Around Aus­tralia in 15 days

You’ll be tired but happy af­ter criss-cross­ing our land of amaz­ing con­trasts

Life & Style Weekend - - TRAVEL - BY Ellen Han­wright

THEY say life throws you curve balls when you least ex­pect it and last year was no ex­cep­tion. My mum lost her bat­tle with pan­cre­atic can­cer last June and it hit all of us hard. This cruel blow made my dad re­alise that we needed to stop putting things off. One of the things he’s al­ways wanted to do was go around Aus­tralia – so that’s ex­actly what we did.

My dad, sis­ter and I left Bris­bane on Novem­ber 21 as we at­tempted to see all of Aus­tralia in 15 days. We tack­led seven cities on this trip: Cairns, Dar­win, Alice Springs, Perth, Mel­bourne, Ho­bart and Syd­ney.

We spent two days in ev­ery city ex­cept Perth and Ho­bart, where we spent three, so we could cover more ground out­side of the cities.

It’s amaz­ing that in one coun­try you can go from deserts to beau­ti­ful beaches, from cul­tural cities to out­back towns – we saw it all.

To ex­plore each city we made the most of ex­plorer buses. These take you on a tour of the main sites and give you the op­tion to hop on and hop off when­ever you please. It makes sight­see­ing so much eas­ier know­ing that the bus will come around ev­ery half an hour.

If you’re con­sid­er­ing this trip be pre­pared for the crazy weather changes. We went from Dar­win, where it was so hu­mid out­side that my glasses fogged up and it felt like you were walk­ing through a wa­ter­fall, to Mel­bourne, where you needed a full over­coat to deal with the freez­ing wind and the cold.

If some­one asked me would I do this trip over again, I would in a heart­beat. I might have added an ex­tra day here and there and I might have wanted to do a few other things but over­all it was the per­fect amount of time. I loved be­ing able to spend the time with my dad and sis­ter see­ing all these in­cred­i­ble places. I would rec­om­mend do­ing this trip to any­one, just be warned you will be tired by the end. But you’ll look back and say did I re­ally go around Aus­tralia in 15 days?

Seven must-do ex­pe­ri­ences

◗ Fre­man­tle Pri­son, Fre­man­tle – This pri­son was a work­ing pri­son un­til 1991 but when you walk in­side you swear you are en­ter­ing the 1800s. The “do­ing time” tour gives you a great over­view of the pri­son. The tour runs for an hour and 15 min­utes and de­parts ev­ery 30 min­utes be­tween 10am and 5pm.

◗ Cro­cosaurus Cove – Dar­win is known for croc­o­diles so it’s no sur­prise this made my top seven at­trac­tions. But I wasn’t ex­pect­ing it to be right in the main street of Dar­win, next to a su­per­mar­ket. There’s a mix of rep­tiles, croc­o­diles and fish as well as keeper shows.

◗ Kinky Boots the Mu­si­cal – One of the things I re­ally wanted to do on this trip was to see a mu­si­cal. This mu­si­cal is one of my

favourites now, full of catchy songs, lots of colour and a bril­liant and im­por­tant story. Kinky Boots is play­ing at Her Majesty’s The­atre in Mel­bourne un­til March 26 then Syd­ney’s Capi­tol The­atre from April 12. Tick­ets avail­able from Tick­etek and Tick­et­mas­ter.

◗ He­li­copter flight over Alice Springs – This ex­pe­ri­ence re­ally gives you a per­spec­tive of just how far away Alice Springs is from any­thing. The views you get from the chop­per are in­cred­i­ble and it makes you ap­pre­ci­ate how beau­ti­ful our coun­try re­ally is. Scenic flights leave from Alice Springs Air­port Precinct and vary in price and time.

◗ Alice Springs School of the Air Vis­i­tor Cen­tre – This school uses com­put­ers to broad­cast lessons to stu­dents who may live up to 2000km from Alice Springs. We looked at the class­rooms the teach­ers use and also got to watch a recorded class with some cute prep chil­dren. It is about a 40-minute walk from the town cen­tre.

◗ Port Arthur – It was in­ter­est­ing to learn about the lives of the

con­victs who were housed here as well as visit the memo­rial for the 1996 mas­sacre. Port Arthur is a 90-minute drive south-east of Ho­bart.

◗ Fr­eycinet Penin­sula/Lodge – On the east­ern side of Tas­ma­nia, this penin­sula is ab­so­lutely stun­ning. The lodge is nes­tled among the trees, re­sult­ing in amaz­ing views when you wake if you’re lucky enough to have a cabin with a view. A penin­sula cruise is also rec­om­mended to take in the coast­line.

PHOTO: ELLEN HAN­WRIGHT

The Perth sky­line by night is one of many sights to take in dur­ing a 15-day trip across Aus­tralia.

The view dur­ing a chop­per ride in Alice Springs; right, one of the first cells used by pris­on­ers at Fre­man­tle Pri­son. The basins in later cells were re­moved as they be­came dis­ease-rid­den; and the typ­i­cal tourist shot of the Syd­ney Har­bour Bridge.

PHO­TOS: ELLEN HAN­WRIGHT

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.