Travel Memories of the Great Ocean Road Drive and Coorong NP
So how did you spend Christmas this year ? When I used to live in Germany Christmas to me meant first of all “going home” and enjoying a family gathering. Also this year as usual I had a peaceful Christmas time at home with my family.
I also spent some time contemplating what happened during the year and by doing something I particularly like: browsing through old photo albums.
By looking at the photographs I took during my travels my memories of my first solo trip in Australia came back filled with melancholic feelings, 7 years have already passed by! since then I was lucky to spend a few months again in 2008. I did not want to cram too much in this short post, therefore I have decided to split my australian travel memories into a few posts, picking a nice selection that can highlight the places and the experiences I most liked in my OZ travel.
For this first part of my travel memories of my Trips in Australia I have picked one of my fave road trips: the GOR.
Travel Memories of the Great Ocean Road Trip
It was April 2004. After the first 20 days travelling completely on my own, I decided to join a small group of people on a 3 1/2 day tour from Melbourne to Adelaide along the GOR. The Great Ocean Road is estimated to be one of the most beautiful coastal drives in the world. And it honestly is amazing. Not only for the stunning views over the 7 visible apostels in the sea, the golden rock formations, the breathtaking cliffs and endless horizont, the popular surf beaches and so on. The most amazing thing is the diversity of the landscape you get to see here. There are a couple of national parks that ought to be seen, these are: the Otway National Park and the Port Campbell National Park. In the Otway National Park you can immerse yourself in a little fragment of rainforest which survived millions of years !
I would recommend spending one night in a lovely place like Apollo Bay, or Lorne, or futher south in Port Campbell. If you are on a tight schedule and want to see the Great Ocean Road on one day, then make sure you leave early in the morning. The ride is about 300km one way.
If you have time and want to reach Adelaide you can drive for approx further 600 km. On the way to Adelaide you can make a stop for a visit to the Coorong National Park, a beautiful marine and coastal national park. Beware of insects and flies! Bring with you a strong insect repellent spray, I did not have any with me on that trip and the day after I woke up and thought I had chicken pox 🙂
If you want to learn more about check out the coastal drive along the Great Ocean Road.
Travel Memories of the Australian Animals on Kangaroo Islands
One of the reasons why I love OZ and keep going back to Australia is the Australian nature and the Australian wildlife. This is the second post about the travel memories of my first Trips in Australia.
If you love animals and birds, then South Australia and especially the Kangaroo Island will spoil you with its awesome native australian wildlife. On the island you will spot lots of koalas on trees, sea lions at Seal Bay. Koalas and otther species have been introduced to the Kangaroo Island to ensure the survival of these species.
More animals to be found around this real “treasury island” are: echidnas, tamar wallabies, goannas, possums, platypuses. Birdlife lovers can enjoy the little penguins at the island marine centre in Kingscote, or in Penneshaw, see pelicans at the Pelican Lagoon at American River and spot black cockatoos, black swans, emus, galahs and many more birds.
If you want to visit Kangaroo Island you should stay there at least for 1 night. From Adelaide the car ride takes about 100km to reach the coast where in Cape Jervis you take the ferry to KI. The ferry is operated by Kangaroo Island Sealink, and takes about 1 hour to Pennneshaw.
My travel tip from my personal experience: take the afternoon ferry. In the late evening join a penguin night tour at the Penneshaw Penguin Centre. Stay overnight in Penneshaw and visit the island on the following day. You can either hire a car and drive around yourself or you can join one of the myriad of Kangaroo Island tours: from daily tours to 1-3 days tour. Your choice!
The picture you see above is a shot of the Remarkable Rocks on Kangaroo Island. These natural rock formations shaped by the weather are to be seen on the east of Cape du Coudeic in the southern part of the Flinders Chase National Park (one of the most impressive national parks in South Australia). These rocks are large granite boulders naturally sculpted into terrific shapes. Indeed a very inspiring place for taking photographs and for painting too!
And if you have not got enough of watching wildlife on Kangaroo Island you can return to the mainland and head to the Adelaide Hills where you can find some awesome wildflife parks like the Cleland Wildlife Park.
Here below some more pictures I took during my first australian trip in 2004.
Get close to kangaroos and give them a stroke
you can also have your photo taken with a koala: if you do so, be careful no to stroke them on the head, they do not like it and they may scratch you.
If you are interested in Australian Animals you may want to read this posts too.
Travel memories of my trips in the Australian Outback
Australia’s outback and its stunning landmarks make of the 5. continent such a desired travel destination to suit all travel tastes and lifestyles. The Australian Outback belongs to my best memories of my trips in Australia. What most attracts me of the Australian Outback is
- its bright colours, its strong light, its thin and pure air, its rough contour, its empty space its spirit, its seclusion.
- its contrasts, the bright red soil and the deep blue of the sky, the endless horizont, the long walks over sandy and rocky dunes, the immense and the greatness of solitude.
- its australian culture and its people. Being a multicultural person, I love Australia for its cultural background, the colourful mixed origin of its population, its aboriginal culture and its profound freedom values.
During my first solo trip around Australia in 2004 I had planned a week in the Red Centre of Australia. But as huge as this area is, I had to make a choice. Since I was travelling by bus I decided to make a stop at Cober Pedy, and from there I headed north to Alice Springs, to then turn south east to reach the Yulara Resort and visit Uluru and Kata Tjuta.
Eventually on my second trip to the Australian Red Centre I spent some more time in Alice Springs and the Western Mc Donnel Ranges. Kings Canyon and some more parts are still missing, but are very high on my list 😉 Here below you can view some pictures of these beautiful natural spectacular.
This outback area shows a stunning beauty and there is indeed so much to see and do, from a variety of outdoor activities like hiking, bushwalking, camping, swimming to cultural and aboriginal guided tours to self guided tours. You need at least 5-6 days to fully enjoy the red centre and savour the beauty and peacefulness of the australian outback.
What you need is time, good weather and tranquility. These places cannot be visited among loud crowds of people getting off and on the huge buses, trying to make here and there a pic and so on. I personally would never go to the Red Centre in July-August, these two months are simply crazy, packed with thousands of people.
Yes the true blue of the sky is real !! Stunning isn’t it ? The tree branches you see in the pic are of a “ghost gum tree“! What’s a ghost gum tree ? It’s a gum tree whit a white trunk, the bark naturally peels off to make the trunk stands out in the blue sky as a real ghost!
If you can travel to Uluru off season, and avoid public holidays, then you will be rewarded with some fo the most thrilling experience ever. The Best Time to visit Uluru is March-April or Sept-October.
If you are interested in reading more about the Australian Outback you may want to read my The Red Centre Guide
Travel Memories of Sydney and its beautiful surrounds
Sydney is a truly fascinating city and is also my favorite city in Australia. Sydney was the first place I visited when I travelled to OZ on my first trip in 2004. Before leaving back to Europe I also had the opportunity to spend some more time there. I really enjoyed Sydney’s distinctive flair, what I like of Sydney is its gorgeous natural setting, the great walks, its beaches and its surrounds.
I remember arriving over a weekend, jetlagged, wandering off the beautiful parks and The Rocks Markets, filling my lungs with fresh air, trying to adjust quickly to the southern hemisphere and bring my system into shape after a heavy long flight journey….this is part 4 of travel memories from my trips in Australia.
What can you do and see in Sydney?
There are a lot of things to do in Sydney, really to suit all tastes and interests! Sydney is a place you can enjoy all year round, in each season and with any weather conditions. On my second trip in 2008 I had booked 10 days but the weather was not on my side, it rained for most of the time, nonetheless it was not so bad at all, I had the chance to discover great places in the the city and had much fun. Sydney is that kind of city I can recommend to anyone who is on a tight time frame. You can manage to see much and the variety of places and things you can do ist just impressive. For sure you will not get bored in Sydney. At this stage I will not give you any list of things to do in Sydney, for this you can check out this other page with my Sydney Travel Guide.
What about Sydney and its surrounds?
As said before, you can really focus your holiday on Sydney and its Surrounds. The variety of things you can do and see is huge. Either travelling solo or with friends or family, Sydney’s area is the ideal starting place for any type of travel in Australia.
Here below just a few of my favorite things I keep doing whenever I am in Sydney, it’s just a small part of the endless list of things you can do in Sydney. Have a look and see if this can be a good tip for you:
- The Spit-to Manly-Walk – this is a 10km beautiful bushwalk along the shoreline of Sydney Harbour. Along your way you come to a couple of lookouts with wonderful views over Middle Harbour and the city of Sydney. It’s ideal if you look for some excercise or just love walking like I do. Here you have a couple of pics to get an idea.
Can you spot the lizard on the tree trunk ?
- The Cogee-Bronte-Bondi-Walk – this is another great coastal walk, which you can do daytime. You can reach Bronte or Cogee by bus fromt Sydney city centre and from there walk along the path, stop at a few lookouts and relish the view and the tiny little bays. The Bronte-Bondi is a short nice walk. Bondi is the highlight of Sydney, is a nice place but preatty busy especially over weekends.
- The Sydney Northern Beaches – this is another part of the town worth visiting. You need a whole day to see them, starting from Manly you can stop at all the spectacular beaches, up to Whale and Palm beach. Definitely worth your time! If you wish to read more about the Sydney Beaches click on the link.
- The Blue Mountains – to fully enjoy them you need to spend at least 1 night there. But if you ar on a tight time, make sure you leave early in the morning, there are daily trains which leave from the Sydney Central Station. Once you are there you will immerse yourself in one of the most beautiful national parks in Australia. Plenty of walking trail for any level of hiking expertise.
Can you see the kookuburra on the blue gum branch ?
- The Royal National Park – another great national park, south of Sydney. You can reach Cronulla by train too and spend the whole day day, take the ferry and cross over to Bundeena and start walking through the national park. There some good aboriginal self guided walks. You can, stay overnight and do some camping too!
- The South East Coast with Wollolong and Jervish Bay – if you hire a car, you can take advantage and see some more beautiful coastal scenery and stop at Wollolong and reach Jervish Bay. If you are there at the right season you can spot dolphins and do some wonderful kayaking too. Curious about the south east costal drive from Sydney, click on the link.
So this is just a short list of my favorite things to do in Sydney. In the city centre there are a few things you should not miss out, like visiting the Opera house (inside) and if you are not afraid of heights, then the Harbour Bridge Climb can be a breathtaking experience! Unfourtunately nothing for me, cause I am so afraid of heights!
Want to see Sydney from the air ?
Fun things to do in Sydney
Tales from my Tasmania Travel Memories
Tasmania is where I started my second trip in Australia in 2008. Tasmania is a destination of its own! If you plan a trip to Tasmania you need first of all time and also to pick the right time of the year: the summer months, to fully enjoy this beautiful and diverse island. The winter in Tasmania is freaking cold. Here you can read about my travel memories of my trip in Tasmania
I had booked my flight from Europe to Melbourne for middle of January, so as to be able to fly into Hobart a few days afterwards and spend there 10 days. December-February is the best period of the year to visit Tasmania; the weather is lovely with warm, sunny days, but it is obviously also the busiest time, so make sure you make your bookings for your Tasmania holiday a good time ahead.
You can reach the only australian state island either with the ferry to Tasmania which departs from Melbourne. Or if you prefer you can take a 40minutes flight Melbourne Hobart, the capital of this remote land at the very edge of the world! A combination of both: Hobart flight on one way and the Tasmania Ferry on the other an be also a good idea.
I spent 10 days in Tasmania and split my time in 3 days on my own, eventually I decided to join a 5day tasmania tour and finally stayed 2 more days in Hobart on my own. Although I was overall happy with the tour, I am not really a tour person and sometimes found it pretty limiting, especially with the time available for visiting places. Tasmania is easy to get about, I would travel around by car, which is probably the best option if you have a travel companion. if you instead want to travel tasmania solo, then I would use the tasmanian public transportation, which offers a good bus network across the island or maybe look for a travel companion to share the car drive.
What I have seen in my Tasmania Trip
Tasmania has truly the most diverse landscape you can imagine of. The only thing you will not see in Tasmania is the Outback! It is the only australian state with no outback areas! Tasmania is a true paradise for hikers and nature lovers. Many people fly from all over the world to join Tasmania tours and spend some hiking escape weeks in the the tasmanian pristine wilderness areas! The diversity and the beauty of Tasmania enviroment is simply stunning.
If you travel from oversea to visit Tasmania, consider at least 1 week to be able to see some of the island. And if you come over here and want to do some hiking you definitely cannot skip the awesome 80km Overland Track. Bear in mind that this hiking track will take 6 days of your time.
What I have seen in Tasmania
Among the top things to do in Tasmania the Wilderness Area with the Mt. Field National Park, the Cradle Mountain National Park and the Franklin Gordon Wild River National Park along with the eastern coast, Bay of Fires and the Frecynet National Park rank high in the list, however the western coast is also magnificient and definitely less touristy. The historic Port Arthur and Hobart with Salamanca Markets are also two main Tasmania tourist attractions. If you have some time to spend in Hobart do no miss out on the beautiful Mt. Wellington hike. From the top ot the mount wellington you can enjoy a gorgeous view over the tasmanian capital. A must do thing on a clear sunny day.
Travel memories of the Tasmanian devil
Tasmania is known for its unique wildlife and among all nature creatures you will be able to spot Wombats, Echidnas, the Tasmanian Devil, lots of beautiful birds all over the places. The photos below with the 4 tasmanian devils was taken in one wildlife sanctuary in the north east of Tasmania.
Travel memories of “Priscilla Princess of the Paddock”
On the way from Launceston to the eastern coast we stopped at a gorgeous farm where you can get taste a delicious fresh bio-homemade-icecream in the most unique flavors (local fruits and veg ). This is really a must stop if you are travelling by car….public transportation do not take you there…but you can ask any tourist information office and they will know. Next to the lovely icecream the biggest attraction of this place is Priscilla Princess!
I hope my travel memories of Tasmania can inspire you to plan a trip to Tasmania soon. Let me have your feedback about your experience. Click here to go to Tasmania Travel Guide
Want to learn more about myTravel Memories of my Travels around and across Australia? Check out the links below.