Je bekijkt de reis...
Reisverslag travelling down under
4 april 2016
travelling down under
Waiting for my new report about Australia or too busy to think about me?
Anyway, I'm almost done with my time in Australia after more than 2 months. It's been amazing and impossible to describe everything is this weblog. So I try to give just some highlights.
First I arrived in Melbourne and staid with some far related, very friendly family. The same day of my arrival we went for a little stroll through a park where I saw my first Kookaburras. (Only a few days ago I found out that these are family of the kingfishers, just much bigger than the regular ones). Of course they also took me along the Great Ocean road, which indeed is a very rough beautiful drive with loads of high cliffs and small beaches.
After a nice weekend on the beach with the whole family I went to the Grampians, a rocky mountain area in between Melbourne and Adelaide. The mountains are amazing there. Big rock formations popping out of a very dry and flat surrounding area. Standing on top of them you feel like being in a small fertile area in the middle of nowhere (which is nearly true actually).
I got very enthusiastic after seeing my first Kangaroo here in the wild, but after 2 days I found them all over the place. (still nice to see them though).
The next week I went to Tasmania, where I rented a car together with some german people. As it's more south and gets the weather directly from Antarctica, it can get really cold there even in summer and the weather changes every hour. The coastline is beautiful and the mountain density higher than in Australia's mainland so we had a lot of beautiful lookouts over the Island.
On day we went to an Island of the coast of Tasmania where we stayed with a local guy who showed us around the best places of the Island. There's an albino Kangaroo colony, penguins who get ashore after dark, many small mammals I didn't even know they existed (echidna's, qualls and several other marsupial animals I forget the name of). Most of them come out at night, so we had to drive very carefully, which most locals don't do, evolving in to many roadkills unfortunately.
After getting back to Melbourne I spent 2 days trying to recover my hotmail account (got blocked after to many logins from public computers all over the world) and getting info from the Indonesian Embassy about a 60 day tourist visa. Both with very little success, so I continued my travels through Aussie land instead of getting to frustrated with helpdesks that are not really helping at all and never gave answers to my questions.
I went to Canberra to learn about the aboriginal culture and country history. A big thing in Australia is the remembrance of the WW1 and WW2. One day in 1915 they trayed to invade Turkey (Gallipolli) which failed dramatically. Ever since they remember this day, together with the NewZealanders (though in NZ they are not so fanatic about this actually).
In Canberra I met 2 dutch girls which from then on I kept meeting where ever I went in Australia.
After Canberra I went to Sydney. Of course I was the Opera House and even attended a opera performance insight (that's what you're supposed to do here, right?), also because I was curious how it looked from inside. Other nights there were concerts in front of the opera house and though many people bought expensive tickets to see it, you can actually just stand outside and also hear and see much of these concerts. It weren't only the dutch tourists who did this, I can tell!
I did NOT climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge because that was about $250 and taking a ferry around the harbour was just a few $$.
I was surprised to see Ibises (the Egyptian birds) walking through the shopping streets but also this appeared to be very common in Australia.
Needing so more exercise and fresh air I went to the Blue Mountains, only 2 hours by train from Sydney. Arriving there I did not see the mountains. It's more a high plateau with high cliffs on some edges of the villages. There is a very nice trail though, excavated halfway in the cliffs, so you walk with the cliffs above and under you, getting wet from all the dripping water, but with amazing views around.
After getting back in Sydney I had to plan and book my trips further north. The area between Sydney and Cairns is full of young backpackers (18-20 years, just finished school) and as many travel agencies trying to sell al kind of tours to all tourists. They tell everyone you have to book as much as possible in advance to not get disappointed when trips are booked out if you just arrive at the spot to go somewhere. I wasn't sure about this but still decided to book the most popular places in advance. Everything in Australia is expensive and especially the tourist trips, so I got rid of a lot of money in a to short time. At least I was sure I could do these-things-you-shouldn't-miss.
My first big stop was Byron Bay, the place-to-be for learning to surf. Waves are very steady and the sea starts shallow so indeed it's very easy to get in and catch some waves and stand on the surfboard for at least 10 seconds. A few days later I tried it again a bit further north, but waves were terrible and the surfboard much shorter, so my success didn't last for long.
In Noosa it was time for my first organised trip. They called it a 3 day canoeing trip on the everglades, but it appeared to be a 3 day hang around on a bushcamp with the opportunity to go canoeing for a while. This trip is offered for free to anyone who booked other trips and afterwards I understood that otherwise nobody would go there. Anyway, it gave me a change to finally relax, because there was nothing to do around the camp except watching very bad movies and playing drinking games all afternoon and night. The unofficial national backpacker drink here in eastern Australia is called GOON. it's very cheap, horribly tasting sweet white wine sold in carbon boxes. Nobody really likes it, but most of the BP's (backpackers) just want to get drunk and don't care about what they drink.
It was a bit weird to hang out with all these young backpackers who could have been my students a year ago. I reduced my age with 10 years and still was by far the oldest one there. I did survive these 3 days of school camp and even did appreciate it because I got to know a lot of people there which I met again everywhere else where I went on my way up to Cairns.
The next trip was for 3 days to Fraser Island, a huge sand island stretching for about 150 km along the eastside of Australia. It's actually just a big sand dune but very old, so completely covered with nature and forests. We went with 29 BP's + one guide in four 4WD vehicles around the island. I was one of the only 4 people in this group over 25 years and willing to stay sober during the day so I had the opportunity to drive for the whole 3 days on the very uneven sandy roads and beaches. As I was the only guy in my car, I had to listen to Justin Bieber all the time but still enjoyed the driving. There are several clear blue lakes on the Island, perfect for swimming and building human pyramids with our group. This was one of my best trips in Australia so far.
After Fraser Island everyone continues to the Whitsundays, a group of Islands close to the mainland and the beginning of the Great Barrier Reef. The idea is to be on a sailing ship for some days and snorkel around watching for marine wildlife. I went on a small ship with only 11 people and this time people were more interested in nature than drinking. I saw my first sea turtle from the ship. They are even bigger than I expected, up to 2 meters. My biggest wish was to swim with one, but unfortunately I didn't see them when we were in the water. Although the water was not very clear, it was beautiful to see all different colours and shapes of coral and fish.
Time for some more wildlife on Magnetic Island. I didn't see a koala yet and this is the change to see them. First I did a small ' wildlife' tour, where they show you different domestic animals that habitat the area and you even get the change to hold a koala. Of course you have to pay extra to do this, but who wouldn't be prepared to for this unique experience. Apart from the koala you can also hold the other animals like birds, lizards and baby croc's. So cure!
One more stop before arriving in Cairns; mission beach. This place is only known because you can see both the rainforest and the reef in one view. Of course you need to be in the sky to really see it, so I got into a plane and at 14.000 feet jumped out of it, falling down for a minute untill my guide opened the parachute. The next 2 minutes I could look around me to the coast, the see and the forest, before landing on the beach (though it seems we would be landing in the trees). The next 4 hours I spent recovering from this experience. I don't think the human body is made to do this!
After being in the sky, it was time for doing what I've been looking forward to since many months; diving into the Great Barrier Reef. From Cairns I went on a 3 day trip with a big group of people. So went snorkeling, some did their diving course but me and a few others just went for diving. It was fabulous! 11 dives in 3 days, every time seeing other fish and corals. The second day I decided to hire a professional underwater camera and finally my dream came true. Swimming with a turtle. They are so relaxed, just minding their own business. I'm even more convinced they it's the best way of meditation and relaxing; watching turtles.
Apart from turtles I saw many reef sharks, barracudas, butterfly fish, angelfish, anemone fish (the clown fish (Nemo) is absolutely me favorite fish), cuttlefish, trumpetfish, stingrays and many more amazing animals. The corals were even more beautiful here than in the Whitsundays. During one dive I saw some plastic on the bottom of the reef and took it so help clean the reef. Then I saw it was a lost plate of the Great Barrier Reef. That's the best souvenir I could have from here.
After the diving trip I spend another few days around Cairns. There are beautiful waterfalls and natural swimming pools around here in a mountainous area called the Atherton tablelands. One of the villages there is even known for seeing Platypus. And indeed, in a pond there I was one. There's much smaller than most people picture them and very shy but I was told that if you talk loud, they know you're not a predator and feel more comfortable to get to the water surface.
My last trip on the east coast was to the Daintree Forest, a big rainforest area north of Cairns. Even on the walking trails, walking there is not so easy. You have to look down to be sure not to step on snakes or skinks, look in front of you to avoid walking into a big spider web, look above you watching for tree kangaroos, and looking next to you in the creeks to make sure there's no crocodiles that want to eat you or cassowaries that feel frightened and want to attack you. Fortunately I didn't get attacked but did see so croc's and baby crocs while sitting in a boat, and a cassowary from the car.
It's been a very great trip so far. Never in my life have I spent so much time in and around the water as in the last 2 months. Tomorrow I leave to coast and fly into the hot and dry outback for some new and again different experience.
Foto's bij verslag (15)
4 april 2016 10:39 | Door: Marleen
Leuk! Zitten een paar herkenbare plekken bij!
Heel veel plezier in de outback, vond het daar prachtig!
4 april 2016 20:39 | Door: Sander
Klinkt nog steeds als een geweldige trip! Blijf ervan genieten.
Groeten uit Haarlem (ook aan het water)!
1 mei 2016 19:57 | Door: Bernhard
that really sounds like a great adventure.
Enjoy your time but please dont´t listen to much Justin Bieber sound.
All the best from Bernhard