Sunday, February 26, 2012

Road Trip

After spending New Years in Sydney, we realized suddenly that we would have to get back to Melbourne somehow. The Fiji-induced state of total relaxation took it's toll as our lax judgment caught up with us. All trains, buses and car shares were booked up. Flying was out of the question, so we started calling rental car companies. Our luck changed when we found a relocation deal offered by a motor home company, where we could pay $1 per day and be reimbursed for most of the gas in return for moving one of their vehicles.

Too good to be true? No! This beast was ours for almost $0!



The only problem was, the vehicle was to be dropped off in Adelaide, a city 775km west of Melbourne. So the trip got a bit longer when I took a detour to drop off copilot #1 in Melbourne...

and picked up copilot #2 - Ilona

We gunned it fast through the blazing hot desert

stopping only briefly to "step into the past"

and admire Beaufort's Imperial Egg Gallery.

With the heat of the desert and the rare, broken-down petrol station with a lonely lost traveler as an attendant spurring us forward, we made it in time to park on the shores of one of South Australia's gorgeous long, sandy beaches for the night.


The next day, we dropped off one the truck and picked up a rental car, which took us back along the coastal route to Melbourne in 1.5 days.
We saw the blue lake - an ancient volcanic crater with mysteriously azure waters, clearly even bluer than the sky. According to an informational placard at this lookout, the water changes color with any given season. However, the sign gave no explanation for why the water appears so blue. Suffice to say, I wasn't about to go swimming in it.

We continued along through South Australia towards Victoria, driving through towns that looked like the "Wild West" in the Gold Rush era. We passed roadside attractions, tourist traps and bad murals by an artist who apparently painted them with one eye closed and his good arm behind his back while falling off a ladder.
We saw a dead ringer for the star of the 2011 Australian film, Red Dog. He was testing fate, riding carefully yet eagerly in the back of a moving flat-bed pickup.

Victoria, at last! The Great Ocean Road and the 12 Apostles

Before getting on to the highway to book it back to Melbourne with only minutes to spare, we stopped off at the Grotto to try and take pictures of ourselves looking like Venus. (Which reminds me of the Grotto of Venus at Schloss Linderhof in Bavaria. I didn't take any pictures of that when I was there, but it was pretty surreal).

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