Monday, July 30, 2012

That's a wrap Australia!

This country and continent is truly blessed with a stunning nature, laid-back people and I had a great time over here. Spent time with friends, meet tons of new people, saw stunning nature and was able to relax properly.
Unfortunately one overpowering impression is appearend about Australia: It is expensive, to expensive.
While I am officially 1 year unemployed I never really worried about money on this trip so far as the cost of living was quite cheap (sometimes even cheaper than living at home). Not so in Australia. Every day you spend about 30$ on food + an average of 60$ on transportation and accommodation.
That said you still won't have anything special other than toast, pasta and be living in a Campervan... if you then want to see special places (e.g. Fraser Island, Whitsundays, Great Barrier Reef, etc.) you easily spend another 150$ per day for organized tours. Which makes an average day on vacation in Australia around 100$ and you haven't lived it up with that. Well well, you only life once I guess, but certainly can say you enjoy life and traveling much more in South-America or South-East Asia if you are not particularly a millionaire :-)

I know that this sounds very whiny while I had a great time here, but I would go as far as recommending to not come here for now and wait till either the exchange rates will get better or prices here in Australia are slowing down as you will enjoy this place even more.
That said, I hope you enjoy the pictures from my Whale-watching trip and clear star nights. Next stop is Alaska, where I arrived just a couple of hours ago :-)

Monday, July 23, 2012

7 weeks in Australia or 1 year unemployed :-)

I had to look up my visa to figure how long I am actually in Australia by now as it seems quite a long time... well it has only been 7 weeks. I am saying only, because I meet tons of other travelers who spend one year or even longer on this continent and I can relate to why.

Though being unlucky with the weather throughout my trip here ( I guess it is the payback for the past 11 months where I have always been lucky ) the nature still "WOWs" me. Today I arrived at the northernmost point of my journey: Cooktown, where Lieutenant Cook, had to settle down for some days to fix his boat before returning to the "known world".

So far I traveled 5736 km all the way from Sydney along Coastlines, the "Hinterland" and Outback up to here and most my time I spent out in the nature with some great jungle hiking, chilling at beautiful beaches and spotting amazing wildlife.
Three of the highlights in the past two weeks were:
- Getting up for the sunrise and breakfast at Trinity Bay and after a workout at the beach I took a dip in the Ocean to cool off when I saw two Dolphins passing by about 150 meters away from me.
- In the middle of nowhere at Cape Tribulation a group of us found a crystal-clear waterhole which was just stunning and refreshing.
- Celebrating my "1 year unemployment".... and what a great year it has been! I guess I can honestly recommend anybody who ever had the wish to go away and see the world to do it... there is nothing to regret about it :-) You only life once and I promise you, you won't wish later in life that you have "worked more" :-)

P.S.: Don't ask me about the picture arranging, this blog tool is driving me crazy !!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The camping experience....

... as mentioned in the last blog-post I never really in my life was a big camping person and except the one or two summer-camps when I was a child I never really camped.

Well this now is not really a 100% camping either as I am not putting up a tent everytime I stop, but it comes quite close to it. I am basically touring Australia in a camper which in the back can be made to a bed. Has a ultra small "kitchen" (gascooker, a prep area and a cooler-box) as well as an even smaller "bathoom" (sink which can be part of the kitchen as well) and thats avout it... A 5  sqm studio so to say.
While I needed the first couple of days to adjust to my new living "situation", which was accompanied by many walks back and forth between camper-vans and campsite- bathrooms and -kitchens (as I had forgotten something about every time I made the trip) it now has grown on me and I am enjoying it. You stop where you fancy. You enjoy views and the weather from the warm inside the camper while outside it is fresh... you are much more flexible in what you are doing.

Helping with camping in general is, that Australia certainly caters to camping people with all their national park camp grounds, rest areas, designated beach areas, etc. I would even go so far to say, Australia is THE "Camping Nation". Even though before I always thought the dutch can't be beaten counting the thousands of camping-trailers on German Autobahns while dutch holidays are on. Well when you pay attention to the camping-vans, camping trailers and offroaders with tents attached on the road here, the dutch are easily outnumbered :-).

As I am going on with camping here are some facts which makes me wonder...
- Why do always gas-station operators know where the best food in town is (they really do, compared to any other establishments like shops, bakeries, police-officers, etc.)
- Why are in every country you travel only the news- and the classic-music stations the ones you can receive everywhere, even in the wildest outback :-) 
- Who the heck invented driving on the left side of the road and why are countries still sticking to it :-)

Enclosed a couple of more snapshots from the diversity of this continent/country. I made my way from Byron Bay, over the "Hinterland", up to Hervey Bay and Fraser Island, then Emerald in the Outback to now arrive in the Whitsundays, which are supposingly stunning white sand beaches... well I have been unlucky with the weather, it is raining today but hopefully clears up tomorrow...