it was finished we showered, dressed and packed the van up ready to hit the road again on our way to Batemans Bay. The remained of the Grand Pacific Drive took us past Seven Mile Beach or 11.3km Beach but that doesn’t have the same ring to it. It was however a good reason to stop and take some photos. We then carried on down the Pacific Highway through national parks, coastal towns, past wineries and dairy farms. We stopped at a road side seller to buy some fruit and tomatoes, seven Avocados for $4.50 that’s £2.25.....how cheap is that.....not sure what I am going to do with seven avocados but I do like a bargain.
Distance travelled - 168km
Cost of Campsite - $30
Air Temp – 22
Arrived in Batemans Bay just after 2pm, first thing on the agenda...lunch! We had some discounted steak we bought in Woolworths (that’s a supermarket here) and Gary cooked it on the BBQ then brought it back and we made steak sandwiches. As it was hot and sunny we put the chairs and table out, grabbed a couple of alcoholic beverages and chilled in the sunshine.
We hadn’t tried the gas rings yet so Gary set it up on the table outside and put some spuds on to boil, then fried up some onions and made onion gravy ready for dinner that evening. I sat writing the blog in the campervan as it started to get a bit chilly. Bangers ‘n’ Mash a La Gary was delicious, which meant I had to do the washing up.....!!!
We are only spending one night in Batemans Bay, before we head to the capital city of Canberra tomorrow.