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Start!

We're off! It finally started! It is no more us who have to work. No it is our car’s wheels which have to work! As planned and announced we left Canberra for South Australia, correction: Germany, on Tuesday the 17th of June. The last night in Canberra was cold with temperatures around zero degrees. It's time to move to warmer climes!
On the morning of our tour start the sun was on our side and just the car radio suffered from our good mood. The mirrors were bobbing in the 4/4 time with our big MP3 collection and we collected the first "thumbs up" by other road users who had apparently read the vehicle signs on our car.
We left Canberra on the Barton Highway and changed westward on the Hume Highway - the main road between Australia's two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne. After crossing Wagga Wagga and the small town of Hay we continued driving towards Mildura. Having a look at this region using Google Earth you quickly get an idea of how it looks like: abandoned. It does not take long until you have left the last villages and you spend hours completely alone on miserably long ruler-straight roads in the middle of: absolutely nothing. The region west of Hay is very flat and only meager grass bushes line the landscape.

It is not necessary to mention that such a journey can become boring easily. I wanted to make effective use of the time while driving by - addition to the cruise control - installing a steering wheel lock so I can lie down for a nap meanwhile in the back of the car. But Nadine did not let me for some reason.
Shortly before Hay we passed numerous cotton and wine plantations. Currently the wine pruning is in full operation.

Odometer at tour start
Long straight road west of Hay, NSW
Typical road train

The first night on tour (as well as the second on the following day) we spend on a rest area without water and electricity ('s time to finally get used to it again) next to the road. The nearest town or to put it better, the nearest village is more than 60 km away – in both directions. Here one sees mostly road trains - Australia's long trucks – driving. At night they thunder along the streets merciless. Unlike in many European countries trucks in Australia are allowed to do the same speed as cars. And passing such a monster with often up to 46 tires lasts its time. But fortunately the streets allow it easily.

While driving towards Mildura the next day we get to see some emus and kangaroos - and of course: endless long straights. It is about 1650 km from Canberra to the small town of Port Lincoln on the south coast of South Australia. On this route due to the predominantly straight roads we probably have less changed course than an aircraft would have done on the same route. Create road maps for Australia is an easy game: set a pen and the ruler a few times! That’s it!

The almost absolutely even landscape with its sparse grass bushes and eucalyptus trees between Hay in New South Wales and Burra in South Australia later gives way to a also barely covered but green hills which extend around the entire Spencer Gulf. In Port Augusta we fill up the car with the equivalent of 98 euro cents per liter making this place offering the cheapest fuel so far.
Here we also make a planned "detour" from the main route towards Port Lincoln. Along the way we leave the main road and turn onto a dirt road that takes us directly to the coast of Lipson Cove. The sun is still high enough at the blue sky and so we get to see Australian nature at its vividly colored page: lush green meadows, golden-brown gravel and coastal rocks, blue sea, white sand beach. Off the coast lies a small island, which is home to a large group of crested turns.
We align our "mobile bedroom" towards the sea and watch the birds’ hunting maneuvers while having early dinner.

In the morning at a rest area
Orange plantation near Waikerie, SA
View at Lipson Cove near Port Lincoln, SA

In Port Lincoln, we check into a hostel, because it enjoys good reputation and offers the opportunity to meet other people. In the kitchen there is a large guide plate, which identifies places around the world: while it is only 3500 km to the coast of Antarctica, the distance to Germany reads 15300 km. Statement: we still have a little bit ahead of us.

While driving our recently purchased GoPro Action Cam is recording our entire tour up to Germany: every 60 seconds, the camera makes an image in the direction of travel. Back in Germany, these images will be the basis for a time-lapse video ala "Australia to Germany in 5 Minutes”.

Bedroom with sea view!
Sunrise
Signpost in a hostel in Port Lincoln, SA

Meanwhile, we seem to come further with our still delicate subject of "crossing of Myanmar": the first people interested in joining us crossing Myanmar – have contacted us. Being four people on the journey through Myanmar would be make it more affordable than travelling alone. Even better, we have found a third tour operator in Myanmar who even easily undercut the tour prices of the other guides by 50 percent. Being aware of this the whole issue will be affordable and acceptable from a financial point of view.

But there is also some negative news: the vessel schedule for the ship from Darwin to Dili in East Timor has changed. Most likely we will spend 5 more days in Australia, as planned. So all together our (and the cars) departure from Australia will be delayed by four weeks compared to our first schedule.

What we did with that time can be read in our next travel report.
For now, the Stuart Highway is calling after us.