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Gina, Joe and Justin's Backpacking Experience


AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 11 December 2008 | Views [708] | Comments [1]

The next region we passed through in the caravan of fun was called “Gippsland.”  Why it is called Gippsland i have NOO idea whatsoever and all 200,000 tourist guides and maps we've  collected have never made mention of it, so...???.  This area is the southernmost region of Australia and is basically all the land west of Melbourne extending to the east coast.  It is made up of a lot of “unaustralian like” land, mostly mountains and rainforest. 

Our adventure here started with rain, and a whole lot of it.  The first 2 days we traveled the weather was HORRIBLE!!!  The wind was blowing so hard that the campervan was being rocked from lane to lane.  Needless to say there wasn't much sightseeing to be done, so instead we went a different route...Wineries!  This area is well known for its wine making and there are a whole bunch of wineries scattered about.  Ever see Yellowtail (Kangaroo on bottle is a giveaway) at the wine store?  Thats Gippsland!  The goal was to end up at Wilson Promenade (a very popular national park) and the weather would clear up for some hiking.  Well that didn't happen.  So as a plan B we opted to sit in our campervan and play Phase 10 and drink our brand new bottles of wine...party animals eh?  It was  actually pretty funny watching all the people in tents freaking out as their tents started to float and then scurry around for a new dry spot!!  Gina said a few of the girls eve decided to setup a mini camp in the handicap stall of the girls bathroom.  And for those whom i've had the camping conversation with.......THIS is why staying in a tent is NOOO fun!!!!

The following morning the weather broke and we were able to do our hikes at the Promenade.  The most notable of which was “Squeaky Beach,” named so because the sand squeaks when you walk on it, but thats not what made it cool.  For some reason there were a ton of these MASSIVE round and odd shaped rocks scattered around like someone dropped 45 ft rock marbles from space.  They formed a maze that you could wander around and hide in.  Of course i tried to climb all of them in an effort to get sweet pictures from the top.  As you can see by the pictures this was a success (mostly).  All except for the biggest one, unfortunately that was not quite as easy to get down from as i had intended and required a bit more climbing skill that I actually have.  I think some of the other hikers noticed this, mostly because they sat down on the beach to watch as i SLOWLY made my way down (i think they were hoping for a fall!!!).  Joe managed to capture the entire disaster on camera so im sure pics will surface at some point ;).

At this park we also got to see our first wild KANGAROO.  To Joe and Gina's great pleasure it happened in much the same fashion as the seal incident in Kaikoura.  Both parties we simultaneously terrified, and i got laughed at...im seeing a trend here with me getting laughed at ;).

The next part of the story has easily become our new favorite story between us.  To make an extremely long story somewhat shorter, we were perusing our 2.5 million tourist maps and came across a road up in the mountains that sort of headed to our next destination (Terra-Burma park) and it was called “The Great Ridge Road.”  Now having done “The Great Ocean Road” and being very pleased how could be pass up the opportunity to traverse “The Great Ridge Road.”  It must be equally as amazing to be given such a similar name...right???  The answer to that question would be NO.  This stupid road was an old ONE LANE rock road that hugged the top of these massive mountains with more curves and bends than a bowl of spaghetti and no guard rails, street signs, or road markers for 50 miles!  Who would build such a ridiculous road??? A logging company trying to remove burned timber from the middle of Australia!!!  To add another level of drama to the story, that storm/wind i mentioned earlier had knocked over a ton of trees that of course blocked the roadway on “The Great Ridge Road.”  so a decent portion of our trip was spend excavating a path  to squeeze our gigantic van through!  At one point we came up to another guy who was clearing a fallen tree from the road with a chainsaw.  We told him this same story and he got a good chuckle out of it and congratulated us for getting off the normal tourist routes.  It was lucky for us that he was there, because there was NOOOO way we could have moved that tree without a chainsaw and we were already 30 or so miles  (2 hours) into the road...UGH.  Adventure here we come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The rest of our time in Gippsland was spent bouncing around a few national parks doing mostly rainforest hikes (see pictures).  At one point we found a city with a cave system in it.  We opted to go on the cave tour, but were disappointed to find out we didn't need wet-suits or climbing harnesses?!?!?!?  These guys need to take a lesson in fun from New Zealand!



It's named Gippsland after my relative Sir George Gipps, Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales & New Zealand who settled Australia under the Queen. His claim to fame is that he made it Illegal to hunt Aborigenes which is why he was considered the worst Governor of Australia. Ha...Australia was kind of savage in nature...There's a statue of Sir George in Canterbury Cathedral (England)...Hope this helps you and check out the Gippsland Worm if you haven't already on youtube. It's pretty slimey. Cheers!

  Marina Gipps Feb 27, 2010 11:02 AM

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