I wake up at 6:15am to go and drop Ludivine at the Central station, from where she takes the train to Canberra for a 2-day sleepover at Lauren, her best friend when we were living in Riyadh (they were then in 4th grade).
Isabelle and I then go and pick up the camper that Isabelle booked for a week, to go from Sydney to Melbourne, along the coast. It’s a Wicked camper. We quickly realize that these campers are not really matching our “profile”… They are clearly made for much younger folks who don’t require much comfort… Anyway, they are fun and it’s always nice to try new experiences (we’ll have more spacious campers later on, from Melbourne to Adelaide and also in NZ). The handing-over of the vehicle takes less than 5′ (!) and here we go!
We go back to the apartment and load everything in the camper.
We leave at 11:30am.
We take the scenic Grand Pacific Drive.
We stop to buy food for lunch: good bread in a bakery (it doesn’t happen that often to find good bread) and other good stuff in a Woolies (salad, carrots, tomatoes, Serrano ham… + good juices). We eat this nice picnic outside, in a public area with a playground (with soft/bouncing “flooring”) for Florence and Jules.
The camper is ok to drive. We don’t go unnoticed though.
Around 4pm Isabelle starts calling different camping spaces to find a spot for the night, around Jervis Bay.
She quickly realized that this is the busiest time of the year in the area (summer holidays + not too far from Sydney and Canberra). There’s no single vacancy in the camping sites around… We’re a bit desperate. It’s true that our camper can theoretically accommodate 6 people (3 people in the tent on the roof and 3 people inside) but we don’t feel like camping in a ‘wild’ area, in a free camping spot. But we are resigned to this possibility. We take the road towards Huskisson having in mind to find a public shower and to eat in a restaurant before going to a free camping area. We try another camping, also fully booked. The lady proposes that we keep the camper outside and put our tent on a spot. But we are not really keen to do so (mostly because our tent is ok for both of us but probably small for the 4 of us…).
On the road, we see our first ‘wild’ kangaroos (3 groups of half a dozens). They are not fearful.
We reach Huskisson around 6pm. We stop at the ‘White Sands Park’ camping area. There’s a big sign ‘No vacancy’ but we anyway go in, mainly to ask where we can put our camper during the night in the area. Rules are indeed very strict in this region apparently and the rangers wake you up during the night and make you move, after paying a hefty fine. The guy is nice and gives us some recommendations (basically we need to go at least 15km from the coast to be able to park our camper for the night…). While leaving and going back to our camper, his wife, who overheard the conversation, calls us back and says that she has a space available (people who booked for 2 nights but didn’t show up yesterday night). What a relief!
We set up the 2 tents. I prepare pasta in the common outside kitchen.
Jules and Florence sleep in the spacious (2m x 2m) tent on the roof of the camper; they are happy. We sleep in our tent (the one we bought in Australia), which is definitely larger than the space inside the camper.
Isabelle and I read a bit outside. Possums (nocturnal marsupials) come and visit us. We go to “bed” (which is ok since we have 2 mattresses each: the one we bought and the ones that we were provided in the camper) around 11pm. There’s a lot of wind tonight (and thunders) and Isabelle is afraid that trees branches will fall on the tent of the kids…
The night was not bad, despite the violent wind. We were happy to have the fluffy blankets that we bought in Australia.
Isabelle and I go to the nearby town center on foot to buy Rice Bubbles and fruit for breakfast. I also buy good freshly squeezed juices in a nice café. We eat our breakfast outside. The weather gets better (we had put our fleece jackets this morning). The temperature variations are quite impressive in this country (sometimes 20C from one day to another!).
Isabelle organizes the camper (and cleans it). We will enjoy it much more, especially the “kitchen” (at the rear). I go quickly to a nearby playground with the 2 kids before putting them to work for one homeschooling session.
Around 2:30pm we go to Beecroft Peninsula. There are apparently a seals colony on this peninsula (as per the people vending boat tours in town…). The weather is not great; the sky is grey and the temperature is quite low (21C). We first stay a bit on the beach with Florence and Jules before going for a walk to see the view from one of the viewpoints. On our way, we see a family of 3 kangaroos, not fearful at all (just bouncing a bit further each time we are approaching them at less than 30m. Great!
There’s no one. The view is great but the weather is bad.
We pick up the kids around 6:30pm and drive back to Huskisson. We stop at a (big) Woolies on our way back. We buy good burgers for a BBQ in the camping site tonight.
We come back around 8pm. The kids take their shower while Isabelle sets up the roof tent and I cook the burgers (with rice and raw tomatoes). It’s quite good, with a slice of cheese on top and some ketchup of course.
Isabelle reads inside the tent (it’s quite chilly outside (18C), with a small drizzle). I write the diary until midnight.