Neither of us ever thought we would make it to Australia – it is interesting where this year has led us! We started our road trip in Cairns, the tropical capitol of northern Queensland and 17 days to travel over 2000 miles south to meet my mum in Sydney. We actually ended up going further than Sydney to a small village called Berry (sharing the same name as Ryan’s surname!)
Our transport and home for the next 17 days would be an old mitsubishi ‘hippie camper’ van. We mainly stayed in free campsites – stopping in paid campsites only to charge Ryan’s laptop! – and relished cooking our our food for once.
We started our journey bleary eyed in Cairns meeting quickly with Ryan’s friend Jake and his girlfriend Val, who would help us plan out our itinerary and also find local wild swimming holes where we could cool down (and avoid the coastal jellyfish!)
We spent our first night in style by the sea at Ellis Beach – further north of Cairns, before touring down through the fertile Atherton Tablelands to return to the coast for our journey south.
We knew Australia was famous for it’s beaches but we weren’t quite prepared for how beautiful they were – each with very different characters stretching right down the east coast. Below we travelled down past Bowen, watching the fishermen, discovering a giant mango and having a quick dip.
We arrived at Arlie Beach ready for a day sailing, snorkelling and diving in the Whitsundays.
Sadly no sharks or turtles for us but we throughly enjoyed the diving and snorkelling anyway!
After Airlie Beach we decided then to make a big diversion inward from the coast to pop into the outback and watch the landscapes change. Lots of empty roads, interesting wildlife and country rodeos lined our route!
On our approach to Brisbane we diverted to the small country towns of Maleny and Montville, known for their food, drink and quaint ‘european style’!
We also passed by the Glass House Mountains and stopped for a quick walk.
After visiting the outback, Brisbane and it’s surrounding towns and countryside it was time to head back to the coast.
We started with the Sunshine Coast, popping into a local Surf Club on Sunshine Beach on the way down.
Safe to say the Gold Coast took us by complete surprise after the quiet beaches of the sunshine coast and practically deserted beaches of north Queensland. It was suddenly very busy and heavily populated – we took in the sights and quickly continued down the coast!
Past the flashy Gold Coast we arrived at the laid back, surfing capital of the East Coast – Byron Bay.
Having had our fill of beaches for the time being we decided to head inland one more time to explore the highest areas in Australia. Interestingly this was ‘celtic country’ and we travelled through Glenn Innes and Glencoe, drinking in the sites on the way – including Australian ‘stongehenge’!
And the home of Australian country music – Tamworth.
On our way back towards the coast again we stopped at Burning Mountain with it’s internal coal seam which has been burning for around 6000 years and even tasted some wines in the famous Hunter Valley.
Coming towards the end of our road trip we had to make a stop at Anna Bay.
Also stopping at Port Stephens and locking the keys in the van (lucky an ex-locksmith happened to pass by!)
…and on to Copacabana to meet some old friends of Ryan…
…who kindly showed us the beautiful sights of the area.
We passed Sydney to visit a couple of towns on the way South – firstly Kiama to see their famous blowhole…
And finally to Berry where Ryan posed by virtually every sign in the town (I have narrowed the selection down a fair bit below!)
We dropped our van off in Sydney and both felt very sad to see it go. But there was a silver lining because we were off to the airport to meet my mum and stay with some family in Sydney for a few days – we couldn’t wait to catch up with her!