This was not my first visit to Australia. In fact it was already my third visit! This is quite a lot, considering the distance from Europe, and how much time it actually takes to get there.
Initially, when we started to plan our journey around the world, Australia and New Zealand were by far my two main dream destinations. Partly because I wanted to show my two boys why I am so enthusiastic about Australia, and partly because I wanted to visit my Australian family. So that we could all get to know each other.
Already after a few hours in Brisbane, our first stop in Australia, we fall completely in love with the country. We could easily see ourselves live there! A bit of a strange feeling actually! I have no idea where that feeling came from, and it is hard to explain. We were met by so many friendly people and it was just so easy to talk to them. We got a very good impression of how it is to live there. I like their lifestyle the most! Outdoor, barbecue, out in the wild, and to our big surprise, we also liked camping! This was one great adventure! Sleep in the wild on a campground, by the be beach, under the stars. Experience the wonderful nature and the animals. Many of which you will normally only see at the Zoo: Kangaroos, emus and koalas. All without bars and cages!
To us this was the very first time on a camping trip and we had no way of knowing if this would be something for us. If it would be a way for us to travel further on. But as soon as we got used to the crammed spaces and had developed a sort of daily routine, it turned out to be just perfect. We could be spontaneous!
Time simply flew and three months are nowhere near enough to really experience such a large country. We only saw a small corner. Queensland with its beautiful coastlines and “hinterland”, Sydney, Adelaide and some of the wineland and outback of South Australia. Then we drove along the “Great Ocean Road” towards Melbourne, where we stayed the longest during our entire time in Australia.
It was very special to us to stay for three weeks in one place. We did this to rest and to digest the many impressions from the first few months of our journey. We had the good fortune of receiving an invitation from one of my old friends from school. Even though we had not seen each other for about 15 years. Our stay there did not feel either awkward or unpleasant. We were received with open arms and met the family with three children. Even though they were a bit older than Anton they had a good time together. I particularly enjoyed my time in the kitchen with Tina, where we would prepare various meals. It went very well and we were a good team there! I just loved this! I love to cook and Tina’s kitchen is a very cozy and effective “workshop” for that!
The last weeks of our time in Melbourne we stayed with Erich and his family. Erich is my cousin - that is the short version! Read much more about this in “How I met my Australian cousin”. Anton could play with a small group of “rascals”. Three children, all more or less at the same age. They had a great time! Wow! And every evening, when the children were put to bed, we, the adults, could have some adult conversation as everything suddenly got quiet in the house. Erich and I had many talks about our family connections and about how we are tied together through relatives. He is born and raised in Australia. His parents immigrated from Munich to Melbourne. So he is very curious about the family history. We went through several old documents. He has even consulted with a professional genealogist. It was a bit hard for me to relate to his urge to know about his family roots. Obviously because I always had it all right there, and knew both of my grandmothers very well. I know from where I come and they have both told me a lot about their past. Now I only wished that I had paid more attention!
The final question: Could I imagine going back to Australia? YES! Next time in a SUV and a large camping trailer for a real outdoor adventure! Maybe also during a different season, in order to soak up even more of the sun.
Click here to read Anders’ article about Australia. It also contains several links to his blogs about Australia.
Click here to read about camping in Australia (and New Zealand)!