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Published: December 21st 2015
Sat in a hostel on my last day in Australia, i can kick myself on not keeping my blog updated as often as i should have. I have travelled from Melbourne to Brisbane in a matter of weeks and to try and remember what I had done and then type it as short as I can without going into pages of drivel will be hard. I update Facebook on a daily basis but its kept short in what I've done with the briefest of explanation of what I’ve done and this blog was meant to be for me to look at in years to come and check the details of what I had done. New Years Resolution has been made and i will try to keep to it.
My journey of Australia so far had taken me from the northern most city of Darwin, down the west coast to Perth, halfway along the south coast to Adelaide and up into the centre of the country to Alice Springs and all in the space of 2 months which when you consider how big the country is, is a feat in itself. My final part of the trip was going to take me from Melbourne on to the east coast and get as high as possible before leaving for my next country.
I started off in Melbourne after arriving from Adelaide where I had dropped off one camper van, driving from Alice Springs, and then immediately picked up another after driving for 3 days non stop for a immediate start of 3 days journey. I managed to find 2 Germans online that wanted to travel and picked them up. The new vehicle was only 2 berth and i knew it would be a tight squeeze on a night time but they didn’t seem that bothered, especially as the only way into the rear of the camper van was through a door on the side and whoever was in there would be stuck on their own inside the ‘box’. So to help them out I told them that they could swap over every hour so they each took a turn being suck in the box. The journey was to go via the Great Ocean Road which is a tourist attraction in itself of the long winding road by the sea that was built just after the First World War by soldiers returning home and is now dedicated to them and is officially the worlds biggest military memorials.
As I had picked up the van late in the day and then gone into the city to pick up the 2 passengers and then found a Coles supermarket to grab some cheap food for the 2 nights, it was not long before we were finding a camp site for the night without even seeing anything. We found a village that had advertised their village green as a free camp site and by the time we got there, it already had a few people staying there. Picturesque with the use of free toilets, water and a nearby shop, it was probably one of the best free campsites I’ve been to so far, although there were houses across from the green where you could see inside and some of those TV’s were enormous, it was definitely a place where the rich people lived! As I did all the driving it was only fair that the passengers did all the cooking, but one of the Germans was a vegetarian, so tuna pasta was on the menu. Is tuna vegetarian?
It was a new day and the Great Ocean Road beckoned. There are various stops along the way on the drive where there are spectacular views of coastal features and they all have names. The most famous of all is ‘Seven Sisters’ which are rock formations formed out of the sea standing on both sides of the cliff edge that juts out. Nature has taken its toll on the 7 sisters and there are actually 5 left due to erosion over the years and you can tell its the most famous on the Great Ocean Road due to the number of tourists that were around for sunset, all with their selfie sticks, all trying to get the best photo they can.
As the sun was setting it was time to get on line and find another free campsite which according to my phone was only 30 km away but heading north away from the coast and with the onset of darkness coming on this meant that the dangers of random kangaroos jumping out in front of the vehicle. This meant slower driving and with winding roads this took us longer to get there and it was pitch black by the time to get there. On arrival at the campsite, there was a group of people already there and after going over to say hello, discovered they were also German so for the rest of the night I lost my passengers to a campfire and cheap lager while I was stuck in the van. Not the best way of travelling I guess.
For the final day with the van, we drove back down for the final part of the Great Ocean Road which was actually the official start with the monument dedicated to the the soldiers of past which you drove through, so we had actually done the drive back to front. However with time ticking by to get the vehicle back I had to start the long drive into Melbourne. After dropping the camper van off and getting into the city centre by taxi, I relied on the 2 Germans to find a hostel for the night as they seemed to know what they were doing plus they had more power on their phones. One was found in the Central Business District (CBD) and although i didn't see much of the guys I travelled with again I stayed on the hostel for a week.
Travelling all the way through Melbourne, Sydney, up to Brisbane and then down to Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast took just under 2 and a half weeks and that was my 3 months up. If I had realised earlier on in the travels, just how big Australia was, then I would have been able to drive around the whole of the country and seen everything I wanted to have seen. However the major places like Melbourne and Sydney are the biggest cities and are the two rivals. It was interesting to find out through a free walking tour around Melbourne that it was once in its heyday one of the richest cities in the world due to the gold rush in the area and over shadowed Sydney, especially when they had the Olympics held there in the 1950’s, however Sydney fought back with the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and took over the mantle of Australia famous city. I’ve also alway wondered why the Capital is Canberra and not one of these two and basically the answer was that they both fought to be the country’s capital but couldn’t agree so Canberra was built up as a compromise and is half way between the two.
As I’ve said earlier this blog entry has been delayed too long in writing and to have everything that I’ve done would take a lot of time and effort which is something that I should set time aside for. So because of that I’m going to have to keep short. Melbourne was a city that was big, busy and fun with a lot to see and do. I spent a lot of the time just wondering the streets exploring and I found that there was nothing better then going down to the river bank and watching the world go by.
Sydney was even busier still but that was because I arrived when the citys biggest music festival was happening along with a Taylor Swift concert so finding a hostel for the weekend was impossible. I travelled there in yet another camper van along with 2 french girls and a british bloke going via Canberra to stay for a couple of hours and then onto a mountain top to camp for the night in tents. I spent the first 3 nights in 2 different hostels and Bondi Beach, one thing I learnt about Sydney is that it is expensive! The Opera House is not as amazing looking in real life as it is in photographs however it is still worth going to see. One amazing thing that happened in Sydney was finding long lost family that my UK family lost touch with 18 years ago. My dad had an address that one of his cousins lived at and I thought I’d try and see if they were still alive or if anyone knew where they were. As it turned out, he was still living there and immediately called his brother around to meet me. 5 hours of chatting and catching up on family matters and even a FaceTime call back to UK to speak to my dad was an amazing experience and very emotional
I spent about a week in Sydney and would have been there longer if it wasn’t for the fact that time was slipping away and I had to do the rest of the east coast but knew I wouldn’t do all of it. The drive to Brisbane was done on my own this time as i couldn’t find anyone to go driving with and it wasn’t that far compared to some of the travels I’ve done. However as the East coast is more populated the traffic is a hell of a lot busier and there are more towns to go through. Unfortunately I only spent 4 days in Brisbane and managed to get around as much of the city as I could but like every other city you would have to have the time and the proper shoes to get around everywhere. I stayed at 2 hostels there only because the first one was too big and too much of a clique going on with everyone and didn’t feel comfortable. The second place was more friendlier and managed to make decent friends who told me where to go and what to see.
Gold Coast was next on the travels as this was where I was flying out to New Zealand from. Surfers Paradise is so called because thats what it is, a place where surfers go. The best way to describe the place is a tourist attraction of theme parks and beaches with nothing much else. People from all over Australia and the rest of the world go just to chill, relax and spend lots of money. It is one of the longest, cleanest beaches I’ve seen and walking along it can take for hours but well worth the effort.
I know I’ve probably short changed myself in keeping this short as although its a blog to share with people it’s also something for me to look back on in years to come and see what I was doing and i can imagine myself looking at this at 80 years of age and thinking what exactly did I do in Sydney apart from seeing the opera house and meeting family, but hopefully along the way on the next adventures I can say more on what I’ve done as I look back.
New Zealand is next and I will be updating it as I go along…..
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