It was exciting and daunting in equal measure. After all, we'd be dealing with a manual gearbox for the first time in six months. Who knew what we'd find along the way?
Well, sit back and relax, because you're about to find out. To do this trip really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and to share the memories with my beautiful wife - just awesome.
Driving on the narrow spit of land between Lake Macquarie and the sea was certainly more aesthetically pleasing than negotiating the freeway traffic. It also led us past some familiar names on the road signs. After stopping to eat in Swansea we drove through Gateshead and Newcastle - surely named by a Geordie when Europeans settled there in the 18th century. We had read a fairly scathing review of Forster, where we spent our first night, but we weren't there for long enough to pass judgment ourselves.
Australia loves its 'Big Things', of which the banana is probably the most famous. On our travels, we also passed the Big Oyster, the Big Prawn, the Big Windmill and the Big Golf Ball. Don't ask. Just click here to see the full list. It's unbelievable.
After leaving Coffs, we made a quick detour via Woolgoolga, where the chief landmark is a large Guru Nanak temple. Of course, from the headland, more great views abounded. Quiet town.
However, the lighthouse at Cape Byron - Australia's most easterly point - was unquestionably majestic. Framed by stormy skies on the morning of our departure, it somehow looked even more imposing.
Life here has not always been easy for us; don't let the blog fool you into thinking that. But all the frustrations, challenges and obstacles, all of them were worth it for evenings like this. I could walk that beach a hundred times and never have enough of it. England is my home, my life, but it doesn't have anywhere which compares to this. You'll never be able to throw the 'whinging Pom' tag at me because I'll always hold my hands up when Australia plays these sort of trump cards.
One attraction in Surfers which did take our fancy was Q1, the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. We paid our monies and were crammed into a lift before rocketing 230 metres to the viewing deck. The views were spectacular, with the ocean, the never-ending beach, the city and the hinterland sprawling out beneath us.
Geelong, the reigning premiers, came into the game as red-hot favourites, while the Suns sat at the bottom of the ladder without a single win to their name all the year. However, things weren't following the script at half-time. Gold Coast were in front and the PA man announced that because the Suns had won the first quarter, every ticket-holder could claim a free quarter-pounder at their local McDonald's after the game.
Metricon Stadium will host athletics and the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. After the final hooter, we found a queue of special buses lined up outside to take supporters home. We showed our match tickets, were charged no fare, and the bus dropped us off close to our camp site.
Great service - top marks to all involved.
We also wanted to visit Yamba, across the bay, but getting there wasn't going to be straightforward. By road, it was quite a detour, and if we took the passenger ferry across the water, we would have to double-back to collect the camper van. In the end, we decided a Top Gear challenge was in order. An FA Cup-style draw determined that I would take the ferry while Rachel drove. The next morning, we went our separate ways at the Iluka ferry wharf and the race was on.
Rachel had much further to travel but at least she could step on the gas.
Behind the oceanside homes, Sydney suburbia went about its business, with the surfers and fishermen heading our way.
What a cracking fortnight. I can recommend both the east coast of Australia and holidaying in a camper van. Best of all, combine the two.