It’s unbelievable, my last big holidays are over ...but we had a splendid time- I really wanna tell you about it.
One week before my birthday, Inga and Kathleen came up from Rockhampton. We spent the weekend together in Townsville. We walked up the Castle Hill, went for ice-cream at the Strand and spent a whole day on Magnetic Island.
The following week Kathleen left to catch up with a friend and Inga and I wanted to drive up to Cairns for a couple of days. It wasn’t really unusual that we changed our plans from one day to another and stayed in Townsville doing day trips.
We used Warren’s car (luckily without crashing it ;) ) to check out the surroundings of Townsville. On one day we went up to Paluma to do a rainforest walk. Later we went for a swim at Crystal Creek. The water was freezing, but it was such a beautiful place.
The next weekend was my 21st birthday- how exciting to turn 21 in Australia. J
Even though I hadn’t organized a big Party, I was looking forward to this date. On Saturday evening Inga and I went to town to celebrate into my birthday. We caught up with some Townsville mates and had a great night. The problem was that we were only able to sleep for less than one hour, because I had planned a breakfast with all my closed friends on the beach to see the sunrise. Unfortunately Inga and I didn’t hear our alarm so that we almost slumber my birthday breakfast. Luckily, Georgia ( a good friend from Townsville) was knocking on my door and woke us up. We hurried with the food I bought to my waiting friends at the beach. Although Inga and I were exhausted and tired, the brekkie was amazing and the sunset was so pretty. It was such a great way to start this special day (..only a little bit early. J ). Afterwards we went straight to bed again to be fit for my birthday dinner. But before it was possible for us to fall in our bed, Warren had to come to bring a second key, because we were locked out.. It was the first time that it happened.
In the evening was my birthday dinner with around 15 other people at Cactus Jack’s. It was awesome, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was great. On the same day at 12am, Inga and I left with the Greyhound to Cairns to start our holiday trip. This was the end of my birthday but only the beginning of an incredible adventure.
After 6 hours “sleep” in the bus, we arrived at 6 am in Cairns. We didn’t know at this point, that this was only the beginning of a sleepless holiday trip. During the day we visited a Aboriginal Centre. It was such an interesting place to get to know their history, culture and lifestyle. We learned how to throw a Boomerang (it’ s now proved: boomerangs are able to come back, if you use the right technique! ;) ) and we tried our best in javelin.
Early the next morning, Inga and I took a shuttle to the airport to fly to Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory. At the airport we had to unpack all our stuff after we got informed that our flight will be international (the flight is going to Singapore). Therefore we weren’t allowed to take food in our hand luggage. Because of our upcoming time in the camper van, we brought a lot of food leftovers from my school camps. After a big mess in the middle of the airport caused by Inga and me- J We decided that Inga is taking a Coles bag as her check in luggage (with all the food) and her big bag full of clothes as her hand luggage. It was really funny, but we had no other choice.
We arrived safely with all our food supplies in Darwin. Darwin, as a city was a little bit disappointing for us due to the reason that the city itself has not much to offer. Accordingly we used our nights to get to know Darwin’s nightlife. We slept two more nights in a hostel, directly placed in the city centre. What a benefit! ;)
The city was full of American Marine guys because three huge ships tied up in Darwin’s Harbour on the same day. These ships stayed for the next 4 days. I have never seen so many shaved heads in my life- thousands of them everywhere. It was really impressive, like a big ant family. These guys haven’t seen girls for ages, probably they forgot their existed- however, when Inga and I went out we had to be really careful who we smiled at, if we didn’t want to have a line of guys next to us.
After two sleepless nights, our Roadtrip adventure started. Finally Inga and I got our own Wicked Van. This day was a pretty good example of a typical Inga & Jule on Tour day. Guess why? Yes, it was the most chaotic day of our trip. J
Here the day summarized in keywords:
- two hours sleep, we had to pick up our car- of course too late…
- I forgot my driver licence- puhh still able to get the car
- We couldn’t chose a van- we got an GTA van, pretty old and pretty ugly (we didn’t know yet that our van we get the next day will be worse J…)
- First drive back to our hostel: we got stuck facing the wrong direction in a one- way road
- We checked out of our hostel one hour too late, we weren’t able to get the rest of our stuff out of our room- finally everything was on the car park to put it in our van- but where were our brochures??
- We forgot all our info brochures on the floor in our hostel- cleaning lady threw everything out into the rubbish bin. Even if they were for free, Inga and I crawled into the bin to get our stuff out- smelly brochures were laying next to smelly rubbish! – But we got them back- yeah!
- Wrong time management- spent two more hours in Darwin to visit the wave pool.--we thought we have enough time
- Later we drove to the crocodile jumping boat trip- we were late, drove over two red lights with control and we had to take a short cut across a closed road area to find the right way.—what a start of a Roadtrip…I wasn’t sure if we were able to survive 9 days in this van…J
- We arrived at the boat tour 15 min. too late but fortunately they waited for us because the people saw our car coming (20 km away). This is only possible in the Northern Territory, where all the roads are straight..- what luck we had. J
- The crocodile trip was AWESOME- wild crocs, 20 centimetres away got feed with a stick- so close to touch them- so close to get eaten.. J
- Back in Darwin Inga and I sneaked into a hostel for a shower
- Later we went out for dinner: Crocodile meat!!!- First we took pics of them and afterwards we ate them. :)
- We were allowed to stay over night on a parking ground in front of a friend’s apartment –our first night in our van…
Sorry my keywords were still pretty long…;) After our first exciting day we found out that the backdoor of our car was not working. On the next morning we went back to Wicked to get it fixed. We had to wait 3 long hours before we got another Van and after all our fears, this van looked even more worse: a van with guns on it- what a perfect car for two young girls. We sucked it up and started at lunchtime our trip to the Lichtfield National Park. We listened to our Cds, sang the songs without knowing the words J, went for a swim in the bottom of a waterfall, and drove towards a beautiful sunset- yeah our Roadtrid had started….
For the night we went back to Darwin to find a sleeping place next to other camper vans. By a fluke I met one guy from my school from Germany and he gave us the perfect idea where to stay with the car over night. We followed his directions and finally we parked on a fishing jetty, surrounded by water.- What a peaceful place- without paying anything.
The next morning we started very early to head to the Kakadu National Park, where we spent the following two days. It was really a pity that it was only possible by fourwheel drive to get to the best and worth seeing places of the park.
Nevertheless we saw some really nice places, went to a Ranger talk about Aborigine culture and art and saw some impressive paintings by aborigines. On our first night we passed bush fires directly next to the road. Due to the dark it looked really spectacular.
We didn’t expect it, but we were able to watch the soccer game Germany against Argentina in the middle of the park in a sports bar with 20 other Germans. The first time for both of us to see one of the world cup games with German fans- and we really enjoyed it! After an amazing game (score: 4 to 0 –yuhhuu!:)), we got the permission to stay over night on the parking place. This was a better place than all the expensive camping places around that were full of mossies!
Two days later we started our way down to Alice Springs. Our first stop was another National park close to the city called Katherine. We went for a swim in a beautiful gorge- surrounded by small waterfalls. We arrived in Katherine by nighttime and couldn’t find a camping place. Finally, we found one that was booked out and the reception was closed...however we drove in and parked our van next to other cars on the unpowered campground. We stayed over night, used the shower in the morning and left..
On the next morning we went to the School of the Air for a visit. It was really interesting and it is such an important school system in the Northern Territory.
Living in the large continent of Australia can mean isolation and loneliness. Children living in the vast Australian inland are often miles away from the nearest school. This modern school system offers kids who live for example isolated on farms in the middle of nowhere the chance to get an education due to Internet lessons. We were able to watch a recorded lesson on TV and we took a look into the Studio.
The further south we drove, the colder it got. The weather changed constantly. It was freezing cold at night and during the day it was raining. Yeah- I’m not joking- it was really raining cats and dogs. It rained last time in this area on Easter- perfect timing! We wore two pair of socks and only left the van when we had to...all day long we were driving to get in time to Alice Springs.
The driving was fun, even if the road was the whole time straight without any turns. The Highway was a way busier than we thought, so waving and honking the horn to other vans helped us to stay awake. Although we drove through nothing, in the middle of the outback, we never felt alone. If we stopped somewhere to get food out of the back of our car, suddenly another camper van had stopped to ask us if everything was ok. Before we drove the Highway down to Alice, we imagined red sand everywhere, no trees no plants, only the wide outback. Disappointing to see that the surroundings of the road were still green and didn’t really change till we arrive in Alice. Someone told us that they had more rain as usual in this area and this was probably the reason.
We spent our next two nights on camping grounds, not far from the highway. These places had nothing: no town, no supermarket, and not even any lookout. Nevertheless the first camping place called Daily Water was incredible and many vans stopped here for the night. It included a pub, a restaurant and all night entertainment from an old Aussie, sitting on the stage with a real chicken on his head, playing guitar. The pub and even the restaurant were full of traveller stuff that people left here with a signature as a memory: Bras, underwear, Ids, thongs, banknotes...there was nothing that they didn’t leave behind. This place was really unique and worth to stop.
After another day driving in the rain, the next camping place was the complete opposite from the night before. The camping place was expensive, much smaller (only three other cars joined us), and the toilets were freezing cold and dirty. Our Wicked got stuck in the mud- only with luck we got him out. Inga and I didn’t leave the car again. We were cooking our dinner in front of the van door- so we only had to hang out of the car to stir the rice. This was our coldest night and Inga wasn’t sure if she could survive. ;) Thanks for the next morning…it was our release, we couldn’t wait to start the engine to sit in a warm car and we jumped immediately on our front seats to drive away.
After 400 km, we arrived in Alice Springs and picked up Kathleen, who joined us for our last two days. Without any lunch break, we drove to the Kings Canyon Resort where we stayed overnight. The weather changed and it wasn’t raining anymore- thank god!! Our sleeping bed shared by three of us was smaller but we cuddled together to be safe for the cold.
Early the next morning we left the Resort to do the 6 km hike on the top of the Kings Canyon. It was such a breathtaking walk with an incredible view. Afterwards we drove to the Uluru, which was around 400 km away. In the afternoon we finally arrived. The size of the Uluru is immense and the red sand colour is so pretty. We watched the sunset (with hundred other people..), but it was such a beautiful evening. It was almost cloudless and we took thousand pictures of the same rock from the same position- sounds boring but every minute the colours changed due to the sunset.
We spent our last night on a parking ground with other camper vans. Inga and I couldn’t sleep very well- probably we felt that it was our last night in our van…
The next morning we drove the whole way back to Alice Springs and we gave up our car at the Wicked station. Even though it was only a car with guns on it, saying goodbye wasn’t easy. It was a reliable, old car, which never let us down- even if we drove up a pedestrian way and came up from the road by 90 km/h. The car must have had a really attentive guardian angel. ;)
We spent the day in Alice Springs, walking around from shop to shop. Later we cooked dinner in our hostel. The last Inga & Jule dinner was really delicious- we were surprised about our cooking skills. The day ended with some apple sider in the hostel pub, enjoying our last hours together.
On the next morning we had to get our stuff together, to check out and wait till our shuttle is taking us to the airport. At 5 pm I said goodbye to Inga, to my chaos sister, and of course my best travel mate. Even if we can’t see us again in Australia, we will definitely catch up in Germany. We spent a splendid time in Oz with millions of great and amazing memories, we will both never forget.
I flew alone back to Cairns- and of course these holidays couldn’t end without losing something. J I forgot my German, favourite pillow at the airport, that was the reason why I had to steal a Quanta’s pillow from the plane- they really had enough of them.
I slept the night on the international airport in Cairns. I slept in my sleeping bag on a comfy bench for almost 8 hours. On the next morning the Greyhound bus took me back to Townsville and I couldn’t wait to sleep in a proper bed.
After all my holiday trips together with Inga- there is one thing what we definitely learned. - Even if we can’t learn not to lose things or not to get in an unorganized situation, we learned how to suck it up and get the best out of it. We saw everything with humour and I think that’s what have made our time so unforgettable funny and great.