Finishing work, packing apartment and preparing for our camping adventure
06.02.2013 - 12.03.2013 28 °C
Well, after over 8 months in the planning we're about to start our epic Queensland 4x4 camping adventure. Tony my dad recently arrived in Sydney from the UK on a 3 month Australian holiday, returning to the Great Southern land after 50 years away. The last time Tony was in Australia was after his student days in Sydney and back then (1962) the tallest buildings in Sydney stood no higher than 4 stories! needless to say it's been quite an eye opener for him. Tony has been basing himself at my apartment in Killara, North Shore Sydney whilst he gets over jet lag, does some sightseeing and also spends some time with my sister Blue who lives in Wollongong 60 miles down the coast from Sydney. He has also been helping me with preparations for the trip and witnessing me wrapping up my life in Sydney preparing to hit the road.
Sydney welcoming Tony and rubbing the pigs nose for good luck outside the old Sydney hospital.
It is never easy completely wrapping up a life in a city you've been working and living in for several years. Finally finished work end of February with Commonwealth Bank after resigning and giving notice last October. I'm so looking forward to having a good break from work and not having to stress and think about my job continuously. I'm also giving up the lease on my rented apartment in Killara and packing up all my furniture and belongings into storage which will be ready for shipping back to UK after my Australian adventures finish. On top of this I've been frantically getting everything ready for the trip including the most important part the vehicle. There is no detailed itinerary or plan for our trip, just a high level summary of what we want to see and some key points along the way. We want to be reasonably free to change plans as we go, talking to people on the road and find interesting places. We have a good solid 4x4 motor which can take us most places and we will carry full camping gear including additional fuel, water and supplies, enough to survive in the outback for a week if we need to. Our broad plan is to head up the East coast of Australia starting from Sydney and hopefully getting as far up as the Daintree rainforest at the top of Queensland. Along the way we have some key places we want to spend some time including Byron Bay and surrounding area, Fraser Island where we may spend a week with the 4x4 on the sand and beaches of this marvellous sand island. We also want to experience some of the wonderful national parks and forests inland a bit from coast. The weather will start to cool down after March in Queensland and the monsoon should have finished but it will still be hot and wet at times.
The motor of choice for this adventure is an old 1989 Toyota Landcruiser series 60. Renowned for their sturdiness, reliability and off road abilities. Famous as the last of the true off road 4x4 Landcruisers, before they turned more into school run and shopping vehicles after the 80's. It's not the most comfortable vehicle, nor is it the quietest or best looking but it's big, solid and will get us anywhere. It's built like a tractor underneath and I've never seen such big axles and diffs on a 4x4 and it has a very nice running large 4 litre Diesel truck engine which is also reasonably economic. I purchased the Cruiser from a Dutch backpacker just before xmas. He was wrapping up a 9 month adventure around Australia and heading back to Europe. The vehicle was registered in Western Australia which is where he bought it and the registration was up end of Feb so I needed to get it re-registered in New South Wales. I got it cheap as it needed a few things done mechanically and also getting it through the NSW registration wasn't easy as they are strict, more strict then any other state. The main thing is the engine and major mechanical parts are sound and it had little mileage for it's age at 250,000Km (I was 14 years old when this vehicle was made) but I had to replace all the shackle bushes, all 4 shocks, fix the transfer case and host of other little things. It ended up costing a lot more than was planned but now I have a mechanically sound and newly registered vehicle - whoever buys this from me in a few months time will be getting a very good motor!
1989 Toyota Landcruiser Series 60.
Blue was staying during my final week in Sydney and we all went to see the Sydney Mardi Gras which was fun. Unfortunately we didn't get to see much of the parade due to the enormous amount of people lining the streets but it was still fun and we go the atmosphere. The final week in Sydney felt like a crescendo of activity that has been building for months - packing, preparing and dealing with paper work - I will be so pleased to hit the road and leave this behind me!
Logan, Tony and Blue enjoying Sydney Madris Gras and a crazy coffee shop owner.
Apartment in Killara with Blue and Tony.
Managed to finish everything and hand back the keys 10 minutes before the estate agents office closed on Monday my last lease day. Tony had been a great help but we were both knackered and exhausted after several hard long days work. We decided to book into a local camp site in Sydney to recover and test the camping equipment out for a couple of days. Let the adventures begin...