Australia. The great land of opportunity! In 2016 many young Aussies don’t seem to think so. Most of us view Australia as small fry; a splodge on the corner of the world map. There’s a bit of a “getting out” and “moving on” kind of attitude. But I’ve realised that everything I was looking for in my “authentic” overseas travels, I have found right here…in the land I come from…the land Downunder!
On Boxing Day this year one Toyota Ute, two unemployed Uni grads, and a cheap dome tent took the path less travelled by. My partner James and I set off on a 7 month road trip around Oz. The past 5 months have been absolutely epic! And we can’t figure out why we’re not bumping into more young Aussies on the open road! Thus we have compiled a convenient list of five fantastic reasons to pack your bags and go AWOL in Oz!
Come on, let me convince you!…
1. Sleeping on the ground
So it may not sound very appealing but I assure you that there is nothing like living in the great outdoors! Australia is home to some of the best camping in the world, a lot of which is free. Waking up to a new scene of outdoor splendor every day is a gift. Sleeping under the beady golden eyes of crocs on the magnificent Pentecost river WA, waking up to dolphins surfing waves on Bribie Island QLD, and watching emus cross the salt lakes of Coorong NP in SA have been but a few of the highlights.
Camping at mammoth sized stations have also seen us meet unique farming characters of the Aussie outback. The type of people you think only exist in corny Aussie movies. We have enjoyed breakfast shared with horses at Bullara station, showered in open roofed water tanks under the stars of Wooramel station and camped on the mighty Murchison River carving out the gorge through Kalbarri NP. With a lot of people looking for balance in our busy lives I cannot recommend camping highly enough. Sleeping under stars and waking to the chorus of the bush has left me the most content I have felt in my entire life.
2. Hiking up Australia’s tallest summit NSW
In addition to sleeping, there’s also adventuring! 1 day, 22kms, 30000 steps. Mt. Kosciusko, what a feat! We conquered Australia’s highest summit Main Range loop in a day, but we could have easily spent a week in the spectacular region of snowy gum and heath land. Following the path of the Snowy River we dipped and weaved around the “hills twice as steep” breathing in “air clear as crystal”. Banjo Patterson nailed it! Deep breaths at the summit is the ultimate feeling of freedom as you take in the sweeping 360 sub-alpine views of Snowy River country!
3. Snorkeling the coral coast WA
From the highest summit dive into the depths of the world heritage listed coral coast, WA. The first stop for 4x4s is remote Francois Peron Peninsula NP Shark Bay. A spindly bit of land poking out the side of the map it’s the best location to glimpse giants of the sea. From Skipjack Point a bit of patience will reward travellers with views of manta ray, dugong and whales. Head further north to Cape Range NP, Exmouth and slap the goggles on! We swam with giant sea turtles at lakeside beach, followed giant schools of fish around oyster stacks and admired the giant “Ayres rock” coral formation at coral bay. Straight off the beach and straight into a scene from the little mermaid!
4. Spider walking in Karijini WA
The landscapes of my dreams came true in Karijini NP. Located in the remote Pilbara region of WA, Karijini is a hidden oasis of dramatic chasms, deep gorges and fresh water creeks. Our first waterhole swim and one to never forget was at the Fern Pool, a short walk from Dales campground. The exciting spider walk to us through Handcock gorge at an arm’s length wide. We were rewarded with a swim in the deep Kermits pool at the end. It’s honestly a place you have to experience, not read about.
5. Four wheel driving the Kimberley WA
Kimberley stole our hearts. Walking through green gum bush, past fat Boabs and fresh lily ponds, we found ourselves to be the only one’s enjoying the bliss of swimming in the powerful falls of Adcock gorge, free to discover ancient rock art and spectacular views. The secret is to arrive before 9am to have the most serene places on earth, all to yourself. At 7am we watched the sun light up the red rock that surrounds Manning falls from Mount Barnett camp. The limestone magnificence of Pentecost and King Leopold ranges will have you staring out the window the whole 660kms along the Gibb river road.
Have you started packing yet? I strongly recommend you do! This is your country, go see it, believe it, live it!