My Stage is the World

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive

I like driving in my car

on January 12, 2014

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Fill my little car right up

Up bright and early (although I still missed breakfast), we walked back to South Central Station, via a Hungry Jacks for a frozen raspberry Fanta ($1), and after topping up our Myki cards, boarded the train for Kensington.

With Google Maps as our guide and a LOT of luggage between us, we confidently strode off down the road, realising after 15 minutes that once again we were going the wrong way. Typical. Turning around, we eventually rocked up at Wicked Campers to pick up our little yellow Holden Spark, complete with roof tent.

Sitting behind the wheel for the first time in just over two years was a little daunting, but I took it all in my stride and set off… Realising five minutes later that “there’s not much petrol, you’ll need to fill up soon” meant “the tank is empty”. After ten minutes of quite stressful driving, we managed to fill the car up and set the SatNav for the Great Ocean Road!

On the road

Thankfully Australians drive on the left (something they remind you of constantly), so once we got onto the highway, I was absolutely fine driving, although struggling not to speed (it’s too easy). In just over an hour, we were approaching Torquay Visitor’s Centre, so I parked (perfectly) and we got our bearings.

List of campsites, leaflets and a week’s worth of food in tow, it was Miss H’s turn to drive… For 20km, until I made her swap back to me. It’s just a small issue, but she couldn’t change gear and we were at the top of the hill on a very busy road (speed limit 100 kmh), with lots of cars behind us – slightly terrifying.

Back behind the wheel, I had to be aware of the sudden ‘viewpoint on your left’ signs or we’d have missed them. We almost missed the Memorial Arch, but I managed to swing the car into the car park at the last minute. Perfectly legally… Ahem.

Our cameras were constantly in use as we stopped off at as many (interesting) points as we could. In fact, we’d only just passed Lorne when we realised it was almost 6pm and we needed to find a campsite. This we did after another less than legitimate right turn off the highway.

The campsite wasn’t the cheapest, but it was possibly the most beautiful. Just beyond the sea, the Cumberland River ran into the campsite to form a water hole that was framed by huge hills either side. The showers used rainwater and there were trees and bushes everywhere, plus woods and a private beach. It was peaceful and friendly and full of Australians.

Everybody loves Raymond

We parked up and set about putting up the tent: “You just take the cover off, pull the ladder out and boom. Mattress etc is in there. Have fun.” wasn’t quite accurate…

After ten minutes of giggling and struggling, watched by amused Aussies, about twelve of them came over to help us. The men scratched their heads and pulled bits and pieces, whilst the women who also came over offered helpful advice. The children just looked stunned. I helpfully took photos.

Eventually though, he was up! But there was no bedding and no tent pegs. We did have several poles though that were completely useless. Back to the office I went to beg some bedding and some kind man lent us two tent pegs so – finally – we were all set up.

We were the talk of the campsite! Everyone was coming over, taking photos and asking questions – they all loved it! Most people had been coming to this campsite each year for decades and now brought their own families. They made the area sound so lovely that we decided to stay a second night to explore.

Feeling more outdoorsy now, we got out our stove, ready for our packet pasta (with tinned chicken and veg) and it was all going well (once a nice man turned it on for us), until it ran out of gas. Apparently “you’ve got loads of gas” means “you’ve got no gas”. Luckily the nice couple next door overheard our cursing and gave us a gas canister, also inviting us to fire sit for them while they looked around.

Obviously fire sitting led to a nice evening with them, drinking (their) beer and roasting (our) marshmallows. We even found a use for the redundant tent poles – toasting forks!

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