Australia

It’s important to point out that I only did the east coast of Australia and the outback so these highlights are based purely what I have experienced when I was there.

Highlight:

Northern Territory

Why?

For it’s uniqueness and the sheer beauty of huge expanses of nothingness. I found it memorising and peaceful. Also because of the people on the tour I took from Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock); I loved sleeping out in swags under the stars, seeing things I just haven’t seen anywhere else on Earth. Believe it or not, the original plan wasn’t to even go there!

Roads in the Aussie outback go on forever

What did you do?

Stayed in Alice Springs; took a tour to Uluru, Kings Canyon and Kata Tjuta. Did the base walk around “The Rock” and hiked in and around the other two – all in the driest of 40 degree Celsius heat; slept in swags in the open air, cooked meals; made fire; had lots of fun.

Lasting Memory?

The flies. They love moisture, don’t they? And they don’t care where it comes from – noses, mouths, eyes and of course sweat glands. As soon as the net comes off your head they appear as if by magic.

 

Highlight:

Byron Bay

Why?

Heavenly beach of Byron Bay

I confess, my impression of Byron has probably been enhanced by the fact that it was my birthday when we were there. The beautifully soft, white sandy beach was right by our hostel; the quaint but busy town was lively at night – populated by loads of backpackers – and the relaxed atmosphere that spread throughout the place was infectious. Wish we’d stayed a bit longer.

What did you do?

Bought some outrageously yellow board shorts, drank lovely bottles of VB beer, lay on the beach, indulged in an all you can eat pasta (best food ever) buffet and had a great night out.

Lasting Memory?

This is a weird and perhaps not the most fascinating of memories but here we go: They serve drinks called Jam Jars in jam jars at a bar/club called Cocomangas. I can’t remember exactly what the drink consisted of but it was sticky and judging by the state of the dance floor, got spilled a lot. Hence we spent much of the night peeling flip flips off the floor as hilarity ensued.

 

Highlight:

Sydney

Why?

I love busy, bustling, thriving cities. If it’s got a beautiful landmarks like a Harbour Bridge, an Opera House, natural oases like botanical gardens, and are just a short boat ride to gorgeous beaches then it doesn’t get much better.

Fireworks over Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge

What did you do?

Loads. Went to Carols in the Domain, a Sydney institution; spent New Year’s Eve sitting on the sunny, grassy banks of Macquarie’s Chair where we saw in the new year overlooking Sydney Opera House and Harbour and got dazzled by a exceptionally stunning firework display; went to watch an A-League soccer match between Sydney and Perth; saw Australia vs South Africa Sydney Cricket Ground; toured the Opera House and went to nearby Bondi, Bronte and Coogee beaches.

Lasting Memory?

There’s a kiosk at the harbour that specialises in the most delicious pies (and other pastries)  possibly on the planet. Crispy pastry, chunky meat fillings, moist interior – perfect in every way. I became quite a regular…

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