Wow. It has happened, half a year has passed and my Australia visa will expire soon. Therefore, this will be the last post about Australia (from this trip ;)).
My last month here, I have spent in Melbourne. I’d never have thought before that I would choose a cold place from where you can’t see the ocean (only if you take a tram for 15 or 30 min). I much rather saw myself somewhere, where it’s hot and where I can surf every day. But Melbourne quickly gained a special place in my heart with its awesome architecture, delicious coffee and food, art, markets and perhaps also the similarity to NYC. Plus, a friend offered me to stay at his place which made a lot of things much easier for me. I thought I’d have some more time to sightsee but the second day I arrived, I found a job distributing flyers for a restaurant and after working my first shift, I also got offered a job as a waitress. So, from then on, I distributed fliers on weekdays and helped in the restaurant on the weekends. The pay was very bad but I just wanted to do it for the experience and to have something that covers my expenses at the moment. A good side effect was that I met more really nice people. It’s sad that I already have to say goodbye again now.
One of my colleagues told me about this 10day introductory yoga course at his yoga center. So, for the past 9 days I’ve been trying different classes at Power Living. I never thought I’d be the yoga type, since I always thought that it was probably more on the spiritual and less on the physical side. But I was proven wrong and have to say that I love it!
I recently found this quote about traveling or life in general.
So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it.
In Australia, I really tried to live up to this. To just say ‘yes’ and go for something I’ve never done before or only knew little about. Especially, when I wouldn’t be able to do it back at home. The outcome were many adventures, a broader horizon and all these nice people, I’m so glad I got to meet. And I’m so thankful that somebody always seemed to be there when I needed a ride, a mechanic, a guy to carry my suitcase upstairs or carry me over a water puddle ;), a place to stay or help in any other way. Thank you!
The two downsides of my travels here were that the medical system of Australia is sooo complicated, especially for foreigners and that I wasted way too much time at the Peterpans Travel Agency, because it always took them so long to get something done. Like I said, the trips were great but I was beginning to think that I should have booked them separately and not all of them with Peterpans. But in the end, I’m glad I did the tours I did with the people who were on them!
Several times I have been asked what my favorite place was. It’s such a difficult question but I tried to make a few lists.
- Karinjini NP (Amazing gorges with rocks in beautiful reds and oranges and clear green blue water as a contrast. The hikes there involved swimming and climbing and therefore were very entertaining. The nights on the wild campsites were beautiful and driving on the outback roads during the day was a lot of fun (although it was a torture for my car and covered everything we owned in red dust.)
- Kakadu NP and Lichtfield NP (Waterfalls and swimming holes, WOW!!)
- The Blue Mountains (so close to Sydney but such awesome views and beautiful waterfalls)
- Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays. The whole sailing trip was fun.
- Diving at the Great Barrier Reef
- Sunsets on long, straight empty roads, surrounded by nature (and the stars at night at these deserted places, wow!,for example in the Nullabor and in the NT)
And then aaaaaaall the other incredible places..the Pinnacles and Natures Window in WA, the high trees in Pemberton, Lake McKenzie and the rest of Fraser Island, Devil’s Marbles, Mataranka Springs, Wilson’s Prom in Victoria and of course the Twelve Apostles and the rest of the Great Ocean Road. And so much more.
Here it’s really hard to make a list because I just love beaches in general. And most people would probably just expect me to put Whitehaven Beach on top. You can read further down, why I didn’t.
- Beaches in Margaret River. Wild and beautiful and waves to surf.
- Bundegi Beach in Exmouth (because it felt like we had discovered an insider spot)
- Esperance, Lucky Bay (such white sand and kangaroos on the beach)
- Coral Bay (such white sand and crystal clear blue water)
- Whitehaven Beach (the view from the viewing platform is probably the most spectacular one I’ve seen in Australia but the white beach itself is not that different from Esperance or Exmouth, I’d say. Plus, we had to wear a stinger suit, and so I didn’t even get in direct touch with the beautiful clear water)
Actually, they are probably all on the same level…all beautiful in their own way. Not around salt water but also amazing:
- Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island
- Lake Wabby on Fraser Island(a desert next to a lake surrounded by trees. A very special sight)
Very close after that is Cottesloe in Perth 🙂
- Margaret River (wine, chocolate, cheese, nature…what do you need more?)
- Noosa (the Margaret River of the East Coast)
- Albany (very backpacker friendly, heaps of nice free campgrounds)
Things that surprise me:
– Bird whistle in very different tunes and melodies than in Europe. It sounds like people are whistling, or a song on a radio, monkeys, or somebody laughing
– The showers have old faucets to regulate the hot and cold water (with two handles) it takes ages to get the water to the desired temperature. What a waste of water!
– There are more places without internet or phone reception than anywhere else in the world I’ve ever been.
– Helpful people and kind people in places we last expected them to be
– It’s possible to have no McDonalds around for 2000km in any direction!! (same for Starbucks and H&M)
– Big birds, big eagles, big fish, big kangaroos, big spiders (everything is in all sizes here!) plus, the eyes of spiders look like diamonds in the light of a flashlight
– Spotting koalas and possums is so awesome for people like me who get excited when they see a squirrel because I hardly ever get to see a wild animal at home
– How much rain and cold Australia gets in winter!!! Didn’t exactly chose the right half year to travel, or did I? At least there weren’t so many tourists but my sunny Australia illusion is definitely shattered
– Ciders. We need to import more brands to Switzerland.
– A bit shocking but drinking while driving seems to be normal for Australians. Plus, most Australians I met really do like to drink a lot.
– On all the TVs in public areas there was always a cooking shows on. All the time!! Or The Voice of Australia.
– Australia has good chocolate!
– How expensive fruit and veggies are!! And cheese and yoghurt and cold cut meat L Minced meat and steak is extremely cheap though. I love eating burgers here.
– How the fuel prices can vary even during the week! From 1.34 to 1.63! It’s worth to check online (at least in Perth that worked).
– That my student concession card didn’t work anywhere on the west and south coast. They only accepted local cards although STA told me that the ISIC card was an Australian invention.
– Retired Australians seem to get the best discounts
– The amazing nature. Knew that before I got here but there really are extremely beautiful places, just can’t stop saying ‘wow’.
See ya, Australia. Probably not so soon because you’re so far away but it would definitely be worth returning some day.