Week Fourteen . (Sunday 06 October until Monday 07 October)

Our Final Week. Well, our final two days actually.

We did so much, that this page is full of photos. XQU has been fantastic since we left the heat of WA. All our problems of electrical wires melting, fuel vapour locks and engine failures are now but a distant memory. Perhaps we made the whole thing up. We had an agreement not to compliment XQU and to just treat her like a machine. This has been hard for us as we love our Kombi, but it was a necessity in order for XQU to do her job. I can say now that, XQU, we thank you for getting us home.

If anyone asks me would i travel around Australia in a Kombi again, i would reply with a resounding YES!

My Kombi tips are as follows:

  • Use high quality Premium Petrol with a valve saver additive mixture (as the LRP/Super Lead replacement fuel is an unknown quantity)
  • Drive at 110km an hour, to keep the engine airflow moving
  • Service your Kombi every 5000km, adjust your tappets to 012" Feeler Gauge Size
  • Get a Nation Wide Road Service agreement (this saved us more than once)
  • Make sure your Kombi's electrical wires are good quality, secure and properly crimped
  • Don't listen to anyone, take advice from no-one. (MrG told me this)
  • Drive corrogated roads at 65km an hour.
  • Drive in 3rd Gear down steep hills.
  • If your engine is getting hot, drive with the engine bay door open
  • Tap the starter solenoid if starting in hot mornings is troublesome

Note: Driving at night makes only a slight 10 degree celcius oil temperature difference compared to driving in the day

What would i do to improve the Kombi? (if money was no object)

  • Put in a 5th gear
  • Convert to 4WD
  • Raise the suspension slightly (just to look cool)

So, back to the story, our last two days covered our departure from Victoria (with a random breath test) and our entry into New South Wales via Khancoban with the requirement of snow chains (we didn't adhere to - oops) and our first National Park pass in three months! We headed up the Alpine Way towards Kosciusko, testing XQU's brakes, my driving skills and XQU's steep mountain climbing techniques for the second day in a row. We stopped the night near Tom Groggin (mixed up Aboriginal translation for Water Snake) and found ourselves the play thing of five or six kangaroos. They made first contact and proceeded to tap out rythms on the side of the Kombi (only joking). We awoke the next morning to more kangaloon antics before heading up to Pilots Look Out where we experienced the first snow for 2002 (back in May). After a good old reminisce, we came down the other side via Thredbo to be met with the last few days of snow in the mountains for this year. We had to climb the mountain to complete our sense of achievement. We can now say, we have travelled in rainforest, bushlands, stoney deserts, outback landscapes, along jagged coastlines (of three of the World's Oceans: Pacific, Indian and the Great Southern), in lush valleys and up snowy mountains ranges. We have experienced all the seasons (four, but more like six) in a mere three months.

After Mount Kosciusko, we headed down to Cooma and then onto the coast and up to Sydney, with our last Fosh Around Australia night in XQU, down by Werri Beach, Gerringong.

My final challenge was to drive XQU right into Sydney, all the way home to Newtown. Up until now, with a few small exceptions, Fo Fo had done all the big city driving in Cairns, Darwin, Alice Springs, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne. I have to say, that i must be the most experienced L Permit driver in Australia. I don't know anyone who has overtaken 53.5 metre long Roadtrains, driven in Fog, Ice, Rain, 45 degree Heat, thru Willy Willys (mini hurricanes), over Desert, Off onto Corrogated Roads, in 100km/hr crosswinds, dodged Emus, Kanagroos, Kittens, Wombats, Lizards and Rabbits, overtaken twenty caravans before breakfast, or been towed at 90km/hr in the middle of the night. At least i should be able to drive in city traffic...

We arrive in Church Street Carpark, where we had started our journey three months ago. We call the house by phone, and Denis (my flatmate) comes running out dressed in just a towel to photograph our arrival. We did it. 23,338km around Australia!

View the images below as columns.