Act 4 – The journey - Day 1
Hobart – Melbourne – Adelaide - Alice Springs
After weighing up my time vs carbon I had decided to fly via Melbourne rather than direct because direct flights don’t operate everyday and would have meant two extra nights in Adelaide. However this came back to bite me when arriving at Hobart airport I found that a delayed flight meant missing my Adelaide connection and instead of having 2.5 hours to get from the airport to bus stop I would now have <0.5 hrs.
I most other places I wouldn’t have even considered trying but Adelaide airport is a mere 15mins from the bus (in the centre of town), Clare was at the bus station trying to convince them to wait for me and Virgin put a priority label on my bag.
To save you all the anxiety, drama and bemusement (in the form of a very confused taxi driver) – I made it! I was 10mins late and I am ridiculously grateful to Clare and the bus driver!
We are now just 2 hours from Alice Springs and have survived our first night on the bus. I surprised myself by sleeping ok, not great or even well but ok. I did wake up quite cold and found bodies in the isle next to me buy got to sleep again relatively quickly so today I am feeling quite good!
Act 3 – Part 3 - planning
We forgot about the bus!
We also realised that although two people driving a campervan from Brisbane to Darwin is more carbon efficient than flying the same route, the net carbon emissions are more or less the same as flying the whole way via Adelaide or Melbourne. Which just doesn’t sit well with the purpose of this trip: whatever the route – our carbon emissions must be < than flying. As there are such big differences between where we fly though, it makes sense to use the lowest level which is Hobart – Melbourne or Adelaide – Darwin and 1060kg for two people.
We also didn’t hear back from the hire car company about the possible Brisbane rental….
The bus from Adelaide to Darwin is just 80kg each!
It’s also a 48hour trip including a 5hour break in Alice Springs and a few short meal breaks. Essentially that’s 40 hours on a bus, no bed.... I don’t know about you, but I’ve never spent more than about 6 hours on a bus and that was enough. I really don’t think you are supposed to do it all in one go so maybe we'll have a stopover in Alice Springs.
We briefly entertained the idea of taking the bus to Alice and then a campervan to Darwin (we even booked a van!). It would make the whole trip much more bearable. But it would also add 320kg carbon to our trip. I’ve had to adjust my calculations slightly as we first talked about driving a car but campervans are heavier, less aerodynamic and therefore burn more fuel.
So, for the moment we have booked a bus from Adelaide to Alice Springs. Where between us we have discovered we know a larger than expected* number of fabulous people. Some of whom are also traveling to the conference by various means. For now we’ll leave off booking the last leg of the trip and making the final carbon calculations. We’re not worried that the bus will book out just yet.
To get to Adelaide we are taking different routes. Clare will be traveling to Canberra first and then to Adelaide. While I will fly Hobart to Adelaide. Unfortunately to get to the bus before it leaves I’ll be flying via Melbourne (the direct flight gets in 2hrs after the bus departs). This adds an extra 20kg to my carbon bill (total 180kg). Anyone know how that works, I thought the difference would be bigger? Maybe because the plane doesn't go as high as it's a short trip?
Things I have learnt so far
*the number is unexpected not the fact that they are fabulous 😉
Act 3 – Part 2 - The planning
Disaster! The hire company have decided that they don’t need that van moved anymore! :/ But they may have another one available from Brisbane! The email came through at 4pm on a Friday, we said yes please and thank you straight away but we didn’t get a response before 5pm so I guess we’ll have to wait till after the weekend to find out if it’s confirmed. We don’t even know if it’s two or four seats so we cannot reach out to any potential Brisbane travellers yet either.
We are purposely keeping the time short and getting from A to B as quick as possible. This is not a sightseeing trip, we are both time poor. It is a carbon saving mission. So we will share driving and work in the car – it’s end of financial year so everyone has loads of reports due right? But we will need breaks, we are biologists on our way to a bird conference and road trips are supposed to be fun right! So I am putting together a list of must see sights and a small list of target birds/birding locations (+ a longer list of hopefuls). #BirdNerdRoadie
P.S. My husband has since pointed out that a roadie, as well as being a crew member for a band is also Australian slang for a an alcoholic beverage that you take in the car to consume while driving. Needless to say we won’t be following this definition!
At work and at play my life revolves around our amazing wildlife. In particular I am passionate about birds and am very bad at regular blog posts.