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Trip Start Feb 10, 2012
51Trip End Jun 10, 2012
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Today we said our sad goodbyes to Georgina, Elise and Orianne and went to pick up our campe rvan. My earlier trepidation was well founded. The van turned out to be tiny, 10 years old, tired and without power steering. The company that we picked it up from were acting as agents and when we arrived were quite frosty towards us. I think they thought we would cause trouble when we saw the state of the van, which we did, but when they realised that we completely understood their position they were very helpful.
We rang up the company who had supplied it, but they didn't want to know, so here we are, stuck in the middle of a "complaint procedure". I seem to have been here before. Vinnie is going to write to the credit card company to look into the legitimacy of taking money “up front” and refusing to refund it when the product is not fit for purpose.
In the meantime we had to make a decision. So off we set in another camper van which was fit for purpose keeping our fingers crossed that we can get at least some of the money back again. Don’t hold your breath for that though.
Next task was to buy Vinnie a tent. I had located a Kmart store which seemed to be en-route but when Vinnie put Kmart into the satnav it pointed us towards one 15 Km away, so off we go. Never believe fairy tales or satnavs, they a are complete fiction. Kmart turned out to be a Buddhist temple or something. Not having much luck so far. But we eventually located my original Kmart, parked up and had a long walk back to the shopping mall. Kmart was right at the other end of the mall (wouldn’t you know it!) but we bought the tent, set off again only to find another bigger Kmart along the road with easier access. As I said, not our day!
The site we found was absolutely lovely though. Right in the middle of Killalea State Park just south of Sydney. By the time we got there we were pretty knackered. But we shall see what today brings.
Having tempted providence with the above statement, today turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. We started off OK. Went to look at a “blow hole” – this is a place where the sea comes into a cave, builds up pressure and blows water into the air. Just like it says on the tin!
Bought provisions for our lunch, dinner tonight and tomorrow night. Vinnie was promising all sorts of wonderful concoctions.
Took a lovely drive up a mountain and through a rain forest called “The Highlands” which is, as you would expect, very lush, very green and very, very wet, passed a town called Farnborough which has identical countryside as our Farnborough, received a call from Hils to tell us of a famous pie shop nearby just as we finished our ham sandwich lunch, detoured to look at a waterfall by which time the skies opened up and it hasn’t stopped since.
Too wet for camping tonight I’m afraid so we booked into a hotel and the way it looks at the moment we will have to do the same tomorrow night. But we shall see. We are very close to Canberra so we will either go there as planned or try to find some dry spot in this great continent and head for it!
One thing that I have decided today (I think) is that instead of dropping the camper van off in Adelaide as planned, drive it back to Melbourne, drop off Vinnie who is going to a wedding in Tasmania and drive the van back to Sydney myself. I can do this over the Easter weekend and the camper van company boss has offered to extend the hire period free of charge to allow me to do this. It might be fun – or fear - I’m not sure which. But for sure it will be an adventure.
Since writing this a couple of things have changed.
a) Our route: Because of the horrendous and scary rain we retraced our steps and came back up north to escape it. But.....it followed us up here so we are currently in discussions as to what is our next best course of action.
One possibility, suggested by Hils brother who, in his time, has done the "jolly swagman" thing, (he is an Australian equivalent of an ex-Etonian) is to go inland and make our way to Adelaide across the outback. Very daring! But he assures us that it's quite safe and the roads are good. Then on the Melbourne and back to Sydney the other way.
b) Me driving: I've chickened out of driving the camper van back to Sydney myself! I'm beginning to accept that I might be a bit dithery and my sense of direction has certainly gone wrong. If I should turn left all my senses are screaming out for me to turn right! How can this be?
So ... onward and upward. Love, Ann xxx