travelling the seven parts of the world

Posts about Australia


What, When, Why and How about Australia


View Aroung the World in a larger map

We visited Australia on our Around the World trip. Some statistics:

Number of days: 25
Number of flights inside Australia: 7
Number of km: 2500
Number of times I yawned while looking outside the window: eleventybillion

The most fascinating thing about Australia is how little you can pack in such a large area. I think Australia would be at bottom of the sights per sq. km list. Anyone who takes those long driving trips around Australia is either insane or incredibly bored or incredibly drunk or all three.

That being said there are some fascinating things in Australia - Sydney, Uluru (Ayer's Rock), The Great Barrier Reef, Crocodiles and other weird animals that can kill you anywhere including state capitals, Kakadu National Park, beautiful beaches, Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, the thought of really being in the middle of nowhere.

We kicked things off by visiting Perth and Western Australia. This area does not pass the travel efficiency test - the sights you'll see are hardly worth the money and time you'll have to spend. You'll see Wave-Rock-like formations in Uluru, and the Pinnacles are hardly anything impressive, and here you have to drive around 500km to each. We didn't bother with the other stuff because quite frankly, driving thousands of kilometers through nowhereland to reach non-sights somehow didn't appeal.

We arrived in Australia again after a 3 week trip to New Zealand, and kicked things off in Melbourne, which is a beautiful, clean city, but doesn't really hold a candle to Sydney. The Great Ocean Road, easily accessible from Melbourne, is one of the greatest sights on the continent.

From there we flew across half the continent to Uluru, possibly the most well known place in Australia. It was not a let down, the cliff is amazing. Don't listen to the aboriginal shamans, climb the thing and take in the view from the top. From there we rented a car on the most extortionate of terms (kilometers cost extra in this part of the world) to drive to King's Canyon, where we could pay $100 a night to live in a jail cell. The King's Canyon was a let down - hardly a canyon, hardly deep, it should be called "King's couple a dozen meter high cliff". We did get to experience the red center in full, 50C (122F) heat included. Anybody who thinks the King's Canyon was impressive needs to take a drive through southern Utah or to the Grand Canyon.

We then flew to Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory. It was rainy season, which was great, as I had never been to tropics in the rainy season ever before. There's not much to Darwin, and you couldn't use the beach at this time of the year because of some deadly animal. I did get to hold a crocodile, which earns Darwin unlimited bonus points. I also bought a didgeridoo there, which is still the largest souvenir I have brought home from any trip. We rented a car and went to Katherine Gorge, which is quite frankly a waste of time. We drove through Kakadu, and took a small boat tour as well. Apart from rock drawings and flooded roads, there was not that much to see here, but it is worthwhile, if just to see all the flooded stuff.

Afterward we flew to Cairns, which was our set off point to the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns is nothing spectacular, and has no beach, so the couple of days there were spent at the sea. The first day we went on a cheap, standard cruise which took us to the more beautiful outer reef where we snorkeled and took a helicopter flight. Second day we went on a more private cruise on a yacht, scuba dived, snorkeled, explored Green Island, watched other people vomit, etc. It was great, but I don't think the Great Barrier Reef is that good of a diving spot - it is expensive, the reef is pretty far off from mainland, and its not that beautiful.

Lastly, we went to Sydney, which is absolutely beautiful. We spent several days just wondering around. If there's any place far far away where I'd like to live, its here.