Exactly 2 years ago, me, my former partner and his best friend planned to fly to Australia together. The reason was that the buddy wanted to do work&travel in Australia and we all wanted to fly there together and travel a bit before. The good thing was that he had even bought a car in advance, one with a kitchen in the trunk, a fridge, a solar panel and the possibility to sleep inside. In the end we always stayed in the tent.
Flight to Perth
We shot really cheap flights. With Scoop it went for 800€! 1st class from Berlin to Perth, with a stopover in Singapore. There we had a 7 hour stay and visited the spa at the airport. Very practical, because you can finally get some exercise. The 1st class flight was also great. It is a cheap airline, but still you have nice big seats and every comfort. Absolutely recommendable!
Since the take-off of the car is in Perth, Western Australia was a possible destination for us. Contrary to the Sunshine Route in the east with very well known cities or the popular Ocean Road, they say that the nature is supposed to be most beautiful in the west of Australia. I can only confirm this.
In Perth we first of all allowed ourselves a hotel at the Black Swanlake, there, as the name says, there should be black swans. Quite fast we also notice the multi-culti streams in Australia, you can really eat everything the world has to offer.
In Perth we visited friends and picked up the car. There was still a lot to do and we also had some experiences with the authorities for his stay. We also went to a camping store, so there were big boxes and a coffee maker =)
Please set up the tent when it is still bright
First of all we have to dig in. Because as soon as the sun is gone in Australia, it gets really cold. Apart from the fact that we are there in the Australian spring and there it has pleasant 20 degrees, but no more than that.
We slowly work our way up north, because it’s getting warmer and warmer there =)
Yanchep National Park
Western Australia has many national parks to offer. We visited an old cave here and walked a little through the park.
If you have never seen a national park before, you will find Yanchep beautiful, no question. But scenically there is even more =)
Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre, Nambung
In the middle of the landscape there are formations that were formed from volcanic rock. They remind one of, well, see for yourself.
In Jurien Bay we had to make a stopover, because the car has some quirks. As soon as we stop, other people immediately stop and offer their help. That is fantastic. Because tomorrow you could be it yourself. With German invention technology we were able to plug a leak in the air conditioning system with a sock. Friday afternoon we arrive at a mechanic. He repairs the car and asks us where we are going to spend the night. We have no idea. So without further ado he invites us to his home or to a lake on his land. There is also a kind of garage where we can cook undisturbed. Bathing is then in the lake =) In the evening he comes by and tells us something about his country. He has spent over 1 million dollars to cultivate an insanely large part of it. We take a look at it the next day. Among other things he has alpacas and an enormous amount of land for cultivation. We are overwhelmed by the hospitality. At the sea I have the feeling of being at the Baltic Sea.
In Kalberry we meet a friend of mine. We go for a walk at the famous Natures Window. It really looks like someone has made a hole in a huge rock to look through. We walk the 7 kilometer long circular path above and partly feel as if a dinosaur could walk through the valley at any moment. It just looks like something out of a history book.
I also notice that the people in Australia are particularly friendly. Sometimes I stop when someone on the beach replies „Hello, how are you? Although the question „How are you?“ is not meant seriously, Australians are much more warm-hearted than for example the Americans and are interested in the state of mind for at least a few minutes. Such a life by the sea also brings you down enormously. And the colors here simply seem much more intense. And that is only the beginning.
Finally we go snorkeling. Sometimes I have the feeling of drowning, because my great snorkel, which is supposed to keep the water out, sometimes closes the valve so that I can’t breathe, but at least I can snorkel. And it is gigantic. The water is clear, clean, very good visibility, great rocks in the water, wonderful corals (probably better than at the Great Barrier Rief) and we already see some manta rays. By the way, the water, the Indian Ocean, has only 26 degrees. That means, if you want to snorkel for 45 minutes, you absolutely need a wetsuit, at least a „shorty“ (short arms and legs).
Ningaloo Reef with Coral Bay and snorkeling spots near Exmouth
The Ningaloo Reef really tops everything you have seen so far. We have seen so many corals, colorful fish, manta rays, it is an indescribable feeling. The reef goes 300 kilometers along the Australian coast, sometimes a few kilometers away from the beach, sometimes 50 meters close, so you can walk directly into the water.
At Exmouth there are several snorkeling spots like
- Oyster Stacks
- Turquoise Bay Drift (current snorkeling)
On the one hand, most of the spots are well signposted, within walking distance from the beach. On the other hand you have to watch out for low tide at some of them, if there is not enough water you would lie on the corals. Therefore it is simply forbidden to snorkel at certain times.
Turquoise Bay Drift (current snorkeling)
On the other hand there are sometimes strong currents. If you walk 300m to the left here, you can let the current carry you while snorkeling. At the end you have to watch out that you swim straight out of the current (never against the current), otherwise you will be pulled out to sea at a certain point. This is what the Australians tell you and you should really listen to them! And by the way: Australians live and grow near the water, and they walk barefoot almost the whole time, I love that.
We have booked a snorkeling tour at Exmouth for special places. Suddenly we were told if we wanted to see whales. Actually they are already gone in November, but they were just there. There were two males that were mating around a female. We were not allowed in the water, much too dangerous. But then we came to a hip mama and her young. Our instruction was from the diving instructor:
„Look at me where I show you in the water where they are. It is possible that you look somewhere and they are gone again. Okay. Got it. Also, we are not supposed to jump into the water, but to glide slowly. All snorkelers form a long chain so that we look like a big animal. And then we see the whale, right before our eyes. I would have loved to scream, but the snorkel in my mouth made that impossible. These animals are so breathtakingly beautiful. And move, like mantas so elegant and fast in the water!
The Manta Rays are also unique. They swim against the current to suck krill from the water. So we swim after the manta rays, 2-3 swims and they are gone. Nature is simply magical.
Camping in Cape Range near Exmouth
These are completely natural camping sites, you spend the night in the middle of nature and start the day with a great view of the ocean. Really back to the roots. This is a good starting point for various snorkeling tours.
There is not even a shower, but toilets with a chemical mixture that breaks down the feces and urine, it doesn’t even smell. After 3 days of snorkeling, salt water in my hair and the Australian wind (it is also called Fremantle Doctor or Dr.; Fremantle or Frio by the way a city where you can go away well), I am still looking forward to a really nice warm shower.
Well, the shower is not really warm, but solar does what it can. But up here in the north it is much warmer, already hot. On a November day, still spring, we have 38 degrees Celsius here. (The Australians also use the metric system). In the Australian summer it can be over 40 degrees Celsius here.
Here, by the way, we had visited a Bavarian Oktoberfest and the Jurabi Turtle Center in November. Very interesting. By the way, turtles lay their eggs here on the beach from about November to April. I have seen turtles in the water, but none that have buried their eggs.
Sleeping bag and sleeping routine
If it was still quite fresh at the beginning of the trip, my Australian girlfriend told me to please bring sweaters and I thought like this: „Hey?“, it is, as I said, already really hot in the north, so that we don’t even sleep with the thin sleeping bag anymore. Also we usually go to bed between 8 and 9 o’clock in the evening, because we are in the nature, it is pitch dark and we are just tired. Accordingly, and again because of the heat, we get up before 7am. And so we drive on to the next highlight
Karijini National Park
It reminds me of the Grand Canyon. And both are connected by a common history, because both parks are inhabited by Aborigines. The traces of the ancient peoples go back 20,000 years.
There is a big river that has dried up and you can walk in the canyons. That means, some times it can be very far, some times you have to walk in the so called „Spiderwalk“, which means to put hands and feet against the rocks, because it would be too narrow at the bottom. You can also walk in swimming trunks or bikini, because some places are still full of water where you can swim through. So there are many different canyons / gorges, with different levels of difficulty. We have visited:
- Joffre Gorge (relatively difficult with climbing)
- Weano, Knox, Hancock (belonging together)
- Dales Gorge with Fortescue Falls (like in a fairy tale)
In the Fortescue Falls
there is a lake and in the back like a kind of half cave, there you can sit under a waterfall. I believed to be in paradise. Dragonflies were flying, they looked like little fairies. A perfect day.
Besides, the Karijini National Park is 800km away from any civilization, like driving from Flensburg to Freiburg without a house. This means that there is no light pollution there either. Accordingly I saw the most beautiful starry sky there, the milky way quite clear. We sat outside in the evening and saw shooting stars every minute.
In the park there are certain places where you can camp. But you have to take your trash with you. With 3 days stay and 40 degrees heat, a lot of things come together and it stinks. The park exit is 45 minutes away. So we pack the garbage on the roof.
And the flies are intrusive here. I have never experienced that before. We brought fly nets for the face. At first we had seen other people with them and thought that it looked pretty silly. But after 5 minutes on site and the flies try to crawl into your nose, eyes and ears, you better put on the fly protection.
Besides, the flies go for the food, especially for the meat. Fortunately I am a vegetarian^^
We want to go down from Karijini Park to Esperance and stop in Kalgoorlie, which is an old mining town. The trucks at the mining look like toys. Apart from that there is not much attraction for me.
Esperance is once again enchanting. There the white sand squeaks under your feet and the kangaroos are also on the beach. Sometimes they are even quite trusting. But please do not feed them.
By the way, you should not drive in Australia in the evening and at night. In case of a breakdown it can take a long time until someone comes. We had even heard that a family in the outback had left the car and died of thirst. So always stay at the car. We also always have enough to drink with. With enough I mean: 40 liters for 3 people, you never know.
Kangaroos are nocturnal animals, that’s why you shouldn’t drive at night. It could be that you catch a cute animal. By the way, here you can find the small kangaroos and the red giant kangaroos. They can grow up to 3 meters tall. We had seen one once, but it was far away and still enormous.
By the way, here we also drove our car on the beach, because it has four-wheel drive. It was interesting, but not ideal for nature.
On the way to Margret River, we passed Pink Lake. Because of algae it is, as the name says, pink. Impressive.
On the way we stop again at Wave Rock. It looks just like a huge wave of stone. There are also some other interesting rock formations.
Last but not least we will go to Margret River, or Margie. The Australians like to cut things short, they really do. And they like to buy packs in XXL size, because the normal and extra large packs don’t cost much. It is just expensive to import something. Although the Australians are very proud of their country and always emphasize that everything comes from Australia. A quick word about buying, that’s what Woolies, i.e. Woolworth, are for. At first I thought that’s the Woolworth for games and clothes, but this is something completely different, a food market.
Back to Margret River. Here we visit my girlfriend. She shows us the city. She is really cute. There are a few small cafes, restaurants, beach, forest, a good mixture. This region is also famous for wine growing. There are many vinerys here, which also offer tastings. You can join them for free. Of course I always buy something.
I am in wine heaven
With Vasse Felix I thought for a moment that I was in heaven. You come down to the cellar, there is a huge wine barrel and someone tells you something about the story. In the cellar it is totally dark. Suddenly huge doors open, bright light shines in, you are allowed to enter and you come into a very nice room where you can do the actual wine-tasting. Here you are at a bar, behind the bar there are floor-to-ceiling windows, and you are looking at the vineyards. This is something I still remember to this day. A marketing masterpiece!
Overnight to Sydney
Overnight to Sydney
From Margret River we drive back to Perth, park the car with friends, get on a plane overnight. By the way, we explored 4317km by car here.
Yes we wanted to save one night in a hotel. But such a thing takes revenge one day later. In Perth there is a time difference of 6 hours, in Sydney 9 hours. What we experienced in Sydney, for that we have our own blog article. Because I was in Sydney for work and by chance I ended up at a red carpet party with the 100 hottest Australians in the Flamingo Bar.