Day 1 - Melbourne to the SA border
Thursday 2nd February 2017
Day 1 – distance driven 436 km
We’re getting used to the early morning Uber and train to Brisbane airport – no bus this time as we’re starting from the boatyard, which is just down the road from Coomera Station. So we were at Brisbane Domestic Terminal on Tuesday in time for some breakfast before boarding a Jetstar flight to Melbourne, where we picked up a rental car and drove first to St Kilda for a stroll along the beach and then some lunch. The temperature in Melbourne was a cool 23-24 degrees, and it was so nice to be able to walk in the sunshine without feeling like your skin was being peeled off you!
Then we drove to Pam’s where we received her typical very warm welcome. It was lovely to see her and Morgan and James again, and to spend my birthday with my good friend of 50 years. It started with a buck’s fizz and eggs and bacon brunch, and was topped off in the evening by a delicious dinner at a very nice restaurant. So nice. We spent much of the day chatting – catching up on each other’s news since we were here with Pam this time last year, and reminiscing of course over past times.
Terry, Janet, Pam & me at Pam’s wedding, 1989 The waitress put a candle in my dessert and sang ‘Happy Birthday’. Embarrassing.
This morning we left Pam’s early for the 80km drive across Melbourne to the Apollo base at Tullamarine. We arrived just as they were opening for the day, and after some waiting around for staff to turn up for work, the paperwork was done. We got a very good relocation deal: 6 days at $1 per day and 3 days at $75 per day, giving us 9 days to drive the campervan from Melbourne to Perth – about 3,500 km. And no one-way fees. It’s the same model we had in Tasmania, and that was a special rate of $180 per day, reduced from $220, so it really is a bargain!
Eventually the van was ready, and after checking it over, we piled in our luggage, and Steve followed me as I returned the hire car to their base 5 minutes around the corner. Unfortunately, the ABS light on the van’s dashboard had stayed on all the way there, and the brakes had to be pumped to get them to work. So after dropping off the hire car, we drove the van back to Apollo.
They changed the van without argument for a much newer one, and this one is exactly the same layout as we had before. The small downside is that it has manual gears, but still has cruise control, so no problem.
By the time we set off a second time it was 11 a.m., and we still had to stop at a supermarket and stock up. We eventually got on the road proper just before 1 p.m. Steve drove for a while, but then found he was getting tired, so I had my first go at driving a 6-berth camper van. With so many miles to cover, I couldn’t really duck out of it this time. It was okay, but I was glad I didn’t have to manoeuvre it around town!
Today we have covered 436 km, which isn’t too bad considering the late start. We are parked at a rest stop in Serviceton, just metres from the interstate border. Tomorrow we will have to put our watches back half an hour as we cross into South Australia and head towards Adelaide and Port Augusta.
Our stop for the night was actually in the car park of the Serviceton Golf Club,
just a few metres from the border between Victoria and South Australia.
Last March we drove from Melbourne to Adelaide and back, taking the Great Ocean Road on the outward leg and the Barossa Valley and wheat belt on the way back, so this time we have chosen a route midway between the two.
The route from Melbourne to the border. And again zoomed out to show how far across the country we’ll be driving!
With thanks to Google maps.