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:
From the beginning, I didn’t envision myself living in Queensland for an extended period of time while in Australia. I didn’t have a particular reason; I just thought I’d end up in Sydney or in Adelaide. But on January 14th, I was on a flight from Adelaide to Brisbane with my year’s worth of luggage. I hopped off the plane to find 5/7 of new host family waiting for me at the gate. That’s right; I joined a family of 7! Host mum, host dad, and five kids (ages 5, 9, 11, 15, and 18), to be exact.
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.
Happy New Year everyone! I’ve just arrived in Adelaide for ten days in South Australia – I’m currently camped out at a coffee shop because my Barossa host family is evacuating their horses due to the bushfires. It’s also apparently 40o C outside so I’m opting for the air-conditioned airport. While I wait, I figured I’d catch up on a bit of writing. I didn’t write much during the holidays, but I wanted to recap a few of the places I visited while I stayed with my Canberra host family in Sydney.
On Friday night, I boarded a Murray’s bus for the third time in nearly a week to head back to Sydney. Stacey and I had a busy weekend planned – she hadn’t yet spent a weekend in the greatest city in Australia, and there were still some major sites for me to check off from the ol’ bucket list. Over the weekend, we were fortunate enough to find accommodations in Double Bay, courtesy of a friend’s aunt. We originally planned on using the Couchsurfing app to find a place to stay, but we were unable to find a host in time over Halloween weekend. Having breakfast on a balcony that overlooked Double Bay more than made up for it though.
Where I went: Gold Coast, Australia (Surfer’s Paradise, Southport, Broadbeach, Currumbin)
How I went: bus from Canberra to Sydney, plane from Sydney to Gold Coast
When I went: August 23-26, 2014
Why I went: Pan Pacific Swimming Championships and a quick escape from chilly Canberra
Where I stayed: Budd’s in Surfer’s, just blocks from the beach ($27AUD/night – 4 bed female dorm with free wifi and breakfast)
Where I ate: Peter’s Fish Market, Southport
Where I cuddled a koala: Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary