30 October, 2006
Cheers to 5 years on the east coast!
If you followed our Asia trip way back in 2006, you would know that Chris landed a job in Australia about a week into that trip. So in October that year, we came across the ditch and set up camp, until we had saved enough to buy furniture and put a deposit on a car and then later, the bike. That was 3.5 years ago, and now here we are, about to head off again.
While the Asia section provided a travel log of our first trip, this section has been done in retrospect, principally with photos.
We also took a couple of trips home, and Chris has been all over the world for work, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Canada, Kenya just to name a few!
We've now had a damn good look around 100+ parks, but we are not yet done with you yet Australia! We still want to see the desert, swim with whale sharks in WA, and visit lots of spots in NT including Kakadu, Nitmuluck and Purnulunulu (the Bungle Bungles).
The wildlife here is abundant and diverse. Here is just a random snapshot of some of the animals found here.
2006 till 2010
In Brisbane, Al met his brother who he hadn't seen since he was about 10, and we went on several local trips with his mob, including the portals on Mount Barney (excellent freshwater swimming!)
Many of our trips involved parks between the New England and coastal highways, a 200 km wide strip that runs between Southern Queensland and Victoria. Local parks we visited semi-regularly included Giraween, Bald Rock Boonoo Boonoo, Tambourine Mountains, Noosa, Glass House Mountains and Lamington (all within 3hours drive south) and several others we've forgotten the name of.
In 2007, we took Chris's parents (fresh from the freezer that is Invercargill, NZ), in 40+ degree heat even though it was still October, on a drive through the Bunya Mountains (first leach and my parents first Bandicoot), then on to Carnarvon Gorge, and back via 1770. A lesson for those based in Australia with Kiwi guests: 2,000 km is not a short road trip for 4 days for people who just want to get out and look!
We also made it further south to the Dorrigo area a couple of times. One less memorable trip involved Al having to remove over 100 tick larvae from Chris's backside, back and arms. Lesson learnt: do not lie on wet grass where lots of marsupials hand out! Dorrigo region is however stunning... and Nymboi-Binderay remains one of Chris's favourite campsites.
Vic & NSW
We did a massive trip south, southwest to Dubbo (missing Mungo and Mt Kapitar due to flooding), then down to the Snowy mountains, to Melbourne for the shops, along the south coast of Victoria, then up the southern coast of NSW. Highlights included funnel web spiders, giant fighting red roos, dingo and fox, several seriously poisonous snakes, blue-ringed octopus and rays at Booderee, getting smashed in the rock swim-pools when massive waves came and the luminous water bug thingees that light up when you swim at night in the sand-dune lakes (near mimosa rocks I think).
We even took on Mount Kosciuszko, the highest peak in Oz just makes it into the alpine zone!
Daintree & back
In 2009 winter, we did a huge road tour north, including 5 days sea kayaking and snorkelling in the Whitsundays (Hook Island) with whales, turtles and Maori Wrasse fish and stunning coral too; Atherton tablelands (organic local coffee) and the Daintree. While Al finally got to see platypus, we swear there is no such thing as tree kangaroo or cassowary (we spend around 5 days looking), and thankfully, we also missed the crocs. Shout out to QPWS and GBRMPA for the impressive management of the reef; limiting campsites per beach to about 10 people - paradise!
Great Keppel Island
We went back to the lower section of reef this most recent Christmas (2009), for a snorkel off Great Keppel Isl. Nowhere near as good as Whitsundays, but lots of rays, and we got to witness the after effects of an Irukandji sting (thankfully not us vomiting, screaming and seething for 4 hours before being taken off the island). Lesson learnt: wear the damn stinger suit, even if you look like a dick and it makes the water feel colder.