Location: Broome, Australia
(new pics start at Sydney..)
We finally some adventures to share! It has been quite inactive in our year in Australia as we'd worked a lot more in Melbourne than we intended -but still not quite enough as the pockets are empty again! So this is how we got to that, albeit in a little less style than our last Oz travels....
We left Melbourne in the middle of the night to spend 2 nights in Sydney, at our best not knowing where exactly. Melbourne had been dark, cold and rainy too long (colder than home!) and it was a relief to land in Sydney after an hour and a half with the sun shining. In winter, the tourists had gone and we virtually had the place to ourselves. We lay in the Botanic gardens facing the Opera house and cought up on our sleep a wee bit longer than intended. We spent the next few days taking things much slower than you'd expect in seeing a city in 3 days, meeting up with old friends and drinking at Darling Harbour, Bondi beach and a ferry's journey across the river to Manly. The people living there seem to have it all. We kind of have a few regrets spending so long in Melb, they're very different cities, Sydney being 100 times prettier!
So quickly back to Melbourne to pick up the car and take the boat to Tasmania. A good thing about traveling alot is even if u have a few days of long jouneys mixed up, there's always been worse...the last boat we took was in Indonesia, it was quite a comparison! So 11 hours later, we docked in Tasmania. We had 5 days and basically drove round the heart-shaped island in that time, visiting really only natural attrations. It's a unique, strange and beautiful island. The woodland is amazingly dense and full of wildlife (check out the hungry little pandemelon trying to steal our food), the coast very diverse and the people would be the strange part! We didnt have time to talk to many locals but island people are always a bit different eh! (no offense Tassie friends!) Again we were traveling in the winter with it being off season, it was extremely peaceful, and it was cold, but we loved it.
So back to the mainland and basically straight on the road. We spend several days driving back through Victoria, South Australia (passing Adelaide again) and out into no-mans land in the desert. But the sun started to shine again and the temperature rose as we neared Uluru (Ayres Rock) after crossing the border into Northern Territory. Coming in to the resort we stopped at a look out where another tourist gave us his 3 day pass for free of which he'd only used a 1/2 day. Score! We arrived well in time to see sunset on the Rock. We sat on top of our car with a beer and watched the icon change colour as the sun fell behind us. Just as we thought it was over, at the last minute it gave us one big flourescent glow which took us by surpise amd blew us away. The photo in the blog is not photoshopped! We have our own postcard perfect picture. Hugo surprised me by describing the experience as 'spiritual' when what I was really expecting was "it's just another rock uh"!!
We spend the next few days getting to know it better by visiting the Olgas - 60km from the rock (which u can see in the background on the pics) and climbing the rock itself. Aborginal culture (which is one of the most ancient and complex in the world) requests that people choose not to climb the rock out of respect for their culture, but most people fit enough do. Not all aboriginals respect their culture - which bans alcohol - but some abuse it. They are very primative looking people - we dont have a picture as they kind of live seperate lives to modern society and it feeld quite intrusive. Anyway, thats another story. The rock climb was extreeeemly steep and scary, I was holding on to the little railing for my life when the wind blew.... but it was worth it, a totally special experience, we had a laugh running all over it, and Hugo scattered some of his dad's ashes.
We then took a rough 4wd road to return to the highway which allowed at stop at Kings Canyon and the MacDonald Ranges, stopping for walks in ancient gorges and the 'Devil's Marbles'. We have seen a LOT of rocks on this trip!
Next on to Kakdu National Park, Australia's most famous national park, known for it's unique wetlands, waterfalls and ancient rock art. For us it was a little too hyped up and touristy (we couldnt afford to do the boat tours showing the crocodiles either), and we got attacked by the most mosquitos ever! So living outside was impossible, by this time the weather is boiling up north (this is the winter still) so we made a dash for it.
We toured Northern Territory a little more, visiting smaller parks, but just as busy. This is the dry season and the most tolerable time to visit NT, and it was the school hols too. Every man and his dog. There are a lot of older people traveling Oz, who sell their homes and move around in caravans until they're deed. "Living the dream" is the expression. Everyone we talk to seems to be retired.
So out of NT and back into Western Australia!!! We missed it. First stop Bungle Bungle nat park, which was another tough dusty 4wd track, with deep creek crossings and a road so bumpy the screws were coming out of the car. Great fun - once! The park was made up of beehive shaped domes of layers sandstone striped red and black. More rocks!
We drove through the Kimberly, via an old cattle road (you can't get more outback than this) and visited Tunnel Creek, which is a cave with a river running through as you walk through in the pitch black knee deep. We finally spotted crocs on the bank of the next gorge. No swimming this time. They were small freshwater crocs which are usually harmless if you leave them be but still exiting!
That takes up to where we are now, Broome, on the coast (great to see the sea again) but we have fallen short on funds, it's kind of a holiday resort town which is hot all year, with the beautiful Cable Beach, so there's worse places to be stuck. Or better places if u count the temptation! Tonight there was a local spectacle when the full moon rises from the horizon as the sun would do in the morning, creating a golden "Staircase to the Moon" on reflection of the sea. A rare and unique sight, and we had front row seats from our caravan park!
I will recap before we leave as Im sure that's enough for now, and we still have 3,000km to Perth. Now just to pay for the petrol to get there.....!!!
Lots of love and cant wait to see u all, C&H.xxxxx
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Just looked at the date of our last entry and realised how long it's been since we last wrote, terrible, but we've been a bit stuck in Melbourne trying to make money to finish our trip and buy our flights home - 21st July!!! Our prediction of 18 months away worked out.
For now Ill post a few pics of our time in Melbourne, a place thats taken time to grow on me (just too attached to Perth!) just as the summer weather disappeared! We've lost our Asia/Perth tans and will come home to better weather by the looks of it!
Will be off soon on our last leg of Oz...and the trip...back to reality...!
So the blog will updated as soon as we have new adventures.
Location: Victoria, Australia
Ok this is it the long awaited first chapter of our Australia road trip! Weve been dying to show u all our new pics and tell u what its like living on the road in Oz
So, we left Perth and said our goodbyes to all the great friends wed met in our 4 months there. Clares work threw her a surprise party with my co-workers wearing kilts for the occasion, what a send off! Hugo meanwhile had been working day and night to fit out our new home the car
has it been easy living out of it? Well
Heading South down the west coast with Angie and Tim, our first stop was Margaret River, one of the most famous surfing towns in Oz. Its also a famous wine region, which we took full advantage of. We went to see great live music and toured the coast of beautiful beaches (which, here they always are) and watched the surfers show us how its done.
This was the parting point for us from Tim and Angie, the end of an amazing summer with them 
So we set off on our own following the rest of the coast stopping to visit an amazing cave (much more accessible than caves in Asia!) and walked along the Southern Hemispheres longest jetty, 3 km long. We passed the most south-westerly point of Oz next stop 5439kms to Antartica
the sea is a wee bit chilly on the south coast!
Our next stop was Pemberton and Walpole, where stunning lush forests meet the ocean with trees so tall well have a look at the pics! We walked among them from a height in a tree-top walk. Oz has loads of national parks where we often bush camp. Other times we treat ourselves to proper caravan parks which have luxuries such as running water and power!
Next stop was Denmark, a beach village with pretty forests and vineyards, where of course, we had to sample the local wine and cheese its part of the tourism
Moving on to Esperance when it was Australia day and the hottest weather wed experienced yet. Lucky there was some of the most gorgeous beaches in Oz, and sorry, but they kicked Asias ass! In we got with our body board, and practiced 4w driving on the beach, Hugo in his element until we temporarily broke down next to the tide. The beach was called Lucky Bay
After relaxing a few days we needed it to prepare for the journey across the desert we set off on a road that we thought was a sneaky short cut (we have a 4wd which permits us to go places a van would never make it) but probably took twice as long as the car shook like mad for the whole 140kms in the rocks and dirt. We thought the car was going to come loose at the screws and fall apart. Of course at the end we found out if wed just let our tyres down it would have been 10 times smoother. Mmmm.
So that was before we got to the famous Nullabour. This road has the longest and straightest in Oz. Its like worlds end. We arrived in the middle at 7.30 pm at night and it was 43 degrees during the day it has been 55. Incredible. The wind was burning as if youd opened a fan oven, the car windows were almost too hot to touch. Lucky we have air-con wey hey!! Unfortunately Clare was a bit sick too, with sickness and the other thing in the middle of the desert
..great! When we stopped overnight it was one of the most incredible skies wed ever seen the stars we so close. Although once we made it through the night (fancy sleeping in a car in this heat?!) we woke up to a plague of flies which sent us off like a bullet. Have a look at some of the bugs we encountered on the way!
Crossing over the South Australia border and down the Eyre Peninsula we stopped of to spot dolphins and seals on the coast and into Coffin Bay national park which would be the first time we got bogged in the sand with the car. We have a lot to learn about 4w driving like dont go on your own! After a while of pushing and great driving from Clare(!) we got out to go and treat ourselves to a seafood dinner on the port. The next day we went on a secluded desert drive where yes we got bogged again and almost didnt make it out!
Once we did, we traveled North to visit the Flinders Ranges the first mountains wed seen in Oz, and they were worth the drive. It was too hot to do any walking so we tried some hardcore driving among the forests and red rocky landscape spotting kangaroos and parrots.
Moving on to Clare! Yes a whole town or wine region rather dedicated to me! This was an intimate wine area acclaimed for their Reisling. Its hard to try them all when one of us by us I mean Hugo has to drive. Quickly moving on to the next wine region the Barossa Valley, the most famous of Oz, a place where my mum and dad would be green with envy! The wine (were experts now!) was just fantastic. I wont say any more!
Next, into Adelaide. Its about the same size as Perth, but a bit more lively. We did some shopping (bought a cheap laptop) indulged in cafés and visited the Adelaide hills, of which Adelaide sits between the hills and the sea very pretty. See the pics of the wildlife park we visited. There is so much wildlife in Oz ten times more than Asia.
Heading East again towards Victoria we stopped at a fascinating cave where we saw Archeologists working with millions of years old fossils, next to Mt Gambier, which had a bright blue crater lake. Crossing the Victoria border (still far away from the fires) we went to the Grampians national park, another stunning mountain range, one of our favorite stops, of which the pictures are more explanatory and Im sure this has been enough information for u all because this takes us up to
We are on the coast again, about to take on the famous Great Ocean Drive to Melbourne.
We are either going to work first (yes, were already skint) or take the boat to Tasmania to wait out the devastation of the bush fires. From where we are now everything seems as normal.
So there u are. Other than all that we are having as much fun as wed wished, never knowing what tomorrow will bring....
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Quick hello from Adelaide!!
Sorry the blog's not been up to much for the last month or so - laptops busted - but thanx for all the lovely messages.
Keep checking soon as photos of being back on the road in the next week or so should appear!
For now we're hiding out in pretty Adelaide hiding from the bush fires :(
Location: Perth, Australia
A few new pics for u all.....
Perth misc 2 is our weekend away a few weeks ago to Lancelin, north of Perth. We took our van and camped over, having bbq on the beach and visiting sand dunes. Beautiful.
Clare's work function at a Ferrari dealership, making cocktails for Perth's riches, dont u think I suit a Ferrari?? ;)
Xmas and New Year...which certainly didnt feel like it! Was warm for xmas day, but NY boiling, almost 40 degrees. We had a traditional roast at Angie's (her parents are from Glasgow) and I worked for NY, which felt like your average Saturday night, we prefer it Edinburgh style, sorry Aussies!
New Year's day was lovely though, we went to neighboring town Fremantle (which is older than Perth) to a local brewery on the port and ate seafood at sunset. Life is beautiful!
Hope everyone had a fab time. Missed u all (I shed a tear at the bells!)
and best wishes for 2009. 2008 is a hard year to beat!
Location: Perth, Australia
A few photos added to keep you all interested!
Includes Halloween, which they dont really celebrate here but all us foreigners thought we'd show them how it's done, with a party at my work. Hugo's like a kid at christmas.
Red Bull Air race day on the Swan River (that runs through Perth) was a perfect blue sky day and so exiting!!
Melbourne Cup day, a 3 minute horse race on the other side of the country that stops the nation. I couldnt get what all the fuss was about, turns out just an excuse for a p*ss up and a day off work!! Hey I wasn't complaining after I found somebody's winnings on the way home - $400, thank-yoooooo!!
Still have plans to be on the move in January. Buying a van soon.
Spending christmas at Angie's house and bbq on the beach, will be different in the blazing heat but hope that helps keep the homesick-ness at bay!!
Hope everyone is well.
It's been a month since we wrote, 6 weeks since we're here, and Clare got a job while Hugo got another 2 and dropped one. Im working in a place called pure bar, back making cocktails, coffee and having more fun than going back to work normally is. Maybe as we're allowed to drink for free on shift!!
Hugo is still working in the fine dining place and also working in a cafe during the day where the owner cant remember his name and calls him 'frenchy'. So the pennies are rolling back in and we're trying to buy a car soon. We've also been looking at another room house that's a little further away but has a swimming pool!
Im also feeling more at home since one of my best friends Angie has come home to Perth! There's lots on this summer and lots of beach time to be had! They like to have a good time, the Auzzies....
Not much else to report, the big adventures are few and far between at the moment! Summer is set to be awesome though. Just to rub it in, hehee.
Check out our latest photos (trying to get Hugo to take the camera in to work!) - 'Clare's Bday etc'.
Lots of love as always, xxxxxxxxxxxx.