Aaron here 🙂 It seems like such a long time since my last post. Its been a crazy couple of weeks in which I managed to navigate the biggest Mall I’ve ever seen (in Melbourne) to xmas shop; go for a short run around a creek (seriously, beware of snakes); and drive nearly 800km in a day (Melbourne to Adelaide). I’ve also BBQ’d around 200 sausages at a kids Music event and safely get the whole family to Uncle Mikes place in Sydney. Phew!
So what have you missed?
Our epic drive from Melbourne to Adelaide.
We managed to get the van on a relocation deal – we had to pay $2 for the hire over 2 days and a $70 ‘admin fee’; we were given $50 petrol and would be refunded $28 if the van was safely relocated from Melbourne to Adelaide within the allotted time (just over 24 hours…). Trust me, on the map it doesn’t look far. But you try and drive for 10hrs in one go. “Right kids, jump in the van! We’ve just got to get to Scotland for tea time!!”. Three fuel stops and a lot of open road. The excitement of looking for Kangaroos or Koalas every time we passed a ‘beware’ sign soon wavered, mainly because as we didn’t see any. However, after approximately 8-9hrs of looking, I finally spotted one crouched in the long grass in the bush. It was close to dusk and the sun was getting low; and to actually see it wild was awesome. Soon I spotted another, which then meant I had claimed the prize for being an expert Kangaroo spotter. I never saw a Koala; but when you’re doing 110kph on a bouncy road it’s a bit tricky to spot a fluffy, grey, ball hugging a tree!
The drive was actually pretty good and in one trip it really showed me just how big Australia is. The countryside just goes on for as far as you can see. I thought New Zealand was huge but the scale of this place is amazing. Although, I must add that I’m in no hurry to start driving a van again anytime soon.
So after a 10 hour drive in temperatures in the 30’s, I was looking forward to arriving at the Adelaide International Motel and chilling out. However, much to my slight annoyance, the bloody van was too high to fit under the small passageway into the Motel carpark. Great! This meant turfing out all our gear and heading off into a city I don’t know at 10pm, looking for somewhere safe and free to park the camper. I slung it on a residential street and hoped for the best….
After all of that you’d think we’d all deserved a decent lie in…….Nope! April and Ruben wanted to run the Adelaide Park Run, which started at 8am. So, off we went in search of the start line. It was easy enough to find and we even found a parking space within a stone’s throw of the start! Result! Well, apart from discovering that as the van was 200 foot too long for a normal parking space, with a turning circle wider than a submarine and that I couldn’t actually manoeuvre it into said space. So, I had a choice: it was either leave the van there, poking out of a tiny space into the middle of the carpark; or Rosie and I had to leave and find somewhere else to try and leave this awkward-sized vehicle, at 7.45am on a Saturday morning. The latter was the decision and our delay in sorting this meant that Rosie and I then had to run quite a way to see Ruben and April start (and you should know by now that Rosie never runs anywhere).
After the run started and the runners all disappeared along the river, Rosie and I had about 20 minutes to kill before they came back. Cue coffee and breakfast.
Nope: “Dad, I need a poo!”. “You’ll have to go under the tree Rosie, there are no toilets here”. “But I need a toilet…”. This argument carried on until we saw Ruben coming. I’m glad they did the Park Run, but by the time they finished at 8:30am it was 29.5ºC and just too hot for running, standing around, pooing, or anything else, to be honest… And we still had to get rid of the van.
Our friend Jess is living in Adelaide so we really wanted to catch up with her and her gorgeous new baby Lucas. We navigated to their address and after some lovely cuddles with the baby and a little catch up, we ventured out and found one of the most beautiful surprises across the road. Miles of white sandy dunes. From the road you couldn’t see how close you were to the sea; you know its there, but I wouldn’t have thought Adelaide had this on its doorstep. It was simply stunning.
After a quick dip in the sea, we waved goodbye and wished Jess good luck with family life. We then delivered the van to its intended destination, jumped in a cab and spent the rest of afternoon topping up our tans, swimming and eating enormous ice-creams (Thanks Clare!).
Adelaide is a lovely city and we just regret we didn’t have longer to explore it further. Earlier in the day, the cabbie actually asked, “Are you off to see the Cricket?”. We had no idea Australia Vs. India and 50,000 fans were just up the road. Its that sort of place.
And so we are now in Sydney, staying with April’s Uncle Mike & Auntie Yanie. We’re out in the suburbs in a beautiful area called St Ives. We spent yesterday on the local beach and today we ventured into the city. That can be a new post.
As for everything else. It still doesn’t ‘feel’ like Christmas. Its super hot, there’s a Kookaburra outside the window and parrots in the tree next door. Yes there are Christmas window displays in shops etc and even saw a fire engine with tinsel on it, but it’s not freezing cold, wet or dark. Missing all our friends back home and we look forward to catching up online with you all soon (Wifi now back up to full strength!). Facetime or Skype us if you want a quick chat. Exeter is 11hrs behind us at the moment.
And thanks for the package mum, yes its arrived. Promise won’t open till 25th. ;?)