Our holiday is over. Well, our holiday from the roadtrip. Tomorrow we hit the road again.
*Preferably close enough to Christmas that we can avoid any frantic death-defying trips to Chadstone
Things are a little different on the way back. I can’t help feeling like the adventure is coming to an end. There’s something about turning around and heading home that makes me a bit sad. Not teary sad. Just forlorn.
Then yesterday, Mat gave me a wake-up call. He reminded me that it’s 3418km to Melbourne. That’s 3418km worth of adventures. Okay, according to Google Maps, we could floor it and be sipping turmeric lattes in Smith Street in just 36 hours. But the Old Girl only travels at 80km/h, so 36 hours is not an option. Not to mention, it sounds like my idea of hell.
Also, we’ll be driving in temperatures that are about 20 degrees hotter than when we arrived in Western Australia. The Old Girl needs a break every two hours in the heat to avoid spontaneously combusting. We’ll be keeping a beady eye on the weather and bushfire warnings.
Oh, and we’re also travelling across three states packed with wineries, caves, running trails, mountains, wineries and beaches to discover.
So to keep the adventure alive, here are five things we plan to check out on our way home:
What’s in Ceduna that could put it on our top five list, you ask? Oysters. Mat is a sucker for oysters. Every year on Christmas Eve, he hits the Queen Victoria markets in Melbourne to get two-dozen of the freshest, most succulent oysters. Then, as Santa is winging it back to chilly Lapland, Mat and his dad sit with a beer in the sunshine to enjoy the oysters together. Six months ago, Mat made the groundbreaking claim that Clyde River oysters are the best he has ever tasted. So he is pretty excited about visiting the home of Australia’s largest oyster festival (even if we are two months late for the party!) Can Ceduna take the Oyster crown from Batemans Bay?
2. South Australian wineries
Will it be Clare Valley, the Barossa, Adelaide Hills or McLaren Vale? That’s the toughest decision we’ll face when we drive out of Port Augusta towards vineyards filled with alcoholic grapes of goodness. My money is on Barossa, where we’ll say hi to Maggie and fill up on brekkie at the famous Farmers Market. My tastebuds are already aquiver at the memory of the oozing egg, smoky bacon, caramelised onion, brioche bun….
3. Naracoorte Caves
Just before we cross the border into our home state (with a mandatory #kombi selfie), we’ll check out Naracoorte Caves. Apparently, the caves are South Australia’s only World Heritage site, so that’s got to be worth a look. Mat remembers visiting the caves when he was younger…but that’s about all the detail he can give! Apparently they’ve been collecting animals for at least 500,000 years and have some pretty awesome fossils.
4. Mount Arapiles
We love this place. Rising from the Wimmera plains, Mount Arapiles is an extraordinary rock feature. According to Mat, a giant was commissioned by Wimmera Council to build Mount Arapiles because the Grampians was getting too busy. So he carted rocks in his wheelbarrow to build the new mountain range. So he worked all day and when 5pm came, he dumped the last wheelbarrow of rocks and went home. That’s Mitre Rock. Our plan is obviously to run round Mount Arapiles, which is about 15km. Fingers’ crossed for cool weather!
It’s no secret the Grampians is one of our top places to run and explore. EVER. Between Mt Zero, the Pinnacle, Zumsteins and MacKenzie Falls, we never know where to start (or stop) when we get there. AND it’s about to get even better because they’re building the Grampians Peak Trail. The first section is already open….just in time for us to explore!
Any other tips for what we must see on our way home? Please share! Follow our journey on Instagram (don’t worry, we won’t post a breakfast-gram at the markets!)