China. Maybe One Day #12: Aussie Road Trip – Adelaide to Perth, Australia

Aussie Road Trip

I’ve asked Debs to write a few words about our road trip from Adelaide to
Perth. Here goes…..

It was 2700kms and the scenery was much the same for the first
2300kms. It was the equivalent of driving from London to Moscow but
what better way than to test a relationship than put two people in a car for six
days with no one else to speak to (apart from 1000’s of flies), and make them
drive for every waking hour. It had to be done. It was almost like one of
those Japanese endurance tests or Big Brother, but in a car!

So we prepared for our journey: 1 tent, 2 sleeping bags, 2 sleeping mats, 1
esky (thank you for the kind donations from Liz and Ian!), and food for 6 days.
We decided to do it in style so we went to Adelaide Central Market and
bought pasta, pasta sauce, sweetcorn, bread, jam, peanut butter, M&M’s and
the essential crisps, and of course just a bit more chocolate should things
get BAD! (I think that’s definitely a girl thing, I would much rather munch on
some Barbeque flavoured crisps. – Jez)

We picked up our trusty Toyota Corolla and packed it nearly to bursting
point and headed West! From Adelaide we drove south for about 4 kms then took
the first left and drove about 2500 kms. We saw some dead kangaroos and a few
live dingos, and then drove more. Did not use the indicators on the car for
2700 kms, we thought they worked but cannot confirm. The most exciting
aspect of the journey were the road signs, Welcome to the Nullabor and the
warning signs for kangaroos, ostriches and camels. Although we enjoyed some
great meals in the car, breakfast, lunch and dinner, the best was probably
the chip butty minus the flies! We camped out bravely just off the roadside
for a few nights, in our little trusty tent, but woke to find it raining on
the inside and thought perhaps the budget of $20 for the tent was perhaps a
little on the meager side?

We did the majority of the driving in the first three days and netted up about
2500 kms in order that we had time to head south and see some of the national
parks on the South West Coast. We eventually used the indicators at
Norseman, where we enjoyed the first shower at a BP station!

We then headed down to Cape Le Grand national park to check out the beaches.
We weren’t disappointed. The three we visited were gorgeous and at the first we
dozed and caught up on our sleep. We were tempted to stay the night in the
campsite but after a wander around, our little tent looked a bit sad compared
to the professional campers who had created the equivalent of a 4 bed roomed
house with a tent and a few well wired up ground sheets, so we skulked off
and camped in the back and beyond again. We then headed west along the coast
to Albany and some of the most beautiful bays and drives towards Walpole.
Walpole was our treat, a lovely YHA with a real double bed, shower and a
wonderful dinner of fried Camembert, pumpkin and filo parcels and carrot
cake. What we saved on the car, I think we spent that night on food, but it
was fabulous. If you are in the area, check out Top Deck cafe in Walpole.

We were now in chill-out mode and visited a beautiful gallery and cafe in
Pemberton, where we could have purchased half the stock but it was a choice to
continue travelling or own a nice wooden clock. So the clock stayed in the
shop and we drove to the nearby Worcester Tree, which can be climbed by
little metal steps spiralling up the tree. I was determined I would climb,
but on entering the car park my hands were getting clammy, not nice. So
when we actually got to the tree, I looked up and decided I
would let Jez test the water alone, figuring I was too valuable as the
second driver to die falling from a tree. I gave myself the more important
role of photographer at the bottom. Much more enjoyable and my heart
returned to it’s usual rate.

It was now the last day of our incredible journey, and we could tell we were
nearing Perth as the roads got wider, we found a radio station on the stereo
and we saw more than two cars every 30 minutes of driving. We eventually
drove over the bridge and saw the skyline of Perth. We both phewed a great
sigh of relief and would be sad to drop off the car, but we had survived the
journey. No disasters, no arguments, all the chocolate gone, through five sets
of batteries on the CD player and, most importantly, still talking.

So what happened to our partners in our journey? Well, the tent, sleeping
bags and mats were tearfully donated to a charity shop in Freemantle,
although not to the Oxfam shop as apparently they are too posh in Oz to sell
second hand items, or so we were told my a rather snotty assistant. Our
Toyota went back to Britz, and I daresay is now heading up and down the
coast on shorter journeys. We then left the car hire office and got the bus
back, all a little sad that our journey was over.

Well, there you go. Not much else I can add to that. So I will tell you about
our time in Perth instead.

We decided that staying in Fremantle would be a good idea. Unfortunately
there was no room anywhere in Fremantle that night. We ended up staying
at a hostel in Northbridge, Perth. Funnily enough it was the same hostel that
I had stayed in last time I was in Perth. That night they but on a Barbeque
and we feasted on sausage, chicken, steak and salad. Then it was off to bed
to sleep in a Mosquito infested dorm room. The next day we managed to book
into the YHA down in Fremantle.

We took the ferry to Rottnest Island for the day. There we hired bikes and
cycled around the island, keeping a carefull eye out for the Quokkas. Funny,
giant, rat-like creatures that live on the island. We did see a few, but
mostly by the fast food outlets. There is also a crazy golf course on the
island. I am sorry to say that I was beaten by a girl. Then again, Debs seems
to beat me at yahtzee, scrabble and most card games that we play, so I can’t
say I was that surprised.

A pleasant day was also spent sitting in the park by the waterfront, eating
fish and chips. The chips were so good that we went back to eat there again
before leaving Perth.

On my birthday (Jan 14th) I went into the main post office to see if I had
any birthday post. My parents had sent me a card and a letter, with some
photos, and I also had some stuff from my brother and my Nan. After reading
all of this I felt a bit homesick. Wandering around the shops for a
bit more I found that I was still feeling a bit down. The best answer to
this was to pop down an English themed pub for a pint of “Old Speckled
Hen”. This we did at around 4:46. Normally I don’t like to start drinking
until 6pm, but as this was my birthday I felt that I could make an
exception. That evening we went to the cinema and watched a terribly
predictable movie starring Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant. It was nowhere near
as good as Catch Me If You Can that we had watched a few nights previously.

Just after my birthday we decided that it was time to move into a new
hostel. We chose a place in Northbridge that not only had a pool and
air conditioning, but a TV and DVD player in our room. Weehay!

After not doing very much in Perth we decided that a day trip would be in
order. So we booked a tour of The Pinnacles national park. I had seen the
park before, but that didn’t really matter as we would see many other places
that I had not been to before. The Pinnacles themselves are giant sandstone
pillars that rise out of the desert sands. Quite spectacular. Our day ended
with some sandboarding. This culminated in a massive wipeout. Debs and I had
been sharing a board when we hit a bump and tumbled headfirst into the sand.
We both got up looking like bizarre yellow snowmen. The people watching us
couldn’t stop laughing for about five minutes.

All too soon it was time for Debs to fly off to Alice springs. This left me
in a bit of a funk. All I did was sleep late, wander around the shops, then
go to the cinema in the evenings. After a few days of this I decided that
enough was enough. I brought my flight forward and left for Singapore.