With the family dropped at the airport we headed back to our Airbnb, arriving in a matter of minutes. Double checked we had packed everything then set about getting a good night sleep. After all, we are camping from here on out 😬. Sunday came round very quickly and after badly attempting to make porridge for the second time in as many weeks, we loaded the car and set on our way.
We have zero plans for this road trip. Unlike America where we planned every detail, our travels here are much more fluid and without an itinerary! What could possibly go wrong? First things first. We needed camping gear. After googling where to find a tent etc, we found the nearest K-Mart and headed there. It was in a shopping mall. Five escalators later we entered armed with a trolley and picked up the essentials: tent, air bed, cooker, 2 plates, 2 bowls, cutlery, camping toaster, gas for the cooker and a couple of pans. Not bad really. We’re on a massive budget so fingers crossed it all lasts us!
We found that a duvet is cheaper than sleeping bags so next stop was IKEA. I haven never been to IKEA and even though we just needed an $8 duvet, the shop is immense!! From showrooms, to actually picking up bits to kit out your house all the way down to the warehouse, $2 hotdogs and free string! I mean seriously, it was awesome…
We treated ourselves to a KFC for lunch/dinner before we found ourselves driving along the tourist roads in the direction of Melbourne.We found ourselves at Bald Hill which was a stunning overlook down onto beaches, a town and in the distance the beautiful Grand Pacific Highway. I had seen photos of this on Instagram and it looked amazing! Back in the car we continued along the coast admiring the quaint and the huge houses. The bridge would have looked spectacular from a drone but sadly all we had was our phones and camera. Still, it was a beautiful drive! We parked up just past the bridge and walked back, only to be greeted by dolphins!You’ll have to excuse the bad photo but there were about four dolphins cruising through the water! It just added such excitement to the start of this journey! There were a few spots we stopped at along the road and despite the sat nav telling us to go pretty much all along the Princes Highway, we diverted along the Grand Pacific Road wherever we could. We ended up in Wollongong and drove to the lighthouse. The hill was bustling with people having picnics and sat chilling. We snapped a couple of photos and continued our journey as we needed to find somewhere to stay that night.There are two lighthouses in Wollongong and the view from the top is one worth a visit! From Wollongong, we continued driving South attempting to find a free campsite. We were unsure whether we could stay in a rest area and pitch a tent and all there were for a large portion of the Princes Highway were rest areas. We had planned to visit Pebbly Beach on Monday as there are resident kangaroos there but instead we paid to stay there for one night. It was $24 but we would end up saving that in fuel as we wouldn’t now need to backtrack on ourselves.
We pulled into the campsite and found a pitch at the end, number 17, but I booked one without a space for the car. Whoops. So we drove through the gap in the wooden posts narrowly missing a massive hole, put up the tent and chilled out as it got dark.We had the car parcel shelf as our toiletry shelf and everything piled into the boot except what we needed went in the tent. I was thankful for the air bed this time as we only had yoga mats in the tent when we camped in America and they reeeeeally weren’t that comfortable to sleep on. As darkness fell, the tent seemed small despite it being a three man tent and the cicadas went mental in the trees making an awful racket! Still, somewhen I fell into a deep sleep to be woken by what sounded like people waking round our tent at about 5am.
I nudged Nathan awake who seemed more concerned with falling back asleep so I nudged again, and again and again until he believed me that there was someone outside our tent. We peered outside but couldn’t see anything but the noise kept coming back. The next couple of hours were spent trying to figure out what was going on until we realised that about four kangaroos were hopping around outside the tent and it wasn’t someone stalking us trying to kill us. Crisis averted.
Relatively wide awake, we got up, took the tent down and headed to the beach hoping to catch a glimpse of our hopping alarm clock.Instead all we got was the beach and the crystal clear water. No kangaroos. So much for them being residents! Deflated, we got back in the car to continue driving in the general direction of Melbourne.
Breakfast or brunch was on the cards so we stopped at a nice little rest area called Bodolla Statw Forest, found a picnic bench and set about cooking beans and spaghetti on toast.The toaster wasn’t amazing but it did crisp up the bread a bit and we had no idea how long to leave the beans in for. To save washing up we left them in the cans until we thought they were hot. Spaghetti was! Sadly my beans were still cold.I got the Australia travel guide to look at whilst brunch was cooking to give us some sort of plan but gave up in the end as we just decided to wing it. After lunch our journey continued. We found somewhere called Camel Rock and stopped there on the hot sand for a while.None of the beaches we have passed have had many if any people on. It’s so quiet! Sunday there were barely any people on the road and Monday wasn’t really any different! We also stopped at Pambula Beach which was deserted except for two people. It’s meant to be a good whale watching area but we didn’t see any so continued onward to Eden.Here there was a lovely boardwalk out to a lookout overseeing waters which used to be rife with whales. Across the water was Boyd’s Tower where between 1840 and 1930 whale spotters would wait for the ‘blow’ of a whale. What followed would be a gunshot, puff of smoke and a shout of ‘rusho’ would send the whalers in smaller boats to where the whales were. A killer whale named Old Tom is the most famous ‘Killer of Eden,’ and his skeleton is displayed in the killer whale museum just back from the lookout.
Not wanting to drive at night in case we hit an animal we found a rest area called Scrubby Creek. We had no idea if we could set up camp there as rest areas are meant for tired drivers and apparently if you pull out a tent you’re not tired?? But we pulled into a secluded spot and pitched our tent anyway. WORST IDEA EVER!!!!!!!!!!We have been reading reviews of campsites and rest areas to see what they’re like and to check they’re free but Christ what isn’t mentioned about this one is the noise from the, well it must have been thousands of trucks driving along the highway. All. Night. Long. That and an even more insane bunch of cicadas and scratching outside the tent well it’s safe to say I didn’t sleep much. I swear Nathan could sleep through a bloody earthquake as every time I was still convinced someone was outside the tent he would just roll back over and say there’s nothing there. Let’s hope if there ever is…it gets him first…