While spending the night on a sailboat wasn’t on my bucket list before I came to Australia, I added it and checked it off anyway. After touring our way around Cairns and making a quick stop in Townsville for one rainy night and morning, Katie and I parked ourselves in Airlie Beach the day before our sailing adventure. Airlie was gorgeous – the hills rolled all the way down to the ocean and beautiful sailboats decorated the marina. We did most of our exploring on foot during an afternoon run to shake off the morning road trip and then hiked most of the way up Mount Whitsunday, an incline not for the faint of heart but with first class views.
On May 6th, I flew to Perth to kick off two weeks in Western Australia. After my amazing tour experience in the Northern Territory, I decided to book an 8-day round trip tour between Perth and Exmouth. That journey began on May 11 after four days of exploring Perth and Fremantle. Throughout the trip, I posted (sort of) regular updates when I had cell service. As always, thank you for joining me on this adventure and I hope you enjoy following along! Additional posts and galleries coming soon!
Day 4 began with a much-needed sleep in (or whatever you consider waking up at 8 am). After breakfast, I went out for a quick grocery run before a few of us from the tour walked to the nearby Alice Springs Reptile Center. Like the reptile center in Canberra, this one also had a plentiful supply of native Australian reptiles, including a previously injured monitor lizard that was free to roam the indoor areas. I’m convinced that if I ever came across a brown snake or taipan in the wild, I’d probably pass out or have a heart attack, but I did take a liking to the bearded dragons outside. The highlight, though, was the thorny devil in another outdoor enclosure. One of my friends said it looked like a Pokemon in the photos, and that’s probably the best description of it.
Two weeks ago, I flew from my home on the Sunshine Coast to Sydney for a relaxing evening in Bondi before jetting off to the Red Centre of Australia. I didn’t know much about the Northern Territory before I arrived in Australia, but when I first read about Uluru, I knew I had to add it to my bucket list. The Red Centre is probably what you think of as the Australian Outback (although the “outback” really is far more expansive): red dirt, seemingly never-ending highways, and a plentiful supply of reptiles. Before I tell you about the tour itself, here are some quick facts about the Northern Territory:
Before Stacey headed back to Canberra last week, we checked the world’s largest sand island off our bucket lists. Fraser Island is a UNESCO World Heritage listed site for its unique ecosystems, including rainforests, eucalyptus forests, swamps, sand dunes, and beaches… not to mention one of the purest dingo populations in Australia. While we didn’t see any wild dingoes on the trip, we did sign up for the Fraser Dingo 4WD Tag Along Tour. Fraser Island tours can be a bit on the expensive side, so luckily, we found ours on BookMe, a discount site for Australian tours and activities.
For two weeks, I lived in the small Barossa town of Williamstown, South Australia. While my time in South Australia was short, it was certainly not without some crazy weather. When I arrived, my host family was in the process of evacuating themselves and their horses from a nearby bushfire in the Adelaide Hills that burnt over 13,000 hectares of land. Within days, the weather shifted to rain… and lots of it. From one extreme to another, I got the full South Australia climate experience.
Despite the absolutely nutty weather conditions, my host family was still able to show me many of the great sights (and tastes) of the area. While seemingly overlooked by many travelers, the Barossa Valley and the surrounding area has something for everyone.
On November 28, I traveled to New Zealand for a 10-day whirlwind adventure. Full disclosure: I had no clue how much there was to see and do when I originally booked a ten day trip to NZ. Turns out that’s barely enough time to explore even part of the North or South Island, much less both of them! However, I was determined to take advantage of every second, and this post was my way of sharing it with all of you.
While it might have been easier (and possibly smarter) to spend the short time I had on each of NZ’s islands in just one or two cities, the trip I ended up “planning” was more of a Highlights of New Zealand route – shorter visits to more locations.
With that said, as my travel buddy Steph and I made our way through New Zealand, I updated this post with details about what we did, where we stayed, the route we ended up taking, and anything else along the way. It was definitely a new thing for me to keep more of a daily journal of our experiences rather than hindsight posts, but it was fun to go through our highs and lows at the end of each day and think about where the next day would take us. Enjoy!