Miri and Simon are two young (19 & 20) German backpackers who had been in Melbourne for 2 and a half weeks. They thought they’d simply buy a car and get going, but that didn’t turn out so easy for them. I told them I knew all about that.
We spent Sunday with Robyn taking us around to a few things, a local music event was one of them. It was good to get to know them a bit first. In the evening me and Simon put together a bicycle Robyn bought and the girls were tasked with decorating the Christmas tree. We were all a bit tired but Robyn was so enthusiastic she insisted the decorating commenced at half past ten in the evening, Julia couldn’t stop laughing at how absurd it felt.
On Monday we decided to get going. 4 backpacks luckily fit in the top box, Julia left some luggage behind with Robyn to make that possible, but that way she’d come back to see Robyn.
Robyn took us out to Tarra-Bulga national park to show us some nice spots. We’d camp there for the evening and explore some walks the next morning.
It was there that we said goodbye to Robyn, with whom we’d stayed for about a week. It really was fantastic how nice Robyn’s been to us and I’m really grateful to her for that. She became like a mom away from home. Julia and Robyn both even shed some tears when they said goodbye…
At the camping that evening we saw a possum for the first time, a naughty guy that was not afraid of us in the hope to snatch some food.
We did a walk in the rainforest the next morning, but we turned out to be unlucky with the weather again. It had rained that night, and it started raining again in the forest (and I forgot my rainjacket in the car). On top of that it was really quite chilly out in the rainforest.
We dried our jackets and clothes a few hours further while having lunch by the sea.
We spotted this tough looking, one-legged pirate seagull there. I assume he fought a shark and lived to tell the tale!
After that we got into some proper 4×4 bush driving through Holey Plains National Park. Julia drove all of it and did great, even on some very steep hills and softer sand sections. Simon and Miri, who’d almost been depressed from getting stuck in Melbourne, felt this was exactly what they wanted.
We ended up at a great free camp spot near Sale and Lake Wellington. The water was just warm enough for swimming, we had some sun and there were only two quiet older guys in caravans near us. That night we got unlucky again though, just after dinner it started raining; a thunderstorm just skirted us for most of the night, and since the spot was really windy I had to use the storm ropes on the tent for the first time ever.
The next day we went to “Blue Pool”, a fantastic freshwater swimming hole. There was even a rope tied to a tree to swing into the water, we spent quite some time there. Luckily it wasn’t busy save for some highschool kids who have holidays now.
The GPS being set to not avoid gravel roads leads us to lots of interesting little tracks and trails, sometimes it’s almost comical how much up and down they go. Since we went shopping and used some wifi at MacDonalds (not worth it since they block almost every site except Facebook), we lost a lot of time and ended up sleeping at a less than stellar camping spot next to the highway. The smell from other people’s business drove us to get up and leave early, we didn’t even have breakfast there.
We visited a few beaches that day, but is was always quite gray and chilly. Cape Conran was nice and quiet and the beach had some really cool, different seashells compared to 50-mile Beach we’d been before. The beach at Mallacootta was much more touristic, but since it was low tide we could explore some pools with all kinds of creatures; shellfish, starfish and crabs. I got a bit carried away with trying to get to a really big shell and ended up slipping and getting a bruise and cut on my knee. So much for being careful and responsible…
The next campspot was a great little site, definitely making up for last night’s disappointment. It even had free (cold) showers, something that’s not common at all. Simon made a fire here for the first time.
We passed the border into New South Wales the next morning, then continued through Eden, which did live up to its name. There were some beautiful views and cliffs around there.
It turned out that continuing a bit further beyond the official lookout lead to some much better views and spots.
For me a definite highlight were the “Magic Mystic Pools” or officially the pools at the end of the Tura Head Coastal Walk. The colors were amazing, and in some spots the red rock looked almost martian. Simon swam in the big pool, which interestingly had one big fish living in there as well.
We spent the night in Tathra, at a camping that was close to half price of the other 2 options. Those big chain, fancy campings might have free wifi, swimming pools and waterslides, but at 80-90 dollars for 4 people it’s just a bit too much for one night; a hostel isn’t even much more.
The beach at Tathra was ok, not that exciting, but again we were rewarded with gray skies and wind, making it a bit too cold to hang around long.
From Tathra onwards the roads and views definitely started getting a bit more tropical, feeling less like continental Europe like Victoria often does, and more like the tropical image we all have of Australia.
We made a stop at Narooma, and were rewarded with a seal playing around in the water. This guy was just having the time of his life, just drifting around, sunbathing, relaxing or whatever it is that seals do. I think he’s still there by now, he looked like he could do it all day long.
The beach at Narooma was quite something, the waters were just the perfect tint of blue, the temperature was nearing just right and the sand was as soft as you’d want it. It was funny to realize I was sitting there while Europe is approaching winter and Christmas is almost there!
On the beach I found a big hermit crab, bigger than fist size even. I’d never seen one this big before.
We passed through Batemans Bay, heading for a free campsite by the lake. Interestingly all fuel prices in Batemans Bay were unexpectedly quite high, having us wishing we’d fueled up in the small town of Moruya beforehand.
The lakeside beach campsite was really well hidden, no signs at all and on a very gnarly, steep track. Once we got there it turned out quite small, with one half taken by an Aussie family with their trucks, BBQ’s, boats and kids. The other half turned out to be occupied by two backpackers who were living amongst their own trash that they had piled all over two tent sites. It was pretty disgraceful, but they seemed embarassed and moved most of it out of the way for us. Our campsite looked so clean and organized compared to theirs once it was up.
I wrote this blog next to the lake, since funnily enough there is good phone reception here. So far traveling like this is alright, but it’s a bit stressful at times how all my other travel companions seem to be in a bit of a passive “tourist-mode”. I’m always the one looking up where to go, what to see, where to sleep and they just come along for the ride. Since the car is all mine, I have to double or even triple check everything so that things are closed and tied down, that no keys and items are left outside or on the roof, etc. I don’t know if it’s due to their young age or that I’ve just become much more organized and used to traveling in such a freestyle way. Now my battery is running low and they’re already asking where and when we will go. Canberra and Sydney are up next this week!