The next part of my blog takes us to the north territory and western Australia. Enjoy!
In June, we decided to visit Central Australia. The decision to go in June came after a lot of research. June, July and August are the coolest and driest in the region. During the day you will get an average of 20 degrees, however the nights can be quite cold! We decided to go then because apparently there are a lot less flies around, which makes the trip a lot less stressful. In order to explore Central Australia we booked the 3- night Rock Tour. We visited King Canyon, Kata- Tjuta and Uluru. I would not recommend anybody to drive in the desert as it can be very dangerous; this is why I think booking a group tour is the best way to visit the main sites. The highlight of this trip was sleeping under the stars inside a traditional swag; I have never seen so many stars in my life! I didn’t get to sleep much because of the wild cats and the fear of spiders; but I would definitely do it again.
After the tour, we were dropped off in the centre of Alice Springs which we explored for a few hours before taking a 21hr overnight coach to Darwin. If I had to do it again, I would probably fly next time as the coach journey can be quite boring and there is not much to see in Central Australia apart from tons of sand. Flights do work out more expensive than the coach. In Darwin, I stayed at the Youth Hostel for 4 nights and booked some tours to the nearby National Parks. The first National Park I visited was the Kakadu National Park and the tour was with AAT Kings. On the tour we got close to the local flora and fauna, we saw a lot of different types of plants, species of birds and even crocodiles! We took a cruise along the river while having lunch, which gave us the chance to see best parts of the national park. The following day, I also went on a tour with AAT King and we visited Katherine National Park. Both national parks are stunning, but I would probably recommend doing Kakadu over Katherine as I feel we saw more different animal species on that tour. On my last day in Darwin, I booked the Jumping Crocodile Tour. We first visited the wetlands are near Darwin before joining the Crocodile Tour. It was very touristy but I think it is a good ‘once in a lifetime experience’ as you get to get very close to different types of snakes and other reptiles before you jump on the boat and then, you get to see the crocodiles jump very high to eat a big piece of meat! In the morning, I got a shuttle to the airport and flew to Broome to explore Western Australia.
I must say that Western Australia is my favourite state. I believe it offers similar experiences to Queensland but without the tourists; so you get to know the locals and visit amazing sites with very little crowds. Broome still remains one of my favourite places in the whole of Australia; the reason why I enjoyed it so much it’s because of its colours: you get the green of the grass, the red of the sand and the turquoise of the sea. Broome beach is stunning and the water is warm; it is the perfect location to go on a romantic camel ride, paddle board or just relax. However, do NOT swim in Roebuck bay as there are crocodiles in there!
Broome is also the perfect base for those wanting to explore the Kimberley region and so, I booked a tour with Kimberley Wild Expeditions. On the tour we visited Windjana Gorge & Tunnel Creek Adventure, a 750-metre cave system in which we discovered secret caves and subterranean wildlife. The tour taught us about the history and traditions of the Aboriginals in the area and got really close to freshwater crocodiles!
In the morning, I flew to Perth with Virgin Australia. Once I landed in Perth, I visited the Bell Tower and had a walk around Kings Park. Perth is a lovely city with lots of culture; I would probably recommend staying there for 2-3 nights. One of the main sights to visit is Fremantle port city; you can reach Fremantle by ferry and I recommend keeping an eye out for the dolphins that swim in the Swan River! Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time in Perth to visit Rottnest Island, but that is also one of the main places to visit in the area. Rottnest Island is a natural reserve and home of the Quokkas, which are very cute little marsupials. No private cars are allowed on the island but you can rent a bike.
From Perth I joined a 4-day tour to Monkey Mia with Aussie Wanderer, which was amazing and would really recommend it for backpackers. The first day, we drove Perth to Kalbarri. Our first stop was the Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park, where we had a guided tour through the limestone formations. After the tour, we drove to Hangover Bay where we enjoyed lunch by the beautiful pristine beach. In the afternoon we drove to Geraldton, where we bought some food and drinks and headed to the Big River Ranch for the night. On the second day we went from Kalbarri to Shark bay stopping in The Murchison Gorge, Natures Window and Z-Bend in Kalbarri National Park. Here we enjoyed abseiling into the gorge and had a swim in the Murchison River. In the afternoon, we travelled north to Shell Beach and spent the night in Denham.
On day three, we enjoyed getting really close to the dolphins in Monkey Mia and chilled on the beach for the morning. In the afternoon, we drove to the Stromatolites and enjoyed the breathing rock formations. We watched the sunset overlooking the Murchison River and spent the night in Kalbarri. On the last day of the tour, we drove back to Perth stopping in the Greenough Wildlife Park, where we fed the Kangaroos and got very close to the snakes. We finished the tour practising sandboarding on the Lancelin sand dunes. The sand gets everywhere! A longer version of this tour is also available where they take you up to Exmouth or even Broome! My adventure around Western Australia finished here. In the morning, I flew back to Melbourne.