Kats Visit To Australia

October 02, 2016  •  1 Comment


We left Canberra early Saturday morning and headed towards Melbourne, stopping in Holbrook to check out the land-locked submarine and get some breakfast. From there it was a straight-shot off to Melbourne with the first stop being the Dandenong ranges and the lyrebirds hidden within. After seeing many sulfur crested cockatoos, we headed onto the lyrebird track with hopes of finding a lyrebird or two. Kat managed to spot one in the first few hundred meters which was pretty cool. From there we found some giant man-made nests as art education projects which were pretty spectacular as well. Even on our way back we saw wallabies and a few more lyrebirds. After our short tour of the Fern Tree forest, it was back into Melbourne proper to hang out with Ben, Cushla, Marlon and Xavier. A great BBQ feast put on by Ben finished a long but great day in the car.

Day 1 selfie


Giant Bird Nest


It was up early for a Father’s Day breakfast with Ben and the family then Kat and I headed to Phillip island to check out the cape barron geese, seals and the penguins. The geese were all taking care of their young ones so we got the chance to see goslings at various stages of development. While on the Cape Woolamai walk Kat was quick enough to spot an echidna on the path which was exciting! After the walk, it was off to Cowes for some fish and chips and then to the Nobbies to see if we could spot some seals. We did (sort of) but they were very far away, barely visible to the naked eye. We also got to spot a penguin under the board walk, Kat’s first. Then it was off to the penguin-parade where many penguins were spotted and fawned over. After that, back to Melbourne we went to crash back on Ben and Cushlas floor.



Little Penguin



After breakfast with Cushla, Marlon and Xavier, we headed down to the great ocean road for some poorly attempted whale-watching but some successful koala spotting. We also got to feed some of the local birds which would land on our arms and heads. From there it was off to Apollo bay for some late lunch/dinner. We ate and then headed to Lake Elizabeth where we set-up the tent and went for a hike to see glow worms. Along with our glow worm hunt, we got to see ring tail possums. Kat really enjoyed the glow worms, possibly the best part of the trip!

Glow Worms


The morning started with Kookaburras singing - as well as finding their way into our tent and car to flap around and eat our food. Once packed-up, we headed back to Lake Elizabeth to see if we could find a platypus, and with some luck and diligence we were lucky enough to see one in the wild for a few minutes. Once the little Barina climbed out of the Lake Elizabeth area, we headed down the hill to the Twelve Apostles and the Loch and Arch where I managed to get some good long exposure photographs. After the Apostles, it was back to Melbourne to hang out with Michael and Kerrie. Dinner, wine and art, like the classy campers we are.

Platypus in the wild

12 Apostles

Loch and Arch


Wednesday saw us up reasonably early and packing the car for the start of the second half of the adventure with Michael Shiell on-board. Ultimately we left Melbourne just after lunch with classic sugary slices in-hand and a bottle of whiskey in the boot. West was the direction taking us first to the giant koala in Dadswell bridge and then wine tasting in the Grampians region. From there it was off to Dimboola and the Pink Lake. After a brief walk at the Pink Lake, it was through a little desert and to Mitre Rock, but not before finding a side-neck turtle roadside. After clambering around Mitre Rock for a while, it was a blinding drive to Naracoorte for whiskey, campfire and pictures in the dark.

Dadswell Bridge (Michael Photobombing)

Pink Lake

Michael at Mitre Rock

Tent, Barina, Fire and Stars (yes the tent is bigger then the Barina)




Once the Barina was packed, it was time to go to the caves. We arrived a bit early as South Australia has a 30min time zone change but the lady at the counter was nice enough to let us into the Naracoorte visitors centre early. There we crawled through kid-displays, read about the exhibits and the history of the caves. We also got to see a giant wombat with sleep apnea and a giant kangaroo with Parkinson's. The animatronics in the park were a little dated, but we all agreed that if someone upgraded them It just wouldn't be the same. After the visitors centre it was off to the wet cave for some free exploring which both Michael and Kat enjoyed. Here was a cave you could explore at your own pace and as you did the lights would slowly turn on and light the way for you (so you never really knew just how far you could get into the cave until you got there). The next cave was a fully guided tour of Victoria fossil cave. At about 15m underground we got to see the bones left by animals as far back as 400,000 years. They estimate that the cave will have bones from as far back as 500,000 years but at the moment they don't have a paleontologist to excavate the area.

After this, it was off to Mt. Gambier in the pouring rain. There we got Michael a jacket so he wouldn't dissolve in the wet, and because the weather was so bad we decided to grab a delicious lunch, explore the local library and even go see a movie. Post-movie was relaxing in the camper we had hired for the night for drinks and long chats (most of which Michael remembers…I think).

Michael taking pictures in the wet cave

Fossils in the cave


A bit of driving got us to the coast in Nelson for a brief break and some roadside chips. Then continuing along the coast we headed to Portland in hopes of spotting some whales. Unfortunately, there were no whales to be spotted even though one mother and her calf had been spotted only one week ago! After this, it was off to Warrnambool for one last chance to spot some whales. No luck again. Off to Dunkeld we went to see an artwork Michael had installed earlier in the year. On the way to Dunkeld, Michael was brave and took my little Barina through some pretty washed out roads. After a quick clean out of the car and some fresh coffee, it was back to Melbourne in record time.

Exploring the shoreline

View out to sea


​A quick tour of the sights of Melbourne had Kat and I walking around the CBD for a few hours hitting all the important stuff. Libraries, sports stores and the market. Then it was back to Michaels place for a quick siesta (for Kat) while Michael and I watched the most amazing Australian movie. Then once we were all recharged the three of us headed out for a night on the town. Michael had never been to the casino so we headed there for some fun, fire and ice cream. We also partook in some refreshments at a bar under the bridge linking the two sides of the city and later for dinner.

Melbourne Sights

State Library


More casino

Refreshment under the bridge



Quick jaunt home for Kat and I (Canberra bound)  with various breaks along the way.



​Kat had a meeting with her potential new boss while I tried to recuperate from all the driving. In the afternoon we met up for wood fired dinner out as well as some micro-brewery drinks and some live local music, which I really enjoyed.



We were  off to Yankee Hat to see the aboriginal rock paintings. Unfortunately the gate to the parking area was closed due to flooding so I parked up on the side of the road. In the areas where the flooding was too much to find somewhere to hop across I did the polite thing and piggy backed Kat to the other side while my feet to soaked. Fortunately I only had to do this three or four time. Kat called me a pack mule as I had to wear my backpack on my front and carry Kat on my back across rivers. After the rock art I took Kat to the deep space communication centre which is always a hit. There we had a big feast of burgers and chips. Then off to Tidbinbilla nature reserve to get Kat's last main animal off her list, the emu. Also more platypus as well as some more Koalas.

Deep Space Centre



​I escorted Kat on the bus to Sydney for a fun day of walking around the CBD and seeing the sights. We wondered the gardens and got to touch the Sydney Opera House. We made plans that next time we would take the walk that takes you on top of the Sydney Darling Bridge. After a quick bite to eat for late lunch/early dinner it was time for me to catch my bus back to Canberra and for Kat to head to North Sydney to visit her friend.


World famous low bridge (1.9m)


It was a great trip, with great friends. Kat was a real sport with all the driving and Michael was happy to take over some of it! All in all we did about 4500km and the car was a champ going through deep water, up soggy bumpy dirt hills and keeping us charged and going all the time. It was able to do this while carrying 3 adults with full camping gear plus laptops, cameras and various other electronics as well as charging them all at the same time. Ahhhh my little Campervan Barina!


Michael Caught me in the act of photo editing while out there.


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well another true adventure for you, Jeremy, I enjoyed every word and picture of your Post xoxo
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