After driving many miles we’ve arrived in Sydney. It is the last part of the journey for Eiko, but not yet for me. The girls are staying a few more days in the area before heading in different directions.
Before we got to explore more of Sydney we decided to take a little detour to the Blue Mountains. They are not real mountains but it looks quite like it. Actually it is a big rock plateau that has eroded over time.
We started off with the Wentworth Falls and the Three Sisters. They are two of the most famous sights in the Blue Mountains and therefore it was way too crowded to enjoy it properly. So we went for different spots which had less visitors.
To our astonishment the Scenic World was one of those attractions. It consists of the Scenic Skyway, Railway, Walkway and Cableway. Each ride takes you to different parts of the cliff – to see it from above or to walk through the ancient rainforest midway down the cliff.
Back in Sydney we were invited to a barbie (=barbecue) by some Australian friends of Clara’s neighbor back in Germany. When we returned to the hostel past midnight it was too hot to go to sleep so instead Eiko and I walked around downtown Sydney and took some nice pictures while waiting for the sunrise (5:40).
We’re back! From Kangaroo Island at least. We spent the last few days there with a group of people we met in Adelaide: Nick, Tom and Vivian.
After taking the (quite overpriced) ferry to the island we drove to one of the lighthouses and got out of the car. The first thing we noticed there was neither the beautiful landscape nor the great weather. It was the flies. This island welcomed us with more flies than we ever encountered. And we already saw lots of them before!
But the island more than made up for this little inconvenience. Since the tour had already started anyways we skipped that part and hurried to the next stop.
At Kensington Bay we found a beautiful spot to have lunch: On top of a big rock, almost surrounded by the sea.
Later we discovered a place called Little Sahara and the name fits very well indeed. After walking for some minutes in the sand we felt like we were in the middle of a desert. And the best thing was that we had a sandboard with us which we had borrowed before. Sandboarding is a bit like snowboarding, just without the snow. And even more complicated. But it was loads of fun and a great day.
We finally had an opportunity to try the four wheel drive capacity of our rental car in Emu Bay. Driving on the beach! We even did some advertising pictures for Mitsubishi. Can we keep the car for that, pleeeease?
The Remarkable Rocks were huge and impressive. The perfect opportunity for some posing!
On our way back we stopped at KIS – Kangaroo Island Spirits. We tested some of the award winning spirits and liquors and they were so good that we even bought some, though not beeing in our usual price range. They also had a good espresso and Afrogato, a combination of ice cream, liquor and coffee.
After some trouble with the ferry we headed back to the mainland towards Nick’s place who invited us to stay there for the night. Sleeping on a real mattress again felt so good!
We spent the last two days discovering the area around Shark Bay.
On our way there, the first stop was at Hamelin Pool, a place where some of the last remaining Stromatolites can be found. They are microorganisms that look like your average stone. But they are much more than that.
Their species evolved more than 3 billion years ago and they were the first organisms to produce oxygen, thus being the enablers for many other life forms.
Our next visit in Shark Bay was an aquarium where we saw some of the local fish in big tanks. The tour guide explained everything really well and we got to see some interesting creatures. But the best part was the shark feeding.
The guide put a large fish at the end of a rope and then let it down into the water. The sharks instantly came there and tried to get it, but he pulled it away every time, explaining that this bait has to last the whole day. But eventually one shark jumped at the bait and got it, still hanging on the rope. After some time he managed to disappear with the bait.
The next day we went to Monkey Mia. People had been giving us so many dates when the feeding of the dolphins was said to occur, that we got confused and decided to be there at the first possibility, 7.45am. This was quite a good decision, as we quickly discovered that there are in fact no set feeding times. They will just wait for the first group of dolphins to appear and then start the feeding.
After waiting for a long long time, finally four dolphins showed up and some people from the crowd (over 150 were watching) were chosen to give fish to the dolphins.
The feeding finished right on time for our boat tour, a cruise on the Aristocat 2. We were almost alone when the ship departed. The only other people were two french girls (who were busy taking photographs of each other during the whole trip) and a french family.
After we helped to set sail we visited a pearls farm, fed some fish, saw lots of dolphins, dugongs and even a big turtle. On our way back, we tried the advertised attraction, “boom netting”. We climbed onto a net behind the ship, hanging slightly in the water. Then the ship started to move. Starting quite slow, it moved faster until the french girls had enough and climbed back on deck.
Then it started again and we encourage the captain to go “Faster! Faster!”. He does. After a while we were almost flying above the water and the waves began to hurt as they hit us. But we had a lot of fun.
After quite a long while even we had enough of it and went back onto the deck as well. Shortly after that we saw the first sharks (the bigger one is 3 metres long!) and were quite happy to be not too close to them any more.
We’ve been in the area around and south of Perth for the last few days. Now we’re heading north and finally have some spare time to recap the things we’ve seen and done so far. I’ll start with our tour to the south of Western Australia.
Our first stop south of Perth is
Busselton, where we visit the Busselton Jetty, the longest pier in the southern hemisphere: Almost 2 km of wood. It has been destroyed more than once by fires, storms and cyclones, but has always been rebuilt. There is even a small train on top of the pier and an underwater observatory at the end, but we just walk down the pier on our own and enjoy the beautiful scenery and the fresh breeze.
While heading further south we encounter the first forest fire. It’s a controlled one but nonetheless there is a lot of smoke and fire right by the side of the road.
When we arrive at Pemberton, the sun has already gone down, but we still need a place to spend the night. So we decide to check out the nearest national park. The road into the national park starts quite wide and surfaced, but soon it transforms into a narrow, bumpy dirt track. We are quite sure that this is not covered by our rental car’s policy, but it is a one way road, so there is no possibility to go back. We even see a kangaroo jumping down the road in front of us and follow it for a while, before it leaves the road again.
Finally we discover the camp site in the pitch black forest. There are even some people around. Who would have thought that?
After a very quiet night, we head to the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, the highest climbable tree in the world! The way up is made of reinforcement bars that are drilled into the tree. On the top, at a height of 75 m, is a viewing platform from where we have a stunning view of the forest.
The next sight – the Tree Top Walk – is almost a bit disappointing. It is only 40 meters high, expensive, quite short and doesn’t even have explanations of the trees and animals you see from up there. It just doesn’t feel so great after having climbed the enormous Bicentennial Tree before.
Yesterday didn’t start so good. My camera got stuck with a “lens error” the day before, so we spent the next day (Monday) looking for a Canon service center. After long trips in the Metro, walking around for hours, following various (mis)directions and telephone calls, we finally gave up at precisely 4:30pm (the time the service center was closing).
We were determined to turn the day around, but luck was still against us. We missed the sunset and were not able to go anywhere while being at the tip of the palm island. Even the beach was closed as it was made of huge rocks to form a giant breakwater.
Luckily we didn’t give up and went to the Dubai Mall for some internet, dinner and Tim Horton’s Iced Cappuccino. I also found a new compact camera that should be easy to sell back in Germany.
After that we decided to do something a lot more enjoyable: Visiting the rooftop bar on top of the Four Points by Sheraton hotel, called Level 43. The view from up there was wonderful and well worth the 10€ per Cocktail – to match the view we got the ‘Skyscraper’ and the ‘Level 43’.