Anders in Australia: 20th – 28th Oct.

Anders writes:
I had decided to start off a week earlier than the others because I wanted to see as much as possible of the country. I arrived in Melbourne in the morning and used the first two days to walk around the city and arranging for the coming days. Melbourne was a nice city I guess but I wasn’t in the mood for the big city life, instead I wanted to get to the outback.

I got to sample a few beers at least and also found out there was going to be a beer festival in Federation square in a few days, with all local microbreweries participating. I almost decided to come back to that.

My first goal was Wilsons Promontory on the southern tip of the mainland, where there are some very good trails to hike and lots of wildlife and interesting nature. Unfortunately large areas of the park was damaged by bushfires some years ago but there is still plenty to see. I saw a lot of birds and also wombats, wallabys, a Brown snake (one of the most poisonous in the world) and a skink. Lots of nice views of the sea and the beaches also.

Next I wanted to go to the “australian alps” but decided against it because of the weather predictions (snow). Instead i did a long drive along the coast to Mallacoota. I did a cruise on the nearby coastal lakes to watch sea-eagles up close and went for some short hikes. After that I headed for Canberra. Not my first choice of destination but placed not too far from Sydney where I was going too meet the rest of the Eclipse Tour people in just a few days. Also I thought it would be nice to visit the Canberra Deep Space Communication Center.

I found a good campsite in the mountains, had some time to go and visit a nature reserve with lots of kangaroos and headed for the CDSCC and central Canberra the next day. Central Canberra was a strange place with wide streets an no traffic. Visited some interesting exhibitions at the national library.

The day after I went to Honeysuckle creek where the the first television images from the moon landing were received. Did some hiking in the Namagdi NP as well. The surrounding areas of Canberra was beautiful to drive around in, you just had to look out for wildlife and cyclists. I drove to Sydney in the morning the 29th.

I am going to Australia

“I am going to Australia to see total eclipse of the Sun”. This is my most frequent answer when my friends, colleagues and relatives ask me about my plans for this autumn. And each time I say this, I still
cannot believe that my dream comes true. Yeah, I am going to Australia!!! To meet outback and bush, kangaroos and koalas, Uluru and aborigines, to drive many thousand kilometers to finally reach Cairns
where I and my seven Latvian friends (sorry, one of them is actually Swedish) will watch this rare and beautiful natural phenomenon – total eclipse of the Sun on 14th November 2012. I have seen one in the year 1999 and this was the best experience of all my life, so I expect to feel something similar this time also, plus all great emotions from voyage around Australia for three weeks.
While leaving date approaches, e-mail exchange between the members of group intensifies. Australian dollars, travel guides, campervans, those crazy Australian electricity plugs, snorkeling near Great Barrier
Reef, solar filters and souvenirs to Latvian people we plan to meet in Australia are subjects of our discussions. In the evenings I “travel” around Australia on Google maps and Wikitravel and gather things I hope will fit into my luggage. In my mind I am already there. Australia, we are coming!