Age gives Knowledge Wealth comes from wisdom Experience in life is worth more than money
On the road from Melbourne, Australia to Germany.
I am going to give you a very quick overview of my book, "From Australia to Germany" and I'll explain some of things that we witnessed and filmed along the way. If you would like a copy of
my paperback, it's advertised often on the major worldwide selling site. The eBook version is on Amazon Kindle.
But I won't bore you with info about the standard tourist attractions along the way.
There is already enough in travel brochures and some Lens's covering the touristy things.
Besides, we went where most tourists didn't go.
To set the stage, it was 1969 Melbourne Australia, 14th December.
The very first computer to computer link was made in Oct 1969 via the precursor of the internet called ARPANET and was initially funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the U.S Department of Defense
The Boeing 747 makes its maiden flight.
The first Led Zeppelin album, is released.
And 9 days after my 15th birthday, John Lennon and Yoko Ono are married at Gibraltar, and proceed to their honeymoon "Bed-In" for peace in Amsterdam.
WOW. Hello wiki, how about putting me in the page somewhere !
My adventure as a 15 year old started from my parents house in Richmond,
an inner suburb of Melbourne. It would take me across Australia from East to West, then by
freighter to Singapore, and on to Ceylon.
From there we would travel by road through India all the way to Germany and Holland.
In 6 months it was all over, and all I wanted to was turn around and go back.
But before we headed off there was 12 months of planning. Getting passports and visa's for the various
country's. We also spent many months getting our truck ready for the journey.
You can read all about what we did to our 4x4 here
BEST 4x4 in the World
- The Best 4x4 in the WORLD
Why we used this Truck and not a Jeep, to travel the globe in
First leg of the Adventure - Melbourne to the Grampians
The day had finally come, as we drove out of Melbourne heading west towards the other side of the Continent. We travelled to Geelong ( Victoria's second largest city) and then headed for the coast to travel along the famous but treacherous Great Ocean Road. A 300 km winding road that clings to the coastline, twisting and turning, with every bend revealing a sight more spectacular than the last. We only stopped now and then to take photos of the 12 Apostles and the London Bridge. The road continued on towards Warrnambool, which was our next stop for the night. After a good nights sleep at a friends farm, we got back on the road and headed for Halls Gap, about 180 km's away in the Grampians.
Here we had a campsite which was well off the beaten track in a National Park. The huts that were made 100% of natural materials found in the bush. This secret camping spot was next to a creek, a good 3 hours hiking from where we left our truck.
Photo above is me in front of the Igloo Hotel. Made entirely from natural resources growing around the campsite.
After a great Bush Tucker dinner cooked on the campfire, we got some much needed sleep in our huts. In morning, after a quick breakfast and coffee, it was a long hike back to our truck but mainly downhill this time.
Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road
Halls Gap to South Australia - Next stop, Mt Gambier
We needed to double back some of the way we had come, but the ever changing scenery made this part enjoyable. Read about The Grampians, it’s a great place,
With it’s own Grand Canyon !
This section of the journey would be just less than 300km's.
Today this seems like a short distance, but in those days it was a long drive.
A lot of the roads were not Bitumen and very narrow compared to today's roads.
Our destination, Mt Gambier, just over the boarder in South Australia, is a very lush farmland area and Pine plantations. The whole area is covered with limestone caves and sink holes. The water for the township comes from an extinct volcano. The Blue Lake, which is one of three craters. Each year in November, it mysteriously starts its colour change to the unbelievable turquoise blue. From March each year it gradually makes the change back to its more sombre winter blue which is still looks great. We stayed at Mt Gambier Caravan Park, so we could make use of the shower and toilet facilities. They had on site BBQ's which we used, so we didn't have to clean our on board kitchen facility's.
My BOOK on Amazon Kindle
Off to Adelaide and towards Central Australia
Time to head west again, towards Adelaide, the capital of South Australia.
It was a major road, not a highway as we know it today, but a proper big two lane
road all the way to Tailem Bend.
When all of a sudden the road was no more. In front of us was the great Murray River.
And the only way to cross over, a ferry. I was amazed there was no bridge.
So we waited for the next ferry to take us across along with others.
Once on the other side, it was full steam ahead.
We wanted to get to the Adelaide Hills before dark and visit a good friend, Des Chilton and his wife. We past through a little town called Harndorf. Settled by Germans in the 1800s, it has a real German atmosphere, with German Bakery's, Butcher and a Pub that was opened in 1839.
From here was only a short drive to Des's place in Mylor, where we stayed overnight. After a great BBQ and lots of laughs, it was time to hit the sack, and sleep on real beds and get ready for tomorrows leg of the journey ahead.
My Indie Paperback - Road Trip " From Australia to Germany " with DVD
My book is about an epic journey that began in Melbourne and traveling 4000 km's on dirt roads and tracks to the the RED CENTER ( Ayers Rock ) and on to Perth in Western Australia.
Then by freighter too Ceylon and India via Indonesia and Singapore, and on to India.
Then we traveled again by road through places such as Pakistan,
Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and Austria all the way to Germany and Holland.
This book is also available in German Language, if you would like either, just contact me.
Adeliade to Port Augusta in South Australia
Via the famous wine region of Barossa Valley
After a great stay at Des and his wife's house, we hit the road again early in the morning.
Our next stop was the wine region of the Barossa Valley. Just outside of Adelaide.
First settled around 1840s by German immigrants, the small towns in and around Barossa all have a distinct German character. They even have Lutheran Church's and schools. Enough tourist information, besides, you can read all about this in my book.
Our stay in the wine region was only long enough to stock up on supplies. No, not food or water, but petrol and bottles of wine. The wine was for cooking.
After loading up we headed for Port Pirie some 230 Km's away. This coastal town sits between The Spencer Gulf and The Flinders Ranges. This is a very beautiful place to visit. But I'll give you some stats on what roads are like. The whole Region has 1226 km's of roads. Of which only 280 Km's are sealed. And these figures were produced in 2009. Back in 1969, that would have been more like 20 Km's sealed.
From here it was a short hop, skip and jump to Port Augusta, just under 100 Km's.
Not only does it serve as a stopover for the famous Ghan (Adelaide to Alice Springs N.T.) and Indian Pacific (Perth to Sydney) Railways, but it lies on the cross roads of many of South Australia's main highways. From here, roads branch north to the Flinders Ranges and outback, east to Broken Hill and New South Wales, west to the Nullarbor and Western Australia, south to Adelaide, and south-west towards the many coastal towns of the Eyre Peninsula.
Port Augusta to Alice Springs - Via the Restricted Zone: Woomera Rocket Range. Australia's Cape Kennedy.
We had 1000 km's ahead of us. The roads were bad up till now, but we had no idea that it could get worse. Our top speed was reduced to 30 km’s per hour because of corrugations in the road surface. The only other speed we could tackle the road conditions was 70 km’s and above. But that was too dangerous because of the many pot holes. If we drove between this speed limit, the truck would have fallen apart rivet by rivet, nut by nut. Our water tank had already cracked at a seam. We needed to drive even slower if a vehicle came towards us because of the clouds of dust that was thrown up. Visibility would be close to zero, and on a straight road, you could see the clouds of dust kilometre’s away if a car or truck was coming. The dust also claimed the life of our air compressor. One of the bearing was totally seized because it was not a totally sealed unit.
So we pressed on, past Australia's version of Cape Kennedy, the Woomera rocket range. Established in 1947 to test Long Range Missiles. By 1969 the Woomera village was home to nearly 7000 personal. No site seeing here, Prohibited Area.
Onwards we drove, past salt lakes. When it rained these salt lakes would be huge, but they were relatively dry now. About 270 Km’s East from here was, Lake Eyre is recorded to be the driest place in Australia, with less than 125 mm per year. Only weeks before us arriving here, a bus got stranded and provisions had to be bought in by helicopter.
On we went to our next destination. Coober Pedy. Where Opals rule, and nothing else counts. The whole town consisted of only a few buildings that were visible. Most of the inhabitants live underground to escape the summer heat. This really was the Wild, Wild West.
After staying over night at the local Hotel, we couldn't wait to get out of town and head to Alice Springs the Capital of Central Australia.
When we finally arrived, it was great to see trees, houses with garden's and people. What a piece of eye candy. We would make Alice our base for a couple of days.
Palm Valley - No roads, only a dry creek bed full of sharp rocks and boulders
We had been on the road for 9 days and drove 2500 km's.
We made camp in a caravan park at Alice.
Here we would stock up on provisions and relax a little.
Having a base camp in Alice meant we could explore the outback without having to take the trailer and other gear with us. Top of the list was Palm Valley. A real Oasis in the desert. Palm trees grow here that are extinct elsewhere in the world for millions of years.
Along the way went to Hermannsburg Mission. The Finke River Mission was established in 1877 by Lutheran Missionaries. Here they remained at the remote outpost for 13 long years, erecting several buildings including a church and school. The Lutherans handed the mission back the Arrernte people in 1982.
At the mission we were told that the track to Palm Valley was very difficult and we should not try going. But that made us even more determined. I would love to keep this place secret. So I tell you now. Don't go !!!
It is a splendid place, and it will be spoiled by tourism.
You can read more in my book.
Ayers Rock to Laverton in Western Australia
It was time to leave the luxury of civilization and head towards Western Australia.
We hooked up our trailer and headed for Ayers Rock. In Angus Downs, we came to a Service Station that claimed to be the last before we got to Laverton in WA. So we filled up. They also had a Radio set up, this informed Laverton that we would head their way, and we had to report to them on our arrival.
We were now 450 km’s southwest of Alice Springs at Ayers Rock, now known as Uluru. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. We climbed the 1142 foot high monolith, and the view was magnificent.
You can see for hundreds of km’s because it’s all flat terrain. In the distance we could see the Olga's. That was our next goal. Climbing down was as dangerous as going up, if not more. More than 40 people have died.
After a short rest, we got into our truck and headed west, passing many abandoned cars and 4x4 vehicles that had broken down, and just left behind to rust away.
Temperature's were getting up in the 50 degree Celsius now, and it was tuff going, so we didn't spend much looking at the huge round boulder & sand formations at the Olga’s. From here on, we needed to use our compass. The made road had turned into a track, that sometimes disappeared into the bush. After zig zagging across the country side, we stumbled upon Lasseter's Cave. I won't go into details; you can read about that in my book. When we arrived at the Warburton Mission, nothing prepared us for the horrible conditions we encountered. Huts made from rusty corrugated iron leaning against trees where the aborigines lived. Terrible, and no wonder the Government would not allow photo's to be taken. We filled at a petrol station manned by another AH who could have been a relative of that stupid Policeman from Coober Pedy. We reluctantly got some supplies and quickly got out from this horrid place.
We soon came to Giles Weather Station. This was another prohibited area, and no one could go there unless it was an emergency. I'm writing too much. Buy my book. So you can read about the water wind mill that we fixed at Blackstone camp, and how our trailer broke down. Laverton was still far away. It was also on this leg of the journey, that a can of sardines may have saved our lives. Also in book. About 100 Km's out of Laverton we hit a made road that belonged to a town called Malcolm. When we arrived, only a couple of building remained. The rest of the town was reduced to rumble. Today, NOTHING remains at all. We stayed over night in one of the abandoned and empty homes. The following morning we had crossed the Gibson dessert and after a couple of thousand Km's arrived at Laverton.
Onwards to Perth and India
The Cargo Freighter Straat Clements
The Cargo Freighter Straat Clements would not wait for us, and we were still over 1.100 Km's away. Just outside Leonora we came across a town that looked like it had been hit by an Atomic Bomb. It was called Malcolm. Bits of huge machinery and house brick all over the place. A few of the more solid brick homes were still standing and we choose the best one to camp in for the night. Malcolm was going to be Australia's largest gold mining town, and they even built a huge dam for its water supply, but the whole place closed down in 1940s. Today you find nothing there. All the bricks have been removed by locals to build new sheds or garages etc. Nothing to find on Google Maps either, only the old Malcolm Station. You can read more about Malcolm in my book, and see rare footage of a ghost town. Our next stop was Leonora. A rail link from Kalgoorlie opened in June 1902 and still operates today. Leonora became the largest center on the North Eastern Goldfields and by 1908 boasted 7 hotels, general stores, chemists, tailors and bakeries.
The following day we headed for Kalgoorlie. At about lunch time we pulled over for some lunch. Just as we were finished and ready a to leave, a International Harvester Semi Trailer sped past. I made mention of the fact that he was going a little fast, but we thought nothing more of it. When we got back on the road, we found the Semi smashed and the trailer tipped over.
The driver was walking around and seemed OK, but in shock. The Holden station wagon on his trailer was lying badly damaged next to the truck in bush's. To cut a long story short, we spent a number of hours at the crash scene helping Mr Ron Mack get the Holden up and running. The truck needed to be towed away. You can see real footage of the crash, and us making repairs to the station wagon on the DVD. But on we went to Kalgoorlie, the road was good and we soon arrived without any more mishaps.
In Kalgoorlie a pipeline carries fresh water from the hills on the outskirts of Perth to the eastern goldfields of Western Australia, across a distance of 560 kilometres. It took five years to build and was completed in 1903. Who would have thought that 106 years later, the Worlds Longest Golf Course would be opened from here and stretch 1365 Kms, and crossing two States. We filled up for our last sprint to Perth. We arrived in Perth and soon found a camping place close to the Harbor, where we would wait for our Cargo Ship that would take us and our truck to India. But we had a lot of work to do before we could leave. Our trailer was coming with us, and it needed to be pulled apart completely, so the whole thing would fit into the truck. The timber parts we discarded because we could replace them with new ones once we got to India. But the trailer was to long, so we we cut in half. Welding it back together in India was not going to be a problem. Lots to say about Perth and how we traveled across Australia without running out of petrol at anytime. But we did in Perth, with three petrol tanks mind you. I'd like to explain how we drove the truck to next petrol station, but that would not be fair on those that bought the book. I will give a hint. I think our truck was one of the first in Australia to run on LPG.
I hope you have enjoyed this part of our journey. The part on the ship was just as much fun, for me anyway. Martin Smith, the Aussie bloke, was sea sick and in bed 90 % of the way. Well Ship ahoy me mateys. Catch you in the next chapter.
Ship to India via Surabaya, Singapore, Malaysia & Celyon - Went by car from one side of Malaysia to the other and caught up with ship.
The ship ( STRAAT CLEMENTS ) was owned by a Dutch Company "Royal Ocean Line"
It could only take max 12 passengers, and the cabins were great. So was the food, which was same food the Captain would eat. I had ball and loved every minute on board.
Our first stop was in Surabaya, Indonesia. We were greeted by armed soldiers with long faces and machine guns. That was scary, I has never seen a machine before either. But once we got past customs and into town, it was very different. Here, everyone was smiling and friendly. You could tell that most had very little money, but everyone seemed content.
Back to ship we go.
Had some problems getting back on board because of customs, but that got sorted out.
Off we went to our next port of call. Singapore. We spent 3 days here, and I fell in love with the place. So much so, I came back many years later and lived here for sometime. I was working for a German Company making Louvre Doors
for the European market.
Bugis Street was a wild place of night life. Something not seen in Australia in the 60's. Tiger Balm Gardens which was erected by millionaire Aw Boon Haw. When we went in 69 it was well kept and very interesting. It was later demolished. Gone. Sago Lane. That was a culture shock. Bit much for a 15 year old.
In the good old days, you could get measured up for a tailored made suit, and it would be ready in 24 hours. And cheap. Singapore had lots of small Kampong's (villages), with old huts, houses, chickens and cows running around. Very nice. Sadly no longer.
Back on board ship and off too Port Swettenham, near Kuala Lumpur.
Port Swettenham Malaysia
A race with a hire car to Penang
Why stay on board a ship, if you can drive ?
We decided to take the 400 km journey by land from Port Swettenham ( Now known as Port Klang ) and race our ship to the fabulous Island State of Penang. We hired a Toyota sedan and set off for our first stop. The Batu Caves. But we didn't stop to see the Buddhist Temple, our ship didn't stop until it got its next destination. We speed on to the Cameron Highlands through Rubber plantations. On my DVD that comes with the book, you will see how the rubber is collected from the rubber tree's. The road was good and we made excellent progress going higher and higher. We stopped at a roadside restaurant type thing for a cup of tea. NO COFFEE here, and were amazed to find the whole place decked out with Butterfly's, all behind glass and in little picture frames. Hundreds of them. All different and in unimaginable colors collected from Forrest around his little shop.
After our cuppa we continued on, past the Abu Baker Dam, We were now 2000 feet above sea level and heading for Butterworth where we would have to through customs. Our Ship had not yet arrived, and we stayed over night in a small but clean Eastern and Oriental Hotel. The next morning we drove around this Paradise Island, and found kilometers of pristine sandy beaches lined with Palm trees. Absolutely one of the nicest places on earth. Driving around further, we came across a snake temple. It was filled with live and poisonous viper's that moved freely in and out of the temple from the jungle outside. On the DVD you see me with a couple of these creatures crawling over my head. Scary stuff.
But our ship had arrived in Port. So we left the hire car at the Hotel and and boarded the ship that would take further towards India. It was a shame to leave Penang.
For those that have seen it during its days before mass tourism. would a agree. One of the most beautiful places on earth. But we had to keep going, and it was always possible to come back sometime in the future.
Penang to Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
As the crow fly's, it was about 2300 km's from Penang to Colombo, which was our next port of call. But before we reached Ceylon, the Captain informed us that we had to change route to Trincomalee because of a strike on the Harbor at Colombo. But that meant we could unload our truck. Trincomallee did not have proper unloading facilities. So it was decided to leave the truck on board and let it continue to on to Cochin in India.
So we disembarked the ship and traveled by hire car from the East coast to the West.
Since the closer of the Suez Chanel, the country seems to have lost its character. But that's all in my book. On we go to Colombo. On arrival we checked into the Magnificent Gale Face Hotel. The next day we went scuba diving at Hikaduwa, with beautiful clear water and reefs. We hired the equipment from a sports diver at the Coral Gardens Hotel.
That whole region was later decimated by a tidal wave on 28 December 2004.
The next day we drove to Kandy, Sigiriya and Anuradhapura. From Rameswaram we would catch a ferry to India. This leg of the journey by ferry would take about 4 hours and we would finally be in India.
On Indian soil. Land of Temples, and more Temples
Because Helmut had lived in India previously, one of his friends had loaned us a car for our journey to Cochin. There we would pick our own truck at customs. Our loan car was an Ambassador which is India's most common vehicle. Our first Temple complex that we looked at was Madurai. You can read all about this tourist attraction every where, so I won't bother here. Besides, I would 10 pages writing about the Temples we saw in India alone.
Video footage is on my DVD which comes with the Book.
The fun and games started when we arrived in Cochin. It took 3 days to get our truck out of customs. We also had a big problem of smuggling something into the country. We had a trailer cut up into little bits and pieces, and it was not on any of our paper work. Which also meant that we could not take it out of the India at the Pakistan border later. So as not bore you with details, we got everything cleared and papers stamped. We then headed for Mr GD Naidu house in Coimbatore, where we would stay for a while as guests.
Mr Naidu was, and still is, very well known in South India. His company made Grundig Radio's from 1957 under license from Germany. He had a private Museum that housed an aircraft, cars and all sorts of things. There was even a Technical School on his grounds. In one of the empty warehouse's we parked our truck and started welding our back together.
We had complete workshop at hand to do anything we wanted. So one of the important things we needed to was to secure or trailer. Crossing the Australian Outback, we had no need for security. But from here on, a tarpaulin was asking for trouble. So we welded a frame on top of the trailer and made two large doors that could be opened from either side. To finish it off, we painted an Australian & German flag on one side, and on the other, a world map tracing our progress from Melbourne to Stuttgart. We are now ready to move on.
Coimbatore to Madras
Via UTI in the Nilgiri mountains. Blue Mountains
Before we left Coimbatore, GD Nadiu's son said I should come back to India after I had finished my apprenticeship as a Fitter & Turner, and come and work in his factory. Many years later, I did sort of work for him, but in Germany selling Indian made Electronic Calculators. These were still expensive in Europe when they first came out, and only had the 4 basic functions. Minus, Add, Plus and Divide. They had Red LED's which was the first used in pocket calculators.
Back on the road towards Madras. We headed up the hills to at an altitude of 7500 feet and arrived at Ootacamund ( ooty ) A train runs between Ooty and Madras which is now one of the oldest mountain railway's in the world, and heritage listed by UNESCO.
What is also interesting, but not mentioned in my book, are the Toda Huts are oval, pent-shaped construction, are usually 10 feet high, 18 feet long and 9 feet wide. They are built of bamboo fastened with rattan and thatched. Each hut is enclosed within a wall of loose stones. The front and back of the hut are usually made of dressed stones (mostly granite). Hut has only a tiny entrance at the front - about 3 feet (90 cm) wide, 3 feet (90 cm) tall. This small entrance is a means of protection from wild animals.
After staying over night in a guest house, we made our way to Mysore Fort. Traveling through the National forest, we kept our eyes open for wild elephants and tigers. But no such luck. However, we did see a wild and nutty professor. He was from America and studying a group of monkey's. Following every where they went for over a year. He had also given each one a name. Mad !
When we arrived in Mysore, we stayed a couple of days to do some repairs to our truck. More details what went wrong, and how we dealt the problems are described in my book.