Well we started off on Friday 2nd Feb for the long road to Melbourne. We were originally planning to leave on the Thursday, but we had a lot of pool companies coming out to the house to give us prices and that used up most of the day. We almost fainted at the price of pools over here. For some reason we had it in our mind they’d be cheaper because they’re more in demand, but ohhhh no. They were twice what we’d originally thought. We were going to go with fibreglass as well but now we’re not sure whether to go for concrete. We still haven’t decided as we were waiting on some quotes being sent to our email so once we’ve looked over them all we’ll go with whoever seems the best.

We set off early in the morning to head to Melbourne and the route was taking us down past Sydney and then cutting across country to Melbourne. The further south you go the more the scenery changes and we have to say that we’re still madly in love with the Gold Coast and it’s beautiful beach lifestyle. The trip was around 1900 km and should have taken us around 20 hours in total. We decided that we’d just drive for as long as we could and on the first day we managed around 11 hours of driving. It actually went in really quickly because there was so much to see. We’ve collected a lot of photos of weird signs and things that we saw enroute. We also have a photo of the bush fires burning in the distance, very odd because you could smell them too. There’s also a ton of other random photos there.

What we did find brilliant though was that as we were travelling around, we saw this huge sign for ‘The Only Scottish Town in Australia’and it was called Maclean! It was so odd. There are lots of photos of it on flickr. We had to go in and see it as especially after the events of the week when granny McLean had died, it just seemed like it was the most perfect memory to give us. Of all the places for us to pass by and all the names. It was brilliant. It was entirely Scottish – tartan on the power poles, little Scottish bakeries, haggis, everything really. It was weird but brilliant.

We were following the sat nav quite happily until we realised it had taken us onto a road that is only accessible to people who have electronic tags on their cars! We had to quickly take a diversion, but this added around 40 minutes onto our travel time and it was getting dark. We made the decision there to find someplace to sleep and one of the signs showed that the town of Picton had places to stay so we pulled off the freeway and headed there. We drove through this very small town looking for a motel and we eventually found one. It was called The Picton Motel, although we convinced ourselves it should have been called Bates Motel. It was very creepy, but then it was dark.

I went to speak to someone at reception to book us in and was told to call through on their phone as there was nobody there. All of our booking in was done over the phone and off we headed to the room. It was okay inside, had more beds than anything else. It looked clean enough though, but it was very noisy because people kept pulling up outside. We eventually just fell into bed, only to be awakened by someone opening the door!! Thankfully the chain was on, otherwise there would have been three people in the room with us. It seems that the lady who owns it was showing someone to their room and had clearly forgotten that she’d told us to go into room 6. It was very unnerving when the place was already creepy. Just as we started falling asleep we were attacked by bloody mosquitos and every time we started to drift off, they’d buzz right into our ears.

Needless to say we probably got only an hours sleep each and when we awoke just before 6am just decided to get out of that place as soon as possible. We didn’t even stop for a shower! We were covered in mozzie bites that are still itching days later. All that and it cost us $110!

We were back on the road again, although it seemed much harder than the previous day. I think the fact we were both so tired didn’t help. Everything seemed to be taking longer and we were sick of service station food. We kept driving and some of the weird things we did see was a man dressed in full Napoleonic jacket and hat, walking up the freeway with a shopping trolley full of his goods. Sadly we didn’t get a photo as we were so stunned by the time we actually realised what it was, he’d gone by. We then saw this weird young guy waving a fish about next to the freeway in Victoria. It was all very weird, but added to the journey.

We drove through some other odd places such as the place with the submarines in it even though it’s in the middle of the country! Also, we stopped off at Gundagai which has the dog on the tuckerbox that is famous in Australia. We also saw Glenrowan which was a big let down. It’s the home of Ned Kelly the famous bush ranger.

We eventually made it to Melbourne around 6pm on Saturday, but we were pretty disappointed to see that it looked alot like most other big cities really. It didn’t have the same laidback feel as the Gold Coast, although it does seem to have some lovely areas.

We’re staying with Angelas sister Liz in a place called Bayswater, which is about an hour outside of the city centre, but is still considered part of Melbourne. We were lucky enough to go to see where Neighbours is filmed and you can see photos of that , you guessed it… my friend flickr. I was stunned at how small the street looks in real life and it’s weird because it is just a normal street with people living in it. There was security there though, presumably to shoo us away if we became too nosey. It was still cool to see though. We then went on to the greatest cinematic experience ever. We don’t want to let too much of this out here because we’re planning to take mum and dad and the kids to it up on the Gold Coast when they get here, but lets just say it will blow your mind. We saw Dreamgirls which was a brilliant film, aided by the amazing time at the Village cinema in Southlands.

We’ve been chilling out and watching TV a little as it’s nice to be able to relax a bit. We’ve been showing Liz the Wii also and laughing at how weird the weather is here. It was an excrutiating 38 degrees yesterday and yet today its only around 20. I’ve actually got on a sweater for the first time as it feels cold after all this hot weather.

We are missing everyone and can’t wait until we have permanent internet access so we can at least be in touch more regularly. We are thinking of lots of you at odd times. When we saw a Dutch shop and hotel we thought of little Wencke our friend in Holland. We also saw a Toronto sign and thought of Bernie and Donna in freezing Toronto. We can’t wait to see Val in Shepparton and I’m looking forward to seeing all the old places there Angela knows well. Not sure when we’ll be able to check the email or internet but will try and do so later in the week before we go off travelling again. We have the Evanescence concert on Saturday night so that will be good also. Okay, off to upload this and email you all to let you know it’s there! xxx