Our Big Valla Road Trip

Day 19

Tuesday morning I got up and as I went to open the door the handle shattered, as the front seats were full I couldn’t climb over and the fridge was blocking the other door so we were trapped in the van! I sent Graham a text to come and let me out which he found hilarious. We left Jan Juc at 8am following Jamie and Graham trying to get across the rain channels in the caravan park road, they left a few scars in the concrete!  The day started out quite cold but did warm up even though there was a cold breeze all day, the most important thing is the rain held off most of the day.

We did lots of stops along the way admiring the scenery and taking photos. We stopped at Bells beach, Point Addis, Split Point Lighthouse, Memorial Arch, Teddy’s Lookout, Erskine Falls, several lookouts along the way and Maits Rest for a refreshing walk through the forest. We had lunch in Wye River to support the local town as it had a big bush fire go through at Christmas destroying nearly 100 homes. We camped at Bimbipark in Cape Otway. Once we had parked up went we koala spotting, we found several some were just sleeping in the branches but some were moving about included one with her baby that all the way down to ground changed trees and went back up the top. Having never seen koalas in the wild it was a very special experience. The wind was howling so we spent the evening in the camp kitchen, we sat on couches for the first time in 3 weeks!  The rain started so it was great to be inside.

Bells Beach

Bells Beach

Great Ocean Road

GOR sign

GOR driving

Erskine Falls

Erskine falls

Maits Rest

Maits Rest

Koala Spotting

koala spotting

Koala watching us

Koala watching us

Mother and baby

mother and baby

Days 17 and 18

Saturday night we had dinner again with Pete and Sonja then said our goodbyes as we were heading out in the morning. Sunday we woke to frost on the outside and inside of the kombi, it was a chilly -2 our coldest day so far. Our laptop doesn’t like the cold and shut itself down and lost the 3 days of photos I had imported, fortunately most of them were still on the camera although I had deleted a few. We had been told and read mixed reviews about the Alpine Way and how safe it was to drive and not knowing the road conditions and that the traffic was queuing past the caravan park to go to the snowfields we decided to take the Snowy Mountains Hwy instead. 

It was a slow but beautiful drive up through Kosciuszko National Park, lots of steep winding roads. We even managed to get some photos of the kombi’s and snow. We had a pit stop to make a sandwich and fill up oil at O’Hares campground, which was right on the river, a pretty little spot. To give us more time on the Great Ocean road we took the Hume Highway south instead of the tourist drive. We stopped at Reedy Creek in Chiltern – Mount Pilot national park, we got a nice fire going and settled in for the evening. We are now 2977 km’s into our trip!

Monday morning we woke to frost again everything we left outside was frozen including the awnings making them a bit stiff to roll up. We went to Beechworth to the famous bakery for some goodies. Jamie and Jan left us and headed to Bright to catch up with some friends that are travelling Australia meanwhile we headed to Glenrowan where Ned Kelly was captured. We went into the museum, which was really interesting to read the history of Ned. Next was a long boring motorway drive all the way to the coast to Torquay. We arrived in time for a look at the beach & to top up supplies before booking in to Jan Juc caravan park.

We are now 3376 km’s into our trip!

Canberra from lookout

Canberra Group

Camping Spot on Lake Jindabyne

camping jnd

Lake Jindabyne

Lake Jindabyne

Dinner with Pete and Sonja

dinner PS

Snow in Kosciuszko national park

snow

on the road

Camping at Reedy Creek in Chiltern – Mount Pilot national park

camp

Ned Kelly Glenrowan

ned kelly

Day 13

It was a bit chilly last night and we were rained out pretty much from lunchtime but luckily we didn’t go to Jenolan caves as they had a snowstorm and apparently some people got stranded in their vehicles. We travelled 210 km’s yesterday staying at Blackheath caravan park so that we could go to scenic world this morning. Unfortunately it was still pretty cloudy but we did all the rides starting with the worlds steepest railway down to the rainforest below where we took walk through enjoying the scenery as there was no cloud. We then took the cable car back up and the skyway across the gorge and back but didn’t get to see the spectacular views but we all enjoyed it anyway.

With the cold damp weather we were experiencing some issues with a couple of the kombi’s and with so much cloud cover and the rain starting again we decided to give up on seeing anymore of the lookouts & waterfalls and started heading to the coast south of Sydney. We took the minor roads and hit the coast at Bulli so we stopped at the lookout to view the coast down to Wollongong. We then headed north so we could drive over the Sea Cliff bridge which was pretty awesome so we did it again J. We headed back to Bulli to stop the night in the howling wind.

Waiting for the ride down on the worlds steepest railway

G J A

J J

railway

The Three Sisters from the bottom

3 sisters

On the valley floor

cliffs

fern

Cable car coming in

cable car

Bulli Lookout to Wollongong

Bulli Lookout

Kombi's on Sea Cliff Bridge

kombis on bridge

bridge kombis

Sea cliff bridge

 

Days 14 to 18 I think!

I’ve used all my Internet and Dave’s is getting low so I will only be able to update the blog or add photos when we get some Wi-Fi access so this one is a bit longer than normal.

On Wednesday the rain didn’t stop so we made camp in the camp kitchen and with Jo’s heater going it was very cosy. We headed off with Graham Thursday morning to catch up with Klaus and see his collection of Vdubs, nice collection of kombi’s but lots of work needed! We then went up the road to see Rod Penrose and look at some twin carbys to replace our single carby. Jo & Andrew arrived just ahead of us. Dave & Andrew chatted with Rod to get his advice on the best option for our engines, they both bought IDF 40 twin carby sets. Rod offered for us to fit them at his place but with our schedule, the rain and possible modifications needed decided to wait until we get home to. We headed down the road to Rod’s local Chinese and Klaus joined us there for lunch and the food was great and portions large enough that I didn’t need to eat for the rest of the day.

After lunch we headed out to Kangaroo Valley to meet up with Jan & Jamie who were already out there doing some photography. After a beautiful drive through Kangaroo Valley we stopped at Bendeela recreation area where we camping the night. What a fantastic spot as soon we drove in we saw kangaroo’s and wombats roaming around munching the grass. Fortunately the rain held off for the evening and we were able to set up camp and have a few drinks, it was a very nice evening.

Friday morning we headed out to Fitzroy falls, we took a walk out to the lookouts and enjoyed all the views before heading off towards Canberra and catch up with Jamie and Jan as they went to the falls on Thursday they went on ahead. We all met up at the Australian War Memorial, we didn’t have enough time to go in but we had a quick look around the outside before driving up Mt Ainslie to the lookout over Canberra, the views from there were spectacular. We then drove up capital hill and stopped outside parliament house for a quick photo stop then on to Jindabyne and the snow.

We got a beautiful camping spot right on the lake, whilst we were sorting ourselves out Pete & Sonja come over as they saw our vans on their walk into town from their campsite. We all went over to Brumby’s Bar and Grill for dinner, the place was heaving. After several attempts to organise a time to meet up in the morning it was decided on a 6.45am meet at our site.

This morning we drove up to Bullocks flats where we got the Ski tube, a train through the mountain up to Perisher. Pete, Sonja, Graham & Jamie all went off snowboarding whilst Dave, Jan and I went exploring, we took a scenic chair lift to the to top and had snowball fights before heading back down for a drink and meeting up with the others for lunch. After lunch we worked off some of our food tobogganing, walking up the top in snow is hard work! Dave and I also had a ride on the snow tube, which was great fun even if I did nearly go over the wall twice. Jo and Andrew went to Threadbo where they could explore the town as well as go to the top of the mountain and stop in at the restaurant at the top. All in all everyone had lots of fun.

Kangaroo Valley

kangaroo valley

Wombat at our campsite

wombat

Wombat, Kangaroo and a Kookaburra

wombat roo kooky

Wombat & Kombis

Kombis wombat

Fitzroy Falls

Fitzroy falls

Canberra

Canberra

Parliment House

Parliment house

Arriving at Perisher

group

On the snow

chairlift

chairlift 1

toboganning

photo comp

Day 12

Getting to and spending the week at Valla we covered 1132 km’s. Our first day of the trip back yesterday we covered 506 km’s making it to Spencer on the Hawkesbury river. We didn’t see any rest spots and it was getting late so we stopped at a caravan park not exactly 5 star amenities but the view was definitely 5 star and a fire pit and wood was supplied so we spent a very nice evening sitting round the fire watching the tide come right up and wondering if our van was going to get wet and of course marshmallows.

This morning we set off driving along the river to Wisemans Ferry, which was just stunning. Graham left a few divots in the ferry’s ramp both embarking and disembarking. I jumped in with Graham to sort out his Bluetooth and enjoyed being in a splitty again so stayed most of the day. We took the scenic route to Windsor where we had a pit stop at Smik surf shop as the owner is also a Kombi fan but he was away, a bit of shopping, photo’s, mugs and t-shirts later we headed on whilst Jan and Jamie went to visit Jan’s cousin. We took the long way round stopping at the Blue Mountain Botanic gardens. The weather started to set in so we cut our visit short and carried on to Blackheath.

As I wasn’t in my bus I didn’t do any of this along the way and I’m trying to type in the dark and Dave is asleep my hands are cold so basically it hasn’t stopped raining and we are hoping for better weather tomorrow.

Our view last night

hawks

fire pitmarsh

On the ferry

on ferry

Graham damaging the ramp

gra ferry

Wisemans ferry

ferry

It's raining!raining

Can't see!!!

cant c

Finally saw the 3 sisters

3 sisters

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