„Welcome to Australia“- once I learn that signal on the airport of Sydney I used to be so excited that I even forgot how drained I was from that lengthy journey from Amsterdam to Sydney. It was such a aid to finally arrive after touring for nearly 30 hours. I don’t assume I’ve ever been on a aircraft for that long, but I knew that it is going to be well worth the lengthy journey. I have all the time dreamed of going to Australia, nevertheless it all the time appeared so distant and since you at the least want three weeks off in case you are touring to Down Beneath from Europe, I didn’t get the prospect to visit earlier than. In Germany it’s quite widespread to do a Work & Travel holiday in Australia after graduating from highschool, however again in the days as a candy 18 yr previous I didn’t actually dare to do it.
Nicely 5 years later I lastly made it to Australia- no work, just journey. With a restricted period of time at my palms, I needed to select correctly. Australia is large and it is merely inconceivable to see it all in a short period of time. I found the East Coast probably the most fascinating for me to begin my journey Down Underneath. I already knew I’ll come again to discover more of this lovely nation, so there was absolutely no want to rush it on this journey. To benefit from the time I had here, I opted to go with a tour company as an alternative of organizing one thing alone. I travelled with Stray in Asia earlier than who manage great hop-on, hop-off tours that provide the consolation of a gaggle tour, however with enough freedom to keep longer at places in the event you really feel like you want to discover extra. An amazing bonus is that they all the time attempt to embrace some kind of off the crushed path and local experiences making it a really distinctive experience. This reality actually distinct them from other tour corporations. I often manage all my journeys on my own and Stray actually modified my view of group tours. I still had sufficient freedom, nevertheless the stress of organizing was taken away from me. Plus should you solely have a restricted period of time, you don’t want to waste it on figuring out how to get to places or inconvenient transportation occasions.
Loka Journey just lately joined Stray and now operates as Stray Australia– extending their community to New Zealand, Asia and Australia. Since I only made good experiences with them beforehand, I decided to journey from Sydney to Cairns on their new Mick Freestyle Tour that just launched in October. It consists of the transportation up the East Coast, first night time’s accommodation at each cease, actions and a few meals as properly. There are such a lot of exciting and numerous spots on this tour, subsequently I feel I will get some great first impressions of the range and great thing about Australia. From cities, to mountains, vineyards, rainforest, seashores and island- that tour presents it all.
For this journey I made a decision to write a journey diary to share my experiences in Australia alongside with a lot of pictures with you guys. In case you’re planning a visit to Australia or considering of touring with Stray, it also needs to offer you some great insights.
- 1 Day 1: Arriving in Sydney
- 2 Day 2: Blue Mountains National Park
- 3 Day 3: Exploring more of Sydney
- 4 Day 4: Hunter Valley- Wine tasting and tubing in Barrington Tops
- 5 Day 5-6: Spot X Surf Camp
- 6 Day 6: Canoeing in Nymboida and Aussie BBQ at River Retreat
- 7 Day 7: Swimming in rock swimming pools and arriving at Byron Bay
Day 1: Arriving in Sydney
Sydney- there she was. Already from the flight I obtained a quick peek over the harbor bridge and the world well-known opera home. What a sight! Couldn’t wait to make my means there to finally see it up close with my very own eyes. Immigration was quick and because the airport isn’t that far out of the town I received to Central Station very quickly. Stray works together with the YHA and the Wake Up hostels close by. I used to be a bit too early for verify in, so after a quick shower I headed out to explore. This is additionally the perfect tip to struggle jet lag. Attempt to stay awake until the evening if you arrive somewhere new. You will get up recent and early the subsequent day.
Each Saturday there’s an artisan truthful in Glebe, a hip native neighborhood in Sydney. Along with cute handmade gadgets similar to jewelry, clothes and other treasures, you will discover vintage gadgets and delicious meals stalls. Additionally the cafés in the neighborhood are value testing. From there I made my approach to Darling Harbor, past the Harbor Bridge to the Opera House.
As I used to be meeting a good friend for lunch I took the ferry to Kiribilly. Overlook the costly harbor cruises. With the ferry you get equally nice views for a fraction of the worth. Célcius Espresso Co. is true whenever you get off the ferry. Their lovely breakfast gadgets have been throughout my Instagram feed and I used to be eager to attempt it myself. Remember the wait might be fairly long since it is a small place.
After heading again to Clarkes Quay I wandered by way of the Botanical Backyard (which is free) back to the hostel and principally handed out proper after I was in my bed. I was so drained after all the travels.
Day 2: Blue Mountains National Park
The Blue Mountains are one thing not to miss when in Sydney. I didn’t know that a spot like this may exist inside an hour and a half drive from Sydney. Don’t skip it, it is so beautiful. The Blue Mountains are 2,5 occasions the dimensions of the Grand Canyon. Stray operates an excellent day journey there. Whereas this trip was included in my tour, you can too guide it individually as an add-on to your journey move or simply as a day journey in case you are dwelling or staying in Sydney. Decide up was good and early and since we all had an influence nap in the bus we arrived on the National Park very quickly. From there we have been going to start a simple hike by way of the park. We came throughout some epic view factors and beautiful nature. Our last stop on the first part of the hike was the Wentworth falls.
We stopped for a break and photograph op and a number of the boys even went for a swim. After a steep hike back up all the stairs, we received some scrumptious sandwiches for lunch that have been included within the tour. A quick drive later we received to a special a part of the park- The Three Sisters. It is a beautiful rock formation and the view is out of this world. The final cease on this tour was part of the Nationwide Park where you possibly can spot wild kangaroos. We obtained fortunate and I inform you I was so excited to see a mom kangaroo with her baby eating grass and leaping around. What a nice approach to finish the day in the Blue Mountains earlier than driving back to Sydney. I loved some dinner together with new pals that I made on the tour. After a quick stroll by means of Darling Harbor at night time it was time for bed once more.
Day 3: Exploring more of Sydney
Sydney I wanted I had a bit extra time on my arms. I awoke nice and early- thank you jet lag and since I used to be feeling a bit hungry I headed to a famous café referred to as „The Grounds of Alexandria“. In case you are going to Sydney, you do have to eat there at the very least once. The wholesome breakfast bowl that I had was good and the setting was extraordinarily lovely. Good for pics. As Christmas is arising soon, that they had a whole area dedicated to Disney’s „Nutcracker“. The ornament was so on point. At the Grounds they even have reside chickens and pigs.
The weather was beautiful this present day so I made a decision to explore some extra what Sydney has to supply. We went again to Round Quay for some superb views of the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House and had a drink at the Opera Bar. From there we made our approach to Bondi Seashore- in all probability probably the most famous seashore in Sydney well-known for its surfers and its laid-back life fashion. I have seen loads of footage of the Bondi Icebergs, so that was one thing I used to be very eager testing. If you would like to take a swim the entrance charge is sort of affordable from 7AUD $, alternatively you can too have a drink or some meals within the restaurant overlooking the pool.
The coastal stroll is sort of common, so we made our means to Coogee previous Bronte Seashore. The coastline is rocky and wild and the views are just beautiful, and I am not solely talking concerning the scenery ? After some dinner it was time to head again to our hostel.
Day 4: Hunter Valley- Wine tasting and tubing in Barrington Tops
Nice and early was the decide up from our hostel this morning. Our Stray Tour was formally going to start. Stray has their very own bus which really is a luxury. The dimensions of the teams is on average round 20 people- a pleasant mix of individuals from everywhere in the world. So even in case you are going to start this tour solo, you will finish the trip with tons of pals from everywhere in the world.
The first cease of our tour was to style some Australian wines in the Hunters Valley- a wine area a few 2.5 hour drive away from Sydney. I mean there isn’t any better means to start the day with a wine tasting at 10 am right? After a small introduction of the winery and the essential of how to truly style wines, it was time to attempt a choice of whites and reds. I ended liking the „opening act“ a lot that I took a bottle with me.
All a bit happier than before, we continued our journey after a lunch break to Barrington Tops National Park. This is likely one of the Strademarks places on the Stray Tour. These are special places or experiences that embody Stray’s ethos as an adventurous, off the crushed monitor, journey firm. Barrington Tops National Park as part of the Gondwana Rainforest and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage website. The views are superb and there’s plenty of issues to do from mountaineering, to tubing and beyond. We stayed in a small lodge overlooking the valley and the farm it was situated on. Right after we acquired there it was time to go tubing. For an enormous part we floated down the river and there have been additionally some falls that speeded issues up a bit. It was a very fun expertise. After we acquired again we all jumped within the scorching tub and loved the sunset with some snacks and drinks. Our night program was consuming yummy pizzas out of the wood fired pizza oven and enjoying video games. Since we have been in such a distant location,we didn’t have -cell telephone reception, which was great as everyone was more current, we obtained to know one another better and bonded as a gaggle. The subsequent morning after some breakfast it was time to head to our next cease.
Day 5-6: Spot X Surf Camp
Australia and surfing does belong collectively. So in fact we had to attempt it out while on our Stray Australia tour up the east coast. The surf camp is situated on among the best spots to try out surfing for learners. We broke the long journey up a bit with a stop on the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie. This was my first time seeing koalas in actual life and it was great to study these fascinating animals. They spend most of their day sleeping and are awake for around 4hours to eat- what a life. A number of the koalas at the hospital have a very sad story, while entrance is free, they do depend on volunteers and donations and we have been very happy to help the undertaking with a number of dollars.
After an extended drive we stopped at Emerald Seashore where we have been in a position to see plenty of wild kangaroos roaming round freely. Such a cool experience. For Australians it’s quite a standard sight as they’ve so many kangaroos. There are 44 million kangaroos in Australia and only 24 million individuals. But for us tourist it was one thing utterly new and we couldn’t cease taking pictures.
Once we received to the surf camp, we had dinner and participated in a pub quiz at the local pub. I’ve by no means achieved a pub quiz earlier than, it was great fun and our staff „The undead drop bears“ even got here first.
The subsequent morning it was time to try out surfing. At the Spot X surf camp they’ve a staff of very motivated instructors from everywhere in the world that began explaining us the fundamentals of browsing. Some individuals by no means surfed before, others had a bit experiences but have been still rookies. I tried browsing 2 occasions before, but for the primary time I lastly understood what I used to be supposed to do. I found the instructors to be very helpful. We have been round 10 individuals for one teacher that morning. Our surf lesson took two hours and fairly a number of managed to rise up. I personally didn’t, however that’s due to my lack of coordination. It is a lot to keep in mind all of sudden and undoubtedly harder than it seems to be. Nevertheless I did have fun and will not hand over. The surf camp would have been an incredible place to hop off as nicely if you would like to get higher at browsing. With the restricted period of time at my palms it was a fun approach to attempt it out and I’ll do a prober browsing vacation subsequent. The Mojo surf camp is situated at a number of great surf spots in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, I might be again for positive.
Day 6: Canoeing in Nymboida and Aussie BBQ at River Retreat
The adventure continued immediately. After the surfing we had some extra fun things lined up. The subsequent stop on our tour was Nymboida, which is understood for its giant river system that gives world-class canoeing and kayaking. We had two awesome guides with us that gave us some great recommendations on canoeing. We spent round two hours on the river and once we acquired to the campsite our awesome tour guide Linda ready an unimaginable Australian BBQ for us. Australians love to do BBQ and there was literally every little thing you’ll be able to imagine. She even made her personal traditional Australian bread referred to as damper and we received to attempt kangaroo for the primary time. After dinner we all sat across the campfire to roast marshmallows and shared some tales. We even had some musical skills in our group, so we received to take pleasure in some guitar music and singing as properly. I consider those experiences are so useful as a gaggle and end up being a number of the nicest reminiscences on the tour and it was undoubtedly a really memorable evening.
Day 7: Swimming in rock swimming pools and arriving at Byron Bay
After a pleasant breakfast it was time to continue the journey as we had a bit of a drive forward of us. I really like how Stray makes time to cease at fascinating spots along the way- this really sets them apart. You might take a daily Greyhound bus to move around Australia too, but you’d miss out on some awesome stops and all of the fun. Our information Linda requested us whether or not we wish to go swimming and since it was a nice day, we had a bit of break at the Angourie Blue and Inexperienced Pools. After a refreshing dip within the swimming pools we obtained again to the bus and headed instantly to Byron Bay. Linda has been a tour information for over twenty years and you may actually inform how passionate she is about this job. It was a number of fun with her being on the bus and she or he had a whole lot of cool ideas for us on what to do at our next stop Byron Bay. After a quick tour of all of the hotspots of Byron Bay, Linda dropped us on the hostels.
Byron Bay is a very fascinating place on the coast. The vibes and views are magical and there are tons of good cafés and outlets to wander round. We checked in at the Wake Up Hostel which used to be a former resort on the seashore. Friends can rent surfboards and bikes at no cost and up to this date it undoubtedly has been one of the nicest hostels I’ve ever stayed in. We headed straight into city to explore. After some purchasing and ice cream we made our means to the Seashore Lodge that arrange some great live shows on weekends. To observe the sunset we went to Fundamental Seashore where lots of people collect within the evening to hang out, play music and dance. I fell in love with Byron Bay from the beginning and was wanting ahead to explore extra the subsequent day.
What an unimaginable first week it has been in Australia. I have seen and skilled a lot already that someway I acquired the sensation I already spent months here. It was a number of fun already and I met so many people on the tour. Curious what the subsequent weeks are going to deliver…