Over the past 12 days I’ve noticed that Joe and I are often the youngest people ambling around national parks in a 4WD camper by atleast eighty years. It’s frightening that at any moment we’ll find ourselves wearing sandals and cargo shorts, drinking from a thermos and documenting kelp.

Just the other day whilst Joe was out surfing on an isolated beach at Shipwreck Creek (Croajingolong National Park, Vic) a nice old man appeared from nowhere and came ambling up to me with his camera trying to get photos of Joe on his board. Despite being born before federation, I was surprised when he told me that he had never seen anyone surf before (which thankfully explained why he was feverishly photographing Joe). I immediately assumed if he’d never seen anyone surf before he must come from far, far outback (if not the moon) but surprisingly he was only from Wangaratta (about 200km away). We chatted for a while and I learned he was out and about today pursuing his lifetime passion – documenting ALL the wattles of Victoria.

I was nearly running out of conversation when I thought a conservationist like him might know a thing or two about fauna also – so I asked him what the big dragon looking things hanging around our campsite trying to eat our esky were all about. Duh, of course they were goannas (arrrright - shut up; I did an Arts degree). He then went on at length that we should definitely not feed them; I completely agreed with him and made a mental note to retrieve the piece of bread that Joe had tossed out into the wilderness earlier.

The goanna’s turned out to be both friend and foe over the next few days; half prehistoric reptile, half Portuguese chicken (they like to spreadeagle in the sun); all thieving bastards. If you’ve never seen one, they’re about 1.5m long, leathery and dragon looking. They confidently peruse every nook and cranny of people’s campsites for scraps, and when noticed; freeze, disguising themselves as large lizard shaped handbags.

If you’re still reading now you’ve probably noticed there’s not been much doing worth telling a story about really (I could go on for hours about march flies but I’ll save it for the novel), so I’ll go shorthand here and just give you the cold hard stats on what’s been achieved so far;

-       Days on the road; 12

-       KMs driven: 1,684

-       KMs driven over a speed of 80kmph; 84

-       States; 2

-       Sunny days; 2.5

-       Good Days; 12

-       Bad Days; 0

-       Bottles of wine; 7

-       Casks of wine; 0

-       Campsites; 6

-       Campsites featuring long drop toilets; 3

-       Campsites featuring no toilets; 1

-       Camp Hosts who are toothless old men with wooden beards who’ve been living in their cars since the introduction of decimal currency; 2 (one might have been a woman)

-       Emergency hostels/motels; 2

-       Showers (each) since departure; 5

-       Unengorged paralysis ticks found on person; 1

-       Overated historic trestle bridges visited; 1

-       Surfing lessons given; 1

-       Snakes seen; 1.5 (the .5 was only small, but the big one was a red bellied black snake that we ran over – Having seen ‘Snakes on a Plane’ I was convinced for about an hour that it had been somehow sucked into the body work of the vehicle and was going to open the glovebox and attack me. This is yet to materialise.)

-       Hours spent unpacking, packing and repacking the car; 4,567,236

-       Hours spent arguing over the durability of Joe’s tent and why we should buy a rooftop tent; too many to count.

-       Conversations with 3rd parties about the Troopy; Many

-       Hours spent listening to Joe appreciate the Troopy; 6 (per day)

 

Gripping stuff, as you can see. This is what we do, now that we are travelling people.