On the 10th of may, 2007 our adventure in Australia began. After I finished my studies Leisure Management at the Stenden University in Leeuwarden, I worked for nine months to save up some money for this trip. I travelled with my friend Roelof, and after a stop over of five days in Hong Kong (really impressive city!) we flew to Sydney. The beginning of the trip was organized, but that wasn’t really necessary. Before we left, we applied voor a Working Holiday Visa. You can only apply for this visa if you are between 18 and 30 years old. Tip: start the application early because it will take a while before you have it. In Sydney we opened a bank account at Westpac. Thanks to the organization it was also possible to get a postadres at our first hostel. They sent our mail to wherever we where in Australia.
After five days in Sydney, we flew to Perth the capital of West Australia.
West Australia is underestimated in comparison to the east of Australia. Despite this part exists mostly out of dessert, this was the best part of Australia for me. We started in Perth (lovely city next to the Swan River), where we bought a car with 4WD (a Mitsubishi Pajero, nickname The Rocket) and drove to the South through the idyllic city Fremantle. During this trip we visited Rotnest Island (this island is named by a Dutch Captain when he saw a little Wallaby with the size of a cat, thinking it was a rat). After family visits in Mandurah and Dawesville, we drove along the coast to Albany visiting some National Parks along the way, for instance the Three Top Walk in The Valley of the Giants in Denmark.
From Albany we drove up North to the Pinnacles (a big area filled with yellow limestones), via Geraldton to the Kalbari National Park (lovely views over canyons en gorges with natural windows) on Highway 1 to Onslow. During this trip we visited Monkey Mia, where dolphins have been coming for the last 70 years to get fed. In Onslow we ren out of money, so we had to find a job. We worked for five weeks as a bartender and chef in the only hotel in the city. That was the best job we had during our trip through Australia. We didn’t have to pay for food or our rooms so we were able to save up all the money we earned. After Onslow we went to Exmouth (great dive- and snorkelspot which is better accessible and more beautiful than The Great Barrier Reef. Here you can also see Whale sharks and Manta rays). From Exmouth we drove to Karijini National Park, where you once again can enjoy beautiful views. Before you can enter this National Park you have to watch some security videos.
From Karijini National Park we drove to Broome via Port Hedland. Broome is a city with a fantastic beach called Cable Beach. You can ride a camel en when you go diving you can find pearls. That’s about all the excitement to get in Broome so we drove via Derby (where you can see the biggest Boab tree of Australia) through the challenging Gibb River Road (this 660 kilometer sandy road is known as one of the nicest roads of Australia). Here we saw our first sweet- and saltwater crocodiles and tons of waterfalls. After five days driving the Gibb River Road we arrived in Kanunurra. We were here for almost six weeks picking watermelons (never again!) en two days cleaning the set of the movie Australia (to late to see the movie stars). We started with a trip to the Purnululu National Park, where you can see the Bungle Bungles (striped valleys and gorges caused by erosion), followed by a visit to the crater Wolf Creek (known for the movie based on a true story about backpackers getting killed) and then decided to drive up to Darwin in the Northern Territory.
Arriving in the capital of the Northern Territory (Darwin) we directly searched for a job (traveling in Australia is not cheap, especially when the car has issues know and then). We found a job very quick, you can just sign u in a job-agency and within two weeks you will have a job for certain. We first found a job within three days in a big bakery and got the opportunity to work for a oil company for some big bucks. We got lucky that one of the people invited us to stay inside his five star apartment in downtown Darwin. Lucky us! Beside make money we also visited Kakadu National Park and went with a boat up the Adelaide river to see those seven meter big salt water crocodiles.
From Darwin we drove to the city of Cairns in Queensland to pick up my parents who wanted to visit me and Australia after eight months of traveling.
The 1700 kilometers from Darwin to Cairns are not really special, the only thing what is worth visiting are the Katherine Gorges, but maybe we missed something, we had only a couple of days to get in Cairns on time. We also thought about going to Alice Springs from Tennant Creek, but this is 1000 kilometers down and up again and we definitely did not have the time for that.
Cairns has it own airport and is therefore one of the best cities to start if you want to go to the Great Barrier Reef. We took a boat from Port Douglas to see this wonder of the world with our own eyes. The city of Cairns is a nice place but also the nearby Daintree Rainforest is nice to visit.
From Cairns we drove al the way to Brisbane, first we visited Paronella Park and then we wanted to book a ticket to the Whitsunday Islands, for some reason (its was Christmas or Sunday i can’t recall) we could not buy one and we went on to the cities Prospering, Mackay and Rockhampton. And took a ferry to Fraser Island from Hervey Bay. Fraser Island is the biggest sand island on the world and we spend the night here. The next day we finished in Brisbane, where my parents moved on, we stayed to make again some money.
From Brisbane we flew to Auckland for a roundtrip of one month in New Zealand.