Month of travel: February
Travel Itinerary: East Coast, from Townsville to Melbourne
Personal Highlights: Whitehaven Beach (Whitsunday Islands) and Lake McKenzie (Fraser Island)
In February, I embarked on a trip around the world (not the whole world, but you get the idea) and my first stop was Australia! And what do I have to say about beautiful Australia: absolutely mesmerizing! Absolutely everything!
First stop was Brisbane where I met up with a good friend of mine and from there we flew up to Townsville, only to travel all the way back down south again. Even though I preferred some places to others, I must say that I enjoyed my stays, whether long or short, everywhere. There’s no such thing as a lameness in Australia, beaches cannot be lame.
So what the heck is there to do and see in Australia? In Brisbane, we visited the Lone Pike Koala Sanctuary (though I do not agree with the fact that Koalas have to pose for tourist pictures), we walked along Southbank, dipped our toes into the water of one of the many public pools, took a boat taxi, and also super spontaneously decided to go see ZOOLANDER 2 when we passed an open air cinema in a park.
In Townsville we took a ferry to Magnetic Island, sunbathed at Horseshoe Bay and went for a swim in the ocean. Just being lazy bums. An absolute must is Airlie Beach: get aboard one of the many ships and explore the Whitsunday Islands for a few days. The only reason we travelled to Hervey Bay was to do a day trip to Fraser Island, but seriously, I could have stayed on that island forever. Our stay in Surfersparadise/Gold Coast was packed with fun going out with hundreds of other backpackers and cooling off at WhiteWater World.
Taking surf lessons while staying in Byron Bay was incredibly exhausting (them waves!) but heaps of fun too! Apply lots and lots of sunscreen and don’t worry, even the hot surfer dudes do it and look a bit funny with all the white and blue sunscreen on their faces.
The typical thing to do in Sydney was to stroll through the botanical garden, just to end up in front of the Opera House and taking loads of pictures of it. We also walked across Harbour Bridge and took a boat to Watsons Bay and Manly Beach (taking more pictures of the Opera House on the boat), enjoyed Asian food at the Spice Alley and Mr Wong (fancy pancy!), spent a super lazy Sunday at Bondi Beach which was followed by an even lazier Monday which was spent watching the Oscars from our hotel bed.
The foodie scene in Melbourne was epic! It’s really easy to get around town and they even have a free tram zone (which should not be an excuse to not walk on your own two feet). We loved the fresh and colourful produce at the Queen Victoria Market, spent a day at the beach in St Kilda, stalked some penguins. Also worth a visit is the stunning State Library of Victoria.
But, wait a minute, what about being vegan in Australia? No problem, even though we ate out a lot, sometimes up to three times day. Occasionally we used the kitchen at the hostel. My daily routine consisted in going to BOOST or any other local juice/smoothie bar to grab a juice or smoothie, or sometime even both. Also what I would normally do, was to get my fingers on some sushi or summer rolls from the store (I had to get in the calories somehow, right). Don’t worry, finding vegan options wasn’t too hard, because a lot of mainstream restaurants and chains actually had a vegan-friendly menu. Since we were eating out so much, I had a few first culinary experiences: my very first acai bowl, a vegan calzone and a vegan doughnut (not that we don’t have all of this in Europe too, but as I said we were eating out a lot, so I had a lot of opportunities to get my hands on vegan eats that I hadn’t eaten yet).
If you’re travelling to Australia during summer time (December – February), and you’re a sucker for fruit, you’re lucky, because getting fresh and ripe produce is pretty easy in Australia. At least, it’s definitely cheaper and more available than in Europe. The stores were filled with delectable Aussie mangoes and watermelons, ideal for (re)hydration purposes in that hot weather.
To wrap it up, I can only recommend travelling to Australia and if you go, make sure you’re backpacking, the backpacking scene in Australia is insane! You will have the chance to meet so many people from around the world!