East coast baby 

Don’t get me wrong, WA clearly is the most awesome part of Australia but hey during a year down under you gotta go east at some point … and if you are lucky enough to even have rellies around Sydney then it’s a no brainer to spend, for example, Easter over east.

And very nice it was, seeing aunty & uncle and my very favourite OZ cousins again 🙂 And very happy was dear aunty to spend time with the boys, taking them to places and giving us adults time to explore that village with millions of inhabitants (Sydney). And Sydney is beautiful to explore, time and time again. And traffic is the worst I have seen ever. And I should maybe stop starting sentences with a conjunction. Dad joke, haha..

So where were we exactly?

We lived a nomad life for a week, some days in Stanwell Tops (1h south of Sydney), some days in Sydney and some days in Paterson (2.5h north of Sydney). All of them really beautiful places and as contrasting as can be. The view to the South Pacific from the Bene residence in Stanwell Tops..

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Anzac bridge just outside the front door of B.´s place in Sydney…

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and farmland surrounding A.´s straw-bale-house in Paterson…

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Beautiful places to wind down and catch up with dear people that we see far too seldom.

What did we do?

Continue reading East coast baby 

2 families, 5 days, 1 adventure

The more the merrier they say, so over the extended Anzac day weekend we rolled south with two vehicles packed to the rim with ten people, four tents and all the other essentials for an awesome bush camping adventure. “Expedition members” were the five of us, our dear friends Aaron and Theresa with their two kids and Guro our visiting student from Norway. A group spanning age classes from under one to over forty years. Kudos to Aaron & Theresa for taking a 9 month old angel out bush!
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Destination for the four nights were two areas at “that french named” national park (D’Entrecasteaux) about four hours south of Perth. The plan was to stay two nights close to Pemberton at Leaning Marri NP camp and then move south to Moores Hut camp to explore the area there. As it goes with 4WD adventures, that plan remained a plan yet reality looked a bit different…

Continue reading 2 families, 5 days, 1 adventure

Jurien Bay & Stockyard Gully

Oh, what a weekend! 30 Degrees forecasted and finally a “free” weekend to go camping. Time to go explore 🙂

Jurien Bay

The area north of Jurien is just shy of 3 hours drive from Perth and offers fabulous beaches, limestone cliffs and bluffs and “wild” camping as it neither is a national park, nor private land. Thanks Alex for the tip about Jurien, and thanks Hema maps and Western 4W Driver, who all recommend the area for a weekend trip.

We left first thing Saturday morning, stopped for brekky in Joondalup and spent the avo exploring the beaches and bays between North Head and Sandy Bay..

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Yes, that´s a bushfire in the background

I think it must have had something to do with the excellent weather and that it maybe was the last summer weekend (winter is coming) but the area was packed with happy campers. So it took a while to find the perfect spot, but finally we found this:

Continue reading Jurien Bay & Stockyard Gully

Yalgorup National Park

The machine hadn’t´t been in 4wd for far to long, a trip to the beach was very overdue. Very! And even though we woke up to a rainy Perth Saturday morning, we packed the bathers and some picnic and headed south to the “first beach south of Perth” or to be more precise, the first beach you can drive on (I think). We are planning a short two-family camping weekend soon and the day trip turned into a little reccy for a potential bush camping site. The entrance sign was rather discouraging (in terms of camping)… Continue reading Yalgorup National Park

The southern Island

Parts of my stay in WA are a sabbatical and parts of that is a cooperation with the Antarctic  Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre in Hobart Tasmania.

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In a past life, I was traveling to the Arctic and Antarctic as a PhD student and later consultant working with geophysical methods to measure snow and sea ice thickness. Staying a week in Hobart was a great experience meeting old friends and colleagues again and looking at long forgotten Georadar and remote sensing data. I also had the chance to talk about my work in general in a lecture organised by the Australian Geomechanics Society, also that very inspiring. But enough about work… Continue reading The southern Island

The Holland Track

There is something special about this place / track. It´s tiny, compared to things like the Canning Stock but it has a special feel to it, standing in the middle of the bush, with a days drive in any direction to the nearest main road. It´s kinda magic. And still, only a days drive from Perth through the Wheatbelt and into the outback Goldfields!

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Approximately the middle of the Holland Track

The magic presumably stems from…

The history of the track

Motivated by the intense gold rush after the first discovery in Coolgardie in 1892 bringing thousands of fortune seekers from the eastern states, John Holland together with Rudolph and David Krakouer and John Carmody set out to clear a 500 km track directly into the Goldfields through the dense thickets equipped with nothing but 5 ponies and a 450 litre water tank (100 gallon). The area feels remote today but one can only imagine what this endeavour meant more than 100 years ago. Every day, Holland rode out alone up to 30 km ahead in search for water. Rockholes in the occasional granite outcrops where the main source for drinking supplies. He then went back to his party and directed them in remarkably straight lines between water and feed sources. It took them only two months, reaching Coolgardie on 18th June 1893. Travelling time on the completed track by horse and camel teams usually took two weeks. We used two days to traverse it.

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Driving it

Oh what a joy! It´s not difficult terrain, no rock climbing or axel twisting its mainly sand / clay and some forest sections. Main challenge are very very very deep ruts that can be a bit of an adventure after rain. The track is closed during most of winter (“summer road only”). It hadn’t rained for quite a while when we drove it on 19&20 December 2017 but we still encountered water filled ruts, one that almost swallowed the Cruiser (almost thanks to Maxtrax!).

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MORE than holidays

I gotta say that I had a weird, kinda empty feeling in my stomach in the first of weeks of school… Even though I liked it! I guess it´s a pretty big change for everyone to go back to reality after 45 days of holidays (same as back in Germany – 6 weeks).

For me it was a “dramatic” change because it is like I just finished a stage of life/ a new fabulous chapter and now I need to say goodbye to it… I know it´s not the end; I will go on trips again, where I will gain similar experiences. Anyway, right now it´s like letting something go.

So I did many awesome things!

I was in Perth for about a week and all in all it didn´t feel like 6 weeks of holidays only! I always looked up to (famous) people who integrated travelling in their job or their vacations in a larger extent than what is common. It probably is their favorite activity/addiction/love or how you want to call it and obviously I couldn’t understand what that really means. It sure seems amazingly adventurous, multicultural and exciting, but I think I can relate to it after my special holidays in Australia.

I dare to say that the fanciness and perfect planning etc. -> things which are making it more glorious and glittery (Australia owns that anyway) aren´t the essentials of an outstanding experience. For me as a person (and maybe for Katrine & Andi as well) one of the most meaningful aspects are still the pure emotions and thoughts (and dreams) you´re usually not “able” to have! Getting into the spirit of being isolated for a short term can be very relaxing!! You´re enjoying the day and that´s it. There aren’t any distractions like media or stressing/overthinking included in my camping routine.

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Also especially in Australia and for me as a quite common European the lifestyle of travelling here in the width of land is absolutely stunning and fascinating. The contrast of being in an undiscovered area to growing up in a “crowded” city and country already inspired me when I was young and now I can live it!! I enjoy the loneliness (together with my family) and I love the simple fact to see (almost) unsettled places and pure nature from the plane straight after taking off in Perth. The “clear” view feels like freedom to me, whose “habit” as a member of a modern family (separated in Germany/ Norway) is seeing inhabited and cultivated land everywhere.

Right now, finishing the blog entry some time later, I actually got used to the school spirit, but I can still relate and get into the feeling I was describing.

Leola ❤