A Travellerspoint blog

Last days in Oz


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Less than 9 days before flight to Auckland, I did a little summary of the trip. I saw Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide - I am a city-dweller, so these places were a must-see to me. I have also been to Tasmania, which had attracted me with its image of wilderness, yet unspoilt by the human interference. I visited Uluru and Alice Springs - most advertised attractions of the Outback.

Being more than happy with the trip so far, there was one disadvantage, which i had not mentioned previously: the weather. It is AWFUL. Tasmania was like Antarctica. Rest of places was better with the temperature - around 20 C, however not something that you would wish for a holiday. And rain keeps following me: in wine regions of Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, in the Outback, on the Bondi beach in Sydney, not to mention Tasmania.

Now with a perspective of visiting the sunny Queensland for few days only, i decided to break with a "go slow" principle, and i prepared a tight schedule for the last week. It appeared to be not only tight with regard to available time, but first of all for my wallet. I gonna need to take some extra hours in January ;)

First of the destinations for "real and sunny" holiday is Fraser Island. The Island itself is a big sand dune, 100km long and up to 200m high, rising from the ocean off the Australia coast.
The main attraction is driving through the island, being a big pile of sand. Only 4WD allowed. The eastern beach, 100km long, is not popular with swimmers, due of sharks and strong currents. What do Australians do then, in order not to waste a nice beach? They put a speed limit sign (80kph) and declare the beach to be a motorway. Heaps of fun driving it. In one section the beach/highway serves also as an airstrip for small tourist planes.

The tour was unforgettable thanks to the guide, Peter, who appeared to be a one-man-orchestra. He drives a 4WD bus through sand, keeps telling one story after another, watches out for dingo footprints and all this without losing the direct eye contact with tour participants, who seat - obviously - behind the driver seat. As he says: "Because I care".

Peter spent incomparably more time than me on the Fraser Island. Therefore, I think his pictures would tell you much more than mine: the Living Gallery.

Next stop is Airlie Beach in the north, a famous place for its sailing trips.

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Posted by wedrowycz 02:06 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Very brief: Sydney


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The city just fulfiled the expectations: it is a place to live. Huge central district bordering the Harbour, very picturesque particularly by night. The Opera - one must not forget the Opera - may disappoint a bit. It is not that big as you would imagine looking in the pictures, and its rooftop colour is not snowy white, but - under some particular sunlight - almost yellow.
The disappointment is rewarded by the view of the Darling Harbour, with its shores turned into walking precint with many cafes, bordering the Chinese Garden.

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Posted by wedrowycz 01:55 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Detour


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Travelling Greyhound, instead of taking flights has an advantage: you do stopovers when you like. The last one brought me to Thredbo, a mountain Village in Australian Alps, from where the footpath to Mt Kosciuszko starts. Unfortunately, it is end of winter here - and in the mountains is like mid of winter - so any attempt to climb was impossible. Unless you have really proper equipment, for some thds $.

But i just place this note, to let you know that highest mountain in Australia is named after a Polish person ;)

Posted by wedrowycz 02:17 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Chill-out time


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Despite plenty of good advice that i received, about cheap flight connections, i took the harder way of travelling and choose to go between Alice Springs and Sydney on Greyhound bus. This multi-day and multi-night ride has some advantages: seeing the Outback in heavy rain, tasting Australian fastfood in the tiny road stations and also time for reading. By chance, i have also discovered a lovely town of Mildura - if i ever be sentenced for life in a town under 50k population, i choose Mildura, in the region that calls itself Sunraysia.

Off to Canberra in few hrs.

Posted by wedrowycz 21:28 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Another shitty story


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Still under the impression of The Outback.

So you probably heard a lot about uniqueness of Australian animals that had evolved in isolation from the rest of the world, and therefore have developed strange features not met anywhere else. I spare you talk about roos (pouches) or mammals laying eggs. Now, take a look at this one.

A skink, known as shingleback, developed truely extraordinary defence mechanism. First, its tail is short and closely resembles the head. Therefore, when under attack, the creature bends its body to place the tail next to the head, and pretends that there are "two of them" instead of one. There's a chance (actuarial assessment of 50%) that predator would choose the wrong "head".

But this is only the start. If the attacker catches the tail, well..., bad luck. Shingle-backs produce a.... toxic poo which they ...hmmm, extract right into predators mouth. Hope you are not at your breakfast when reading it ;).

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Posted by wedrowycz 21:04 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Doing business in Australia


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They are smart. Not only can day describe every rock or every sand dune as absolutely must-see unique tourist attraction (no, i don't mean Uluru here, Uluru is ok), but they also can sell you everything they happen to find on the ground. Like animal droppings ;)

Take a look at the photo.

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BTW, in another shop i have found an item named "Bullshit" on sale.

Posted by wedrowycz 20:53 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The Red Centre


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No much talking, just a few photos. Should speak for themselves.

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Posted by wedrowycz 21:14 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

In brief: Adelaide


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First two days i was in love with the city, placing in on my favourite list second only to Melbourne. A good reason was the nightlife during the weekend.

On the following days, first impression became a bit cooled. Nice, true, but not marvellous. A great disappointment came with public transport. Melbourne, my previous stop, is rated to have one of the best public transport systems in the world (true!). Moving to Adelaide was then like a shortest ride from heaven to hell. I cannot even tell if services in Adelaide are really bad. I simply do not know - it seems that any information on the public transport (timetables, tickets, maps) is considered TOP SECRET in Adelaide. Now add to that waiting for a bus that - according to some rather encrypted timetable - should come once per hour, and of course, does not come at the stated time, which makes you walk another 6kms to catch another one.

Still Adelaide is a nice place to stay for a day or two. It is a base for trips, one- or multi-day. Destinations are e.g. famous Barossa Valley, the capital of Australian wines, established by German settlers, then McLaren Vale, Kangaroo Island, and of course The Outback.

And another thing: if you ever stay in Adelaide, take Hostel 109. No other. Guaranteed.

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Posted by wedrowycz 20:46 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Great Ocean Ride


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I have still not decided how i'd like to move around Australia. Tasmania was with rented car - ok, but the cost. As i had to move from Melbourne to Adelaide, almost 1000km, great part of which over famous Great Ocean Road, i thought that i'll try out one of hundreds of organised tour offers.

The tour was an ultimate fun, however not due to its programme, but thanks to the tour guide. A wonderfully inexperienced and unorganised girl, desperately trying to master the skill of driving a minibus with a trailer. She was giving her best, undoubtedly. That however, did not prevent her from driving into some "no-through" streets, where making an U-turn proved to be a real challenge, nor from pouring petrol into diesel car (come on, only 4 litres - these dissolved into 60l diesel and the motor only choked once or twice).

I think i'll try one another tour ;)

And below, one of the most photographed places in Australia, second only to Uluru - the Twelve Apostels Rocks on the Great Ocean Road.

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Posted by wedrowycz 03:20 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

In brief: Melbourne


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I stayed there altogether 5 days and I was like enchanted. I have not seen Sydney yet, but I think if I could vote for the capital of Australia, my choice would certainly be Melbourne (why should we forget about Canberra - see Bryson's "Down Under", in short: the dullest city in the world).

Melbourne's life is organised around several precincts (a district or rather a shopping streets). Some of them are exclusively for shopping, other are occupied by restaurants and bars, which become a centre of Mel nightlife). Most known of them are Chinese quarter, Lygon street (Italian quarter), St Kilda, Sth Melbourne. You explore the city jumping between precincts, travelling within few minutes from little Italy to little China and then to coastal beach esplanade. In between, i also found a Polish confectionery, serving original Polish-style donuts.

And after the exploratory walk you may choose to pay a visit to Melbourne Aquarium (penguins & sharks), Crown Casino, Melbourne Cricket Ground stadium (bad luck, they did not play any game at the time of my visit), etc, etc..

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Posted by wedrowycz 02:26 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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