Thanks for waiting, apologies it’s taken nearly three weeks to get the latest chapter out, finding the motivation to write what is possibly the final blog has been hard to come by. Actually, I’ve been trying to get Megan to do this one but she’s having none of it, apparently my standard is too high, well that’s what I’ve told myself. Much like all enjoyable holidays it’s finished far too quickly and looking back on the trip at the moment it’s nothing but a blur . This might have something to do with the fact that we are currently slightly hysterical after four separate flights, three different airlines, two bus journeys, a boat ride and 27 coffees in the space of thirty hours. We are on our way home.

So let’s fill you in on what’s been going on: We last left each other exiting Cape York if I recall, then we drove to Brisbane, shipped the car and flew to Malaysia. So until next time folks!

Even sleep deprived I’m still hilarious, no? Actually, quite a lot took place and did you know, now this is bit of a side track but bear with me, did you know that it’s such a small world that randomly on a little campsite, literally in the middle of nowhere I met up with Paul and his girlfriend Annie (I hope to god that’s her name, I’m sorry if it’s not, but I’m really bad with names, aren’t I Maggie? I mean Megan.) You know Paul though, no not that Paul, Exeter Paul! Well, for those of you who don’t know Paul (how could you not?) he used to live with my brother in Exeter. No not like that, not as a ‘life partner’, as a university house mate. Just recently I had accepted his friend request on ‘the Facebook’, and thank goodness I did as that might have been an embarrassing and awkward moment. Then out of the blue this hairy traveler looking chap starts shouting my name, as I said on a campsite in the middle of nowhere and suddenly I met up with Paul after a ten year hiatus! Small world. We had a great night chatting and catching up, listening to their travel plans. It made us quite jealous, as our trip was ending and theirs was just beginning.

 

From this chance meeting we drove onto Cairns and camped out there for a week, enjoying the sunshine and ice cream coffees. As we hadn’t up to that point bought much in the way of souvenirs we went a bit crazy and have now got quite a lot of art packed into the car. Some of the local stuff at the markets was actually very good and now all we need is a flat to put it up in. The daily budget will not reflect the purchases, as some of the stuff we got was a daily budget in itself, but then how can you put a price on art? Well actually nothing more than $50 if I’m honest.

It was a drag to leave Cairns but the count down clock was ticking and one morning we woke up and realized we would have to do some mammoth drives in order to get back to Brisbane by the date we had set ourselves, so it was somewhat of a surprise to wake up three days later only to have driven 50kms down the road. Damn the Aussie sunshine and great beaches! So now it had become a race to reach Brisbane in time, three days and just under 2000kms. Do-able in a normal car, but verging on impossible in a Land Rover… but as long as we didn’t break down we would be fine. We broke down. We had driven about 600kms when the rear axle’s diff started to leak, badly. Phoning around we found a garage to take it to and although they were fully booked out for a month they managed to fit us in. After a lot of sucking through teeth a diagnosis was given, “I think it’s cracked mate’. Only two more days to go and we would have been home free, but never mind. Not having the money to fix it properly we got them to cowboy it, to glue it up to stop the leak and put it on the long list of things to get fixed once we are home.

 

The weather had by this point started to get cold again so we sought comfort in a motel and after ten weeks of camping it was damn nice to get into a proper bed and have a toilet that did not require walking across a field to get to. Then all of a sudden it was our last day on the road, but we got the impression the Land Rover didn’t want to leave Australia… I can’t really put my finger on why we got this feeling but the fact that the exhaust blew off the side of the engine that morning might have something to do with it. Ok, that might be a tad of an exaggeration but after investigating a funny noise it was clear there was something wrong, as the entire engine was covered in soot, more soot than usual anyway.  Twice in two days, come on?!? Luckily we managed to track down a new gasket, randomly in someone’s house, and after two hours in a lay-by we were off and running again. However this time, with only 300kms to go we simply rolled the windows down so the deafening wind noise would drown out any more strange noises and we could well and truly bury our heads in the sand. It worked like a charm, and we finally arrived just outside Brisbane, after a slight detour into a woodland thanks to the GPS, at around 7pm.  And after 30,000 miles that’s where our journey ended, a couple of miles outside of Brisbane at the house of our friends Adam and Sharon, who kindly put us up for a couple of days so we could get our stuff together and pack the car up.

What could have been a rather depressing few days, our last in Australia, instead turned out to be some of the best. We were treated to amazing home cooked meals, free flowing booze, boat rides, and probably the best last day of a holiday ever. We took the ferry across to a large sand island called Stradbroke just off Brisbane, and even though it called for a 5am start we saw so much wildlife at close range: whales, turtles, dolphins and finally our first koala in the wild! Throw in lunch consisting of homemade burgers on the beach and a bit of off roading, and it was a top 10 day for sure.

 

Oh and that’s not even the best bit! I went fishing for the first time ever! I didn’t catch a thing, but that’s not the point, I now know how to fish, kind of.

 

We also met up with Ryan, a fellow Land Rover owner, who we met when we were first in Brisbane and he treated us to a fresh fish meal and two kilos of fresh prawns that we even went down to the trawler to pick up. Aussies are just so friendly!

We can’t thank Adam and Sharon and their family enough for putting us up, feeding us, letting us use their washing machine constantly for three days and taking us out. Like I said, what could have been a miserable couple of days were simply amazing.

All too soon it was time to drop the car off and catch a flight to Malaysia. Dropping the car off was a simple procedure; we just handed over the keys and carnet. No paper work, no bribes, no last minute changes, just a simple ‘here you go’ and a ‘thank you’. Ah the joys of organizing shipping in a developed country. Actually, I hope they were shippers and not just carpark attendants… thinking about it they did look kind of confused and I did think it strange that I had to explain what a carnet was to a shipping company…

‘Megan! I think I might have handed the car over to a couple of traffic wardens!’

If in fact they were shippers we should ‘hopefully’ get the car back in five weeks, so 35 days to decide what to do with it.  After a quick stop at the supermarket to get as many TimTams as we could stuff into our hold luggage we were dropped off at the airport. Our last few hours in Oz were spent using up all our spare change and buying magazines for the flight, and a few more TimTams. We loved Australia. It has so much to offer, so many different landscapes, so many opportunities to escape the crowd, so many places to visit and to camp. Plus, and this is something that surprised us, so much interesting history. I think it’s the fact that it’s recent history that makes it so interesting and something you can actually relate to. It’s somewhere we are coming back to, long term.

Currently I am sitting on a beach in the Perhentian Islands, Malaysia, trying to remember my port from starboard, my monkey first from my sheep shank in a bid to get ready for work. It’s going to be weird going back, but good to see family and friends. Plus we need to start planning our next trip and although I slag old blighty off, it’s still the only place in the world you can get a great Sunday roast while perusing the papers and drinking a proper pint of bitter. Perfect Sunday.  Since it’s a habit now I’ll do a blog about being home and the car’s return after her cruise. Megan is in the process of doing the final figures for the trip and once my heart has been restarted after she tells me how much we spent in total I’ll post them up for those interested in a similar trip.

So what can I say? It’s been great, thanks so much for showing an interest in my ramblings and our trip, I hope it’s inspired some you to go off on your own trips, but the biggest thanks goes to my travel buddy Megan. Thanks Megan for putting up with me, correcting my apalking speling and grammar’s and making a year on the road so much fun.

Laters.

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Comments
  1. John Sheffield says:

    Have enjoyed your blogs from day 1, what a wonderful trip youv’e both had, Good bye and God Bless.

  2. Anne James says:

    Can’t believe it has come to an end 😦 we are going to miss your blogs, safe travels and hope to catch up with you when you are back home, the James’ xx

  3. Paul Betts says:

    Ahhhhhhhhh man!… can’t believe this is the end !! .. sob sob! ..

    Seriously .. good stuff guys, its been an amazing read, you guys can only do what we can dream of (I keep trying to have a year off , but keep getting “incentives” to stay at work! :-s)

    Anyway .. do give us a grand finale from home where ever that may be .. and if you ever find yourself out in deepent Sunny Kent, or in Zone 2 (which will have to be without the Harriet due to red ken!, or with the 130 with a filter or Euro 3 engine in it), please do shout me and Mrs B would be happy to purchase a pint of warm hoppy beverage and a white wine for the lady!! (Can you tell I’ve just come back from the Great British Beer Fest!).

    Anyway a fine read .. even with dodgy grammar!

    Cheers Paul and Cathy 🙂

  4. Paul says:

    Mad to think this is over guys, a lifetime of memories though!
    Will speak to you when you get home and settled.
    Brilliant series of blogs by the way!!!!!

  5. Tom Vincent says:

    Sorry to hear you’re at the end of your travels – I’m afraid I’ve only caught the occasional post but I’ve really enjoyed reading what I have. I thought I’d comment because we’ve just left the Perhentians ourselves – small world. At least you are finishing in a beautiful place.

  6. Glyn says:

    I’ve been reading your blog since the very early days and have enjoyed sharing in your adventures.Thanks.

  7. Tim Parrott says:

    Well done you 2,have followed these posts with interest from the start.Informative and funny.Sounds like you have some great memorys.If you feel like a break in portugal to get over it let me know as thats where we live(2mins from the beach).
    Good luck for the future
    Tim

  8. kevin cardno says:

    aaahhh guys so sad its finished followed your blogs and enjoyed every post have a good trip home take care,,,,tug.

  9. robin welch says:

    Well done to you both for completing your dream, its been an interesting ride from our end and even better from yours.

    Thanks to Megan for all the spelling corrections and for giving Simon the ideas of what to write.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog and photographs and await details of your next adventure.

    God speed in your remaining travels and dont rush back too quickly, it’s only raining!
    Best Wishes and thanks to you both
    Robin

  10. Nigel Dawes says:

    Just to say a big congratulations on your trip.

    I have really enjoyed reading your blogs since Land Rover Monthly did an article, as that is when I first heard about it all.

    Nigel

  11. Dermot and Family says:

    Good Work Folks !

    I’ve read ALL the posts and am counting that as the third book I’ve read this year – some kind of record in itself!

    I’m well impressed with you achievements but am over my jealousy since taking a trailer tent to Suffolk for a rainy July weekend – you should try off roading in a Focus while towing pal!

    Can’t believe it’s been a year, I wasn’t even a parent when you left. I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my friends that will illustrate the length of time you’ve been away.

    Discussing the fact that Orla’s first birthday is later this month, then remembering the time we met up when she was three days old he put two and two together and said: “Man, that must have been nearly a year ago!”

    Yes, it was!

    Safe home
    Dermot, Martine & Orla

  12. nikollin says:

    Yours blog is amazing! To read, read and many times to re-read! Before yours new trip! Welcome back!

  13. Kieran says:

    Hi guys

    Just wanted to say thanks for a great blog. Been following from the begining.

    Oh to be young & carefree!

    Again thanks & a safe life.

    Kieran (Transporter44 on various Landi blogs)

  14. Michiel says:

    Welcome home guys.loved the story. Michiel

  15. Richard Atha says:

    Simon & Megan,

    Ever since I saw the article in LRO magazine I’ve been following your progress and enjoyed reading all your posts.

    It really was great to see you at the LR Max show today even if you did find it a little strange that a random in a P38 was shouting your name. Your blog inspired me to write one for the Help for Heroes European rally and I think I did it justice.

    Much respect and I’m gonna miss getting my fix of Trek to Oz in the future.

    Richie.

  16. Charles Batt says:

    I have really enjoyed following your travels over the last year (which seems to have gone by incredibly quickly) and knew the Landie would make it all the way, albeit with a few mechanical worries to keep you awake ! But at least it was fixed wherever in the world you were.

    A fantastic achievement and you will both have fantastic memories of the adventure for the rest of your lives. I will be looking out for your Trek to Oz book/film deal in due course.

    Best wishes for the future, Charles

  17. John Carroll says:

    Glad to hear you made it to Oz. Nice one! JC @ LRO
    http://www.lro.com/news.php?sid=997&page=1

  18. qsa says:

    Well done Captain 🙂

  19. qsa says:

    Well done Captain 🙂 Congratulations 🙂

  20. Anette de Ruiter says:

    Hi Simon & Megan,

    Have been following your blog since we met you on the campsite in Dijon. I think it was your first day on te road. I enjoyed reading all your posts. Great blog. Still a big fan of Landrover. Thanks.

    Anette

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