The End of Our Australian Adventure

After an amazing 12 months of travelling around Australia, sadly it had to come to an end. We started our adventure in Perth, from there we went up the west coast to Monkey Mia and down to Margaret River. We flew to Melbourne, did the Great Ocean road and travelled through to Adelaide and Port Lincoln. From there we drove to Sydney passing through Mildura and Canberra before embarking on a trip up the east coast stopping at Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, Surfers Paradise, Brisbane, Noosa, Rainbow Beach, Hervey Bay, Fraser Island, 1770 Agnes Water, Rockahampton, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Townsville, Magnetic Island and finishing in Cairns diving the Great Barrier Reef.

Now we are settling back to normal life in Birmingham, England and miss Australia in so many ways. Our next step is to find work and then plan some more exciting adventures.

Due to the amount of fun we were having our blog sort of fizzled out but we are hoping to reignite it and maybe even give it a makeover. Some content will be deleted and other bits shall be edited. On top of that hopefully they’ll be a lot of new additions. The blog will no longer become an update for friends and family but a form of help and advice for any people hoping to embark on an adventure similar to ours. We’ll point out the Dos and Don’ts of travelling and the mistakes we made. Reviews of travel agencies, hostels and more.

Let us know if you have any ideas for the blog? What would you like to know?

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Tourists see things, travellers experience them!

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Grampians – Adelaide Roadtrip

We had clocked a fair bit of mileage in our van and we weren’t even half way. On the plus side we have seen some of the most amazing sights and experienced life on the road by ourselves and there would be plenty more to see.
After leaving our campsite we drove in to the Halls Gap town, it is meant to be the biggest town in the Grampians but there just didn’t seem to be much to see or do at the time of our visiting.
We decided to do one of the driving routes to see some of Hall’s Gap lookout points, the route we chose was the Central Grampians Drive.

We drove along Mt Victory Road and took a turning towards the Boroka Lookout, the road being named Mt Difficult Road was a little worrying and it was very windy but Sean did fine driving the van. We parked up and from there it was a short and fairly easy walk to the lookout point. Once we were there we had a really great view of Hall’s Gap and Wonderland Range. In the distance we could see heavy showers from the black clouds and a large lake in between mountains.

Moving onwards we got back on the Mt Victory Road and stopped off at Reed Lookout and walked about half an hour towards the Balconies, a famous rock formation. On the way we saw some strange rock piles which looked like they had been purposely placed there for Aboriginal purposes maybe but the time it must have taken them to do all of that is crazy and it reminded me of a scene from The Blair Witch Project. The Balconies was another picturesque view, the Balconies were rock formations perched on the edge of a mountain side allowing the public to take a step out into them for the best seat in the house. Our friend we had met in Sydney had a photo taken sitting on one of the ledges but I wouldn’t recommend doing it due to the instability of some of these rocks plus there were plenty of warning signs to put me off.

Our next stop was MacKenzie Falls, unfortunately though due to a recent bush fire in the Grampians it was closed off to the public. We had noticed a lot of fire damage along the way and its shocking to see how much and how big they can get, most of the trees were now dead wood and it would take a long time for things to get back to the way they were again.
We passed through a town called Keith before getting to Adelaide and we just had to stop off for a cheeky photo opportunity for our mate back home called Keith, made us giggle. So farewell from Keith and onwards to Adelaide where we were staying at Christies Beach campsite, the site had a nice view of the beach where we watched the sun setting although it was a bit cloudy to really see much and it was pretty cold anyway so we headed back to the van to relax (after doing the van ritual – sorting van, making up the bed, securing all the curtains and trying to get comfy). Next port of call Adelaide CBD.

The Great Ocean Road – Port Campbell-Warrnambool

Day Three:

We saw the Twelve Apostles yesterday but we just wanted to see them again and go quite early to spend a bit longer and enjoy the sunrise peeking over the rock formations. We were so tired that we just missed sunrise but we still got a beautiful view of the Sun pointing west towards the Apostles which saw shadows of the cliffs loom over them and made for some nice photographs.

We had decided the night before we would have to back track towards Cape Otway to check out the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures as it was too late to go when originally planned – no thanks to Jucy. We drove towards the park looking forward to doing some zip line activities as well as the treetops walk and since we had Merlin annual passes it would cost us nothing….wrongo!! We got there and found out it was free for us to do the treetop walk & nature trail but it was around $100 to do the zip line although maybe 25% off, still very pricey so we gave that a miss. The nature trail was ok, a lot of ferns and trees but a few dinosaurs in between, all very old and in need of repair (the raptors had legs missing). We joined the treetops walk which wasn’t amazing but I liked making it move – the older generation did not. Overall we are glad we didn’t have to pay but it we enjoyed being outdoors taking in the natural beauty.

We found a national park close to Otway Fly Treetop Adventures which has a waterfall – Triplet Falls, named apply for its gradient fall. We had a slight incline to walk but we had fun, especially being rewarded with a picturesque view of the waterfall. Some people had took an unofficial detour to get the bottom of the water to have a swim maybe, Sean tried but felt it was a bit steep for me to be comfortable with. However we had some great views from the three levels, it took us about an hour return and was not too strenuous.

We headed forward on the Great Ocean Road, stopping off at a few more monuments near the Twelve Apostles. The coastline between Cape Otway and Port Fairy is a notoriously dangerous stretch of water. In the days of sailing ships more than 80 vessels came to grief on this 120km stretch in just 40 years. The most famous wreck was that of Loch Ard, hence the lookout name; Loch Ard Gorge. This was our favourite lookout on the GOR, it had a beautiful but small beach which was like a cove surrounded by two huge cliffs. These cliffs created some monstrous waves and you could see why people are not allowed to swim these waters, It did not stop some silly women frolicking around like a beached whale though – a local however pulled her out un-amused. I could have stayed here all day but as the tide came in and started washing people’s belongings out to sea (someone lost there iPhone here) we decide to make hast and drive onwards to some more lookout points.

We saw many more along the way, Including Thunder Cave – a name referred to by the noise made by the waves crashing inside the cave, London Bridge – a famous rock formation named recently due to two tourists in the 90s being stranded when rocks collapsed separating the stack to the mainland.  Bay of Islands and Bay of Martyrs were pretty amazing too with a vast sight into the distance of yet more rock stacks. We realised that in years to come the very spot we were standing would one day be another apostle, this was a crazy thought.

As the sun started to decent beyond sight we got back in our van and drove to Warrnambool, the last destination on the Great Ocean Road. We found a campsite to stay overnight which was quite small and Sean thought, very Bogeny (Aussie term for redneck). We cooked some camel burgers, which just tasted like beef, and enjoyed the starry skies.

We loved the GOR and would miss the beauty of the coastal drive especially the fun windy roads and the lookout after lookout, but we were only a quarter of the way into our roadtrip as we had plenty more to see towards Port Lincoln and then inland towards Sydney. For now though we had to catch some zzz’s after a long adventure filled day. Night John boy.

The Great Ocean Road – Melbourne – Anglesea

Day one:

Our destination: Port Lincoln Shark Diving!!
Vehicle of choice: Jucy Rentals
Booked through Peterpans Travel
Duration: Booked for 13 days
Cost: $57 + $25 (insurance) a day

Ever since we started talking about travelling Australia we have always had two things on our bucket lists, dive the Great Barrier Reef and Cage Shark diving. It’s something we would never get the chance to do again and we just love marine life especially the mysterious Great White Shark (white shark). We went straight to Peterpans in Melbourne and knew exactly what we wanted and booked! So we decided to do the Great Ocean Road along the way and check out Adelaide, yes it would be cheaper to just fly over but we would miss out on all the glorious views, locations and memories of doing this journey.

Our day started…..no wait….3 hours later our day started. We woke early aiming to get our car around collection time at 10am and arrived not long after to find a bit of a queue but not much, about 5 people. An hour of waiting on the queue we start getting annoyed as we really should be on the road heading straight for The Twelve Apostles not in some stark collection office. We realise that a few of the people haven’t even com  to collect cars but enquire about booking one so the people waiting to collect can’t because Jucy haven’t got a proper queuing system and not only that the only 2 Jucy staff that seem to be working then take each person outside to see the vehicle, which take another 20 minutes and at this point we’re tapping our feet, shaking our heads and watching the clock. The staff were slow, to busy having conversations about “how sweet your trips going to be” and less time organising and handling the customers that want to be on that sweet trip!

We finally get to the front of the queue and its been 3 hours and our plans for going straight to the apostles is not happening, it would be after sunset by the time we got there and we did not want to miss out on seeing places on the way. The assistant smiles and says “sorry about the wait is everything ok?” We remind her how long we have waited and how we are a day behind now which we are paying for as we speak only to then be told ” sorry about that, it does work out that most out that most of the time people do loose a day but that’s just what happens” she wrote it in the notes for us to mention to HR but that was it. Thanks Jucy for your amazing customer service. NOT.

So day one finally starts after getting supplies for the van. The plan today is to aim for Anglesea where we would find accommodation before starting the Great Ocean Road in the morning. We decide to stop off in Torquay home of Rip Curl and Bells beach where surf competitions take place annually. There wasn’t much in terms of surf for us to watch as it was getting late and the weather quite cold and I’m guessing the sea is even colder. The area was beautiful though and coastline amazing to see, I always find staring out in to the ocean very hypnotic and calming.

We moved on towards Anglesea where we found a camp site for the night, it was quite dark at this point but it was a nice, quiet location and there was loads of space. We parked our van and took a little look around. We were close to all facilities and we had privacy with help of the trees surrounding our space and we were right by the beach too.
The walk to and from the toilets was fun, my feet were black and I creeped myself out walking back in the dark but the showers were great, clean and the cost of $– a night per van was good.

We headed 5 minutes away from reception to grab some food as we weren’t allowed to use our stove on the camp site. We found a pub that served food and went with the kangaroo roast dinner which was delicious although the cook thought he only had to make one dish, I waited and asked the waitress who had to tell him to make mine but it meant Sean had to eat without me. After the meal we called it a night and walked back to the van to plan day two when we heard something in the shadows. We freaked when we saw a massive kangaroo a few meters away from us, it bounced off eventually into the darkness and we were left aware but delighted. After a bad start to the day it ended pleasant and we hoped nothing else would get in our way that would change this.

Perth to Monkey Mia: Day 1- Pinnacles, Jurien Bay, Kalbarri

First off we just want to apologise for the lack of posts if you have been following us, we are still alive and we are still travelling. We have had such a hectic month of planning and stress that we have accumulated a backlog of post updates. Be aware you will be receiving a few posts in a big chunk so that we can get on track.

On with the post….

4 day Monkey Mia Tour

With only a matter of a few weeks left, Sean and I booked a tour through backpackers world travel with a company called Aussie Wanderers. The lady was full of information and helped us decide on the best package for us in terms of cost, time and locations. She was even nice enough to check accommodation in Sydney over New year.

We had originally wanted to go from Perth all the way up to Exmouth for 7days, as we really wanted to do snorkelling in Ningaloo Reef (known for its sea life and beautiful coral reef) but due to the expense at $1000 it was a bit out of our range and since we were planning on doing the Great Barrier Reef we wanted to save for that. Instead we booked a 4 day tour from Perth to Monkey Mia at $575 which is still quite a trip and the itinerary was packed full of things to see and do. The tour included food and accommodation.

On the morning we had to get up pretty early, meeting at arranged pick up. We stopped for a quick coffee to wake up, luckily a little coffee shop called Willys was open and they serve good coffee. All buzzed up we waited for the bus. We met a girl called Josie from Germany, who was on the same tour as us, she was lovely and spoke to her for a while until our bus finally decided to show up (was about half hour late).

We jumped on and found seats together in the back next to Antoine from France. He was quite easy going and once Josiefine joined us, our group was complete. There was 13 of us in total, at the front an older lady called Lainey, a Kiwi house sitting in Australia taking in the sights.
4.5fTRohet, an Israeli lady who became an Australian citizen and was seeing WA. Freya,Robert & Harry, three Chinese Engineer students. Larissa,Jess & Katja three German girls travelling separately. Lindsey, an American girl studying in Perth wanting to see WA and then the 4 of us in the back row. Our driver was called Kelly and she was full of information about wildlife, plants and history.

The bus journey was long and you soon realise how big Australia is. Was glad Sean and I had made friends so quickly otherwise it would have made the journey even longer. We saw a few kangaroos on the way, some unfortunately were dead and pushed off the road but fact is there are more kangaroos in Australia then people.

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First stop on the tour was at Numberg National Park, home to the natural wonders – The Pinnacles. We all squeezed out of the boiling hot bus into the sweltering heat of desert land, phew was it hot and boy were those flys annoying, following us around like a bad smell.

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The pinnacles were a sight to be seen, standing tall in the desert these spires of limestone, formed naturally, cover a vast amount of space and it was quite mesmerizing seeing them all and then Sean goes and gets a picture with a rather phallic looking pinnacle. He would. You would only spend an hour there max as there isn’t much to see after but I’m glad we saw them as not many people can say they have.

Jurien Bay is where we were heading next for lunch so it was back on the hot tin bus. We stopped at a picnic sight with BBQs, it was a really nice place to be, but little did we know that the most gorgeous beach I’ve seen yet was around the corner. Sand, pure white and Sea, so still it could have been mistaken for the sky and not a single person was around, it was as if we had been washed up on an island in the middle of nowhere, I was hoping to get the chance to see this beach again but unfortunately that is one place I will only see again in my dreams.

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After lunch and a bonding session in the park we boarded the bus again. A quick stop for drinks and supplies in Geraldton we passed a lake known for its pink waters, due to the algae (same algea used in the world’s skin creams). Kelly decided she would try and get us to the red cliffs of Kalbarri called red bluff, to get some photos of the sunset. We didn’t quite make sunset but the sight was still photo worthy and we even got a jumping photo on the cliffs which was fun.

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Our final destination of day one was a kalbarri farm stay, I can not remember the name but it was ok, not amazing but the horses and peacocks roaming the farm were nice to see. Facilities were useable but all we cared about right then was to eat and sleep after our long day. Me, Sean, Antoine and Josie all shared a dorm and at lights out I don’t think any of us could be awakened.

To be continued on next post……

Our bucket list for WA

Well we have been here for  weeks now (wow that makes the 6 weeks holidays we had as kid’s seem like nothing). It still doesn’t feel like we are here mainly because we haven’t made our mark in WA just yet, well we do have another 3 months here unless we decide to move on to Melbourne earlier (it all depends on jobs and if we have done all we want to do here).
My job is going well, the extra cash helps pay for some of the stuff we really want to do before we leave.

We are hoping to take a weekend break down towards Margaret River to see some of the wineries, taking full advantage of the wine tasting/beer tasting (think movie: sideways) and see the beaches which are popular with the surfers (I’ll be doing some surfer watching for sure).
If anyone who is reading this has done the whole winery tour in Margaret River, let us know. We would love to hear some stories, reviews, tips etc. We might roadtrip down there sometime next month, be so cool to do some whale watching in Albany? whilst we are heading south between July-October and if possible take a drive to Lucky Bay which is meant to have the whitest sands and clear waters…it is that beautiful I’ve been told even wild kangaroos like to laze on the beach there (must see this to believe!)
http://www.westernaustralia.com/en/Destination/Margaret_River/9009633

Another trip we are hoping to do whilst we are here is up north towards Exmouth and working our way south along the coast past Ningaloo Reef, Coral Bay and Monkey Mia. This is a popular tour destination for travellers due to the fact Ningaloo Reef is one of the few places you can actually swim close to whale sharks!! They migrate here between mid March to end of July so if we do want to do it we have to plan now, however all is not lost as you can also see manta rays, turtles, over 500 species of fish and stunning coral and being a marine enthusiast this is a trip of a lifetime and a good starting point for our PADI open water course. Monkey Mia is a popular beach due to the fact wild dolphins visit close to the shore and although you can’t really touch them as they are wild you can swim close by.

http://www.westernaustralia.com/en/Destination/Ningaloo/9027248

Other stuff we want to check out are:
Rottnest Island (Rotto)- good for surfing, diving, riding bike around & sea lion/whale watching.
Rockingham- an island home to micro penguins (woop!)
Visit Little creatures brewery
Fishing excursion
Tattoo Expo (Guys from NY Ink will he there)
Roller derby!!!

A message to our friends who are keeping up with our blog, thanks for the messages and thoughts. We miss everyone heaps and wish you could all be here, experiencing this adventure too. We know a few people are coming over in the new year which is going to be awesome and we can’t wait but for now here is a picture of us so you don’t forget us haha x
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