this is very difficult: we have experienced so much on our journey, and been to so many different places that were, for want of a better word: amazing in their own ways. let me give you some examples: the onslaught of all those selfie sticks certainly made it harder for us to enjoy the sights on the great ocean road but that coastline is still rugged, dangerous yet stunning at the same time.
the parliament in canberra sometimes feels like this strange black hole where intelligence and reason go to die, yet the building is still very attractive and worth a visit. or take byron bay, which I feel special contempt for, but the other family members actually like.
i guess what i am trying to say is this: there was no place i would, in hindsight, avoid. but there are definitely some places i would go out of my way to see again. actually, most of these places are pretty much out of the way, and not only from the perspective of someone living in sydney. so here are my favourites, in no particular order.
if you are into marina life like natalie, in terms of both marine flora and fauna, this is the place to go. where else can you wade into the shallow water off the beach and snorkel through more coral bommies than you can count. or you can choose to take a boat further out and maybe spot a turtle or a manta ray.
better still, you go beyond the outer reef and see whales or swim with the whale sharks. there is not much to see on land (there are roos, emus and rock wallabies) but as soon as you get in the water this place is unsurpassed.
karijini national park.
the pilbara contains some of the richest iron ore deposits on earth, and then there are a few other minerals as well (not to mention the infamous blue asbestos). no wonder the pilbara is home to so many mines it is starting to look a bit like swiss cheese.
but right next to it, hidden among the ancient ridges, are some of the most impressive gorges you can see in australia. no: the world (the don says a bit of nationalism never hurt anyone … um except minorities, gay people, natives, …).
since we were travelling in a kimberley karavan, we figured we should be right at home here. we were spot on: as fearsome as the gibb’s reputation may be, the gorges and waterfalls combined with the red dirt and the jagged hills is worth braving the corrugations, water crossings and razor sharp rocks.
and then there are the cute little freshies in pretty much all waterways (whether you see them or not). we also noted that kris’ greatest fear (to be deprived of her daily dose of fresh fruit and veg) was unfounded; there are a number of roadhouses along the gibb that sell pretty much anything and it’s reasonably fresh, too.
the wa south coast.
bright white sandy beaches, turquoise water, huge granite boulders covered in red lichen and the tallest trees you could find anywhere: this is a the south coast of western australia.
it has beautiful sunshine but clearly also sufficient rain to sustain the dense vegetation. unfortunately we were too late to see the orcas at bremer canyon (an underwater canyon of course) but who says we can’t return? i for one would love to.
kakadu is a very special place. the six seasons transform the landscape regularly: during the dry season the destructive force is fire and in the wet season it is water. the animals have learned to live with both and the diversity in this unique ecosystem is truly amazing (that word again).
waterways are generally off limits but there are deep plunge pools fed by tall waterfalls where it is possible to cool off without getting eaten by a saltie. and the rock art is like nothing else we have seen anywhere in australia.
but as i wrote in the beginning: every place was special in some way.
and we would do it all again in a heartbeat.