Melbourne to Sydney road-trip

We left Melbourne with a pretty bad weather, and we were impatient to find some sun on the road to Sydney!

We stopped in the beautiful Wilson’s Promontory park where we could see plenty wildlife: Kangaroos, Wallibies, Ostriches, dozens of birds including the famous laughing Kookaburras (that do indeed laugh), and the cutest animal ever: Wombats! This place is truly amazing, and off-season, we could have it for ourselves. But the weather still being cold, we headed straight to Sydney!

The road was quite tiring, with Kangaroos jumping in front of the car, and unfortunately, dozens lying dead along the road, together with Wombats that also suffer from these roads cutting their habitat…

We arrived in Sydney where we had to deal with a number of issues, like a dead computer, and getting visas for India, which took 2 days, 3 attempts, and 8 hours total in the worst bureaucratic private company we had ever seen. We still hoping to get those visas on time!

Appart from those usual world traveler duties, we could enjoy what must be one of the coolest city in the world: young, dynamic, cosmopolitan, and surrounded by nature! We could attend the kickoff of the Vivid Festival, an amazing Light show across the city where the main buildings are transformed in art at night.

But the highlight was certainly our 2 days in the Blue Mountains. We initially were a bit scared by the proximity of the Highway that is getting people into this “World Heritage” natural park, but once you leave one of the numerous lookouts along the highway, you really quickly enter beautiful nature, and despite the crowds and dozens of tourists’ buses (mostly Chinese tourists) arriving there, we could do two hikes almost alone, as we were of course taking the “off the beaten track” trails, including the 3 sisters rock trail that is revealed only to those daring the 900+ steep stairs going down!

We could also meet our good friend Tom, the Marketing Director of South Pole Group, the company that we used to offset our Carbon footprint. We had passionate debates about Carbon compensation and how the world should move to go towards a more sustainable economy. The conclusions were not too enthusiastic, but we are still doing our best to travel with the lowest possible today.

We are now heading to the Gold coast and Sunshine coast, and we hope they are well named, because cold weather stuck in a camper-van is not fun (see Jade’s latest video telling all the truth;-) !

Here is the Melbourne To Sydney Photo Album with some highlights below!

NZ North Island – The Video

Here is the long awaited video about the last part of our trip in New-Zealand (that suffered from a bad computer crash;-(

After a dream road-trip in the South Island, we continued the exploration in the North Island, discovering the beautiful natural wonders of the center near Rotorua, going west to Raglan‘s world famous surf spots, and going to the east Coromandel peninsula that showcases some of the most stunning beaches on earth.

Enjoy this breathtaking video with lots of aerial footage giving an unusual angle on NZ’ beauties!




Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road

We spent our first week in Australia! We started the journey by living the Melbourne city life! We visited the second city in the country, a vibrant and cosmopolitan urban area that looked a bit like a New-York of the Southern Hemisphere, close to the ocean. At night, we could attend an Australian Football match (Aussie Rules), sitting next to hordes of fanatics of this unique game (mixing many other sports like football, rugby, basketball and cricket) played only in Australia, and very popular in the south of the island (in other places, Rugby is the n°1 game…). That was real fun, and the kids were happy to get back to some “civilized lifestyle” (as they say) after a month in the NZ wild!

We then took the road to the “Great Ocean Road” east of Melbourne, a famous drive along a wild coast of limestone cliffs assaulted by storms and huge waves all year long! We could see the 12 Apostles (actually just 7) under a storm which was creating a dramatic atmosphere… And it was as somebody died, probably of a hearth attack, when we arrived at the viewing point. Sad, and a bit of a weird start of the Aussie trip as we saw the day before somebody trying to jump from the roof of a church (hopefully aborted), and we avoided a car driving on the wrong side of the freeway! We will pay extra -attention for the rest of driving here!

We also visited the Otway Cape, the second southernmost cape of the country, watching the storm from the oldest lighthouse in crazy wind. Around that point, the family did a great walk in the forsest and witnessed many birds, kangaroos that were jumping too fast to be photographed, and adorable koalas (that are easier photo subjects).

We concluded this road trip in Victoria (the name of this southern state of Australia) by stopping in world famous Bell’s Beach, the former epicenter of the surfing community and industry as several major surf brands were born here. Could catch the end of a nice swell, surfing both Winkipop and Corners that were a bit crowded like expected;-)

Now we are stuck in Melbourne as the campervan engine broke with probably an important repair or a replacement soon!

NZ Coromandel Peninsula

This is the last step of our long trip in NZ!

We spent the last days around the Coromandel peninsula, visiting the beautiful Cathedral Cove that has a cathedral like arch that you need to go through before you access the beach. Then we went to the Hot Water Beach, a place truly unique in the world where some (very) hot springs emerge through the sand, allowing you to mix that 60 degrees Celcius water with the cold one from the ocean to obtain the perfect temperature in this natural spa (not that easy to do actually…)

We finish by going around the peninsula through very small dirt road that were a bit tricky for the camper van, but we didn’t crash!

We are staying in Auckland the next two days before taking off to Melbourne in Australia!

I hope to be able to post the video soon as my computer died, and I will need to get a replacement one before I can publish that great video of the NZ North Island adventure… Stay tuned!

NZ North Island: Raglan surfers’ dream

We had a dream stay in Raglan, a place I first visited  17 years ago (makes me feel old…) and that completely mesmerized me at the time with its perfect surfing point-breaks and hippie vibe…

17 years later, the charm is still intact! The family stayed in the Solscape Lodge, a very special place where backpackers come from all over the world, and sleep in train wagons! It was great coming back to this place so many years after, and meet all those travelers who come here to share the same things: good waves, beautiful nature, and meet cool people! Kids could live that special feeling for almost a week, living in the communal area where people cook, chat and dream until late at night.

Surf wise, it has been a dream. We arrived for the beginning of a clean winter swell, 2.5m at 17 seconds period… which delivered perfect waves for 4 days in a row on all the Raglan point breaks, from classic Manu Bay and up to 4 meters sets on the outside of Indicators! I got a few of those barreling beasts and got rides from outside Indicators to the end of Whale Bay in just two waves (I guess a kilometer of riding), until I got seriously punished and broke my board in two halves…. One less board to carry;-)

We could also enjoy some hikes (including gorgeous Bridal Veil waterfalls) and a great mountain biking trail around the Raglan countryside.

Good memories for the whole family! Raglan has definitely something special!

Now heading to Coromandel peninsula, our last stop before leaving to Australia.