Our final destination in Australia was Perth. After a whole year in the country our time was up. We had an easy enough house sit and spent our last two weeks reflecting on everything we had done. We couldn’t believe how quickly time had flown by and all of the things we had managed to cram into our trip. During our year in Australia we had managed to visit every state and get to most of the main tourist destinations.
Our year long road trip had started on the Gold Coast where we went hot air ballooning for Sian’s birthday. Then we explored the beautiful Byron Bay and hippy central, Nimbin. We drove up the Queensland coast and visited Fraser Island before sailing the Whitsundays. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary in the luxury of Magnetic Island. Then we headed back to the Gold Coast to work over Christmas.
Surprisingly for us lazy pair, national parks and the great outdoors featured heavily in our travels. We found vast areas of unspoilt wilderness all over Australia, just waiting to be explored. In New South Wales we visited the Blue Mountains and tackled the epic cascades of Waterfall Wall. In Victoria we visited The Grampians and hiked Genoa Peak in Gippsland as well as spotting Koalas and Emus in Wilsons Prom. We loved exploring the rugged beauty of the Great Ocean Road and visiting the sink holes and salt lakes of South Australia. We saw aboriginal rock art and went crocodile spotting in Kakadu before swimming under crystal clear waterfalls in Litchfield and Nitmaluk national parks in the Northern Territory. Our journey to the red centre of Australia showed us the rich aboriginal culture of Uluru, Watarraka and Kata Tjuta. In Western Australia we crossed The Kimberley before gorge walking in Karijini and getting to know the wild life in Shark Bay. We even went hiking in the snow during winter in Tasmania.
To off-set any benefit of all that exercise we developed an expensive and calorific hobby. We took to exploring gourmet food and wine regions, pigging out on all they had to offer. We visited vineyards, chocolate shops and cheese factories in the hunter valley, yarra valley and any other valley or small wine region we passed. When we were too full or drunk to drive we spent lazy days exploring seaside towns and countryside villages.
We enjoyed extended city breaks by house sitting our way around Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Hobart, and Adelaide. This allowed us to enjoy events like Sydney Mardi Gras and the Melbourne Comedy Festival without spending too much money.
Reflecting on all we had managed to do made us pretty exhausted. We planned to go out and see the sights of Perth but we ended up just exploring the local area we were staying in. Having been on the road for so long, it was nice to relax before we continued our travels. We caught up with friends and stocked up on some new clothes and electricals. Making full use of the kitchen at our house sit, Emily got to grips with a recipe for a classic Australian dessert: Sticky Date Cake. We had first tried it on the boat during our Whitsunday trip and had fallen for it in a big way. Australians do some strange things with food (vegemite, chico rolls etc.) but sticky date cake is one thing that they deserve serious credit for.
On our final night in Australia we sat in a beach side bar and watched the sun set over the Indian Ocean. We toasted our past year and all we had achieved with a glass of champagne. We drank the rest of the bottle and several beers as we thought about what on earth we were going to do next!