Caravan Life Diaries – Month 2 (March 2021)

March was a mixed bag overall, I’d say. We had some great weather, and some horrendous weather. We had amazing days and we had blah days (usually directly correlated with the weather).

We’re still trying to get the balance right with work and play on this caravan road trip, and for me I’m also trying to find the right balance between different work projects. I’m juggling this blog with my freelance SEO work, and also with my online course (ICYMI: I’m launching a life design course! It’s all done, and now I’m working on a bonus course to offer alongside it. You can sign up for the wait list here!).

caravanning australia

Where We Went This Month

TRAVEL BY STATE: 26 days in VIC + 5 days in SA
ACCOMMODATION COSTS: AU$988 (US$752) on campsites

 

Mar 1-5: Wilsons Promontory, VIC

Welp, the weather was dreadful for the entirety of these 5 days at Wilsons Promontory (more on that in The Worst Bits below). Therefore, we didn’t end up doing all that much apart from work.

We stayed at Tidal River Campground and it was full of families and school kids on field trips, which meant it was noisy and not all that peaceful. Our campsite was literally in the dirt (we had last pick of sites, since we showed up on a Saturday when the park was fully booked out for the weekend) – I swear, my feet have never been dirtier.

wilsons promontory

We did manage to do the Mt. Oberon summit hike one evening for sunset, but didn’t last too long up there because of how cold it was. I also braved the wind and did a couple of short walks from the campground.

OH OH and we saw a few wombats scurrying around our campsite! They tend to come out at night around the campground. So dang cuuuuuute!

Mar 5-8: Boolarra, VIC

After Wilsons Promontory, we headed north and stayed a few nights at a Hipcamp property in Boolarra, a small town in Gippland. I figured it would be a good place to stay for labor day weekend to escape the inevitably jam-packed caravan parks.

In short, it wasn’t the quiet escape we were hoping for (more on that in The Worst Bits below). But on the bright side, it was amazing to have t-shirt weather again! And we got to have a campfire! Simple joys, right?

Click here to sign up to Hipcamp and get $10 off your first booking!

mornington peninsula

Mar 8-13: Mornington Peninsula, VIC

We loved the Mornington Peninsula so much that we decided to return 1.5 weeks later! 5 extra days was not enough, but I kinda feel like there will NEVER be enough days spent on the peninsula. It’s just that kind of place for me 🙂

We made the most of our time here, though. There was a return trip to the Peninsula Hot Springs, this time to the regular bathing area (can confirm that the adults-only area is far superior and worth the extra $$).

peninsula hot springs

We also ventured over to the ocean side of the peninsula this time, taking a dip in the rock pool at Sorrento Back Beach and doing the hike from Bushrangers Bay to Cape Schanck (which OMG how did I not know this place was so unbelievably stunning?!).

And of course, we hung out plenty on the bay side, since our campsite at Whitecliffs Campground was literally 10 steps from the sand there. I am still not over it!

From the end of the peninsula, we took our car and caravan on the ferry across the bay to Queenscliff, instead of driving all around the bay and through Melbourne to hit the Great Ocean Road. I feel like this is a good indicator of my growth in recent years: past Lindsay would have balked at the fare and not even considered paying $70 just to save a couple hours of her time; present Lindsay is happy to fork over some extra money to save herself time and stress and feels zero guilt in doing so.

great ocean road

Mar 13-20: Great Ocean Road, VIC

Victorian weather strikes again!  But this time, in our favor. I’ve never known the Great Ocean Road to be anything other than cold, cloudy, and/or windy… but the week we were there, we had several sunny 30C (86F) days. It was a total mindf*ck, but in the best way.

I never imagined I’d be able to sunbathe at Loch Ard Gorge, nevermind stop to look at it for 2 minutes without having to wear sleeves!

loch ard gorge

We stayed on the western end of the Great Ocean Road in Peterborough at the Great Ocean Road Tourist Park, which I chose so as to minimize the amount of driving we’d have to do with the caravan on winding or hilly roads. We were able to avoid the very-curvy Great Ocean Road entirely by driving in from the north

This has been one of the best parks we’ve stayed in thusfar: we had plentyyyy of space parked on the big lawn on an unpowered site (vs all the powered sites being close together and occupied), and their lounge room was ideal for working on laptops. AND, there was a coffee cart parked at the park entrance most days, which you know I loved.

great ocean road

We drove to a bunch of the major sights on the western end of the GOR, like the 12 Apostles, London Bridge, and Bay of Islands – but my absolute favorite slice of coastline was along the Cliff Top Walk from Peterborough, which is definitely off the tourist trail. The Cliff Top Walk took us to so many secluded inlets and interesting-looking rocks – such an unexpected delight!

We spent one day exploring the Otways, the rainforest region just inland from the Great Ocean Road. It was nice to be amongst the trees and waterfalls for a change, but I still much prefer the coast.

otway redwood forest

Mar 20-26: Halls Gap & The Grampians, VIC

Sadly I don’t have much to report on our next destination, the Grampians. Why? Because nearly our entire stay was rained out, and I don’t enjoy hiking in heavy rain.

On the plus side, I got to meet up with my friend Kirrily again in her old stomping ground (she’s from a town not too far away from the Grampians) and we went for a drizzly walk around Halls Gap.

grampians hike

And on our last afternoon, the rain finally stopped so we could finally do some hiking in the mountains! We hiked to the Grand Canyon and Pinnacle lookout and then went to check out the Balconies and Reed Lookout for some pretty pre-sunset views. My favorite part of the day was hiking through the narrow corridor between two massive boulders and climbing up to reach the Pinnacle lookout. Nature is just so cool!

We stayed at the NRMA Halls Gap Holiday Park, which I loved for its mountainous backdrop and creek running right beside our site.

Mar 26-31: Robe, SA

We crossed the border into South Australia (and totally forgot we couldn’t carry any fruits or veggies in from Victoria, so had to dispose of everything at the quarantine bin – oops!) and kicked off our time in this state in the Limestone Coast region. First stop: Robe.

*Insert dreamy sigh here* Ahhh, Robe. A chilled out beach town made for seaside holidays, blessed with the most legendary sunsets around.

robe sunset

I almost didn’t book us into Sea Vu Caravan Park because so many reviews mentioned the extremely crowded campsites and how difficult it was to park your van there. But this is far and away the best-located caravan park in Robe, being just a few minutes’ walk from the town center and literally RIGHT ON the water. I just can’t resist the beach!

Yes, it was challenging to get our caravan onto the site when all of the sites around us were occupied (a couple people had to move their cars to give us more space in which to maneuver). But Pete parked it like a champ and we had the most blissful week on the waterfront.

sea vu caravan park
SO worth it for this view!

I can’t even explain how incredible it was to be able to sit in our van and work with a beautiful sea view, and then take a break and walk a few minutes down the road to a secret little beach to do some sunbathing. I was SO in my element here!

Sea Vu’s location is perfect because you can walk either way along the coastline and complete part of the town’s coastal walk. Head east along the bay and you can ogle the shimmering turquoise waters and tiny little coves along the way; head west and it’ll take you to the ocean side, where the coastline is more dramatic and there’s a jetty, obelisk, and lighthouse to see.

Oh and whatever you do, get some coffee at Mahalia Coffee! It’s a little removed from the center of town, but their coffee is delightful and there’s a 3-legged cat that usually hangs around the cafe.

beachport south australia

We also did a day trip down to Beachport, a town that’s about a 35 minute drive down the coast, and WOW. Just wow. I’ll save my gushing for The Best Bits section below, but for now let me say that Beachport has one of the best beaches I’ve seen in ALL of Australia (and you know I’ve seen my fair share of ’em).

The Best Bits

Cape Schanck

cape schanck

Cape Schanck was on my Mornington Peninsula bucket list, though admittedly I knew little about it (just that it was a “must do”).

I’ll remember the moment we stepped onto the long staircase leading down the cape and caught our first glimpse of it. “HOLY F***ING SH*T!” was Pete’s exact reaction (I think that might be the most excitement he’s ever shown when we’ve seen or done something cool, so that really says something).

It really was pretty epic. I can’t get over the colors of this landscape!

Cliff Top Walk in Peterborough

great ocean road

After a full day of working, I made good on my “do something fun every day” goal by taking a walk from the caravan park. We followed the Cliff Top Walk along the coast from Peterborough and it led us to a gorgeous stretch of coastline I’d never even heard about before. I was getting Greek island vibes from much of it.

That’s the thing about the Great Ocean Road: the big rock formations get all the glory and tourism, but the whole damn coast is worth a look. It’s well worth exploring beyond the 12 Apostles and London Bridge.

Hopper Beach

robe south australia

I gotta give some love to my local beach from when we stayed at Sea Vu Caravan Park in Robe. Wellll, technically we were staying right next to the town beach, so that might have been our local… but just a few minutes’ walk down the road I found another (much nicer) beach called Hopper Beach, looking all Caribbean-esque with its turquoise water.

At the far end, there’s a small section of sand nestled between some rock walls, making a teeny-tiny secluded beach. I loved retreating here in the afternoon to soak up that late day sun.

Beachport

beachport south australia

About a 35 minute drive from Robe is a small town called Beachport. Let’s just say it’s aptly named.

I typed “Salmon Hole” into Google Maps and it popped us out at this glorious string of beaches (actually I think this is Post Office Rock, as I saw a sign for Salmon Hole further down the road after the fact). It was turquoise water galore here, and the water felt so refreshing on a hot day. Best part was that we pretty much had the beach to ourselves (occasionally people showed up right around that little divider between the two beaches in the photo above, while we were stationed at the other end of the beach – right below the drone taking the shot). There may have been some skinny dipping.

Eventually we dragged ourselves off of the beach and did the scenic drive along the coast (it’s short and walkable, but hilly) and the whole time I wondered, HOW COME I NEVER HEAR ABOUT THIS PLACE?! I can’t believe it’s managed to slip under the radar. What a hidden gem!

mornington peninsula rock pool

The Worst Bits

Long Weekend Crowds

When you’re not tied to the traditional Monday-Friday work schedule, long weekends are a total annoyance when it comes to traveling. Everything is more crowded, prices are higher, traffic sucks, accommodation books out quickly – it’s just the worst.

I normally prefer to avoid traveling on long weekends, but since we’re sort of permanently traveling, I can’t do that this year. So instead, I booked us a campsite outside of a pub in middle-of-nowhere Gippsland, Victoria. I was banking on escaping the crowds by staying somewhere near absolutely nothing of interest. It’ll be great (she said)… I’ll be able to get so much work done without any distractions or noise (she said).

Well, apparently people like to get away for the long weekend by parking their caravan on a random plot of land and doing absolutely nothing for 3 days! This makeshift campground outside of a pub was absolutely RAMMED with vans and cars, to the point where we were boxed into our tiny site by several other vehicles. People stayed up late drinking and talking REALLY LOUDLY around their campfires til after midnight, there was live music at the pub, basically there was noise at all times, to the point where I felt quite on edge (not my usual state at all).

Introverts need to be able to escape people and noise, dammit! I really struggled with not being able to do this all weekend.

wilsons promontory

Windy/Rainy days

Ugh, this was SUCH a lowlight in March. We got hit with two TERRIBLE bouts of weather, once at Wilsons Prom and again at the Grampians.

At Wilsons Promontory, we had one absolutely PERFECT day (February 28)… and then the clock struck March and ushered in some cold, rainy, and VERY windy weather. Being outdoors was not an enjoyable experience most of the time with 60 kph winds, so we just hibernated in the caravan all day every day. One of the few times I ventured out, I walked down the river boardwalk to do some yoga… and got poured on with rain within 10 minutes.

A couple weeks later, we arrived at the Grampians on the most beautiful summer evening – warm and balmy, with an absolutely EPIC sunset to wrap it up. Then it was constant heavy rain for the next 5 days… I wish I was exaggerating.

Our campsite turned into a slip ‘n slide of sorts and I was constantly cleaning mud off our caravan floor (a futile task). The weird thing about this weather was that periodically, part of the sky would turn blue and sunny and sometimes the rain would even taper off for a second… but then after a few minutes, the sky would go back to being overcast and the rain would start falling again. It was truly depressing, and by the end of the week I found myself in a bit of a funk from the cabin fever.

On our last day, we ventured into town for coffee (in the rain), and by mid afternoon the rain FINALLY stopped – at which point we raced for the mountains and crammed in as much outdoor activity as we could before we had to take off the next morning.

That’s Victorian weather for you! Completely random, unpredictable, and cruel at times.

bushrangers bay
I should’ve gone exploring through that little opening in the headland!

Missing the Rock Pools at Bushrangers Bay

After the fact, I realized that we’d missed one of the coolest spots while on our hike to Bushrangers Bay and Cape Schanck on the Mornington Peninsula. Apparently there are some picturesque rock pools at the bay, behind the headland, amidst an “Icelandic landscape” (said the Google reviews I read, after the fact).

I AM SO BUMMED WE MISSED THIS! Is there anything worse than going all that way and making all that effort, only to find you missed ONE (important, epic, insanely gorgeous) thing?

Waking Up Sore Most Days

We ordered a custom-made caravan mattress before we started our trip because we wanted something comfortable and lightweight that wasn’t foam. It’s a real coil mattress, just a lot thinner/lighter than a normal mattress.

The mattress feels comfy enough, but at the end of this past month I started waking up feeling sore and stiff which has NEVER happened to me before, not even in all my travels. Currently the entire right side of my body is sore, even though I’ve not been sleeping on it – so strange!

We’re going to get a mattress topper soon and I’m praying that that’ll solve the issue. I’m not used to feeling any aches or pains in my body and I’d like to keep it that way, please!

grampians walk
Hiking in the Grampians.

What I Read

Dirt – Mary Marantz
I knew of Mary from her wedding photography days, and followed her while I was a wedding photographer myself. I haven’t been keeping up with her or any other photographers since then, but apparently now she’s a published author! And her book has an overwhelming number of 5 star reviews on Amazon, so I just HAD to see what the fuss was about.

And wow. What a gifted, heartfelt storyteller she is! This book weaves together stories from her childhood and adulthood in such a beautiful way, and the theme of “dirt” is carried all the way through.

The Science of Getting Rich – Wallace Wattles
This is a quick and easy read, though I found the writing a bit too verbose for my liking.

If you’ve ever studied money consciousness or manifestation, there won’t be too much new in here – but it’s a great review and reminder that the work never ends.

And if you haven’t, then prepare to have your mind a little blown! This is an excellent book to introduce you to those topics.

echidna
I’d like to introduce you to: the echidna. Spotted 3 on the Bushrangers Bay walk!

Things I’m Loving

MAFS – Behold, my current guilty pleasure: Married at First Sight! We’ve been streaming episodes on the road, even though this show is a total waste of time and brain cells. I justify it because it’s exposing me to Australian culture and entertaining me when there’s not much else to do at night. I kind of wish I’d started watching reality tv dating shows here before people started going on them purely for insta-fame – they seem to be all about drama, rather than finding love, now.

Casefile – Hello new favorite podcast! I’ve always been fascinated with murder mysteries, so this one is riiiiiight up my alley. It’s different because each episode covers a separate case, rather than having several episodes to cover one big case – so after a long time of driving and listening to these episodes, it’s like… a whooooole lot of savage murders swirling around in your head, which might not be the healthiest thing. It does really help our long driving days go by faster though!

mornington peninsula sunset

Habit Tracking

So I sorta fell off the tracking bandwagon this month (blame it on the demoralizing weather, which zapped all motivation I had). I’d like to say I did pretty well with my goals, but without tracking I can’t really prove that claim.

Thankfully my iPhone tracks all my steps without me having to do anything, so I’ve got that stat at the ready!

Work out every day – N/A

Do something fun every day – N/A

Walk 3 miles every day – 21/31 days (averaged 3.5 miles/day)

 

Next Month’s Plans

April will be spent entirely in South Australia, from the Limestone Coast to McLaren Vale and Adelaide, to the Yorke Peninsula and up to Flinders Ranges. Can’t wait to start heading north!

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