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2006-10-23 - 11:36 p.m.

In the process of cleaning my room I found a couple of sets of photos from last year spanning the end of our South Eastern Australia road trip, 3 weddings and Christmas- after that we had our digital camera to the job. Anyway, it occurred to me also that said roadtrip was exactly a year ago and I never got all the way through chronicling it. I tried this with my round-the-world trip a year later in my pen-and-paper diary and in the end it failed dismally, but at least I have some written record of that trip in the form of my group emails which I modified and put in here.

If you check out this entry, you'll see where I was up to with last year's trip. Indulge me if you will while I try to tie up loose ends:

The day we left Melbourne, which was Wednesday 19th October, we drove down to Sorrento and caught the ferry across to Queenscliff. We started our journey along the Great Ocean Road and ended up getting a lot further than we expected. We had lunch in Apollo Bay, which was one of the places we'd considered staying overnight, and ended up staying at a Bed and Breakfast a few kilometres inland from the 12 Apostles. We set off early the next day and spent a fair bit of time at Loch Ard Gorge, which was one of the scenic highlights of the Great Ocean Road, probably moreso than the 12 Apostles. We had lunch at Port Fairy, which was a lovely little town, and at some point after crossing the South Australian border it began to absolutely pelt down with rain. We were in Mt Gambier long before we needed to stop for the night, and we didn't really get much of a look at the Blue Lake thanks to the rain. We ended up staying at the seaside town of Robe, where I had the most spectacular lobster (or crayfish as it appeared on the menu)- ever. I think it was half a lobster yet it was 1kg and it was definitely for two.

Friday 21st October we left ourselves plenty of time to get to Adelaide and took quite a few detours. We had an overindulgent lunch of meat, meat, meat and some mash and sauerkraut in Handorf, and finally found our way to our motel on Hindley Street. The parking arrangments were dodgy, but as luck would have it my car stereo had shat itself somewhere along the Great Ocean Road so the car spent it's time in Adelaide at an autoelectrician. Friday night was a blast- by complete coincidence the Whitlams were playing at the Governor Hindmarsh that night (I'd worked this out some weeks earlier and got tickets), and that gave us a chance to check out the venue and catch up with Emma, Occy and even Elle- an old friend from back in the insane gigging days whom I didn't even realise was living in Adelaide (not to be confused with Ellie- in this case Elle is actually her name). We ended up drinking Red Wine with the band after the show, and then Occy took us to the Crown and Anchor, which played Indie music until about 4am. There was nothing to do the next day but sleep in big time. We may have checked out the markets that afternoon, and possibly had dinner at a really good Chinese place on Gouger St that night before having cocktails at a place called the Apothecary on Hindley Street, but that could have well been a different night.

Sunday 23rd October (a year ago today in fact) we most likely had breakfast at somewhere that was recommended in the Lonely Planet before catching the tram down to Gleneg for lunch, where the rain held off for some of the time but not all of it. I can't for the life of me remember where we had dinner that night.

The next day we went to Kangaroo Island. I think that's one occasion where the pictures we took tell enough of the story, but it has its place in here in the continuity of the story. Both of us really enjoyed it. We spent a lot of time in a bus and covered close to 200km, saw Sea Lions, Fur Seals, Koalas and plenty of great scenery. That's all I really need to say about that.

On Tuesday (25/10/05) we picked up the car from the auto-electrician, checked out of the motel and drove up to the Barossa Valley. We stayed at a place called Caithness Manor, which was a converted Catholic girl's boarding house, and it was really nice. The breakfast room service was phenomenal. We walked a long way along a country road with no footpath in the twilight to a restaurant that night, and I remember good food and wine. In fact, I think I remember it involved duck and rabbit sausage, or something along those lines. The next day we did a winery day tour, and then had dinner at a restaurant quite close to where we were staying.

We left the Barossa on Thursday 27/5, and started our trip along the Sturt Highway. For a lot of it we were following the Murray, and for a lot of it the landscape was stark and barren. None moreso than the spectacular Hay Plains, although that was the day after. On the first day we had lunch in Renmark, and stayed in Mildura (where we had our only suburban/country Chinese Restaurant experience of the trip without incident). On the Friday afternoon we arrived in Wagga Wagga, where we met up with the likes of Kim and Marty (you may remember them from such weddings as theirs in Vanuatu) who had come down from Sydney for Marty's cousin (and Jane's friend of some years) Rob's Wedding. We had a fairly tame night at a pub with a bunch of people and also had dinner there.

The wedding was on Saturday (29/10/05), and involved a horse and carriage, children, and a dog presenting the wedding rings. Sounds like a recipe for disaster but it all went smoothly, except for a bit of rain. The reception was... well to be honest after a year it kind of blurs in with the other weddings I've been to since then. Rob and Tanya were I guess the newlyweds I was least close to of the five weddings I've been to in the last year (the others being Francis and Cam, Jody and Anthony, my cousin and most recently Kim and Marty). After the reception we had a few drinks in town, and if I recall correctly stayed out until the place we were in closed but it still wasn't a huge night.

On Sunday we drove from Wagga Wagga to Orange, through Junee, Young and Canowindra (pronounced "Ca-noun-dra"), where we spent 3 nights with Jane's oldest friend (ie the one she's known the longest) Barbara and her husband Ben. The first night we ate out (I remember oysters), the second day we slept in, had lunch at a cafe, went shopping (I bought some new sneakers which feel like they've had much more than a year's worth of wear) and Jane cooked dinner that night.

Can I just say at this point that I am completely, utterly over using pseudonyms in here. I keep having to go back and proof read so that it all makes sense, even though the only people who read this know who everyone is. So from now on, Jane = Jo, Cindy = Lucy and Ellie = Gaby. There, I've put my foot down. Annie will still be Annie, mainly because of some of the things I've said about her in here- I don't know if that makes sense or not but you get that. I guess it's also because these days she feels like a character in the story of my life, rather than a part of it.

Anyway, where was I? The next day was Melbourne Cup day and we went on down to the Orange Racetrack to watch some local races, and of course bet on the Melbourne Cup. Jo and I actually went alright between us. Well, we won about $20 but I'm not very ambitious when it comes to betting- if I'm not losing money I'm happy. We had a fairly early dinner at a pub/club in town and stayed around drinking for what felt like a reasonable time.

And then on Wednesday (02/11/05) we were on the last leg of our roadtrip- from Orange back to Sydney. And that was that. It wasn't New York or Paris, but it was the longest trip Jo and I have done together and it's a nice place to go back to if we're ever struggling with this long distance thing. There's plenty more of those roadtrips to be had.


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