My Australian adventure – episode 6

East Coast, Brisbane to Sydney – December 2006 to January 2007

NELSON BAY, 14.12.2006 – When I flew back to Brisbane from Perth, I put an ad on the notice board of the hostel where I was staying because I needed a lift to Sydney. I met a German guy who had a van and decided to travel with him. I still hadn’t experienced a trip on a van, awesome! We stopped at Gold Coast, and also in Byron Bay where I saw dolphins for the first time. That vision really touched my heart…wild and free playing in the water, how wonderful. Then we continued travelling South, it was all about waking up every morning, getting off the van and enjoying the view of those spectacular wild pristine beaches. Nelson Bay with its sand dunes is the last stop before I get to Sydney. The hostel here is very nice, we have koalas in the garden! At night it’s all a busy coming and going and we can hear them making their calls…I didn’t even know that koalas could emit a sound!

GREAT OCEAN ROAD, 07.01.2007 – After a super crowded New Year’s Eve in Sydney I travelled to Melbourne. I didn’t stay long there, I have become a bit allergic to big cities recently. Anyway, now I am travelling along The Great Ocean Road, I couldn’t possibly fly back to Italy without ticking it off my list. The ocean, the views, the powerful nature…what a trip! These are the last few days for me in Australia and I feel so sad. I don’t want to leave Australia, my heart is totally broken. I’ll be back to the European winter and it’s going to be dark, cold, grey. The only thought that makes me feel better is that I know that I’ll find a way to come back, I’m sure I will!

My Australian adventure – episode 5

Coral Bay to Esperance – October to December 2006

KALBARRI, 21.10.2006 – Last week I arrived in Kalbarri and visited the Kalbarri National Park. Nature here is incredibly beautiful, wild, inspiring. Australians do not understand how lucky they are to be living in such an amazing place. The only thing I hated were flies, there were thousands of them and they would not leave me alone! I was then supposed to continue my trip down to Perth, but I actually ended up staying here a bit longer. There was a notice on the board of the hostel which said: We are looking for experienced riders who can look after the horses and can take visitors out for a ride. I couldn’t resist, I rang them straight away. So here I am, in this peaceful lovely ranch sharing my life with horses, cockatoos, kangaroos, emus, a cat (Wingy is her name) that sleeps in my bedroom, and a small funny dog. In the morning I go out in the bush and I call the horses in to feed them. In the afternoon I saddle them up and off we go for a ride. There are about 30 of them, and there is a male “boss”, Beau, and a female “boss”, Millie. She is my favourite because she has a strong personality, just like me!

KALBARRY, 25.10.2006 – This morning I found such a strange creature just outside my bedroom door. It was a mixture between a lizard and a snake, but without a tail. It was so weird. I couldn’t understand if it was a deformed reptile or a proper creature itself. Later in the day, the ranch owner told me that they are called blue-tongue lizards and that they aren’t dangerous. New discoveries. Also, I’ve learned that I always have to check my boots before putting them on…I got really scared the other day because, as I put my foot into the boot, I felt someting soft and cold. I shouted and took out my foot immediately. It was just frog, but I was told to be careful as it could have been a spider or, even worse, a snake!

PERTH, 14.11.2006 – Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever and, after litres and litres of teardrops, I finally left Kalbarri, heading South. On my way to Perth I stopped at a beautiful beach which wasn’t made of sand but shells! And I also stopped at the Pinnacles, amazing natural limestone structures that were formed thousands of years ago, after the sea receded and left deposits of sea shells.

ESPERANCE, 25.11.2006 – The South West coast of Australia is impressively beautiful. Margaret River, Augusta, Albany, all great spots. But when I arrived here I thought : “My Gosh, Australia never finishes to surprise me!”. The crystal-clear water of these strikingly white, squeaky, sandy beaches was better than a swimming pool! And the sand, it’s like flour!

My Australian adventure – episode 4

Darwin to Coral Bay – September to October 2006

80 MILE BEACH, 03.10.2006 – When I was in Darwin I realised that I just couldn’t stop travelling and opted for the big lap of Australia. So off I went to explore the West Coast. I celebrated my 28th birthday on the bus, travelling from Darwin to Kununurra. What a night! I got woken up a few times by a big bang. At the beginning I couldn’t understand what it was, but I soon realised that each bang meant that a kangaroo had been hit…it was like being in a video game, “hit the kangaroo!”. I actually felt so sorry for them…but apparently this is something that happens regularly on these roads.

80 mile beach is a wild beach that, as the name indicates, stretches for 80 miles. The West Coast seems to be much wilder than the East coast, not a lot of tourists around and not a lot of towns along the coast either. I was told that, besides crocodiles, these waters also are infested by fish stones. If you accidentally step on one of them, they will inject their venom deep inside your foot and this will cause severe pain, heart failure and even death if left untreated. I had never heard of it before, as if the list of Australian deadly animals hadn’t been long enough!

KARIJINI NATIONAL PARK, 05.10.2006 – Yesterday I visited Karijkini National Park, undoubtedly one of the highlights of Western Australia so far, with its waterfalls, its waterholes, its canyons, and its red rocks. Again, I could feel the power of this land, being inhabited by Aboriginal people for centuries. And while hiking I could just hear the sound of water and the birds singing…their concerts are something that cannot go unnoticed when you are in Australia!

CORAL BAY, 09.10.2006 – This morning I went on a boat trip. We went to see manta rays near the reef. I didn’t resist long in the water when I saw them…they were swimming too fast and I couldn’t keep up with them! Also, the snorkel didn’t help because I couldn’t breathe properly and the water was chilly, way too chilly for me! It was only when they took us to more tranquil waters and I met turtles that I started feeling at ease. Swimming with them was so much fun! The beaches here are wild and you can ride a quad for kilom etres without bumping into any sort of civilization. It makes you feel like you are the only human being left on earth!

My Australian adventure – episode 3

Alice Springs to Darwin – September 2006

ALICE SPRINGS, 15.09.2006 – According to my plans I was to reach Cairns and then fly back to Sydney, but things didn’t go this way. So here I am, in Alice Springs! I so much loved moving from one place to another one, meeting new people from every part of the world, hearing their stories and their experiences, that I’ve decided to make my trip last a little bit longer! Last week I flew here from Cairns and then went on a bus trip to visit Kata Tjuta, Watarrka, and Uluru, three different Aboriginal places. It was absolutely sensational! I could feel a shift in the energy when I was there, there was someting special, something sacred that cannot be defined or described. I remember sleeping in tents at night and feeling as if I was invading a land that wasn’t mine, that had been inhabited by Aboriginals for centuries and still had a very strong undeniable connection with them. These places definitely have a magical presence that captures the true essence of the Australian Outback, wow!

DARWIN, 20.09.2006 – Straight roads, red dirt, bushes, and no one around to be seen. This was the journey from Alice Springs to Darwin. I stopped at Devil’s Marbles (another sacred place, part of the Aboriginal Dreamtime stories) and Mataranka, where we had a dip in its lovely warm springs!

DARWIN, 29.09.2006 – It’s the end of the dry season up here, still a good time of the year to explore the parks of the Top End, Lichtfield National Park and Kakadu National Park with their stunning waterfalls and waterholes. And that’s what I’ve just come back from, a 4 day trip in one of the wildest places in Australia…and crocoldile land! I must admit I wasn’t feeling comfortable swimming in those deep waterholes, but I kept repeating to myself: “Come on, it’s the end of the dry season and hundreds of tourists have already swum in here. If there was a crocodile, it would have surely eaten one of them, it can’t possibly be waiting for me, right?”. This was my motivation!

My Australian adventure – episode 2

Brisbane to Cape Tribulation – June to September 2006

RAINBOW BEACH, 21.06.2006 – Winter has arrived in the Southern hemisphere and in Sydney temperatures were definitely way too cold for someone like me (many houses in Sydney have no heating system, something that leaves us Europeans puzzled). So here I am, migrating North like whales! Last week ago I flew to Brisbane. I have planned to travel up the East Coast by bus and reach Cairns and then fly back to Sydney. Noosa on the Sunshine Coast was the first stop of my journey. Here are the northernmost beaches where surfers can find waves. Approximately from that point upwards the ocean becomes calm because of the Great Barrier Reef. Yesterday I arrived in Rainbow Beach and I can now say that I’ve officially switched my mind into “traveller mode”, from this moment onwards it will just be me and my journey, me and this amazing Australian nature!

FRASER ISLAND, 23.06.2006 – Last week I met a group of people who were going to rent a 4WD and explore Fraser Island. I decided to join them, it was so much fun! Finally I was in the wild, cooking on a campfire, sleeping in a swag on the beach with the sound of the ocean keeping me company. I also saw my first dingo there!

AIRLIE BEACH, 05.07.2006 – I’ve just come back from a tour on a sailing boat to explore the Whitsundays, a paradise on earth. I knew already that they were one of the most beautiful places in the world, but when I saw them I couldn’t believe my eyes. Those pristine white sandy beaches have left me absolutely speechless!

BOWEN, 28.07.2006 – I was running out of money so I’ve decided to stop here for some fruit picking. The hostel where I stay has found a job for me. First I was employed in a farm picking tomatoes, aubergines, and capsicums. I was paid a few dollars for each bucket I filled. It was so tiring! So now I am employed in a shed where I have to strip and pack corns. It is such a boring job, all day standing doing the same things over and over in a noisy shed. I have to resist though, at least for a couple of months as I need money if I want to keep travelling. A funny thing happened to me last week. I was being driven to work on a bus one morning while listening to an Italian radio station. They had been broadcasting the final match of the World Cup and Italy had won the World Cup. I was feeling so happy! I kept picturing all the people in Italy celebrating in the streets…I so much wanted to be there but instead I had a whole day with tomatoes ahead of me!

CAIRNS, 29.08.2006 – It’s late August and I am back on the road. From Bowen to Cairns to visit the Daintree forest, a spectacular rain forest with lush vegetation…and crocodiles! I went on a tour on a boat the other day, I enjoyed it but I must admit that I didn’t feel at ease until I was back on the mainland.

CAPE TRIBULATION, 08.09.2006 – I’ve  decided to push myself further up and I’ve reached Port Douglas and finally Cape Tribulation. It’s getting wilder and wilder up here and I love it! The beaches are just mine, I couldn’t ask for more. I am feeling so connected with the nature surrounding me!

My Australian adventure – episode 1

Sydney – January to June 2006

TREVISO, 20.01.2006 – I can’t wait to leave for Australia, can’t wait to see what that part of the world is like. I don’t know what to expect, for me it’s all a big exciting adventure on the other side of the world. For the last few years I’ve been working in different holiday villages and it’s been fantastic, now I just want to find some time for myself, just for myself. I cannot imagine my life in Italy, I don’t fit in here. It is boring, crowded, too cold and grey in the winter, and people are always complaining and never satisfied. Apparently Australia isn’t much populated and finding a job such as fruit picking is very easy. That’s exactly what I need, a job outdoor with no need to interact with other people!

SYDNEY, 28.01.2006 – Finally, after a two day airplane journey, I have arrived in Sydney! It is late in the evening, I’ve just landed and the taxi driver is driving me to my accommodation…it’s dark outside but I can see lush vegetation everywhere and the air is humid. I have left the cold Italian winter to find the warm Australian summer, nice. But I feel so confused…

SYDNEY, 05.02.20106 – I’m staying in a studio in Kings Cross. These days I’ve been looking for a sharehouse as living in a studio is way too expensive. I’ve been checking notice boards in hostels but it’s difficult for me to work out where I want to live. Sydney is incredibly huge, and everything here is so big! Roads, bridges, squares, gardens, buidings, they all seems to have been built for giants!

SYDNEY, 11.02.2006 – I’ve moved into a beautiful house in Bondi. I share the house with other travellers like me, from different parts of the world…Spain, Canada, France, UK, Ireland. It is a melting-pot of young people, not sure what they are in Australia for, but certain that it is the right place to be! The house is a constant coming and going of backpackers. Funny how in Italy we lock all doors even if there’s no one around and here there’s plenty of strangers everyday and the doors are always unlocked (or sometimes even open!). I find it extremely fascinating, we all trust each other, we all respect each other, we are all here for the same adventure. Every evening new friends arrive, and everyone cooks their own way and speaks English with a different accent. We all share our stories and our experiences, someone works on the road, someone works in a restaurant, someone else in a shop, and there are even students!

SYDNEY, 23.02.2009 – I’ve found a job as a childcare assistant, yay! At least I’m not going to be a waiter, I hate waitressing! I work 3-4 days a week and spend my free time exploring Sydney, such a vibrant and diverse city! What I love about this city is the contrast between civilisation and nature. One minute I can be in the middle of the noisy and crowded city, one hour later I can be walking along the cliffs, admiring the wide and wild ocean.