Our journey began in Albury, early Monday morning in Autumn.
As part of our recent adventure in Australia, Ashley (gorgeous husband) & I drove from his parents home town of Albury to Ashley’s old stomping ground in Sydney. Driving from Albury to Sydney was long & beautiful. It was also quite a cultural education for me; some things you just don’t experience unless you’re on the open road.
Lots of rolling hills, as many sheep as you’d expect to see, scattered over those hills. A few pools of water & lots of cultivated farmland which I’ve always loved the sight of. There are towns scattered along this ‘Great South Road’, some are tiny one horse type places, some are bigger with amazing bakeries & old architecture, but they are all towns, no villages. Where I come from long road trips include passing through village after dusty village, huts with colourful walls & laundry on display, a few goats scattered for good measure. You’d stop at random petrol stations often identified as between particular village areas. Australia has tiny towns, which are more likely to have WWII memorials than they are a makeshift soccer pitch.
The public restrooms on the way are also quite different to what I’m used to. Stop at one of the aforementioned towns to stretch your legs & go to the loo, & you’ll discover how different things are in the First World. You don’t need to fetch the key for the scratched dilapidated door to the toilet from an employee inside, nor take tissues from the car in with you, pulling up your trouser legs as you go in to avoid… well… just to keep them clean. There is ample 2 ply toilet paper inside, as well as a shower in case the journey has been that long. It smells distinctly unlike urine, more like watermelon with a hint of coconut (um, delicious), & I don’t touch the tap to wash my hands. Not because the taps are likely dirtier than my hands, but because there is a button at knee height which conveniently turns it on for me – magic! Confession – it took me a while to discover said button…. on a few separate occasions. *Random aside; I was looking for pictures of this fancy button to show y’all & stumbled on this website Toilet Map. Yes, that is what it seems. So you can plan your trip, day, pit stops etc., or just find the closest place when you really need to go. Really?
Onto coffee. While my home, beautiful Cape Town, has a healthy dose of coffee culture happening, its still very easy to order coffee & be served grainy bitter sludge if you don’t know where to go. There is enough to say about coffee in Australia to warrant its own paragraph, nay post, but lets stay on topic. The 6 hour drive we undertook had its fair share of filling stations, most of them accompanied by a few fast food places. Again, we can talk about the moreish crispy onion rings & frozen cokes another time; on the road one needs good coffee. On the road to Sydney you don’t need to be discerning, you just need to stop at the station that suits you. Every filling station serves good espresso based coffee, from a piccolo to steaming latte, or a mocha with cream on top. Amazing.
Now something not quite so appetising. The road kill. Wombats & kangaroos abound in the areas surrounding the highway, & particularly at night they can be quite a hazard. I had seen the road signs warning of such before but I just chuckled at them & never believed it was a serious. That was until I saw more than my fair share of them littered along the roadside, having come off second best in a battle with a vehicle. Not my favourite part of the trip, but still noteworthy for its unusual nature. So interesting & foreign to me, these creatures are considered no more than a nuisance in many areas of their native land. Perspective is a interesting thing.
Its not a comprehensive blow by blow of our trip, but some highlights & observations – who wants to read 6 hours worth! Thanks Remembrance Drive/ Hume Highway for the views, for the sheep, the flash toilets & the coffee. I hope to go your way again soon.
Destination – Sydney!
*pictures all my own.