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Published: August 26th 2007
At 15.34 at Cape Byron a fly blinks and gets blown away by a ferocious Pacific breeze. A second later a shutter shuts to capture a historic moment. We are standing at the eastern-most point of the Australian mainland smiling the smile of a tired koala that has successfully climbed a gum tree. While other people put on koala-faces we relax and savour the moment before it gets blown away. Today we have set foot on the last of the four corners of this fabulous continent. A feat not even Captain - all over the place - Cook has achieved.
The day didn't start all too well. Waking up with a 39 degree fever bubbling in my head I did realise that, what should have been by far the easiest of the four capes to reach, wouldn't be a walk in the park. (Eventhough this is exactly what it is: A 15 minutes stroll from the carpark.) First of all we didn't go to the right carpark and walked along the beach in search of the lacking cape which further increased my body temperature and bad humour. Then we found the closest carpark which is right at the lighthouse
but charges a six dollar fee so we turned around and with a brilliant manoeuvre (never seen again since) squeezed our eight-meter motorhome into a small parking spot not far below. From there it was only a 20 minutes walk (against the wind) to the spot which would be the final piece in our Aussie-jigsaw. Cape York
The first piece we laid down back in 2003, when we put some money together and rented a state of the art Toyota Landcruiser which should bring us to Cape York the northernmost point of Australia. Coming from a country where people drive 4-wheel drives for prestige reasons and a normal gravel road is seen as an adventure that needs to be reconsidered, we were definitely the exotics on the road. Aside from us there were a couple of young lads trying to get their car stuck and some off road veterans heading for the cape. While theoretically you can drive all the way on the new and relatively decent development road, many people don't want to miss the chance to drive on the historic (by Australian standards) Old Telegraph Road which gives you more options to get into trouble. As we
had paid a fortune for the nice Landcruiser I didn't have to think twice. After all, this was our Aussie adventure. And we found what we were looking for. Creek crossings by the dozen, empty beaches, romantic camping and we even got stuck and had to winch ourselves out at Cannibal Creek...
As we got closer to the tip of the continent the number of people increased again as there are more settlements and an airport close to Cape York. The last couple of hundreds of metres you have to walk - which I think is nice - before you stand at 10°41' southern latitude. An emotional moment. South Point
The second coup we landed in the South on a huge peninsula called Wilsons Promontory. A truly peaceful spot if you aren't visiting during holiday season. White sandy beaches that fine they squeak beneath your feet and lots of cheeky wombats will stay in my mind as characteristic sights. From the end of the sealed road it is roughly a 15 kilometres walk along forestry tracks to the Southern tip of Australia. A fairly easy walk I would say. But as we didn't own a tent at the time
(there is a basic campsite close to the cape) we had to walk back on the same day which meant that it turned out to be quite a long one. The cape itself is maybe not much different from any other cape in the area. But then it has this magical aura as the southernmost point of a continent which some people are receptive for. It was a good day. Steep Point
Definitely the remotest and by far least visited cape must be Steep Point in Western Australia. There is often a small temporary settlement of recreational fishermen (aka husbands on the run) set up close to the cape. Those men operate huge freezers full of fish and hectolitres of beer but apart from that it seems difficult to find nourishment. So you better come prepared. The place is about 200 kilometres from the highway and can be reached via unsealed road (last bit 4WD only). So what was to do?
For the first 100 kilometres we tormented Lizzy, our brave Toyota van, before we decided to give it a break and try to hitch a ride. Given the near absence or any traffic we considered half a day
of waiting a big success and on the following day we joyously swapped our Liteace for a Landcruiser seat and roared onward towards the setting sun.
The westernmost bit of Australia is a sheer twenty metre cliff. After the first excitement subsided we realised that we better stop the contest of being even a bit further West than the others and retreated to the camping area. The next morning I caught the westernmost fish in my life and it was the easternmost at the same time. Against everything we have ever heard about how easy it is to catch a fish in Australia, we only managed once to get our lunch from the sea. It was delicious! Conclusion
While the four capes are just the cornerstones of our travels in OZ many more interesting places are of course to be found somewhere in between. After having spent 17 months Down Under we have seen many places but to recount all the stories would probably blast the travelblog server. Instead we decided to include some of our favourite pictures into this blog. The only common denominator of them all is that they have been taken somewhere between Cape York, Cape
Byron, South Point and Steep Point.
For an impression of Tasmania, which obviously doesn't meet the above criterion but is undoubtedly one of our favourite places in Australia, please have a look at our Tassie-blog: The Overland Track - Flip-Flop-Trekking or Wilderness Experience?
Find more stories and pictures on our Lovelyplanet-Homepage
. Planet Portrait
- Top 3:
Exploring Cape York
- Our route: Around - down the middle - Tasmania
- That was bad: Everything is far away.
- That was good: There is so much space.
- Recommended guest house: Get yourself a tent or a car and go camping in the bush.
- Visa: 3 months tourist visa available on the internet for about 25 dollars. (Or free at the embassy in Dili!) If you leave the country you get another 3 months on return.
- Money saver tip: Get a copy of Camps 3, a road atlas which comprises lots of free-camping advice.
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