Okay, so I’ve been completely rubbish at updating my blog recently. The last post I wrote was on Fraser Island which is were I was months ago! And since then I’ve covered a lot of ground.
I’ve travelled up the East Coast to the Whitsundays and then on to Cairns. I’ve gone sailing, snorkelling, played around in Queensland waterholes, and scuba dived on the Great Barrier Reef. From Cairns I drove 6000kms through the Outback, stopping at Ayers Rock, The Olgas, and Kings Canyon, to then continue down the middle through the strange town of Coober Pedy and on to Adelaide. It’s all been fast paced but amazing.
In Adelaide I experienced an adrenaline fuelled week of panic, running around like a headless chicken as I tried to sell the campervan, organise my surfboards and belongings to ship home, and complete what felt like a million other tasks. By the skin of my teeth I managed to get everything done, kinda.
Right now I’m sitting in Melbourne Airport about to board a flight to Singapore. After 15 months I’m saying goodbye to Australia, leaving from the same airport I arrived in, and setting off on my 4 month South East Asia adventure.
I’m feeling a mixture of nervousness and excitement but at the same time I don’t think it’s really sunk in that I’m leaving!
So hopefully over the next few weeks I’ll have some time to get up-to-date with my blog and write about all those things I’ve done since Fraser, as well as some new stuff on Asia!
We said goodbye to our HelpX family and drove to Brisbane airport to catch a flight to Adelaide. We were going to see Nick, our Aussie friend, to celebrate his 30th birthday with him.
We’d just left Little Pocket and got on the motorway when we felt a bump every second or so on the right side of our van. ‘Is that the road?’ Chris asked. No, the road was pretty new and smooth looking. We pulled over on the busy motorway to see a massive bulge on the side of our right rear tyre.
I felt pretty confident though! Thankfully the guy who sold our van included all the tools needed to change a tyre. Plus our spare tyre was a full sized one. So we got to work, putting the wrench under the van and hoisting it up (even though you’re meant to loosen the tyre nuts first) and then tried to get the nuts off.
But they wouldn’t budge… I started googling tips and realised the van shouldn’t be lifted up at this stage, so we tried to get it lowered again, even that took a while to work out. Finally we got it lowered and tried again to turn the nuts with the cross bar spanner we had. We tried everything! Chris was putting all his body weight into turning the spanner until he was red in the face, when that didn’t work, I jumped up and down on the end of the spanner while Chris held it in place, but the nuts wouldn’t budge. And yes, we were definitely turning them the right way!
It had been 2 weeks since Chris and I had bought our campervan and we’d somehow managed to spend all that time hanging around Adelaide. We caught up with a friend, did some couch surfing, and got away with freedom camping at different beaches. But we were both getting that impatient feeling and we wanted to explore and see more of this massive country. So as soon as our car inverter and Camps7 Book arrived in the post from Ebay, we were off.
If there’s one thing I love about Australia it’s the wildlife. The animals are just so weird, random, and interesting, like nothing I’ve ever seen before! There’s colourful parrots, mobs of kangaroos, koalas in the trees and emus everywhere. And when I saw these animals in the wild for the first time the feeling of excitement I got made me feel like a big kid.
One of the best ways to see and travel a country is no doubt, by campervan. It’s hard to beat the amount of freedom you have this way. You can go where you want, when you want, and you don’t have to stick to anyone else’s schedule. Sometimes you end up going on detours you never considered taking, and get to see places that the people taking the east coast tour bus can only dream of. Sometimes you can be in bliss isolation, alone, sleeping in a hidden forest campsite. Or you may feel like part of a travelling campervan community, rocking up to a campsite to find about 20 people in campers of all shapes and sizes, taking the same journey. If you have the time to spare, and the money to get yourself going, then for me there’s no other way to travel a country like Australia.
I spent 2 years freedom camping my way around New Zealand and now I plan to do the same in Australia. But when you first arrive in a country, and one as expensive as Australia, buying a campervan as a backpacker can be a bit of a daunting experience. A couple of months ago I bought a 1999 Ford Econovan. Here’s a few tips I learnt from the experience: Continue reading →
Due to lack of planning and last minute decisions Chris and I ended up in Adelaide with nowhere to stay and a few days to kill before going to Sydney for New Years. So we booked into the cheapest hostel we could find and handed over $28 each for an 8-bed dorm.
It wasn’t the worst hostel ever. There was free internet, a decent TV room, and a balcony terrace area. But the rooms were cramped, the air con didn’t work, and the hostel was home to a cliquey group of backpackers who were staying long term and working in Adelaide. They spent the night playing drinking games and dares out on the terrace.
At 1am I was awoken by voices outside my room. They were whispering loudly and giggling. Next thing the door burst open and a guy came running in with another guy behind him filming on his phone. They turned on the light and started shouting, jumping on the people sleeping in the bottom bunks, then ran out again, laughing.
As far as I was concerned that was enough, I couldn’t be bothered with idiots like that, it’s hard enough getting a good nights sleep in a hostel as it is! So I made use of the free internet and started frantically sending out couchsurfing requests. Continue reading →
It was always the plan to stay with Aussie Nick and his family for Christmas. Nick is Chris’s old school friend and his mum is originally from Northern Ireland. When he was 11 his family moved back to Northern Ireland for a while, and then he came back again for a working holiday a few years ago. The two guys had gotten pretty close during that second visit and Chris had always said he would visit Nick in Adelaide, so now was his chance.
It just so happened that Nick was in Melbourne at a golf tournament two weeks before Christmas, so Chris and I were able to get a lift back to Adelaide with him. The 8 hour car journey wasn’t as bad as I thought, I slept most of it!
We finally arrived at his house in Normanville, a really nice beach town, to be welcomed by his mum, Jennifer, and dad, Ian. Straight off we were made to feel at home. We were given a beautiful room in their Bach, fed amazing food and there was always beer and champagne on hand. It was funny seeing the mixture of Northern Irish and Aussie in Jennifer. She’d moved out to Australia when she was about 10 but still had a funny twang to her accent and I felt very relaxed in her company. She’s very bubbly and talkative, and she loves champagne. Continue reading →