AUSTRALIAN ROAD TRIP
She was a Mitsubishi LS300 'Hippie Camper'. With purple and yellow flower and butterfly 'tattoos' on her white body. We have picked her up in the suburbs of Cairns and drove her south immediately after a short introductory to the driving cabin, living space, kitchenette and battery charging instructions. We drove past the city one last time and stopped for supplies in a local supermarket. BBQ food will be on the menu for the next 16 days, so we are shopping accordingly. Vegetables, fruit, snacks, bread, milk, meat and some ciders for the evenings. The built in fridge makes our decisions much easier. Believe or not, the first kangaroo we have seen was in this supermarket. In the fridge, vacuum packed. Steaks and burger patties. We didn't dare to buy any straight away, but promised ourselves not to leave Oz without having some kangaroo dinner. With our supplies stored in the guts of our hippie we are now on the road. Highway A1 is the main road that we are following all the way to Sydney. We were not quite sure about our first stop, but it didn't matter much. Like a snail we are carrying our home with us... Well our home is carrying us on its back.
Our journey took us more than 2 weeks, 3773 kilometres. As many first goers to Australia I have made a mistake of underestimating the size of this continent. The roads are exceptional, well marked and took us down the east coast through Millaa Millaa and its countless waterfalls, Mission Beach where I couldn't see the end either way, Townswille with its Castle Hill and great views of half of Queensland, Bowen with its hippie vibe Rose Bay campground, Arlie Beach town with funky centre, Sarina and the camp with a retro gas station and many permanent residents, Capricorn Caves on the way to Yeppoon where our hippie got sandblasted by strong ocean winds, in Rockhampton we made a pit stop for our fridge stopped 'fridging' and later paid a visit to the ZOO, Agnes Water with its first surf beach from the north, town of 1770 with more amazing view points and spacious beaches, Burnett Heads with its nice camp and permanent residents like from an episode of 'My name is Earl', Bundaberg with its rum distillery and free tasting with a tour at 9am, Harvey Bay where we have stayed for 2 nights and had to call an ambulance for our German neighbours, Great Sandy National Park with its magnificent sand dunes, Noosa where Wild Koalas live next to a surfers beach, Bli Bli with the wettest campground ever, Sunshine Coast with (you guessed it) another marvellous beach, Brisbane where we have drove through Storey Bridge a few times and grabbed a beer with Kieran, drove past Gold Coast after sunset to Tweed Heads, Byron Bay and it's towering lighthouse, Lennox Heads and the giant Pelicans on the beach, Mullaway where we had a dinner of kangaroo burgers just to wake up to real ones hopping around our hippie, Nambucca Heads with Thomas Cook Lookout, Port a Macquire with its koala hospital, New Castle with its heavy industrial suburb and ANZAC walk and lookout, Port Stevens with possums on the campground and Sydney where we parted with our loyal hippie.
It was a nice long journey, but not as long as I wish it was. Everything in Australia is different, every leaf and tree, every bug and fly, all the animals are unique. And of course they all bite! But still, it seems to me that Australia has it all. Good food, western standard, cool people, relaxed energy, perfect weather… I’m in love with the place, so if you own an Australian passport and need a European, I’d swap mine in a heartbeat. Just saying…