in between countries
So Ihr Lieben, dass war Australien. Ich hab jetzt noch einen Tag in Sydney bevor es fuer mich losgeht nach Suedamerika. Das bedeutet fuer Euch auch das Ende der englischen Blogs und keine Angst, ich werd nicht auf spanish bloggen und falls doch mit Uebersetzung!!
Australien war toll. Voellig anders als ich es mir vorgestellt habe und doch vertraut. Nich so exotisch wie Asien, nicht so steiff und organisiert wie Europa und fuer mich durchaus ein Land zum Wohlfuehlen und eventuell wiederkommen und hierbleiben.
Fraser war mit das Beste, was ich bisher auf dieser Reise erlebt hab und ich hoffe von diesem Ausflug mal wieder viele Freunde mitgenommen zu haben und auch zu behalten! Ich hoffe doch sehr, dass ich den ein oder anderen irgendwo auf dem Globus wiederfinde...
Jetzt also Suedamerika. Ich freu mich riesig! Das wird wieder mehr Basisreisen, wieder mehr Urspruengliches und endlich Spanisch. Wobei ich mich mittlerweile im Englischen so wohl und daheim fuehle, dass ich schon in englisch traeume. Aber ich hoffe, dass das mit spanisch genauso wird, zumal ich spanisch liebe!
Fuehlt Euch alle gedrueckt aus der Ferne, ich wuensche Euch frohe Ostern und den naechsten Eintrag gibts von der anderen Seite des Teichs!!
We start really early today with a long breifing about Dos and Don'ts on Fraser before we are divided into groups. For groups, each nine people are going to the Island today. My group is quite diverse. There are the three youngsters Sandy and Stew (or Christoffer and Christoffer) from Denmark and Jo from the USA, the two English girls Verity and Elena, Lorenzo, the oldest but the craziest from Italy, David, the reticent Irishman, Wolfgang and me.
We all drive to the work shed where we get our car for the tour, our camping stuff and then we go food and alcohol shopping. As quick as possible we get to the ferry, which brings us to the sandy Island of Fraser. David becomes our designated driver after the first minutes on the sandy roads in 4WD. First destination is Central Station for Lunch and a short stroll beside one of the freshwater creeks here on Fraser. But it is the next sight which really impresses me for the first time here. Lake Wabby. A small green lake in the middle of the forest right next to a huge yellow sand pile. Yet the overview from the lookout is amazing, but coming down to the dune and swim in the lake is even better!
Unfortunately we don't have much time to spend here, because we have to drive down to the beach to set up our camp for the first night. Sadly, one of the groups keeps separated from the other three, but we still have fun despite all the difficulties we have with our tents. And after a quite sandy barbecue we have a great evening, talking, drinking some beer, strolling around the beach and watching the waves.
The second day starts perfectly with coffee and sunshine. Unpleasant is just the trash all over the camp side since we forgot to take the trash bag inside the car and a Dingo had a thorough look through it.
But driving on the beach makes it all good again! First stop today is the shipwreck of the Mahony. This huge ferreous skeleton is lying on the beach like it belongs there - impressive!
The drive along the beach directs us along Pinnacles, rain forest, creeks down to Indian Head. We climb up the cliff and are rewarded by an outstanding overview over the beach, the sea and the Island. I could have spent the whole day just sitting, watching and listening!!
But we have a tight schedule and have to leave for the Champagne Pools. These are saltwater lagoons directly behind the shoreline, separated from the ocean just through some rocks. And that bath is so good!!!
After that it's time again to drive back to Eli Creek to set up the camp, because the tide is coming in. And we find a spot for all for groups.
The night is just beautiful, just one dune between us and the ocean, a bright full moon, the southern cross as a shelter above. I spent the whole night with Ben, a Canadian guy from one of the other group just watching, talking and enjoying the night at the beach.
Day three starts badly. We're out of food, half the people have a huge hangover and we all want to shower!
But we manage to find breakfast, cure the headaches and start our day with a long drive up to lake Mackenzie, one of the biggest freshwater lakes on Fraser. It's simply breathtaking this lake in the middle of the forest - white sand, clear water like fresh out of the tab and from an stunningly turquise.
And it's exactly what I needed. A good long swim, get rid off all the sand and just relaxing on the beach. And so it seems like time is flying by and too soon we have to leave for our ferry. But therfor we catch sight of a Dingo! It's like a goodbye present
So we make it back to the mainland, drop the cars and get ourselves into showers! And over a lot of pizza and coke we reflect on our trip and have a really nice last evening together! I'm gonna miss all of them!
Brisbane is not my town. Even though I have a good sense for directions I keep getting lost in the city. But at least I'm off on my own again and I stroll around the city, go to the few sights it has and enjoy a normal city day. Because of rain again I go - again - to the movies and watch Slumdog Millionaire. One of the best movies I've seen for a long time and I get a little India-Homesick...
After that I book my bus for tomorrw to go to Hervey Bay and buy some Kangaroo for dinner. And since it is too early for dinner I try to update this blog but all computers are taken. And so I run into Cam, a Canadian guy and we spent the whole night talking, eating and drinking beer - quite fun how dull days can turn in a second!
And the next day is just organising, swapping my books and waiting for my bus to Hervey. Bur I had some great Sushi at least...
Today's my birthday, not a big deal, nobody knows and I just want a nice day at the beach. At lest this was the plan. But apparently Wolfgang knows and he bought me a birthday cake - that's so sweet!! And so my day starts with scrambled eggs and ham and chocolate mud pie. And with a lot of sun!!
After breakfast we book a surf lesson for the next day, wonder around the city of Byron Bay a little, which is pretty much a classical backpacker place and go down to the beach after then. I spend some lazy hours there, just reading, sleeping, bathing - amazing!
Not so a amazing is the ticket we earned by parking our car with the back first where it's just allowed to park nose first. Weired people these Aussies sometimes So we have to pay 80 $ I'd rather had spent on a second surf lesson or skydiving or something like that.
For birthdays sake we go out for dinner today, I have some excellent grilled baby octopus with sweet potatoe chips and my beloved ginger beer. And then we manage to find a bar with some live music and so I have a real great birthday!
The next day, surfing day, it's raining again. But surfing is a wet sport anyway, so it does not really matter that much! With three other people and our Surfinstructor, lets call him Aaron we drive to Flat Head beach and after a little searching he finds a good spot for us to go into the waves. But first there is a lot of explaining about the ocean, how it works with tides and rips and wind and all sort of stuff. Interesting, frightening but calming at the same. And then we're in. I'm in the water and all I can think about is my first wave. We paddle out, and that is by the way pretty exhausting, and suddenly Aaron turnes my board, I start paddeling and then I'm standing on my board! It's amazing. No fear, just fun!
And so I spend three hours in the water, paddeling, surfing, diving, drinking saltwater, swearing and laughing! It's just great!
But suddenly the weather gets worse and a storm is coming up. So We have to leave. And after a shower and because it's raining cats and dogs we leave Byron Bay direction Brisbane hoping to find better weather up there. But apparently it's a Zyclon on the east coast and the pouring rain is everywhere. So we go to the movies - Pink Panther 2, great - and go to bed really early.
The next day it's still raining, so we try once again to escape the bad weather and drive to Brisbane Forrest park, a rain forest area and do some hiking in there. It's really beautiful and with Insect repellent even the leeches are manageable. At least the once on my shoes, the one on my head I find later on our way to the Scenic Rim, the other side of the mountains, where the rain is said to be not so bad. And we spend the night on a small camp side next to a lake - beautiful!
But the rain is following us and the next day starts bad for me. Non the less we go an a hiking tour up to the Top of Mt Edwards. But the trail is small and slippery, the view is dull and foggy and my mood is below zero, so I leave Wolfgang on the next rain forest trip on his own and spend some time reading and sleeping. And after that, a cherry danish, a coffee and a shower my world is good again! We stay the night at a rest area on the highway and start early the next morning to Tamborine NP. And what can I say, I finally manage it to do a horse riding tour! On horse back two hours through the rain forest. I love it! And I definitely will do that again in Southamerica and back home!.
But then it's ogg to Brisbane again. We check in at a hostel and give back the car, I do my laundry and have some food and a movie before falling in my BED like a stone! The night is great!!!
I am really looking forward to my little camping adventure here Down Under for I haven't been camping in ages! So we get up really early to pick up the campervan. And we're out of town in a sec and heading north direction Newcastle on the famous Pacific Highway.
Newcastle itself is a really small town and because it's a really windy day the beaches are closed. So we just hit the road again and drive to the Barrington Tops National Park.
First, everything is fine, than it becomes Australian - the roads up to the park itself are unsealed and we have to cross the river a few times, but without having a bridge off course But we manage to get to a little camp side just before it's getting dark and after a hot shower and a proper meal, the world is good.
The next day we want to go for some hiking tour into the NP. The people on the camp side advise us two treks up in the rain forest combined with a warning about leeches (little bloodsucking, crawling worms). So we put on Socks and good Shoes and start walking.
And everything seems fine until we come down to the river - which we cannot cross this time, by the way - just for realising, that our shoes are covered in leeches! They are everywhere. Outside, in between, inside, on my socks, on my feet. It's so disgusting and gross and icky and just bah... And with a huge effort I peel those creatures off with a little stick and run all the way back to the car just to start peeling there again. All I want now is get out of this forest! So my first rain forest-experience - not so good.
To make it up, we drive back to the coast to Tuncurry and relax a little at the beach.
For the night we find a little rest area next to a lake near Port Macquarie. And in that middle of nowhere, surrounded with lake and forest and nothing else I see my first shooting stars!!!
The next day we're going just a little further up to Port Macqurie. There are supposed to be some beautiful Treks along the coast we want to do. And it's just lovely! The treks include the beaches with gigantic rock formations, breaking waves, beautiful lookouts and gorgeous forests. And no leeches at all!!!
And also the next excursion in the next NP, called Hat Head is picturesque. After a little shower the trek is slippery - above all doing it with Flip Flops - but the view is incredible!
And nearby we find a little restarea directly on a cliff where we stay the night. For cooking we have Kangaroo - company, for sleeping unfortunately moscito - company.
And after a prickly night it's raining into the bargain. So we try to escape the rain by driving into the mountains - Dorrigo NP and the Waterfall Highway - but the rain is everywhere. So it's just back to the coast again. We stay at a camp side in Yamba and have Fish'n Chips out. Because cooking's impossible...
The next day starts better, but soon it's raining again and we just drive up to Ballina and spend the day with museums, the indoor swimming pool and go up to Byron Bay then. On a look out on the way we even see dolphins jumping in between a surfer crowd!! And in Byron Bay itself it's not raining, so we can cook, sit at the beach, watch the stars - southern cross and stuff - and spend the night somewhere illegal in a living area.
To be continued....
I know, I've neglected my blog a little - apologies for that! I try to make it up to you now...
I arrive in Sydney after a 4 hour flight from Perth at around 6 p.m. I had some Email-conversations the last days with Wolfgang - the german guy I met in Ayutthaya/Thailand - about meeting in Sydney and renting a camper van together. So I take the shuttlebus from the airport to the hostel he's staying at, the Sugar Shak. Good thing about the Sydney-Shuttle, it drops me right in front of the hostel!! Wolfgang is already waiting for me there. Get my room without any problems, my roommates, all german by the way, are unfortunately a little strange.
So I just go for some dinner shopping to the Supermarket and do a little Internet-Update on Perth. And after that I call Jono - the australian guy I met in Siem Reap - and make an appointment for the next day to meet him for my private city tour! With Wolfgang I make up to book the camper the next morning and perhaps reschedule my flight to Santiago.
The next day I get up early to organize everything - to early for australian habits apparently, 'cause everything is still closed. But I call David Robinson, a business friend of my uncle and make a date with him for a beer later that day.
Trying to get a camper on short notice appears more difficult than I thought first, because obviously there are a lot of people going from Sydney to Cairns (like we planed) and dropping the car there and so there are nearly nocars left in Sydney or a least no affordable ones. Wolfgang is not reachable, so I delay these decisions and start wandering around Kings Cross and Elisabeth Bay to kill time until it is time for my "date" with Jono. We're meeting at hyde Park - yeah, there are confusingly lots of places here like in London! He's as nice, polite and funny as I remebered. "Cause I don't know, where to go or what to see at all I leave him the guidance. His suggestion is kind of a walking tour to his favourite places in the city like he used to do, while he was living downtown. Perfect idea for me liking a walk throug the city anyway!
So we start at Hyde Park, going across St. Marys Cathedral and down to the Art Gallery of New South Wales. On that way we stumble acorss some curious things in the park called The Domain, like gigantic matches, one burned, one new, or arock in a tree. The museum itself containes some australian art - which I like fine - some aborigini art - amazing, interesting, different - and some european stuff - boooooooring!
After that we go through the botanical gardens, along flying fox - contaminated trees (little black dots in the picture) down to the eel-infested duck pond.
And there we are right next to th Farm Cave. From here the Opera and the Harbour Bridge are already visible and I take a huge amount of pictures. The way leads up to Mrs. Macquaries Chair on one side, from where I have an astonishing view all over Sydney harbour, the Opera, Harbour Bridge, Fort Denison, The Prime Ministers House and Luna Park.
On the other side Farm Cove ends at the Opera and the Harbour and of course we go there, circle the Opera and stroll through the warfs. Jono shows me the Museum of contemporary Art, but we are both so hungry, that we go for lunch to "the Rocks", one of the oldest and hippest areas around Sydney.
After lunch Jono has to go back to Hyde Park for another appointment. But on the way back he shows me Customs House, the Museum of Sydney, the Sydney Conservatorium, the High Court and the the Mint. And of course the War Memorial in the middle of Hyde Park. All the way today he tells me a lot of things about the city and its buildings and sights. I'm really impressed about that knowledge! And I'm kind of sad to say good bey so soon again, but I hope we meet again!
On my way back I visit varous camper-hire-agencies but without reall success. So I just go to the hostel, take a quick nap before dressing up for my second "date" taody with David.
I'm supposed to meet him at Customs house. Jono had shown me the place earlier, but it appeared to have been the wrong place. But David finds me after a quick phonecall. And like everybody back home told me, David is really nice and we have a great time nd I have my first Victoria Bitter. And an invitation to Davids House for dinner sometime, if I should be in town again before I fly to South Amercia.
Back at the hostel I agree with Wolfgang that we go on camper search again together tomorrow and so we do.
We start as early as possible and after a short look around we manage to book a van for Friday, ten days up to Brisbane. And I also book a three day tour to and on Fraser Island, open date.
Exhilerated as I am, I go down to the harbour, catch a ferry to Manly to enjoy a lazy day at the beach. It's really good to have a day like this once in a while.
Because we have to fill the time till Friday, Wolfgang and I go to the Museum of Sydney together on Thursday. They have some great exhibitions about the history of Sydney as one of the first cities of "european Australi", about the Sydney-Aborginies, the Harbour, the Fort, the Bridge, the Opera - and only now I realise, how good my guided tour with Jono has been, thanks again Mate!
After that I go to the Museum of Contemporart Art while Wolfgang is going to Bondi Beach. At the MCA is one great exhibiton of a japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. Never ever heard of her before, but I really like her art! In the basement is a mixture of australian artists displayed, not so much my kind of thing. So I just go for some lunch down to the harbour, then over to Darling Harbour and via Pitt Street and George Street, Sydneys big shopping streets - if I only had more money and luggage space - back to the hostel.
So, that was Sydney for now. I'll be back for Bondi Beach after my camping tour before I fligh to Chile. If anybody has any suggestion for me, what I have to do or see in the city, what I have missed so far, please feel free to leave a feedback note
Arriving in Perth felt like coming home. I don't know weather is was that there was a familiar face in the crowd at the airport waiting for me or weather it was the fact that nobody was staring at me anymore, just because I'm a white chick.
Anyway, Guenther brought me home to Pat, my own room, my own bath and my own washing machine... It's so great having all these things back after some time of travelling...
All in all, my time in Peth with Pat and Guenter was like being a granddaugther once more, even though all my grandparents are dead. Those two people, barly knowing me just took me in, spoiled me in every way and really made me feeling welcome!
We did some daytours together.
The first one was just a short trip to Kings Park, where one has a great view over the whole city of Perth and the Swan river. And where you can have a look at all kind of native australian plants such as grass boys or boab trees.
The second one was to the Pinnacles 250 km north of Perth. That's kind of a little dessert just behind the coastline with these absurd sandstone pillars all over the place - amazing what nature can do, isn't it!
And we had some great fish'n chips for lunch, my first since my holiday in London...
The next trip I did on my own. Cause lets be honest, it's not all fun for me or for dear Pat and Guenter with their 80 something years to do a city trip together
So I went early morning to the city, enjoyed some "normal" windowshopping and not being stared at all the time - even though I missed it a little, being special and stuff
The city itself is not that big and has not so many sights, so that I finished my tour by midday. But it left time for organising my international driving license...
On Thursday we went to the famous Perth AQWA, a huge aquarium showing 12,000 miles of Australias coastline. In a big tank we wandered throug glass tunnels on the groound of that tank with sharks and stingrays swimming over our heads, turtles lurking around and aa lot of smaller fish peeking in the visitors tunnel. Really impressive! And a fish patting zoo was there as well - who of you has ever touched a ray before??
The next day I was on my own again. After picking up my driving license in Perth I went to Fremantle, a little town in the South, and from there by ferry over to Rottnest Island. This small Island is the refugee for Quokkas, little marsupials - cute things!
I rented snorkeling equipment and wandered along th coast line until I found one little bay, with white sand, turquis water and only two other people there. It felt like paradise!
Well, snorkeling is not jet my thing, I'm too afriad of everything underneath me, but at least I saw some fish and reefs and a lot of seaweat. But I prefer swimmig and lying in the sun - which by the way did not show herself too much that day
On Saturday I went with Guenter to Caversham Park - a mixture of zoo and wildlife park. I saw all kind of marsupials - Kangaroo, Wombats, Koalas, Quokkas, Wanabies, Quollas and Tasmanian devils - a lot of birds and Emus and lizards and was allowed to feed and pat the kangaroos. Totally granddaughter like
On my last day in Perth I dragged Pat and Guenter to Fremantle. We visited the bustling market, the shipwrek and Maritime Museum and had some great fish and chips out on the harbour. I also picked up two bottles of the famous Little creatures - local beer. After a short break back home and a little snooze for the elders we went out to Scarborough beach to watch the sunset. Unfortunately it was a little clouded so that it was no uh and ah breathtaking sunset, but still it was amazing seeing the sun fall into the ocean!
With a Little creatures I finished my stay here in Perth. Ready for Sydney!