Adventures of Rocco: Kev & Zeta’s Rocco Experience
13 November 2013 04:20 p.m.
So… We got a FREE Jucy campervan! For 10 whole days with FREE insurance and a bundle of gadgets! How? Simply apply online.
The backpacks were loaded and off we set to Jucy HQ in Sydney to pick up Rocco. There he sat in the middle of the forecourt for all to see and be jealous of: “Don’t you wish your campa was free like me” splattered down the sides.
Away we go like cowboys into the morning sunshine, except we are in a campervan and not on horses, and hit Sydney’s morning rush hour. Great!
Nevertheless we had satnav in hand with his unexpected Aussie accent and witty comments to guide us on our way. Our plan was to start at the Princes Highway and take the Grand Pacific Drive down to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road.
The first fascinating sight we discovered was the Sea Cliff Bridge, showing the roads to come which meandered around the coastline. We stopped off here at a viewing point to discover hang-gliders setting off from the hills and floating around like seagulls in the sky.
We jumped back into Rocco and headed for Wollongong in time for lunch and to explore the lighthouse and cannons. The final stop of the day was at the coastal town of Kiama where we set up camp a mere stone’s throw from the beach. We headed to Kiama’s main attraction, its natural blowhole. Zeta was as excited as a child that the visitors centre gave her a pack intended for school kids to tell her all about it. Unfortunately they included no crayons.
The next day we were greeted by Mr Sunshine, so we took out the free Wi-Fi tablet and headed off to Jervis Bay for a bit of sun worshipping. We arrived at Callala beach with not a soul in sight, crisp white sand and crystal clear blue water, something you can only imagine from a postcard.
We made and ate lunch out the back of the van and then continued our drive down to Batemans Bay, where Rocco picked up a cracked windscreen. After talking to Jucy they put our minds at ease and we continued to drive through thick woodland, seeing signs for Kangaroos dotted along the route, but no sightings yet. Batemans Bay well…it wasn’t for us. Let’s just say we packed Rocco up and got an early start the next morning after being eaten alive by mosquitoes and other blood-thirsty creatures.
The next port of call for Rocco was Narooma, where we had a whale watching tour booked the following day. The sun gods were looking down upon us yet again as we cooked our bacon and eggs in the back of Rocco with its well equipped kitchen, fridge, gas burner ring and sink, everything you need to prepare a gourmet meal on the road! The tour lasted around three hours where we saw humpback whales migrating, dolphins racing the boat and seals basking in the sun but still no kangaroos. Do they actually exist?
We found an itinerary of must-do things on our route and the Eden Killer Whale Museum was next. Now my understanding of a museum is a collection of things, not just one skeleton and some old newspaper clippings! So Rocco’s engine hadn’t even had a chance to cool down before we revved him up, cranked up the local country radio and off we shot to our next location, crossing the state boarder into Victoria and the town of Mallocoota.
We weren’t quite quick enough with the camera for a shot of the “Welcome to Victoria” sign. The campsite we found was an absolute gem! It looked right out onto the sea and the explorer in us found some secluded hidden beaches. Rocco’s view included boat jetties. To top it off, we could see whales doing acrobatics in the sea whilst barbecuing our dinner. Had we really spent a small fortune to see whales yesterday and now they were here? They were probably the same ones!
The following day the weather turned with non-stop rain for about 24 hours. What to do in the rain? Go visit the Buchan Caves. We accidentally stumbled across this but it was well worth the $20. A guided tour around the caves, Lucy got her money’s worth too, as she got to pose with all kinds of formations. The location is set in a nature reserve and when we re surfaced, low and behold there were kangaroos everywhere! So they DO exist on more than novelty t-shirts and inflatables.
Rocco’s next day of rest occurred at Phillip Island where we went to see the penguin parade. Hundreds of Little Penguins made their way back up the beach to their nests at sunset. We got to watch nature at its best right before our eyes, penguins splashing up onto the beach and calling for their mating partners. We followed them back to their nests along the boardwalk. It was truly an once-in-a-lifetime experience. We picked up a hitchhiker on the way back in the form of a cuddly penguin toy and called him Tim Tam (they are just Penguin biscuits in a different wrapper right?)
Our David Attenborough nature show didn’t stop there as the following day we visited the Koala Conservation Centre – another Aussie critter ticked off the must see list. We got closer to them than we imagined, we’re definitely coming back as koalas in our next lifetime. .. 20 hours of sleep a day!
After a well-deserved rest, refuel and gourmet meal made from Rocco’s appliances in Geelong, we were finally ready to tackle the Great Ocean Road! We had never seen sights like it and the textbook “meandering roads hugging the coastline with great scenic lookouts over the calm deep blue ocean” described it to a tee. There were many seaside towns en route but Lorne was definitely one we wished we had stopped at!
We had a packed schedule though, so we could get Rocco home on time. After a bite to eat, we continued on to the 12 Apostles where Rocco got to park next to one of his Jucy siblings. This location is full of amazing wonders of the world that words cannot describe! We also stopped close by to see the Loch and Gorge and London Bridge all created by Mother Nature herself. The best things in life really are free – these amazing sights…and Rocco of course.
The final day and Victoria gave us the four seasons in one go: hail, rain, wind and sunshine. We were headed to the gold town of Ballarat in our quest to find gold, so we went to Sovereign Hill. Here we took out our gold shovels and pans. We did find 3 miniscule gold pieces, so I doubt we will be rich anytime soon.
After 10 amazing days on the road with Rocco, we were sad to park him up at home in Melbourne and hand over the keys. So when you hire your next campervan…throw away the itinerary and guide books, stop where you want to stop, talk to fellow travellers and never forget to beep and wave at your Jucy friends on the road!