The Wild West of Australia

I just got back from my camp and I already had to pack my stuff for my holiday adventure. My trip was going to be two weeks long, so I decided to travel only with hand luggage. :) I needed hours to decide which of my clothes were really important and which stuff is only useless and heavy.

Georgia, a friend of mine, picked me up to drive me to the airport. I was in time and even early enough to drink a coffee with her. J Because of my hand luggage I thought I didn’t have to go to the check in point. So I was sitting, relaxed with Georgia drinking coffee and waiting for boarding. How could I wait for BOARDING without a BOARDIND CARD? J I guess that’s me- I don’t know what I was thinking! ..:)

Finally I had to show my boarding card at the gate which I didn’t have because I didn’t check in..:) So I wasn’t allowed to get on the plane, had to change my bookings for the next possible flight (that afternoon) and I had to pay 50 Dollar. What an expensive coffee this morning! :) The good thing was that I still was going to arrive early enough in Brisbane to get my second flight to Perth. What a indirect blessing!!

After this amazing start to my holidays, I believed that it couldn’t get any worse- but I was wrong: It actually could... :)

 

After this chaotic beginning, I arrived in Brisbane and met Inga at the airport. It was great to see her again and we had so much to talk about. We flew together to Perth and didn’t stop talking the whole way. :) The stewardess weren’t too happy about that…:) Finally we got to Perth and I got to know Inga’s friend Eva, who just arrived in Australia and was going to spend the holidays with us. She is a lovely and funny person and it was great that she joined our exciting west coast trip. On our first day in Perth we visited all the important places, buildings and parks of the city. After one day I was convinced that I really, really loved this city. The atmosphere was incredible and so different from what I have seen before in Oz. Perth is neither too big nor too touristy. There are many nice spots and a lot of trees in the middle of the centre. In addition to that, it’s a very active city. People ride bikes, jogging around and doing workouts in groups. You felt bad if you didn’t wear sport shorts. :)

 

One of my favourite places of the city is the “Kings Park”. It is such a peaceful and wonderful park with an amazing view over the city. In the evening, to the surprise of us all, I found out that the Greyhound bus, where Inga and Eva already had their seats, was completely booked out. This was terrible because the Greyhound Bus on the west coast only runs every third day. We had no time to stay longer in Perth if we really wanted to see the coast.

 

I reserved my seat from Juriem Bay- this was the first possible stop when somebody was going to be dropped off. But this town is 5 hours away from Perth and in the middle of nowhere. We only had the following day to find a solution of how I could get to Juriem Bay because one day later the Bus was going to leave Perth. We booked a trip to the beautiful “Rottnest Island” on this day, which is located 40 min via ferry from the mainland. Although we had to think the whole time about a plan B, we pleasantly surprised by this quaint little island. We toured it on bicycles. We also borrowed snorkel gear because the island had a few good snorkel spots. It was really worth it to visit this great place: clear, torques blue water; peaceful and quite beaches with white sand; no cars, not many people- what a wonderful place…

While I enjoy the island, I phoned 12 car hiring places, asked people for a lift and phoned a few more times to the Greyhound service practically begging for some help. But nothing worked out. It was Easter, the busiest time of the year for the west coast and everything was booked out. It was useless. There was only one possible way left: I have to be a stowaway on the Greyhound Bus- We had no other choice. Inga, Eva and I planed everything carefully and we thought through every possible scenario.

 

On the “big” day, I was very nervous, couldn’t eat anything and I was very doubtful. What if I couldn’t even get on the bus?. This morning we had to realize that everything was much more difficult than we thought it would be. The bus arrived with two drivers, one of them checked the tickets at the door, the other one was busy with the luggage from the passengers. Inga and Eva checked in (plus my luggage) and they got seats together in the back of the bus because of Inga’s “stomach ache” ;).

I found a way to jump into the bus without catching the driver’s attention. Now I had to sit 5 hours, covered under a blanket and wallets, etc on the ground at Inga’s and Eva’s feet. What an uncomfortable place…I was sweating, couldn’t move or stretch my legs, my bum hurt and my shoulder was pressed against the seat in front. Good thing the man never tried to put his seat back! The bus driver was walking up and down the isles the whole time, making it impossible to take the blanket from my head. The “highlight” was that he finally decided to take a nap in the back of the bus. Now he had a perfect view of our seats and I had to stay completely under the blanket for the last 2 hours. From my strategically positioned feet-seat, the hardest part was that I had a clear view of the empty seat. This was so terrible, but now that I’m looking back at it can see it’s ironic hilarity. All I could think about was sitting in that seat, but it was too late now.

 

After 5 hours of horrific driving I was saved. In the big break (at a gas station) I got off the bus in the middle of the crowd. I had no time to put my shoes on again and no time to take more than a plastic bag outside. What an amazing moment- when we knew that we got it! J After the break I checked in as a legal passenger, and with a few strange looks (no shoes, no luggage…) I hopped on the bus without further difficulty. Nobody can imagine how great it was to sit finally on a seat! I will always appreciate the seats of a bus!

 

We arrived after a 10 hour journey to the small town of Denham that is located 20 kilometres away from Monkey Mia. We spent three nights camping (Eva brought a tent) on a very clean and family oriented camping spot. The camp ground was just bought from a lovely mid fifties couple, who looked after us and helped us enormously with everything. We called them Camp Daddy and Camp Mummy. They were so passionate about their camping place. J We got a big torch, a cooking pot, a mattress, and they even helped us to set up our tent after we arrived in the middle of the night. The next day, Camp Daddy gave us a lift to Monkey Mia. What amazing people!

 

On the way to Monkey Mia the camp daddy stopped at every interesting spot to tell us about the area, animals and landscapes. Monkey Mia is one of the world’s first natural dolphin sighting areas. This dolphin resort is located at Dolphin Beach, famous for its kilometres of secluded crystal blue waters and pristine white-shell beaches. Although it was very touristy (hundreds of people lined up along the beach edge), it was an incredible moment, seeing these dolphins in the wild and only a couple of feet away from me. This is the only place in Australia where dolphins visit daily, (not just seasonally), the beachfront. Everything was very controlled by the marine biologists so that the masses of people didn’t disturb these amazing creatures.

 

On our last day in Denham we hired a “car”- it was a funny looking old vehicle that people could hear us from miles away. But it worked and was a lot of fun. J

I enjoyed driving it, especially on the sand roads where it was much more harder to control it. The car made it possible for us to visit the Shell Beach that is located in the Sark Bay World Heritage Area, 45 kilometres southeast of Denham. This beautiful snow-white beach is made up of millions of tiny shells up to 10 metres deep and stretches over 120 kilometres.

 

Another highlight on our “road trip” was the seeing “Eagle Bluff” lookout. From this point we had a spectacular view of the sea. The clear water made it possible to see the contours of sharks and the other sea dwellers.

 

The next day, we left Denham to catch the Greyhound (of course as a legal passenger ;) ) to Coral Bay. All these little towns along the west coast are worth visiting because of their beaches and reefs. The small town of Coral Bay consisted simply of one small super market (very expensive…), one hostel, one camping place and a few souvenir shops. The hostel wasn’t too big and I spent a lot of time playing table tennis. It was so much fun and I got very hooked on it…

 

The next morning we joined a kayak and snorkel trip to the Ningaloo Reef that is directly located 50 metres away from Coral Bay’s beach. This tour was really worthwhile and one of the best adventures I have had so far. Kayaking on the sea was awesome and we had the perfect weather. The underwater world was incredible. I have never seen, even on the east coast, such a wide variety of fish. The greatest moment was swimming next to a really big turtle and seeing my first wild shark. 

 

The last stop of our west coast tour was Broome. An 18 hour bus ride away. This was my longest bus trip I’ve ever had, but truth be told, not the worst one. There was only one problem: Eva had to arrive in Broome in TIME because of her flight back to Germany. (There was a misunderstanding in the planning before…) The bus arrived one and a half hours late in to Coral Bay…we were absolute helpless, and Eva’s chances of catching her flight were significantly lower than optimal.. BUT due to our positive thinking: “there is always a way and at the end everything works out”, we arrived just in time to Broome and Eva was, after two exciting and very chaotic weeks of holidays Eva caught the plane and was safely on her way back to Germany.

 

Inga and I spent a couple more days in Broome in a beautiful hostel- Probably the best one I have ever stayed at. It seemed more like a holiday resort than a backpacker accommodation. We hired a scooter for our last day; “Hardley Davison”. We hardly expected them to hand us a motorcycle (although only with the speed of a scooter). Our baby was a dream of a motorcycle. ;) All in all we looked rather ridiculous: two girls sitting on a big motorcycle, wearing dresses, thongs, and carrying two full bags of food on their laps (we thought the scooter would have a pocket…J). During our drive I burned my leg really badly on the exhaust. My gosh…it hurt for ages. The same happened to Inga when we sat down on our bike to get a last picture. At least we are both going to get an unforgettable scar.

 

I really love the west coast! I am so glad to have had the opportunity to visit such a gorgeous area. It is unbelievable how different this side from Australia is, compared to the east coast. The west coast seemed to capture the typical Australian image, which is in everyone’s mind. I got an insight to the real Australia, and I felt much more connected to the country. Between each specific visiting places you could find: NOTHING at all. It was so incredible and special to drive hundreds of kilometres through desert. You’re lucky to see one gas station after hours of driving and maybe even one small super market, before you are once again in the middle of nowhere. J

Peaceful and quite beaches, white sand, crystal clear water, never ending straight roads without any turns at all, emptiness but still so full of live- Australia’s nature is stunning: one place of the earth, which is not yet destroyed by human beings.