Australia On Wheels

‘” Travel. 
It leaves you speechless,
Then turns you into a story teller.”

Don’t we all come across this quote quite often – it’s everywhere on someone’s Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram sometimes. The countless times when this quote and I path crossed, I felt nothing about it nor moved by it.

One day, while I was on Pinterest in research for some inspirations. This quote popped out of nowhere yet again but this time it felt different and I felt a little moved by it.

It suddenly got me thinking, isn’t it such a shame that the number of travels I did in the previous year were only shared in squares on Instagram and nothing more. Of how I could be sharing my personal experiences and how informative that it could be , all that didn’t really matter. What mattered most then was how pretty the photos needed to be before loading it up on Instagram.

Taking in this quote quite literally – traveling did open my eyes and left me speechless and sharing my personal experiences in these places through my eyes, turning me into a little story teller. All that should be written down.

Now, let’s begin…

In hopes that I am able to kick start this traveling series with my most recent trip to the land down under a more fulfilling one.

 I landed myself in Melbourne for almost a month last January and did things that I never thought I could do and would do. One of the many highlights of my trip was the 5 days road trip covering almost 3,000 kilometres.

Day 1: The Great Ocean Road

Our road trip begins with this highly dependable Toyota Corolla. We started off from Narre Warren, which is 38km off  Melbourne’s CBD.
First Leg! It was our goal in Australia to experience the beautiful winding roads of The Great Ocean Road (GOR) which is along the south-eastern coast of Australia. Here’s more photos of GOR!

That’s Fattah and a good friend of ours, Noreeden.
Couldn’t resist but to go down to the waters!
Just so scenic. Reminisce driving to this fascinating view, breathing in the fresh ocean air and listening to soothing music from an album which we bought from a street artiste who was busking in Melbourne, Flinder’s Street.

We finally reached the 12 Apostles which was a sight to be-hold. We reached close to dawn to catch the sunset and unfortunately it was a cloudy day. But we didn’t have a single regret as it was still a wonderful picture captured for our memories. I don’t know if it was only me, but it seems like the 12 Apostles are the guardians of the coast. Pardon me and my wild imaginations!
So the first day of this road trip ended at this lovely AirBnB which is in between GOR and Grampians National Park which our next destination. That’s me on “Mummy’s Duty”!

What we could do better?
Perhaps we should have spent more time doing more activities and see more attractions such as Loch Ard Gorge and London Bridge. Unfortunately, time did not permit us to do that. In Shaa Allah there will be a next time and you guys should spend about 2 days just exploring the different attractions and activities that GOR has to offer.

Day 2: Grampians National Park

After getting a good sleep, we set out early the next day to Grampians National Park (GNP) which is now only 1 hour away from our AirBnB at Penshurst, Victoria.

All ready for another day of adventure!
All loaded up and we’re ready to go!
Just look at that view. Those waves at the back there is the majestic Grampians.

1st Stop: Mackenzie Falls

Alhamdulillah for the good weather on that day with the sun shining ever so bright which made a trip to Mackenzie Falls perfect!
Once we reached Mackenzie Falls, we decided to take on the steep hike down to the base of the Falls. The hike down takes up about 20 mins from the parking area. As we were hiking down, we were in awe of the magnificent waterfall that was already in sight. Once we reached the base, we got really excited! The waterfall is more magical up close.
Sadly, swimming at the waterfall is prohibited. We spend about 1 hour at Mackenzie Falls, just soaking our feets in the water and it’s beautiful surroundings. And then there is the treacherous hike up back to the car. Panting all the way. Oh boy, we truly are a bunch of unfit people!

2nd Stop: The Balconies & Reed Lookout

Off  to the next stop, The Balconies and Reed Lookout!
A forest over-looking a lake. Masha Allah, mother-nature is truly amazing.
True definition of Picturesque.

We could literally just stare at these breathtaking view the whole day. That panoramic landscape, the sound of wind, that smell of fresh air and all we wanted was to embrace every single minute of it. Such a beautiful reminder of God’s Magnificence.

By the way, The Balconies are located very near the car parks (When you guys explore these places then you all will know the importance of the attractions being near the car parks. Haha…:)

 

Me on a Gorilla’s head. Or Snake’s.

The “Gorilla’s Head” is located at Reed Lookout. It’s roughly a 15 – 20 minutes hike through shrubs and rocky paths to reach Reeds Lookout. My personal verdict of this hike, pretty manageable. So once you’ve reach the lookout, you sure know that your efforts were worth it! The view and the vast landscape, is breathtaking.

Though I had to defy some odds to get that insane shot. Fattah did not allow me to go over to the “head” because obviously it’s dangerous but I just had to do it because I was already imagining myself doing that during the entire trip. What I actually intended to do was to go exactly on the “mouth” but Fattah didn’t gave me the chance to do so. Better than nothing right.

Finally lunch! Improvised my mom’s prawn curry by adding hard-boiled eggs. Fattah’s verdict, Yummy!
Thank you, Mr Sun for the beautiful day!

Yet another beautiful sunset.

Oh wait! On the way to our 2nd AirBnB, we were treated to a spectacular night sky and our good friend, Noredeen, who was determined to capture the milky way on this trip, managed to capture this cool picture of us and the sky full of stars! Thought this is only happens in the movies, how splendid. By the way, spot the shooting star!

What we could do better?

Alhamdulillah Day 2 was pretty smooth. Of course we couldn’t explore the whole of GNP but we were satisfied as we achieved our targets as we chose the attractions that suited our interests and timings. So guys, make sure you do research and select the attractions and activities that you wanna do before exploring this kind of huge national parks. Perhaps those who really want to explore GNP, they should set aside 2 to 3 days there and should even consider camping as there are plenty of campsites. That would be cool. Insha Allah next time!

Day 3: Kosciuszko National Park

Today’s the day for us to explore Kosciuszko National Park (KNP). We were excited because there was the possibility of seeing snow even in the hot summer weather (who would have thought that is possible). KNP is well-known for Mount Kosciuszko and Thredbo. Here’s a fun fact, Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain in Australia standing tall at 2,228m and Thredbo is Australia’s best ski resort.

Fattah looking for breakfast.

Our cosy and quaint AirBnB.
Every corner of this house is just photo worthy.
Here we come, Kosciuszko National Park!

At Kosciuszko National Park!
While making our way to Thredbo and eyes were captivated by this profound beauty.
Alhamdulillah we finally reached Thredbo, an alpine village!
Look at that lush greenery!
A really quick on the go egg sandwich for lunch that I made.

 

Thredbo is one of Australia’s best alpine village. It’s mainly popular for its ski resort during winter. But its just as awesome in the summer with all the greeneries and there are other fun activities such as bobsled, mountain biking and trekking. We selected Bobsled because it was affordable (AUD $7 for 1 ride) and fast (save time). We really wanted to ride the Kosciuszko Express Chairlifts so that the trekking to the top of Mount Kosciuzko was faster but it was rather expensive (2017 One Day Scenic Chairlift pass for adult is AUD $37 and for children is  AUD $19) for us. Thus, we decided to scrap that idea because it was not within our budget and too time-consuming. But that $7 Bobsled ride was pretty worthwhile, Fattah has it written all over his face.

 

Though I was imagining us climbing up Mt. Kosciuszko and touching what’s left of the snow. But I guess a shot of it is alright and I am visualising how breathtaking it’ll be during winter. When a white blanket of snow covers the entire area.

Soaking in the beauty of mother nature and praising God for all that He has bestowed upon us.

 

What could we do better?

In order for you maximise your stay in Thredbo, you need 2-3days because there are plenty of activities to be done and most of it involves hiking or trekking which takes up a lot of time. You would probably need to set aside a bigger budget too because it can be quite expensive.However,  its a very beautiful and peaceful place, great for families or couples just to wind down and strengthen their bonds. We would have loved to explore more of Kosciuszko National Park but we were limited by time. Hence, Thredbo was our highlight of Kosciuszko National Park. Perhaps the next time will be in winter?! Insha Allah…:)

That’s all for Kosciuszko National Park as we made our way towards our next destination.
Here’s a sneak peak of our AirBnB for the 3rd night. 🙂

Stay tuned!

So they say,

Travel
As much as you can,
As far as you can,
As long as you can.

Life’s not meant to be lived in one place.

That was what I exactly did last year, travelled from the day I left my previous job as a teacher and I ended the entire traveling year with Australia.

It was life enhancing and I truly have no regrets at all.

Love,
Dalillah Ismail

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