Saturday, December 18, 2010
We have traveled and conquered deserts, humidity and now are facing coastal highways and coral reefs as we start down the West Coast of Australia. The views have been amazing, we've had one puncture, been stuck in sand once and been very close to running out of fuel a few times. We've also braved a couple of very heavy rain storms, one was so bad that we all got up in the middle of the night and drove to the nearest town as we were expecting the roads to flood. The next night the guest house had a disaster and we had to replace the tent as the wind broke one of the poles.
We've spent way more than we planned to on gas (autogas) and petrol. Gas has been up to 3 times as expensive as it is back home and petrol prices would make lesser men than Pod Boy curse.
We've also shared the road with more road trains than I can count: 53.5m long is the legal limit and they all do 130km/hr through the desert!
I have so many photos to upload, I wish blogspot was easier to upload photos onto.
We're currently hanging out in Exmouth, a coastal town on the cape at the top of Western Australia. For the first time last night we had a very officious young man come and tell us we couldn't park where we were. It was 7:58pm local time and we had just arrived at Coral Bay. We needed toilets, showers and fuel and were hoping to spend the night as the petrol station was closed...as were the roads further south. This man came up to Pod Boy as he was chatting to another guy and informed him that we were illegally parked (outside the public toilets while myself and my sister used the facilities) as it was past 8pm. He also asked if we had accommodation in the town and then told us that we couldn't park anywhere in the shire. He was the rudest person so far on this trip - and we've met our share of rude people.
I can't get over how rude all the sales people have been that we've dealt with. Almost every supermarket is staffed by unhappy small town people who won't give you a smile if they haven't served you at least 100 times before.
Anyway, enough ranting...
We drove almost to the edge of Victoria on our first day driving and spent the night at a lovely rest stop, then we hit the road early the next morning and got to Hahndorf for dinner that night before traveling on to just North of Port Augusta (a very loong trip). We then started the beginning of our desert journey.
The desert colours are epic, and the sky always has interesting cloud shapes.
Pod boy standing over two states: NT and SA.
Coober Pedy: lots of underground housing here to get away from the heat.
We spent about 6 days between Port Augusta and Darwin. The days were too hot to stop driving as it was only the cool breeze coming in the open windows that made life bearable. Every afternoon in the desert there was a rain storm which I think was given to us by God to remind us that we weren't in hell. In all honesty though, I kind of enjoyed the desert. It all looked the same, and the people were few and far between but there was a nice feeling every time you passed another traveling party as they would wave and for a brief second you'd feel a flare of kinship.
We managed to find proper showers every day, although we had to pay about $3 a head for them. We also had bucket washes every night before bed. I found that if I tipped 1/3 of a bucket of water over my head followed by a small bottle of melted ice water and then jumped straight into bed wet I would sleep quite well. Getting to sleep before the water evaporated off me is crucial to my plan. Pod boy isn't quite as brave as me so he doesn't use any ice water, nor does he come to bed still slightly wet...he isn't sleeping very well at all. We bought a 12v fan which has been our best friend on this trip. It goes almost constantly, during the day to cool whoever is in the back while we're driving, or to move the air around in the van if we've left Pod dog in it and then at night over us as we sleep.
We spent a week in Kununurra, it had a lovely swimming hole: even though the signs said there were crocodiles nearby.
We spent 3 hours in Darwin, it was a hot, humid and seemingly boring place. We did manage to find some nice showers there though.
Broome was lovely, nice coastal breezes off the ocean. White sandy beaches, free showers. It had the makings of being a lovely place to hang out, but poisonous jelly fish meant no swimming so we only stayed 3 days.
We're now past the jellyfish waters and we're looking forward to slowing down in terms of the distances we drive each day as we enjoy the water and coral reefs along this coastline. Some places have coral reef within 15m of the shore and the snorkeling around here and further south is meant to be amazing.
When I have better internet I will upload some more photos :)