During the off-season, my routine is vastly different than the summer. Lots of friends come over for board game nights and hot pot dinners. I try to convince everyone around me to go skiing. I bundle up in flannel and fleece all day long. This year, I spent a couple weeks exploring on my Australia travel photography road trip for 2 weeks. Here are my highlights:
- Opera House – We went early to catch the beautiful morning light and to escape the crowds. From here, we guided ourselves on a walking tour around the Botanical Gardens, Hyde Park, The Rocks, and Darling Harbour. Sydney fish market – I love markets.
- Sydney rock oysters were delicious. The meat pies were fantastic, too.
- Taronga Zoo – Our awesome local friends bought us tickets to the zoo and it was such a cool half day activity. There are a slew of animals specific only to Australia (platapus, wombats, kangaroos, quokkas, giant Pelicans, etc.) The best thing we did was sign up for a Koala encounter ($24.95) and chatted with some of the zookeepers about their diet and lazy lifestyle. Ding Tai Fung – It’s my favorite soup dumping chain. I was super excited this was here.
- Ferry ride to Manly beach (35 mins) – People watch, pretty beach. Picturesque Barbour boat ride. (Tip – there are discounts in hostel brochures if you book ferry and zoo tickets together)
- Hostel – Wake Up! Sydney Central (509 Pitt Street, Opposite Central Railway, Sydney, Australia)
- Hopped a quick flight from Sydney to Townsville, because it’s the closest airport to our dive site. We grabbed groceries at a local fish market and drove 100km south to Ayr.
- Weather got in the way, so our dive trip to the SS Yongala was cancelled. We entertained ourselves by visiting The Strand, Castle Hill,
- Flinders Street, and Saunders Beach. We stayed for another night at a nearby trailer since there wasn’t space for us at the dive site lodge.
- SS Yongala shipwreck dive – It was the most turbulent boat ride any of us had ever taken. The dive site strongly encouraged us all to take medication prior to the trip. We did. It didn’t matter. We still vomitted our guts out… multiple times. We departed at 7:30am and returned by 2:00pm for a BBQ lunch.
- After consuming delicious Asian food and wandering around a dozen cute boutique shops, we rented our car and headed off to the Great Ocean Road for three days.
- Great Ocean Road spots: I wish I zoomed by the first portion and spent more time starting at the Twelve Apostles and Port Campbell.
Stuff I wish we did faster:
- Bells beach – So many tiny little dots in the ocean. All little dots are people on surfboards! Lots of hot men.
- Point Addis Marine National Park – Pretty beach. Pretty cove. We stopped here for our lunch. Anglesea – Morning coffee and wifi break
- Carisbrook Creek – So many stacked rocks!
- Lorne – Fried fish and chips lunch!
- Teddy’s lookout – Cool view of the St. George’s River
- Kennett river – They say this spot was a good area for koalas, but I feel we just added on a hour to an already long drive. Plus, the koalas were so high up and far away. After seeing them within inches of my face at the animal encounter exhibit at the Taronga zoo, seeing them as tiny little specs just wasn’t that impressive. Otways National Park – Eh.
Stuff I really enjoyed:
- Twelve Apostles /Gibson steps – We went midday and decided that we were going to hit up this spot again at sunset. Both were beautiful an 100% worth it.
- Loch Ard Gorge Take a picnic and your bathers (if summer) as you will want to stay at this amazing place for a while. It was like entering another world, secluded from well, everywhere.
- London Bridge
- Bay of Islands
- We found a map of “Port Campbell food tour” and spent the day on a self-guided driving tour. We visited a French lady’s home and ate the most delicious escargot. I started with a dozen and quickly ordered another. She showed us her spacious backyard, where she had her snail farm, herb garden, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. She grows all of the vegetables that the snails eat (boy choy, spinach, kale, etc.) and says that when she eats an apple or a peach, she throws the pit in her backyard and magically a tree grows the next day. Other highlights of the food tour included cheese, honey, ice cream, whiskey, and a dairy farm.
Hostel – GOR – Port Campbell Hostel (18 Tregea St. Port Campbell, Australia) – Highly recommended!!