With our visa running out in Bali, we had to leave the country and do a visa run.
This actually came at a very opportune moment because for some time we’ve been considering buying a vehicle in Australia in order to eventually travel around the country.
We weren’t sure what kind of vehicle we wanted. Whether to go with car and a tent or something else.
We’d been missing our little VW camper which we had to sell when we left The Netherlands. Fortunately it went to someone who loves it as much as we did 🙂
After a lot of discussion, trawling through “for sale” ads and googling, we decided we’re at a stage in our lives where we definitely don’t want to live in a tent. We also don’t fancy towing a caravan.
That’s when we discovered this company: Explorer Motorhomes
They’re based in Queensland, so after getting in touch with them and setting a date for a viewing and test drive we flew to Brisbane via Darwin.
Our first impressions of the tiny part of Australia we experienced: Incredibly friendly people, strangers actually talk to each other and people went out of their way to help us. For example in Brisbane, Dave needed contact lenses. We hadn’t realised that, in Australia, you need a prescription for them. The opticians we went to, arranged for Dave to have an immediate appointment for the eye test, then, when they didn’t stock the his type of contact lenses, drove to another shop and picked up 3 months worth for us and organised for us to be able to pick up another 3 months worth in Darwin on our return journey. This kind of helpfulness was repeated many times during our trip.
Second impression: WOW, it’s expensive. For the first time since we retired, our budget went out the window and that’s not just in comparison to Asia but to Europe. In the end we decided to ignore the budget and just enjoy our first time in Australia regardless.
So good, we did it twice 🙂
In Darwin we experienced the hottest and most humid weather to date. It’s coming up to the rainy season and will only get warmer – must be unbearable.
Darwin was a lot of fun and we’re looking forward to being able to spend more time there in the future.
On to Brisbane where we stayed in a small place called Scarborough, a suburb of Redcliffe. Redcliffe is a very sleepy, but nice town. Quiet though it may be, it does have a claim to fame:
Yes, the Bee Gees’ career was launched here! Who knew?
We spent 5 nights at the beautiful B&B, Reid’s Place. Very twee and run by a wonderful lady called Beth who, not only provided the most amazing breakfasts, but also was kind enough to chauffeur us around.
We were really excited now to fulfil the whole point of being here in Australia and set off to the Explorer Motorhome workshop. We met up with the owner John, a lovely man who spent a couple of hours showing us around the motorhome and answering all our stupid questions. After having only seen it in pictures, it was great to view the real Mccoy and we were immediately sold. A deal was made, and in September next year we’ll be the proud owners of one of these:
In our last post, I mentioned the change of visa conditions for Indonesia. A few days after arriving in Brisbane our “home away from home” on Bali contacted us to let us know that the restrictions had been lifted. As we already had booked flights back to Bali and from Bali to Kuala Lumpur, we decided to return after our stint in Australia. Then the volcano happened and again we were unsure what to do. Fortunately, exactly on the day we were due to fly, the smoke lifted and we took off. It should be noted that only Air Asia flew. Both Qantas and Virgin Air refused to – we landed safely though 🙂
One not so good thing did happen. Two days back on Bali and my bag got snatched by a b*stard on a motorbike. Amongst other things, a credit card and my iPhone are gone. Still, it’s the first time in all the years we’ve travelled that something like this has happened and compared to the terrible things that have been going on in the World lately, if this is the worst thing that happens to us – No problem.
So, we’re back on Bali and in 3 weeks we’ll be flying to Vientiane, Laos. Next post from there.