Mum and Dad flew into Perth the 31st.
They don’t fit anywhere on my bike so I arranged a car.
I ‘just’ had to drive it the 500km down from Geraldton.
You might remember I only just got my licence… in Mullewa (population 900) And I drove into a tree during my exam….
So, obviously, this mission made me a little nervous.
Good thing it’s a really big car, so at least people get out of my way.
I prepared by getting enough fuel, food and drink so I didn’t need to stop anywhere along the way. Just thinking about parking the beast near other cars made me break out in a sweat.
Amazingly I made it to Perth alive and without hitting anything major. I even managed to get to the airport in time (2 hours early… just in case) to pick up Mum & Dad
The plan is to drive from Perth to Tasmania.
Because what else would you do in Australia then a massive road trip
But before we set off on the long drive East I showed mum and dad the people & places I like a lot in this part of the world.
The first week felt a bit like a summary of my time here.
Highlights were a trip to the Abrolhos islands, the place I spent my 30th birthday, spotting Dolphins and showing them ‘my’ beautiful big red tractor.
And, of course, proudly showing off my tattoo. That’s right, after going on and on about it for the biggest part of the last 15yrs I finally made up my mind and had it done a week before Mum and Dad flew in
Lowlight was my new camera breaking so I wouldn’t be able to make a lot of nice pictures on this trip, lucky I’m covered since dad practically lives with a camera in front of his face and I still had my old one too…so pictures on this update are a mixture of our photo’s.
For more detailed descriptions of our ramblings and lots more photos check out my dad’s own blog at www.ingejancees.waarbenjij.nu
It was a pleasure catching up with people around the state and specially the girls in Katanning who showed me the newspaper article (3 pages…!) and took us again to the sale yards for breakfast. The all ages playground and a sheep farm. I even managed to squeeze in a short radio-interview with the local radio station. (you find the interview under ‘media’)
When we did finally start to move eastwards a sign for the ‘Nullarbor Muster’ grabbed my attention. A real and proper outback-spectacle just the next day… It didn’t take long to convince mum & dad to change the plan and ride the 400km along a dirt track to Rawlina, where we set up camp in the red dirt and joined the crowed at the Bull rides and later on in the big tent where an excellent display of line dancing took place (…)
I was fine driving the car over rough roads until the engine started cutting out… Then suddenly you realise you’re pretty far from anywhere so if something goes wrong you’re buggered.
But, after some nice men checked it over, it seemed nothing but a loose wire was the problem. And since those same nice men where heading in our direction we stayed together with three vehicles until we hit the bitumen. Exactly halfway along the longest straight stretch of road in the world.
Many hours were spent in the car with me driving, singing along with whatever the mp3-player choose to play, mum reading her book next to me and dad asleep in the back.
The signs along the road keep you awake with things like; “drowsy drivers die!”, “arrive alive, share the drive” or “feeling tired? Powernap Now!’” that last one seems like a strange advice since surely, you first want to pull over and stop the engine…?
A lot of people I’ve spoken to tell me it’s boring to drive across the Nullarbor.
I don’t share that view at all. There is a lot to see along the road. I’ve seen a tree full of electrical appliances, a tree full of hats, a tree full of plastic bags… and then they call it the Nullarbor, which means ‘no trees’….
Then you get the road houses where you meet interesting characters and people along the road. 3 cyclist and two guys pulling carts… I am not alone
For the first two weeks of the trip my mum didn’t believe in kangaroos, sure everywhere there’s signs and she’s seen my pictures. But, I was surprised as well, we really didn’t see any kangaroos ’till halfway down the Nullarbor… Emu’s yes. Parrots and other weird and wonderful birds, yes. Even a few foxes and one Dingo. But Kangaroo’s no… very peculiar indeed.
Every few hundred km the landscape changes from forest to plain flat land to hilly countryside and spacious plains. And then, real sudden it’s back to cultivated land and wheat farms as far as the eye can see.
Just like you’re driving around near Mullewa.
And the further East you get the more ‘civilised’. After grain-country we crossed pretty green hills with wineries and small towns that all look similar and pretty and cute. We didn’t stop in many of those since we were on a mission to get the ferry to Tasmania.
Cruising along the Great Ocean Road we had to stop every 10km or so to walk to a viewpoint and look at the view… take a picture and drive 10km down the road to the next viewpoint.
At one point we stopped to check out this waterfall. As I, happy to get out of the car for a while, ran down the steps I noticed the big black evil looking snake on the next step just in time. He noticed me too and lifted his head. I jumped back and, luckily, so did the snake. Pfwew. I ran down the next set of steps slightly more carefull and a little shaky.
It’s nothing at all like the Australia I’ve got to know the past year. It’s mainly very wet. Pretty. But very very wet.
After a brief visit with relatives in Launceston we set of for the hills with a plan.
The plan was to go for a walk.
The plan drowned.
Not completely, we did managed to do a little bit of a hike around the ‘Walls of Jerusalem’-national park. And camp down at the most beautiful camp spot this trip down at a lake with lots of dead trees sticking out. In the early morning when everything is covered in a thick fog in a slight drizzle it looks magical. But when the slight drizzle turns into a severe downpour it’s not as wonderful.
So we got in our car and I managed to get it back to the road through the wet, slippery and steep slopes. Yay! Finally I got to use the 4WD
Lucky there’s things to do for when it rains, I guess they are prepared in this part of the world… Caves, honey-factories and salmon-farms we’ve done it all…
Now we only got a few days left together before I drop mum & dad off at the airport in Melbourne from where they start their long trip home.
The only thing for me to do is get the car back to Geraldton. About 5000km. So this road trip ain’t finished yet…
Then I might get a job or maybe even get back on two wheels again… actually…. there might be three wheels this time.
I’ll let you know.