17.02.2017 - 01.03.2017 28 °C
Hi everyone! It’s a rainy day over here and the perfect opportunity to do some blogging. While spring is coming for most of you in Europe, we entered the Australian autumn a few days ago. Don’t worry; we haven’t bought thermal underwear or snow boots yet
Our Australian story begins on Melbourne International Airport, where we landed around 11:00 PM and decided to save some money on accommodation by sleeping there. Carefully scouting the place for any quiet corners and comfortable couches (not there), the benches at a Hungry Jack’s fast food outlet looked better than nothing (due to licensing reasons Burger King is called “Hungry Jacks” in Australia). Like two little Whoppers we napped, twisted and turned until the over-active air conditioning and the sound of early morning travellers made any sleeping impossible!
Without much of a plan for Australia yet we thought about our experiences with bus travel in New Zealand and decided that here it would make it difficult to find the really good spots. So we rented a car and started off with the Great Ocean Road between Melbourne and Adelaide. But first up is discovering the great city of Melbourne!
From our base in Albert Park (go airbnb!) the beach was just around the corner. We explored the center and St. Kilda areas of the city by foot. Melbourne is all about food and it’s everywhere! It took us a lot of discipline to not just walk from restaurant to restaurant. Special mention reserved for ice cream store Mmmmmessina (Kathi was right)! We also met up for a beer with Emmy, who Michael met over six years ago while travelling here. How time flies… Our visit is also well timed with the White Night festival taking place with lots of music, lights and performers everywhere. It kind of reminded us of both Karneval der Kulturen and Koningsdag.
The freedom you have while travelling around by car is fantastic, as you can do it at your own pace and stop wherever and whenever you want to. Cruising along the south Australian coast the scenery changed from the surfer beaches in Torquay to winding roads up immense cliffs above the ocean, changing again into huge eucalyptus forests at Cape Otway. We spent the night there under loads of Koala’s and also met some Wallaby’s on the way to a secluded beach. We were just as surprised as they were and just stared at each other for a few moments Moving on the coast became even more impressive and we visited well-known tourist spots such as the 12 apostles, of which about 6 of them are currently still standing. Luckily the apostles were a lot taller than most Chinese tourists, so we were able to see them
Further up we came across an unexpected highlight when stopping for the night in a place called Mount Gambier, which was conveniently located on the route but didn’t know anything about. Our hostel was a completely redecorated old prison with a fantastic atmosphere, while the town itself was very lively with loads of bars and restaurants. On the edge of town are two “maar’s”, old volcanic lakes with beautiful deep blue color, a bit like those found in the Eiffel region in Germany. Another fun attraction was the Umpherston sinkhole, a sunken away cave that was crawling with vicious fluffy possums at night. It was a real shame that we had to move on the next morning to hand in our rental car on time!
After arriving in Adelaide we’ve had our first taste of outdoor life in Australia, which definitely made us want more of it. First we enjoyed all the facilities that a city has to offer and watched lots of extravagant people and performers who where in town for the Fringe comedy festival. Our first restaurant visit this year took place, as we had a delicious steak and good wine to celebrate Isabella’s birthday. Vielen Dank fürs Geschenk, Klaus!
What to do next… Australia is a big place and you can go in lots of different directions… Many options crossed our mind ranging from driving to Darwin via Alice Springs, or relocating a huge campervan to Perth in 6 days. In the end we decided to take our outdoor attitude one step further and rent a campervan for a few weeks! Gathering all our supplies from the nearest K-Mart and Aldi (yes, Aldi is here ) it was gonna be just the two of us taking on a bit of Australian Outback. Cricky mate!
So off we went in our not-so-anonymous campervan, enjoying great reactions from other people on the road. Having already done the Ocean Road we chose to collect a lot of red dust on the inland route that goes from Adelaide all the way to Sydney over around 1500 km. On the way we came across beautiful places such as the Pink Lakes, which are dried up by the end of summer and leave some sort of crystalized pink layer. We swam in the Murray river (don’t worry, no crocs here), raced with Emus over the empty plains around Hay and watched the actual Milky Way of stars at night because it is so dark.
Camping in remote places, singing along to the music having the windows open, sleeping in the backseat and cooking meals on a small gas stove - very often there is no cell phone / internet reception or other people in sight. It is very easy to get into a rhythm that has more to do with sunrise and sunset than with the time on your watch. That’s not such a bad thing
Michael & Isabella