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Australia

November 2014

Evolution must have chosen Australia as a testing ground for its deadliest inventions: snakes, spiders, jellyfish, stingrays, crocodiles, sharks… We didn't get too close with them, but instead discovered a landscape more beautiful than one can imagine and a lifestyle more laid back than anywhere else in the world.

Sydney

Before hitting the road with our camper van, we spent a couple of days in Sydney. If you forget about all those German – what Aussies might call – 'schoolies' in our hostel, Sydney was really an awesome place to be. What an relaxed atmosphere, all those friendly people, great weather and some of the most amazing beaches right in the city. I don't know how often I asked myself this question: Seriously, you can really spend your whole life in this paradise?
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Northbound

We had three weeks to get from Sydney all the way up to Cairns – not too much for more than 2.700 kilometers along the coast. We tried to make the most out of it.
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Port Macquarie

A lovely town with nice beaches, great coastal walks, a good surf a little further north and: a koala hospital. Mostly run by volunteers and donations, this hospital cares about Koalas that got hit by cars, burnt in forest fires or have any other injury or disease.
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Hinterland

To find cozy, free and wild campsites off the beaten track, we often did a little side trip to the hinterland. All the public BBQs on campsites, rest areas or right next to the beach are one of the greatest inventions for camping nomads like us – even though our little camper van was well equipped. In the hinterland we also met our first kangaroos – seems that Down Under even animals love the gym…
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Queensland

New South Wales was a bit of a rush, as so many people told us that the best is still to come north of Brisbane. Turned out to be true! While the town of Noosa Heads is a little St. Tropez or Cannes of Australia – home to the rich and famous – the real thing is the surrounding area. The Noosa National Park let you walk through endless eucalyptus forests, balance on rocky cliffs and relax on quiet beaches all within a day. Or two or three, just because you want to come back again and again.
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Great Barrier Reef & The Whitsunday Islands

One of the biggest attractions of Australia is the Great Barrier Reef, of course. We allowed ourselves something special during our half year trip around the world and got on a little plane to discover its full beauty from above. The next day we took a little yellow boat instead of a plane to bring us to another natural wonder: Whitehaven Beach. This one is nothing less than the definition of an idyllic, spectacular beach. What a pity, we did not bring a tent.
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Highway to Hell

We spent most of the 3.700 driven kilometers on Highway 1 – the longest highway in the world circumnavigating the whole Australian continent. While traffic got less and less the further north we went, the amount of dead kangaroos next to the road was exploding. We actually managed to see more dead than alive ones in Australia. Nevertheless it is an amazing road to travel, connecting some of the most beautiful places in the world. Just looking at the landscape flying by is a thing you can (and have to) do for hours.
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Jungle

With a few days left, we overshot the mark and kept driving north of Cairns. What a different Australia! The Daintree National Park is one of the most diverse regions of the continent. Walking through the rainforest is stimulating all your senses. The climate is hot, humid, exhausting, you are surrounded by all kind of jungle noises, there are definitely more than 50 shades of green and those wild grown mangoes you can just pick up on the way are nearly too good to be true.
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Crocodile Dundee

The first Australian I knew? Crocodile Dundee! On the Daintree River we followed his footsteps and were looking for some of those mystical 'salties'. As spring is mating season, most of them were minding their own business on the river ground, but at least we discovered some big scary eyes looking out of the water and eventually even a baby crocodile in the mangroves.
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© 2017 Benedikt Altschuh