This trip all starts with a visit from mom and dad. About eight months ago my parents hinted at the idea of coming to visit me in Aus. They had never been here before and like most parents with children living abroad, saw visiting me as a great excuse to go somewhere new and experience a different part of the world. The fact that South Australia is an internationally acclaimed wine region was simply a giant bonus.
The trip was planned late last year and we agreed upon a three week itinerary covering some of the highlights of SA as well as the Great Ocean Road and a portion of Victoria. Once confirmed and locked in, my parents shared the news with family and friends. My uncle Cameron jumped on the idea and asked to join. In our minds the more the merrier… and so the fam jam tour was complete. Mum, Dad, Uncle Cam, and myself. Ready? Go.
Now the title of this post is of no minor coincidence. During my time in Australia I have been fortunate enough to partake in two epic road trips, the first from Sydney to Melbourne and second from Darwin to Adelaide. Both were utterly incredible and solidified the idea that I must try and drive across all of Australia in 12 months. With the fam booked to visit it only made perfect sense to incorporate the third section of the ‘Great Australian Road Trip’ (for lack of more ingenious title) while I had the time to do so. Mom and dad were stoked, uncle Cam was on board and we were off.
Their trip actually started a week before meeting me. As I have a slightly insane schedule with the ‘Best Jobs’ gig, I only had two weeks vacation while the fam had three and a bit. No worries, as mentioned earlier, SA is a world class wine destination and moms and pops like their wine. The first week sans son was spent thoroughly exploring the four wine regions that surround Adelaide (McLaren Vale, Barossa, Claire, and Adelaide Hills). Once free and officially on tour I joined forces with the heroines and took them on an additional McLaren Vale wine tour, but this time from the seat of a bicycle. All and all that first week tasting South Australia was an absolute blast and they loved every minute of it.
From Adelaide the four of us headed north and entered the famous Flinders Ranges region of SA. This area is renowned for stunning scenery and beautiful hikes. We spent two full days exploring the region, barbequing, hiking, talking loads of photos and catching up on all updates from back home and on the ground in Aus. It was a nice break from the hustle and bustle and great to get out to the ranges again.
From the Outback landscape of the Flinders we headed south once more and this time off continent to my homestead of Kangaroo Island. This is a place I had been looking forward to showing my parents since the get go of my time in Aus and I was excited about the opportunity to do so. The three days four nights went perfectly, with great weather and even better touring snaps. The highlights of KI are definitely the people, wildlife, nature, and landscapes, with so much to see and do it was tough to fit it all into three full days.
We went from Bay of Shoals to Seal Bay, to Stokes, to Vivonne, to Flinders Chase and back again. We saw Koalas, Roos, Wallabies, Dolphins, Sea Lions, Fur Seals, Eagles, and the works. It was an incredible first person view of the surroundings they had seen in so many pictures leading up to the trip. I think sometimes when you travel somewhere you have seen countless times in photos, you maybe have a certain expectation of what to see. Yet it is so amazing to finally see it in person that the trip to the physical site is always worthwhile. This is how I hope Kangaroo Island was for my mom, dad and uncle.
From KI we headed back to the continent and headed west. We had the crazed idea to drive 700 odd kms from Kingscote to Port Fairy, Vic in one day. Success! It was a long one (with a two hour wine/lunch stop in the Connawarra) but well worth it, as the scenery was fantastic and the drive smooth. We landed in Victoria late and crashed outin order to get an early start on out planned three days touring the Great Ocean Road. Port Fairy was a quaint little town and a nice spot for breakfast before jumping into a helicopter and hanging out the doorless passenger seat taking photos like out of a bond movie.
Peterborough, Vic and Apostle Coast Aviation were the highlights of my GOR experience. I find it slightly funny that this happened within the first 20min of the three day exploration. Seeing the GOR from a helicopter was amazing!! Check this.
From Peterborough we headed along the famed route stopping at every lookout snapping as many pics as possible. We eventually made it through the Otway Forest and to Apollo Bay where we crashed that night after another long day. Not ones to ever rest, mom and dad and I decided to re-trace our steps and return to the 12 Apostles lookout for the sunrise mostly to get the correct angle of the sun for that perfect snapshot that is oh so famous worldwide. I hope you like it. The additional four hour journey was well worth it.
Once back in Apollo Bay it was time to head even further west and set our sights on Melbourne. We had decided t spend a week in the city taking in as much of the cultural mecca as possible. We had rented an apartment in St. Kilda and secured a couple of cool day trips while there. First off was a tour of the Laneways and the CBD. I met up with an old friend from back in my Golden, BC days and we headed for the city centre, camera, map and water bottle in hand. Super tourists! Mom, dad, and uncle Cam decided on a guided city tour, while my buddy and I did our own thing exploring the downtown. It was an incredible photography day and I got a lot of really great snaps.
I have a few friends spread out around Victoria all of whom have been a part of my life at some point over the last ten years. Ryan, the buddy from Golden was one of them, and also Lesley Dunlop who I was able to meet up with during this trip. Les is another Golden friend from back in my BC days who is now teaching in Manfield in the high country of Vic. She invited me up for a sweet Mountain Biking session at Mt. Buller and I couldn’t say no. I headed three hours out of Melbourne and after a solid night of driking and partying with her and her crazy friends we hit the slopes hard the next day with over two hours of solid cross country and downhill single track riding. It put me right back into my days touring around British Columbia and I enjoyed the time immensely. If you’re reading this, cheers for that Les! Legend.
Once back in Melbs, we had a couple days chilling and exploring and catching up on photos and running and cooking and general city style vacationing stuff. It was nice to not be focusing on what needed to be done and more on what couple we do next. We decided to go to a Footy match at the MCG and indulge in a classic Australian cultural experience. The footy match is something any traveller to Aus should do at some point and we all enjoyed it. The Pies won, if you were wondering.
After two incredible weeks with the fam it was over all to quickly. Another awesome experience touring around Australia. It could not have been any better and I am truly happy with how everything turned out. The trip of a lifetime is possible… dream it, do it, then repeat it. One of the saddest parts was saying goodbye to my family, but one of the best parts was not knowing where I will see them again next. There is freedom in possibility and everything is possible.