Melbourne and Sydney Trip 2008: Back to Melbourne

Since tonight was going to be the last night that we will be staying at Malaysia Hall, we’ll need to wash the bedsheets before we check out early morning tomorrow. And since we need to drive all the way back to Melbourne, we really need to start early. The plan was to wake up at 4am to wash the bedsheets and then check out at 6am. Obviously that did not happen.

Here’s what happened. I vaguely remember someone waking up at 4am asking everyone else to wake up. A few seconds after that I heard that person dropping back to sleep. I think it was Ben. At around 5am I woke up and me and Adrian took the bedsheets to wash. I went back to sleep while waiting for the laundry. We finally managed to get everything settled by 8am. And our 900km drive back to Melbourne began.

After about 2 hours into our journey.

We used the Hume Highway instead of the Princes Highway this time because we want to get back to Melbourne fast. The Princes Highway will bring us near the coast while the Hume Highway runs inland, passing by Canberra, the capital city of Australia.

Saw some skydivers parachuting down.

And we share the road with 22 wheelers.

It was a long and boring drive, stopping only for toilet breaks and food and to change drivers.

Stopping by McDo for lunch.

Like the rest stops we have on the highways in Malaysia, Australians call theirs service centers. You’ll find petrol stations and food here. The particular service station that we stopped by was so packed that buying food from the counter will probably take an hour. So we went through the drive thru and got our lunch within 15 minutes.

To kill the boredom, we played cards and Taboo. I think we finished the whole deck of Taboo cards. Again.

DSC_0327Holbrook, NSW. The town used to be called “Germanton” but it was obviously not suitable during WW1.

A few posts back I did mention that there are a lot of things to see in the countryside. While driving back to Melbourne, we came across this submarine at a small town called Holbrook (wiki).

This is the HMAS Otway.

Now the interesting thing is that we’ve seen the exact model of this submarine at the National Maritime Museum at Sydney. The submarine at the museum is a fully furnished one. This submarine here is just an empty shell but it shows us some of the parts that we couldn’t see at the museum.

Like these huge propellers powered by two 12,000hp (a typical car has around 100hp) electric motors and the huge rudder and elevators.

There is also a museum there with some history of the submarine. But since we were in a hurry to get back to Melbourne we didn’t have the time to go in. You can read up a brief history of it here and when you visit the submarine at Holbrook there’s a brochure that explains in detail the adventures of HMAS Otway. It is a very interesting read. Maybe I’ll scan a copy and put it here soon.

Us and the HMAS Otway.

We resumed driving. Since we left Sydney we had not refilled the fuel tank (we had covered 600km on that tank alone) and the needle was dropping towards E. I was driving that time and I figured that we wouldn’t run out of petrol anytime soon since the light was not on yet. Because you see, even with the light on, there’s usually a reserve tank that will bring you about 100km more before you finally run out of petrol. So I wasn’t that concerned.

Very old school petrol station with ancient petrol pumps.

But due to concerns by the other passengers in the car, I asked the GPS to take us to the nearest petrol station. It was about 20km away. By this time, the needle was resting at E already but the light was still out. The GPS brought us to the petrol station above. To our horror, it was closed. Now we were in big trouble. Or so we thought.

It was not a time to panic so I looked for the next nearest petrol station from there. It was 25km away. If the petrol station there is closed, we will definitely not be able to make it to the next available petrol station. There was no other choice. We have to make it to that petrol station and it better be open or we will be stranded in the middle of no where. This was getting serious.

Being as light-footed as possible, I drove on following the directions on the GPS. It was a hilly area, not good for fuel economy. I tried to coast down the hills as much as possible. Less than half way there, the dreaded warning light came on. This was it. There was no turning back. Everyone was unusually quiet. The tension in the car was so thick one could almost cut it with a knife.

After what seemed like a lifetime, we rolled into a small town. As we approached the petrol station, I only had one thing on my mind: it better be freaking open. If not I’ll be prepared to siphon fuel from other cars.

And it was open! What a relieve!

The most we ever filled up for the trip. 41 liters. Last check, the Nissan Tiida specification sheet says that the tank capacity is 52 liters. So we still had a bit of petrol left inside.

Nothing like a bit of drama to spice up a boring drive. I mean it wouldn’t be an adventure if everything goes according to plan right? But I don’t seem to have learned my lesson yet. Just a few days back I was in the same predicament at Putrajaya at 2am in the morning.

Cows grazing on the field.

The rest of the journey to Melbourne was uneventful. The weather started getting cold again and soon we didn’t need the air cond anymore. I was quickly reminded how harsh the winds can be at night in Melbourne. We stopped by to have our dinner at Sofia Pizza House.

Sofia Pizza House.

The portions are extremely big. The spaghetti on the right was meant for 2 persons. The 4 of us couldn’t finish it.

The portions are huge so don’t order too much if you go there. It reminds me of the Italianies here in Malaysia except that at Sofia, the portions are way bigger. Not the best Italian restaurant that I’ve been to, but they have very competitive prices.

With dinner over, we headed back home to unwind and get some well needed rest because tomorrow we’ll be going for the Great Ocean Road Drive. About 200km drive on mountainous roads.

Next: Great Ocean Road Drive. Continue reading