I have spent the last few weeks settling on a destination for my next big adventure. I had been hatching a plan to do an extended road trip through Victoria. This plan has been on the drawing board for at least 3 years, when I set out my 60 for 60 plans (60 things to do before I turn 60).
Border closures make things tricky
I had to reconsider my plan when Victoria became Australia’s hot bed of COVID19 and strict lock down laws including a complete shut down of the border ensued and continued long after the other States had begun to loosen up. I thought I’d have to go north and began looking at a huge trip through Central Australia. Some of my sensible buddies talked me out of that given the time of year I was planning on going. Days and days of endless 40oC plus may not be a great idea!
In the meantime, things were getting better in Victoria and I decided to take a punt and start booking a few critical bits of the itinerary. I crossed all my body parts in the fervent hope that by the end of February things would be open.
And….they have! It seems that all Australian internal borders will be open from the end of November without the requirement to self-isolate. (Provided we don’t go backwards!!)*
The Great Southern Road Trip
With that good news I’m pleased to announce that the Great Southern Road Trip is going ahead! However, now that the borders ARE open there is the very real prospect of destinations being booked out because those Aussies who might normally be heading off for international destinations are “stuck” at home. On top of this many towns near the NSW-Victorian border have still not recovered after the horrific bushfires which preceded COVID.
The Great Southern Road trip itinerary is shaping up well. The overarching plan is to follow the NSW and Victoria coast down to Melbourne then take the Spirit of Tasmania across Bass Strait to join the 6-day walking tour and then a few days in Flinders Island. After that I’ll spend another week exploring other parts of Tasmania.
So far I have booked one night’s accommodation in Victoria at a lighthouse because there was only one night available in the time frame I was planning on passing through. This sought after accommodation was already close to being completely booked out for the next 6 months!
After three weeks in Tasmania, I’ll head back to the mainland and ‘do’ regional Victoria concentrating on the western side of the state, then back up through the Highlands to home.
The itinerary shapes up
All up I’ll be away for 6 weeks. While I’m tootling around in my trusty Subaru, I intend to knock off a few things from my 60 for 60 list including:
- Southernmost point of the Australian mainland and perhaps even most southern point of Tasmania.
- A hot air balloon ride.
- A cheese-making course in Melbourne (if it’s on!)
- A writing retreat. In a way, the whole trip will be a writing retreat!
- Astrophotography. I think there will be dark sky on Flinders Island and I might even get lucky and see the aurora in Tasmania, although I could be a bit early. It is apparently at it’s best from March – September.
Apart from the 6-day guided walking tour there will be at least one other overnight hike. I’ll be alternating between luxurious accommodation and camping to make my money spread a little further. Once my spending ban is over, I’ll be on the look out for a good second hand tent and camping gear. I have already jumped the gun and bought some maps!
I’m counting down already!
* The South Australian border has been closed again since I began drafting this post! 🙁
PPS: All the borders have closed again since a few days before Christmas. As of 16/1/21 I am investigating alternatives and will make up my mind on 23/1/21…sigh!