24.03.2011 - 31.03.2011 22 °C
To try to get over to the east coast a bit quicker we chose to go inland instead of the scenic coastal route, which apparently saves a few days and we had just completed the Great Ocean Road which is meant to be nicer anyway. We stopped overnight at Seymour, north of Melbourne, and Goulburn, which is just north of Canberra. These were like old-fashioned American towns in the middle of nowhere so they were not really touristy and were just stop-overs for us.
We had planned to visit one of Del's mates from uni, Neil Mackay, and his Spanish girlfriend, Eva, whom had both lived over here for a couple of years now. We knew they lived just south of Sydney but we stupidly never checked just how far south. We checked when in Mossvale, not far from Sydney, and realised they were almost four hours south so we had a 2-3 hour detour to get down to theirs. It was just south of Sydney by Aussie terms and after driving in this huge country it wasn't too much of a detour.
Our new route took us down through Kangaroo Valley where we stopped at the impressive waterfalls and at Hampden bridge. It was a really nice area with hills and valleys so it was a nice change from what we have seen so far as the other roads were really boring.
We arrived at Neil and Eva's in Malua Bay (just south of Batemans Bay) on friday night, just in time to head out to the local bowling / social club for some beers and a chinese, where we also met some of their mates. They stayed in a lovely big house overlooking the bay, with a big balcony where we could see dolphins in the bay from. It was great to see their lifestyle away from city life and see how they make the most of their time outwith working hours.
Neil and Eva took us out surfing for our first time, which was great fun although really hard to pick-up especially as the waves were pretty big. We both did alright though and managed to catch a couple of waves which made it worthwhile. It looks easy but it really isn't! Del and Neil went out again the following day and again enjoyed it. It is definately something you would enjoy more and more the better you get at it though. We also had a bbq and some drinks at theirs, plus we managed to find Scotland vs Brazil on TV so we all stayed up to watch that and get all patriotic again! Thanks again Neil / Eva for your hospitality and giving us a break from the campervan - it was great to catch up again and to also see what life is like over here.
From Batemans Bay we headed up to Sydney, timing it so we drove across the city after rush hour to our campsite in the north. Sydney seemed massive and took us ages to get from one side to the other even though the roads were quiet. Our campsite for the next three nights was in a national park that is full of crazy possums which kept on trying to steal our dinner as we were eating and were not scared of us in the slightest.
We had two full days in Sydney seeing all the sights, had great weather and loved the city. It is definately one of the nicest cities we have ever been to. We went to see the famous harbour bridge and opera house, which were really impressive, plus took a trip out to see Bondi Beach where we got caught in a huge thunderstorm. We also squeezed in a ferry trip over to Manly, which is still on the mainland but is best accessed by boat. It was amazing and the beach was fantastic. It is popular for commuting into Sydney by ferry but you must need a few quid to live there. We were both really impressed by Sydney and wished we had more time to spend there.