Travel Notes 8 - Australia

Travel Notes 8 - Australia

I am now in Fiji, moving onto Tahiti, transiting via the Cook islands.
This means that my Australia report is late. But on the other hand
given there is no dead-line it can't really be late. I will probably
miss out some important details, in rushing this together, but
hopefully the links will make up for them.

My trip in Australia started in Darwin and I then went east towards
Cairns and south towards Sydney, stopping at a number of places along
the way.

** Darwin & Kakadu

I arrived in Darwin and stayed in the YHA. The change in costs between
Australia an Asia was significant and affected the accommadation and
food. Instead of having an affordable room to myself I had to settle
for a dorm room and instead of going out for every meal I suddenly
found myself having to work out how to cook for myself again.

Kakadu is part of Aboriginal land that has been leased to the
Australian government for use as a national park. Because I did not
have my own transport I took a 3 day/2 night package, with a company
called Wilderness adventures, to discover the area. While there I got
to see "Salt Water Crocodiles", do an number of hikes, see waterfalls,
swim in croc-free rock pools and see Aboriginal rock art.

** Darwin to Cairns

I had a few options of getting to Cairns, amongst them was flying,
another was taking the Grayhound bus and yet another was taking an
adventure tour company. I opted for the last option as it allowd me to
discover the area between Darwin and Cairns. We started by swimming in
a natural thermal pool, then visiting the Daly pub, driving along
unsealed roads, and homestead roads, staying in remote accomadation,
swimming in rivers, canoeing through a canyon and simply discovering
what some people describe as desert. It may be a desert in terms of
rain fall, but in certainly isn't in terms of landscapes.

Along the way we crossed a few road-trains (trucks with three
trailers), but there was very little in the way of traffic. When you
read the beginning of the great dividing range you start to see much
more lush vegitation and also a point beyond which road-trains are not
allowed to go. The main crop that you see grown is Sugar Cane, which
is Queensland's primary income.

** Cairns

While at Cairns I took the opportunity to sky-dive and go for a diving
trip to see the great barrier reef. Both were good fun, though the
sky-dive took a bit more hesitation before commitng myself.

Cairns is more of a big town, than a small city. Tourism seems to play
a big part of the town and you don't feel that there is much else.

To go south from Cairns I found someone who was needing an old Ford
Falcon taken down to Brisbane. Together with another person, Arno, who
had responded to the ad we started to make our way down to Brisbane.

** Arlie Beach and the Witsundays

After stopping briefly along the way to visit a museum on the sugar
cane industry we arrived at Arlie Beach. While there I took a day trip
to visit Hamilton Island and the Whitehaven beach, a beach of pure
Silica sand, giving it a white colour.

** Harvey Bay and Fraser Island

The next stop along the way was Harvey Bay, which we used a jumping
off point to see the Fraser Island. Fraser island is a sand island
with rain forest, beautiful lakes and probably Australia's last
pure-bred Dingos. I took a two day one, one night, guided tour of the
island. There we saw, amongst other things, Lake Mckenzie, a beautiful
fresh water lake with shades of blue that you normally only read about
in books; large stretches of beach, which you can't swim from (sharks
and strong current being issues), but is used as highway along the
island; a small sandy desrt; and rain forests.

** Brisbane

When we arrived in Brisbane we returned the car to the owner and moved
into the hostel. While in Brisbane I took time to walk around the
city, visit the Casino, visit a couple of museums and see the end of
the Budhist festival.

Brisbane is a small city with plenty of tall buildings down down. This
is probably the first big city that I have seen since arriving in

** Surfer's Paradise

Travelling down to Sydney I took the Gray Hound bus and stopped, for
four hours, over at Surfer's paradise, on the Gold Coast. Surfer's
Paradise is popular with surfers for its surf, and the town is marked
by its large number of high-rises. I felt that this town had been
rushed together and had the earmark of a city which forgot about
getting a real soul.

** Byron Bay

I spent a couple of days in Byron Bay. While there I took time to walk
to the light house, around town and take a quick three hour surf
lesson. I really didn't put much energy into doing much and just took
things easy.

** Sydney and the Blue Mountains

Amongst other things, while in Sydney I visited my cousins, met up
with a few friends, walked along the "Harbour Bridge", saw the Opera
house and visited the Powerhouse museum. Sydney is a big city and you
get the feeling that the people putting the city together were wanting
to make a new London, since so many names seem to come from there.

While in the area I went with my cousin to see the Blue Mountains and
go for a walk in the forest below. The only problem was that it was
foggy and when we got down to the forest floor, which was below the
cloud level, it was raining.

For a couple of days I went to visit my aunt and uncle who live on a
cattle farm, beyond the blue mountains. One thing to note is that it
is not easy being cattle farmer in the area at the moment, since there
is not much in the way of rain, even if three hours to the east they
getting some.

** Photos

The photos that I have put online can be found at:

written 10 June 2005