Ma vision de l’Australie

On 14 September 2014 by From elephants to kangaroos

Difficult to describe such a large country in one article and a few pictures, especially since I am far from having seen everything there, but let me give you my vision of this country after spending nine weeks and a half in Australia (of the 3 months allowed by the tourist visa).

IMG_1262Australia, it’s a huge country. More than 34000km of coastline, more than 7,600 000 km2 in total, only 23 million inhabitants (around 3/km2). It is the sixth largest country in the world and to give you a comparison, that is about 14 times that of Franceall Europe excluding Russia is about two thirds of the surface of Australia. So much to say, impossible to visit all of it in 2 and a half months! But I have still explored a lot of places in 4 of the 6 states that it includes.

IMG_1400Australia is a sporting nation, where surfing is king, but you also see a lot of skateboarding, biking, scooters, joggers, rowing and other sports. I was able to attend a team training football (their football, which is a mix between soccer and rugby). I have observed thousands of surfers from sunrise to sunset and by people of all ages, sometimes by family, and understood that it is not just a cliché that foreigners give to Australia but a real living art here and they practice that in family or friends, which is great fun. I discovered yoga with my sister and her really nice studio PowerLiving in Melbourne (not to mention the discovery of the disco-yoga will remain as one of my best memories with her). In short, for me this country is really a country of well-being where it is good to move and where you want to go out in the morning and go running.

IMG_8733Australia is, because of its size but also of its varied climates, a country that provides bluffing landscapes. We switch from big cities like Sydney or Brisbane to places in the quietest land with waterfalls and tropical forests, sometimes arriving in heavenly places that left me speechless. I have especially in mind the Whitsundays with this so clear and pure water or impressive sand dunes at Anna Bay, the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, the Great Barrier Reef that can be observed across the East Coast, wildest coasts on Phillip Island or the red desert in the center of the country with Uluru and Kings Canyon. Impossible to compare two places in this country as they are so different.

IMG_0063Australia is sunrises and sunsets with 1000 colors. Absolutely every day without exception, regardless of the time (and even if it rains a lot), these two times of day are breathtaking. I think this is due to its location on the planet (probably as in Canada, it reminded me a lot when I lived there), it’s really amazing. I tried often to observe the colors of the sun reflecting on the buildings of the cities or on the sea, the sand dunes, or other landscape where I was. It was not occasionnal that I get up around 6 am to go to a place to see the sunrise (and sometimes when I was lucky, see dolphins mix with that magical moment when you wake up) .

Australia, it was a different trip. After six months of my backpacking in Asia to move everyday from place to place or guesthouse to guesthouse, I started by putting my bags several weeks at my sister’s in Melbourne (thank you for it!) to move a bit in that area. And then I rented a campervan which was I think the best decision for me. I needed this time for me, to feel the sense of freedom that brought me, to be able to sleep under the stars and wake up in front of the ocean. I was also tired of packing my bag every day, so I have enjoyed this little house that moved with me and my stuff.
IMG_2350And it was also an opportunity for me to meet different travelers. I was at a point where I was tired of classic backpackers conversations and too ephemeral relationships (which does not mean I do not like it, I’m also a backpacker after all, and I met fabulous people during my first 9 months of traveling, some of whom remain close people). But I needed to meet different people, who live otherwise, with have other life views and other interests. And this trip helped me for that! I met some very interesting people, mostly Australians traveling for weeks / months / years in a van, and who have stories of fabulous lives. So instead of talking about where I was, where I had traveled or what my job was, I talked about birds, nature, hiking, views of life, learnt full of anecdotes, life lessons, took guitar lessons, shared meals or even days with people from 20 to 90 years (but I would say the average age of my encounters was around 60 years old). I‘m not saying that these meetings were better or worse than the previous ones, they were different and brought ​​me something else at some point in my journey where I needed it.

animauxAustralia is all those fascinating and mythical animals. Who has not dreamed of seeing a kangaroo jump before his eyes?! And I was very lucky because I have been to places where I could see all the animals in the wild, not in zoos. I have seen so many kangaroos in the fields but I also fed some into a shared garden of several houses with one of the owners. I fed and slept with small wallabies on the East Coast and observed larger ones in Victoria state, I found lots of koalas clinging to their trees but I also saw one crossing the road in front of my car and then climbing a tree or I have seen doctors take care of koalas in Port Macquarie hospital. I was also surprised by the beauty of birds and especially colorful parrots in the country. And I have seen camels, emus, a snake (unfortunately) and many other animals all around.
Only slight sadness was to observe so many dead kangaroos on the roadside If you ever decide to drive in this beautiful country, avoid driving at night or be really careful with them and other animals for that matter. They are not necessarily intelligent and cross whenever they want but they do not ask to finish under your wheels. That was my moment SOS Kangaroos :)

IMG_9476Australia is a country where street art coexists with Aboriginal art. In many cities, but I have observed in particular in Melbourne, the streets are painted by anonymous giving life to many places. You will find entire walls with sublime graffiti. Besides that, Aboriginal art is very present in the country and is local because it is made (mostly) by the tribes still living in the country. I was already in love with this art, this passage in Australia did not help the thing!!

Australia is a country where people do not judge you on your appearance. You can get outside with a cap on the head when it is 40 degrees or shorts when it’s 10 degrees, you can walk barefoot at all times even in supermarkets, you dress the way you feel, people do not care, they do not even notice. It’s a feeling that I really loved, I had a habit in France that people regularly make me comment on the way I dress, for once I felt I was to blend into the mass and be me without trying to please anyone. My hat has followed me everywhere, even in full sunny day, my feet were not locked in my shoes and my hoodies have not bothered anybody :)

gensFinally, Australia it was the reunion with my sister first in Melbourne for a few weeks, then with my brother and his partner in the red center at the end of the journey. I also saw an Australian friend in Sydney, Candice, met in Paris and who now lives in Spain (I hope you follow) and could create new memories with her. I also did nice encounters including Jenna, Mike & Daniel (and other) friends of my sister, Aude & Joris from Very Good Trip after several months follow each other or Louisa & Edgar from the W Project. I have met many foreign travelers and Australians on the road that brought me a lot but I will remember in particular three people: Ricardo, the Brazilian met on the street in Melbourne who has agreed to skate for my photos, this man met in the same street another day who also agreed to pose and was very touched to my approach, which gave me one of my fondest and simplest memories at the same time, and Eric met in Agnes Water which, among many other things,tought me how to play the guitar and made me understand many things on directions” to take in my life without knowing it.

As you can see, Australia has again been a great part of my journey, a kind of revelation. I had time to think and ask me, I understood a lot of things for and about me. And I loved the landscapes I saw there. This remains a country too far from France to really settle but I am still thinking about the fact of going back there in a more or less close timing to work a few months / years. To be continued…

To read all my articles about Australia, click here.
To look at all the Australian pictures by places, click here.

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