In our fourth episode Adam explores the gorgeous country that’s enviably going to his home for the next year or two, Australia.
Having finally arrived at the other side of the planet, I had the natural urge to capture every moment of Aussie glory on my Canon 5Dii (only thing missing from my kit at this point is a UV sense cover, which I have a feeling I’m going to need!) Whether that meant waking up at the crack of dawn to capture the sunrise over Bondi Beach, or tirelessly attempting to get steady shots oalong the Great Ocean Road from the helm of a rickety VW camper van, my aim was to try and capture the heart & soul of just a small pocket of this vast and beautiful country.
My journey here is yet to be planned, but the road is open and the opportunities are endless. I hope this is the first of many Australian chapters to come…
Instinctively, the first thing to do upon arriving in this iconic city is try and see the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. These are conveniently located right next to each other, so can be done in one sweep. They are undoubtedly great pieces of architecture, but let’s face it, you’re mainly seeing them because you’ve heard of them. From there, the bright, open, sun-licked streets of Sydney city centre are only a short walk away. Sydney’s centre is quite compact but feels very clean and homely, a little like the set of a 90s family comedy. You half expect Tim Allen to be darting about the place in some over-dramatic crisis. Which probably isn’t an analogy usually associated with Sydney.
Bondi to Coogee Beach
Sydney is famous for having a wealth of fantastic beaches so close to the city centre. And one of the ‘must do’ activities is Sydney, that often gets ignored by travellers to this city, is the incredible walk from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach along the most beautiful coastal path. There are 3 other beaches to wander past en route, each with different quirks and all absolutely stunning. Although it’s known as the Bondi to Coogee Walk, the path actually continues on to Maroubra Beach, which is much quieter and probably the best surfing beach in Sydney.
As they all face east, all of these beaches offer wonderful sunrises. Even if it’s not a clear day, you still get glorious panoramic views of that winning cliff and ocean combo…with a sprinkling of dangerously attractive surfers thrown in there for good measure.
Sydney to Melbourne Road Trip
We drove in our ‘Wicked Campers’ camper van from Sydney to Melbourne, via the Great Ocean Road (which actually starts the other side of Melbourne). We hired the van for 6 days, which was just about enough time to travel, stop off and soak it all in, but if you’ve got the budget to have it for longer, I’d definitely recommend doing so. Although even the driving along these roads is an event in itself, it is nice to stop and enjoy the towns, beaches (and koalas) along the way.
Campsites can be few and far between, some you might have to book in advance, but we lucked out with some free ones on 3 out of 5 of our nights. Keep in mind you do get what you pay for though, so unless your goal is to create an aroma like no other by your last day, I’d suggest finding some campsites with bathroom facilities.
Do try and go for a walk or trek in at least one of the many national parks you stumble across in this part of the world. On our road trip we stopped in Wilson’s Promontory and walked to ‘Squeaky Beach’, which was nothing less than jaw-droppingly beautiful. We also stopped Great Otway National Park to do some forest trekking, where we discovered waterfalls at both Hopetoun Falls & Stevenson Falls. There are literally hundreds of koalas bumbling around here too, if you’re into impossibly cute furry creatures. I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Other national parks to see are the Blue Mountains, which is a 2 hour train ride from Sydney, or a slightly shorter drive. I stopped at Wentworth Falls and did the National Pass walk, which I’d only recommend for experienced walkers or travellers who don’t mind a steep summit down unsettling cliff ladders. The reward at the bottom is a beautiful waterfall, but the path crosses past it at least twice on the way down. Also, be warning that the pool at the bottom is apparently a discreet toilet break for a lot of walkers as I thankfully discovered just in time, so just be aware before you accidentally drink any of the ‘spring water’.
Sydney’s edgier, slightly less glamorous sister city. Imagine Shoreditch pumped full of steroids, but before the ‘rage’ counter effects…It’s hipster heaven, which on paper sounds unattractive and stand-offish, but I’m pretty sure it’s mandatory here to welcome everyone with open arms.
Melbourne is riddled with quirky bars and cafe’s everywhere you turn, with the added bonus of having a couple of beaches, albeit nowhere up the standard of Sydney’s beautiful swathes of sand and sea. Transport is easy, the trams run right through each corner of the city and if you’re familiar with ‘Boris Bikes’ in London, you’ll have no problem. However, please don’t do what we did and hold onto your bikes for 5 hours or you will quickly be $100 out of pocket. Lesson learned.
By Adam Ferrari