The van was finally purchased and picked up, so off we went! Well.. actually we still had a few things to take care of; such as finding some sheets, blankets, pillows, food for the road, water tanks in case we got stranded, and of course we went to find some WiFi to download all of our helpful apps: WikiCamps / Fuel Map Australia / UV Rating / Public Toilet Map Australia… you know, just the important ones.
After what felt like a very long prepping period, we were finally on the road and heading towards our first stop: Canberra. It is important to note, that at this point, neither of us had driven on the left side of the road, Simone got his license two weeks prior, and Sydney is as congested as a city with 4 million inhabitants can be. We did however make it out alive!
Unfortunately, the night fell on us a lot faster than we anticipated, and by 6pm it was already approaching dusk. In Australian life, this means that the kangaroos, koalas and wombats start to show themselves – often on the side of the road. So as we were driving with our faces glued to the road, we saw our first live kangaroo happily hopping and curiously staring at Winston’s bright eyes. As amazing as this was, we took a minute of silence and paid our respects to all the other fallen (road-killed) wildlife. We nonetheless got to our campsite safe and sound (even though it was pitch dark by the time we got there).
The campsite was uninhabited, had a nearby river, and nothing else. No tables, no toilets, no fireplace, so under what seemed like a night sky from the Lion King (where Mufasa talks to Simba), we enjoyed our dinner: cereal and long-lasting milk. After admiring the sky for a very long time, we finally headed to sleep in our new sheets, blankets, and van.
Whether you believe it or not, we slept amazingly. It might have been a little chilly at night but it was in no way that tiring hang-over feeling you get after sleeping in a tent on a blow-up mattress. So to all those that are unsure about sleeping in a van – it’s really quite alright!
After waking up and brushing our teeth in the bush, we headed towards a nearby campsite to have breakfast.
We then jumped back into the car, made a quick stop in the (not as interesting as hoped) Australian capital to refuel and headed for Corryong. As it turned out, we were headed through the Kosciuszko National Park in the shadow of Mount Kosciuszko – the highest point in mainland Australia (at a whopping 2228m). With the help of WikiCamps we found a free campsite. Without hesitation, we paid the small entrance fee and made our way through the magnificent and versatile landscape.
After a very recommendable drive we reached our camp spot. As we entered the campsite, we were amazed by the sheer number of kangaroos standing there to greet us as we parked in our spot for the night. Whether still nesting in momma’s pouch or curiously investigating other campers’ food stock, they were all around us.
We unfolded our chairs, got the kitchen station running, and made some dinner in their presence. Fortunately a little river nearby acted as our dish-wash station and a biodegradable hole as our toilet. To clarify; the hole we used utilized worms and flies to digest our human waste, which then acted as perfect fertilizer for the surrounding fauna. Classy.
After another gracious night of sleep, we embarked on the last stretch of road to Melbourne. Pleased with our test drive and the start of our adventure, we decided to give Winston a 5* rating for comfort! With a few tweaks, we will be able to use this box on wheels as our fully self-sufficient mobile home. After a little taste of the Australian outback, it was now time to return to living amidst the skyscrapers!