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