Our last blog was about our lifestyle in the outback, this time we will tell you about what we have seen during our trip. The first highlight was Coober Pedy, a famous opal mining town. There is a free spot where you can seek for opal yourself. Despite the effort we didn’t find any opal at all. After our hard work we felt hungry, good for us Coober Pedy has one of the best pizzerias of Australia! Our pizza with kangaroo and emu meat was delicious. The town is also famous for its underground living. All hotels, motels and campings are constructed in caves. It was a great experience to sleep with our tent in a cave! Outside it was really windy, warm and bright but as soon as we entered the cave, it was comfortable but dark.
After a few days driving we arrived at Uluru (Ayers Rock). What a massive rock! The rock has a special spiritual meaning for the aboriginal people. From generation to generation they tell each other stories about the time of creation and within each story there is a lesson how to behave. You are not allowed to tell a story about a place if you are not at the place yourself, because parts of the stories are connected to the landscape and you won’t fully understand it because you are not there to experience it yourself.
That is why aboriginals are originally nomads, they don’t intent to stay at one place, they need to go to the next spot, to share the stories and knowledge about nature and life.
They didn’t share all the knowledge and places with everyone because some parts are sacred.
Some stories can only be shared amongst men and others only among women. But from our point of view men have more rights than women. For example, women are not allowed to play the didgeridoo or to go hunting. What we liked however, is that aboriginals teach each other that they can’t hunt down baby animals. They have to wait untill it is old enough, full grown. Because you get more meat and for them that’s the way nature keeps it’s balance.
Things don’t have to be big to have an impact, small things like flies can have an impact as well. With hundreds of them they were constantly flying and buzzing around us. First you try to ignore them, or let it be, but at the end of our walk around the rock all we wanted to do was run to the car and have some peace. Despite the flies, we have stayed 3 nights to see the beautiful sunrise and sunset, not only at Uluru but also at the Olga’s.
After visiting the Olga’s we went to Kings Canyon. At Kings Canyon there is a walking track to the Garden of Eden. Suddenly in de middle of the dry canyon there is a waterhole. Nature has an important law: water means life. Near the water tropical trees are growing and the water attracts animals who like to come and drink.
Our next big stop was Alice Springs. We liked it there because when we asked “are our clothes okay to enter the bar?” they said: “no problem, this is Alice”. That’s how we like it!! There was live music and we had great fun. People convinced us to come to “Wide Open Space Festival” a hippy festival. Everybody gathered around the pool and was dancing and having fun, dressed in the most craziest outfits!
Left of Alice Springs we drove through the West Macdonall National Park. It was to hot to do any decent long walk but we have definitely enjoyed the ride. For miles we have seen low lands and this range was full of mountains and spectacular sunsets!
Before we reached Darwin, we have visited two beautiful national parks: Nitmuluk and Litchfield. Freke’s absolute favourite spot is Edith falls in Nitmuluk. The falls have different levels and at the upper pool you can swim. We came back three times because it was so pleasant. Being there at that spot, surrounded by such a beautiful nature, makes you feel peaceful. It was more than 30 degrees outside, being in the cold water was a welcome refreshment.
Although the waterfalls of Litchfield were really pretty, we had some bad luck because Freke slipped from the rocks and hurt herself badly which even resulted in a visit to the first aid and a quicker departure to Darwin because Freke was not allowed to swim in the water anymore for the next couple of days..
Darwin was not a punishment at all, because for the first time in many days we could sleep in a real bed! We booked some extra nights because the warm weather, the roof terrace, a bar and the pool where at our ease;)
Darwin is the most northern part where we have been in Australia. Time to drive back to Sydney, but not before we have seen Kakadu National Park! We wanted to see crocs! We joined two excursions: a river cruise and a croc jumping trip.
The river cruise was special because besides the crocs, we have seen many other birdlife and the surrounding of the wetlands was beautiful. The trip ended with a great sunset.
But to have a better impression of how powerful the crocs are, we went to see them jump! From the boat an employee would offer them a piece of buffalo meat and just before they would bite, they pull it up. It was impressive to see them come so close.
We spent a few days at the park, to see the rock art and the sunset at Ubirr. It was nice but soon we went on because it was time to go to the east coast. After a couple days driving we arrived at Mount Isa. We have spent a couple hours to check it out, did some shopping and went on. We realised it would only take maybe a day or so to be able to see the sea again. It was still quite a drive but when we arrived in Townsville we were very excited. There it is! Freke said, it’s the sea! Trust us, if you have been in the desert for like a month or so it’s really nice to see the sea again! We drove up the hill for the best view and suddenly we saw this beautiful island in front of us. It didn’t take a long time for us to decide to take the ferry and spent some time on the island. Magnetic Island… it’s true it pulls you in the chilling mood. We found the best camping spot ever! The sun, turquoise sea, good music, a nice drink, palm trees and obviously a hammock. Life as it supposed to be!
Before we left Townsville we spend a day at the longest single drop waterfall in Aussie. It was a really nice walk! On our way to Brisbane we stopped at Airlie Beach. This is the access point to the Whitsundays! We did some snorkelling over there. WOW! it’s mindblowing beautiful, the fish are so colourful. Freke was laughing out loud when the sea turtle swam next to her and observed her with a funny look. We both had a good laugh about it! We went on to Whitehaven Beach. The view was stunning, and right from the start we understood that the name ‘Whitehaven Beach’ lives up to his reputation. The turquoise sea and the white sand gave us the perfect moment to chill out again! At the end of the day we went back to Airlie Beach with a couple of more precious memories!
It took us a couple days to arrive at Hervey Bay. This is the accespoint to Fraser Island. Isabelle has been here before and decided to stay in Hervey Bay but Freke explored the island on a daytrip with a 4×4 bus.
People had recommended us to visit Noosa Heads and when we stood at the lookout spot we understood why! Our vision was 360 degrees and we could check the coastline with the sea and the beaches and on the other side green hills and little hills! A perfect place to decide what our next direction would be. We have seen enough coast lines, let’s go inland to the green hills! Yeah!! This is how we like it! Green hilly areas where you have vision till the horizon. The route was also a very popular among motorcyclists and it reminded us of New Zealand.
Of course we also wanted to continue with our storytime project, that is why we were heading to Brisbane. We were happy with some invitations in Brisbane. Brisbane has a Dutch/Flemish school named Duyfkenschool and they have invited us to be a present at their Dutch Language and Culture Day. During that day the children had to make language tests. We showed the oldest children our large book about the Netherlands and had conversations about it and with the youngest children we sang typical Dutch songs.
At our first day in Brisbane, we stayed with a Flemish family who invited us. The family was really friendly and we had fun with the children. The children liked our story about a King and his knights who are bored because there are no dragons or other enemies left. Until the king has an argument with a witch..This story is one of our favourites! It is exciting, different and it makes the children think. And another advantage is that the story is written in English and Dutch at the same page. Depending on the children or family we could choose to read the story in Dutch/ English or both! We told the story with two voices, for example Isabelle read the lines at the left page and Freke took care of the right page. Of course you can also interchange with each paragraph with your child to make it more exciting. If you want to know more about the book about the King and the Knights you can listen to the book for free: http://www.luisterrijk.nl/luisterboek/1465/the-little-knights (Dutch website).
After we stayed with the Flemish family, we also stayed at the families place of the principal of the school. Both children are cleaver for their age, asked us cleaver questions and also already knew a lot! The children knew a special place where we had to read our stories, they built a hut for us with their duvets.
The plan was to visit some more families but some had to cancel because there were some illnesses because of the changing weather. It was winter in Australia and it was raining a lot. We decided that is was time to go home for us. Back to the summer in the Netherlands.
Our journey was one big adventure and back at home we will have plenty of new stories to tell! Stories about the hospitality and the openness of the people who invited us in their homes, about the fun we have had with the children, how grateful the mothers were that we entertained the children and they could prepare a meal without being disturbed, and if you ask a child what they liked the most during their visit to the Netherlands they will answer “the Efteling”. We also fell in love with the nature of the two countries and especially New Zealand, no doubt that it is considered to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
We would like to thank our readers, the people who donated money, the people who have supported us and of course the people who invited us into their home. Thank you!