Australia Travel ReportSo I thought that I would sit down and write another long report of my trip to Oz. Turns out that, despite ample time during the summer, I never quite got down to it. Then there were a few people who remarked that travel reports, unless they where from somewhere like... Bhutan, were not really that interesting. So, after the ambitious start with Sydney (see below) I figured that some commented photos would do the trick, too. So here we go:
(Note: All but the Sydney album contain fairly large photos - recommended solution is 1024x768 or higher):
The first album -- Sydney Photos
The Outback! I spent about two weeks here, most of the time with a small 4x4 expedition. Of all the places in Oz, I liked this the best. There is so much space there, freedom! It's hard to imagine when you come from overbuilt Europe, where there is hardly any untouched, wild nature. After a few days, the red dust sits in every crevice you have on your body. I can only imagine the heat in summer (thank God I was there in fall). The flies drove all of us pretty mad, and there are millions of them near cow manure - of which there is a lot in the Outback. But the colors, the sunsets, the horizon... I know I must return some day!
The second album -- Outback Photos
Northern Australia, with Kakadu National Park, is a lot less frequented than the center and the coast. What I remember best are the huge waterfalls, huge Saltwater Crocodiles, and a few other odd creepy-crawlies. And while nine of the ten most poisonous animals on earth live in Australia, and a great many of those up north, it must be the employees of Darwin's service industry who eat them for breakfast. Anyway, if you like the tropics, this is for you!!
The third album -- Northern Australia Photos
Tasmania was the biggest surprise of the trip. I almost skipped it for the East Coast - thankfully I didn't. The little island is so friendly, and so immensely beautiful, that it would have been a crime to miss it for the touristy east. Just have a look at the pictures, and you'll know what I mean. What you can't see there is how warm and hospitable it's people are. For that, you'll have to meet them. *smile*
The fourth album -- Tasmania Photos
Coast Australia - this is where I put all the pictures with "sea-view", from the south to the east. This is what many people go see first when they come to Australia, and there is sure a lot to say for the pretty cities, and the beaches. But what you really shouldn't miss are the coastal rainforrest, like the ones hidden in the hinterland of the Gold Coast. They are magical - literally!
The fifth album -- Coastal Australia Photos
SYDNEY LOVE AFFAIRAh, Sydney! One smart man man once remarked that "once you have been to Sydney, you have been spoiled for any other city in the world."
He is right.
I arrived in Oz's largest city, and instantly fell in love with it -- it's beauty, it's people, it's multi-cultural vibe. Sydney is so hospitable that you feel at home instantly.
Leafy, quiet coffee-shop neighborhoods (Balmain!), a buzzing downtown district, slightly seedy backpacker's quarters,and miles of scenic shoreline - it's all there. The deep, multi-pocketed bay of the harbour gives special charm to the city, and what's really cool about that is that it's still quite possible to live right at the seaside. Get up, have breakfast, go surf, and take the commuter boat to your downtown office - life quality it is, indeed!
It rained continuously the first four days I spent in the city. Usually, that wouldn't bode too well for one's memories. I still fell in love.
Those "friendly people" are probably the most overused tourism acronym in existence when describing Oz, and yet, the "no worries, mate" people make this place. I went home one night with the bus to Balmain suburb, where I had found refuge at my friend's place, and only discovered that I had in fact stepped on the wrong bus, and would have to walk quite a stretch to get home. I asked the driver - a lady driving with one hand, one boot up on the dashboard :-) - where I should get off to get closest to where I needed to go. She looked back in the bus, saw that I was the last remaining passenger, and dazzled me with a "ah, no worries, mate, I'll drop you off"!! Which she did, pretty much in front of my door step. Sydneysiders rock!
The Opera House. So much "Yes, I'm in Sydney" value! Funny if you know that it was highly controversial at the time of it's construction, cost way beyond budget when finally completed, and came close to being cancelled altogether because the main architect pulled out mid-term because of the politics. Imagine - Sydney without the opera! Phew...
Harbor Bridge. Not as recognizable as the opera, though for some reason Sydneysiders seem to think it's just as famous. It was one of the longest suspension bridges of it's time, pretty pricey, too. But the best thing is that you can climb on top of it. In the old days, people just did it "wild": in the cover of night, they scaled the small fence and took each other on romantic, no rope - no net, vertigo-defying dates up on the top arch. Great fun, and free to boot!
Today, some clever businesspeople charge you a whopping 120 A$ for the privilege - in exchange, you can do "The Bridge Climb" in daylight, too, in pretty much any weather, properly roped and secured, complete with commentary, expensive pictures, and certificate.
The "wild climbers" apparently can't scale the new barbed-wire fencing - which is a pity. Ah, commerce.
The harbor bay has another cool side-effect. Because so much of Sydney is touched by it, there are loads of places you can go to by boat! In fact, taking a boat is just about as common as taking a bus, same tickets etc. Trust me, I commuted to the city pretty much every morning from leafy Balmain, and it beats the bus by a WIDE margin! :)
Anyway, it's a wonderful city -- make sure you go see it!