I missed my flight! It wasn’t exactly how I wanted to begin with my road trip by getting upset and panicking. I was so glad that they able to put me onto the next flight and managed to arrive in Melbourne despite an hour later. But I made it! My mind still hadn’t sank in to think that @optus has decided to send me on a road trip until I picked up the camper van, then suddenly seem so real. So for the next eight days, I will be driving for from Victoria, South Australia all the way to Broken Hill and back. Along the way I will also meeting farmers, producers and small businesses to find out more about their produce, their backgrounds and also how they use technology to communicate with their customers and help with the business growth.
Initially I was planning to hit the road on my own, but I am so glad that a friend flew all the way from Taiwan to join me on this trip. It is great to have him to keep me company, make sure I don’t fall asleep on the wheel and helping me out with some filming too.
My road trip started at Yarra Valley wine region in Victoria. I know I meant to sleep in the camper van as part of the experience but since our first day had been a rough day, we decided to spend the night at Balgownie estate vineyard resort & spa instead. I promise the night after will be spent in the campervan, wish me luck. As expected it will be a quick dash road trip from town to town, so I only had half a day to explore this region. We started the day with breakfast at Healesville Harvest cafe, then visited Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery.
I also got to meet Nikki Foo from Yarra Valley Cider at her home, that’s where she runs her small business. I got to try her pear and apple cider which were refreshing, semi-dry style cider that weren’t too sweet. I also learnt about her business and how she uses technology, especially social media to engage with her clienteles.
Next stop was Dandenong Ranges, a magical forest which is only 50 minutes drive from Melbourne CBD. I was so excited to visit William Ricketts Sanctuary after seeing so many photos of this place. The sculptures were so lifelike, all beautifully blended in the fern gullies. Definitely worth checking out if you get the chance. Then we quickly grabbed some ingredients from Dandenong Market, the second oldest and largest market in Victoria before hitting the road again, all the way to Phillip Island for one thing – PENGUINS! What a mad dash, as we were running way too late with our schedule and by the time we got to the Penguin Parade centre, we saw everyone coming out and started leaving! We quickly passed through the incoming crowd and into the centre, and there it was, a school of inquisitive penguins standing on the walking path looking at us before waddling off into the bush. Then there were more penguins further down the walking path, looking for their burrows in the bush.
Overall, it had been a great first day, but a very long day. We eventually called it a day and checked into Cowes caravan park for the night. My first night sleeping in the campervan. I shall let you know how it went in my next post.