After spending over a month living in our trusted campdome tent we were glad to return to civilization in the form of Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne for the end of our stay in Australia. Our first stop was Brisbane which turned out to be quieter than we thought, only on Friday evening did we see some action in the city center, otherwise the streets were quite empty compared to Melbourne or even Adelaide. On Friday evening the center however really woke up with several live bands playing and a lot of terraces serving beer, we enjoyed the bands so much we even ended up buying some CD:s from them.
In addition to the city center we also tried to explore the suburbs around the city. Our host had mentioned an African we thought sounded interesting, so we searched for it in our navigator and set off in hope for some nice African lunch. When we arrived all we found was a typical white neighborhood. As our host also had mentioned a Vietnamese suburb we had that as plan B, there we found at least a few restaurants, but it only covered a block or two. We got our Vietnamese
noodles, but later found out we had apparently gone to the wrong place, there was a bigger Vietnamese suburb nearby that would have been more genuine. As a last stop on our journey through the neighborhoods we stopped at West End, a small neighborhood filled with shops, cafés and restaurants that we liked a lot. After some shopping and enjoying a smoothie in one of the cafés we still headed for a lookout with views over the city before heading back to our apartment.
After another 1000 km of driving with an overnight stop at an idyllic campsite (think horses and cows on green meadows next to our tent and waking up to our tent neighbor practicing on his harp) we reached Australia’s biggest city, Sydney. We stayed in the Erskineville neighborhood, next to the shops and restaurants on King’s street. Even though driving in Sydney was a hassle the public transport worked well, so we used that instead of the car during our stay in the city.
Sydney turned out to be one of our favorite large cities visited during our trip, partly because it was so diverse. In the city center we found culture and excellent
shopping, near our apartment nice small shops and ethnical restaurants, in Bondi beaches and beautiful walks along the cliffs. It felt there was everything you could want from a city, and when you combine that with a really nice climate you have a place where you could stay for a long time. We are still unsure if we liked Melbourne or Sydney more, both however felt like places we would enjoy living in.
After five days in Sydney we set of towards Canberra, where we visited one of my previous bosses. He took us to really nice restaurants for lunch and dinner; regrettably he was stuck with hectic proposal work so he had to work most of our time in the city. We went to the War Memorial museum that was surprisingly good, usually we don’t like war museums, but as this concentrated on the world wars from Australian point of view it was a quite different perspective. We also visited the National Gallery of Art were they happened to have a Indonesian dance performance that day, so after an hour of two of paintings we went to see the dancers. We also drove and walked around in the
Sydney - a frying dog
not the best place to test your teeth...
autumn landscapes; the days were around 15 degrees and the nights almost zero so the trees were putting up their most brilliant colors for display.
Our last stop for our roadtrip through Australia, after almost 2 months and more than 12000(!) km, was Melbourne. As we had already seen the sites and were already focused on our next country, Indonesia, we took it easier this time. We revisited St. Kilda for some shopping and another of the wonderful smoothies we got there, and also went to the city center to visit a “shopping festival”, however we mostly just walked along Chapel street where we were staying drinking in the atmosphere. It felt like a nice, relaxed finish for our two months in Australia!
Australia turned out to be bigger than you would think. There was a lot of driving involved in getting from one sight to the next, especially in the center of the country. A 4WD car would have been nice, there were many places on our route we would have liked to visit that were inaccessible with our sedan, however most main sights had good roads leading to them. We were maybe not that
impressed by the landscapes, but the cities were really nice, the people we met were friendly and the animals really different from what we are used to. And yes, there is something extraordinary about seeing kangaroos, emus and platypuses in the wild compared to see them caged in a zoo!
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