Australia (2002)


Almost everyone has to travel a long time before arriving in Australia. Be aware not to carry any food, wooden articles or fruit, since if you do, you need to go through quarantine to find out whether you are allowed to import these goods.
Sydney is the main port for entering Australia. Although it is a big city, it is, like all of Australia, not so stressy as European or other western countries. Some of the city's highlights are the Sydney harbour bridge, Sydney opera house, the beaches and Taronga zoo.

Sydney harbour bridge
Sydney opera house

Sydney zoo kangaroos Sydney harbour view from zoo Sydney zoo koala

About two hours by train from Sydney central station you can find the lovely Blue Mountains with the famous Three Sisters rocks. A local Aboriginal was playing the didgeridoo there.
Three sisters rocks Didgeridoo player


Adelaide to Coober Pedy

Adelaide is also named city of cathedrals and you will indeed see many of them when walking or driving by city tour bus through town. 

Adelaide cathedral
This city is also a good starting point to drive to Barossa Valley with its many wineries, to Port Augusta and from there to the national park of Flinders Range. Wilpena Pound Resort is a nice place to stay. We drove with our 4 WD Britz campervan, rented by GetaboutOz, around the park and saw some very interesting and beautiful spots, like Bunyeroo Gorge and Parachilna Gorge.
Bunyeroo gorge Parachilna gorge

At the north-west side of the park you will find the sealed road again that leads to Lyndhurst. If you have rented a car, you will need a 4 WD car from here since at Lyndhurst the unsealed gravel road starts and becomes the Oodnadatta track at Marree. But even in spite of the dirt road you will still see some road trains. At the spot Coward Springs you can find a very quiet bush camping with a lot of cockatoos and a tiny spring.
Road train Cockatoos

Coober Pedy is the opal centre of the world. It is a town full of mines, shafts and dugouts. And of course it has many jewellery shops that like to sell you all kind of opals.

Coober Pedy


Ayers Rock & Olgas

From Coober Pedy to Ayers Rock is about an eight hours drive over the straight and long Stuart Highway. At Erldunda roadhouse, a good place for food and fuel, the Lasseter Highway bends off to Ayers Rock or Uluru in the Aboriginal language and the Olgas or Kata Tjuta.
Stuart Highway road train

Camping and hotels can be found in Yulara resort, about 20 km from Uluru and 53 km from the Olgas. Ayers Rock is famous for its red colour in sunset, but also in rain the rock is fascinating. Best views of the rock and the Olgas can be seen from a helicopter, which can be rented in the resort.

Uluru in rain Uluru from heli

If you like walking, a round walk through the Valley of the Winds in the Olgas is beautiful. Bring lots of water, good walking shoes, a hat and lots of energy with you.

Olgas valley of the winds Olgas from heli


Kings Canyon to Alice Springs

Kings Canyon is about half a day driving from Ayers Rock and is another wonderful red place to go. You can either climb the steep stairs and walk over the cliff around or make the shorter and easier walk through the canyon, which is also beautiful.

Kings Canyon stairs Kings Canyon Kings Canyon river

The very bad, bumpy and rough dirt Mereenie Loop road leads to the national park West MacDonnell Ranges. You will first pass Gosse Bluff national park and some time later you will arrive at the red Glen Helen Gorge. For both the Mereenie Loop road and the road into the Gosse Bluff crater it is better to have a 4 WD. The sand road to Gosse Bluff is even prohibited for 2 WD's.
Gosse Bluff Glen Helen

The Namatjira Drive passes several beautiful national parks, like Ormiston Gorge, Ellery Creek Big Hole, Standley Chasm and Simpsons Gap before you arrive in the centre of Australia, Alice Springs.

Ormiston Gorge Standley Chasm



It is a very long two days drive from Alice Springs to Katherine Gorge. The road to the north is all sealed, so in Alice Springs we changed our 4 WD bushcamper into a 2 WD Hi-top campervan which is bigger and more comfortable. About 100 km before you reach the halfway village of Tennant Creek you will pass Devil's Marbles; huge rounded granite blocks delicately balancing.

Devil's Marbles

Other interesting places on the way are Daly Waters with its famous pub and most remote traffic light and the hot springs of Mataranka, about 100 km south of Katherine.
Katherine Gorge or Nitmiluk is 30 km away from the city. You can either rent a canoe to see the first three gorges or make a cruise. Be prepared to wear good shoes, since the short walks from one gorge to the next one are sometimes a bit difficult.
Katherine 4-5 Gorge Katherine people walk

Katherine is not only famous for its gorges but also for the hot springs and the falls, e.g. Edith Falls.

Katherine hot springs Edith Falls



In Kakadu you will find the dangerous salties, i.e. estuarine crocodiles. They are everywhere in the wetlands, in the big South and East Alligator rivers and in the smaller creeks. You do not always see them in time, so stay away from the waters.
Yellow Water wetlands, near Cooinda resort, is home to many birds, barramundis and salties of course, whereas at Nourlangie Rock you can see Aboriginal paintings and other beautiful scenery.

Kakadu saltie on land Kakadu Nourlangie Rock

The roads to Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls were still closed and not "croc-safe", so since we like to see these falls, we hired a small plane and flew over the wetlands, the Escarpment and the falls.
Kakadu Twin Falls Kakadu way to Ubirr

Even though the wet season was over we sometimes had to drive through floodways like above on the way to Ubirr.

Towards Darwin

We left Kakadu over the Arnhem Highway via the north-west gate. The first place of interest is the Adelaide River crossing where we made an interesting and spectacular river cruise watching hand-fed salties, some of them were real giants of 5-6 metres.

Adelaide river jumping croc

We made a little detour and decided to drive to the south again to visit Litchfield National Park. Here you can find the magnetic termite mounds as well as wonderful waterfalls and water holes, like Wangi Falls, Florence Falls and Buley Rockhole. Be aware of crocodile danger during the wet season, especially near Wangi Falls and of the hugh stairs at Florence Falls. Therefore we preferred to "swim" in Buley Rockhole.
Litchfield Florence Falls Litchfield Buley Rockhole

After more than 6,000 kilometres of driving we finally arrived in Darwin, where we spent some quiet days; a bit of swimming in the hotel's swimming pool, some shopping and a bit of sightseeing. We were lucky to be in Darwin at Anzac Day (25 April). It was the first time this season that Mindil Beach Market was open. A lot of people bring their picnic table and chairs, eat some of the delicacies of the market and watch sunset later on the beach itself.

Darwin Mindil Beach market Darwin sunset

Another place of interest in Darwin is Aquascene. You can see many sorts of fish here, which are fed at high tide. The fish will take the bread right out of your hands while you are standing in the water on a concrete bank.

Darwin Aquascene


Port Douglas area

Our final destination in Australia was the area around Cairns and Port Douglas. One of the (few) highlights of Cairns is the nearby Kuranda scenic railway. The train goes through many tunnels and winds through and over the hills, climbing more than 300 m in the last 21 of 34 kilometres, up to Kuranda. From Kuranda you can come down again by skyrail. A cableway over the rooftop of the rainforest.

Kuranda scenic railway Kuranda skyrail

From Cairns a very beautiful coast way leads to Port Douglas. Unfortunately when we were there it rained a lot and we did not have good views over the beaches and the ocean. Also in Port Douglas we had a lot of rain, but, though it was storming and raining when we left, we had nice weather at the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkelling and diving was great and all equipment was available. And if you are allergic to or afraid for the stingers, Quicksilver cruises have all the necessary suits at your disposal without extra costs.
Great Barrier Reef Marion

The day we went to Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation was a great day. Lovely sunshine in Port Douglas and, though we were in the rainforest, we had sun and not too much dripping at Mossman Gorge. Take good care when you pass the small swinging rope bridge over the wild water. It is a bit slippery. 

Port Douglas Mossman bridge Mossman river
To reach Cape Tribulation you have to cross Daintree River by ferry. Cape Tribulation is the farthest place you can go north by 2 WD and it is the place where rainforest and the ocean with its white sandy beaches meet each other. It is a nice quiet place and we love it. This holiday will certainly not be our only holiday in Australia. We will come back one day.
Cape Tribulation


last revision: 8 June 2006

Jaap & Marion Fahrenfort-Nietfeld

Cape Tribulation Marion and Jaap

The Migration Bureau : Immigration to Australia

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