The last place I expected to be sitting in May was on Mum & Dad’s sofa watching the FA Cup final. Sadly I am, and (even more sadly) the reason is not because Sheffield United are in the final and I have flown back to watch the game. Oh no - altogether different reason, SHARK ATTACK! I'll describe that more in an upcoming blog. So whilst we're not currently driving across Malaysia as we should be, it has given me time to catch up on my blogs.

In month two we drove from Melbourne to Perth, taking in the famous Great Ocean Road, The Nullarbor and a lengthy stay in the south west from Esperance to Margaret River. We also had time for a minor detour to The Northern Territory to see Ayers Rock and Kings Canyon. That minor detour ended up being about 3,000km and, to be honest, there was not a lot to look at between points A and B. Was the detour worth it? Yeah, probably. Would I do it again? Nope!

Now, some facts from month 2:

  • Total distance driven: 8,875 Km's
  • Distance driven per day: 317 Km's (at the speed BOB drives at!?)
  • Nights camping: 25
  • Nights in the Hilton: 3
  • Most expensive fuel bill: $204

                                                 Penny and special guest Andrew relax in the luxury of the Hilton

Best bits from month 2

  • Surfing Bells Beach and the Great Ocean Road. I've always wanted to surf here and it didn’t disappoint. So many choices of break and while the swell didn’t match the size of the 50-year storm, there was still plenty around. I was expecting the locals to be a bit territorial but the atmosphere was super friendly. Maybe because there are so many travellers (i.e. not many locals)? We camped in some interesting places during our stay here. One campsite was a large field in the bush in the middle of nowhere. We set-up camp and no sooner had we settled with a glass of wine, we were soon joined by a steady flow of Kangaroos. As the crowd grew, the size of the animals grew until we had no fewer than 20 new friends some of which were taller than Penny! Their size, upright posture, intense staring and strange wobbling movements started to make us feel uncomfortable and soon Pen was hiding behind the doors of BOB. I chose a different form of defence and mirrored their every move, staring directly at the largest one. Initially they looked puzzled by my strange wobbling motion, before boredom set in and they returned to the hunt for grass.

              Offshore reef perfection on the Great Ocean Road and 5ft Kangaroos with a wobble

  • Seeing koalas in the wild. They don't do much but you feel strangely drawn to watching them for long periods of time.

  • Hahndorf in Adelaide. Great beer, great sausage.

  • Kings Canyon in the Northern Territory was the highlight of the 3,000km detour to visit the big rock (largest monolith in the world). In my opinion Kings Canyon was the more impressive of the two. It was great to find somewhere in Oz that isn't spoilt by rules and restrictions.

  • Watching a Chinese dude run up Ayers Rock when the walk was closed. The park rangers went mental when they saw him and a crowd quickly gathered. He was the only person that got to climb to the top during our stay. I can’t help thinking that the $300 fine he got was worth it.

  • The schnitzel we bought in Coober Pedy. It was literally like a pizza where the bread had been replaced by meat.

  • Throwing away more of our unnecessary items. The positive impact on the car and on our moods was immediately noticeable. The biggest revelation was when we realised how many different cooking solutions we had. Yes we do eat a fair amount of food...but four cookers? Farewell Campmaster 5000. You were a great companion.

  • Driving to the edge of the cliffs off the Nullarbor. Choose a little dirt track off the freeway, drive across the rocky, sandy shrub land and make sure you stop before driving off the edge!

      Penny celebrates her Mums birthday from the cliffs of the Nullarbor whilst BOB looks on nervously...

  • Watching Pen chase a raven whilst hurling abuse in its direction after it stole her golf ball halfway down the fairway of the par 5 on the Nullarbor Links.

  • Masons Bay in WA. Probably my favourite of all of the places we have stayed so far. The camp-site is right on a beautiful beach, the weather was stunning and every evening a perfect 20 knot sea breeze came through for kiting. Big thanks to Mike & Mel who we met here for the abalone and the info!

  • The week we spent in the Margaret River area pretty much encapsulated everything that we wanted from travelling in Oz. If we had the time (which in hindsight we did! See month 3 blogs) we would have stayed much longer.

Worst bits from month 2

  • Rottnest Island. Dont get me wrong its an awesome place. But so EXPENSIVE!!?? $90 for a return ferry ticket? $20 for a crap sandwich!? We could spend an extra month in Cambodia for the prices we paid.

  • Flies in The Northern Territory are so annoying and make you so mad! As soon as you get out of the car they are on you and there is no respite. It was so bad on the walk around Ayers Rock that I had to constantly wave my hands in front of my face to keep them out of my eyes. After three hours of walking my arms were more tired than my legs.

  • The French dude who stole our shopping. No man should ever get in the way of another mans shandy.

  • Coober Pedy. Cool underground building, but really, what a dump.

  • The worst nights sleep ever! We set up camp at a road house on the way to Ayers Rock. A cool place to camp, surrounded by desert. We ate the customary noodles with egg and broccoli (Verity, you'll know this one well) and then retired to the roof tent. What followed was nothing short of a hurricane. It literally felt like the car was going to topple over and the noise was unbearable. Recommendation – if you're going somewhere windy, don't sleep in a roof tent.

                                                               Beware of wind when sleeping in the desert

  • 90 mile road. 90 miles of dead straight road. No turns. In BOB thats at least 2 hours driving without turning the wheel. Add to that 35 degree's heat with no air conditioning and you've got the right ingredients for severe discomfort.

  • Flooding in South Australia and Northern Territory meant that all roads but the free way were closed. Therefore access to a number of things we wanted to visit was blocked. Lake Eyre for example was at its highest water levels since 1989 (its normally pretty much dry) and by all accounts was a site to behold. Sadly though access had been blocked for weeks.

      Everything but the Stuart Highway was flooded as we headed north to Uluru