Monday, March 31, 2008

30th of March 2008

Sharing a small cabin with an about 70 year old aussie with hearing aid is an.. odd experience!
Decided not to go north because the rain was pouring down in the morning so I kept riding with Barry(the old guy) along the Great Ocean Road most of the day, did a couple of stops taking photos of the 12 Apostles and Bay of Isles and so on. I camped out the night at a pretty unknown place called Kennett River, absolutely wonderful place where there was wild koalas sitting in the trees everywhere! Saw about 30 different ones just taking a walk. The night was cold though, very cold! The sleeping bag is supposed to have a zero degree comfort zone but I can tell you that it hasn't! Next day I kept going towards Melbourne with a couple of different rides, made a stop at a golf course in Anglesea where there was wild Kangaroos all over the place, standing on the greens and stuff while people were playing golf there!
One of the rides I got was with a local driving a jeep and having an australian sheep dog that was lying in my lap the whole time. Ive realized I really want one of these dogs when I get back to Sweden and eventually get a proper job and a home I can call my own (if that´s ever gonna happen). They are just such amazing, friendly and loyal dogs! Just afraid its impossible to get one back in Sweden..
So now Ive arrived in Melbourne, its cold and rainy here. So I have decided that I'm gonna skip Tasmania (have I said that before?) because I just don't have the clothes for it and I want to really experience Tasmania properly going over there some other time renting a Van or 4WD.
Melbourne has some nice shopping and an awesome market, other then that its just another stressed out big city so not much to write about it. Also I havent seen a single aboriginal here, which is kinda weird. Been spending the last 3 days with Mette (a danish girl from Perth that I lived next door to) just tagging along with her while she was shopping. She arrived from Perth Friday morning and is leaving for Sydney tomorrow morning on her way home.
I'm staying one more day because I have some stuff I have to take care of (losing more weight from my way to heavy backpack!) and buy before I leave, but on Tuesday morning I'm heading Southeast following the coast with Phillip Island being the first stop. Gonna be a mess trying to get out of this city..
I think Ill keep on going along the coast all the way up to the north, maybe making a detour to Canberra. There is alot to see inland but I cant just start zigzagging all over the country because I have a limited amount of money and time, I also miss Perth!

Edit: I got a new phone and phonenumber btw, got some better coverage now which is good if something happens to me. The new number is +61488695763 if you call from Sweden, and 0488695763 from Australia

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

25th of March 2008

Hitchhiking in Australia is quite different from Sweden. On average I get about 2-4 rides here each day but I can get way longer on those rides then the average 5-10 rides I get back home on a normal day. The kind of people that pick me up are also different, in Sweden the majority is lonely male drivers between the age of 30 to 50 driving either because of work or to work. In Australia the biggest groups that pick me up are backpackers (when they have room) and locals around the age of 60 driving hutes (pickups) or 4WDs.
But there is people from just about every group of people that do pick me up, from lonely young girls to family's with babies in the car to taxi drivers. It just doesn´t happen as often.
I crossed the border into Victoria a few hours ago, staying in a cabin in a caravan park tonight with an elderly australian on his way to Sydney. Last night I spent in the middle of nowhere (a national park about 150km southeast of Adelaide) pitching my tent with 2 german guys that gave me a ride most of the day. So on the Great Ocean Road between Adeliade and Melbourne right now, but tomorrow I think Ill take a detour to the north and visit a the Grampier national park before I continue my journey to Melbourne.
I haven't seen much sun since I left Perth (In Perth its sunny just about every day!) and on the news they just said its gonna rain the next 6 days in Victoria, Yippie!

23rd of March 2008

I left Adelaide early Friday morning heading southwest, its always such a mess trying to get out of the cities. But after a couple of buses to get to the outer suburbs and a couple of cars thereafter I came to the ferry leaving for Kangaroo Island. Went over and stayed the night at the backpackers in Kingscote.
Kangaroo Island is the third biggest island of Australia with 540km of coastline. Its been spared from european diseases and feral species like foxes and dingoes and therefore has an abundant population of wildlife, or used to anyway. In December last year a dry thunderstorm passed the island striking in 14 different places creating huge bushfires. 96% of Flinders Chase, the main national park, ended up being burnt down killing the majority of the animals and a a fifth of the whole island ended up burned. They still thrive on their tourism though and the animals are still out there but the national park has been closed while nature recovers. Hitchhiking on a island like this with mainly dirt roads and mostly australian family's there for easter is not the easiest of things. I was stuck by one beach the first day for over 6 hours, but being lucky and catching 3 different rides just before dark I ended up where I wanted to go that day pitching my tent for the first time and sharing a couple of beers with 2 german guys and one italian. It was freezing cold, so not a very good start for the tent and sleeping bag.
The second day was much better, after the germans dropped me almost immediately 3 chinese picked me up and they were going to just about all the places I wanted to go that day and I came back to Kingscote already 5PM.
Despite the fire I ended up seeing kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, goannas, possums, fur seals, penguins and pelicans and alot of beautiful beaches and countryside, so in overall a good visit to the island.
Tomorrow morning I'm taking the ferry back to the mainland and will starting hitching my way towards Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road.

PS. Its really hard to not put up more photos, got so many nice ones but don't want to flood the blog with photos of incredible beaches, landscape views and people I run into and so on.. DS.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

20th of March 2008

I’m just to good at this, in Adelaide after 2 days! Did the Perth-Adelaide stretch crossing the Nullabor starting Tuesday morning and arriving Wednesday night, thats 2700 kilometers! Like going from London to Moscow in two days.
Started out good with cloudy but not to cold weather catching a free ride with a bus from Midland up into the hills of Perth, after that I rode with a Mazda RX6 which really dont happen very often. 3 more rides and Im standing on the red dirt by the road just outside Coolgardie about 600km east of Perth and the sun was starting to set on me. After waiting there about 1.5 hours with less then 10 vehicles passing Troy comes along.
Troy is a cool but quite a nutty kiwi truck driver. He drives a 26 metre long truck between Perth and Melbourne. When Troy is bored he drives on the gravel on the side of the road just to create huge dust clouds for the cars behind him. During night he likes to turn off the lights and just have the warning sirens on and then he tries his best to hit the Roos that graze along the road. Luckily? they were all smart enough to jump out of the way when we came along . He also likes to honk the horn alot when driving in the middle of nowhere during the nights (No he wasnt on drugs, just been on the road for quite a while I guess :P).
So the first night I spent a couple of kilometers west of the South Australian border by an extremly remote beach getting about 2 hours sleep before we kept on going.
Troy also told me some interesting stories about truck drivers and I got to experience the radio wars they have first hand. So next time Ill think a little extra before I get into one!
Ive seen my first Dingo just on the west side of the treeless plains of the nullabor, spot it in the photo :)
Sadly it was during the middle of the night that we drove the 146.6 kilometers long straight, Australias longest and probably one of the world longest straights. But took a complimentary photo at another place for you too look at so you understand how interesting the roads are between Perth and Adelaide.
So I turned up in Adelaide around 4 AM this morning, checked into the only hostel that I could get ahold of during the evening (didnt have phone coverage once between Perth and Port Augusta which is 3 hours north of Adelaide). Been walking around Adelaide some today, not much to see here so tomorrow im gonna try to get a ride to Kangaroo Island southwest of Adelaide.

Monday, March 17, 2008

17th of March 2008

Birthday´s just ain't what they used to be..
So I had a big birthday party this Saturday, and being a little to old (turned 27 for those who didn't know or congratulated me!) to handle the heavy drinking I wasn't really fit to do all the packing yesterday. So delayed my departure for a day!
Anyway it gave me some time to buy the last stuff I had forgotten, the only thing I haven't decided on quite yet is if I'm going to get a new phone or not. With vodafone that I have now I only have coverage in the big cities, but to get Telstras NextG service which has better coverage I need to buy a new phone, its just 200$ but still. Trying not to waste to much money! But if I run into trouble in the middle of nowhere I would be nice to be able to call for help instead of lying on the roadside dying..
In August last year I challenged myself to not cut my hair for a whole year! (I usually trim it down to 3mm every second week). But sadly I failed, it just so much more convenient with short hair in all kind of ways when travelling so I shaved it off this Saturday, see pic!
So tomorrow morning I'm leaving, my first goal is Coolgardie/Kalgoorlie-Boulder, about 650km directly east. Its a long way to go in one day but I didn't think there will be any problems, the hardest part is actually getting out of the city so I'm taking the train to the outskirts and hope someone will pick me up there.
Made a list and almost packed it all in my new backpack now, good thing I bought a new 90 litre one otherwise there would be no way it would all fit. Despite I'm trying to bring as little as possible its ended over being over 100 different things in there.
So just wanted to tell a few rules before I leave, I will probably come up with a couple of more as go.
- I will never pay for a ride (offering them some goon at the end of the day or maybe making dinner if its a group of backpackers is ok).
- The only exception to the previous rule is when I have to get out of city centres, because anyone can figure out its not possible to hitchhike there. Also when crossing the sea to Tasmania if I'm doing that or going or tours (boat tours and tours where I'm not legally allowed to go unless I'm with a tour group).
- I am not allowed to ride with the same vehicle/people more then 2 consecutive days.
- There will be budged rules on food and sleeping, but haven't quite decided on these yet.
- There will be no planned ahead rides (like calling a logistics company and ask for a ride), exception being if someone offers me a ride the next day when I talk to them at the hostel or similar during the eveningThat's it for now, anyone have a suggestion for any other good rules go ahead and tell me!
And oh yeah, don't have any spellcheck on my laptop so please bear with the bad grammars and spelling!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

8th of March 2008

Watching the seemingly endless red dry landscape of Western Australia pass under me from the plane. Not a single house, river or lake as far as the eye can see, just red dusty and dead outback. WA is almost 6 times the size of Sweden but only have 2 million people living here, and of these 2 million 1.5 lives in Perth. Perth is the worlds most isolated city. It is a pretty remote and lonely place!
Was supposed to fly to Kalgoorlie and work this week but just found out its been cancelled, so will only work one night next week. Sucks that I miss out on the money but atleast it will give me enough time to try to sell my car and computer and also give me time to prepare and get the stuff I need for my departure.

Monday, March 10, 2008

7th of March 2008

Ok, here we go. Think I write this whole thing in English so if more people can actually understand what I’m writing, sorry mum!
Sitting on a mountain/sandstone cliff just outside Kununurra (about 3000km northeast of Perth) watching the sun setting over the eastern Kimberly region.
It’s just 9 days left until I’m leaving Perth and going on my biggest challenge to date, hitchhiking all around Australia.
I really don’t think I realize just how huge Australia is, this trip is going to have me thumb riding for at least 16000km. (To compare its about 14000km from Sweden to Perth). Back home I usually count on that I can get an average of 300km each day if I’m realistic. I know it will be different here because it’s a very different country, when I do get a ride I will get very far but it can be many many hours between the pickups because there isn’t much traffic out in the bush. But still let’s say 300km a day, that’s almost 55 days of non-stop hitching!
I just hope it won’t be as freaking hot as it is up here in the North, seriously melting away!
So right now I’m making a list of what stuff I need to get before I leave, for example a new big backpack, a sleeping bag and some kind of mattress. Because I never know when Ill get stuck in the middle of nowhere and have to spend the night on the roadside with all the nice poisonous snakes, spiders and scorpions. And of course the cuddly Roos :P Hitchhiking is a very unpredictable business.. Ill need to get a tent or mosquito dome also to protect me from insect bites and the rain. A torch will also be needed so I actually can see something during the night (the sun has already starting to set pretty early which sucks, because it’s plain impossible to get a ride once it’s dark outside). Much planning to do and as usually I’ve done none. Speaking of the dark, the sun has disappeared behind the horizon now so can’t really see what I'm writing anymore. Will continue another day.