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My Australia Diary Part 1- From Sydney to Cairns with Stray Australia

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„Welcome to Australia“- once I learn that signal on the airport of Sydney I used to be so excited that I even forgot how drained I used to be from that lengthy journey from Amsterdam to Sydney. It was such a aid to lastly arrive after touring for nearly 30 hours. I don’t assume I’ve ever been on a aircraft for that lengthy, however I knew that it’s going to be well worth the lengthy journey. I’ve all the time dreamed of going to Australia, however it all the time appeared so distant and because you no less than want three weeks off in case you are touring to Down Underneath from Europe, I didn’t get the prospect to go to earlier than. In Germany it’s fairly widespread to do a Work & Journey vacation in Australia after graduating from highschool, however again within the days as a candy 18 yr previous I didn’t actually dare to do it.

Properly 5 years later I lastly made it to Australia- no work, simply journey. With a restricted period of time at my arms, I wanted to select correctly. Australia is large and it’s merely inconceivable to see all of it in a brief period of time. I discovered the East Coast probably the most fascinating for me to begin my journey Down Beneath. I already knew I’ll come again to discover extra of this lovely nation, so there was completely no want to rush it on this journey. To benefit from the time I had right here, I opted to go with a tour firm as an alternative of organizing one thing alone. I travelled with Stray in Asia earlier than who arrange nice hop-on, hop-off excursions that provide the consolation of a gaggle tour, however with sufficient freedom to keep longer at locations for those who really feel such as you need to discover extra. A fantastic bonus is that they all the time attempt to embrace some type of off the crushed path and native experiences making it a really distinctive expertise. This reality actually distinct them from different tour corporations. I often arrange all my journeys on my own and Stray actually modified my view of group excursions. I nonetheless had sufficient freedom, nevertheless the stress of organizing was taken away from me. Plus should you solely have a restricted period of time, you don’t need to waste it on determining how to get to locations or inconvenient transportation occasions.

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Loka Journey lately joined Stray and now operates as Stray Australia– extending their community to New Zealand, Asia and Australia. Since I solely made good experiences with them beforehand, I made a decision to journey from Sydney to Cairns on their. new Mick Freestyle Tour that simply launched in October. It consists of the transportation up the East Coast, first night time’s lodging at every cease, actions and a few meals as properly. There are such a lot of thrilling and numerous spots on this tour, subsequently I feel I’ll get some nice first impressions of the range and great thing about Australia. From cities, to mountains, vineyards, rainforest, seashores and island- that tour presents all of it.

For this journey I made a decision to write a journey diary to share my experiences in Australia alongside with plenty of pictures with you guys. In case you’re planning a visit to Australia or considering of touring with Stray, it also needs to offer you some nice insights.

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Day 1: Arriving in Sydney

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Sydney- there she was. Already from the flight I obtained a fast peek over the harbor bridge and the world well-known opera home. What a sight! Couldn’t wait to make my method there to lastly see it up shut with my very own eyes. Immigration was fast and because the airport isn’t that far out of the town I received to Central Station very quickly. Stray works collectively with the YHA and the Wake Up hostels close by. I used to be a bit too early for verify in, so after a fast bathe I headed out to discover. That is additionally the perfect tip to struggle jet lag. Attempt to keep awake till the night whenever you arrive someplace new. You’ll get up recent and early the subsequent day.

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Each Saturday there’s an artisan truthful in Glebe, a hip native neighborhood in Sydney. Alongside with cute handmade gadgets akin to jewelry, garments and different treasures, you can see classic gadgets and scrumptious meals stalls. Additionally the cafés within the neighborhood are value testing. From there I made my method to Darling Harbor, previous the Harbor Bridge to the Opera Home.

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As I used to be assembly a good friend for lunch I took the ferry to Kiribilly. Overlook the costly harbor cruises. With the ferry you get equally good views for a fraction of the worth. Célcius Espresso Co. is true once you get off the ferry. Their lovely breakfast gadgets have been throughout my Instagram feed and I used to be eager to attempt it myself. Remember the wait might be fairly lengthy since it’s a small place.

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After heading again to Clarkes Quay I wandered via the Botanical Backyard (which is free) again to the hostel and principally handed out proper after I used to be in my mattress. I used to be so drained after all of the travels.

 

 Day 2: Blue Mountains Nationwide Park

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The Blue Mountains are one thing not to miss when in Sydney. I didn’t know that a spot like this might exist inside an hour and a half drive from Sydney. Don’t skip it, it’s so beautiful. The Blue Mountains are 2,5 occasions the dimensions of the Grand Canyon. Stray operates an ideal day journey there. Whereas this journey was included in my tour, you may as well guide it individually as an add-on to your journey cross or simply as a day journey in case you are dwelling or staying in Sydney. Decide up was good and early and since all of us had an influence nap within the bus we arrived on the Nationwide Park very quickly. From there we have been going to begin a simple hike by way of the park. We got here throughout some epic view factors and beautiful nature. Our remaining cease on the primary a part of the hike was the Wentworth falls.

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We stopped for a break and photograph op and a number of the boys even went for a swim. After a steep hike again up all the steps, we received some scrumptious sandwiches for lunch that have been included within the tour. A fast drive later we received to a special a part of the park- The Three Sisters. It’s a beautiful rock formation and the view is out of this world. The final cease on this tour was part of the Nationwide Park the place you’ll be able to spot wild kangaroos. We acquired fortunate and I inform you I used to be so excited to see a mom kangaroo with her youngster consuming grass and leaping round. What a pleasant approach to finish the day within the Blue Mountains earlier than driving again to Sydney. I loved some dinner collectively with new buddies that I made on the tour. After a fast stroll by means of Darling Harbor at night time it was time for mattress once more.

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Day three: Exploring extra of Sydney

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Sydney I wanted I had a bit extra time on my palms. I awakened good and early- thanks jet lag and since I used to be feeling a bit hungry I headed to a well-known café referred to as „The Grounds of Alexandria“. In case you are going to Sydney, you do have to eat there no less than as soon as. The wholesome breakfast bowl that I had was good and the setting was extraordinarily lovely. Good for pics. As Christmas is arising quickly, that they had a whole space devoted to Disney’s „Nutcracker“. The ornament was so on level. On the Grounds they even have reside chickens and pigs.

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The climate was beautiful this present day so I made a decision to discover some extra what Sydney has to supply. We went again to Round Quay for some superb views of the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera Home and had a drink on the Opera Bar. From there we made our method to Bondi Seashore- in all probability probably the most well-known seashore in Sydney well-known for its surfers and its laid-back life type. I’ve seen loads of footage of the Bondi Icebergs, in order that was one thing I used to be very eager testing. If you’d like to take a swim the doorway charge is sort of affordable from 7AUD $, alternatively it’s also possible to have a drink or some meals within the restaurant overlooking the pool.

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The coastal stroll is sort of in style, so we made our approach to Coogee previous Bronte Seashore. The shoreline is rocky and wild and the views are simply beautiful, and I’m not solely speaking concerning the surroundings 😉 After some dinner it was time to head again to our hostel.

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Day four: Hunter Valley- Wine tasting and tubing in Barrington Tops

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Good and early was the decide up from our hostel this morning. Our Stray Tour was formally going to begin. Stray has their very own bus which actually is a luxurious. The dimensions of the teams is on common round 20 people- a pleasant combine of individuals from everywhere in the world. So even in case you are going to begin this tour solo, you’ll finish the journey with tons of associates from everywhere in the world.

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The primary cease of our tour was to style some Australian wines within the Hunters Valley- a wine space a few 2.5 hour drive away from Sydney. I imply there isn’t any higher method to begin the day with a wine tasting at 10 am proper? After a small introduction of the winery and the essential of how to truly style wines, it was time to attempt a number of whites and reds. I ended liking the „opening act“ a lot that I took a bottle with me.

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All a bit happier than earlier than, we continued our journey after a lunch break to Barrington Tops Nationwide Park. This is likely one of the Strademarks locations on the Stray Tour. These are particular locations or experiences that embody Stray’s ethos as an adventurous, off the crushed monitor, journey firm. Barrington Tops Nationwide Park as a part of the Gondwana Rainforest and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage website. The views are superb and there’s loads of issues to do from climbing, to tubing and past. We stayed in a small lodge overlooking the valley and the farm it was located on. Proper after we acquired there it was time to go tubing. For an enormous half we floated down the river and there have been additionally some falls that speeded issues up a bit. It was a very enjoyable expertise. After we obtained again all of us jumped within the scorching tub and loved the sundown with some snacks and drinks. Our night program was consuming yummy pizzas out of the wooden fired pizza oven and enjoying video games. Since we have been in such a distant location,we didn’t have -cell telephone reception, which was nice as everyone was extra current, we received to know one another higher and bonded as a gaggle. The subsequent morning after some breakfast it was time to head to our subsequent cease.

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Day 5-6: Spot X Surf Camp

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Australia and browsing does belong collectively. So in fact we had to attempt it out whereas on our Stray Australia tour up the east coast. The surf camp is situated on among the best spots to check out browsing for newcomers. We broke the lengthy journey up a bit with a cease on the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie. This was my first time seeing koalas in actual life and it was nice to study these fascinating animals. They spend most of their day sleeping and are awake for round 4hours to eat- what a life. A number of the koalas on the hospital have a very unhappy story, whereas entrance is free, they do depend on volunteers and donations and we have been very happy to help the venture with a couple of dollars.

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After an extended drive we stopped at Emerald Seashore the place we have been in a position to see plenty of wild kangaroos roaming round freely. Such a cool expertise. For Australians it’s fairly a standard sight as they’ve so many kangaroos. There are 44 million kangaroos in Australia and solely 24 million individuals. But for us vacationer it was one thing utterly new and we couldn’t cease taking pictures.

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Once we obtained to the surf camp, we had dinner and took part in a pub quiz on the native pub. I’ve by no means carried out a pub quiz earlier than, it was nice enjoyable and our staff „The undead drop bears“ even got here first.

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The subsequent morning it was time to check out browsing. On the Spot X surf camp they’ve a workforce of very motivated instructors from everywhere in the world that began explaining us the fundamentals of browsing. Some individuals by no means surfed earlier than, others had a bit experiences however have been nonetheless novices. I attempted browsing 2 occasions earlier than, however for the primary time I lastly understood what I used to be supposed to do. I discovered the instructors to be very useful. We have been round 10 individuals for one teacher that morning. Our surf lesson took two hours and fairly a number of managed to rise up. I personally didn’t, however that’s due to my lack of coordination. It’s a lot to keep in mind unexpectedly and undoubtedly harder than it seems to be. Nevertheless I did have enjoyable and won’t surrender. The surf camp would have been an amazing place to hop off as nicely if you need to get higher at browsing. With the restricted period of time at my arms it was a enjoyable means to attempt it out and I’ll do a prober browsing vacation subsequent. The Mojo surf camp is situated at a couple of nice surf spots in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, I can be again for positive.

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Day 6: Canoeing in Nymboida and Aussie BBQ at River Retreat

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The journey continued instantly. After the browsing we had some extra enjoyable issues lined up. The subsequent cease on our tour was Nymboida, which is understood for its giant river system that gives world-class canoeing and kayaking. We had two superior guides with us that gave us some nice recommendations on canoeing. We spent round two hours on the river and as soon as we obtained to the campsite our superior tour information Linda ready an unimaginable Australian BBQ for us. Australians love to do BBQ and there was actually the whole lot you possibly can think about. She even made her personal conventional Australian bread referred to as damper and we acquired to attempt kangaroo for the primary time. After dinner all of us sat across the campfire to roast marshmallows and shared some tales. We even had some musical skills in our group, so we acquired to take pleasure in some guitar music and singing as nicely. I consider these experiences are so invaluable as a gaggle and find yourself being a number of the nicest reminiscences on the tour and it was undoubtedly a really memorable night.

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Day 7: Swimming in rock swimming pools and arriving at Byron Bay

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After a pleasant breakfast it was time to proceed the journey as we had a little bit of a drive forward of us. I really like how Stray makes time to cease at fascinating spots alongside the way- this actually units them aside. You can take a daily Greyhound bus to transfer round Australia too, however you’d miss out on some superior stops and all of the enjoyable. Our information Linda requested us whether or not we wish to go swimming and because it was a pleasant day, we had slightly break on the Angourie Blue and Inexperienced Swimming pools. After a refreshing dip within the swimming pools we acquired again to the bus and headed instantly to Byron Bay. Linda has been a tour information for over twenty years and you may actually inform how passionate she is about this job. It was a whole lot of enjoyable with her being on the bus and she or he had a whole lot of cool ideas for us on what to do at our subsequent cease Byron Bay. After a fast tour of all of the hotspots of Byron Bay, Linda dropped us on the hostels.

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Byron Bay is a very fascinating place on the coast. The vibes and views are magical and there are tons of good cafés and outlets to wander round. We checked in on the Wake Up Hostel which used to be a former resort on the seashore. Friends can rent surfboards and bikes without spending a dime and up to this date it undoubtedly has been one of many nicest hostels I’ve ever stayed in. We headed straight into city to discover. After some buying and ice cream we made our means to the Seashore Lodge that arrange some nice live shows on weekends. To observe the sundown we went to Important Seashore the place lots of people collect within the night to hang around, play music and dance. I fell in love with Byron Bay from the beginning and was wanting ahead to discover extra the subsequent day.

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What an unimaginable first week it has been in Australia. I’ve seen and skilled a lot already that someway I obtained the sensation I already spent months right here. It was a variety of enjoyable already and I met so many individuals on the tour. Curious what the subsequent weeks are going to convey…

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