Melbourne. Well, Melbourne… We didn’t come here to explore the city. Our priority was to buy a car and leave for Adelaide as quickly as possible via The Great Ocean Road and The Grampians. Our flight from Alice Springs to Melbourne went very smoothly and was enjoyable. The vast red plains quickly disappeared and transformed into green meadows. Once landed, we took the SkyBus to the city center. Not far away, we spotted our Airbnb. A super-fast elevator took us to the 19th floor of the towering building. Tim, our host, greeted us kindly but quickly apologized for having to leave for an appointment. What an amazing Airbnb; a beautiful kitchen, a great city view, free Netflix and a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom with a fantastic shower, and an incredibly comfortable bed. Nothing better to end our stay than setting off with the car.
Before we explored Melbourne a bit more, we used all our free time (which was all our time, in fact :-D) to search online for a car for our trip to the West Coast. We found a Dutch couple selling their car, including travel gear. We made an appointment with them, and at first glance, the car seemed to meet our standards. Through Bob and Michel, we received some tips on how to inspect the car. While Inez asked a couple of questions about traveling, I checked the engine and looked under the car to spot any potential oil leaks. After some deliberation and a chat with our helpline Bob and Michel, we made an offer. We received a call from the couple informing us that another party wanted to take the car today and made a slightly higher offer than ours. We kindly declined and continued our search for another car.
The following day, we moved to our new Airbnb. We both felt the car search was taking up much time, so we decided to take a break. Exploring Melbourne was on the agenda. We visited a shopping street, the famous graffiti laneways (which personally didn’t seem much different from the underpass on the A12 motorway :-D), Flinders Station, and a local coffee bar. Melbourne didn’t really captivate us, but our focus wasn’t on the city anyway.
Through Michel (also known as Super Michel), we received a website of a mechanic who converted cars for backpackers. We went to take a look and were immediately convinced by the offered services: 12 months warranty, 12 months roadside assistance, and car registration. The car had only 122,000 kilometers, was not too big, underwent a thorough inspection, and all necessary repairs were done. They also installed a rooftop tent, fridge, and a second battery to connect to 220-volt devices. They provided us with pots, pans, cutlery, plates, sheets, a duvet, and pillows. We couldn’t pass up this offer. We signed the necessary papers and made a deposit.
Our last accommodation was the Best Western Mahoney Motor Inn hotel. We couldn’t find a reasonably priced place to stay in Melbourne anymore. We took the train to Footscray the following day, where our car was ready. We were so happy! Finally, freedom and the second major chapter of our journey. We drove to K-Mart, where we bought all our camping gear. We also stopped by Coles to stock up on our first food supplies. We filled up the car with gas and drove to our hotel. Here, we organized our car and tested our rooftop tent. Inez had to get used to driving on the left, but she did a fantastic job. I put aside driving for now since I don’t have much experience. We enjoyed a delicious pizza for dinner, watched some TV, and went to bed. Tonight is the last time I will be in a real bed! Tomorrow, our trip from Melbourne to The Great Ocean Road begins.
An extra thank you to Bob, Michel, Hilde, and Linda for all the help, kind words, and support during our journey!
X Ely & Inez