Big Question Marks

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Victorian times...

Today there were a few tears, a little bit of shock.... it was only today, while unscrewing license plates in the parking lot of the VicRoads office where we finally had to say to our trusty travelling companion-- "Daisy, I've got a feeling we're not in Queensland anymore."

I suppose it's hard to deny that we're no longer Queenslanders... we once again wear socks AND shoes when we go to the supermarket, possums outnumber cane toads here immeasurably, and while we can be happy there will never be any cyclone threats in our present home, we continue to freeze our butts off in the Melbourne winter. Daisy's been living in our covered garage for a while now, her "Sunshine State" plates just a tad ironic (though there was a fabulous late-afternoon rainbow visible in Richmond today). So it was only a matter of time before we had to switch our van's Queensland registration (that's "Rego" in Aussie) to the state of Victoria. Daisy's taking it well-- true, "The Place to Be" is a bit of a lame slogan to bear, but we weren't shelling out the extra cash for the "European"-style plates. We don't know too much of her history, we do know she came from Melbourne before her move to Port Douglas, and her window-stickers like "I played Apollo Bay Music Festival 2000" (a big annual concert held on the nearby Great Ocean Road) give us some clues to her past. So maybe she's happy to be home! Not to mention this whole rego thing saves us a car wash if we can just trade in our bug-encrusted and bird-poop-splattered old plates for sparkly new ones.

We haven't told her too much about our future plans, but we're planning a great deal of quality time together in the coming months. Time on our visas is running out but there's a lot of road to cover and sights to see before we take off in February. We've found a fantastic website, Roadmap Australia, which has eliminated our need for a ruler & map to guesstimate the mileage we hope to cover (about 15,000 km!). Since we rushed down a good chunk of the east coast to Melbourne and missed a lot of the classic sights in New South Wales-- the Blue Mountains, outside of Sydney; Nimbin, the hippie mountain village; legendary surf spot Byron Bay; and Bondi Beach, to name a few spots-- we've got some backtracking to do. Then there's the highway up the centre of the country which will take us to that giant red rock, Uluru, underground opal-mining town of Coober Pedy, and Kakadu National Park in the Top End. And last but not least is the gorgeous west coast- endless beaches meeting outback, Ningaloo Reef (from what we've heard, better than the Great Barrier Reef and way closer to shore); swimming with dolphins, and camels and wildflowers everywhere... well maybe not everywhere, but close to it. We figure we'll start the big trek in December, since we have the apartment til then. We'll just have to tough out a bit of the wet season up north-- maybe learn finally what "Going Tropo" really means-- and might have to share the beach with a few screaming brats (school holidays, ugh), but the thoughts of being on the road again are exciting!

In the meantime, we've got a mini-trip booked to visit Tasmania finally in August. It's possible it'll be really cold and rainy, but then again, the environment's so unpredictable everywhere that who really knows?! Flights cost next to nothing from Melbourne ($49 there and $29 back) and if it's rainy, we'll just spend more time in the museums, on brewery tours, and perhaps wandering the Cadbury chocolate factory. It's supposed to be gorgeous, and full of old buildings and colourful history. We take off on August 15 and return on the 19th... as there's no way Dayle's going to work on her birthday. Fingers crossed we'll see a Tasmanian Devil!


Pops said...

Hope Daisy is up to the task. Say hi to Taz for me.

Paula said...

Hey! You're alive!!!