Monday, 4 November 2013

Arriving in Australia

We found ourselves dealing with mixed emotions as we set off for the airport. It was finally time to leave South East Asia and start our journey through Australia. Even with so many kilometres still to go, it really does feel as though the adventure was coming to an end.

No more border crossings, no more new countries, different languages or exotic foods to discover. That said, there is a reason we love Australia so much, and we plan on visiting a lot of areas that we have never been to before. A lot of these areas are not on the usual tourist route, so we know its still going to be an adventure.

We boarded our Air Asia flight from Bali around 2:30 pm and arrived at about 6pm. Perhaps Australia could sense our slight apprehension about leaving behind the exotic SE Asia, as when we landed we were gifted to one of the most beautiful sunsets we had seen so far.

With a sky filled with reds and purples as far you can see, you can't help but smile and feel happy that you're able to call this gorgeous "Land Down Under" home.

However, as soon as we arrived at the hostel we realised that the place wasn't without its faults. Our hostel room was twice the price of anything we had paid for in SE Asia, and was a lot more basic. The small room was furnished with nothing but a small metal framed bed that looked about 10 years old and with one sheet that gave the impression of having seen a lifetime of smelly backpackers. 

Not only that but wifi cost $4 an hour, the first country we had been in where they charge for internet access. Even small shops in Mongolia offered free Wifi! Australia needs to sort that out!

Less than impressed we headed out for a bite to eat on Mitchell St. For the first time in a long time we were presented with the chaos that is an Australian high street on a Friday evening. Not only that but it was halloween so all the bars were chock full of punters in what could perhaps be described a boisterous mood.

It all seemed a little too much after the serenity of the Gili islands so after grabbing a "cheap" meal, we headed back to the hostel to get an early night so we could plan our escape to Australian's Northern Territories.

As soon as we woke up we set off to look for an Australian backpacking past time as ingrained in the culture as drop bears and drinking goon; renting a Wicked Campervans.

Wicked campers is a company set up around 10 years ago, that rents out old but beautifully decorated VW camper vans. Each camper van has its own unique graffitied mural on each side of the camper van and usually a cheeky saying on the back.

So at 9am we were outside their office in Darwin and speaking to their sexy (the word used on the Wicked Camper website) staff about the possibility of using their vehicles for the last leg of our trip.

We soon came to an arrangement and they offered us one of their newest line of vehicles. The company has obviously boomed in the 10 years since they started. Not only do they have offices in England, Europe, the Americas and Africa but they also offer nice new cars sporting cool roof rack tents!

November is the busiest time of the year for backpackers trying to travel down from Darwin and Cairns to Sydney for Christmas and New Year's Eve. So we were really lucky to find out that Wicked had only one vehicle still available, and it was one of their new cars with the roof tent!

Whilst it might have been fun to go in a camper van, after driving to Mongolia without air-conditioning, we were not going to complain about getting a bit of luxury to finish this trip.

With that we signed up, and set off in our new wheels! We grabbed some provisions from the local supermarket and soon found ourselves on the Stuart Highway in the direction of Kakadu National Park.

Getting back behind the wheel and having the freedom that comes with it was a fantastic feeling. The roads are long with very little traffic but the scenery was so beautifully Australia. Eucalyptus trees and red dirt, dried creeks and huge termite mounds made up the collaged landscape.

It was good to be back on home turf even if Jess spent most of the drive looking at her phone that was working again, meaning she could look up Instagram and Snapchat constantly.

We were soon setting up camp in the small town of Jabiru within the Kakadu National Park, just in time to see another sunset. Setting up our new roof tent was so easy and soon we were settling in for the night. The downside was the noisy Curlew birds and the lack of a pillow keeping us up a little bit, but all things we can rectify tomorrow.

Sorry Wicked but what happened to your fun and cheeky slogans!?

Our first two nights in Australia have been a little up and down, but all in all we are happy to be back in Australia and we are looking forward to visiting parts of Arnhem country tomorrow.


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