A love story about Western Australia and Bandi

Here comes another long post full of love.

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You would’ve known by now how much I love Australia from this legendary road trip post. I never stop thinking to come back to Australia ever since, so when Jetstar teased us with another cheap Australia fare, we didn’t think twice. This time, we chose the west coast. We bought the ticket in 2016 (I know, we planned waaaay too ahead), just because. Come to think of it, I’ve never been itinerary-less in the past 9 years… We always have planned ticket somewhere. We knew we were going to have another road trip, so we extended the party to Bandi’s mom, because she has been wanting to visit Australia. The party then grew bigger when my bestie, Angel and her mom joined the trip. Given the condition, of course I will plan the trip, because… it’s me. =p

Fast forward to June 2017, Bandi discussed with me if he should go for the short assignment to Australia that’s offered by the company’s counterpart in Australia. I knew he wanted the chance, but he didn’t want to leave me. I mean, 3 months is not a long time (compared to the 2 years of Long Distance Relationship between Singapore and US for god’s sake) but we have grown to be so dependent to each other, we can’t imagine living apart anymore. I swear this will sound cheesy, but I seriously think I will live each of my every day with Bandi and never get tired of it. He is literally the best part of my every day.

Well, Bandi and I went for business trips once in a while, but never more than 5 days, and usually we miss each other so much. So, would we take this chance/challenge? We ended up saying yes to the chance, because… when opportunity knocks, you answer, no matter what the situations are, you’ll make it work.

So, I said goodbye to him in Changi Airport on 3rd July 2017. :(

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This cheeky guy whom I miss so much

The Western Australia trip fell in between of Bandi’s assignment, so at least, I got to see him for a while. I must say… it was one of the best trip I’ve ever had. Australia is BEAUTIFUL. I say this again and I will keep saying this.

We drove total of 2,485 km in 8 days

It was by far our longest road trip ever, probably because we do a return journey, and thankfully Bandi could switch driving with Angel so each of them would get a rest. Me? Oh, I can’t drive. :p

I loved every places we visited and let me go through each of them below:

#1 Margaret River

Wine region southern from Perth that happens to have the BEST bakery in the world. I might sound exaggerating, but it was seriously the best coconut cake, sourdough bread, pies ever! Which bakery, you ask? You will find it. It’s literally called “Margaret River Bakery” and everyone knows where it is, it’s in the main road, you will find it, I swear. Our host recommended it to us, and when I brought it up to the Jane Brook Vineyard’s owner (which happens in Swan Valley, hundreds km away), he knew this place too!

We didn’t do a lot of things here, mostly just walk around town, go to grocery store and ended up cooking most of the time coz our airbnb house was just sooooo comfy! We also didn’t do any wine tasting in Margaret River because it was raining all the time so we escaped from Margaret River to Busselton, which is about 40 minutes driving from.

Well also drove to Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin, both are beautiful, but it was a very windy day, thus I felt so cold all the time!

#2 Busselton

It was one sunny day in Busselton on the second day when we wanted to walk along the longest Jetty on earth. It was getting windy when we walked half way though, but the view was remarkable.

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Busselton is a charming little town with a rich history, it reminds me of Stars Hollow, a fictional town in Gilmore Girls, especially the part where I saw the Repertory club, which is totally similar with Miss Patty’s Dance School!

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#3 Fremantle

Another town full of history, but the highlight of Fremantle of course, the famous Fremantle Market! Oh my god, I love this market! I know we loved Asian market (like the ones in Taipei), but this one is just topping every markets we visited. The things they sell are just so high quality and full of variety. You have to try the HONEY CAKETry the cocoa one! I loved it so much, I bought 1 box back to Singapore and my colleagues finished it in minutes.

We also bought tea from Roogenic, which is amazing! We also ate the Poke Bowl at Ipoke Bar, which was sooo delicious and the ramen (didn’t remember the name but so yum!).

#4 Kalbarri

If I had to single out the best part of our trip, it is definitely Kalbarri! We started the awesomeness by passing by the Pink lake of Hutt Lagoon, which fascinated me so much, because it was really pink. I was in awe for a minute there, like… is this serious? How could this be so beautiful and so real? I thought those pictures in the internet was edited… It wasn’t… The pink lake is real!

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And Kalbarri National Park was…….. I’m lost for words. It’s beyond beautiful! Beautiful would be an understatement.

I finally come to a realisation that of all the places I’ve travelled to, I’ve always enjoyed landscapes the most. I don’t fancy visiting city, I love beaches (but not a fan of stickiness feeling), I love mountains but scared of cold, but landscapes are just the perfect match for me. I love standing in high places looking out to vast oceans or greens or rocks. I love hiking in national park!

Recommended tracks that we did:

Track 1: Natural Window (Skill level: Easy)

The track to Natural Window was short and easy, so everyone was able to do it. You can extend the track to the loop track from and to Natural window, which I would looooovveee to do it because it’s a rocky track and from high places. I love rocky tracks and I love looking out from high places! But sadly we couldn’t do it that time because we choose to go to other tracks, and it was an 8 km tracks, will need half day to finish. (I swear I’ll be back and do it.)

Track 2: Z-Bend (difficulty level: Easy)

The first ending of the track is a platform where you can look out to the Gorge River. The walk from the carpark to here was easy and pretty near.

Track 3: Z-Bend Extended to the river (difficulty level: Hard)

From the platform, you can choose to continue the bushwalking (how Aussies call trekking :p) to the river below. It requires some serious physical fitness because you need to climb up and down the rocks and stairs. Some parts were pretty scary and dangerous too, but it was FUN and the view was AWESOME. Only Angel and I did this track because of the difficulty level, and Bandi was waiting in the cars with the Moms. When Angel and I walked back up, we were so heated up that we took off our clothes in a winter weather! Felt like an accomplishment to beat up winter. XD

Track 4: Coastal Cliffs Walk (difficulty level: Pretty easy)

The walk is easy because it’s pretty much just the same level walk throughout, by the cliff. Can you imagine the view?!

You can choose how long you want to walk, there are a couple of points with car-park. Angel, her mom and I decided to walk from Natural Bridge to Grandstand (2.6 km walk if I’m not mistaken). We did it during the sunset time and the view was breathtaking. I LOVED IT.

I specially made vlog for our Kalbarri trip, you can watch it on our youtube channel, Bay Travels. :)

#5 Swan Valley

Whoever said Disneyland is the happiest on earth obviously never visited Swan Valley. Well, this might be bias because I was high most of the times in Swan Valley. We went to so many vineyards to taste wines, so let me try to remember each of them and write the story.

Once we reached Swan Valley, we saw polices doing blow checks to car-drivers, to know their alcohol level, to avoid drunk driving. I right away knew it was a perfect place. Good news is… I don’t drive, I have unlimited threshold of alcohol. LOL

The first place we visited was Swan Valley Visitor Centre, which I recommend everyone to do because the visitor centre officer is just so friendly and knowledgeable about the town! They know literally every vineyard existed in Swan Valley. I told them what I like, which is sparkling wine and asked them which route should I take and some recommendation for food.

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What does people do in Swan Valley actually? We visit the vineyard/winery, ask them nicely if they do wine tasting, if yes, they would pour the wine and you drink, if you love it, you buy it. You will get bonus of some interesting stories from the owner! Fun huh?

Taste #1: Pinelli

I love all of the wines they poured for us, especially their white rosé!

Taste #2: Funk Cidery

This one was not a free tasting, we paid AU$15 for 6 different 30 ml ciders, they have around 20-ish and we could choose which one we wanted. All of them are bombs! Love love love!!!

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Taste #3: Jane Brook’s Vineyard

Oh how I enjoyed our time there. We had nice and friendly conversation with the owner and tasted a lot of their wine. I settled with opening 1 bottle of their most amazing sparkling wine and had brunch there, beside a creek, in an amazing sunny winter day. Oh I hope I live like that every day. What a wonderful day.

Taste #4: Tyler’s Vineyard

We were actually recommended to visit Tyler’s vineyard by the Ugg Boots’ merchant that we met the first day of exploring Perth. Angel and I were chatting with the merchant that we would visit Swan Valley the day after and she right away recommended this place which could personalise your wine label with your photo, to make it even more fun, Tyler’s vineyard has animals with Happy the dog as our greeter!

Happy the dog was named happy for a reason indeed! I also made acquaintances with Digby and Gizmo, the sheep.

Taste #5 Mann Vineyard

This is A MUST VISIT! They have Cygne grapes that they patented, which made awesome sparking wine! They are specialised in sparkling wine and they still handmade them! Please pay them a visit, but I believe they only open when their wines are still in stock, August onwards. You need to visit the visitor centre and ask them first.

#6 Perth, Kingspark, the Pinnacle

Driving from Kalbarri back to Perth, we aimed to reach Pinnacle dessert just in time to view the sunset, enjoy it and continue to Perth for dinner. We reached Pinnacle dessert just right about 5 minutes before the sun swallowed by the horizon, we even still witnessed the amazing view from the car while we drove deeper into the dessert. I ran right from the car and climbed up onto the sand hill without my shoes, sadly, I didn’t get to see the sun anymore once I reached the top of the hill.

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The dusk was serene from top. A brief magical moment of how wonderful the world is. Bandi and I promised that we will come back to this place, bringing a slide, so we can sand slide in the sand dunes the whole day. :)

The rocks in Pinnacle is one of a kind, if you’re into geological formation, you should spend more time exploring this national park.

In Perth itself, nothing much to do except chilling in the cafe, shop around and visit parks. The must-visit of course is the gigantic Kings Park which has some awesome views.

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We travel for food

And of course, we will list down the unforgettable food we encountered during this trip, and here are the best ones which we recommend you to try if you happen to be around!

#1 Alfred’s Kitchen – Swan Valley

This road side’s simple sandwich shops served us the best sandwich we ever had in our life! A local recommended this place because it was mentioned in Australia’s master chef and the review popped up in the national newspaper, all for one reason only: it’s freaking delicious!

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#2 The Bakery – Margaret River

I mentioned this on top, and highlighting this again. All of their pastries are freshly baked and yummy! We also had breakfast on our last day in Margaret River there. :)

I really enjoyed my time in West Australia, it was just a tiny piece of WA that we explored and I was already so amazed by how beautiful it was. And again… that thought revisited, what if we lived here, this amazing part of the world, far from the buzzing cities, just us.

We don’t have a privilege to just drop everything and go, our passport doesn’t allow that, our bank account won’t survive that and we don’t only live for ourselves (at least for now). We have to make a plan.

But we’ll do anything for love. It’s undeniable. You can’t just fall in love and forget about it. You can’t just give up without fighting for your love, can you?

So… wish us luck! :)

Cheers,

May, loving the world more and more

The Legendary Pacific Coast road trip

Bandi and I went to Australia! Woot! It’s our first time in Australia and Bandi’s fifth continent! He technically has traveled around the world. :)

I can’t wait to visit my forth and fifth continent too.

Anyway, where did we go in Australia? It’s quite difficult to answer this question in a short sentence because we didn’t just go to 1 or 2 cities, we went to tens of them. How? Because we did a road trip.

So, here’s our map:

Pacific Roadtrip

If you’re interested in building an itinerary, I recommend you to visit this website.

Well, every adventure has its own charm, so does this one. I personally love road trip, but I can’t drive. I feel so blessed that Bandi would do it for me because he knows how much I love road trip. :)

Road trip is more fun, more relaxing, you can see more things and stop by wherever you want. It has more freedom and I lovvvvvvvvvveeeeee freedom. :p

I will not tell the technicality of the stories like when did I go to this place, how long is the distance etc etc, I will list our stops below and tell you my story. Every stops are unique, but you will find out which on is my favorite. This will help you if you want to build a road trip itinerary of your own.

Anyway, this post will not be helpful if you want to visit Australia with public transportation, because we hired a car, so I don’t know a thing about Australia’s public transportation. So all the places we went to, we drove there,

STOP #1: GOLDCOAST

Gold coast is overrated. We decided we won’t stay long in Gold Coast because it was full of tourists. Sure it was warm and the beach was nice, but everything there is more expensive and more touristy. Anyway, we went to Surfer’s Paradise and had our lunch there, waled around for a while and had to pay $8 parking for 1 freaking hour. Talking about expensive…

STOP #2: BYRON BAY

Byron bay was also full of tourists… but we love it! haha! Double standard! I’ve been livin in a city my whole life, so I always prefer small town for holiday destination. I love small town’s charm and Byron Bay has it. Our host at Byron Bay was sooo friendly and warm, contrary to Byron Bay’s weather that was super cold!

If you put in Byron Bay in your road trip destination list, remember this: VISIT THE LIGHTHOUSE. Seriously pretty view from the lighthouse, and have some walk! You will reach to a most east point of Australia. And have I said, the view is spectacular!!! If you’re lucky, you can see whales or Dolphins!

You have to pay AUD$7 for a car if you drive here, but hey you get a free parking!

The Byron Bay Lighthouse

The Byron Bay Lighthouse

Bandi, trying to do some yoga shits with sunset as background. LOL

Bandi, trying to do some yoga shits with sunset as background. LOL

We walked around the most east trail of Australia

We walked around the most east trail of Australia

Spoiled by this view.

Spoiled by this view.

STOP #3: NIMBIN

Nimbin is just so…… unique! First of all, it is a drug town, marijuana to be exact. So if you’re extremely against marijuana, don’t come here at the first place. Nimbin is also a hippie town. It is a very small town where the community believe in everything organic, non-corporation-related, free-trade and also believe in healing stones, tarot reading and using weeds as medicine.

It was so interesting to see the town itself and see the people, I visited some of the stores are all of them were so unique and fun! It is a definitely must-see if you’re around Byron Bay area. it’s about 1 hour driving (or 2 hours driving if you decided to choose the longer route-but more scenic- like we did).

Cute little town!

Cute little town!

Some Psychic doing her thing.

Some Psychic doing her thing.

Even the apothecary sign was cute!

Even the apothecary sign was cute!

STOP #3: BALLINA

Ballina was very…. quiet! I think we only met total of 20 people there. Haha. Yes, it was so quiet and big, but the beach was beautiful. I didn’t get to learn a lot about this town as we didn’t really spend a lot of time here. We just went to watch waves crashing the coast, and took some lovey-dovey pictures of course. :)

Mwack!

Mwack!

:)

:)

Wooo!

Wooo!

STOP #4: LENNOX HEAD

Lennox head is a charming little beach town. I had one of the best salad in my life here! Groovers Cafe is the name (if you ever visit Lennox head, give it a try) which also served awesome sweet potato chips.

The beach was as fantastic as the other beaches we saw in Autralia’s pacific coast line. Can I just make a statement now that there are no best beaches in Australia, all beach has its own charm and atmosphere. Basically all you have to do is just drive from Brisbane to Sydney and stop wherever you want and visit the beach. The whole coastline is beautiful.

A walk along the lake.

A walk along the lake.

STOP #5: HAT HEAD NATIONAL PARK

Bandi and I went bushwalking to korogoro track, the loop one. I think there are three or four different walking tracks. It was drizzling at first but we didn’t hesitate. The track was easy at first, however it became more advance later on. The view when we reached on the top of the hill where the gap was, was REALLY AMAZING. It was raining and nobody was there so it was a bit spooky, so we hurried up back to our base, if it was sunny, I would spend hours there just to watch the sea. :)
We saw kangaroos too, living wild. Ahh…. it’s a privilege to see wild animals as a city girl. :) We didn’t really take many pictures because it was drizzling the whole time. Look at our wet hair!

Raining and hiking!

Raining and hiking!

:)

:)

STOP #7: COFFS HARBOUR

A short stopover at Coffs Harbour before we reach South West Rock. We bought a fresh caught fish turned to Fish and Chips here. OMG! Australia has the best Fish and Chips! Nothing can beat fresh seafood! We also had fresh prawns and squids! Yum!

STOP #6: SOUTH WEST ROCK

I had the best airbnb experience in South West Rock! Our host, Shirley and Mick were soooo friendly and super nice people. They brought us around their beautiful tiny little town. The town was so small, it doesn’t have any traffic lights! It has 5,000 population and has only 1 primary school. So when their kid grew up and entered high school, the kid had to go to high school in the neighbor town.

South West Rock is famous among local Australians and divers. We saw the Fish Rock, a famous diving site and went up to the lighthouse but it was to windy to actually go up to the lighthouse. So we detour to watch cute kangaroos around the lighthouse instead. :)

Wild Kangaroos

Wild Kangaroos

Our sweet sweet host, Mick and Shirley.

Our sweet sweet host, Mick and Shirley.

Found a baby kangaroo that was sticking out! Super cuteeee!

Found a baby kangaroo that was sticking out! Super cuteeee!

South West Rock has so many lookout points that have spectacular views! Here are the photos to give you ideas!

What a view

What a view. Universe is awesome, isn’t it?

And old jail with breathtaking view around.

And old jail with breathtaking view around.

The beach!

The beach!

I really really enjoyed South West Rock. In the evening, Bandi and I had the best dinner we’ve had in Australia in a Restaurant called Seabreeze, which is also a hotel. Go ahead an try it if you’re there!

STOP #7: PORT MACQUARIE

A short stopover at Port macquarie, a small city 2 hours from South West Rock. I fell in love with this small town and promised myself to come back again someday. :)

First stop was a Koala Hospital. There was no injured Koala on the operating table, so thanks goodness everyone is in good condition. So we just visited them in their ward, most of them were sleeping. Do you know that Koala needs to sleep at least 20 hours a day to digest the eucalyptus leaves? :)

Look at this cutieeee!

Look at this cutieeee!

And then we visited Roto’s House, which is a heritage house from the world war era. We went there accidentally actually but I enjoyed it! :)

The entrance of Roto House

The entrance of Roto House

Hanging out at Roto's Balcony

Hanging out at Roto’s Balcony

We walked around the park and sat to discuss where to go next.

We walked around the park and sat to discuss where to go next.

Then we went to the most beautiful small cafe in the outskirt of Port Macquarie, that is also a vineyard. Sooooo beautiful. Ah… I just loved Australia so much!

Isn't it beautiful?

Isn’t it beautiful?

You + Me. We're invincible.

You + Me. We’re invincible, together.

STOP #8: PORT STEPHENS

We reached Port Stephens quite late and went out for Dinner at Nelson Bay. There was only 1 town centre which has the boat docks, some restaurants and some shops. We had the Hog’s Breath, a steak chain in Australia that we’ve been eye-ing on. The steak was not so bad though, but not that fantastic either.

I remember when I talked to our host, an artist who was born in Easter Europe and had lived in Australia for so long, “you’re very funny!”, because she kept making jokes with us. her reply was something that I will remember, “Ain’t it the only way to live?”

Yes, we should not take life so seriously. Life is funny, so should we. =)

Her house was beautiful and we stayed in the floral themed bedroom, sadly we stayed there only for a night, a short night, because the next morning, around 5 am, we had already checked out for our Dolphins adventure. WILD Dolphins! WOOHOO!!! So excited!

As written in some of my blog post, I’m passionately against dolphins in captivity. If you understand about this issue and you still go to those sad dolphins show, we have trust issue, my friend. If you know nothing about it, please read my post here, and learn something new today and educate yourself. =)

We went on a boat trip and it was a bumpy ride. Bandi has zero tolerance on sea motion, so he swallowed some pills and knocked out in the boat. Not fun, huh? Haha.

I was cheering and singing with the other crews and swimmers on the front deck, calling for Dolphins. After some ride away from the bay, we met them! Oh…. I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw them… Swimming freely in the ocean, making happy noises, jumping up and over in the sea. Such beautiful and smart creature. I learned another fact about dolphins, when you sing louder, they will jump higher and show off to us even more! They’re such happy creature! Some of the participants went into the sea and swam along with the dolphins. Don’t worry we didn’t do anything or change anything about them. They were free and happy!

Sadly, I don’t have so much pictures of the excursion trip because I kept my phone safe in my pocket and didn’t want to risk dropping it into the sea. :p

So here’s the only picture I captured from my Dolphins video.

Happy dolphins.

Happy dolphins.

STOP #9: NEWCASTLE

Before we hit Sydney, we made a quick stop to have a late lunch in Newcastle, like usual Fish and Chips and coffee. Newcastle is a satellite city of Sydney which has a number of car dealerships, factories and big buildings. I felt it’s more like Karawang or Bekasi.

Nothing special here and I barely took photos. Next!

STOP #10: SYDNEY

Sydney… Sydney… Sydney… the most expensive city we’ve ever been in our life! $8 for 30 minutes carpark? $17 for one-way trip (so freaking near) from Airport to town? Zoo was $56? Geez…. It surely costs a lot to live here.

Thankfully we got free parking in our airbnb, I couldn’t imagine how much we pay for overnight parking.

Our first stop in Sydney was to meet CALEB, the cutest baby in Instagram! LOLOLOL

Dian, Caleb and me! This photo took thousands of takes! LOL

Dian, Caleb and me! This photo took thousands of takes! LOL

Caleb was super cutttttttttttttteeeeeeeeeeeeee! Now I want a baby! :p

Anyway, finally I got to meet Dian (I don’t even hyperlink your blog anymore cause it’s dead), we’ve been missing each other very long. She’se been providing me with airport tax money, bus card and sending me cute postcards, she’s like my sugar mama. XD Thanks for all the fun time Dian! I will be back to Australia!

Sydney is surely a beautiful city with the pretty bay full of boats and birds contrasted with some old buildings. I enjoyed Sydney a lot and it has awesome Thai food (one of the perks of big city – good international food).

A city by the bay is always good idea.

A city by the bay is always good idea.

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach

Yellow wildflowers!

Yellow wildflowers!

Awesome stuff!

Awesome stuff!

This is like the BEST IDEA ever, riiiiight?

This is like the BEST IDEA ever, riiiiight?

And before I left Sydney and went back to Singapore, guess what happened? My flight was delayed for about 6 hours and it was a blessing in disguise because I got to meet my gurl, Tannia! We thought we would miss each other because she will land when I fly out but now we could meet!

The foxy global trotter

The foxy global trotter

And during September, we got to meet at Surabaya (Bromo trip), Kuala Lumpur (for Bon Jovi concert) and now here in Sydney! If it wasn’t meant to be when I don’t know what is. :D

SPIN OFF: BLUE MOUNTAINS AND LEURA

We took one day off from Sydney to visit Blue Mountain and it was gorgeousssss! I loveeee it! My only regret was not to pay parking tickets for longer hour so I could hike longer and explored more.

If you intend to visit Blue mountans without hiking/bushwalking, you may spare only 1 hour here just to visit three sisters, but if you want to hike, spare minimum 5 hours because the trail was a bit tough.

We paid our parking ticket for only 4 hours and ended up panicking because we had to come back ASAP. Bandi left me with our friend (who joined us on the ride) and he ran to the car just to make sure we didn’t get fine tickets. hahahaha

The stairs were horrible!

The stairs were horrible!

Three Sisters from far far away

Three Sisters from far far away

Beauty

Beauty

The tiny waterfall.

The tiny waterfall.

After the super-tiring hike, we thought we wanted to chill a little bit before we drove back to Sydney, so we read some local newspaper and found a garden in nearby town called Leura. It was an impromptu trip, so we went there and it was a pretty little town! :)

A friend asked us to take this photo. so cute!

A friend asked us to take this photo. so cute!

I wanna have a garden this pretty! :D

I wanna have a garden this pretty! :D

So yeah… the journey was fun, amazing and full of coffee. LOL. WE LOVE AUSTRALIAAAA! And I want to come back so so so badly! I even thought about having a gap month to explore Australia. Watch out Europe, you have a competition! Haha!

But of course Europe is full of beautiful history, ruins, museums and old building, while Australia is full of unique wildlife, beautiful beaches and amazing national parks. There are totally 2 different adventures.

I found something new: I LOVE BUSHWALKING! (But only when the weather is cold, so I don’t get all sweaty) Australia is full of unique animals so when we bushwalked, we would meet porcupine, kangaroos, rare birds and other interesting animals that I didn’t even know their names. And Australians are friendly and happy people so we enjoyed everything there actually!

I can’t wait to plan my next Australia Trip! :D

And to sum up our Great Pacific Roadtrip, here’s the video that I made! (I have a new hobby to make 1 summary video per trip so in the future when I feel like remembering the trip, I will just play the video; instead of scrolling to thousands of photos. :p)

Enjoy!

Cheers,

May, adventure-ing

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