It was after 4pm on a warm Wednesday, mid October, that we drove away from the farm where we'd converted a school bus into this home we call Blu. We'd been trying to get away all day but one last minute fix led to another, and another. It was tempting, at that late stage, to just stay that night, but we knew the best thing was to leave. Basically, to 'cut our ties'.
Sure, there'd be more things to fix, but we had tools with us and they could be done on the road. We'd already had a test trip away the weekend before, to a local reserve with a few friends. The test trip had produced a few necessary fixes: the air conditioner belt had burnt out (on a particularly hot day!) and the rear boot door had developed a crack.
Our home is our motorhome and wherever we are in that, but if you need a fixed location the best I'd like to say is South East Queensland. I've lived in a few places there and none are more home to me than another, but I'm comfortable with that part of the world.
So, it was from South east Queensland that we left and headed, without a plan, west. In South West Queensland, in the second part of October, it was hot! and there were simply too many flies, so it was decided that we should next head for the snowy mountains. Yes! Australia has snow, You can go skiing in Australia (in the winter months).
Heading South, through mid-western NSW on 'The Kidman Way', we found the country dry but the waterways flooded. This meant that many attractions and campsites weren't available, and at one point we were sent on an interesting detour of a few hundred kilometres because the Kidman Way was cut by swollen creeks.
In Griffith we camped in town with about 15 other vehicles, roughly 12 of them were the vehicles of young 'working holiday makers/backpackers'. Most of the vehicles (not RVs, just cars, vans, 4wd wagons) had 2 people in them and that's where they slept. These young internationals (I met French, Canadians, and 1 Aussie) were working or looking for work fruit picking in the Griffith area.
Just over the border into Victoria we dropped in on the people of Ozefridge. This is the company we bought our fridge components from, and they were impressed by our work.
From there we headed to a sweet town called Benalla. We enjoyed Brown Brothers winery, cycling the rail trail, and cheese tasting at Milawa. And then, seeing that bad weather was coming there, we hit the Great Alpine Road to reach Gippsland (Victoria).
At Paynesville we took the ferry (free for pedestrians) to Raymond Island and wandered around the Koala Trail. We saw an echidna too and had a welcome invite for a cup of tea from local Dutchman.
We returned to Blu and discovered a note inviting us for dinner (at Metung) and so, we thought, why not! We met a lovely couple and it was good to have some extra company.
When we arrived in Port Albert we thought the town smelled terrible, but days later we discovered why we were smelling so bad (it's another story). Port Albert is a sweet little village and the maritime museum was worth the visit.
Next we visited the farm of some friends, they weren't there but parking there for 3 nights and using their car gave us easy access to nearby Wilsons promontory National Park and the lovely seaside village of Walkerville.
We arrived on Phillip Island early, undecided about doing the famous Penguin Parade to see the little penguins, but when we saw the big cruise ship coming into harbour we decided that it wasn't a good day to do it (I've been before). Instead we really enjoyed the coastal scenery on the island, and the fishing boats of San Remo.
And that is my summary of the first part of our trip!
Our route has been (in summary): Dalby, Condamine, Roma, Charleville, Tambo, Charleville, Quilpie, Thargomindah, Bourke, Cobar, Lake Cargelligo, Griffith, Tocumwell, Shepparton, Benalla, the Great Alpine Road to Bruthen, Paynesville, Wilsons Promontory National Park, Phillip Island.