Giving up on my long walk unexpectedly at least gave me some more time at home to plan the remainder of this summer’s trips and the long drive we are starting at the end of summer. Our trips in July and August are in the UK but at the end of the month we set off for what will probably be our longest drive. A couple of years ago I found this book in a charity shop:
It was written in 1970 and describes the author’s trip around Australia and planted the idea in my brain. We have done longish drives: 2,500 miles or so on Route 66, 3,500 miles on the transcontinental Lincoln Highway in 2016 and a month driving around New Zealand in 2017 but this will be the longest. There is a Facebook group ‘Planning a lap of Australia’ although the majority of people in it are Australians who will be camping. Some have sold up everything to spend several months or years on the road. I have been to Australia on several occasions, the longest for two months in 2004 when I spent my Churchill Fellowship in Victoria, carrying out some research at a university in Melbourne and discovering some of the state on my weekends off. I stayed for some of the time with a friend in Woodend and on my first weekend, decided to go for a day hike on Mount Macedon. On the drive over there, my first wild koala ambled across the road in front of me and I saw several more on my walk. My city friends in Sydney, who had only seen koalas in reserves and zoos, called me ‘the koala magnet’. Our last trip was in 2011 when I attended a conference in Freemantle, we met up with friends in Perth and then took the Indian Pacific from Perth to Sydney, a four night and three day train journey which crosses the Nullarbor Plain
and then stops at Kalgoorlie, Adelaide and Broken Hill before going through the Blue Mountains (last visited in 1997) and descending into Sydney.
One of the interesting stops on the train is Cook – a former water station only populated by two people and a dog.
So now, we are pretty organised with car hire, accommodation, visas etc all sorted and house-sitting planned. On the way round we have plans to catch up with several friends and family and divert to interesting things.