2012-11-30

Australia 2012


This is the report of my November trip to Australia, before the long gap year, mainly to enjoy the eclipse.

After a night near Sydney Airport, I take an early plane to Cairns, with the objective to go to Cape Tribulation. First problem when arriving at Cairns, the shuttle doesn't go to Cape Tribulation anymore, so the furthest it can go is Port Douglas. The road, Captain Cook's Highway, is beautifully scenic. It follows the coastline, between high hills full of rich vegetation and pristine beaches with no one on it. I think that's when I realize that traveling is like being in love. Your heart is so tight and beats so strongly, you jut want to get drunk on what is in front of you.
Arriving at Port Douglas, I realize that I definitely cannot go to Cape Tribulation, because I needed to book a tour to go there (no regular shuttle, contrary to what was said on the Cape Tribulation website), and it is too late as tomorrow is the eclipse. So I decide to cancel my hostel booking in Cape Tribulation and treat myself after a long and exhausting trip to one of the fine hotels of Port Douglas.
On the morning of the 14th of November, it is eclipse time. It is always a beautiful and emotional moment. You feel it in your guts, and you know that everyone around feels the same way. It is caused from the sheer wonder of Nature, and it gives the strongest sense of community.
Love is about looking in the same direction

The day has begun so early that I have plenty of time to discover the little town of Port Douglas. The eclipse adds a festive atmosphere to the resort town. I book a snorkel trip on the Great Barrier Reef on a speed boat, and I am not disappointed. The speed boat itself adds a lot of fun, and also, one white-tip shark and one black-tip one cross my swimming path, and two turtles swim by my side. One of my best memories, but unfortunately, all the pictures I could have taken were lost later on... 

The next day, I check out of the hotel, take the shuttle back to Cairns, and take the Greyhound Coach to Airlie, which means more than 10h of travel, arriving in Airlie shortly before midnight.
After a good night sleep, I can enjoy Airlie in the early hours of the morning, where the atmosphere is completely different than at night. I book an airplane tour for the afternoon, and wow, I still don't regret it.


I don't think you would either...
After this great day, the next day is as dull as a 20+ hours of coach travel can be. And we arrive in Brisbane in the early hours of the morning. I unfortunately couldn't enjoy the city after so tiring a trip, but at the same I didn't put the necessary effort to do so. 

Next step is Surfers Paradise, which is where I obviously take my first surfing lesson. But before that, I indulge into my favorite activity: walking on the beach. Beaches in Australia are particularly great for this, as they are pretty large with not much people on it (depending on where you are, of course). So I walk on the white sand as soft as flour for 2.5 km from the hostel to the city center, and there I discover the concept of schoolies, where student finishing high school just celebrate their graduation by partying really hard.
As for my surfing lesson... Let's just say that the board is really heavy, and even though the instructor gives simple instructions on the sand, in the water it's obviously much more difficult. I dare say that it is all a question of timing. But even though I wasn't able to get up on my board, the sensation is still pretty intense.
After that, I go back to the hostel to prepare for my evening tour to see the Glow Worms. It was my first time seeing anything like that, and I found it spectacular. After that, we visit an amateur astronomer who built two observatories for himself

Next day is once again a coach travel to Coffs Harbour, which is, depending on who describes it, family-friendly or very very quiet. The Marina is nice, but there is not much things to do. That offers a contrast with the next and final step of the coastal trip: Sydney

The hostel is the YHA in the Rocks, one of the liveliest neighborhood of Inner Sydney. And as it is Friday, there are food stands and animations in the streets.

A must see

After a week end just enjoying the atmosphere of Inner Sydney, Monday is Blue Mountains day. The weather isn't that good, but it adds a mysterious halo around the mountains and the Three Sisters



The next day, I decided to explore Avalon, and after a few mishaps, I finally arrived on this rigtfully named beach. It is simply very picturesque, the beach being framed by cliffs, and beautiful houses on top. 

From Avalon to Newport the coastal drive is impressive, Collaroy reminds me of a little Surfers Paradise, Dee Why (D.Y.) and then Manly, all these makes Northern Sydney worth seeing.

Next day is Bondi Day. The weather is still cloudy but it's ok, as I want to do the walk from Bondi to Bronte and back. And indeed, it is worth doing. I surprised myself day-dreaming about living in this neighborhood, and doing my jogging routine on this walk. Tamarama and Bronte are cute little beaches next to the 1-km Bondi, and once again, just the perfect settings for holiday pictures.

This marks the end of my coastal trip to the East Coast of Australia in November 2012. Little did I know that I would see so much more wonderful places on the West Coast... But still, I saw some amazing things that made for a beautiful trip.
What did YOU think of the East Coast? As it was only a 3-week trip, I certainly missed a lot, so don't hesitate to advise me on your favorite places!

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