2622 miles (or 4220ish) kilometres and… we’re home!
It’s been a while, so I’m making up with it with a nice big blog today – and a few photos too. So, want to hear about our awesome, inspiring adventure? Read on!
Day one was mostly just driving. We left our home of Toowoomba and over the course of the next 7ish hours passed through our little patch of Queensland and the first third (roughly) of New South Wales. We flashed by cotton fields flung out for miles, the white product littered along the roadside. The landscape was flat and open, though slowly but surely the trees crept in.
As the sky faded we arrived at our little motor inn, before setting off for an observatory.
Coonabarabran is essentially the star gazing capital of Australia. Deep in the centre of NSW, there’s next to no light pollution, and the skies are usually clear (except for this rainy year!). The conditions of the night too were perfect, exceptional, for gazing. No clouds, not even the moon to drown out the fainter stars with it’s unparalleled glow. So we sat in the darkness around a couple of telescopes with a group of others, as a man who reminded me of a Tolkienian elf – blonde hair long and blue eyes bright – regaled us with tales of the stars, galaxies, nebulae, and gave us the opportunity to gaze at them.
I loved it.
The next day we were off on by far, the longest car journey I’d ever undertaken. We left at 4am, and arrived at our destination about 6pm. The morning started dark, though after a couple of hours the sky lightened to reveal a glorious pastel morning, mist thick across the gentle rolling hills spotted with cattle. Frost lay heavy on the grass, like the most delicate blanket you ever did see. Eventually the day drew long, as we traversed the entirety of NSW remaining, and zoomed deep into Victoria, to a town less than two hours from Melbourne, Newborough. We were staying at a cute, homely cottage, but the first step was to get there. Gabe had driven the whole first day and, with the exception of a few hours, did the same. I mostly watched out the window as the landscape changed, growing more hilly, more green. Through the long day we listened to music, podcasts, audiobooks, but finally we reached our destination. It was beautiful, fireplace ready to be lit, warm, cosy, a loft with a vaulted ceiling. We grabbed some pizza, and crashed.
We spent the next day there too. It was cold, wet, and we were both pretty exhausted. So the fire was lit, books were cracked open, washing was done, groceries were bought, coffee was sipped, and we generally just kinda hung out!
But then, another big drive – the Great Ocean Road, and the Twelve Apostles.
The Great Ocean Road follows part of the coastline west of Melbourne, from Torquay to Allansford, about 240km long (according to Google). We skirted Melbourne, and then, we saw Beauty. Rugged hills, rocky outcroppings, deep blue water crashing gently into the shoreline, coastal towns by the water. It was overcast, and the thick grey clouds gave it all a moody presence. Then, God’s blessing, a rainbow appeared, poking up from the land to cast itself over the waters. We watched as it grew to full-size, strengthening in vibrancy until it filled your vision. We gaped and gasped in awe at this gift, and felt as if somehow we drove through one end of it, and then it was gone.
We drove on, stopping for lunch at the southernmost pub on the mainland. Onwards for sometime longer, and we arrived at Gibson Steps, and then, the Twelve Apostles. It was astonishing. It was cold, the wind sharp, but we ventured out, first Gibson Steps – descending steep steps in the side of the cliff to take in a gloriously sandy beach, cliffs high about us. The turquoise water crashed in with presence and strength, and we laughed and sighed and took it all in with wide eyes. Then the Twelve Apostles, a high lookout with a vast landscape beyond, the remaining rock formations prominent in your vision.
A beautiful drive through scenic farmland both amid the hills and the valleys followed, before a stop at Airey’s Inlet for the night. A rainy trip to the next town for dinner followed, before a beautiful sleep with a view of the sea.
The next day, Thursday, was a big one. We left early for Melbourne, to take a peek at the Fox Classic Car Collection – a particular treat for Gabe. A selection of 56 cars from Lindsay Fox’s private collection on show in all their glory in a stunning old Melbourne warehouse constructed in the 1800s.
What a location! They were gleaming – old classics right up to snazzy new, powerful engines. My wonderful husband was a little like an (albeit subdued) kid at a candy store. What followed was a delicious lunch at a nearby cafe, some exploration of the city, a stop at the National Gallery, and bookshop hunting, before dinner and the drive back to our little cottage.
Friday was a day of rest for us, Gabe had bought a couple of books (the first he’d bought ‘just because’ for himself – ever!) and we were both keen to sit by the fire and read. After some struggling we had a delectable fire, and enjoyed a relaxing day. We explored the property a bit, finding little trails and a lovely pond – lilypads and all.
Saturday we set off again, this time to Tooma. A teeny tiny little town amidst some of the most gorgeous country I’ve seen. Lush green hills, cattle and sheep grazing everywhere, and our accommodation a delightful house built in the 1800s. We went for a walk to the top of a hill, taking in the scenery in the late afternoon, watching the sunset, listening to the stream gurgle beneath the bridge. A stop at the pub for dinner followed, then a warm bed, waking up to a red sunrise, a chat with the house owner over breakfast, and we were off again. We traversed the way back to Coonabarabran, and then home.
What a journey.
That’s the short version. And, if you’re interested, I’ll happily go into more detail in coming weeks. For now though, I’m home, the copy edit of Seregn is days (if not maybe even hours!) away, and I’m so keen to get stuck in!