January 7, 2013
Bernie vs. Aus: A summary

As the year of Bernie vs. Aus is over and it’s now 2013, I thought it was well and truly time to write a little summary post about my adventure!

A few random facts/observations:

  • Total k’s traveled: 24,448;
  • Total time on the road: 162 days;
  • States visited: All but Tassie;
  • Towns stayed in: 54 - About 30% staying with friends, 30% hostels, 40% camping and a couple of times in the car.
  • Worst accommodation: City Centre Backpackers, Bundaberg, QLD. Not only was it filthy, there were bed bugs! Give me the tent over that any day.
  • Coldest night: Minus 1 in Mt Isa, QLD… We were tenting it and apparently it was the coldest night in Mt Isa in 50-odd years!;
  • Longest stop: Karratha, WA for nearly 3 weeks;
  • Roadkill: One small bird near Onslow, WA; one feral cat near Hughenden, QLD. There were also a few animals that I had to brake for but were more lucky: Goats near Shark Bay, WA; Cows in outback WA and QLD; Kangaroos, everywhere!; Other feral cats between Cloncurry and Townsville, QLD; A snake in the Atherton Tablelands, QLD;
  • Favourite destinations: El Questro Station, WA; Kakadu National Park, NT; All of Far North Queensland (Cape Tribulation, Magnetic Island, The Whitsundays… can’t go wrong!); Mt Kosciuszko, Snowy Mountains National Park, NSW.

Firsts (things that I’d never done/seen before):

  • Catching my own dinner: Off the Denham Jetty, WA;
  • Sleeping in my car: Somewhere between Derby and Karratha, WA;
  • Seeing an echidna in the wild: Cape Range NP, WA;
  • Seeing a turtle in the wild: Ningaloo Reef, WA;
  • Swimming with Whale Sharks: Ningaloo Reef, WA;
  • Seeing a waterfall in Australia: Karijini NP, WA;
  • Crossing a state border overland, from WA to NT;
  • Legally driving 130kmh on Australian roads: NT;
  • Swimming with a turtle: Mataranka hot springs, NT;
  • Visiting the NT, QLD, NSW, and the ACT;
  • Seeing a koala in the wild: Magnetic Island, QLD;
  • Seeing a snake in the wild: Mount Sorrow, Cape Tribulation, QLD;
  • Climbing Australia’s highest peak: Mt Kosciuszko, Snowy Mountains NP, NSW;
  • Seeing snow: Mt Kosciuszko, Snowy Mountains NP, NSW;

Thanks to:

  • My travel partners Louisa & Wolly (Germany), Chris (Aus), Laetitia (France), Carrie (UK), Gwen (France), Luke (Ireland), Abel (Alaska);
  • Everyone who let me stay with them and gave me a much appreciated break from the tent or a shared dorm: Emily and Talia (Karratha); Anna and Clint (Karratha); Dad (Port Hedland); Jenni and Rowan (Cairns); Amanda (Wagga Wagga);
  • Everyone else who entertained me or showed me hospitality in any way shape or form along the way: Cris, Max and Aunty Barbara (Roebourne); Anton (Karratha); Sam and Amanda (Eumundi); Andy and Laura (Melbourne); Meredith (Melbourne); Vlad (Melbourne).

And even though I was away for a while, there are still plenty of things on my ‘to see’ list!:

  • A platypus - And not for lack of trying, they’re elusive little things!
  • Cape York, QLD;
  • Fraser Island, QLD;
  • Tasmania;
  • Outback SA, particularly Lake Eyre;
  • The southern coast of WA, east of Albany;
  • Alice Springs and Uluru, NT.

There you have it! I’ve still got a couple of things to finish up, like those time lapses I talked about in my last post and also a compilation of my favourite photos. Hopefully they’ll be here soon ;)

December 18, 2012
"Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are ‘It might have been’."

— Kurt Vonnegut

December 11, 2012

Week 23 of Bernie vs. Aus: Adelaide – Perth

After having been on the road for quite some time with no schedule and no consistent company, I made up my mind that I needed to go home, get a job and be in the one place for a while. Once I’d gotten the idea of home in my head, I wanted to get back ASAP!

Bruce had a service and got some new tyres while I checked out the Adelaide CBD again on Monday, including the Adelaide Museum (which has the most extensive display of Indigenous artefacts in Australia!) and the Art Gallery. In the afternoon I had a quick chat to The Doctor on Triple J radio about my trip and the time-lapse videos I flmed for my journey home as a part of the Triple J Road Trip Relay. It was then early to bed in preparation for the first day of my 2,700 km journey home.

I broke up the trip like this:

  • Day 1: Adelaide – Nundroo. Nundroo is 300km east of the WA/SA border.
  • Day 2: Nundroo - Norseman. Over 1,000k’s in one day!
  • Day 3: Norseman – Perth. Home sweet home :)

There were a few notable things to see along the way. First and foremost, there was the Big Galah in Kimba, SA. After driving the whole way around Aus, I still don’t quite understand the point of all these big things! But in seriousness, the highlight was the Great Australian Bight. There are three lookouts from which to view the bight, but I took a dirt track near the Nundroo end and was able to walk right to the edge. If you ever want to feel small and insignificant, that’s the place to go! Even the waves pounding on the bottom the cliffs look small compared to their sheer height.

After hearing how boring the Nullarbor was going to be from almost everyone I’d spoken to, I actually quite enjoyed crossing it. Petrol may not be cheap (unleaded was $1.95/L at Nullarbor Roadhouse!) but you get some great service by very friendly people in the roadhouses and towns in that stretch. As a whole the landscape does change, and there’s something awe inspiring about being able to turn 360 degrees and see nothing but plains and roads snaking off into the distance for what appears like forever. Sunsets and sunrises are fantastic on flat landscapes, and the night sky lights up beautifully with stars.

Getting back to Perth and remembering what it’s like to drive without relying on a map was a fantastic feeling. Doing this trip has made me realise that I take for granted the freedom that familiarity gives me in terms of knowing where to go, what to do and who to call on any given day. I guess that’s just a part of being home and I’m looking forward to making the most of it now I’m back.

It may be all over, but this is not the end of my blog! I still have a few little ideas for a summary post or two about my trip and I’ll also put links to my time-lapse videos once I’ve sorted them out. Hopefully I’ll catch up with all you Perth people soon! :)