18th February 2006 - From Eden NSW

The further we travelled into Victoria, the colder the weather became. Victorias summer is a bit like an English summer - very unpredictable. Most evenings are now cool with cold winds on the coast.

Joan spotted our first Koala about 100 feet up a gum tree and we then spent hours walking around the forest looking up. That night we both had trouble getting to sleep because of our stiff necks.

We needn't have bothered because the very next day we camped by a river where Koalas were everywhere - even in the branches just above our van roof.

In Victoria, travellers have to drive along the tourist route called the "Great Ocean Road". It is a long road that takes an ocean route of cliffs, bays and sandy beaches. The coast here is a bit like the Welsh coast, Cornwall or Devon and not unlike the road of the same name in California. It has so many tourists that they have to put up signs saying "Drive on the left" for the Europeans and Americans. Like all tourist spots the prices are high and we heard of one campsite in Lorne that was charging twice the average rate. Needless to say, we did not stop there.

The van is still going OK apart from some minor problems. As the steering is old, the front tyres wear out on one side. Garages just want to replace the steering but David bought secondhand tyres and made some adjustments to the tracking to improve it.

An annoying knocking from the front offside caused David to investigate. Underneath, under the dashboard inside the door, even a loose wiper motor tightened and the knock continued. We asked a garage to look at it as David suspected a badly worn suspension joint but they said all was OK and the knock did not occur when they drove it. Eventually David found it was due to a worn door hinge and a bit of Heath Robinson DIY cured it.

The bikes haven't been ridden nearly enough to keep us fit, but they come in useful nipping into town and for exploring local areas, We will need to do some serious riding when we get back if we are to regain our strength and fitness.

David is teaching the locals how to fish! At a place called Mallacoota on the NSW/Victorian border, the locals were fishing with lures as they were adamant that it was the best method. But the area was quite weedy and they kept getting caught in the weed and the fish were small. David tried a float and a small sprat as bait and caught loads of fish called Taylor, and one said to be the biggest yet caught in the area. He soon had the locals asking him what technique he was using and trying to copy it. But, as they were not used to this type of fishing they were not as successful.

We had a good feed of fish for a couple of days, but as our portable cooler is not much good we couldn't keep fish any longer.

We had seen the occasional wombat scurrying into the bush, but until we came across a road-kill, did not realise how big and heavy they are. Locals tell us that to hit a wombat with a car can do as much damage as a large kangaroo. We have hit neither yet, but we did drive through a swarm of locusts which made a bit of a mess on the front.

In England we have hedgehogs. in Australia they have Echidnas which are like a hedgehog with a long nose. When startled, they roll into a ball as a hedgehog but when angry eject their spines. We didn't make one angry, but got good pictures. oh! they also lay eggs! Everything in Australia has to be different.. 


Dave and Joan Wooldridge