Friday, 5 February 2010

“We don’t get many people from out of town in here”…and dodgy GPS

When I’ve been in Australia before I’ve driven from Melbourne to Sydney but only via the non-scenic inland route, so one weekend me and Al hired a car to drive round the scenic coastal route. Having booked a smallish car we were upgraded for free to some giant Holden V6 or something like that. Felt like driving a bus compared to the size of anything I’ve driven before.

We headed out on Friday evening after work and went to Jervis Bay. We arrived about 9.30, which was helpful given all motels close around 8 so there is nobody to give you a room. So we asked in the local pub and they had one room. The Lonely Planet said this place has “decent rooms”, however this was published back in 2007 and the rooms had the most disgustingly dirty carpet I’ve seen in a hostel, but beggars can’t be choosers.

We then went for a drink in the pub, and were instantly befriended by some locals who’d seen us and worked out that we weren’t from round there - as they said “we don‘t get many people from out of town in here.” The reason we probably stood out was that we didn’t have mullets, rats tails or horrendous fashion sense (although I would just like to point out I am not claiming to have good fashion sense).

Just as an aside, when you go to places like Croydon, Milton Keynes and Basildon (I’ve not been to Basildon but Jamie is from there) the difference between these places and London is noticeable. When you leave Sydney you don’t have to travel far or for very long to notice a massive difference, way bigger than back home. In some places like Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, based on the people in the pub, you genuinely were the odd one out if you didn’t have a mullet!

But back to the pub in Jervis Bay, the locals were really friendly and several chatted to us, and it was a fun evening, and it was the only game in town and it was pretty lively to say the least. The pub was also allegedly haunted but disappointingly I didn’t see any ghosts that night.

Next day we had a wander round Jervis Bay and it is a far cry from the carnage of the pub as it is quite a picturesque placid place by day. Its not quite like on From Dusk Til Dawn where everyone turns to vampires at night, but you can see the similarities!

We hit the road and went to Pebbly Beach and said hello to some Kangaroos. While wandering around heard some rustling in the bushes, and turned round to see some giant dragon thing. You certainly do get some interesting wildlife in this country.

We stopped in some fishing town for a seafood lunch, then went to Eden and had a look round the Killer Whale Museum, before stopping for Saturday night in Lakes Entrance. Satellite TV was the key requirement of accommodation so we could watch English football. Course, nobody cares about the EPL (English Premier League) as its called over here so I slept through most of this and managed to wake up about 3.15am to watch the Forest Newcastle game.

Its good to see that Forest have learnt to play football now I’m on the other side of the world and can’t watch them hardly at all. Forest won 1-0, and it was nice to show a pretend big club like Newcastle what a proper big club looks like (and for that matter what a proper ground looks like too). Our glory days might have been 30 years ago but at least they happened - Newcastle’s plastic fans bang on like they’re some fallen giant when in actual fact they’ve never won anything. We’ve won the European Cup. Twice. Back to Back.

Next day after a quick walk on Ninety Mile Beach we pressed on with the aim of getting to Walhalla, a former mining town that sounded pretty interesting in the guide book. The route from Lakes Entrance to Walhalla wasn’t exactly in a straight line, but luckily Al had GPS on his iPhone and that came up with a far more direct route. So we followed this route and although we were soon on dirt roads they were pretty flat and we were making good time. But gradually the roads became narrower and bumpier and a big V6 without a lot of ground clearance wasn’t the ideal vehicle to be travelling in. If we’d met anything coming the other way or the road condition got worse things would be interesting.

And sure enough the road condition did change - it wasn’t there any more. There was a river and there was a bridge over it, but the bridge had seen better days but not any time recently. It was fenced off and the only way for us to go was back the way we came. According to the GPS, the road still existed, but as we found out from someone later when we actually got to Walhalla that bridge hadn’t been in action for 100 years or thereabouts. So the moral of the story is don’t trust everything the GPS says, especially when it suggests going off road. Next time we’ll take the longer route!

We made it to Walhalla in the end and probably only an hour later then we’d planned. We went into the Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine which was pretty interesting, then did a 4WD tour round some of the surrounding area where the miners used to live. Was pretty impressive some of the steep hills we got up and drove through a flowing river too.

After that we had to head to Melbourne to fly home. We decided against trying to take any shortcuts.

1 comment:

Dave said...

i believe newcastle united won the teaxco cup back to back in the '70s. not exactly lightweights.

good to see the pointing and foolish decisions being kept up...