And so it began…
A few weeks ago, Amanda and I spent the better part of four days driving all over the southeastern part of Australia. Our ultimate goal was The Twelve Apostles on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road so when we set out from Sydney on a rainy Monday morning we had a whole lot of road ahead of us. Most of that road was the Hume Highway.
Fortunately, the rain didn’t last long. In fact, the entire time we were in the Melbourne area it was beautiful, sunny, and warm while back in Sydney it continued to rain (it rained for 13 days straight in Sydney last month!). The drive from Sydney to Melbourne is pretty easy:
Step 1: Get on Hume Highway
Step 2: Stay on Hume Highway for approximately 9 hours
Step 3: You are in Melbourne
I love driving, so I actually did all the driving on this trip. The Hume Highway is not the most exciting stretch of road in the world (though I80 through Wyoming is far worse) but I was excited nonetheless as I hoped the road would afford me the opportunity to see some of the wonders of rural Australia. And the Hume Highway delivered.
It takes a long time to get anywhere in Australia.
Just a little past the thriving metropolis of Goulburn is the up and coming suburb of Yass. Now the McDonald’s people in Yass fancy themselves a little bit edgy as evidenced by the massive billboard outside Yass:
A little further along we saw a Dog on a Tuckerbox (though I preferred the no-nonsense sign):
You might well be asking yourself what could possibly top a dog on a tuckerbox. Well the fine folks in Holbrook might respond by telling you about their submarine. I would have loved to have been a part of the meeting that led to a landlocked town hours and hours away from any body of water larger than a puddle acquiring a decommissioned submarine that they would then half bury in a park.
“You know what screams Holbrook?”
“What, city councillor?”
“An old navy sub.”
And they are proud of that sub, dammit.
“What delights lay beyond Holbrook?” I wondered as we continued southeast through New South Wales. Would Wodonga turn out to be the Paris of the southern hemisphere? Would Bowser have a Super Mario themepark? I drove on, eyes wide like a kid at Christmas, enraptured by what I might encounter next.
Well cross we did into Victoria where we came across Glenrowan, the site of Ned Kelly’s last stand. Ned Kelly’s last stand is one of the most popular moments in Australian history. Peter Carey even wrote a novel about the Kelly Gang and won the Booker for it. And this is how the site of the last stand is preserved:
That white thing just above the orange fence on the right? Old bathtub.
I have some more pictures of Glenrowan that I will save for a separate post. They are that good.
Anyway, on we continued, getting closer and closer to Melbourne which would be our basecamp for our trek along the Great Ocean Road. But before we got to Melbourne we passed a town called Dookie. You can’t make this stuff up! The sign also makes me wonder just how purple Violet Town is.
It took approximately ten hours to drive from Sydney to Melbourne (including a number of stops) and that entire time we saw no (live) kangaroos (about 20 dead ones though!). Luckily, on our return journey we saw one kangaroo and a fox! Score.
More photos from our trip here.
Coming up next time: our hero negotiates Melbourne’s hook turns and trams and then faces off with a vicious echidna all the while discovering that Australian speed limits are ridiculous.