RUSHPACKING AUSTRALIA (recap)

I was never as fascinated by Australia as I was by New Zealand. But I thought that it would be quite foolish to skip Australia when I was so close to. So I decided to reschedule my return ticket and “rushpack” Australia in 3 weeks.

I landed in Melbourne and decided to rent a car to drive up the East Coast to Sydney…in 4,5 days… making a detour to spend Australia Day in Canberra to see the famous free concert near the Parliament. Who would have thought that INXS was such a big deal there? The highlight on this stretch was Jervis Bay: amazing long white sand beaches, clear wild ocean and kangaroos hopping around. When I left Jervis Bay I got pulled over by the police…I was like ” Oh no…did I speed again” but this time it was an alcohol teting. The police officer seemed kind of disappointed that I haven’t been drinking at 6pm!!! 

In Sydney I was staying with Sam’s brother Tim who lives in the city center which was awesome! While he was mountain-biking with friends in Manly I decided to hike with a German dude I met on the way to a view point. We got lost a few times and I had my first scary wildlife encounter: a brown snake and a black and yellow spider. Apparently I always see dangerous animals in cities! A friend of Tim took me to that night to a birthday party of a friend and we had fun till late singing karaoke…While in Sydney I also caught up with Nathalie and Marios- 2 English friends I met in Vietnam in 2010 and who are currently living in Sydney. Nathalie took me sightseeing and we met Marios in Bondi Beach to chill out. I started missing doing outdoor stuff so one morning I took Tim’s mountainbike and went to the Blue Mountains. Even though it was a bit cloudy and I didn’t have the best view I loved that place! I mountainbiked from one point to the other enjoying an amazing scenery and some pretty decent though not to difficult trails.

Then it was time to go to Tasmania. I decided to spend 8 days there traveling around the island. It is a great place! It is less touristy than the other parts of Australia I have been to and like in New Zealand you see a big variety of landscapes within a short driving distance. My highlights were Wineglass Bay- a secluded white sand beach you can only access by hiking about an hour from the parking lot, Port Arthur- the former British Empire prison full of spooky stories and Craddle Mountain. I found very funny that it was an Austrian who settled there in the 19th century who lobbied to make this place a National Park. And I am glad he did. When you hike there you are surrounded by echidnas, wombats and wallabies. What was also amazing was how quick the weather could change there. On our hike up Craddle Mountain we had rain, hail, sunshine, fog…

My last stop in Australia and on my nearly 10 month adventure was Melbourne. There is always this big discussion which city is better Melbourne or Sydney and I am clearly on the Melbourne side. It is artsy, European in some way and very diverse. My favorite place was Brunswick Road where you have plenty of restaurants and bars. With my friend Nina and her friends we spent a fun night in one of the clubs there where a jazz orchestra was playing in the middle of the room old and new tunes and everyone was dancing around them. My friend Mehdi took me up to a fun rooftop bar and an amazing Japanese restaurant and I visited Christine a girl I used to know from work who immigrated to Australia and is now living in St. Kilda. 

At the airport it was hard to believe that the journey was over…but I am sure the adventures will continue.