Indian Pacific

10 things not to miss in Australia

Quite simply, I love Australia!

I love Australia!

 

I have been there four times to date, each time doing different things and staying in different parts of the country. There is so much more that I need to see but, in the meantime here is my list of ten things not to miss in Australia.

 

 

Adelaide to Alice in 7 days
Embark on a wonderful adventure and see some of Australia at its best with a trip from South Australia’s capital to Australia’s red centre. Walk the paths of Kings Canyon and sleep under the stars near Uluru. Drive through the opal capital of the world, see huge salt lakes, hike in Wilpena Pound and much, much more. Make some more memories with this fantastic tour.

Website: www.adventuretours.com.au for further information of this tour and many more.

Uluru, Australia

Australia Zoo, Queensland
Australia Zoo is located about an hour north of Brisbane, in Beerwah near the Glasshouse mountains. The zoo is 100 acres and there are opportunities to see some fabulous animals, take guided tours, have animal encounters and a lot more. Australia Zoo is a team of passionate people who want to educate others about animal conservation. A vision that Steve and Terri Irwin have made a reality. A fabulous day out.

Address: 1638 Steve Irwin Way, Beerwah, Queensland 4519
Open: Daily, 9.00am-5.00pm
Admission: Adult $59.00; Child (3-14 years old) $35.00; Family 4 (2 adult + 2 child) $172.00; Family 5 (2 adult + 3 child) $189.00; Pension $47.00; Student; $47.00
Website: www.australiazoo.com.au

Australia Zoo, New South Wales

Barossa Valley, Adelaide
The whole of Australia is famous for its wine but the Barossa Valley is a must see in Adelaide. Barossa is home to more than 550 grape growing families, many with the sixth generation still working the same plot of land, supplying quality grapes to more than 170 wine companies.
There are many tour companies offering a variety of Barossa Valley tours; most include three of four tastings at different wineries, lunch and a drive through the beautiful Adelaide Hills with a stop or two at local attractions, such as the Whispering wall and Menglers lookout point.

Website: www.adelaidetours.travel/tours/barossa-valley to get an idea of what’s on offer.

Barossa Valley, SA
Source: www.ytravelblog.com/barossa-valley-food-wine/

Being a Jillaroo, New South Wales
If, like me, you love horses, an Australian Jillaroo or Jackaroo School is a perfect way to spend a few day in the Australian outback. Learn skills such as horse whispering, sheep shearing and cattle mustering. Look after your own horse for the eleven days and get involved with jobs around the farm. Leconfield is a working farm and you are there to help, so if you are willing to put the effort in then this is definitely an adventure worth doing. Rest assured there will be plenty of laughs along the way and you will come away with some fabulous memories.

Address: Leconfield Jackaroo, Jillaroo School ‘Bimboola’ Kootingal, NSW. Australia 2352
Website: www.leconfield.com

Jillaroo, New South Wales

Blue Mountains, New South Wales
If you are in Sydney a trip to the Blue Mountains is a must-do. The mountain range is truly spectacular and covers an area of some 10,000 square kilometres. It was declared a World Heritage Area by UNESCO in 2000.

Get to Echo Point lookout, in Katoomba, for fabulous views over the mountains and, in particular, the “Three Sisters,” a natural rock formation that stands proud over the Jamison Valley. Another highlight in the area is to travel down to the valley on the scenic railway. This is no ordinary railway. It is the steepest funicular railway in the world. Originally part of the Katoomba mining tramways, constructed between 1878 and 1900, it plunges deep into the valley floor. Once on the valley floor, there are many trails that are popular with hikers and nature lovers.

Website: www.bluemts.com.au for visitor information, how to get there and much more.

Blue Mountains, New South Wales
Source: www.australia.com

Circular Quay, Sydney
Circular Quay is a harbour located in the north of Sydney’s central business district. There are walkways, parks and restaurants around the quay and it’s also home to the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There are also many bars, cafes and restaurants and it’s a popular place for tourists and locals alike who come to enjoy the jazz bands and musicians that play regularly. Circular quay is also the place to go for ferries, trains and buses.

Website: www.sydney.com/destinations/sydney/sydney-city/circular-quay for attractions, events and much more.

Circular Quay, Sydney

Fraser Island, Queensland
Fraser Island was listed as a World Heritage site in 1992. There are many tours to choose from, so choose wisely because there is so much to see. There is a large diversity of habitats; rainforests, eucalyptus woods, mangrove forests, sand dunes and coastal areas. It also hosts a wide range of fauna, from dingoes, whales and birds to the occasional salt water crocodile. It is the biggest sand island in the world. 80% is covered in plants and trees due to the mycorrhizal fungi which occurs naturally and is present in the sand. Visit 75 mile beach and see the Pinnacles and Eli Creek or enjoy one of the island’s 100 or so lakes.

Website: www.fraserisland.net for further information on Fraser Island.

Fraser Island
Source: www.australia.com

Indian Pacific; A Trip Across the Nullabor
The Indian Pacific train is one of the few true transcontinental trains in the world. The route: Three nights and four days via Broken Hill, Adelaide, Cook and Kalgoorlie, one way, 4,352km. Whether you’re journeying from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific or the other way round, enjoy travelling across the Nullarbor Plain, on the longest stretch of straight railway track in the world. It is definitely a trip worth taking.
Fares available include the Gold Service; Sydney-Perth $2529AUD or $2019AUD if booked in advance (based on a single cabin).

Website: www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/trains/the_indian_pacific for everything you need to know about the Indian Pacific.

Indian Pacific, Australia

Noosa Heads, Queensland
Noosa Heads is small town on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. You’ll find boutiques and restaurants which run parallel to the calm waters of Noosa Main Beach. A great way to spend the day is to explore the hiking trails for the chance of seeing local wildlife and wonderful views of the ocean. Or you can spend time relaxing on any of the beautiful beaches in the area.

Website: www.visitnoosa.com.au

Noosa Heads, Queensland

Walpole, Western Australia
When in western Australia, visit Walpole which is famous for its giant Tingle and Karri trees, and one of the best things to do there is go and see the “Valley of the Giants.” The elevated tree top walk is 40 metres high, making for spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Beneath the canopy walk there is also a pathway around the Tingle trees for walkers. There are also Eco tours and cruises and wildlife parks in the area.

Address: Valley of the Giants Rd, Nornalup WA 6333, Australia
Open: Daily, 9.00am-5.00pm
Website: www.valleyofthegiants.com.au

Valley of the Giants, Walpole, WA

Have you been to Australia? What was your favourite place? Or maybe you have a favourite activity that you did. I would love to hear from you. 🙂

 

Save

Save

Travels Round Australia-Perth

The Indian Pacific train is one of the few true transcontinental trains in the world. It runs from Sydney to Perth, covering around 4,000 km from east to west. It takes 3 days. I boarded in Adelaide so the journey would take only 2 days. 2 days on a train? Only in Australia.

Source: http://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/trains/the_indian_pacific/
Source: http://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/trains/the_indian_pacific/

Nothing much happened.The first night was uncomfortable as there was a cold draught which kept waking me up. I had booked a Red Kangaroo seat, which was all I could afford, and I was expecting someone to sit next to me. But once the train started moving, the guard came over and told me she had seated the passenger somewhere else, so I had two seats to stretch out on, but they weren’t quite long enough. Still, it was better than not lying down at all.

The first stop was Cook, located halfway between Sydney and Perth- population 2 people, 26 chooks and 50 million flies. It was a ghost town in the middle of the desert. Apparently, this is the first place the train can stop because, around Maralinga, there is radioactive contamination, from when the British used to do nuclear tests in the 1950s. We had a short time to wander around and buy a postcard or two from the small shop.

Source: http://www.traveljournals.net/pictures/45519.html
Cook (Source: http://www.traveljournals.net/pictures/45519.html)

On its journey, the train crosses the Nullarbor Plain. In Latin the name literally means no trees (nullus-no; arbor-tree.) The scenery is relentless but very dramatic. It is the worlds largest area of limestone bedrock, around 200,000 square kilometres. Huge is not the word.

Source: https://storify.com/angiefran/nullarbor-plain
Source: https://storify.com/angiefran/nullarbor-plain
Nullarbor Plain  Source: https://storify.com/angiefran/nullarbor-plain
Nullarbor Plain
(Source:
https://storify.com/angiefran/nullarbor-plain)

The next stop was Kalgoorlie, which is famous for it’s gold. We had three hours here so, to pass some time, I booked myself on a trip around the town.

Source:  http://www.ozroamer.com.au/experiencea-little-goldrush-fever/

Kalgoorlie (Source:
http://www.ozroamer.com.au/experiencea-little-goldrush-fever/)

We went to the Super Pit, which is Australia’s largest open cut gold mine. It is massive- 3.5 km long, 1.5 km wide and 570 metres deep. So huge it can be seen from space. The pit produces 28 tonnes of gold each year.

Kalgoorlie Super Pit  Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-17/super-pitjpg/4205856
Kalgoorlie Super Pit
(Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-17/super-pitjpg/4205856)

Arriving in Perth, the scenery changes from dramatic, relentless, open desert, to lush greenery with rivers running through the hills. I arrived in Perth early in the morning, where my hosts, Angie and Bec, were waiting for me.

(Source: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/13927754-post2.html)

Perth is the most isolated city in Australia-the next country to the west is South Africa.

After chilling out and relaxing after my mammoth train journey, we drove to the beach so I could see the Indian Ocean. In the distance a huge storm was approaching. The clouds were so black, blacker than I had ever seen. We watched it for ages and the thunder and lightning eventually passed right over us. It was spectacular, made even more so by a tornado hitting the water. Then the rain came, and I have never seen anything like it. On the drive home we couldn’t see a foot in front of us.

The next day we took a trip to Freemantle. A lovely town with the cosmopolitan feel of a big city but with a more relaxed pace. We wandered round the markets and had a look at the shops, stopping off for a drink in one of the many cafes.

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fremantle)
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fremantle)

Afterwards we visited a memorial on a hilltop that overlooks the whole of Perth. The memorial is located on Monument Hill and was erected during the 1920s to commemorate the losses of the First World War. Interestingly, the Fallen Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial is designed so that at dawn, 1914 is illuminated; and at sunset, 1919 is illuminated alluding to the lines in the “Ode of Remembrance”-

“At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them”.

25th April every year is ANZAC Day and on this day the shadows are perfectly aligned.

Fallen Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Source: http://steve.doig.com.au/tag/memorial
Fallen Soldiers and Sailors Memorial (Source: http://steve.doig.com.au/tag/memorial)

Bec and I took a trip to Rottnest Island. We caught the bus to Freemantle, and caught the ferry across to the island. We hired a bicycle each and made our way to the 9.2 inch battery site, which was used to defend Freemantle and Perth during the war. The guide told us how they used the guns, and then took us on a tour of the tunnels underground, which housed the engine room and artillery store. It was really interesting to imagine the men and women down there.

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rottnest_Island)
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rottnest_Island)

The beaches on Rottnest Island are stunning and the water is crystal clear. We cycled around enjoying amazing views from the lighthouse. There are also a few lakes on the island which, due to minerals present in the water, are a hundred times saltier than the sea.

(Source: http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g488366-d3198108-i61496997-Rottnest_Island_Salt_Lakes-Rottnest_Island_Cockburn_Greater_Perth_Western.html)
(Source: http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g488366-d3198108-i61496997-Rottnest_Island_Salt_Lakes-Rottnest_Island_Cockburn_Greater_Perth_Western.html)

We then made our way back to the harbour and had lunch, where we saw a friendly Quokka- a bit like a rat but it is the size of a cat. I am not joking. All in all a fabulous day out and, after a few beers, we took our tired selves home.

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quokka)
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quokka)

BOAT TRIP FROM HELL! I was invited to go on a ladies fishing trip by one of Angie’s friends, Cary, who is sadly no longer with us. He said it was on an awesome boat. He said it would be fun. The boat was far from awesome-it was a typical fishing boat, with none of the luxuries I had imagined. And it was far from fun, believe me.

Cary picked me up at 5.30am and we drove an hour or so north, to Hillarys Boat Harbour, to meet the boat. We left the harbour at 6.45am and it took about an hour and a half to get out to open sea- about 40km. Well, it was OK when the boat was moving, and I was quite enjoying myself, bit like being on a roller coaster. But when it stopped the ocean’s swell caused the boat to pitch at 90 degree angles. And the north easterly winds were making it even more rough and choppy. Trevor, the skipper, had assured us that it would get calmer. He said it would get calm!

Nice and Calm (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillarys_Boat_Harbour)
Nice and Calm
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillarys_Boat_Harbour)

I felt rather queasy but I managed to cast off a few times. By 10am I had to move across the other side of the boat, where I sat and tried to think of anything else but how sick I was feeling. That didn’t work. On board there was a reporter, Steve, from the Fishing WA Magazine, who was doing an article about the trip. He was also feeling a bit green. And a woman, Jackie, who was feeling the same.

Steve suddenly got up from where he was laying and puked over the side. I couldn’t help myself any longer and followed suite, closely followed by Jackie. For four hours this went on, the three of us taking it in turns to throw up. It was awful! I thought it was going to be the longest day in the world and it was!

(Source: http://www.boatus.com/cruising/feelfree/previousarticle.asp?bid=3293)
(Source: http://www.boatus.com/cruising/feelfree/previousarticle.asp?bid=3293)

I felt better at 1.30pm and thought I might try a bit more fishing, but after being flung about and feeling sick again, decided that I would just hang on to the boat instead. Steve didn’t even take any pictures, which he was planning on doing if someone caught a fish.

On the way back to the harbour the sea was like a millpond. Typical. And even though we had felt absolutely awful, and I didn’t catch one little fish, we managed to laugh about it on the way back. You live and learn, and to this day I have never been on a fishing trip again.

My time in Australia was over. I was quite sad to be leaving because I had an amazing time. I had travelled to a lot of different places, and I had seen loads of cool stuff. I had two fantastic months. It’s a trip I will never forget-stored in my memory bank forever. That trip was to set the scene for my life as I know it now.