I have always wanted to travel and was drawn to Australasia. In 2008, I said goodbye to my wardrobe, shoes and straighteners and headed off with my 20Kilos, on a 24hour journey ‘down under’.
What I realized was that while, like myself so many ‘backpackers’ head to Australia and New Zealand, they have something for everyone, hostels, lodges, hotels and even the new fad ‘couch surfing’. Whatever you want to get from your experience there is a tour or some other mode to help you achieve this.
My journey started with a 5* stop-over in Singapore, this would be the last bit of luxury I would see for a while!
When I arrived in New Zealand, I scoured the lonely planet looking for accommodation, as I didn’t want to work for a while, budget was best which meant that I was destined for ACB a hostel in the centre of Auckland which was definitely a reality check after a few days of VIP lifestyle in Singapore, partying at Clarke Quay, and sipping Singapore slings at Raffles.
As I only had a limited amount of time in New Zealand and wanted to see as much as possible, I decided to do a bus tour and chose one of the ‘backpacker friendly’ companies-Kiwi Experience. This was a low cost way of touring, which meant that while you had control of timing, the driver did all the work-told me the best sites to visit, what activities where available at each location, where photo opportunities were, when the next bank was, which accommodation was on offer,  and even when the next toilet stop was! New Zealand has so much to offer, from amazing and diverse scenery, to extreme sports! I had an amazing time spent visiting Maori villages, hidden coves, heli-hiking across the highest ice fall on a glacier, taking a dip in hot springs, ski-diving, doing a bungee jump at the original bungee site, Kawarau Bridge, white water rafting and swimming with wild dolphins & whale watching in Kaikoura.
After touring both islands and arriving back in Auckland, it was time to say good-bye to NZ and good-day to Australia!
Australia is completely different to NZ which did surprise me. But I was looking forward to a year of throwing shrimps on the barbie, surfing and experiencing a night under the stars in the outback!
As I travelled up the East Coast via Greyhound Coach, I had the chance to go to Surf school, spend 3 days on Fraser Island doing a self-drive camping trip and chilling with the dingoes. The Whitsundays is a cluster of 74 islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, here you can choose from a range of different sailing tours, which take you out to the islands and offer sailing, diving, snorkelling and a range of other activities around the beautiful sights.
Cairns is like Queenstown in the sense that it has so much to offer, whether you want to dive the great barrier reef, ski-dive on the beach, white-water raft, head in to the rainforest or explore the nearby towns.
From the East, I travelled to ‘The Red Centre’, where I did a 4 day tour of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and other sacred Aboriginal sites. It was after this I experienced the life of the ‘True Aussie’. Darwin is in Australia’s northern territory, it is the land of crocodiles and surrounded by a number of National Parks. I fell in love with the place and ended up spending almost a year there after my 3 month stint living and working on a pearl boat to gain another 12 month visa!
Travelling across the Kimberleys from Darwin to Western Australia was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I did a 9 day tour in a 4WD and slept in a swag, next to a campfire under the stars surrounded by dingoes, kangaroos and crocs-only freshies though so it was ‘fine’ apparently! The sights here words could not describe-scaling down the sides of a gorge to swim under a waterfall, swimming down a river surrounded by bats to sun bake on the rocks next to a Goanna is just unreal.
Western Australia is completely different to the rest of Aus. With it’s famous vineyards Margaret River and Swan Valley, it s a must for any wine connoisseur. Ningaloo Reef is between Broome and Perth and is right off the shore meaning you can grab a snorkel and jump in to be faced with the reef immediately and whale sharks and whales in the right season. Ningaloo is unspoilt by tourist as, for reasons unknown, it does not draw the masses like the Great Barrier Reef.
If you are interested in experiencing the wonders of Australasia, then come and see Linda and the team at Stockton Heath Travel, experts at arranging holidays to cater for your individual expectations. I am also around to offer advice or tell you more about what Australia and New Zealand have to offer! Happy Travels!
For more details contact Stockton heath Travel on 01925 269400 or email enquiries@island-villas.co.uk