Australia - Round The World Tour 3 2004 Day 335 (145)


Sunday 6th February (2005)

We awoke this morning with a few new sandfly bites but much fewer than the past couple of days. The old bites were still itching a bit and the new ones were now driving us crazy so we decided to find a pharmacy to see bout getting some relief. Unfortunately, it is Sunday and the only pharmacy in town wasn't yet open so we decided to kill time first by grabbing some breakfast at Hungry Jacks. I call it breakfast but Sandy was feeling quite squeamish about eggs and other typical cooked breakfast foods and it just so happens that Hungry Jacks don’t do breakfasts at all so she was able to order something to her liking. Naturally, I had to force myself to eat a chicken sandwich meal. Bugger!

The pharmacy did eventually open and I raised my arms to the attendant to illustrate my problem. ‘Oh my, they certainly like you don’t they?’ she said with a sympathetic smile on her face. Apparently, sandflies are quite a problem around this part of Australia and she went for some topical gel that we are supposed to apply to the bumps every few hours as needed. I gladly handed over the AU$10 for the gel and near ripped it out of the box to get at it. She recommended that we also continue to take the oral anti-histamine tablets that we started taking yesterday. Hopefully, the combined external and internal assault on the problem should provide us with some relief. I certainly hope so, as I’ve already scratched a number of bumps to the point of removing the top layer of skin and they are now very sore.

Sandy is missing her phone charger. On the whole, I think we’ve done very well as far as the retention of all our possessions during this trip and we can be thankful that we’ve not lost more than we have or, indeed, any expensive equipment thus far. We have a nagging suspicion that we may have left it behind in Perth in the hostel where that bitch chucked us out. Perhaps one of those voice mails that I summarily deleted without listening to was her telling us that she found our charger. It doesn’t really matter where we lost it, the point now is that Sandy’s phone is laden with credit (we both topped up our phone credit back in Perth) but unusable since the battery is dead and we have no means of charging it. One of the shops in the same shopping centre where the pharmacy was located had several different types of cheap phone chargers in stock and we picked one up for Sandy’s phone for AU$29 (€17,70).

So, with a new phone charger and several limbs now plastered with anti-itch cream, we got back into the car and soldiered on down towards the Great Ocean Road again. In one of the towns we passed through, which was close to the coastline, we saw a brown sign depicting a seal colony and this got Sandy’s blood really pumping. I wasn’t too keen about the sign pointing in the opposite direction to our intended travel but we turned the car and followed the road about ten to fifteen Kilometres to a small peninsula town which had some nice surfing waves crashing ashore. Unfortunately, however, the only two ways of getting to see the seal colony was a two-hour walk up and across the top of a cliff face or to pay AU$20 each for a three-minute boat ride. Sandy was all for forking out the money for the boat ride but the next departing boat only had one place available and the following departure wasn’t due until later in the afternoon. Bugger! Reluctantly, we turned the car back around and continued our trek.

Once again, we had a couple of brief stops for fuel and leg stretching but we stopped a bit longer in a place called Port Fairy to have a bit of a look around since this was one of the larger places we passed through. We’ve come to rely on the very useful information offices in larger towns. They are always very well signposted with the blue ‘i’ symbol from all directions. For the most part, they are pretty good at supplying us with information on accommodation and things of interest to go and see. We’ve had great success with these places all over Australia on the whole and South Australia is no different. According to the nice woman, however, we were no longer in South Australia but had now crossed over into Victoria. We’ve now been to Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia. We will hit New South Wales when we fly to Sydney but it’s looking like we won’t get a chance to visit Tasmania before we move onto New Zealand on the first of March.

We weren’t planning on stopping in Port Fairy for more than an hour or more, so the woman at the information office suggested we drive over to a small island, just around the corner, that was practically touching the mainland, to see the nesting grounds for a flock of Shearwater birds that have migrate from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere at this time of the year. They were apparently all out searching for food for their chicks at the moment and wouldn’t return to the nesting grounds until dusk but we would be able to see the nests themselves and perhaps even some chicks. This sounded like a real opportunity to see something very rare so we took the car over and walked part way around the small island to where the nests were. Much like the penguins nests we saw the other day these birds burrow holes beneath the ground for their chicks. Not only did we not see any birds (well, actually, we think we saw just one) but if there were any chicks, these were far too far down their burrows to be seen. I’m sure it would have been more exciting to have been at the nesting grounds during dusk when the birds came home but it was otherwise a bit of a disappointment to not see anything at all. Oh well, we soldier on.

The nice information office woman in Port Fairy gave us a decent brochure on the next large place we anticipated hitting – Warrnambool. It listed a few backpacker hostels so we cross-referenced them with our Lonely Planet guidebook to see which one we wanted to go with and gave the resulting choice a call. We had to drive around a bit because of the very dodgy cell phone reception but after numerous attempts we did eventually managed to exchange enough details to get them to hold the one remaining double they had left. At AU$60 (€36,60) for the room, it was definitely one of the more expensive places we’ve found but I suspect the Great Ocean Road will yield some very expensive alternatives and given how fully booked everywhere usually tends to be at the moment, I decided to just bite the bullet and take it anyway. We arrived in Warrnambool and checked into what turned out to be a very nice place indeed. My only criticism so far is the outrageous cost of the Internet here at AU$6 (€3,66) per hour – shocking!

Immediately upon arrival, we unloaded ourselves from the car and went in for a nap. It’s all this driving, I’m sure. Loaded with the energy provided by this powernap, I went into town to pick up a few missing ingredients from our food bag, which we’ve been toting around the country with us for the past few weeks, to make pancakes for us both. Sandy had put the laundry through a service wash by the time I came back and after we polished off the delicious pancakes, I strung out our two clotheslines in our room and hung up the clothes to allow them to dry. I had hooked one end of one of the elastic lines to the handrail of the top bunk to our bed but as I tugged on it from across the room, the entire handrail came loose and smacked Sandy square in the face. Fortunately, no lasting damage was done – to her face at least. We polished off the evening with a stroll through a very pleasant nearby park for half an hour or so.