Australia was fun. Sometimes it was so hot, it felt like we were baking and then one day came when it was so cold and raining that the truck wouldn’t start.
Australia is one of the only countries that have marsupials, mammals that have pouches. My favourite is the wallaby, like a kangaroo but smaller and it normally has different markings. I like because it scared Daddy one night in the dark, it touched his hand and he screamed. Wombats are marsupials too but their pouch faces backwards, so the baby doesn’t get all mucky when the mummy is digging holes.
I love Australia, I will be sad to leave it behind. But after all I will still have it in my memory.
It is rather hard to talk about all 9 months, if I told you about what we did everyday you would still be reading this 2 years later.
My favourite was Sovereign Hill and the history of Australia. My least favourite was the first time we went out on the boat in 1770, as everyone was violently ill. We heard the boat actually sank a few months later but everyone was OK. The Solway Lass boat trip in the Whitsundays trip was so much better because it was calm. It was an old fashioned sailing boat, we helped pull up the sails and we had a nice long sail.
I have found one of the most annoying things in Australia is the mosquitoes and the flies. In the Outback, there are several different types flies, there is one that goes in your eyes, nose and mouth. They want to drink the moisture in there. We bought really stupid looking hats to keep them off of our faces.
It has been a wonderful 8 and a half months doing a circuit of the country, it’s hard to summarise the country properly in a few short paragraphs. From the coast to the outback, the scenery is absolutely awe inspiring.
Of course the Aussies themselves, make it a great place too. Friendly; laid back; straight talking; and passionate about their country without being inward looking. Catching up with old friends has also been a joy.
With a shared language; partially shared culture; great food and drink and easy camping (the wikicamp app has even the most remote wild camping spots mapped out) it has been an easy 8 months overlanding. The Aussies are great campers and love being outdoors. There are lots of Grey Nomads (retired Australians) usually in caravans, spending years travelling around the country. In some places like the Kimberleys the travellers must have outnumbered the locals by a thousand to one. You can understand why there are so many people on the road, what a great way to spend your retirement.
They may have long ago got rid of the £10 Pom scheme but pockets of the country seem to be almost entirely populated by recently arrived Brits. I can see why emigrating Down Under is so attractive.
I love the fact that Australians “call a spade, a spade”. Top End, Red Centre all accurately describe their locations. It also applies to products to: “Start Ya Bastard” for a spray to start a car in the cold. Alisha made a list of some of her other favourite place names: Dead Horse Creek, Hangover Bay and Useless Loop.
The differences between the Outback and the Urban areas is distinct. They could be entirely different countries and it is not only the difference between Indigenous and Western cultures. Personally I’ve come to love the Outback over the last few months although I’m still not sure I could live there full time but the sense of space is extraordinary and good for the soul.
We have absolutely loved our 8 months in Australia, I’m sure we will be back.
We are really glad we spent so long in Australia. It’s a fantastic country and there is an amazing amount to see. Looking back for me it’s like three different countries. The first is the major cities (there are only five of them) which are like cosmopolitan international cities you find in many parts of the world. The second is what I would call small town Australia. These reminded me a lot more of England and like small towns anywhere in the world had their only little nuances. And then the third is the Outback which is very different. The Outback is just so vast and the distances between places is huge. The scenery varies from some amazing sights to just flat and boring but you really get the feel of been in the middle of nowhere. Camping under the stars there was amazing.
The scale and size of the Outback defies belief. Whilst most places are extremely remote there is still a tourist infrastructure as many Australians as well as foreigners are out there travelling and camping. And who can blame them when it is so magnificent. To put it in perspective we drove 15,000kms and in that time only passed through 2 towns with a population of more than 40,000. Australia is a huge country but with a low population and even then most of the population lives in the main cities and along the East Coast. To put it in perspective it’s nearly the size of the US but with less than 10per cent of the population.
It is an easy country to travel around and has meant we have started to take things for granted. Camping was easy with a mixture of wild camping, camping in beautiful national parks as well as campgrounds everywhere. Shopping and getting supplies was easy and it was nice to be able to buy some British staples such as pork sausages and marmite.
Each state had its own fantastic stand out features: we loved the Flinders Range in South Australia; the Alps and Great Ocean Road in Victoria; all of Tasmania; Sydney in New South Wales; the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland and the Red Centre in the Northern Territories but if I had to pick my favourite state it would be Western Australia. That state may in some ways be the most “remote” in Australia but it has it all. Great outback up in the Kimberley, the fantastic Ningaloo reef, a wonderful wine region and the most amazing beaches. We also loved Perth, a laid back city with a wonderful setting. Of course it helped that we were so well looked after there.
As we travelled around Australia it was great to meet up with both old and new friends. Australians are very welcoming and friendly and this made our time their even more enjoyable. One thing that amused us as we travelled round was the amount of signs there were telling you what you could or could not do or warning you of something. Sign making must be a very lucrative business in Australia. To be honest with common sense most of them were unnecessary. I think other countries also suffer from this “nanny state” mentality but at least the Australians you meet just laugh at it and are a pretty pragmatic bunch.