Nach unserer Schnorchel-Tour in Coral Bay hatten wir 3 Tage Zeit um wieder Richtung Süden zurück nach Perth zu fahren. Wir legten einen Stopp in “Monkey Mia” ein, einem winzigen Ort und Naturschutzgebiet an der Spitze einer kleinen Halbinsel. Monkey Mia ist berühmt für seine Delphine, die hier schon seit 30 Jahren jeden Vormittag nahe an den Strand ins seichte Wasser kommen um sich ein oder zwei kleine Fische als Snack von den Park-Rangern abzuholen. Sie bekommen nicht mehr, damit sie nicht von den Menschen abhängig werden. Die Delphine kommen wann sie wollen und manchmal kommen sie auch gar nicht – so wie bei uns… 🙁 Zumindest schwammen einige Delphine in Sichtweite vorbei. Als Ausgleich gab’s aber noch Emus und Pelikane aus nächster Nähe zu sehen. Auf dem Rückweg von Monkey Mia hatten wir von einem Aussichtspunkt auf den Klippen einen tollen Blick auf das seichte, klare Wasser der Shark-Bay. Diese Bucht trägt ihren Namen wirklich zu Recht, denn dort herrschte ein reges Treiben: mehrere kleinere Rochen und Riffhaie schwammen gemächlich vorbei. Ein tolles Erlebnis!
Und nach einer letzten Nacht in Perth mussten wir uns auch schon wieder von Australien verabschieden. Mit Zwischenstopp in Sydney ging’s weiter nach Hawaii.
The Ningaloo Reef is famous for one thing in particular – here you can go snorkelling with whalesharks. When we heard that we would be there at the right time for doing that, we didn’t hesitate. We booked a Manta Ray snorkelling tour for the 25th and the Whaleshark tour for the 26th. When we arrived at Coral Bay the sky was cloudy and the small village was overcrowded (still Easter Holidays). The next morning it was still cloudy, but the Manta Ray tour started as scheduled. The tour included three snorkelling stops – one with the Manta Rays. As you can see on the pictures, there was a lot to see and it was really impressive for us, as we had never been to a coral reef before. We swam with three impressive Manta Rays (~4 m wingspan) , who were doing loops in the water to graze for plankton, and we saw some more from the boat. It was a real “Wow-Feeling!! But shortly before we arrived at snorkelling spot number three, it started to rain and the wind strengthened up. We started to freeze on the boat, because this boat was not prepared for such a weather. At the beginning no one of the group was keen to go back into the rough water, but since the skipper said we would stay at this place for some more time to wait if the weather gets better, I said I would go into the water. The funny thing was that the water felt so warm as if jumping into a freshly prepared hot bathing tub. So more people joined me in the water, Eva got in too. Unfortunately the rainfall didn’t stop, but even increased instead, so we arrived completely soaked at our campsite. Luckily the tent stayed dry even after 5h of heavy rain. Rain stopped during nighttime and the sky cleared up. So we could sleep in our tent and we were also optimistic that the whaleshark tour would take place as planned. But unfortunately it rained again the next morning, so the tour was cancelled.
So we have to come back for the whalesharks in a few years…
We liked the Karijini Park that much that we drove again there next day to visit the gorges we weren´t able to do the day before. Again it was absolutely worth it. Every gorge is so special – and so are the pools there. The gorges of this day were a bit tougher to explore because they were very narrow and sometimes we had to wade through water to reach the pool at the end of the gorge. I mean end of the gorge is not 100% right. End of the area you can access without special equipment and without tour guide.
This one was really a highlight on our trip through Western Australia. We drove really, really far (one-way something like 2000km from Perth) to get to this park, but it was worth it. We had a campsite in the town Tom Price, which is about 1h away from the national park. There would have been two campsites at the national park, but they both had only basic facilities (wouldn´t have been that bad) and both were quite exposed to the sun, meaning next to no shadow (that did matter a lot since it had something around 38 degrees during daytime).
So the park faces high temperatures and there is not so much vegetation for shadow – so on the first look it is prairie like we have seen the hundreds of kilometres before. But the Karajini National Park is special because of the gorges where water is running through. At certain areas these rivers change to little lakes and the people call them pools. They call them pools because you can do a short hike and then you can swim there. So 38 degrees at the parking lot, then it gets a bit colder during the hike down to the bottom of the gorge and then it gets very cool as soon as you are in the water. A marvellous experience with a lot of intense colours and drastic changes of the lighting – my camera produced the most time too dark or too bright pictures. At least some of them became reasonable…..
On the coast near Carnarvon you can find a nice natural phenomenon. Here the rocks have a lot of holes and when the waves are moving in the right way something like a Geysir can be seen. The rougher the sea the higher the water goes up.
Next to this great place was a sandy beach that was protected by an Island from the rough sea. That was a perfect snorkling spot. And also a perfect spot to have our Easter meal. Of course the food we had wasn´t even near to the tastiness of the stuff we normally eat at Easter, but what can you do – better than nothing.
The coastline around the town Kalbarri is quite impressive. At the time we visited the lookouts we didn´t know what is awaiting us in Kalbarri itself. Because of the Easter Holidays the town was totally booked out. We were just lucky to get a spot for our tent at the overflow campsite. The campsite offered only basic facilities but still it was expensive to stay there. So, never visit Australia at Easter (and we were told also not for Christmas)
This was the first sightseeing stop after we left Perth with our new rental car (this time we selected a bigger car class and then we were upgraded for free). We liked the place a lot and for my opinion the pictures I took show not even half of the “magic” this place offers to a visitor.
We had a quite nice flight from Alice Springs to Perth, because the weather was good to permit a good view of the ground. The plane also passed Uluru and the Kata Tjuta as an extra. Later on the surface beneath us really started to look like the surface of Mars. Once in a while a mine was in sight. Working here must be a tough job – but a very well paid one as we heard. That is the reason why the cost of living is high in Western Australia. You can compare it with Norway, where the oil industry is the reason for the high cost of living.
… – that’s the amount of kilometers we drove within five and a half days. Doing a car relocation can be pretty stressful, but it is much cheaper than just renting a similar camper for this. Sometimes it felt like a neverending drive, specially in the Outback. So, to give this adventure the credit it deseves, I decided to create the biggest post of this blog up to now.
First thing after Melbourne was the Great Ocean Road. The weather was not so good, but still reasonable. We expected this road to be much more impressive in fact. Only at the end we really could enjoy this detour when we saw the Twelve Apostles (nowadays not 12 anymore) and the London Bridge (partly collapsed too). From the end of the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide it felt like eternity to drive.
We didn’t stop in Adelaide because there was no time and also we were told it is not worth visiting. So again a day with only driving – around 11 hours to reach Coober Pedy. One hour before we reached the town it started raining – it rained a lot. Unbelieveable for us, because we expected hot and dry weather in the Outback. We were told in Coober Pedy that such an intense rainfall that lasts for days happens only every 10 years. Lucky us…. We visited the Old Timers Mine and several underground churches. Tom’s Working Opal mine was flooded and couldn’t be visited. So, we resumed driving on earlier than expected.
Next day we reached the Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park. Weather was dry but with some clouds. When there was a bigger window with no clouds you could feel how strong the sun is. I’d absolutely not recommend to visit this place during summertime. We had something around 27 degrees and that was nice. But the flies are a pest at this place. Most People use hats with a mesh that keeps the flies away from the face. We survived without it, specially because we were told that the amount of flies right now is very low. Uluru was impressive as expected, specially the side you never see on pictures. Pictures are mostly taken from the sunset or the sunrise spots, because then the colour of the rock is more intense. So the backside is not of such an interest, at least for postcards and for travelling magazines. On the backside you can see a gorgeous structure that I would best describe as organic.
We drove also a Little bit further to the Kata Tjuta. Also very impressive as it can be seen on the pictures. Specially the green oases between the rocks were very surprising for us.
Sadly we had only one day at the Uluru and surroundings – but what can you do. The last 500km to Alice Springs felt again like a neverending drive. Main reason – there is nothing. Absolutely nothing – the landscape is most of the time the same and animals are next to never to see. At least we had luck to see Emus, but not a single Kangaroo during this long trip (we saw a lot of warning signs, that’s all).
Alice Springs – not much to say about that town. It’s there and it is a very important settlement for this region. It is a very tidy and good looking town, specially if you have seen Coober Pedy days before. There we saw at least 3 mid-sized Kangaroos in a public park.
After this trip we now have a very good understanding of the dimensions of this country. It was good to do it, despite the exhausting drive.
For Melbourne we had only a short time because we agreed to do a car relocation. So we had a quick look araound for a whole day and prepared ourselves mentally to drive a car within 6 days from Melbourne to Alice Springs – including the detours along the Great Ocean Road and to Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Park.
This time Sydney was only a stop to switch to an other plane and proceed towards Melbourne. This time the plane had a nice route to the airport and so we got some good pictures from downtown as a free bonus.
In Sydney it had around 26 °C – without some wind and sitting or walking direct in the sun it felt like 30 at least.
Our flight to New Zealand was planned to be at 9:30 with Virgin Australia, but carried out by Air New Zealand. So we left the loft were we stayed quite early, but still it was no very cold outside. Specially Walking with our luggage kept us very warm.
At the airport at the check-in we figured out that with our booking through the opodo website was something wrong. We paid Opodo extra Money to book the luggage for us but they didn´t. The room temperature dropped a bit while the bloodpressure rose a bit.
At the service desk they asked us for the flight ticket out of New Zealand. We were wondering why because we were still in the negotiation Phase with the travel agency for Tahiti and the travel Information site of the Austrian ministry for foreign relations aka. “Außenministerium” didn´t say something about that. The woman at the service desk stated clearly, when we don´t have a ticket out of NZ then they are not taking us on this flight. She gave us 45 min and the direction to a travel agency. Room temperature equal to Zero; bloodpressure to the maximum.
We booked hastily a flight from Auckland to Sydney for a more or less suitable time. So, no Tahiti anymore 🙁
At least we could join this flight – temperatures at the plane: too low as always
At least Christchurch welcomed us with sunshine and about 22 °C.
So, what did we learn:
– First of all: do the booking yourself and don´t wait ages until a travel agency is doing something, even if they seem professional.
– Second – check and cross-check info even when it comes from a source that seems reliable
Nach den Nächten im Zelt, in der Natur und Wildnis Tasmaniens war Sydney ein kleiner Kulturschock: von wenigen Menschen zu Menschenmassen. Und wir mittendrin, schwer bepackt (und völlig fertig) mit unseren riesigen Rucksäcken auf dem Weg vom Bahnhof zu unserer Unterkunft. Heiß war’s nebenbei auch noch. Auf den Strassen extrem viele Leute: Einheimische und Touristen aus aller Welt: Geschäftsleute im dunklen Anzug (bei den Temperaturen!!), von Kopf bis Fuß durchgestylte junge Sydneyer (sagt man das so?), jede Menge asiatische Urlauber und natürlich viele Rucksacktouristen (mit oder ohne Sonnenbrand). Der Schock hat aber nicht lange gehalten: Sydney ist eine wunderbare Stadt mit Wohlfühlfaktor, sicher aber auch ein bisschen oberflächlich (oder ein bisschen mehr…): warm und sonnig (zumindest jetzt), sauber (zumindest in den Vierteln in denen wir waren), mit einem guter Kontrast zwischen schön gepflegten alten und ultramodernen Gebäuden und großartigen Hafenvierteln. Und mit jeder Menge braungebrannter Menschen (ähm…alle außer wir…zumindest konnte man sofort sehen, wer Einheimischer war und wer nicht…), durchtrainierter Männer (so viele Waschbrettbäuche sieht man an österreichischen Badeseen nicht mal ansatzweise!!), sportelnder Leute mit ihren persönlichen Fitnesstrainern (zu allen möglichen und unmöglichen Tageszeiten) und knapp bekleideter Mädels (Hotpants sind heuer wieder sehr angesagt!). Hier wird eindeutig ein Körperkult betrieben, den es in der Form in Österreich nicht gibt. Auf der anderen Seite sieht man aber auch viel mehr richtig dicke Leute…was bei dem breiten Angebot an Burgern auch nicht verwunderlich ist. Einen Burger hab ich mir dann auch gegönnt: einen vegetarischen Burger…und zwar leider einen ziemlich grauslichen. Das vegetarische Patty war frittiert und wahrscheinlich fettiger als die Pommes und obwohl ich den Burger nicht komplett aufgegessen hab, lag er mir ziemlich lange im Magen…
Nachdem wir mit einem knappen Budget unterwegs sind (das ist ganz schön gewöhnungsbedürftig!), mussten wir an einigen Ecken sparen. Wir haben in einer Privatwohnung (einem “Loft”, wie nobel) bei einem jungen Pärchen gewohnt. Das war wieder mal das gute alte WG-Feeling, mit seinen Vor- und Nachteilen. Unsere Gastgeber selbst waren zwar etwas reserviert, hatten aber immer wieder Freunde zu Besuch mit denen wir uns super verstanden und unterhalten haben, darunter Holländer, Briten und Australier. Unser Bett war so weich, dass wir fast darin versunken sind (mit entsprechenden Rückenschmerzen…) und ohne Klimaanlage wäre man dort oben (1. Stock im Loft, ohne Fenster) sicher erstickt…
Zweiter Kostenfaktor: Eintritte in Museen und andere Touristen-Attraktionen. (Zum Beispiel kann man für spottbillige 250-300 Dollar p.P. angeseilt im Tross auf die Pfeiler der Sydney-Harbour Bridge spazieren…) Nachdem wir zur Zeit arme Schlucker sind, haben wir das so ziemlich gecancelt, denn die Preise hier sind echt unverschämt. Aber auch ohne Geld gibt’s in Sydney so einiges zu sehen: z.B. im Rahmen eines ausgedehnten Stadtspaziergangs, mit Pausen im botanischen Garten, am Hafen, beim Opera House oder in einem der schönen Parks. Und davon gibt’s in Sydney wirklich viele. Ich hatte das Gefühl, man könnte ganz Sydney durchqueren und dabei immer nur in Parks oder auf Grünflächen unterwegs sein. Und gratis dazu gibt’s jede Menge freilebender Papageien, Kakadus, Ibisse und …. Spinnen in stattlicher Größe, in noch stattlicheren Netzen.
Super und verhältnismäßig billig war außerdem noch das Öffi-Tagesticket, das gilt nämlich auch für die zahlreichen Fähren, mit denen man in andere Stadtviertel oder zu einigen bekannten Stränden fahren kann. Damit spart man sich gleich mal die teure Variante auf einem Touristen Ausflugsboot.
Und am schönsten war es sowieso sich irgendwo auf eine Parkbank zu setzen und die vorbeikommenden Leute zu beobachten…und am allerschönsten: dank fleißigen Einsatzes von Sonnencreme sind wir ohne Sonnenbrand davongekommen (und auch ein bisschen braun geworden, zumindest für unsere Verhältnisse…)!
Mein Fazit: Sonne und Meer sind super, aber ich fühle mich in den Bergen und der Natur daheim!
Today we gave our rental car back (the car carried us 1892km through Tasmania) at the lovely Hobart International Airport and checked in for the flight to Sydney. Flight was nice – carrying or heavy luggage and the fact that the airport trains were out of service was not so nice. At least the busses, that drove instead, were for free 🙂
We are staying again in such an airbnb-found private accomodation. To be honest, the first few hours showed already that a loft, besides that it looks great, has quite some drawbacks……
After the Walls of Jerusalem we visited also Lake Dove in the Cradle Mountain National Park. But here we weren´t so lucky with the weather – some short rain showers cooled us down during our hike around the lake. Our stop for the night was Strahan on the west coast of Tasmania. The town was packed with tourists and so camping was the choice for the night. It nearly rained the whole night – but the tent kept us dry.
Next day, after a short time of no rainfall it started again. So we drove only a few kilometers until we arrived in Queenstown and decided to stay there and look for accommodation. We spent the most of the day in the very nice library of Queenstown (with 3h free WiFi included). After a short search we found an accommodation in a cheap but very nice motel. It really rained the whole day and nearly the whole night.
The next day we had to drive back to Hobart. The weather was ok – a bit colder than we were used to during our time in Tasmania. In Hobart then the temperatures were again back to “normal”. Our last night in Tasmania we spent in a private accommodation in Hobart (we booked that through www.airbnb.com). Was a very nice stay – we had a small flat with a separate entry in the house of our host.
The last 2 days we spent hiking (it is called bushwalking here) in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. We carried our tent, camping mattress, sleeping bags, etc. with us and slept then at a site in the park. A place that would be perfectly described as the middle of nowhere. We were very lucky with the weather – a bit too lucky when I have a look at some areas of my skin that got sunburn (even with using suncream).
BTW: My austrailian cell phone number is +61 (0)411794817. If calling, I suggest to use Skype – that should be cheaper than with all the other possibilities.
The last few days we were driving from Hobart (first stop Mt. Wellington) to Port Arthur (there one night camping), from there up the east coast to the Bay of Fires (one day camping at a free of charge camping site) and finally we arrived on the north coast at Low Head (there one night camping).
We were not so lucky with the weather so we didn´t make a stop at the Wineglass Bay. But nevertheless we saw many nice places. And we saw already a lot of animals – I will show a collection in a seperate blog entry later on.
Sadly I recognized too late that some of the pictures aren´t rotated – but now they are on the server and since the uploading is not so easy due to the limited internet access I keep them that way – I try to do it better next time 😉
By the way – the next entry will take some time because we are entering now a more remote region – and we want to do some hikes.