"Australia" Australia by martin_nl
Australia Travel Guide: 47,854 reviews and 125,701 photos
I spent a long time in Australia. About 7 months in total. A great experience I have to say!! This page will probably always be in progress. I constantly think back to things I just need to add. While I was travelling in Australia and New Zealand I sent e-mails home and to friends I met along the way. I also posted them here on this page, but I decided to move them to another location. Click here to read my e-mails.
Australia is quite a new nation. At least in it's present form. It was inhabited by the aboriginals for many many years, also before we started having a calendar already 2006 years ago. Just like New Zealand, the first westerners to discover Australia were the Dutch. The Dutch had no interest in the country since it was dry and sandy, and the belief was that there weren't any spices and other things that could be traded. The country was left alone again. Later Abel Tasman 'discovered' Tasmania. Later Tasmania was used by the Brits to send all their convicts there. You can still see the remains of that part of history in Port Arthur. Over the years more and more people seeked asylum in Australia. This is where people had the chance to start a new life. However the westerners never really respected the locals - the Aboriginee. They couldn't and still can't really adjust to the new Australia, because their culture is just too different.
Maybe the worst thing the aboriginals had to experience is the whole strory of the Stolen Generation. This matter still affects the current generation. I suggest you take a look at the film called Rabbit Proof Fence. This is a true story about three girls that were stolen from their parents and travelled all the way back to from where they were taken. While watching this movie please think about the fact that this started in 1918 and only recently finished in 1970!!
Beside this horrible bit of Australian history the country also offered many people a better life. New opportunities, a new job and a way to start all over again. If you look at what they have achieved that is something remarkable. It was a land built up from nothing into a rich and prosperous country. A country with vast lands, beautiful and unique nature and landscapes. Some of the greatest surfing in the world and an easy going way of life. The cities are clean, well planned and offer a lot of space and parks for the people to enjoy. However there is one big problem and that is the drought. It is just the northern most part of the country that has sufficient water since they have a dry and wet season. The southern states have areas where no rain has fallen for years. So save water!
But.... Go to Australia, it's a top country for holidays. The facilities are fantastic and it's simply beautiful! The people are helpful and friendly.
My Australian Travels
After a very long and tiring flight from Amsterdam, with short stopovers in London and Bangkok I finally arrived in Australia. It was early in the morning but of course I had to get a glimpse of the country before going to bed. The weather wasn't too good, but I went to see Circular Quay with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge right away. Not too impressed of the Opera House I went back to the hostel for some sleep. Next day I went again and wow, stunning. You should see the Opera House with the sun shining heavily and with blue skies. Amazing!!
Sydney to Melbourne
Anyway I spend two months in Sydney, worked a bit, spent Christmas and NYE here and did a short trip to the Blue Mountains. I started the year 2004 by renting a car with 2 mates I met in Australia and in 10 days we drove down to Melbourne, following the coast to start with. We passed Jervis Bay and Pebbly Beach. That's when we turned inland to Canberra and the Snowy Mountains, before heading back to the coast again. We followed the Princess Highway again and stopped at places like Lakes Entrance and Wilson's Promontory. In the Dandenong Ranges we drove up to Mount Dandenong for a view of Melbourne and the Dandenong ranges before handing the car back in with Europcar in downtown Melbourne.
Melbourne and Victoria
I stayed quite some time in Melbourne and surroundings. I had the intention to work a bit here too before I would fly to New Zealand. No luck getting a job but I did manage to see a lot. Of course I visited a lot of Melbourne itself. I also went to Phillip Island, Mornington Peninsula, did the Great Ocean Road with VT-member Kate-me and her husband Paul, drove through some of Victoria's least visited areas, and also checked out Ballarat and Bendigo.
When I got back to Melbourne again in April after two months of New Zealand it really was time to work. I found a working hostel in Echuca at the border of Victoria and New South Wales. From here I did various jobs. I picked apples, worked at a wedding, set up an irrigation system at a turf farm, worked at a bar and planted olive trees.
Darwin to Broome
After all this hard work it was time to fly to Darwin. I know it sounds a bit odd to fly there from Melbourne, but my parents also travelled through Australia for about 5 weeks and this was the place I though would be cool to meet up with them. So we met up in Darwin and booked a tour that combined Litchfield and Kakadu. When the tour had finished it was time for my parents to move on again. I couldn't find a job again in Darwin, so together with two girls (one I met in Echuca while working) we rented a campervan. It was a relocation for Kea campers so it was dirt cheap. All we had to do was pay for the insurance and return the campervan in Broome in 5 days. Quite a challenge since there is lots to do along the way, but we accepted the offer. In five days we manage to see Katherine Gorge, Kunnunurra, Duncan Road in the Kimberleys, Geikie Gorge, Derby and we finished in Broome.
Broome to Perth
After spending more than a week in Broome, our ways split again. I joined two other girls (one I met in Darwin) and we drove down to Exmouth. The car had quite a few problems on the way down, so we had to skip a couple of things we wanted to see. Good thing we did, since the car was dead by the ay we got to Exmouth. Here we swam with a whale shark and manta rays, and saw some whales. I did my Padi scuba diving course here and then booked a hop on-hop off bus to Perth. First place I jumped off was Coral Bay. Excellent snorkelling here and also great diving. Here I did my first two dives after the padi course. Then further down to Perth in a few days, visitng Shark Bay and the Pinnacles desert along the way.
Perth to Alice Springs via Adelaide
Again my intention was to find a job in Perth, but somehow I might be to picky or something or the Australians don't like to hire non-english speakers. Whatever the case Perth was great and I met up here with some VT-locals. Also went to Rottnest Island to see the beautiful beaches and the quokkas. After Perth I took the Indian Pacific train to Adelaide. Stayed here for 1 night to go on the Wayward bus to Alice Spings. This tour was absolutely amazing. And a real highlight of my travels Down Under. In 8 days we visited Clare Valley, some small town in SA, Flinders Ranges NP, we drove on the Oodnadatta Outback Track, saw Coober Pedy and did some hikes around Uluru-Kata Tjuta NP and Kings Canyon NP, before arriving in Alice Springs.
Alice Springs to Darwin and back to Sydney
Only spent two days in Alice Springs, but I think there isn't much to do in the city anyway. I booked another Wayward bus trip to Darwin. On the way saw the Devil's Marbles, a petrol station ET style, Daly Waters, Mataranka, Katherine Gorge and Litchfield NP. Another great 4 days! Then flew down to Adelaide again for a Barossa Valley wine tour. Haven't spent any time in Adelaide really, but I don't think I missed out on anything really. Then another flight back to Sydney for my last 4 days in Australia. It was nice to be back again in Sydney, the place where I started, but it was somewhat different. The people I had spent 2 months with weren't there. Sad to leave Australia I flew to Singapore for another month in that region.
More about Australia
I'm still busy building my Australia pages. So far I've done these:
==> Sydney, NSW
==> Nan Tien Temple in Wollongong, NSW
==> Jervis Bay,NSW
==> Pebbly Beach, NSW
==> Canberra, ACT
==> Snowy Mountains, NSW
==> Lakes Entrance, VIC
If you find anything missing or incorrect on my pages please send me an e-mail. All help is appreciated. Also other suggestions or tips are welcome!
- Pros:No worries!
- Cons:Aboriginals aren't respected by many 'new' Australians
- In a nutshell:It's all good mate!
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