Craig’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 23 Feb 2008

Location: Melbourne, Australia

MapHello…hello……is anybody there? Well if you are reading this (apart from my mother) I am impressed with your persistence…..I could say I’ve been far too busy but truth be known I’m just a lazy tool!

Christmas in Oz was good fun, spent the day at Sophie’s Aunties place eating and drinking way too much… be honest very similar to a UK Christmas apart from when we went out to play cricket later on which allowed me to really express how poms can’t play…..bowled out by a 6 year old! I added some pics of Christmas.

New years was spent at a 3 day festival which was very messy! Apart from having a stint as a confused transsexual it was a really good do…Kings of Leon and Groove Armada head lined, both top notch! All ended on new years day about 9am..…shortly followed by an hours sleep being woken up by 40deg heat having to pack all our gear away and make the 4 hour trip home! Thankfully we were near the beach so could nip down for a dip during the day…don’t think I would have made it without this!

A week later Soph and I flew over to Perth to start our 6000km road trip to Darwin. Once in Perth we picked up our ‘wicked’ camper van which was basically a jap transit van with a mattress thrown in the back…..these vans all have individual spray paint jobs on the sides..…ours had a couple of huge fairies which allowed me to show off my masculinity! Perth was a little unimpressive but a little town nearby called Fremantle was a beautiful little place…..see why mi boy Ash spent so much time there. We met up with some of Soph’s family over there and got a free feed but no bed  Due to our tight budget and sky high fuel prices (still half price of uk) most of our nights were spent either parked up on a beach or sneaking into caravan parks…..we became increasingly good at this and only got busted the once..…the shame! We spent the first few days stopping off at random little towns with their own strange backwards little ways of life… you can imagine our ‘wicked fairy’ van caught a lot of attention especially with the quote on the back “what winks and screws like a tiger”….answers on a postcard! After a few days we made it to a place called Monkey Mia which is a world heritage area and therefore incredibly protected. The main attraction here are the dolphins which come into be feed in the morning by the guys who run the place. Each dolphin would look at the crowd on the shore and choose who they wanted to be fed by..…I was snubbed but they loved Soph. In revenge for my dolphin snub I went fishing that evening but even though the fella I was next to was bagging one after another I didn’t see a bite..…BUT just as I was getting ready to call it a day my line took off and after a good 20 mins I managed to land a 1m reef shark… reaction I hear you ask: “Oh shit”! I couldn’t get near the thing with my little snippers to unhook the BEAST so had to cut the line and throw it back…..I don’t think the world heritage committee would take too well to me snaring one of their sharks! Sorry no photographic evidence! We spent 2 nights here as it was an incredible..…the second evening we walked up a deserted jetty on the beach and watched the sun go down while underneath us swam huge turtles and stingrays with dolphins jumping around..…for that moment it was the most perfect place in the world. Our next stop was Shark bay which is pretty intimidating from the name. It was another beautiful spot with amazing beaches and yes..…plenty of sharks but only the small ones! We took a charter boat and went snorkeling along the amazing coastline coral reef…..just like I experienced in Thailand this reef was alive with al sorts of multi coloured tropical fish…..thankfully no sharks though! From here we started to make our way inland to Karijini national park. On the way we had to stop in a miners town which is purely set up for the workers. This place was strange..…and the people, well lets just say they were ever so slightly backwards. Having a pom to take the piss out of made their year I rekon…..especially when I rolled up in the fairy van. Karijini national park is basically where heaps of gorges come together and make some amazingly diverse scenery. We were also able to swim in little pools which was cool. The pictures don’t even do this fantastic place justice. We had a few more stops on the way up back to the coast towards Broome. On the way we stopped at Lake Argile which is a massive water reserve. Again we decided to cool off in the water but not before being told to watch out for the fresh water crocs as the guy told us…” the freshies might bite but won’t kill you” and I’m proud to say I was brave / stupid enough to then run to the end of the jetty and jump into the water…..I didn’t see any crocs but did enjoy the fresh water swim… I can say I swam with crocs anyway! We finally made it to Broome which is a pretty northern town. To be honest we couldn’t make the most of it here as it was 40 – 45deg all of the 3 days we spent here and the fact that you can’t swim in the water this far north due to the killer box jelly fish makes it a bit frustrating as the huge Cable beach in Broome has to be one of the most impressive beaches I’ve seen yet and watching the sunset there was an incredible feeling. From here we made our final journey north to Darwin. It took us 3 days of harsh weather and freak storms, with the most ferocious lightening I’ve ever seen..…there’s something not quite right about traveling in a tin box with lightening crashing down next to you which is so close it strikes a blue colour! On the journey up we spent a night in another national park and were woken up in the night by a pack of Dingo’s (big wild dogs) which surrounded the van…..Sophie woke up to their panting with one next to the open door next to me…..she quickly slammed the door so I wasn’t a meal..…’Dingo got my Craigy’! Finally made it back into civilization when we reached Darwin which is a really cool city. Not as big as Melbourne but certainly growing it was good to reach somewhere that has nice bars and restaurants. As it was our last night we decided to live it up and stayed in a top notch hotel, went out to an actual real restaurant for dinner (beats beans on toast from the camp stove) and got suitably pished…..perfect way to end off our holiday!

It was an amazing experience and it certainly gave me itchy feet for traveling again. Even though we spent 3 and a bit weeks sleeping on top of a van with the most intense heat I’m likely to experience, with very little cash and beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner…..just being completely back to basics seems to make life seem a little more simple and that carries over and allowed us to completely relax and take in the amazing places we visited.

It was interesting to see some of the aboriginal setups and towns in the north. This is a huge problem in Australia with little media attention given to it overseas. It’s possibly the first country where you can see western greed and 3rd world poverty side by side. Indecently last week, Kevin Rudd the Australian prime minister made a speech to the nation where he apologized to the aboriginal peoples past generations for how they have been treated… won’t mean much to anyone back home but over here it has been a huge deal which makes it an important historic event in Australia.

Back in Melbourne now and I’ve just started a new job working for Kodak as a financial analyst which is going well but still early days…..not sure how I landed this one but I ain’t complaining!

Hope your all well back home and enjoyed my little spiel…..just to let you know today is bright and sunny with a maximum temperature of 30deg…..sorry couldn’t resist! I’ll have the holiday photos up very soon.

Take care