With just one month in this gigantic country I could only visit a very small part. I chose the east-coast as this is the most popular spot with city like Melbourne and Sydney and natural wonders like the 12 Apostles and Fraser Island. To give you a short overview on my trip: I started in Melbourne where I picked up my rental car and drove the Great Ocean Road. Then back to Melbourne and up north the cost via Byron Bay and Brisbane to Fraser Island. Where after a great off-road trip I turned back south to be in Sydney in time for Christmas and eventually New Years Eve.
I started in the fantastic city of Melbourne. What an incredible place, full of art and culture and just a great vibe everywhere. My hostel was right in the city center near a lot of bars and restaurants which was great but even better where the lane ways. These are small streets where it is more or less legal to do street art. The artworks are constantly changing and there is always something new to explore.
Unfortunately the weather wasn't all that great during my time there that you couldn't really use any of the beaches. But it was actually quite refreshing after all my time in the tropical south-east Asia to actually go out and don't start sweating. In fact I even had to wear a jumper some days. It was great.
By the way if you want a great view on Melbourne from above you can go up to the Eureka Skydeck. Although the city center is actually quite compact and very easily reachable by foot Melbourne does spread out quite a lot into the distance as you an see from up there. Still Melbourne was the greatest city I've been to in Australia and I most definitely want to return there at some point.
After some days there it was time to leave the city behind. I picked up my rental car and set out on the Great Ocean Road. Oh what a truly fantastic stretch of road. It's a 250km curvy road along the coast west of Melbourne where one beautiful beach follows another. The highlight are definitely the 12 Apostles, giant rock formations standing in the ocean just of the cliffs. An incredible sight and I managed to time my arrival perfectly to photograph them at sunset. Oh and the wildlife in this area is also quite nice and Aussie. So I got my first Kangaroo pictures. In total I spent about 3 days on the road including the return trip to Melbourne.
The weather turned worse again and it was raining for the next couple of days. That and the fact that the coast between Melbourne and Sydney isn't all that interesting meant I drove up there quite fast. The next interesting stop was Newcastle north of Sydney. Great weather and great beaches, it was finally back to what I expected of Australia. But I had to keep moving, I had already driving more than 2000km and there was still a lot more to go.
My next stop was in Coffs Harbour where the catastrophe happened: I broke my lens. After finishing up the days picture I got up to return everything to my room and that's when I dropped my camera. I forgot to close my backpack properly and my camera it the floor lens first. I was devastated, there was glass everywhere and I feared the worst. Well it was just the filter that broke so I thought I got off lucky. Unfortunately when I took the lens of I saw that the aperture was broken and with the blades flying around the lens it wouldn't stop down anymore. I couldn't go on shooting like this and a repair would last at least a month. So I had to buy a new one once I'll reach Brisbane.
But first Byron Bay. An awesome surf/hippie town south of Brisbane. An incredible city and the first one after a while where I spent more than one night. But it was raining again so I kept moving to reach Brisbane.
Brisbane is basically a smaller Melbourne. Although with a bit less art but a lot of laid back people and with Southbank especially they have a great place to just hang out. It is basically a artificial lagoon and beach in the middle of the city just off the river. Oh and it was very close to Christmas while I was there. You kind of forget about it all when it's warm and sunny all the time but Brisbane had great decorations to remind you. But the highlight of the city is the Koala sanctuary where you can get up close to all of the cute Australian animals.
But my real highlight of the whole trip started after I left Brisbane. I went on a 2-day adventure trip to Fraser Island. An incredible sand Island with great beaches, jungle and fresh water lakes.
Of course you can go swimming there and watch the great local wildlife or beautiful sunsets but the most fun was driving the endless beaches and jungle tracks in our old Land Cruisers. I wish I had more time to spent there but unfortunately I had to go back to reach Sydney in time for Christmas.
Well before I reached Sydney I once again stopped in Byron Bay for a while. The weather was perfect this time and I could really enjoy all the city had to offer. Which is mostly beaches and everything that comes along with them. The other stops on my way down were Coffs Harbour and Newcastle. Two nice beach-towns saving me from spending 10 non-stop hours on the road.
Eventually I reach Sydney exactly like planned on Christmas. And what a great city Sydney is. The Opera House, the harbour and Bondi Beach....no wonder Sydney is the most famous city in Australia. And I had the perfect start with a crazy Christmas boat-party in the harbor. Sunset at the opera, drinking beer on a boat while wearing a Santa-hat a perfect way to spend Christmas.
I spent a lot of time exploring the city at night to get the best vantage points on the skyline for amazing pictures. Oh and the city has just so many great sides to photograph. I took probably way to many photos but it was worth it. Especially the view from opposite the river from the Luna Park was incredible.
Anyways the highlight of Sydney was of course the unbelievably great New Years Eve fireworks. Well you had to wait 4 hours in the harbour area together with thousands of other people and no food or drinks...but eh fireworks were all worth it in the end. An incredible sight and a night I will always remember.
Well I have on more day left in the city before I finish my Australian chapter and move on to New Zealand. I had a great time here and I know I have to return here sometime. It is an incredibly great country and I really need to see a lot more of it. But that's all for now, here are loads more pictures from my trip. So enjoy and till next time in New Zealand.