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Faces in Places Traveling as the Uni of Life

Life's a rollercoaster!

AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 17 June 2008 | Views [1010]

The Grampians, Victoria

The Grampians, Victoria

Hi! Glad you’ve found your way to what presumably will be my last blog entry on and about this current trip. I’m coming home, babies!! :)

My last weeks in Australia have been superb!

Packed with crates of food and drinks, two big containers filled with water, a car-repair kit and a roadmap, we took of from Melbourne in Rachal’s old minivan, nicked Millie. Our first destination would be the well-travelled Great Ocean Road in the SW of Victoria. This beautiful road takes you along spectacular ocean scenery, where some of the cliffs got eaten up by the ocean, leaving small islands scattered along the coastline.

The car couldn’t drive too fast, which fitted perfectly with the way we travelled. “Darn hippies”, will probably be a phrase on peoples mind occasionally when they encountered us on the road.. :) Thus, when evening was about to fall (around 5pm), we took a random dirt track of the Great Ocean Road, which brought us in no time into typical Australian forest full of gum trees. After some first interesting and slightly sweaty-hand-palm-experiences with Millie on the dirt tracks, we eventually found a nice open spot to camp. Unfortunately our camping qualities got tested immediately, since it started to rain. Soon though, after giving some things in our fully packed van a new and more organic place, our food was cooking on the fire and we sat down under a tarp with a cold beer, listening to the absolute silence that the Australian bush produces…

Next day, after pancake brekkie and some Frisbee exercise, we drove further towards the Otways NP at the end of the Ocean Road. Johnno, one of our roomies from Melbourne, who had been a tour guide, had drawn us some maps of exciting places to stay. His first destination brought us camping onto an awesome cliff overlooking both ocean and forest and surrounded by Koala’s. Since it was only a short drive from our previous spot, we could spend the rest of the day hiking.

Although this camp spot could have easily entertained us for some days more, we decided to move on and explore some more ground. Via another beautiful hike to a waterfall in the centre of Otways’ rainforest, covered with huge ferns, we drove up north towards the Grampians. This is a completely different landscape; dry, red soil and steep, rocky cliffs. After again some challenging dirt roads we ended up staying at another secret bush spot from Johnno’s improvised map. A truly amazing place, and eventually we stayed in the Grampians for four nights.

The weather by the way, was incredible for the time of year. Some days we just played guitar on a rock overlooking the valley’s, others we spend hiking and climbing up into the mountains, Pjew, great bouldering! When we left the Grampians some days later, it was already late afternoon and we ended up in the middle of farm lands. When the sun had set, we spoiled ourselves with a shower and some fresh laundry at a motor park.

Next day we started driving early, since we wanted to travel all the way to the East of Victoria. Typical road-trip day; sing-along’s, coffee at random villages and being remembered by the Eagles not to let the sound of our own wheels drive us crazy.

When the sun was setting we were close to Mt. Buffalo NP and found a camp spot near the little town of Nug Nug. Although the forest had Blair Witch written all over it, which freaked my out slightly, it ended up being a lovely spot to camp among high trees covered in coloured autumn leaves and along a little creek, of which the sound made me sleep like a baby.

In the morning we realized that our next destination in the Alps of Victoria (+/- 2000km altitude) was about to get really cold. Brr. That day we drove via endless winding roads to the Alpine Ski-resort towns. Unfortunately not to snowboard, since the season would start only two weeks later, but to grasp at the incredible views from the mountains peaks.

Unable to find a space to bush camp around here, we ended up in another payed park in the little town of Omeo. Their great fireplace and huge amount of firewood inspired us to make a bon out of the fire and in the morning we could bake eggs on their barbie.

From up here we left for the Snowy River NP, where we ended up staying several nights, all on different exciting spots in the middle of Australia’s forest. The National Parks are unbelievable and it is not hard to image how this country must have looked like before the colonization; Far stretched of forest, rivers meandering trough valleys and again, so much silence.

On some days, when the sun was out, we could take a bath in the river.. The remoteness of the places we went to, got us in some trouble one time though. After a night of too much spacing out on hours and hours of Pink Floyd and creating our own myths from the burning fire, we discovered next morning that our battery had run flat. We also ran out of water and since the car was slightly coming down from a hill and there was not enough space around us to kick-start the car, we were forced to find help. No, not by telephone, I wish haha,…walking. A couple of hours later and after climbing two mountains, we luckily ran into a group of schoolkids camping in the park. One of their guides was so kind to gives us a lift back and helped to start our car. Pjew! :)

From the Snowy River we went back to the coast on the SE. After a night camping on a beach parking spot in Suburbia near Lake Tyres, we went to the town of Lakes Entrance. This beautiful region has many lakes, that are separated by sand dunes from the Ocean.

After some walks we decided to spoil ourselves with the conveniences of civilisation, which mend; pizza and Indiana Jones at the local cinema… annex squash-hall. :) After Lakes Entrance we felt like spending one more night in the bush of Mitchell River NP, before returning to Melbourne, to be just in time for a live gig by one of Rachal’s musician friends…

Back in Melbourne it was good ol’ fun, hanging around the Temple with the lovely people that live there! Spending a lazy Saturday making bubbles, cook great food all day long and visit theatre, circus and music gigs.

After a week I felt I needed to move on and because my time is running out here in Australia, I decided to fly to Brisbane to get a different taste of this diverse country. In Brisbane I checked into a friendly hostel in the cosmopolitan suburb of West End and walked around the city exploring the relaxed lifestyle of this city where the sun shines 300 days a year. Although it is Australia’s winter, up here it is still 25 degrees! Love it! :)

When I checked my facebook page last Friday I found out that Paula, another great traveller who I’d met in Asia, was currently living in Brisbane. After calling and catching up, I was invited to join her for a weekend at her friend’s catamaran in the Gold Coast and seeing her friends play an acoustic set at the Sharks rugby stadium. Again, so many lovely and friendly people and we ended up spending the whole weekend on the boat drinking wine, eating great food and jamming with her musician friends.

When I got back, next day I met up with travellers who I’d met in Sydney and together we went to Dream World yesterday. Getting our blood mixed with adrenaline during one of many crazy rides, we got back tired into Brisbane, but just in time for a cup of fresh chai at a weekly reggae gig held in West End. And that is exactly what these lasts weeks have been; a rollercoaster! Looking so much forward to go back home, but no time to think about it… there are a couple of loopings that I’ve yet to take. Cya soon and namaste.

Love, Daan

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