ARRIVAL OF AUSTRALIA
We have to admit, planning Australia is time-consuming but fun. What we also suspected was that there were a lot of things to do and discover. But we really didn’t know it could be that much. The amount of Island, national parks and beaches are still overwhelming to think about. Well. Only overwhelming in the sense of pure happiness. So how are we going to tackle it?
Our main plan is to buy a van, equip it with all things we need and drive north by the coast. When it comes to the time schedule we are not in a hurry. Mainly because we wish to have plenty of time on our trip to stay at different locations. It’s the freedom of ever stress about anything.
The land down under
To be honest it all started with Australia. Before Qoalafied Project became a year of traveling the plan was to stay in Australia to work.
Australia is such a huge country with so much to experience. The diverse climate, animals you can’t find anywhere in the world. Historical sites to see and beautiful cities to behold.
Furthermore. Australia was a country often mentioned by friends and family when talking about a longer vacation. Places like the Great Barrier Reef and the Sydney Opera House was a frequent topic. Needless to say, they both made it to our to-do list. And many, many more.
Traveling three months prior coming to Australia makes things more challenging. Australia also happens to be a country with a lot of backpackers, like us. So getting equipment isn’t too hard, making re-stocking easy. Since we are planning to stay for a long time this suits us perfectly.
Last but not least. Getting a working holiday permit gives us an income and can put us closer to the Australian culture. Which also means awesome content for the Qoalafied Project.
So a road trip, while picking up small-jobs, doesn’t seem like a bad idea at all. We browsed Reddit, asked a few questions about the topic and got this amazing reply
Where I would go with unlimited time, Coober Pedy, the Olgas, king’s canyon, the “dinosaur trail” near Winton/Hughenden/Richmond, Cairns/reef/Atherton Tablelands, Magnetic Island, Airlie (backpacker spot), Eungella for platypus, Carnarvon Gorge, Keppel, Agnes Waters, Northern NSW (Ballina, Port Macquarie) and Tasmania.
Needless to say we added almost all of them, which means this was one of the most valuable tips we could have gotten.
Planning the unexpected
First things first. Since we are staying for such a long period of time there is a lot of planning to do. But to be honest, we are leaving room to be spontaneous as a part of the planning. The whole trip revolves around relaxing and soaking up the Australian atmosphere. Putting it this way. If we want to work at a horse farm we do, if we want to stay on a beach for a week we do.
We are arriving in Melbourne September 9th. From there we plan to drive to Nanum, the route is through the coast. Before that, we are taking a “Spirit of Tasmania from Melbourne to Tasmania. The plan is to see what the island has to offer. If everything is going according to plan to a friend of ours are joining. Visiting a city or two, before we hike a few trails.
Most importantly we are going to backpack in a car. But renting one is off the table. This is because we are staying for about 8 months, and that would be throwing money out the window. This is leaving us the option of buying one. From our initial research, it seems it’s going to be a 4×4 with a camper top. This way we have room for more people, and can still sleep cozy when we set up camp. A 4×4 also gives us the opportunity to drive off-road from time to time, making it easier to set camp.
With so much time at our hands, the above plan is simple enough to give us time to relax. Meaning if want to stay certain place, we stay as long as we want. This also means we can track down a range of activities we want to do, and really enjoy them to the fullest.
Obviously, we are driving for the most part, but we are also going to fly a bit. Since there are so vast distance in Australia it’s unavoidable. We want to spend the new years eve in Sydney, but driving south again for days and days isn’t happening. Instead, we park the car and fly down. Staying with a few friends, celebrate and fly back up.
Getting over to Tasmania is easy, even with a car. The spirit of Tasmania shuttles between every so often, although a bit expensive. That’s a cost we are willing to take because it would be just as expensive renting a car over there. Might as well bring our own.
Our research came up with a vast amount of places to go. At an early stage in planning, we subscribed to two Facebook groups. Australian Backpackers and Australian Backpackers 2018. We would recommend anybody backpacking in Australia doing the same. It is a lot of posts being published every day with various types clues and various information.
You will get valuable information about destinations and how to get there. And the huge amount of tips ranging from places to work, buy/hire a car and where to go exploring. The best part is, you will also get a feeling on how it’s like backpacking in Australia. Numerous posts about daily lives of backpackers. Which in turn makes you raise questions about your preparation no guide can write for you. These groups are an absolute must.
So. Australia is a big country, with incredible many great places and experiences to visit and explore. Initially, we thought it was going to be hard to choose where to go, but seeing as we have a car and plenty of time we are not too worried.
So, where are we going? What are we doing? Let’s get on with it!
“The town that lives underground”
What began in 1917 as perhaps the largest opal mining operation in the world has since expanded into a subterranean community. A community that is safely out of reach from the region’s 49 degrees Celsius in summers. That’s warm enough.
Entire bedrooms, bookstores, churches, and bars are installed in the carved underground walls of Coober Pedy. Amazingly after 100 years of living in these “dugouts,” the folks who call it home have no plans of stopping yet. Making this a must-see for us!
Hobart is the capital city of Tasmania, as well as Australia’s second oldest city after Sydney. With a population of about 250,000 Hobart is small and intimate compared to larger mainland Australian cities. There are many fine examples of Georgian and Victorian architecture in Hobart. Such as Salamanca Place, which has a terrace of warehouses dating back to the whaling days of the 1830s. It has a mild temperate oceanic climate, with four distinct seasons. This place seems like a perfect place to visit before exploring rest of Tassie.
Brisbane has warm and humid summers and dry moderately warm winters. It’s the perfect climate for people who like to have different seasons. Its positive attitude and creative confidence make Brisbane a genuine new-world city.
Queensland’s buzzing riverside capital city is wedged between the ocean and rugged national parks. This city is a cosmopolitan hub for arts, culture, and dining. Still, it retains a close connection with nature and a classic laid-back Queensland attitude. Perfect we’d say. It’s also the gateway to the wonders of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. We’ve heard so much about the gold coast, so Brisbane will be a perfect laid-back start, we reckon.
Cairns is the premier holiday spot for visitors from international destinations. And also other parts of Australia and a preferred stopover port for luxury cruise ships. Those are probably cool to take pictures of, nothing more than that for us.
With its close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest, this is a Mecca for scuba divers, snorkelers’ and reef cruises. Add a rainforest, outback adventures, wildlife watching and all water activities you can imagine. Well count us in, Cairns is set to be a full one.
Northern Queensland’s less-visited major city is easy on the eye:
At Townsville’s heart is it’s handsome, endless esplanade. This makes it an ideal viewing platform for fabulous Magnetic Island offshore. Surprisingly, a better museum and aquarium you will struggle to find in Australia. We think aquariums are underestimated, so good for us. Townsville is said to be a pedestrian-friendly city. And its grand, refurbished 19th-century buildings offer loads of landmarks. If in doubt, join the throngs of fit and fabulous marching up bright red Castle Hill to gaze across the city’s dry environs.
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
“Kangaroo Island a zoo without fences”
Here you will find kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, penguins, echidnas and a bustling birdlife. In other words basically heaven for me and Therese. And along the Seal Bay beach, you can stroll around among a colony of the endangered Australian sea lion. Those pesky bastards would be awesome to behold. Craggy cliffs along the coast, sheltered coves between the steep nest. The Australian Bush and rolling hills with farmland with many fascinating nature-created wonders. There is no doubt that Kangaroo Island will give us Australia’s wildlife and wildlife at its best.Here you will find kangaroos, koalas, wallaby, penguins, echidnas and a bustling birdlife.
Great Keppel Island
Great Keppel Island is an island paradise where the ‘squeaky-clean’ white sand flows between your toes and the ocean sparkles before your eyes. As the largest island in the Keppel Group, Great Keppel is situated just north of the Tropic of Capricorn. Southern Great Barrier Reef is also to find there. We have googled a few pictures from this place, needless to say, we are so stocked to get to view this scenery. It looks absolutely astonishing. We would be fools to stay there for only a day or two.
Fraser Island, Queensland
“Fraser Island has the absolute best that one island can offer.”
This Island is northeast of the Sunshine Coast and is the world’s largest sandy island. With a total of 40 freshwater lakes, an eclectic ecosystem and a rich plant, animal, and not least birdlife, this is a truly unique place. In addition, you can find miles of beaches that you can drive on. Even the small planes land on the beach here! Rent a four-wheel drive and explore the island on your own or join one of the many guided tours.
Magnetic Island’s relaxed tropical lifestyle. With quiet, secluded beaches, rugged nature, abundant wildlife and easy access to the Great Barrier Reef. This makes it a wonderful place to relax and unwind for us
This islands sits within the World Heritage-listed. However, the landscape here is different to the usual tropical rainforest found on many of the Great Barrier Reef islands. About 275 million years ago nature’s forces created an extraordinary landscape of rocky terrain and giant boulders. Also, Magnetic Island has less rainfall than the Wet Tropics to the north and then to the south. Its climate is typical of the dry tropics and it is covered with eucalypt woodlands. From what we are reading, Magnetic Island seems like a perfect place to kick back and relax. Mostly sunbathing we guess.
Bondi Beach, Sydney
A nice fact is that Bondi” or “Boondi” is an Aboriginal word meaning water breaking over rocks or noise of water breaking over rocks. Yikes.
This beach is one of Australia’s most famous beaches and is probably the beach that is found on most postcards. We guess it’s in most of the TV shows in Australia too. Every year thousands of people feed here. All ranging from backpackers to millionaires, to sunbathing, walking, jogging, swimming or surfing. Bondi is just 10 miles from the city center, making it Sydney’s busiest beach.
North Coast beaches
From great surfing beaches to World Heritage rainforest to playful dolphins. The North Coast of NSW is the perfect place for fun and adventure. Go kayaking with dolphins and whales we read. Yea, obviously. Shut up and take our money! Afterward, we will relax on a beautiful beach and enjoy freshly caught seafood.
To be honest I guess we are going to snorkel a lot her since we read multiple places that they have crystal clear water.
“The full Holiday mode”
Airlie Beach has a permanent “holiday feel” with tropical warm weather all year round and is an excellent relaxing stop. Until we figured out the next part. It is also the perfect launching pad for activities on the water and in the lush, green rainforest of the Whitsunday Coast. It also got access to the Great Barrier Reef.
We read that we could sleep on the reef, explore the hinterland, or learn to sail. I reckon we are snorkeling much too, to be honest.
Great Ocean Road, Victoria
It feels odd writing about Great Ocean Road since its probably the biggest war memorial. In Australia that is. However, this road is one of Australia’s finest coastal roads, where it swings along the rough southern coast of Victoria. I guess that drone is going to fly a lot here. The long drive crosses fishing villages, rainforest, golden beaches and national parks. Meaning we have a perfect opportunity to just pick spots to hike, relax or get a view of the wildlife. They say you will see a varied wildlife including kangaroos and koalas. Our favorites.
Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
Great Barrier Reef is a must when visiting Australia. It is known as the world’s eighth wonders, is 340,000 square kilometers and extends over 2,000 kilometers along the coast of Queensland. We reckon that’s a lot of space to snorkel in.. It is home to a varied marine life with the most vibrant colors one can imagine. You can see the reef by diving or snorkeling. Even with a glass bottom boat, water scooter or semi-submersible submarine. Hell, add sailboat, helicopter or naval plan to the list. And lastly even jump in a parachute over the reef itself. Imagine if we do them all.
The magical naturally formed Heart Reef is located in the Great near the Whitsundays. It’s best viewed from the air. So that settles it then, a helicopter trip it is.
The name Kata Tjua is also known as The Olgas, and it is a Aboriginal name which means “many heads”. Ancient rock formations soar hundreds of meters into the desert sky. Surrounded by the Red Centre’s unique wildlife and spirit of the Aangu people’s Tjukurpa. Australia’s desert outback is home to two of the world’s most iconic rock formations and we get to see least one of them.
Sunset and sunrise over Uluu and Kata Tjua are spectacular. With the colors at both sites becoming more vibrant and ever-changing. Uluu and Kata Tjua have significant meaning to Aboriginal people. They both form an important focus of their spiritual life.
The Dinosaur trail
“Follow in the footsteps of the prehistoric creatures that once roamed this ancient land.”
To be fair, they had us at Dinosaur trail. While the footprints of a stampede were a rare find, local farmers around Winton have been tripping over fossils for years. It lies in Queensland’s Outback. And it is known to be an exciting adventure that takes you back to time. A time when prehistoric dinosaurs roamed the earth. Visitors can discover the world-class fossils of Winton, Richmond, and Hughenden. We will most likely encounter a range of unique experiences not available anywhere else in the world.
TIPS FROM REDDIT
- Cyclone and weather app
- Buy an equipped backpacker car from a backpacker.
- Buy the car with Gumtree and Facebook-groups
- Toyota 4runner (we like this idea)
- Camp wiki for campgrounds, and national parks.
- Sunshine Coast (looking into it)
- Ferry over to Tazmania
- Avoid driving in the morning and late night.
- “Fuck off, your too full”