Category Archives: Australia

Flooding in Queensland traps tourists

Tourists wanting to travel up or down the east coast  are stranded on Bruce Highway which is now closed in the disaster areas. Currently the flooding affects 40 towns in Queensland. Police are urging people to stay out of the snake-infested waters, that have already claimed lives. Tourists should be heading south to Victoria, South Australia or Western Australia where the weather is still manageable.

Updates
2011-01-12 Flood death toll rises to 12 as killer tide continues its march. 43 is still missing.
2011-01-12 Brisbane city braces for its worst flood in 118 years. CBD soon flooded. Residents are leaving targeted areas.
2011-01-11 Death toll has risen to 10, with 78 still missing.
2011-01-11 Brisbane prepares for worst flooding in 118 years.
2011-01-10 Toowoomba (west of Brisbane) flood drama sees mother and child killed.
2011-01-10 Teenagers Boogie Board in dangerous flooded rivers.
2011-01-10 Flash flooding across Brisbane.
2011-01-09 Lockyer Valley residents urged to evacuate.
2011-01-09 Stanthorpe in fear of dam bursting.
2011-01-09 Dalby braces for fifth flood.
2011-01-09 Brisbane warned to brace for more flooding.
2011-01-08  300 ml of rain came down on Murray river. Residents living north-east NSW have been warned.

More updates here.

Videos
Video report from Surfers Paradise.
Video from river in Toowoomba that killed mother and child.

Here are some up-to-date info on Facebook. Here are current warnings from the Bureau of Meterology.

We are lucky we just made it past the disaster area when we travelled south from Cairns to Sydney. We hope all fellow travellers make it back safe and with an amazing story to tell.

Hire a Motorhome or Campervan in Australia

A very popular way of spending your holiday in Australia is to hire a Motorhome or Campervan. The real enthusiast will even go so far as buying one for permanent use.  Before you hire your Motorhome or Campervan it is wise to shop around and get quotes from different dealers. If possible  book at least 6 months before you arrive. If you arrive during summer holidays (December to February) its virtually impossible to get a Motorhome or Campervan if you have not booked ahead. You also get better rates the earlier you book or during off-season. Before you sign your rental agreement read the fine print carefully and please upgrade from basic insurance to better coverage. Before you drive off you should inspect the vehicle with the dealer and write down ALL damages both exterior and interior before you embark on your journey.

Popular Motorhomes and Campervans in Australia:

Travellers Autobarn
Travellers Autobarn have semi-new Campervans for a reasonable price. We hired a Xbase HiTop that comfortably sleeps three adults. The adult sleeping on the top berth should not weigh more than 90 kg. Today we saw two French couples sharing a HiTop, proving that anything is possible.  The Campervan has a small kitchen, water from a tap (40 liters), Microwave, LPG gas stove, fridge and plenty of storage. The  HiTop is over 3 meters tall so you are limited to on the street parking or outdoor parking areas. The exterior and interior of Travellers Autobarn HiTop is typical of the HiTop range. Travellers Autobarn is suited for Backpackers with a larger budget. If you are interested in buying your very own Campervan Travellers Autobarn sell vans from their pool, so too does other dealers. Approx cost is 3.000 dollars for 30 days (incl. insurance)  Read more here.

Travellers Autobarn HiTop

Jucy
Jucy Campervans have a green and purple paint job and are easy to spot. They come in ‘one size fits all’ with an option to have a Penthouse on top of the vehicle (Choppa) which sleeps another two adults. Jucy Campervans are equipped with kitchen, fridge, stove and storage space. Jucy is suited for Backpackers on a medium to big budget. Jucy seems to be more popular with girls travelling in a group. Maybe its the colours or that the vans are easier to drive due to its smaller size (guys like it big and girls like it cute – sue me). Approx cost is 2.500 dollars for 30 days (incl. insurance)  Read more here.

Spaceships
Spaceships Campervans have the same model van as Jucy but without the green and purple paint job. You will not find as many Spaceships travelling around compared to Jucy so if you want to be sort of unique then go for Spaceships. Approx cost is 2.500 dollars for 30 days (incl. insurance). Read more here.

Spaceships Campervan with extended pocket.

Wicked Campervans
Wicked Campervans have a stained reputation as their Campervan pool is really old and they do not service them very well. The one thing going for this ‘lemon’ is its cool exterior. Each Campervan is painted in a unique way. They also draw slogans like “I am a virgin on tour catch me if you can” on the rear of the Campervan to get fellow motorists attention. Their vehicle pool range from cheap and old to newer 4wd vans. Wicked is one of the cheapest dealers and you truly get what you pay for. The vehicle we rented even came with its own ant farm (which we decided to clean out with chemicals).  Wicked is suited for Backpackers on a tight budget with an ‘attitude’. Approx cost is 2.000 dollars for 30 days (incl. insurance). Read more here.
See a video review of Wicked Campervans here.

Video review here. My English is not the best in this video :)

Hippie Camper
Hippie Campers are a step up from Wicked Campers. They have newer model Campervans and seem to be more up to date and better serviced. HippieCampers are suited for Backpackers on a tight budget. Approx cost is 2.500 dollars for 30 days (incl. insurance). Read more here.

Backpacker
Backpacker have a variety of vans very similar to Travellers Autobarn. The vans we have seen on the road and in camping sites look well serviced and not too old. Backpacker Campervans are suited for Backpackers with a larger budget. Their vehicle pool is not very large so you need to book ahead. Approx cost is 3.000 dollars for 30 days (incl. insurance). Read more here.

4WD Backpacker ready to tackle the Outback.

CamperMan Australia
CamperMan Australia have similar cars to Backpacker and Travellers Autobarn. We have heard from fellow travellers that you can get some very good deals if you book early. Their Campervan pool has both Hi-top vans and larger Motorhomes. CamperMan Australia is suited for Backpackers with a larger budget.  Approx cost is 3.500 dollars for 30 days. Read more here.

Maui
Maui Campervans are magnificent homes on wheels. Some of the Campervans are so huge that they could easily fit a family of six. With these motherships on wheels you are restricted to travelling on larger roads. Going into a larger city would truly test your driving skills. The more popular range is the Platinum Motorhome as it is more suited for beach vacations. To rent one of these castles on wheels will set you back a minimum of 200 dollars per day. Maui is suited for families or couples (executive style). Be sure to look out for promotions that can save you up to 20% if you book early. Approx cost is 4.000-6.000 dollars for 30 days (incl. insurance).  Read more here.

Apollo
Apollo is the largest privately owned recreational vehicle operator in the Southern Hemisphere so you can rest assure that you will see fellow Apollo Motorhomes on the Highways. Apollo has not only plenty of vehicles they also have a  large range from Hi-Top Campervans to huge Motorhomes. For the adventurous they have 4wd drive Motorhomes that will bring you out to the Outback and back to civilisation without problems. Apollo is suited for families or couples (executive style). Approx cost is 4.000-6.000 dollars for 30 days (incl. insurance).  Read more here.

Apollo HiTop.

Britz
Britz is a well known and proven dealer that maintains a high level of service. They brag about their price guarantee and claim not to be beaten on price. Its up to you to challenge them. Britz vehicle pool is similar to Apollo and Maui. Popular models are HiTop, Frontier and Challenger 4wd. Britz is suited for families or couples (executive style). Read more here.

Around Australia Motorhomes
Around Australia Motorhomes range from HiTop Campervans to six berth Motorhomes. It is not often you come across Around Australia Motorhomes in camp sites around Australia, but they seem to be well serviced with happy renters (when you see them). Read more here.

KEA
KEA Motorhomes and Campervans are really well serviced and look great. The 2+2 Berth Flip-Top is a great Campervan that really stands out among the rest. Unfortunately KEA know they have a great range and this is reflected in their pricing. Read more here.

KEA 6 berth Motorhome. See interior here.

Tonight we watched Penguins parade the beach

The Penguin Parade on Phillip Island 90 km south from Melbourne  is Australia’s most popular wildlife attraction and home to the largest Little Penguin colony in the world. Every sunset  hundreds to over a thousand wild Little Penguins emerge from the sea and march across the beach to their sand dune burrows. The Little Penguin is the world’s smallest (and cutest) penguin and the Penguin Parade is the best place to experience this completely natural phenomenon.

If you want to experience this natural behaviour then purchase your tickets early and arrive at the site no less than one hour in advance. When we went it was packed (more than 600 ppl) with people wanting to get as close as possible to the area where the Penguins emerge. The best place to be seated is on the right side on the seating area to the left. Most people go the seating area on the right since its closer to the boardwalk. You are not allowed to take any pictures during the Parade so leave cameras at home. Tickets are sold for 21 AUS per adult. Do bring warm clothing and a blanket cause it gets freezing once the sun goes down.

Surfing Kangaroos on Pebbly beach

Pebbly beach in New South Wales, Australia is famous for one thing – surfing Kangaroos. Thousands of tourists flock this spot along the eastern coast to see these Australian icons. Unfortunately sighting a Kangaroo here is rare and seeing them surf is just as likely as winning the state lottery.
Other attractions in this area include: Burril and Tabourie Lake, Bawley Point, Kioloa and Durras.
If you do not believe in miracles and wish to spend your time doing some other activity than watching Roos then you can go dolphin watching in Jervis Bay or see the ruins at Cape St George Lighthouse.

Happy New Year!

Gott Nytt År! Glückliches Neues Jahr! Boldog új évet!
From our camping site in Sea Spray, Victoria we wish you all happy new year.  In two hours we will join the rest of the camping resort down on the beach to be one of the first countries in the world to celebrate the new year. We hope that 2011 will be an amazing year filled with joy, love and adventure for us all. Let us remember the good times from 2010 and learn from the bad.
Big Hugs from Down Under!

A massive fireworks display took place in Sydney with some 6 tons of explosives sent up around around the famous Harbour bridge. People have lined up since 6 am to get a good view-point from one of the open  public spaces around Harbour bridge.  An estimated 2 million people gathered around the fireworks display. In Australia its prohibited, unlike in Sweden, for people to possess and send of their own fireworks.

A special message to Franco Fedeli: Its time to let go and move on with your life in a more positive direction. Your aim should be to leave this world with a happy soul knowing you did the right thing.  Read more about Franco Fedeli.

Please Australia flush your toilet

Every second time you go to a public toilet you find that the user before you have not flushed. You are met by a smelly, brown, yellow goo that haunts you until you visit another toilet and relive the experience. Why can you not flush the toilet Australia?
Firstly we have to identify who is being a bad boy.  Is it an Aussie or a tourist that has left the mess? Results from my research into the matter shows that it is likely to be an Aussie. I have not sneaked around public toilets keeping score but I have compared camping amenities all over the East Coast and sites with foreign tourists tend to be cleaner than sites with Aussie visitors or locals, hence its a non-disputable fact. Why is this behaviour so wide spread you might ask? I believe it comes from the drought years when Australians had to save every drop of water in their precious reservoirs. But this year is not a drought year. Its been torrential down pours nearly every day (see video from Gold Coast) so its OK to flush. Just press the button or pull down the lever and flush. Just flush!

Instructional video showing how to flush a toilet with a foot-lever.
Instructional video for a broken toilet.

Australiens vilda djur

Som de flesta känner till finns det mängder med vilda djur här i Australien. Nedan kommer bilder på några djur vi stött på under vår resa, några sötare än andra…

 

Epost hem till Håkan

Håkan ska komma och semestra med oss i Oz. Han skickade ett mail med frågor om dykning, snorkling, surf och väder. Här är mina svar:

Ja, det är väl givet att du ska dra till barriärrevet när du ändå är här. Det kostar typ 400 dollar att flyga till Cairns (t/r) och sen kostar det typ 200 dollar för att åka med båt ut tur ut till revet på det tillkommer kostnader för dyk. Räkna med cirka 1000 dollar för en till två dagar (7000 kr). Men det är jättefint där ute bland öarna och har man tur med vädret kan det klart vara värt det. Dock är det regnsäsong så du får kolla väderkartan och tajma in det, regnar det så verkligen regnar det.

Snorkling fungerar inte överlag längs norra kusterna då det är Stingers säsong (dödliga maneter). För att ens bada måste man ha en heltäckande våtdräkt (som även täcker händer och fötter). De har även upptäckt små maneter som tar sig igenom de skyddande näten som visar sig vara de dödligaste. Man får inte heller bada i floderna för nu har krokodilerna fött sina barn och då jagar de oftare vilket gör floderna extra farliga. Längs södra Australien kan man snorkla men där bor Vithajen, Tigerhajen och de andra stora hajarna. Men struntar man i dem finnas bra snorkling. En sådan plats heter Philip Island som ligger utanför Melbourne där man kan snorkla med sälar (som äts av stora hajar som också simmar där).

Vågorna är ok för surfning men det är svinkallt i vattnet (tänk svensk Skärgård). Jag tänkte att när vi åker åter till Sydney så kan vi bänka oss vid Manly beach 2-3 dagar och surfa där. Vågorna var bra för nybörjare/medel. Man kan åka långt och det tryck nog i dem. Kostar cirka 70 dollar för hyra av bräda och tjock våtdräkt för en dag.

Bilen som vi hyrt fungerar bra och det finns plats för tre. Vädret har varit ok de senaste dagarna (kolla videon jag la upp på bloggen om vädret i Gold Coast). Vi hänger just nu i Sydney och väntar på tomten.

Warning Crocodile

Warning Crocodile

Warning Stingers

Warning Stingers

När man planerar en resa till Australien finns det mycket att tänka på.

Still in Sydney

Tomorrow we will pick up our Travellers AutoBarn CamperVan. Its a big step up from our current Wicked CamperVan. We have also reclaimed our laptop thats been living in Coogee for the last couple of weeks. Soon we will be able to upload pictures and videos.

Australia is great and weird

Since I used to live in Australia when I was younger you would think I already got used to the big and little things this huge country has to offer, but I am not. Below you find some observations that are both great and weird for an outsider like myself.

The Aussies are generally very friendly starting every conversation with “How are you?” and “See you later!”. The key is not to take these comments litteraly. They are merely a aussie translation of “Hello” and “Goodbye”. As a first time visitor its easy to fall into the trap of starting to explain how your day really was and asking when to see the person again. If you do this you will only be met by a blank expression and a shrug of shoulders. Just smile and keep your personal distance. It did take me a while to deprogram myself to react in the appropriate way, but after a couple of weeks you get there.

Aussies do not want to get too close both personally and physically. As Europeans we are used to shower in our gender appointed facilites without covering up our private parts. In the land of Down Under you do cover yourself at all times. You dry in your shower cubical and you never, ever, ever walk around naked in the shower area. If you do this you will be labeled a fruit (google it). I have made this misstake once and the look I got from my fellow shower mates was explanation enough to never do it again.

Most overseas people think of Australians as tanned, fit, carrying a surfboard at all times and a happy bunch. Lets examine these overseas dreams of the people living in Australia. Alot of them do surf the waves dodging the sharks and strong currents. We take off our hats for this bravery. Unfortunately Australians are now the number one fat (overweight is the more politically correct term) country in the world. They do not tan as they know that the dangerous rays from the sun damage more than it makes you healthy. They are a happy bunch mostly smiling and saying “G’day”, “How are you?” to most people they meet. During our travels we have met so many nice people. But there is also another side to this coin. Some Aussies tend to be kind of rascist whispering comments like “bloody Tourists” (that is you and me), “bloody Abbos” (short for Aboriginals), “bloody Wogs” (short for anyone from the mediterranian area) and “bloody Asians”. This attitude comes from their very protectionistic agenda that aims to save Australia from anyone who is not a true-blue-aussie-that-once-came-on-the-convict-boats-from-England-and-slaughtered-Aboriginals-in-order-to-claim-this-land-as-their-own kind of person. If you are reading this and are by now screaming “that bloody tourist does not know what he’s writing about” then please check any history book for facts and please do go to Blacktown or Hurstville in Sydney and ask the locals about their view on this. Fortunately the majority of Aussies are super cool and very easy-going always willing to help out and always packing a great big smile.

Australia has some amazing scenery with an even more generous animal kingdom. Skippy the Kangaroo is actually jumping around on the fields. We have seen snakes, Kangaroos, Koalas, Crocodile and many other animals in the wild. Only Australia and possible a continent like Africa can offer this sort of wildlife. When you drive on roads like Bruce Highway or the The Great Ocean Road you see so much beauty all around.

The land of Oz is so much worth the visit.

We will work as volunteers during festival of the sun

In Port Maqcuarie they are hosting a festival called Festival of the Sun on december 10th and 11th. Since we are camping on the grounds we asked if we could help out. There will be over 3000 people attending so they will need lots of help. Our job is to check IDs at admission and give them festival bracelets. Unfortunately we are expecting rain but we hope it will be fun anyway.

We also booked our next campervan, a Hi-Top from Travellers Autobarn for 132 dollars per day including insurance and living equipment. Lucky for us that Håkan is coming to Oz for two weeks to share the costs and fun. The camper sleeps three people, no problemos.

There has been sun and scattered showers for the last two days. Life is grand again.


Tan-boy is posing for the pic.

Rain for the next two weeks

Just checked out the weather forecast for the Eastern coast and guess what? Rain, rain, rain and thunderstorms. The weather will stay like this for the next two weeks.  To add to this tragedy is that there is no escape. Even the beautiful islands Fiji, Tonga, Samoa are all experiencing the same down-pour, so its not even worth paying for a flight to paradise.  Any ideas what to do?


We miss this!!!

Raining in Surfers Paradise

Expectations so high and mighty has been crushed by the never ending rain. Our Australian adventure will be recorded as the wettest in Australian history as it has not rained this much in the last 88 years. Two years ago it was a serious dry season with no rain at all, this year its been truly compensated.

We are sitting in an Internet Cafe in Surfers Paradise looking out onto the soaked street with one aim – head for a shopping center.

Pics from Mackay to Town 1770

Our goal of cycling all the way to Sydney was cancelled due to the following reasons:

- In Australia the emergency lane is most of the time 30 centimeter wide with gravel. This makes cycling very dangerous as the road trains hurry past at over 100 km/h. The main reason for cancelling was the near ‘hit and miss’ with road trains at every 10 km. Australia needs to make their highways cycle friendly.
– The weather has been very bad and cycling in the torrential rain with road trains makes cycling even more dangerous.
– A bad back, hurt hands and faulty gears added to the stress.

We are very proud that we made it as far as Airlie beach from Cairns – 620 km. That is as far as cycling between Stockholm in Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark. Highlights included inspecting all the dead animals on the highways and admiring the amazing endless landscape.  For all you crazy people that cycle all the way to Sydney we salute you.

Random pics from Townsville to Airlie Beach

120 kilometers in one day

Today we cycled between Ayr and Bowen which is 120 kilometers on Queenslands worst roads. When we finally arrived at the Big4 campsite we were both exhausted. Now its time for dinner and a swim in the pool.

Two sightings – first we saw a real live snake just next to our bikes. It was about 1 m long. Second we saw a fresh water crocodile sunbathing in one of the many creeks. It was really cool to see these two wild encounters. As soon as we get to a computer that does not cost 10 dollars an hour and is not slow as they were in 1984 we will upload some pics.

Tomorrow we head for Airlie beach.

Famous but with no luck

Today a van pulled up next to us at a traffic light in Townsville. The driver leaned out of his window and asked if our cycling was going ok. He had spotted us in Cairns. So we are getting kind of famous doing this cycle-thing.

Yesterday we got a flat tire and today we broke the gears. We were so lucky that the owners of RollingStone Caravan Park were going to Townsville. We loaded our bikes onto the van and were dropped off at a bike repair shop. We got it all fixed and on top of that bought a trailer to carry our heavy stuff. The theory is that the bike was too heavy at the rear (not any persons fault) and that is why it broke down. Lets all hope that all break-downs and bad luck has now come to an end, hope with us.

We are now in Rowes Bay Caravan Park and just about to prepare dinner with our new camping kitchen.