Australia by the Numbers: a Wrap Up

Time: 37 days, 3 in Cairns, 6 in Sydney, 4 in Melbourne, 3 on the Great Ocean Road and 21 days in the Campervan down the east coast.
Vans rented: 2, Excalibur from spaceships, a lovely van we slept in for 21 days and loved, and one from Wicked that was pretty horrible.
Friends visited: 2, one on the Sunshine coast, and one in Sydney.
Boat Rides: 3, a scuba trip in Cairns, a sailing adventure in the Whitsundays, and a ferry to Fraser Island.
Bus Rides: 1 Overnight bus from Sydney to Melbourne, not a great experience, but certainly better than the buses in Japan
National Parks: Noosa, Agnes Falls, 12 Apostles, and too many more to count.
World Heritage Sites: 5 – Great Barrier Reef, Wet Tropics of Queensland, Fraser Island, Opera House and Blue Mountains
Wineries visited: 5 and a brewery. Wonderful wines.Best Food:  a multi way tie between delicious cheddar and brie picked up in the Hunter Valley while touring wineries, wonderful pies picked up on the side of the road, Malaysian and Japanese food in Sydney, BBQ Kangaroo, and all the gourmet food we had in Melbourne. Australia has wonderful food. I would highly recommend Green in Northern Melbourne for brunch, especially the breakfast stack and Mamak in Sydney for the best Malaysian.
Worst Food: Again with the Marmite, we tried Marmite flavoured chips, and they were not good.
Best City: Personally I loved Kendall, but I’d have to give this one to Melbourne. A gorgeous city, with beautiful museums, a great market, a free tram, wonderful food, and the best library I’ve ever been in. Sydney was great, with a nice waterfront, but if we were to move to Australia, Melbourne is where we’d settle down.
Worst City: While Cairns had great weather and a nice location near the barrier reef, I wouldn’t spend so much time here next time, as there weren’t many great restaurants and it was really expensive compared to some of the other cities we visited. Best New Experience: It was in Australia that we tried Scuba diving for the first time, and held a Koala, feed a Kangaroo, but I think our best experience was our flight in a 6 seater plane over Fraser Island, something I never thought I would do. So fun!
Worst New Experience: Trying to rent a car from WICKED campervans and instead getting a hideously painted, falling apart van instead. Add that to trying to drive around Melbourne with only a very bad map, and it was the worst experience of our trip. However, that van took us to the Great Ocean Road and back safely, so it all worked out in the end.

Travel Tip: There are free places to stay everywhere! Pick up a copy of the giant book of camping and road maps, “Camps Australia Wide”, if it’s not included with your van rental and you will be able to find all the free sites in every state. Most free sites had nice washrooms and some even had driver reviver booths, with free coffee, hot chocolate and cookies. Perfect for camping in the cold weather.

Will we return: I certainly hope so, it’s a fascinating country and we never made it to Uluru, Tasmania or the West Coast, all places I would like to see.

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More Opera House

Here are some more photos. I was  a little obsessed…

It’s an absolutely glorious building.

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The Opera House

Another surreal travel moment: our first look at the Sydney Opera House. We spent most of our week in Sydney on the waterfront, admiring it. It is an incredibly beautiful building and we couldn’t get enough of it.

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Nighttime at Luna

This creepy face marks the entrance to Luna Park, an amusement park in Sydney that has been there since the 1930’s. Unfortunately the park was ridiculously expensive, so we just walked around rather then take any rides.  Most of the rides were retrohilarious, including one which rotated so quickly that people stick to the wall in a circle. Crazy!

 

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Scott’s Head

Another excursion to a place with a sweet name!

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Australia’s Weird Food: Kangaroo

When we were on the Great Ocean Road, we stayed for three days at a villa that we had found on Groupon for a great price. It had an amazing view, a comfortable bed, and best of all, a kitchen and a BBQ. The perfect time to finally try some Kangaroo! It was so nice to cook for ourselves on a real stove, so we went all out. Here’s our meal, with Kangaroo kebabs and sausages.
The Kangaroo was delicious and so tender. It was also the cheapest meat in the grocery store! Kangaroo is something I would definitely eat again next time I’m in Australia.

 

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