…with a glass of Champaign, lazy Koalas along the Great Ocean Road, Melbourne in rain and finally entering Tasmania… FREEZING!
We said good-bye to Cara, Toff and Trip and left Port Willunga following the shady turning roads direction south. Late afternoon we found a nice little camp spot at the beach. Our “neighbors” Brian and Holly (and their dogs Trapper and Eva) welcomed us warmly immediately and after we pitched up the tent we were sitting around their table drinking a cold beer. As it was a really hot day we decided to spend the sunset on Brian’s little boat… fishing and drinking Champaign. Holly had her luxury day and bought a couple of bottles which needed to be emptied… We had a lot of fun even though we did not catch one fish that evening! When it turned dark we continued chatting and drinking and Brian put some big steaks of venison which he just shot a couple of days ago on the barbie and it was just melting on your tongue – YUMMY!!! In a moment we decided the next morning to stay another day and we left for fishing with the boat of Brian once again. And this time Kerstin caught a 45cm Whiting which we enjoyed in the evening.
The next morning we woke up with a real chilly wind. The weather changed and for us it was time to leave… Around noon we entered the next state: Victoria; later we finally reached the Great Ocean Road, a twisting road following the coast line up and down the cliffs. The next night we spent in the bush at Cape Otway up the hill looking down to the ocean. After having a closer look at the high trees we saw all the Koalas hanging lazy in the branches around, eating or sleeping. We spent a while observing them. The rest of the day we just enjoyed the ride along the Great Ocean Road and having several stops in-between. We had a contact in Inverleigh which is about 100km before Melbourne where we were invited to stay. We arrived quite late in the evening and Keith was welcoming us warmly. He and his wife Christine are just starting to build a new house on a property a few hundred meters further up the road. They plan to open a nursery there and we went over to have a closer look. Keith and Christine explained all the details and we had a walk around. After that they prepared a big delicious mushroom omelet and a gigantic fruit ice crème cup and we had really interesting chats. Unfortunately we had to leave pretty early the next morning but we hope we will see them again on the way back from Tasmania!
In Geelong we had to change our rear tire. And just when we finished it started to rain. The last 70 km on the highway to Melbourne we had a few stops when the rain turned to heavy. We had time. At the harbor we were waiting to enter the ferry covered by a palm tree to escape a bit the gusty wind and rain. More and more old motorcycles arrived. About a hundred will gather together to ride around in Tasmania. That made our waiting time in the rain at least more interesting ;-) The night on the ferry, 11 hours, was ok but we both did not sleep a lot.
When we arrived in Devonport early morning we looked at a clear sky full of stars – but it was FREEZING cold! Our first destination in Tasmania was not far from Devonport; a Permaculture Farm where a friend of us is living and working since 7 month. Oscar is Italian and we met him the first time in Darwin when we entered Australia. The farm is not even 100km west located and we decided to make a little inland detour loop on the way. The sun was rising up and the landscape looked promising; green hills, forests, real mountains in the background, scenic villages and a nice winding road. The only issue was it did not turn much warmer… even not with the rising sun. And we were driving continuously uphill. When we came close to the Cradle Mountain we checked the altitude: 986m! WOW!!! It is a looooong time ago that we have been in this kind of altitude. And just together with us the cold front arrived. Suddenly it turned dark and it started to rain. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Most of our warm clothes were still stored somewhere at the bottom of our panniers. We could escape the rain pretty fast driving back towards the coast but we were completely frozen. We had to stop several times trying to warm up our finger which we hardly could feel anymore. We knew Tasmania will be cool but we never expected such a high drop of temperature.
When we arrived on the farm Oscar prepared a big hot pot of coffee for us and after a hot shower we were alive again ;-) The Permaculture farm is a learning pool where many people from all over the world are coming together: there were a couple of more Italians (Marco as well which we met in Darwin some time ago!), a guy from Japan; a couple from Chile and today Oscar is picking up his Chinese girlfriend. We stayed longer than planned… we were happy to meet some friends again, it was interesting to see what they do and then the weather forecast said heavy rain with thunderstorms. We built down our tent as long as it still was dry and moved in one of the free caravans and spent most of the day insight “our” kitchen. Sitting in front of the warm oven, baking bread, making cider, reading, talking… Hopefully tomorrow it looks better and we can start to explore more of Tasmania! Sascha just came back from making heaps of Cider and said that he listened in the radio that there are severe weather warnings which includes flooding, gale and DO NOT DRIVE IF YOU DON’T HAVE TO.. So we will see when we leave this cozy place ;)