We have come to the end of our journey in Australia! We finally made it to Sydney on Thursday having driven 7500 km across the South coast, through desert, rainforest, beaches, pouring rain, blazing sun and maddening distances. When we arrived in Perth at the beginning of Feb, Sydney seemed very far away, so it was a proud moment for us when we left our beloved van a few days ago. Despite being old and shabby, she got us here in one piece!
After leaving Melbourne a few weeks ago, we drove through Victoria to New South Wales, which is a breathtakingly beautiful place. We passed through Australia's version of Stratford Upon Avon (ours is better!), their Lake District (theirs is better!) and then into and up the coastline of NSW. We spent every day at a different seaside village or town and were awarded with stunning scenery of mountains, forests, beaches, lakes and, quite often, kangaroos. My favourite place was a spot called South Durras, as we stayed in a campsite that had the beach on one side and the lake on the other. We loved it so much that we got up before dawn to watch the sun rise so that Phil could get a good picture. That's dedication to photography!
About a week ago we went inland to a gorgeous valley called 'Kangaroo Valley'. It was a quaint and quiet little village nestled into a thick forest on the valley floor. There weren't any roo's there but there was the most stunning waterfall that I have ever seen. The Fitzroy Falls fell against a dramatic limestone cliff and into the valley far below. Check the photos out! After KV, we made the mistake of going to Canberra. God knows why it is the capital of this great country! There is nothing to do there other than see the parliament buildings and art galleries. Boring....
Our next stop was the Blue Mountains. Wow! The views there were amazing. I have never seen anything like the vast space and lush green vista's that can be photographed from the 3 sisters lookout in Katoomba. A must for anyone coming to Oz.
....And now we are in Sydney! Sydney is a lovely city and hasn't changed at all since I was here 4 years ago. We are a bit 'museumed out' so we have enjoyed just walking around and sampling the Sydney life over the past few days. Yesterday we took the ferry out to Manly and today we walked across the harbour bridge and ate in Darling Harbour. Just lovely!
And so I conclude our 2.5 months in Australia. The things that stand out as the best, or most enjoyable, moments are:
Seeing dolphins in Bunbury
Working in the kangaroo sanctuary
Becoming ace surfers (even if I say so myself!)
Sampling the delicious Australian wine on tours and tastings
Our stay in Melbourne
Walking in the Blue Mountains
However, what has made Australia so enjoyable for us has been meeting such honest, friendly and kind people. The Australians are in a class of their own when it comes to confidence and generosity. Those we have met have really made our time here so special and memorable. Despite the views I mentioned above, I don't think Oz is the prettiest country and it certainly doesn't have affordable activities on offer, nor does it have the weather that it is for some reason famous for...but what it does have is a terrific sense of adventure, great open space and the nicest people one could ever hope to meet. I will be sad to leave tomorrow, but I will be doing so with a smile on my face because a great time has been had here.
Australia rating: 8.5