28 days, 4 741km, one camper van and me.

On 31 August 2014 by From elephants to kangaroos

IMG_0559Wednesday July 23rd, after a few days in Cairns to dive on the Great Barrier Reef, here I am in Apollo office to get my camper van which is going to be my partner for the next few weeks. The first kilometers are hesitant to drive on the left side of the road, right hand drive and a manual transmission which I do not usually have. Rather than give you a summary of all my travels, I will describe one or more special moments spent in each city where I was.

Around Cairns: I see kangaroos in a field and stop on the side of the road. I also see them in a garden next door and decide to approach them, a resident of one of the houses comes with carrots and we begin to feed them. Moment unexpected and very touching. I finished the day with the sunset over the harbor of Port Douglas, stunning colors and special thought to a friend who had advised me.
IMG_0665Moosman Gorge: I spend the night in the middle of the wallabies that I just fed.
Curtain Fig Tree: discussion with a photographer around pictures of nature and night in a free spot on the side of the highway but with 2 pairs of adorable Australians.
El Arish: I try the cane sugar :)
Mission Beach: great walk in Clump Mountain National Park that gives a beautiful view on the bay.
Saunders Beach: incredible sunset when I arrive on the beach to camp.
IMG_0946Airlie Beach: great night with Alex and her partner (american) who also park their van on the same hostel as me.
Whitsundays: the Whiteheaven Beach is one of the most beautiful beach I have ever seen in my life. Discover more on my article here.
Capricorn Coast National Park: after a day driving for 7 hours  to see nothing crazy if not (too) many dead kangaroos on the side of the road, I find a free place to park that will remain one of the most beautiful of my road trip. Beautiful sunrises in this place, great walk to the park and thousands of stars to watch in the evening.
Calliope: not originally planned to dwell but fatigue prevails and I wonder at a campsite in the middle of trees, birds and lakes. And the kindness of a couple who welcomed me nicely convince me to stay the night here after only 150km of drive.
Agnès Water: one of the campsites where I stopped and I did not want to leave. The kindness of the people there have completely changed me, it was really a turning point in my journey, it made ​​me realize things about and for myself. Beyond these encounters, the sunrise is beautiful on the main beach and I had breakfast lunch with the dolphins! More to discover in this article.
IMG_7534Rainbow Beach: my sister told me to stop by, and I have not been disappointed! Beautiful beach with 4WD on the sand, beautiful colors on the rocks that are reflected in the very blue and clear water. And a surprising view from beauty Carlo Lookout from which you observe the sea and rocks from a huge sand dune.
Noosa: after a first negative image about the city, I walk in the national park and discovers surfers from beach to beach and fall in love with the place. I then take my bodyboard for fun in the waves and spent a great time with surfers. Although the city is too luxury for me, I liked the atmosphere that emanated.
BP gaz station: I spend the night at a gas station along the highway, the only place near Brisbane to camp for free. The place is not a dream but I meet two French couples who are on working holiday visa also with a campvervan with whom I talk for 3 hours in the parking lot. Super interesting conversations, enriching, sharing perspectives and ways of seeing life / travel. Great memory at final instead of the initially creepy evening!
IMG_1467Brisbane: very nice lunch with food I bought at the local farmers market and discovered several interesting museums (and free) in the city prior to a jogging at sunset time.
JC Slaughter: few minutes from the city, free camping to sleep in the camper van in the middle again of nature all around me, good for walks in the morning.
Springsbrook National Park: quite a lot of lookouts to see or walks to do but the calm that prevailed in the Best of All Lookout“, great relieved and pleased place.
Brunswick Heads: in this small town before Byron Bay, I started a conversation with the owner of a surf shop which was extremely friendly and also gave me good advices and helped to find addresses for different practical things. The kind of encounter that can not be forgotten even if it only lasts an hour and it may seem insignificant to some.
?????????????????????Byron Bay: I have done several times the walk to the lighthouse and I was able to observe different times whales swimming and jumping in the bay.
Nimbin: unlike many travelers encountered along the way, I did not like this city that I found too offbeat and without interest, outside of the candle factory. However, during he day I discovered Aude & Joris from Very Good Trip after being followed by them for several months in Asia.
Waterfalls way: pretty road with numerous waterfalls along the way and especially the Crystal Waterfalls and its suspended bridge which is very pretty to look after walking in a rainforest. I try to forget that I saw on the way a black snake in the place where I took my lunch after meeting guys from Google Earth taking photos of the place.
South West Rocks: great breakfast facing the sea in a very relaxing and soothing place.
Port Macquarie: visiting the koalas hospital, great time despite the rain. More to discover in this article.
Forster: after the Bicentennial Walk”, lunch overlooking the sea and the dolphins again. Everything under the sun and heat even though it is winter. Beautiful morning and continue the day on the Lakes Way, with a calm face to face with the Smiths Lake.
Seal Rocks: meeting Mark who repairs pieces of Australian lightouhses, I felt he was touched by my approach to meet him.
IMG_1874Port Stephens / Anna Bay: discovery of stunishing sand dunes. Beautiful panorama, great time to surf on the sand with Ian, great sun, great sunset. One of my best places on the East Coast, especially as I had never heard of this place a few days earlier and was therefore a complete surprise. More details to be discovered here.
Tomaree Head: after a high walk, the 360° lookout on the top of the mountain definitely is worth the effort!
Newcastle: I did not particularly hung with the city but I have however met a woman at the information office which informed me about the city but who actually knew nothing about it but was very funny, more interested in France and me thus asked full of questions about what there is to do there.
Blue Mountains: despite an almost incessant rain, I finally discovered the three sisters Lookout“, the valley and the main waterfall. And I understand why these mountains are called blue, the color being really dominant (especially with this weather I think).
IMG_2448Sydney: a nice city to walk around and likely to live, an Opera House that despite having seen 1000 times before picture was incredible, very pleasant walks, a ferry ride I will remember, but mostly, the opportunity for me to meet my friend Candice that I met in Paris who lives in Spain but is Australian (the world is well done). So perfect timing to share many things with her, make new memories, discover her city with her eyes, and as her sweet family as I was sleeping in her cousin house (and I also met her brother). A big thanks to her, this was just perfect to finish this trip in Australia!

IMG_1801This month with my van was extremely interesting, I actually liked it so much I decided along the way to extend the trip and not go to Tasmania to make the best of it. He showed me a different way of traveling, being at a time when I was a little tired of going from hostel to hostel, of having the same discussions with travelers. It allowed me to meet older people, with a different way to travel, who see the world differently, he brought me different conversations. With the many miles traveled alone by car, I listened to a lot of music, discover beautiful landscapes all along the road but also, I let my mind wander. This allowed me to have plenty of time to think about my life in general, my desires, to what I experienced and what I wanted in a more or less near future.
28 days, 4 741km, a van and me. A strong desire to do another road trip with a van as soon as possible. A journey that will forever change the remaining five months of this round the world.

Discover all my pictures of this month on the East Coast by clicking here.

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