University of Wisconsin–Madison

(Impromptu) Aussie Road Trip Part II

Hey there, mates!

In my last blog post I shared with you all the most awful and exhausting traveling experience I have had. What I didn’t share was how that experience turned into one of the best I’ve had since coming to the Great Land of Oz!

Recap:
While my sister was visiting, we decided to go to Melbourne. On our day back to Sydney, we accidentally missed our flight (view the last post for details) and decided that the only option we could really afford that would allow us to get back to Sydney ASAP was to drive. Now, for those of you who don’t know, Sydney and Melbourne are quite far from each other (nearly 900 km!). It’s about an 8 hour drive, which is quite an ambitious drive to make in one straight shot, especially in a foreign country where the highways go through the middle of nowhere (meaning you are guaranteed to lose cell phone reception). However, my sister and I were quite desperate to get back to Sydney as soon as possible, and if that meant we had to drive 8 hours through a foreign country by ourselves then we thought, so be it!

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Important side note: my phone died within the first 30 minutes of our journey, the only directions we had was a page from Google Maps which we got printed for us at the car rental agency…disaster in the making…

We started our journey with a huge adrenaline rush (“we’re going driving through new part of Australia!”, “this is gonna be awesome!!”), and it started out amazingly. Melbourne is in the state of Victoria, south of New South Wales, which is where Sydney is. Because it is a bit cooler and rainier in Victoria, everything is lush and green. It was some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve seen in Australia. A couple hours into our drive, we saw a sign for a national park and thought, why not stop there? After all, now that we had a car we weren’t exactly pressed for time. We figured we might as well make the most of this impromptu mini road trip. We got off at the next exit and followed the road into a cute, very old-fashioned little downtown area (think old American Western town). After wandering around town for a bit, we decided to go explore the bush. After driving for a while and following some random signs, we ended up driving through some wetlands (the Winton Wetlands, to be precise). It was by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. We saw swamps, wild kangaroos/wallabies/strange birds, and never-ending rolling hills in the background. We actually ended up exploring the area and taking in the scenery for so long that we got to watch the sunset behind the hills. It was absolutely breathtaking.

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After spending three hours driving around the area, we finally decided that it was time to hit the road again. It was starting to get dark now that the sun had set, and the last thing we wanted was to get lost in the middle of the wetlands at night! We finally made it home in Sydney at about 4:30am and hit the sack. After spending the day in the car, it was the best night of sleep I’ve ever had.

Over the next four days, I took my sister around Sydney taking her to the biggest tourist attractions and a few typical local places. On one of the days, my sister, a friend, and I decided to leave the city to spend the day hiking in the Blue Mountains, a massive mountain range located just a couple hours outside of Sydney. We hiked up and down massive hills and slopes, walked out onto cliffs, and saw gorgeous scenery (Australia seems to have no shortage of it after all)! It was especially nice to get a taste of real nature without even having to go too far from the city. The Sydney Metropolitan Area really has a little bit of everything.

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