Grantville to Melbourne Victoria 2nd to 5th September 2007
22 Sep 2007
After we left the rally we headed down the road to the Koala Sanctuary and the Crazy Golf course we had enquired direction from on Friday. The crazy golf had a sign in front saying it was the best in Australia; having played on the worst one we felt we should give it a go. It was not so much a crazy golf course as a hit and miss course, some of the holes did require a bit of skill, others were hit and hope. One hole we hit our ball into a 'dunny' and walked around the back to see where the ball had come out. We walked up and down the hole but couldn't find our balls, so we walked back to the front of the hole to try and work it out. It was only by accident that we turned around and found the ball had gone up a pipe behind us and was at the back of where we had started from, it turned out we had been searching on the wrong 'fairway' One of the golf balls had landed in the hole, thus scoring a hole in one. The question now was whose ball was it? Of course we both argued it was ours but in the end we decided to play the hole again. We did have a good look around to see if we had been caught on video and would later appear in Australia's Funniest Video's TV programme.
After our game, and I am not revealing any scores, we went into the animal sanctuary where we viewed, amongst the animals, koala bears, wallabies and kangaroo's. Sad to think we would not be seeing these creatures for much longer. It has been great driving around looking for them and we have seen lots of good wild life on our travels.
It was now time to head for a camp site for the night and we set off up the M420 and stopped at a small site at Tooradin. We were the only touring van on the site, the rest being permanent residents. The caretaker was very impressed when she heard about our travels; she and her husband had toured around Australia a few years ago and had enjoyed the trip.
Monday morning we were on the road heading to Jayco headquarters at Dandenong, we needed some small repairs doing on the van before leaving Australia. With our arrival at Dandenong we had completed our circumnavigation of Australia and as we drove into Jayco's compound our van looked well travelled against all the bright shiny vehicles sitting in the yard. It is surprising where the red Australian dust gets to as we were to find out when we began the cleaning process. We left the van in the mechanics capable hands and headed down the road to the local café for lunch. We had come here nearly a year ago before we collected our van, then our adventures were before us, now our first part of the trip was nearly completed.
After lunch we walked down to Vic Roads, the department where vehicles are registered. Our registration renewal doccuments had arrived at the Jayco office (this had been given as our Australian address) and we needed to have it on record that the van would be leaving Australia and going permanently to New Zealand. We waited our turn to see a staff member and then explain our situation. The official seemed bemused as to what we should do, and after some discussion it was agreed once we registered the van in NZ we would write to them.
By now our van was ready, so we returned and said good-bye to the staff at Jayco and thanked them for their help. We drove into Dandenong town centre to look for an internet place to download some forms we were required to complete for the shipping company. Once this was done we headed off on to the Princess Highway at 5pm, rush hour time again. This was very reminiscent of our first trip, the only difference this time was we thought we knew what we were doing.
Pride always comes before a fall as we could not find the camp site we had planned to stay at. We now realised we were heading for the Westgate Bridge, Melbourne's large bridge crossing over the entrance to the docks. Having been over it three times before, we were old hands and got to the campsite at Ashley Gardens, (the one we had stayed at last year), and found it with no bother.
We won't bore you with too many details, but the next couple of days were spent washing, cleaning and itemising everything in the van for the customs. Our van has to be steamed cleaned underneath and totally clean outside and inside in order to pass the quarantine regulations for NZ. We have been told that, despite having it done here, and holding a certificate to prove it, quarantine staff may still ask us to have it done again when it arrives in NZ. It is understandable that they do not want any disease, pests or unwanted stowaways arriving in the country. Our friend Ron had given us the name of a coach company that would help us with the outside cleaning. We contacted them and made an appointment for next Wednesday, the day before it goes to the docks. We also have to have our gas bottles purged or leave them behind and buy more when we get to NZ.
In the middle of all this activity we had a call from Val and Ron and we arranged to meet them on Thursday morning and travel in tandem for our last trip in Australia. At least amongst all the boring jobs we had something nice to look forward to.