A Travellerspoint blog

Ijen and Bromo without a tour (and cheaper)

Part I - Ijen

Since we arrived in Java, we went to Malang in the hopes of seeing a nice town and booking a cheap tour to Ijen and Bromo. Neither of those happened - Malang had some nice buildings, but even those had their glory days in the colonial times and now they look a bit worn down. The tours from Malang were a bit too pricy for us, so we decided to Ijen and Bromo by ourselves, which turned out to be about 50% cheaper.
How it went:

From Malang we took a bus to Probolinggo (25k/pers). Probolinggo is a real scammy town, where every tourist is getting ripped-off pretty hard. Even though we were aware of the scams and fake tickets etc, we still managed to buy a fake ticket to Bondowoso and paid 30k too much per person. The real price of the ticket is 20k, not 50k.

Anyway, we arrived in Bondowose and booked a fantastic homestay (Ijen Bondowoso homestay 80k/2pers). The guys there also organized (unofficially) tours to Ijen, so we shared a car with a French guy and instead of trying to figure it out ourselves (go to Sempol, which is apparently also a scammy town), stay there, take an ojek to the start and back, pay the entrance etc.. We took the tour with the homestay - left at 23:30 and were back at around 12:00 in the morning. Going there and back ended up costing about 440k/2pers + the entrance fee (100k/person). It would have been cheaper, if we had a couple more people in the car, but that was still good value for money.

In was really nice. We arrived at the start of the trek at around 1:30am. It was a very steep climb up. We walked really fast, Edda was exhausted (seriously exhausted), but we passed everyone else on the track (and there were a lot of people). After climbing up, you do a steep descend to the crater where the blue fire is. The blue fire is burning sulphur gas, and comes straight out of the ground. There is a lot of sulphur gas, which is poisonous (so, you should have some kind of mask). In the crater they have about 200 guys mining sulphur. They carry about 60-80kgs of pretty pure sulphur at a time from the crater (first up, then down to get paid). Christophe talked a bit to a young guy doing the mining (20y old). He said he lived in a town nearby, but is doing this job for the money. Per kg that he carries down, he gets 925 IDR (0,07 euro). So his daily pay would be about 9 euros, which is very good for Indonesia … The sulphur they dig up is sold to the sugar refinery and used for make-up and medicines the young guy told me. The working conditions are very very dangerous and inhuman. The miners don’t have any kind of protection from the gas, very few have a mask, many just walk with their flip flops and they have to manually extract the sulphur just next to the blue flames and the poisonous gas. You hear a lot of coughing and spitting :( I really wonder, how many years they can do that job before having to retire because of some kind of respiratory disease. We were a couple of hours in the crater and our throats started hurting despite having a gas mask and avoiding the smoke.

It was a quite crazy experience. In any western country, I doubt they would let tourists (or the miners) go so close to such a dangerous thing. After seeing the blue fire, we hiked to the rim of the crater again to see the sunrise. It was pretty good, though the sun rose behind another mountain. After the fog and clouds disappeared a bit, we could see the volcanic lake, which has a PH of 0,5. You don’t want to fall there…

After admiring the scenery for quite a while, we hiked back down and our driver was waiting for us there. Next he took us to see 2 waterfalls and have a dip at hot springs. Then we stopped at the arabica coffee plantation. The coffee still needed 2 months to ripen, but we had a taste of last years crop. He also showed the macadamia nut of Indonesia. We even had a taste, but it’s different from the macadamia nut that we have in the shops back in Europe.

Transport

Transport

Buse transport

Buse transport

Blue fire at Ijen

Blue fire at Ijen

Miners working at Ijen

Miners working at Ijen

Mist at Ijen

Mist at Ijen

Ijen sun glare

Ijen sun glare

View from the crater rime (ijen)

View from the crater rime (ijen)

Crater lake at Ijen

Crater lake at Ijen

Ijen plateau

Ijen plateau

Ijen sunrise on the way down

Ijen sunrise on the way down

Miner at the crater

Miner at the crater

Mask for the sulphur gas

Mask for the sulphur gas

Trekking at the rim - Ijen

Trekking at the rim - Ijen

Mist in the morning

Mist in the morning

Ijen  morning

Ijen morning

Ijen

Ijen

Mist at Ijen

Mist at Ijen

sulphur mining

sulphur mining

loads of sulphur

loads of sulphur

Carrying sulphur down

Carrying sulphur down

Views on the way - Ijen

Views on the way - Ijen

Views on the way back from Ijen

Views on the way back from Ijen

Small waterfall

Small waterfall

Massive waterfall

Massive waterfall

Hot pools 2

Hot pools 2

Hot pools

Hot pools

Coffee

Coffee

Coffee plantation

Coffee plantation

Viws on the way down - Ijen

Viws on the way down - Ijen

Posted by cjfvdk 07:24 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

It’s not always paradise …

Yes, we are in Indonesia, and yes, that must be amazing, but there are times (especially in Indonesia) when we wouldn’t mind having a job and a life with some structure. Travelling is hard work. It’s very rewarding but it’s not always as rosy as the pictures may make you believe rather misleadingly. It’s hard work to find out what your next destination is, how you can get there if you don’t just want to put down the cash, watch your things all the time, be focused so you don’t get cheated, etc. It’s ‘of course’ all part of the adventure, but it’s not fun paying bribes, getting scammed into buying a fake ticket and there’s nobody to help you. It would be easy travelling if we had a humongous budget, but we are a bit limited with money (yes, even for Indonesia, it’s not cheap as chips here), it makes for a lot of frustrations, disappointments, negative feelings and the desire to be at home and have a regular job and life. So please, don’t be mislead by all these beautiful pictures, because we won’t post the pictures where we are crying, swearing, sweating, paying bribes, getting ripped off, desperately trying to find a hotel or a meal, etc. It’s a great adventure, but every lesson we are learning definitely comes at a price!

The other thing is the climate. You sweat, you sweat in the morning, during the day and in the night. There is no stopping, it’s humid and it’s hot! You don’t feel like doing much because of the weather. The people here are very lazy (they themselves admit that). They take their motorbike everywhere, not much walking happens in Indonesia (2km is a huge distance!). You see a lot of people sleeping during the day.

This country makes you a little bit depressed at times. All the pollution; when we landed to Surabaya, you could see a layer of this smog everywhere below a certain altitude. We met some other travellers here and they said they haven’t seen the blue sky during they stay in Java, it’s always gray from the pollution. The pollution is not just in the air, it’s everywhere. Tap water is a big NO NO, even for brushing your teeth. There is rubbish everywhere, people throw it in the rivers, streets and in the ocean. Even during our boat trip to Komodo national park, there were big piles of plastic shit floating in the ocean - disgusting! In addition to throwing their rubbish into the rivers, we’ve seen people shit in the rivers. It just makes you sad to see all the beautiful green forest, fields, rivers and sea getting totally destroyed by people who don’t care. This country is an environmental disaster!
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Rubbish on the beach

Rubbish on the beach

Posted by cjfvdk 03:29 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Bali the second time

After seeing Indonesia a bit more, we decided to give Bali a second chance. Maybe it’s not so bad after all. We stayed at the very touristy area at Jimbara, very close to the airport. It was a good hotel with a good price. For 2 days we rented a motorcycle and went around with that. The traffic didn’t seem so crazy anymore (maybe because we got a bit more used to it, maybe because it’s not Canccu).

On the first day, we had a good fish lunch at the local grilling place next to the fish market. So, you buy your fish from the market, they file it, you take it to the grill place where they cook it and you eat it. We bought tuna. It was pretty good and would have costed a fortune at a fancy restaurant. We also had another try of the Balinese massage. It was pretty painful this time, Edda will definitely ask for a relaxing massage next time. We had a good coconut next to the massage place :) it was a good day!

The next day we rented a motorcycle and went to the beach (of course you have to pay an entrance to the beach..). It was ok, not super impressive. At least it wasn’t covered in rubbish. It was super hot at the beach, even the water didn’t cool you down. We spent a few hours and decided to see a bit more with the motorcycle. We drove past all the resorts with their fancy beaches, Nusa Dua etc..

The following day we went again with the motorcycle. We started at the big shopping centers. Edda found some walking shoes (probably fake) Reebok. All the shoes are too small for Christophe. They don’t seem to have sizes bigger than 43. In the afternoon we tried to have another coconut, but they were finished from the nice place. We also tried to find a place to cut Edda’s hair, but 2 places where we looked, were closed. In the evening we went to Uluwatu temple, which was not so impressive. We had a nice dinner with the family who owns the hotel. We ate with our hands, as they do in Indonesia.
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Posted by cjfvdk 18:23 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

From Ende to Labuanbajo

Komodo dragons, manta rays and a crazy boat trip

In Ende we didn’t do much. Tried to plan a bit ahead, had a wild chase to find bananas (nobody was selling them …) and ate at a very nice dinner place (they had home-made noodels and took pride of their food). From Ende we took a very scenic flight to Labuanbajo. The flight was great. We saw the passing landscape, all the little islands, volcanos, mountains etc.

In Labuanbajo we started right away going around and asking for quotes for the boat trip (2 days, 1 night, snorkelling and visiting the Komodo national park). There are so many operators, they all do exactly the same trip, the prices and the condition of the boats vary a bit though. It’s not a cheap boat trip, about 700 000 idr per person, and of course you have to pay your entrance to the national park which adds another 300 000 idr. The boat is far away from luxury as well. Pretty much all the boats look like they can’t take a wave more than a meter high, the engine is incredibly loud (can’t talk much to anyone while the engine is running) and there are x amount of holes in the boat. Our crew had to start scooping water out with a big bucket in the night, as their water pump broke on the first day.

Considering all that, our boat trip was a huge success. We had nice people onboard; us, 1 Italian, 2 Belgians and 4 Indonesian crew. On the first day we snorkelled in 3 places. The highlight was the manta point, where we could see huge manta rays within meters from us. And there were plenty of them. We saw at least a couple dozen while snorkelling there.

In the evening we stopped at pink beach and saw some dolphins from the boat. The snorkelling was pretty good, despite there being lots of jellyfish in the water which were stinging us continuously. The food on the boat was rice and noodles for lunch and dinner, but we had plenty of bananas and cookies with us, so it was ok :D The crew was also nice although they didn’t really speak english. Christophe managed to have a pretty good conversation with them in bahasa indonesia :)

The sleeping was organised on the deck. Everyone on the floor next to each other. It was a bit moist, but otherwise we had a good sleep.

The next day we visited the Komodo national park. First stop was Komodo island, where we did a little trek and saw about 4 of these famous komodo dragons. It is a ripoff though. You have to pay an expensive entrance and lots of other stupid little fees (dragon watching fee, trekking fee, guide fee…). After Komodo, we headed to Rinca island (also part of the Komodo national park). We saw many more dragons there (they seemed a bit bigger as well). But of course we had to pay again the guide fee and the dragon watching fee. We also saw some deer and monkeys from far away. We made a little error by taking the long trek in Komodo. We should have done the short one there and the longer in Rinca. A lesson for next time!

The second day we didn’t do much else. Everyone seemed tired and we had to sit hours and hours in the boat, to get anywhere. Yesterdays beautiful weather also turned into a small drizzle. We reached labuanbajo at around 4:30pm. In the evening we had European dinner with the Belgian girls and tomorrow we are off to Bali again.

It’s still a bit of difficult travelling here, cause you can’t go out of your door without spending money, which requires a whole different mindset than what we were doing in Australia, where we parked and then just walked around. So far that certainly has restricted us in doing certain activities, as we are still on a budget that we really have to look at. Nothing is truly expensive here (compared to …) but if you add up all those small things (including flights and all), you find that your money is still gone faster than you’d like. It’s certainly a challenge.
large_SAM_9257.jpglarge_SAM_9258.jpglarge_SAM_9260.jpglarge_SAM_9267.jpglarge_SAM_9277.jpglarge_SAM_9278.jpgKelimutu

Kelimutu

Kelimutu sunrise

Kelimutu sunrise

large_SAM_9289.jpgGoats on the road

Goats on the road

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Sunset at Komodo

Bucketing out water

Bucketing out water

large_SAM_9382.jpgSleeping in the boat

Sleeping in the boat

large_SAM_9392.jpgKomodo dragons

Komodo dragons

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Posted by cjfvdk 04:45 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

Flores (around Maumere)

The trip didn’t start off that good. The flight was ok (almost on time, with just one unnoticed gate change). We managed to get to our accommodation at the bungalows 30km out of Maumere with a super loud bemu, which took about an hour. Edda started to have fever pretty much right after landing and more severe when we reached our accommodation at Lena House bungalows.

First the fever was no big deal, we just thought it might be the heat and exhaustion. We rented a motorbike, drove to town (Maumere) and did some shopping. In the evening Edda got worse. She couldn’t sleep much during the night because of the fever, headache, chills and sweating.

The next morning it went better again, so we took the motorbike again and went to the local fishing village. It was a really rural place. Looks like people don’t see much tourists there. All the kids started following us and everyone tried to say hello or something similar. They called Christophe « Mr. America » several times. It was a bit uncomfortable walking there, but at least they didn’t start begging for money or even tried to sell us something. We drove on a bit, just to do some sightseeing. We passed by some coconut fields, lots of rubbish and some more greeting locals.

Edda started feeling a bit worse again, so we headed back to our bungalow. The fever was still there, but not as severely as the night before. At least now she could sleep.

The next morning we decided to go to the hospital and check out if it might be dengue, typhoid or malaria (despite taking malaria prevention pills). It took only some hours, in a not the most flash hospital and Edda had her results. Negative for malaria and dengue. So probably it is just another virus from the food or mosquitoes.

Now just rest, water and relax. So we booked probably the most upmarket hotel with air-conditioning and everything, just so Edda can recover. The heat and humidity is really killing you here, so the air-conditioning is a big plus.

After the hospital trip, Edda went to rest and Christophe went to explore the town of Maumere a bit more.

our bungalow

our bungalow

large_SAM_9240.jpglarge_SAM_9237.jpgThis is how everybody travels in Indonesia

This is how everybody travels in Indonesia

large_SAM_9232.jpgCoconut farm

Coconut farm

Local fishing village

Local fishing village

Mr. America

Mr. America

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Posted by cjfvdk 00:33 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

Indonesia - First stop: Bali

First thoughts: Get me out of here! In other words, not very impressed. Why not? Well:

  • The tap water is not even good enough to brush your teeth with.
  • The streets are so busy with cars and especially motorbikes honking their horn and driving like maniacs.
  • You can’t walk anywhere The super narrow streets that they have are so crowded with motorbikes and cars that there is no space to walk. Or even if you wanted to walk somewhere, you have to be really careful and bear with the fact that every 10m there is someone offering you either « taxi », « transport » or « motorbike ».
  • Tourists have to pay 2-6X more for food and everything compared to the locals.
  • There seem to be very few activities that you can do for free. Even for hiking you have to pay (prices start from 35$/person for a half a day hike and go up to 300-400$ for a 3-4 days hike.
  • There is rubbish everywhere. On the beach, in the rivers, on the streets, everywhere.
  • There is no public transport. Everyone has their motorbike. So, if you want to go anywhere, you have either to pay for a taxi or rent something (and as the driving culture is so insane here, paying for taxi is the only option).
  • The weather is moist and hot, but that we were prepared for.

What we did so far. Not much actually, just getting used to the different culture, or in other words, recovering from the culture chock.
The first nights we stayed in North Kuta (Canccu) in a very nice guest house with a pool and everything. It was perfect, but really far away from everything. In the evening we had dinner at a place down the street.

The next day we wanted to see a bit more and took a walk to Seminyak (about 5km, via the beach) to sniff the tourist atmosphere. It was a pretty impossible walk in the mini-street without space for pedestrians.The beaches were grey, full of rubbish and the water was not inviting at all. The atmosphere on the streets was mega touristy with fancy boutiques, expensive food etc.

The following day we took it easy. Had a nice breakfast and a swim at the pool. After lunch we went to Ubud, as some of the guidebooks said Ubud is less touristy, more artistic and relaxed. Well, maybe we should have checked the dates of those guidebooks. It’s very much the same atmosphere here. Busy, busy, expensive and stressful. Our guest house was a bit out of town luckily. And that in the low season. People say there are almost no tourists at all!

We spent the following days in the markets, just wandering on the streets, looking for cheap local food, walking on the rice fields and finally we had our first Balinese massage. We also had a bike ride and visited two temples. That way we could escape the tourists areas a bit and some of the real Bali. At one point we were in a spot where we saw rice fields with the volcanoes in the background. That was very nice. We didn’t find Ubud offers that much to do either, so we booked flights to the island of Flores. Hope we’ll have better luck there. It’s a much less developed island, but hopefully it offers some nice experiences and less harassment from people trying to sell you something.

On March 9 this year, they have the silent (Nyepi) day in Bali (only Bali). The days before, everybody is building massive statues, and on the 8th they will burn them, which gets rids of all negative thoughts. On the silent day, everyone (also tourists) have to be inside the whole day. Lights stay off etc. From then on, only positive thoughts should remain.

But at least, we learned something. Come to Bali and book a hotel for 2 days. Rent a bike or scooter and drive around. Find another hotel in a quiet area that you like, check it out and stay there. Then relax and enjoy :).

large_SAM_9198.jpglarge_SAM_9196.jpgMt Batur in the background

Mt Batur in the background

large_SAM_9190.jpglarge_SAM_9189.jpglarge_SAM_9187.jpglarge_SAM_9183.jpglarge_SAM_9181.jpglarge_SAM_9179.jpgOfferings

Offerings

Ubud rice fields

Ubud rice fields

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Motorcycles everywhere

Posted by cjfvdk 05:47 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Australia

Memories and final thoughts

Australia has such a magnificent nature - so many beautiful and pure places. The weather is mostly pretty good as well (or maybe we were just super lucky with our timing always). It has a bit too many flies, other insects and snakes in some places unfortunately.

It is a paradise for travellers who want to enjoy the nature and explore places independently (not in crowded tourist buses). There are great amenities everywhere (toilets, BBQs, even showers) and it’s mostly free to use them. Australia is really best seen by a car. A normal 2-wheel drive is OK, only if you want to spend most of your time in Western Australia exploring the more off the beaten track places, a 4-wheel drive would be worth the investment.

It’s great for working too - easy to find work and pays really well. Not sure how sustainable the economy is though with these high wages and majority of the industries that pay very well are not very environmentally friendly.

The Australians or Aussies are generally very friendly, easy going and nice. Some like to brag too much about their belongings and experiences, but most of them are not bad people ;) Everyone seems to be quite proud of their country. You hear sayings like « another day in paradise » and « the best country in the world » quite often. We are not sure we totally agree. Australia has a lot to offer nature, work, experience wise, but the politics here is pretty fucked up, and they don’t seem to take a very good care of their extraordinary nature. Maybe people just haven’t realised how amazing, vulnerable and worth protecting the nature in many places is.

Also their relationship with the Aboriginals, the traditional owners of the land, is quite complicated. In short: the western culture has destroyed the traditional lifestyle and left many Aboriginals addicted to alcohol, cigarettes and dependent on welfare. Some Australians feel a bit guilty of stealing their land and destroying their culture, others don’t. But you’ll have to come to Australia and wittness the paradox yourself.

Australia is not the cheapest of destinations. You can spend a lot of money if you want to take a guided tour everywhere, pay for charter boats and eat in fancy places every night.

OR

You can do most of the amazing things for free or with a very low budget. You just have to talk to the locals and ask around a bit.

AU essentials:

  • Wikicamps app
  • A car/van/4-WD + a tent
  • Snorkel + sunscreen (+ wetsuit)
  • Telstra SIM card
  • Fly-net + mosquito repellent (depending on the location and season)

Our most memorable experiences and places in Australia:

  • Sailing and snorkelling @ the great barrier reef
  • Outback Queensland (dinosaurs, outback pubs, drought)
  • The surroundings of Alice Springs (Uluru, Kings Canyon and definitely The West McDonnell ranges)
  • Hot springs in Northern Territory (Mataranka, Katherine and Douglas)
  • Snorkelling @ the Ningaloo Reef in Cape Range national park
  • WWOOFing at a Cattle station in Northern WA
  • Esperance with the Ridgways (sailing, working, great food, 4WD adventures)
  • Working for the wheat harvest @ Lake King
  • Fishing @ Perlubie bay
  • Adelaide with Rob & Bev, and Melbourne with Jenny
  • All the beautiful gorges around the country, especially the Blue Mountains

Our Australian touring route

Our Australian touring route

Posted by cjfvdk 05:24 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Blue Mountains

From Canberra we drove pretty straight to the Blue Mountains. It was very hard to find any information (we came in the back way, which was a very nice drive), but then we found some eventually and had a walk along the cliff edge of the northern gorge. The next day we saw the sun rise over the southern gorge and visited the three sisters before all the tourist busses came. Then we did the Wenworth Falls walk, which must be one of the most amazing walks in the whole of Australia (we saw 4 snakes on the path though :S ).

The National pass, which let’s you walk in the middle of the cliff, in a ledge cut out by eroded clay and then made into a walking track was really amazing. It’s a great walk. The last day we walked to some less famous lookouts which gave a view over a different part of the northern gorge then what we had seen before. The cliff walls are just amazing. You can keep looking at them and keep doing walks here. From here we had another very nice and scenic drive towards Bulga, a bit of a detour to avoid the busy traffic, but very beautiful. Tomorrow it’s back to Newcastle, pretty much back to where we started!
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Posted by cjfvdk 19:02 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Canberra

We had a one day trip in Canberra. We visited the Federal Parliament, went to the international festival that was going on and visited the War Memorial with Last Post at the end of the day. It seems that Canberra wants to have the grandeur of Washington DC, but the impression Christophe got was that it didn’t really work. It was a nice small city though.

From the Parliament there is a major boulevard going all the way to the War Memorial, but it does not look as spectacular as in the States. It was a very nice in Canberra, and we did like the town. It didn’t seem to busy, and quite pleasant. We had a very nice breakfast by the water and many people were doing sports. It was a good day to go on Sunday, cause all parking was free, and it wasn’t too busy. It might be different on a weekday, but we can’t say.
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Posted by cjfvdk 19:01 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Out of Victoria and into New South Wales

After the Gippsland, there was not so much left to do in Victoria. Lakes Entrance is a nice place with a beautiful lookout, but not much after that until you get to New South Wales. The south coast of NSW has a number of really beautiful beaches. First we went to Eden, and then worked our way slowly up past coastal towns and some other beaches. The beaches are nice for a holiday and good weather, but there’s not so much else there.

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Posted by cjfvdk 19:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

South Gippsland

We drove out of Melbourne (3h for 100 kms) and headed towards Gippsland. It hosts Wilson’s promontory with wildlife and nice beaches. We walked to the top of one of the hills (600m) and had a beautiful 360 view. We visited some of the beaches, which were nice and one was squeaky. In the afternoon we visited a waterfall (with no water, we really miss out on all the falls during our trip as we travel in the wrong periods), and drove through some magical hilly country, which incredibly steep hills through which the creeks and rivers carved. It looks a bit like Heuvelland, but the hills are supersteep!

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Posted by cjfvdk 15:53 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Melbourne

We stayed at Jenny’s place for a few days while in Melbourne. The first day Jenny’s daughter showed us around the city. We visited the Rod Laver arena, St Kilda beach and the famous beach huts. We had lunch by the Yarra river and took a tour around the CBD in one of Melbourne’s famous old trams. It was a good introduction to the city.

The next day we did a free walking tour (for 3h) around the center. There we learned a bit more about the history of the city and the buildings. It seemed that there is not much historical about Melbourne (less than Sydney), but quite a lot nice Victorian buildings from it’s Golden Age. Most of these however are in the suburbs, and the CBD is the usual high-rise and modern stuff. The name of the river is Water (Yarra) river, btw, because when they asked Aboriginals what the name was, they said Yarra Yarra, which means plenty of water :). And in stead of Melbourne the name was almost Batmania, after the first owner of the place, Batman (no joke)! We had a quick but fulfilling lunch at a chinese place and continued with a free parliament house tour, and learned a bit more about the way politics work here. Finally we walked around the CBD a bit more before taking the train back to Jenny’s place. In the evening Jenny took us to the Jetty to see the tiny fairy penguins come from the sea to the coast :)

There was a travel exhibition happening, so we also visited it. Got a lot of brochures about Asia, but I don’t think we were in their target group, as they only had flights and package holidays for sale there. Christophe rented a citybike and rode around town a bit more visiting the Queen Victoria Markets and the shrine of remembrance (which is quite impressive). In the evening we had drinks at Grant’s bar. Edda ended up having a few too many, so the next day (and the day after) we didn’t really do anything. Christophe went for a ride with Grant to see the surroundings, but that’s pretty much it.

The last day we visited a couple of parks and reserves by the Yarra river. In the evening Edda made a delicious birthday cake for Grant and Nikki who have their birthdays on the upcoming days.

The overall impression of Melbourne was OK. It gets pretty congested especially at peak hours. Most people say that public transport works very well, but it seems that more than half of the people are still not using it (must not be that good in the end). We discovered couple of good spots, but it seems that you really need to live and work in this city to fully experience it. Living in the city centre must be quite nice, but probably very expensive as well!
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Posted by cjfvdk 15:49 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Great Ocean Road

From there it went down to Warrnambool and towards the great ocean road. The road was built by soldiers returning from duty in WW1, so that they could get a normal job and reintegrate in society. It is thus a sort of memorial of Australians who did service. The coastline is nice, very rugged with beautiful features and then you also go into rainforest, waterfalls, which is amazing. The rest of the Great Ocean Road goes right next to the coast, but does not offer the same views as the west side, and is very touristic. We saw heaps of Asian tourist on the road in rental cars or busses or scenic tour helicopters.

We saw a lot of koalas on the great ocean road. Couple of wallabies too :)

Now we are getting closer to Melbourne, where we will spend some days.
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Posted by cjfvdk 18:35 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The Grampians

And then we suddenly entered Victoria, past Horsham to the Grampians, a mountain range in the middle of a lot of flat. Beautiful nature, waterfalls, beautiful walks but sadly no information about the geology or anything in the park. We climbed a couple of mountains (see pics :) )

We also met some Belgians that Christophe’s dad knows. They were working for 2 years already in the caravan park nearby.
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Posted by cjfvdk 18:32 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

South Australia to Victoria

The last day in Adelaide, Edda cooked a delicious dinner for our hosts, and then it was time to move on! Thank you Rob and Bev for the great times!
We visited the small harbour towns like Victor Harbour and Port Elliot which were very crowded with holiday people and then went on past the Coorong to Kingston (nice town) and Robe to Naracoorte. We passed by Mt Arapilles, a famous mountain for abseiling (we didn’t see anyone abseiling at the moment though).

In Naracoorte we visited the Victoria fossil cave in which they found fossils of now long extinct sorts of koalas, kangaroos, marsupial lions, tigers and other sorts of weird animals. They were also very impressive on themselves, those caves full of stalacmites and stalactites. We had the last cave tour of the day and got a private tour as we were the only people :) It was very nice and informative.

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Posted by cjfvdk 18:29 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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