Melbourne to Adelaide (1) – Great Ocean Road (1)

Monday 15/01

Isabelle and I wake up around 7:30am. We are leaving Melbourne today and we have to go and pick up our camper for the next 2 weeks (up to Adelaide). We take the train. From the station, we don’t find the place easily (or, to be precise, we find it quickly but we take a wrong pedestrian path, which makes us walk around a fence for 2 km more than required…).

The organization of THL (which is the largest provider of campervans for rent in Australia and New Zealand) is very efficient. We eventually understand the difference among the different brands: Maui is for vehicles less than 2 years of age, Britz between 2 and 5 and Mighty for more than 5 years.

A French girl, not particularly knowledgeable, does the handing-over of the camper with us. We are very lucky: our Britz is new (only 2,500 km). It’s like night and day with the previous camper. It’s spacious and quite modern. We are nicely surprised.

We go back to the apartment to load the camper.

Kids are very excited by our new camper, which is big and comfortable.

We wanted to go to Brighton for the famous picture of the beach ‘cabins’ but the weather is not great.

It’s already 1pm. We decide to eat first. We go to Hawthorn, where I located 2 poké places.

It’s not easy to find a parking place with such a big vehicle: 7.8m long and 3.4m high! When we finally find an permitted space, I do an… accident!. Less than 2 hours after starting the rental… great! I’m not used to looking at the trees when parking… It’s annoying because for once (in NZ, I took the full insurance for both rentals), we decided not to take the full insurance; we have a bond of 7,500 $ (per occurrence). Damn!

We go and see the 2 poké restaurants: Poke Me (very nice but a bit expensive: the cheaper bowl is at 15$) and Poki Time (not really tempting). We finally buy a few maki rolls, which we eat in the camper. In Australia, they don’t cut the maki rolls like in Europe; they sell them in 10cm long rolls.

We go to Kensington to pick the lens hood that I ordered for my camera. It has been since my fall in Mongolia that I don’t have lens hood on my camera. I’ve tried several times to find such lens hood but with no luck. I’m happy I found this company (Speedy Spares), which ordered it a few days ago for me.

Isabelle goes back to Sydney to buy the (Australian) hat that she saw yesterday; it’s in kangaroo leather.

Meanwhile I do a big Woolies with Jules and Ludivine (Florence prefers to stay in the camper).

We drive towards Geelong, only 75 km from Melbourne.

We spend our first night in this camper in a parking area, near the highway. We eat our dinner inside the camper (the wind is a bit cold). Jules doesn’t feel very well today.

We install our stuff in the camper. It is quite roomy and everybody manages to find space for his/her belongings. That’s clearly the greatest advantage of such big camper: we don’t have to pack and unpack your luggage for the next 15 days.


Tuesday 16/01

Today, we’ve been traveling for 6 months!

Our first night in the camper was not the best one for Isabelle and I; the matrimonial bed is not very wide (1m35!)… Kids slept well. Tomorrow we will probably set our tent to have an additional “bed”.

We take a nice breakfast outside.

We drive to Torquay, 20 km South of Geelong. Torquay is the surfing capital of Australia. It is the home of Bells Beach and the birthplace of iconic brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver. It is also the official start point of the Great Ocean Road.

We go to Torquay Library (the ‘SurfCoast Library’…) to do one homeschooling session. It’s a good option when we travel: it’s quiet, there’s a (free) Wi-Fi connection, we can charge our devices and it’s cold (and they even have clean toilets). To do again.

Around 2pm, we go and park our (big) camper in a parking with a great view on the ocean and we prepare a salad. Our bowls look nice (probably influenced by the poké places that we’ve visited).

The atmosphere is a bit tense in the family since yesterday. When there’s a bit of tension, it’s directly less enjoyable and it affects everybody. Jules even said they he would rather be at school to have friends. It’s hard to hear that but I think it’s good that he voices his feelings and I think it’s normal to pass by these kinds of moments.

After this lunch in the sun, we go to a nearby surf shop to rent 2 surfs. Isabelle and the kids take 20-minute turns during (less than) 2 hours while I take pictures from the beach. The weather is nice (there’s not a single cloud in the sky) but the wind is cold.

Around 5:30pm we drive the few kilometers to Jan Juc, which is a little wilder than Torquay. Our camping site for the night is located there. After a ‘wild’ camping we usually try to spend the night in a camping site, mainly to charge (electricity and water), empty the grey water (no “dark” water so far since we don’t use the toilet in the camper) and have a warm shower (and a kitchen with a barbie). We could use the shower of our camper in fact but we try to avoid using it, like the toilet.

It is a huge camping site, mainly with residents. We park and connect to the electricity, fill the water tank and empty the grey water. We set up the tent today (to have an extra spot to sleep) and then take a nice aperitif in the sun, to celebrate our 6 months of travel. I like the ‘One fifty lashes’ beer.

I then cook (wagyu) (cheese)burgers with rice, in the common kitchen.

Isabelle sleeps alone in the tent tonight. We will take turn during the next days to have better nights.

I do a post until 11:30pm.

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