Category Archives: Australia 2013

Into the blue

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.

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Just outside Melbourne at Brighton Beach

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.

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The Blue Mountains

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.

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Three Sisters.. and lots of 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.

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Scenic Skyway with a glass bottom

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).

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Sunrise at the Sydney Opera House

From the mountains to the sea

The first sight we visited together was Naracoorte National Park, another world heritage site. The visitor center has a really great little museum showing extinct creatures that have lived in the area several thousands of years ago. The models of marsupial lion, giant goanna and Diprotodon australis (a mixture of koala and grizzly bear) were quite fascinating. The wet cave was not really worth the money, there are way better caves in Germany.

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Diprotodon australis

Next stop were the Grampians, the first landscape we saw in Australia that could actually be called mountains. Almost all of the peaks are covered with forest as most of them do not reach a height of a thousand meters.

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Clara, Rika and I swam in a little pool at the bottom of an ice-cold waterfall and all of a sudden the already cool air seemed to be much warmer…

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Swimming at the McKenzie Falls

After staying one night in the mountains we drove back to the sea. The Great Ocean Road was waiting for us. In the beginning we stopped at every viewing point until we had enough of it. Our
highlights were the 12 Apostles at sunset (with funny penguins) and a spot with dozens of koalas in the trees.

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Wild koala next to the Great Ocean Road

After seeing it all we conclude that it’s better to go the other way around for an increase in awesomeness. However, this impression may also be due to the reason that the weather was cold and gray on the last part of the trip.

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The 12 Apostles at sunset

Germans and locals

After our return to Adelaide we had enough of sandwiches for lunch. Therefore we decided to get some real food. And where do you go for that around Adelaide? Exactly, you head out to Hahndorf. It is a little village that was founded in the 1840s by German immigrants. The houses on main street are mostly made out of stone or in the half-timber house style as found in many parts of Germany.

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Half-timber house in Hahndorf

And of course they have lots of good food. So much of it that we decided to go for lunch and dinner. First we got a cheese platter at the local cheese factory. For dinner we went to the German arms hotel and got a J√§gerschnitzel, a rump steak and of course German wheat beer. Best of all was that they also had a strawberry field in town where you can pick your own (“But only eat one or two!” – “Of course!”).

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The first strawberry picking of the season

The next day we got an invitation from Tanya. Her daughter is going to Germany next year for three months, so she got to try some of her German phrases. Tanya had seen our post for rideshares and offered us to stay at her place. Due to our tight time schedule we were only able to have breakfast – toast and eggs from the chicken in the garden.

We had to leave again pretty quickly to pick up Eva-Maria and Clara, two German backpackers that want to go to Melbourne or Sydney with us. The four of us drove down to Millicent to pick up yet another German girl, Rika.

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Our travel companions for the last days in Australia - Clara, Eva-Maria and Rika

We arrived at half past five, when dinner was still in the making. We were not expecting anything, but it seems like they (distant German relatives from Rika who have been living in Australia for more than 50 years) were expecting us. There was lots of meat, potatoes, salad and good tips for the next few days. We were truly amazed by the Australian hospitality!

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The Australian hospitality at Rika's relatives

The Spirit of the Island

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.

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Lunch at Kennington Bay

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.

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Sandboard stunts

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?

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The new advertising for the Mitsubishi Outlander

The Remarkable Rocks were huge and impressive. The perfect opportunity for some posing!

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Rocks, quite remarkable

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.

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Testing the spirits from Kangaroo Island

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!

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Back to the mainland!

Mixed feelings

We arrived in Adelaide on Thursday. Everything is different, but still similar. Are we still in the same country? The weather is colder (we have to wear sweaters during the day and jackets at night) and there are a lot more people – both on and off the highway.

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The food court inside the Central Market

The place we got via airbnb was not good at all. They had two ferrets (we knew that) and the whole house was smelling like that (we didn’t know). But most of all it was super dirty and not at all like the place we got in Perth. On top of all it was more expensive. We’re glad that we booked only two nights.

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One of the ferrets at our airbnb place

Besides from visiting the central market and the “Mall’s Balls”, we also had a look at Tanundya. It’s an aboriginal institution, which has an art gallery and some performance every day. It was quite interesting, but I wonder why we got to learn about the culture and the dances of the Torres Strait natives (from the islands in the north of Australia) instead of getting to know more about the local Aborigines.

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Malls Balls in downtown Adelaide

We got a new car as well. They didn’t have the size that we booked, so we got an upgrade. So far so good. The new car is quite spacious and has a four wheel drive. However it uses much more gas, especially in the cities.

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Test sleeping our new and spacious car

That’s why we were looking for someone to join us on our travels. First we found a Canadian girl, who obviously had the Canada bonus. But her plans changed. Then there were two German girls. It didn’t work out, but that is ok, because it wasn’t the best match. Nick, Tom and Vivian are coming with us instead. Next destination: Kangaroo Island!