23.07.2006 25 °C
I’m back in cold Melbourne and apologies for being so slack and not writing on my blog once during the time I was travelling in Western Australia. But honestly it was really hard to find Internet cafés with decent prices and I just had too much to do and see instead of spending my time in front of a computer.
But here I go and I don’t blame you if you stop reading at a certain point, because this is probably going to be a long, long story. Unfortunately my journey was only five weeks long but I enjoyed almost every minute of it!Maybe you can just browse through the pictures to get a visual impression of it.
After having successfully finished my first semester at Melbourne Uni I took off on my own in the middle of June to travel mainly in Western Australia as I hadn’t been there before. I arrived in Darwin in the middle of the night, but luckily I could stay with Susi & Ken, friends of a good friend of mine in Melbourne. I had only spoken on the phone once to them and we had never met before, but they offered me to stay at their place until I found a way to get across the Kimberley to Broome. I intended to leave Darwin after four days but I got on with them so well that I ended up staying for a whole week! Darwin is a fairly small city and I did not find it particularly interesting when I went there the first time in the wet season (Dec.) a few years ago but this time my stay was quite different. Not only the climate was a lot better (I definitely recommend anybody to go there in the dry season) but also the atmosphere seems to be a lot different. I went to the Mindil Beach markets twice and loved them, Susi & Ken own the crepes stall there and their crepes are really fantastic. Just imagine I was watching a beautiful sunset at the beach eating a banana Nutella crepe. Yummy!
Susi & Ken also lend me their car one day (remember they had only met me for the first time a few days before!) and I drove to Litchfield National Park with a few other backpackers for one day. Usually day trips cost around $ 100 and we not only had no timeframe but just paid $ 25 each. How cool is that!
Anyway, after a week it was time to say goodbye and leave Darwin. It had proven pretty hard to get a lift and I couldn’t afford a $ 1400 tour through the Kimberleys to Broome. I was almost close to buying a cheap car with another backpacker when 4 German girls offered me a lift in their campervan. So we took off and on our first day went to Edith Falls and Katherine Gorge. Quite pretty places. From there we headed towards the Northern Territory/Western Australian border where we had to realize that we couldn’t bring our fresh food across. The quarantine rules are fairly strict and you are not allowed to bring any fresh food. Therefore we spontaneously decided to camp just before the border and had a big feast that night. The next day we made it to Lake Argyle which is Australia’s largest artificial freshwater lake. Impressive! Kununarra, a little town close to it was nice to, especially because the police (!) showed us a beautiful quiet spot where we could camp with our camper for the night for free. Living the gypsy life
Mirima National Park was our next stop and from there we continued to Halls Creek determined to see Wolfe Creek Crater, the second biggest meteorite crater in the world. As we couldn’t drive with the Camper on unsealed road to the Bungle Bungles (a famous site in the Kimberleys) we planned to do a Helicopter flight over the crater.
Arriving in Halls Creek, the closest settlement to the crater we had to realize that flights were too expensive for our budget and were a bit disappointed. But only for a little while as the girls asked some old guy if he could take us to the crater in his 4x4. I know this sounds a bit dodgy, especially for those of you who have seen the movie Wolfe Creek, but it turned out Dennis was a really nice guy who owns a cattle station near by. After we returned from the crater which was fairly boring to my expectations, he offered us to stay on his farm for a night. We had a barbeque in the evening and his station hands were pretty excited to meet some girls for a change . The next morning we got to do some horseback riding, squat biking and could even shot kangaroos with a gun. Just joking! But we had great fun. The next day we drove to Fitzroy Crossing and there went to see beautiful Geikie Gorge. The river cruise we did was conducted by an Aboriginal of the area and he gave us some very interesting background information. After the cruise we bumped into to nice guys both working at the Fitzroy River Lodge. They couldn’t provide us with accommodation but showed us a quarry were we crashed for the night. At least some of us…I went back to the lodge and got to see Australia playing versus Italy on a big screen. It was the first world cup game I got to see and I barely watched it because I was chatting away with a lovely girl from Perth I met in the bar.
The next day we finally arrived in Broome and I decided not to continue the trip with the girls and stay in Broome for a few days. Broome’s alright, I found it really touristy and the amount of traffic is outstanding. I stayed at Cable Beach Backpackers for two nights, which is in a great location (Cable Beach) but overrated and overpriced for my taste.
The last night I stayed at the Last Resort which was described as the party backpackers in town (definitely did not chose it for that reason!) but it turned out to be a lot smaller than CCB and people were a lot friendlier there.
Luckily I had organised myself another lift to Coral Bay and the next morning took off in a 4x4 Campervan with Matt, an Aussie and a nice English couple to our first destination Karijini National Park. I can only recommend it to anybody to go there the gorges and waterfalls are stunning and we spent three excellent days hiking and camping around there. Have to mention though it was f…ing freezing at night (2° degrees) so make sure you take enough blankets and clothes.
On the fourth day in the morning we arrived on the West Coast in tiny Coral Bay.
The guys were heading south from there but I had planned to go north to spend some days diving at Ningaloo Reef in Exmouth. So we pulled up right at the beachfront to have a last breakfast in the sun together when I saw this friendly-looking girl sitting next to us besides her station wagon. I’m totally sure that travelling on your own makes you even more outgoing and I started a little chat with her.
It turned out she was Sandra from Spain travelling from Perth up North and she offered me a lift to Exmouth in the next days. And we’ve been friends ever after
No, honestly we got on like a house on fire, I practiced my Spanish, and we went snorkelling and on a Manta Ray tour in Coral Bay together and 2 days later travelled up North to Exmouth. There I had a lose arrangement to meet up with a Swedish guy I knew from Melbourne but it turned out neither he nor I had Vodafone reception. So while I was thinking about a way to contact him he walks out of the petrol station with to ice creams in his hands as they had a two for one offer. I got one then – what a small world and great coincidence.
The next couple of days Sandra, Hannes and I spend with relaxing in the sun at the beach, snorkelling at Turquoise Bay, diving and just having an awesome time. Ningaloo Reef is stunning and even though I did not get a chance to dive with Whale sharks I did some other amazing diving. And this in warmish water for a change The Navy Pier and Muiron Islands dives I did are definitely one of the best I’ve ever done in my life!
At the campground we met some more really cool people from all over the place and although Exmouth isn’t the most exciting place I had such great time because of all the fantastic people I hung out with. Thanks!
But time to say goodbye came again and I left Exmouth on an Easyrider Bus. This is not your typical Backpacker Tour (I would never do that) but a great way to get from one place to another on the remote West coast. It also turned out to be a cheaper way to hop on and off the bus down to Perth than the Greyhound! Luckily we were also only 5 people on a bus with 21 seats so everyone got their own double seat for themselves. We travelled for three days and I got to see Shark Bay and Monkey Mia. The latter one is known for its dolphins coming to the beach everyday and it was crazy to see all the tourists fighting to feed and see them. I have to admit I find there lovely creatures but I couldn’t care less about them at 8 am in the morning and instead of taking pictures of them I found the pelicans on the beach much more interesting
From Monkey Mia we headed on to Shell Beach (a beach entirely made up by tiny shells!) and Kalbarri National Park. Its gorges are pretty but nothing in comparison to Karijini National Park.
Day three we had a quick stop at the Pinnacles, thousands of huge limestone pillars rising from the shifting yellow sands which was cool and arrived in Perth in the late arvo.
There I was picked up by my friend Emma’s husband Ben and the next days I not only spend with catching up with Emma but also exploring Perth and Fremantle. Em and I hadn’t seen each other for three years and it was excellent to meet up with her and also get to know Ben. Friday I spend roaming around Perth and in the arvo I first went to the Western Australian Museum which is great and then went to the Fremantle markets. Freo, as the locals refer to it is a southern suburb of Perth but almost seems like a little city on its own. It features lots of picturesque old buildings and the excellent markets where you can get fruits and veg at one and shoes, jewellery, and all sorts of other little things. Loved it!
At night Em and Ben took me to Little Creatures, which is a brewery converted into a bar/restaurant. So you actually sit right next to the tanks your beer is coming from. That was awesome and staff there is eccentric in a really positive way.
Saturday Em had a day off and showed me all her favorite places in Perth. We first went to a suburb called Leederville in the morning, checked out some shops, had coffee and cookies before we went to Subiaco next. We checked out some more shops (you gotta be girlie sometimes), had pizza for lunch and then decided we needed some exercise and went for a walk in Kings Park.
This is not only just a park. It so huge that you can actually drive through it and it offers superb views over the city’s five skyscrapers. We strolled around there for a while before Em took me to one of her favorite cafés the Blue deck at Cottesloe Beach. I can almost not think of a better way to have Chocolate mud cake than overlooking a beautiful beach when the sun sets
Compared to Melbourne Perth seriously has some fantastic city beaches. I also loved it that Em took the time to show me the city from a local’s point of view. Cheers for that!
Sunday the fun continued and Em took me outdoors rock-climbing with friends of hers early in the morning at Churchman’s Brock. I had only tried it in the gym before and was quite frightened when I first had to abseil down. Then I remembered bungy jumping, skydiving, white water rafting, and helicopter hiking I had done before and went for it. It was wicked although I ended up with some massive bruises. Bloody beginners…
For Monday I had planned to go to Rottnest Island for the day and it turned out my friend Hannes had meanwhile also arrived in Perth. So we went together and cycled around the Island where no cars are allowed. It was a beautiful day and Rotto (that’s what the locals call it) is a gem with white sand beaches, turquoise water and funny little animals called the quokkas. They look like a crossing between a rat and a kangaroo and you can only find them on the Island.
At night we met up with more people we had met in Exmouth. I definitely couldn’t have spent my last night of holidays in a better way .
P.S.: Sorry, for the countless sunset pictures but that's just what Western Australia is like. Beautiful, and my favourite part of the country. It's great to be home in Melbourne too though