Can You Believe It’s Been a Year?
Yet on October 31, 2014, Dean and I set off on our adventure, our trip of a lifetime, travelling around Australia, loving living and laughing all the way.
We set out from Brisbane, heading north to Caloundra so Dean could have one last surf at his favourite surf beach.
After our week at Dicky Beach, we returned to Brisbane for one weekend, (I was not missing out on meeting Professor Brian Cox) and then, on Monday November 10, we quietly entered the Gateway Motorway and headed south.
In honour of our year on the road, I’ve come up with:
My Top 10 Moments
(Click any image to go to the corresponding thought or group of thoughts and please enjoy.)
No 10 – Driving from Hobart to Strahan in Tasmania
Number 10 isn’t a place we’ve been per se, but rather an exhilarating moment in its own right.
We’d been told the road over the range to the west coast was closed following heavy snowfall overnight and changed our plans. What happened next was missing the turn that would have taken us to the lakes district – Arthurs Lake in particular.
As we continued along the road, the snow became thicker and thicker and when we reached the little hamlet of Derwent Bridge, the store owner informed us the road was indeed open and we would have no issue getting to Strahan, exactly where we wanted to be anyway.
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No 9 – The Jenolan Caves, New South Wales
Walking underground was something I thought I would never be able to do.
I tend to be claustrophobic and hate small spaces, so deliberately entering the Jenolan Caves and walking around underground for almost four hours was a huge accomplishment.
And I have to say, I did so without one panic attach.
With a constant temperature of 15°C (59°F), not only was it cool underground, the limestone sculptures inside the caves were really cool in every sense of the word.
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No 8 – Remarkable Rocks, Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Travelling to Kangaroo Island was not on our ‘To Do List’, but we ended up there all the same and, quite by accident, discovered Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park.
These rocks are a geological phenomenon – amazing formations that are naturally sculptured and balanced precariously atop a huge granite outcrop.
They are one of the most incredible things we saw during our two days exploring the park, made all the more spectacular because we were there so early in the morning we may as well have been the only people there.
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No 7 – Swimcart Beach, Tasmania
Swimcart Beach is a free camping area nestled in the Bay of Fires on the north east coast of Tasmania and has, without a doubt, the whitest sand we’ve ever seen.
This was an excellent camping spot, well though out and planned, right on the beach.
With no traffic, no noise, no electricity, no TV reception, no radio reception, no phone reception, and no internet connection, and absolutely no interruptions whatsoever.
Her we experienced peace and tranquillity and it took us all of five minutes to discover Swimcart Beach is a slice of heaven on earth.
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No 6 – The Great Ocean Road, Victoria
This was not our first visit to see the natural wonder on offer along The Great Ocean Road. We’d been there in December 2010, but this time we were not under pressure to hurry up and drive back to Brisbane.
This time we took our time, spending several days really enjoying the environment and, in doing so, remembered how spectacular both the Bay of Martyrs and Bay of Islands are at the western end of the road.
Neither are as popular or as well know as The Twelve Apostles, but both are equally as spectacular – if not more so.
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No 5 – Wineglass Bay, Freycinet National Park, Tasmania
This was our first stop after leaving St Helens where we house sat for eight weeks.
The national park occupies a large part of the Freycinet Peninsula and ‘The Hazards’, a series of jagged granite peaks, can be seen dominating the skyline as you approach.
We took ourselves on a walk, past Wineglass Bay and along Hazards Beach, and finally around the base of Mount Mayson before returning to the car.
Our trek through the Freycinet National Park took five hours and was exciting, exhilarating, and exhausting all at once.
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No 4 – Gordon River Cruise, Strahan, Tasmania
My friend told me that Strahan is Tasmania’s jewel in the crown, and I agree that it was a totally unexpected gem, a gorgeous little town.
Unfortunately it was raining when we arrived, it rained all day while we were on the cruise (with a few moments of blue sky breaking through), and the rain was still falling when we left.
But despite the rain, we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and the voyage up the Gordon River past (and into) pristine areas of Tasmania’s World Heritage listed Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.
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No 3 – Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas)
I never imagined that I would every get to see Uluru.
It is, after all, in the middle of Australia and, from Brisbane, our home town on the east coast, an average of 3,500 kilometres away. That’s 2,174.1 miles on sealed roads heading either north or south to get there.
There is no sealed road ‘as the crow flies’ from Brisbane, and neither Dean nor I have ever had a desire to carve our own path. With the vast distances in our country’s remote interior, doing so is quick trip into trouble anyway.
We spent our 29th Wedding Anniversary in the Red Centre and doing so is something we will always remember.
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No 2 – The Three Sisters, Katoomba, New South Wales
The Three Sisters is the most famous landmark of the Blue Mountains and, another iconic part of our country that I’ve always wanted to see.
We spend days walking through the bush, the rainforests, and the exhilarating heights and depths to which the walkways and pathways took us.
Seeing the blue hue painted across the mountains really was amazing and the Three Sisters a landmark I couldn’t take enough photos of.
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And No 1 – Without a doubt – Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
I was almost beyond words when we arrived at Dove Lake and saw Cradle Mountain dusted in snow.
Situated in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, it is another part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. A treasure to behold.
Although we were only there a couple of days due to the onset of nasty weather, they were days full of moments that brimmed with unimaginable beauty and awe.
Moments I know I will never forget.
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The fact that five of my Top Ten Moments are from Tasmania doesn’t surprise me one bit, and as for Dean, his Top (Any) Moments are every beach where he’s found a wave to surf.
Dean and I will once again be driving down the road today and are now on the verge of leaving South Australia and entering Western Australia, which includes crossing the Nullarbor Plain, driving along one of the longest stretches of straight road in the world, and of course, enjoying the wonder of the Great Australian Bight along the way.
Although we’ve been on the road for an entire year, we still have more places to see and more things to do. I hope you continue to enjoy reading about our adventures on our trip of a lifetime.