Saturday, Feb 13, 2016
I spent the night in the airport and was able to sleep along with many other people who were waiting for their flights in the morning, although, sleeping on a makeshift bed, consisting of chairs, coats, towels, etc, is not very comfortable, but will suffice in a pinch. I was actually able to sleep for 5 hours. I don’t think that the airport shuts down at night, however, the shops close around 11 pm.
When I woke up it was 5:30 pm, so I got ready and went to the ” check-in ” kiosks. It was easy, however, I was rejected the first time and I was given a slip of paper to present to the agent. When I did, I was informed that I needed an Australian visa to go there and that I would have to go to the service desk and request one. It only took 10 minutes and $30 to get the visa and then I was able to successfully check my bags and go through security.
The 3.5 hour flight was on schedule and we left at 8:30 and arrived at 10 pm because of the 2 hour time change. Now I am 16 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone.
Upon arriving in Melbourne, I was able to use my Canadian passport to skip having an agent talk to me about my luggage. All I had to do was sign into one of the many kiosks for pre-approved passports and then have my picture taken at another kiosk where it was compared to my passport picture. After I picked up my luggage, I had to see an agent with my customs declaration card, but that was a very quick process.
Now I was in Australia, however, I didn’t have a car or a place to stay. I didn’t want to stay in Melbourne so I opted to talk to the iSite agent. The agent was able to rent a car for 6 days at a reasonable price and pick up a Vodafone SIM card for my iPhone for $40. The SIM card will give me 8 GB of data ( which is great since I use my phone as a GPS and I can use it for my blog ) and it will also give me unlimited calling in Australia, as well as, 90 minutes of international calling.
So now I was ready to head west along the southeast shore of Australia. The traffic was very busy and I was glad that I had decided to leave the city. It wasn’t until I drove south of Geelong, the the 3 lane narrowed down to 2 and then 1 lane, but by then the traffic was a lot less. I was unimpressed with the landscape all of the way from Melbourne to Geelong. It was extremely dry and the grass was mostly a golden brown colour. The cattle and sheep on the ranches, had mostly dry grass to eat.
Where there were trees, they were mostly eucalyptus trees with some evergreen trees along the way, which added some colour to an otherwise, dull background. I could understand why it was so dry because it was 34 C ( 93 F ) and there was no humidity in the air in Melbourne. However, the temperature slowly dropped as I headed towards the ocean. The scenery started to became more colourfull, as well.
There were still brown patches in places where there were no trees left.
Although there are a lot of eucalyptus trees here, I haven’t seen any koala bears yet. I didn’t see any kangaroos either, although there were several signs indicating there were kangaroo crossing areas along the road.
The drive along the ocean shore was beautiful and that is why I took it instead of going on the highway.
I was lucky to find a National Park along my route. It is called the ” Twelve Apostles ” and there were a lot of people stopping there, so I decided to stop as well and check it out. I’m glad I did. I soon saw the reason and it was well worth stopping for. The beaches and the rock formations created by the water were absolutely stunning.
I took several photos of the landscape around the 12 Apostles before continuing on my way.
I was going to drive for a few more hours, but I realized that with the time change, it was 8 pm and not 6 pm in New Zealand and I was getting tired so I stopped in Port Campbell. I found a Holiday campground, secured a campsite, took a shower, picked up a few groceries before writing my journal.
It had cooled down significantly and it reached 20 C ( 68 F ), by them time I set up camp in Port Campbell.
Tomorrow I will try to purchase a ticket to fly to Cairns ( in northeastern Australia) on Friday because I have a condo booked for a weeks stay there. That is the only thing I had pre-planned in Australia. After that I will be heading to my westerly destination, but that could change at any time. Whatever happens, all I need is to find a campground and I am all set.