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Tracey’s Travel Diary

Friday, 30 Nov 2007

Location: Perth, Australia

MapI have only 5 minutes left on the computer so I will have to keep it brief and perhaps fill in the detail later.

I am back in Perth. Flew from Ayres rock today. I haven't written since Tamworth. I stayed in Tamworth for a day and then took the bust to Bellingen (which took me through Armidale once again). Bellingen is a small town which is a bit hippyish. Going by bus on the waterfall way road was very beautiful especially from Dorrigo. It was very green and from Bellingen there was lush green grass and you would notice dairy cows in the fields and people were also silaging. When I arrived I decided I would go canoeing along the Bellingen river in the dark. It actually wasn't so good as I had hoped, and neither was the champagne. My canoe seemed to go the wrong way as there were tides and there were lots of shallow and deeper bits but of course in the dark you couldn't really see where the shallow bits were. The next day I went to the markets they held in the town which had plenty of stalls. I went back to the hostel and met with Iris (from Germany) who was arranging to hire a bike and I then decided to go with her. We rode to a place called the promised land and I cooled myself down by swimming in the very cold Never, Never Creek (sounds like Peter Pan). The ride had many ups and the downs didn't seem long enough but it went through very beautiful countryside with views of the mountains. The area is probably the most beautiful of where I have been in Australia so far and its greeness reminds me of Wales more than any other place here. The ride was probably about 32 km and afterwards we went for swim in the river.

Almost everyone I had spoken to in the hostel had wanted to go the Dorrigo National Park but there was no way of getting there without a car which nobody had. My plan was to find a man in the pub to take me there who hopefully would have a bus as I knew lots of people who wanted to go. Iris, Maria and I went to the pub but we were unsuccessful. I put a note on the fridge that night in the hostel asking for a lift and luckily it worked. I managed to get a lift for Iris and myself with two Dutch girls. There was not room for Maria and another girl but they managed to hitch with no problem and we met them later in the National Park. Here we went for a walk in the rainforest which had a few waterfalls to look at. In the afternoon I left the hostel for Coffs Harbour the town with the BIG BANANA. Maria was taking the bus and I was taking the train. We had decided that we would meet up but did not realise how far apart the two stations would be and my train was late and her bus was early. We had not arranged our accommodation but luckily enough we both ended up at the same hostel so we then walked to muttonbird island and went for a meal at a place with a very grumpy waiter. I left early in the morning on the bus to Brisbane and saw the BIG BANANA from the window.

Arrived in Brisbane and had to put my clock an hour back because they do not have daylight saving in Queensland. In Brisbane I stayed with Matt and Miche for the night and left the next day to take the plane to Airlie Beach. I got on the bus and straightaway I recognised the bus drivers Welsh accent and he noticed my Welsh badge on my bag. We had a bit of a conversation even though I were a few seats back and he told me that he once bought a dog from Abergavenny. Didn't talk anymore as I then got off at the wrongs stop. Went to the library before my flight to download some photos at the library but then I realised I had no camera - I had left it at the house. I was short of time to get the bus back and I didn't know whether Miche was still at home so I had to go to the airport. My flight was delayed by about four hours because the plane had been struck by lightning that day and they had to find the entry and exit points.

Arrived in Airlie beach and prepared for my sailing adventure the next day. I went on a boat called the Habibi and there were 6 Canadians, 4 Norwegians, 3 Dutch, 2 from England, 1 from US, 1 Irish, and 1 other Welsh girl who was actually from Raglan (but I didn't know her). The trip was two days and two nights and it involved quite a bit of drinking. A group of eight drank from breakfast until the early hours. I was glad that I saw some turtles which I had wanted to see most and I also saw lots of fish whilst snorkelling, feeding them, and from the boat, and saw stingrays too. Went to white haven beach which is very beautiful but my photos from my disposable camera did not do it justice.

From the whitsundays sailing I took the bus to Townsville, and then the ferry to Magnetic Island. Here I held a koala (being a real tourist now) fed rock wallabies, held a carpet snake, a skink, a crocodile called Barbie and kissed a black Cockatoo. From Townsville I took the bus to Cairns. Finally, had a dance in the woolshead where I had a free meal. Backpackers are very competitive here and I managed to get a good deal when I got off the bus but I suppose I didn't really make the most of my bed as I slept so few hours and left at 7am to go to the airport.

I arrived at Ayres Rock and had to put my clock back a half hour. The first afternoon I just checked in at the resort and sorted out what I was going to do and swam in the pool. The next day I wnt on a trip to Kings Canyon and we left the resort at about 4am. I did the walk on top of the canyon through the lost city and the garden of Eden. It was very good and I took many photos. WE had many warnings against the walk as it was above 30 degrees celcius but this was to discourage the more unfit people I suppose. If we were to suffer from heat stress we would have to pay for the helicopter. It was very hot but I cooled down in a waterhole at the end of the Garden of Eden. Only myself and the guide took the plunge and the outcome was very refreshing and luckily I did not come across any swimming snakes. I swam in my clothes but these managed to dry by the time we got back to the bus. The guide and bus driver were both very nice and the bus driver asked me out for a romantic meal.

The next day I arranged to do quite a bit of walking and I bought a two-day pass for the shuttle bus. Unfortunately I woke up at 4am to find my trainers had been stolen. Good walking footwear is advised and thought oh dear I won't be able to do it. The lady who came to pick me up said I could have a refund but I then decided that I would risk doing the walks in my flip flops as what else would I do with my time and I really wanted to see these places. First of all we went to see the sunrise over Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). Then we walked the Valley of the Winds which I am so glad I did. At the start we saw a herd (caravan) of camels of all sizes in the valley. I imagined what some people were thinking when they saw me in my unsuitable footwear but at least I was at the end of my walk when they were just starting. Afterwards I then went for a short camel ride, followed by a swim and then the shuttle picked me up again to go to the Olgas again to do the Gorge Walk. Afterwards we were driven around the base of Uluru and then we watched the sunset over Uluru.

The following morning I went to see the sunrise over Uluru. I then walked right arouns the rock which was about 10 kms and rather than the suggested 3 hours it took me 1 and three quarters (so my flip flops were still going well). The climb up Uluru was closed when I started and finished the walk due to either winds or because the temperature was above 36 degrees celsius (but climbing is discouraged anyway). I had a half hour wait for the shuttle bus but somehow we missed each other and I had to wait for another hour. I had hoped to have had a time for a swim before taking my flight but instead I just had time for a quick shower. So then I flew to Perth.