While in Australia my wife and I decided to make our adventure a mix of rainforest exploration, SCUBA diving, and hiking in the Outback. Though we stayed for most of the time in the sparse, wild northwest corner of the land Down Under, we found that there is something for everyone on this diverse, fascinating, little continent.
We of course had to see the Great Barrier Reef, so we decided to make the most of it and take a liveboard cruise out to the less-visited Ribbon Reefs. It was worth the money and the trip – the waters were absolutely pristine and my wife and I saw no less than 3 species of giant turtles. If you can get a hold of one, I definitely suggest bringing an underwater camera. Although our guide had one, I love the fact that I can look back at my own pictures of my wife and I swimming with the turtles and the eels.
Although we wanted to explore the southern part of the continent more (Melbourne, Sydney, the Great Ocean Road, and Tasmania) we decided instead to spend the majority our time in the extreme, sparsely populated, hauntingly empty, Northern and Western Territories, instead.
We will certainly be back to visit the more populated parts of the continent, but we made the right choice in exploring the National Parks and the World Heritage Sites of the north and west, since we are both people who love solitude and wilderness. And solitude and wilderness is in abundance in Northern and Western territories of Australia; they’re one of the few “wild” places left in the world, to my mind, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
On our way out “west,” after SCUBA diving the Reef, we stopped at the Daintree Rainforest, a World Heritage Site, to see one of the oldest rainforests in the world and the many endangered species that live there. We were picked up at Cairns for a reasonable fee and took a tour through the rainforest. Although we didn’t see as much wildlife as we hoped, the forest was beauty enough in itself.
After we spent a couple days exploring Daintree, we headed out west towards the Outback. We rented an RV, and took what turned into a four-and-a-half day trip through Queensland and into the Northern Territory. When we finally got to Kununurra, we were road-weary to say the least, but Purnululu National Park was worth every minute. We saw the tremendously beautiful sight of the Bungle Bungle range turning colors with the sun, and spent several beautiful days exploring the park.
From there we wanted to visit the spiritual-infused Uluru Rock, so we retraced our tracks up north. We dipped into Western Australia briefly with our excursion into the park, and the Uluru Rock was certainly an eerie sight to see – it was luring me, it seemed to go deeper into the wild depths of Western Australia. Our time Down Under was drawing to a close however, and we regrettably headed towards Darwin to take a plane to Sydney and leave this beautiful, unforgettable country behind. But we will be back! Oh yes, we will be back.