Alright sunshine! 14-20/5/11

Posted: May 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

The sun has got his hat on, hip hip hip hurray! Yes, it’s finally got warm and we are back under canvas; camping has become enjoyable and there is no need to break the ice in the kettle before we have a cup of English Breakfast. It took a couple of days and around 1000 kms but we are hopefully into the warmer weather and have no more need for trailer parks. It’s a little sad I know, but the weather makes such a difference to our moods. Let’s not get carried away though, it’s not shorts weather just yet, more ‘casual slacks with cotton shirt and sports jacket tied around the waste’ weather. Hopefully as we push further north we can dig the shorts out and the jeans can be put away until our return home.

The plan changed, in fact it changes hourly, in fact its changed whilst I have been writing this sentence. The last plan I think I left you with was that we were going to drive around the entire coast of Australia and end up back in Perth, and then ship the car back to Blighty from there. After taking my socks off to help with the maths we just can’t afford it. Our original plan was to only to travel eight months in total, and that has now become a year, which means the money we had saved up needs to go a lot further. So this means that according to the original plan we would run out of money somewhere after Darwin, and whilst we can use credit cards, sell Megan’s body or use the bank of uber rich baby brother ( no, not you Nick, you were adopted, the other brother that mum and dad didn’t tell you about) we don’t really want to go down that road. The current plan is to ship the car back to the UK from Brisbane, so we will probably only go as far as Cairns and then turn around and come back. It’s a shame but it does mean we can spend more time seeing things and it’s not such a rush now. Australia is just so expensive at the moment’ if we had a smart car it might be doable but when your Land Rover is only doing 17mpg and diesel is around a pound a litre the cost of driving all the way around is eye watering, and I mean being kicked in the gentleman parts eye watering!

(Megan wanted to recreate that last sentence in pictorial form here, but I declined.)

So from Sydney we drove north to Newcastle, where we got a free bottle of wine, which was nice: wandering around the town that night we popped into a hotel for a beer and a burger for our tea. A raffle was taking place and we bought a couple of tickets which then won the rather nice and expensive bottle of wine (wasted on us). We had the chance to win $2500, which would have been nicer, but the wine will suffice, and having never won anything before, other than a pancake race at school (which to this day is still being contested) it made my day!

Spoke too soon, the rain’s back and we have retreated to the tent, which after a year of use has started to leak, brilliant. Will have to look for some waterproofer tomorrow…

 After a couple of days of long drives we hit Byron bay, a popular spot for surfers, hippies and backpackers. It’s a nice place to spend a couple of days and watch the surfers at sunset. We were close to giving it a go but the sea temperature is currently just too cold and no one should be subjected to seeing me in a wet suit.


The Gold Coast was next and as we drove into Surfers’ Paradise it felt like we had entered a different country: lots of condos, coffee shops and theme parks. We stopped and had a coffee on the beach and enjoyed the fact that we could sit outside in short sleeves and not have to use the heat of a hot coffee mug to warm us up. It’s so close to being shorts weather, we are getting excited…


Car wise, the phrase ‘limping to the finish’ springs to mind. We managed to fix the winch only for the exhaust pipe to fall off, however recently there have been new innovations in Land Rover repair… I can’t afford any of them so we now have part of a tree holding the exhaust in place. Come on Harriet, only nine weeks to go!


So yes, the end is in sight now, only about nine weeks left before we have to fly home, which reminds me, we really need to book some flights. Air Asia, the Ryan air of, well, Asia, now flies to the UK but the question is whether we can cope with a 12 hour Ryan air flight. A definite no is the answer at the moment but as always the price will be the determining factor. Nine weeks, not a lot really but we are not letting the thought of work, traffic on the north circular and Saturdays at Ikea dampen our spirits, although we have nowhere to live and Megan doesn’t have a job (anyone need a history teacher, she’s very good, and knows all the dates for everything?). I’ve even been looking at cars to buy when we get back, as the Land Rover will take about two months to reach us. Megan’s upset that I’m spending hours looking at Land Rovers on eBay, but we did have a conversation about different Land Rover wheel bases and engine types the other day so there’s hope yet that she will become a Land Rover fan.


  1. dave says:

    you been lookin at v dubs!!! i know it !!!

  2. robin welch says:

    Another great blog update, I bet it feels stange planning your next trip… the UK.

    Are you going to the Landrover LRO Show 10th -11th Sept in Peterborough? would be nice to say hello after following you (not in a creepy way) for so long

    Best Wishes to the rest of your trip and remember shorts can be worn in any weather, including snow in December

  3. Paul and Cathy says:

    Gawd … well at least your shipping the 130 back .. I did see a worrying ad on horizonsunlimited for a similar looking vehicle that was for sale!!

    Glad all is well down south, and that the sun is out .. the sky is blue… keep the updates coming and will be quite sad for this to come to an end .. a state of morning no less! The black arm bands are out!

    Paul and Caf! 🙂

    • simon maple says:

      Hi Paul

      Yes it was for sale but changed my mind now, plus never be able to sell it without fixing all the problems first, which I will have to take a mortgage out for anyhow!

      Yes it will be sad, but there will always be the next one!

      Hows your trip coming on?

Leave a Reply to Paul and Cathy Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s