Darwin – Mount Isa

Australia Day is enormous festival day here. Thou real party goes in the evening before. Normally after 10PM it is quiet here, but now bars and pubs work all night long. Main street partying places are overcrowded and gaieties go on through the night. The silence is the only thing you feel next morning. Everyone wakes up later than they usually do. Most of the cars are equipped with Australian flag or other things that symbolize Australia. They start selling symbolic products of Australia at least two weeks before Australian Day. On the main streets big jeeps are driving around waving big Australian national flags. Australians can really honor their country and celebrate it too.

The Japanese bombed most of Darwin down in 1942. To commemorate it Australia has many cenotaphs and they organize cannon shots on Australian Day to cherish memory of people long gone now.

For a place to spend the night I chose seaside parking lot beside the city. There was not much choice, because most of the parking lots had a sign “Do not sleep here!” Public beaches are closed for swimming and adequate signs about it are exposed. Besides crocodiles there are some kinds of jellyfishes. They are poisonous and extremely dangerous in the summer time.

I don´t know anything about Hannes´ destiny yet. He sent a SMS telling his baggage is travelling to Tallinn, but he is going to Helsinki. He does not have a ticket to Tallinn, but he will get it I´m sure. It is a tiny problem, if we compare it to some of our mutual problems on Australian ground.

I forgot to write how we used the washhouse. First time we made it in Perth. We put dirty laundry to the washing machine, put in necessary coins and took our laundry out after one hour. At once we noticed that our laundry has been washed without washing powder. My experience so far was: drop dirty laundry into the washing machine and pick it up cleaned and ironed from the wardrobe! Does not work here! We should have put in washing powder also! Well, we are wiser again!

I think I need a haircut. I have no idea how much it might cost and how I will tell the hairdresser the instructions. I started looking for a place to cut my hair, but soon found out that Australian Day is Public Holiday and all the barbers where at home. Somehow I was relieved. I found an alternative and bought myself a comb!

From Darwin I started to drive alone towards Katherine. Darwin is situated on the peninsula and until Katherine I drove back the same road I drove here. When I had driven ca 500km suddenly I saw a red light flashing beside the road. I was very unexpected, because there are usually no other vehicles driving and buildings this area!. I drove pass this unknown object, but as it happened too fast, I backed. To my surprise it was bicycler! Bicycler appeared to be a Swedish girl named Josefina (Jo).   She had ran to the ditch when she saw the lights of my vehicle. Usually the vehicles driving by night are big trucks, so she got scared… I offered her a ride to a nearest village (ca 20km), where she was heading. We packed her belongings on the roof of my bus and started driving. The distance to Alice Springs was ca 900km. She lived really ascetically. She spends the nights in the tent made from mosquito net! I can´t imagine myself on her place! She had of course enormous experience, bicycling through Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam etc. I parked my bus near the village Jo had stopped. Morning shower made me human again and I started to prepare myself for Alice Springs. Jo´s and my roads were different from now on and we departed.

Until now I have no information about Queensland traffic situation. I hoped the floods are ended for now (two weeks as it started) and the roads are in good condition to drive. My direction was set to Pacific Ocean and targeting Townsville.

On that day I made a first long stop for a day, because temperature was way over +40C. That kind of a temperature is too much for my old “Frog”.  I started driving after sunset having the temperature around +37C and by night I was already in the town of Mount Isa. There I found out that the roads are alright for driving on. I hope that this information is correct, because every bypass is very long in Australia…


Mount Isa

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Kununurra is like I mentioned the most beautiful town in the world, but is really very small town breathing in its slow rhythm. We did not stayed there for long and travelled on to Darwin. Last two thousand kilometres we drove we made an interesting observation. When outside temperature is over 38C degrees and your car doesn´t have an air conditioner, you usually open the windows. Worm wind blows in, which has a temperature hotter than your body. It makes the situation worse and you close the windows again, which is better option, if you leave inner air flow on. Maybe many people know it, but for us it came through personal experience from life itself! In Estonia it is not possible to test such situation every summer, thou maybe couple of times during the century!

We got to Darwin by the evening and stayed for the night. I have monitored the weather forecasts about biggest cities of Australia at least for a year and in the case of Darwin it is almost always rain. Within seconds you might get on yourself the pouring rain. You never see such pelting rain in Europe. After 10 minutes it might be over. That may happen ten times per day!

In the evenings and weekends the parking is free and we were able to stroll around town. We went to a pub, where Hannes took couple of beers and discussed how is better to drive through Queensland without any problems. You all know that in this state flood is caused major damage.  A very nice girl brought a beer to Hannes and cleaned up our table. We made some reasonable comments about her beauty in Estonian and were really shocked, when she responded “Tere”. This means in Estonian “Hi”.  After that our comments in Estonian took inner dialogue or inner monologue shape. In Darwin there are plenty of Estonians.

A day before Hannes departure we took a hotel room. Hannes started to through his things on the floor to pack them later and suddenly there was not much space in the room anymore. Surprisingly he managed to stuff all the things into a baggage. Hopefully it is not more than 20 kg-s which is allowed in the hand baggage.  Next unpleasant surprise in the morning was that our car hasn´t got fifth and reverse gear anymore! These are most vital gears and without them it is impossible to continue our trip. When we got to the airport we saw that Hannes flight has been postponed. After Darwin in Melbourne after two hours Hannes must sit on a plane to Hong-Kong. By 8AM we knew that big troubles are ahead. We have to rearrange Melbourne – Hong Kong ticket, when in Europe everybody sleeps. At last we found Finnair telephone number in Sidney and took care of it. They promised to send us the booking number, but we never got it!  Finally we called to Triin in travel bureau Wris who sent necessary information. Since we had plenty of time we tried to fix our car. The gears were missing, but clearly the fault was not in the gearbox. Without any technical details to bother you – yes, we did fix it! A day started lousy turned out to be great! I mean great for me, because Hannes flight was postponed and postponed again and again…

Information about Queensland roads condition was hard to get. In one information point a girl spitted out 100 words per minute and the only thing i understood was that this kind of information we don´t get from them! Having such knowledge I decided to stay in Darwin for two days more. Yeah, who wants be somewhere between fields on the Australian Day (26th January)?!

Just when things go smoothly my cameras battery died! I´ll try to buy new in the shop and post some pictures in the next update. In Darwin I have a plan to do something that I haven´t done for a really long time, but about that I tell you in the next update!

25. Jan,


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Geraldton – Kununurra

We got our car and started with refilling our supplies of water and food. Ahead waited 4500  km of unawareness. About that region we knew that it will be very hot and humid. As we started to leave Geraldton I forgot to fasten the seatbelt and the police was right there! The story was not long and we had to pay the penalty. From the policeman eyes I saw that I had done a terrible thing and I belong to prison. My conclusion was that our freedom is more valuable than money and paid.

The Australians are very polite drivers and you rarely notice a violation of the traffic rules. The roads are quite narrow and you almost never see the nervous drivers speeding by.  Our average speed was 80-90km/h. The other cars pass you only in the areas of the road where it is permitted. In Estonia you would hear horns scream behind you! Most of the roads are called highways (you can drive 110km/h), top speed in Northern State is 130km/h.

We held our breath when we headed to Carnavon and hoped that our technical problems were over for good. The temperature was +40C. We drove past several mountains and valleys, when we saw rain modifying a lake on the highway. First lake on the road was 300m long and 30cm deep! Our feet got wet, but that´s good isn´t it? Carnavon is small and lovely town by the coast. We got there 9pm. Around that time the Australians set themselves to sleep… The town was quiet. We took some fuel, which they sell in the small towns with much higher price than in the big cities. We try to reserve the fuel for at least 1000km.

We had lost time, so we had to drive on during the night. Our target was Karratha (662km) and by the morning we were there! It is an industrial town and Port Hedland where we were heading, also belongs to the same league.

Starting north-east we noticed many red sods beside the highway. Many shaped sods they were and saw these weird things for many more kilometres. These sods or loafs were sometimes fat and massive, but sometimes thin and long. In height starting from 20 cm up to 2 meters. At first I thought about ancient mammoths and them dropping some of their stuff here?! Yeah well nice and stoned shit it would make! As the Australians were not aware about any of the mammoths and the amount of the sods we saw were too many, we found the truth at last – they were built by the ant termites.

Next there was a city named Broome in our way. We checked the weather report and saw that the thunderstorm is coming. Next 600km there were only 2 gas stations and not a single town. Far from the cities these stations beside the highway are economically totally on their own. Electricity comes from the generators and the flights are flashing. Where they got their water was unclear, but we thought it is the rain that they filtrate and use.  Despite of extreme conditions everybody was friendly and happy.

Reaching Broome in the evening, we got wet instantly. Within seconds all the cloths were wet. Hands were stuck to steering wheel and we could not imagine how it is possible to sleep or rest in here! We had to find a shower. In the cities beside the ocean it´s easy, because the ocean water is very salty and every beach has showers. In no time we found one! What a relief it was – it was like a confession in church! Human being gets used to all relatively easy!

As we felt fine, we decide to baptize our good vehicle. After servicing it we had driven over 2000 km and “she” held on. It gave us a hope, that the problems will never come again. The bus we have is green, so it was natural to name it either crocodile or frog.  Crocodile was suitable because our vehicle is not dark green and does not eat meat! So FROG and the peaceful one it is! We decide not to invite any guests, despite local native people partying all around.

A knock on the door woke us up. Civil servants were there to tell us that no camping here. You must leave was the verdict! Penalty in sum of 45 dollars was the second option. They left us alone when we were on our way.

We spent most of our day in Broom. Suddenly Hannes´ ear caught Estonian language! 3 lads from Tartu where taking their first steps on Australian soil and were about to seek a job. It was marvelous to met them and was an intermission to our endless driving during the last days.

The next target was Kununurra. It is really the best name for this lovely town! Remains me something about Pippi Langstrumps Kurrunurruland. You all know the famous Astrid Lindgrens story about Pippi!? The road there took us away from the ocean and its cooling breeze.

On the road to Darwin we had to cross the state border line and reach Northern Territory.

Next update will come from Darwin – a wonderful city beside the ocean and also a capital of Northern Territory.

22. January

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Esperance – Geraldton – Monkey Mia

We have to cry a little bit about our cars technical problems, because it has taken a great deal of our time and energy. We received our car much later than expected and then started drive towards north. As we were behind our schedule, we prepared for a long ride. The first big city was Geraldton, situated by the Indian ocean. There we posted our update to website. Signal strength was weak and using the internet was hard. We decided that will not open motor hood at least 2 days, but surviving instinct told us to open it! I don´t even know was it a surprise, but water pump seemed faulty and we did not dare to drive on. We stayed for the night and in the morning started to seek for a pump. All the shops selling spare parts offered us not suitable water pumps – there was no such pump, by part number, car, model etc. At last we found a service station, where they promised to fix the pump. Soon enough they phoned and told us, that had to send our pump to Perth to fix it. Friday it was, so on Monday we should get it.

We were again in stand-by mode the whole weekend. We took a rent car and drove to Shark Bay. Shark Bay is a white-red sanded national park 400 km from Geraldton, where you can admire dolphins. On the same bay is Ocean Park situated. There you can see many different fish living in the Indian Ocean. Everywhere of course You feel that this is entertainment for the tourists, but anyway … it is interesting.

Shark Bay:

On our way back we turned off from the main road. There was a camping in full lights and everything, but not a single person?! It must have been a camping with many guests, but … this camping of ghosts remained empty!


Here are some pictures of the place, where we last stopped:

When we got back to Geraldton (third night in small Toyota Corolla), we received a message that said: “Sorry for the delay, Your spare part will arrive in the next shipment, not in the one left this morning!! That of course turned down our optimism! Hannes has to sit on a plane 24th January in Darvin, but we have to drive there – it is ca 4000km! On the second delivery our spare part was really existing! We mounted it in no time! Hop … in the car and off to north! Let´s hope that luck has not turned his back on us and journey can now continue.  Mobile coverage could be week from now on, so heaven (or hell) can tell, when the next update can be done!



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Esperance – Perth

From Esperance we drove on to Albany, where +41C degrees was expected, but just after when we drove out, temperature started to fall and soon reached +21C. Rain was pouring very heavily and after we reached the “Danish” border in quite northern climate. Nature is blooming much more here and that´s good. With blooming nature the technical problems arrived! Generator and accumulator are malfunctioning. Our 3G stick started the strike as well. So we were in the situation where we lost our internet connection.

First big city on the road to north is Bunbury, where the night life was boiling at the time of our arrival. This town is situated by the Indian Ocean, so by our understanding the water here is very warm. We spent couple of hours in this very beautiful town and then drove on again. Our GPS pointed us again on the highway of Bunbury – Perth, but we chose another motorway about what GPS noted “offroad”. So called offroad way was much more interesting to drive too. We wanted to park before Perth, but did not find any space and there was Perth already. Later we found out that Perth consists of many smaller pre-Perth towns and villages. So that bunch of towns makes Perth!

Its not hard to find a coast side parking space in Perth, because the whole coast is full of  tidy beaches. We were not actually looking for a parking lot, but let the wind cool us down a little bit. The beaches are all well taken care and are equipped with all the necessary things like toilets, gas grills, shower cabins, etc. We felt just like in paradise. Suitable place to spend the night we found near the Googee Beach. In the same place couple of French people in campers also spend the night.

Early in the morning we had quite of a surprise when the beach was full of people and cars. Then we found out that local people go to the beach in the mornings and evenings. Midday the beaches are relatively empty.

Tuttav kuratteabmisajast, kellega oli rõõm kohtudaOne afternoon we visited Jaana, who also lives in Perth. Jaana is happily married and has a little daughter Emeline. Jana lives 100 meters from the ocean and it is a place You can´t describe without taking a breath or two at first! Anyway it was a great pleasure to meet an old friend again.

One afternoon we went to Kings Park, where You can enjoy a marvelous sight of the city. Mostly the buildings are not high. In Kings Park there´s is a large monument for those who have died during World Wars. Every town even small, has such monuments. On those monuments they have written down all the names of men and women who have fallen in these wars.

We had just fixed our vehicles generator, when Hannes´ sensitive ear heard strange whistle from the motor. We hoped it is the generators belt, but we weren´t sure. As we wanted to move on the next day, we had to decide what to do. To repair or not was the question. We dropped the coin and it showed repair is what You must do! In the service station we went, they explained us that radiator must be changed not water pump. Ww went on to another service station. There we were greeted as old friends and they found the time to deal with our vehicle as well.

We do not speak much English. I know 10 words and Hannes 15, so it makes 20 different words in total I guess! If You regard that there is not a single so called Australian word, we do not have much words left. Luckily most Australians understand Estonian remarkably well, so we´ll manage!

When our car is fixed, we will start to drive to North. We will see nice towns beside the Ocean and after that inner land we expect heat like hell and not very much of people to welcome us.

12. Jan


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Adelaide – Esperance

We have been out of mobile coverage for several days and it happened in the area where we could not expect it. Now breafly about our journey starting from Adelaide to Esperance.

When we reached Adelaide, suddenly summer began. Adelaide is situated deep in the bay and surrounded by mountains. Hannes got sick after such unexpected arrival of very hot summer. We were forced to find a hotel and get well there.

Strolling around town we noticed an advertisement: Happy Dog Wash! We stepped closer and found out that it is really a dog wash like we are used to go into regular car wash. You put in a coin, put the dog on a special grate and start washing. Like in the usual car wash there are several programs how to clean your dog.

Thermometer that we bought on the road did not except the extreme heat and stopped in our car at 56 C degrees. At the local shop we heard that outside temperature is 43 C. After hearing that, we looked for a shelter and afterwards spent some time to check our car. A Happy New Year we greeted with warm champagne.

On the 1th January we were ready to start a ride towards west. We drove around the bay through Port Augusto to Port Lincoln. Population is there very sparse, only some signs indicated on some fishing villages. After Ceduna any kind of population disappeared. One moment GPS system showed long red line and command drive forward 1200km! Almost all that 1200km we met only some “half dead” gas stations! Distances were very long and we were conveniently armed with spare diesel canisters. Picture: Fueling on the road! On the field beside the road grew low grass tufts and yonder there were mountains.

Quite depressing is to watch an endless line of the road, which is ending on the other side of horizon.

In this emptiness it was a great pleasure to see the aloe bushes!

In a gas station we saw an aircraft.

Numb journey ended with T-shaped crossroad, where we turned south and later got to Esperanca. This town is a real paradise comparing to what we have seen during last days.

We hope that journey to Perth is more fun, but as the mobile coverage is quite unpredictable, we think the next update to our mailing will happen in Perth.

05. Jan

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Great Ocean Road

On 26th Dec. we participated in the Boxing Days, where everybody ran through the shops grabbing the best bits, which were given away with relatively low price. We took the bite and now we are richer with many Things. Of course we spent more time that we should and that´s why we left the city only late afternoon.

From Melbourne we headed out straight to Geelong and from there to Torquay, where the Great Ocean Road is suppose to start. People call it Great Bitumen Sea Snake, which is really well said – the road has many turns and twists even in mountains. Before every turn frequently stands a sign to drive at a certain speed and usually it is wise to act like the sign suggests. The average speed in mountains was 35-40 km per hour. Leaving one parking lot we noticed a clever sign – drive on left in Australia! That was a useful piece of information after driving over 300 km in Australia.

After Apollo Bay the road turned away from the sea to the woods, where we could not identify a single familiar tree! The roads were narrow and there was a turn after turn until we got to South Australian state. We bought a thermometer and our doubts has proven to be true – weather is still quite cold (not over 20 C at day time). Plus we have an extra cold wind from the ocean.

Despite of the cold summer days, some of the lakes beside the roads had dried out! One pink coloured lake surprised us because of its survival! We could not figure out why?! We decided to stop and camp, when we saw an advertise with a big matchstick.

Murray Bridge,

27, December 2010

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Christmas Time

Necessary vehicle we have now received from the salesman. Now we are the proud owners of a Ford Ecovan, which has a diesel engine and is much more economic than the gasoline van. With mileage we are about to drive, it seems very “sexy” to us.

One French guy made rebuild this camper from usual van.  After that an Irishman Craig bought it and had his share of adventures and now it is our turn. In the camper there are sleeping places, gas oven, pans etc., plus generator and almost all you need for an adventure. There is no luxury, but the price was ok and extra plus is that it is a diesel!

For Christmas we drove to Estonians we knew before. They live in the western side of Melbourne. Just like in Estonia the fields around the city are filled with houses. Most of the Australians live in the smaller or larger houses, plus the cities are not grown very much in the skies. Kert, Mihkel and Urmas made a delicious pork dish and potato salat. The table was filled with many other delicious dishes and even vodka Viru Valge and liqueur Vana Tallinn had a place on it. We lack snow, because here we have 25 C degrees! Quite unusual is to squeeze a lemon onto salmon, when lemon is just picked up from a garden!

After Christmas Day in Australia all the shops are having so called “Boxing Day” where all the goods are very much discounted. Until now it is hard for me to understand is it a day for boxers or boxing or does it mean just fooling around with the boxes. Anyway we need a table that we can mount and pack together and mount again… so we visit the Box Day. Then off we go… Within two days we try to get to Adelaide. For that purpose we have to get through Great Ocean Road, which is also called Great Bitumen Sea Snake. From that moment our great adventures are supposed to start!



25. December 2010

PS  Our vehicle tracking system is not working right now, but we hope to launch in the coming days.

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First days in Australia

Sitting on an aircraft in Helsinki airport, I had a feeling that the seat beside me remains free and I have a lots of space and fly very comfortably. We had already 10 minute delay, when dozen chinese ran onto airplane. But You don´t have to enjoy the same comfort on aircarft like at home on the couch.

Remembering my first visit to Melbourne,  I was ready for a long and painful custom clearance, but this time it took 30 seconds and off we go. Baggage went through the X-ray and out of the custom zone we are… Weather was fine and we started to look for a hotel. In Melbourne airport there is a special desk where You can ask for a suitable (read: cheap) place to spend the night(s). Our hotel is some place! We have a view to inside yard, which is really 4 x 6 metres cube without a roof on top of it. Our hotel has 13 floors and we can see the sky from our second floor balcony. You reach Your head out and You see a tiny piece of the sky.

Sadly from that tiny piece rain is pooring constantly and we have only 10 C degrees over 0.

Add in local web that we wish to buy a camper vehicle has been there over one week now. We imagined that soon we will be overcrouded with many offers, but for 4 days we had non! Weather was lousy and we felt helpless and depressed

Waking up on Tuesday we felt that now it´s time for some changes. At first we took a street car to the far north of Melbourne to take a look at a camper van. It was not suitable and from our point of view it would not make it even to the city limit of Melbourne. We were lucky that our unpleaseant emotions were over for today.

We have now chosen suitable vehicle and feel much better. We have chosen means that we paid 50% down payment for a camper and hopefully receive vehicle tomorrow. About that (with pictures of the car) we share with You in the next part of our story.

22. December 2010


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Last Days in Tallinn

Couple of days more I will enjoy this very snowy winter weather and then off I go!

At least it seems that way – even Funair can´t surprise me anymore! A year ago I was sitting at home watching the news about similar strike. At first aircrew members were on strike then their baggage colleagues in the airport. I was lucky – just a day before my flight they stopped striking and everything went alright. Trade union is a very powerful weapon, thou personally I won´t support them.

I did examine my travel insurance thoroughly and found out that the only real insurance is health insurance.

In case of travel interruption strike is considered as a force majeure. It is no wonder, because French Revolution was a case of force majeure too and such forces of nature are ruling in Paris suburbs to this day. Thus are striking crew members definitely a force majeure and main factor of travel interruption is traveler himself!

Baggage insurance will compensate for me a tooth brush if I lose my belongings. Or maybe even a tube of toothpaste, if I can prove I own enough teeth! Insurance conditions are well and long enough written to satisfy an insurance company.

My suitcase is empty and standing sadly in the corner. Beside it there are many really useful things, which even theoretically can´t fit in, because there is not enough space.

These things are of course extremely necessary, but I have to make some kind of a choice. I am lucky to have enough time in my hands and of course the best time to pack a suitcase is three hours before the flight. Last minute decisions might not be the best, but certainly interesting!

First mailing here contains much weeping, but hopefully from now on, things cheer up!

13. December

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