It’s always better to have no expectations to avoid disappointment. This is possibly the biggest mistake we have made this year. Thinking that once 2020 will be behind us, Covid will be over and life will get back to some sort of normality. But 2021 proved us awfully wrong, and what we got was more of the same, if not much worse.
The day started with the sound of an annoying alarm clock. He quickly turned it off before Michelle would wake up, she needed her morning beauty sleep. He lay down in his bed for another moment, stretching his ever aching lower back, trying to figure out which day was it today, as if his mind needed a push on a reset button. But as he sat down on the side of his bed, feeling the familiar lack of motivation creeping in, a provoking thought came into his mind. ‘What if today was my last day?’.
After nearly four months, Sydney emerges out of lockdown. Down under in Australia, we had been vaccine hesitant, relying on closed borders and a zero-Covid policy. Trailing six months behind the rest of the world, we had paid the price of poor policies and lack of national leadership. Four months ago we finally realised that we cannot keep ignoring the reality of the delta variant, and we simply have to learn how to live with the virus and move on, just like the rest of the world.
Grampians National Park is a nature reserve in Victoria, Australia. It’s known for its sandstone mountains, wildflowers and wildlife including echidnas and wallabies. Near the village of Halls Gap, the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre gives insight into local Aboriginal history and rock art.
On the brink of history, one match away from a historic Grand Slam, one that his greatest rivals – Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal – had never achieved. Djokovic now stands tall and aims to conquer the tennis world’s peak with the most grand slam wins ever. But Novak, know this – you can’t win!
Ballarat is a city in the Central Highlands of Victoria, Australia. What makes it attractive is its unique history – it was the center of a gold rush migration during the 19th century. Not far from the city centre is Sovereign Hill. It is an open-air museum which depicts Ballarat’s first ten years after the discovery of gold. However, this is not a typical museum. As a replica of the town during the Victorian gold rush days, it comes alive with real characters from the old days, taking all visitors back in time.
While Melbourne is one of the two big cities in Australia, it does have a magical feel to it if you dare to explore. We started with a cruise on the Yarra River that goes across the city suburbs, under monumental bridges and giant commercial ports. We ended up back where we started, close to Federation Square and its numerous art galleries, walked past the streets of the busy central business district and hopped on and off the trams.
Melbourne is the capital of the southeastern Australian state of Victoria. At the city’s centre is the modern Federation Square development, with plazas, bars, and restaurants by the Yarra River. Overall, there is an artistic and colonial feel to the city, much like most european capitals. So how would it feel visiting the big city in the middle of a road trip where you spent most of your time out in the wild? Well, we’re about to find out.
Frankston is a suburb of Melbourne in Victoria, known as “the gateway to the Mornington Peninsula”. Further south is the holiday town of Mornington where you can drive on the white sandy beach and taste a bit of the magic this peninsula has to offer.
While in lockdown, we are at least allowed to go out and exercise within 10 km from home. This gives us an opportunity to explore our own backyard. It’s not much, but we appreciate it more than we would have in normal circumstances.
Who would have thought we would be exactly in the same situation fifteen months into the pandemic, but here we are again. Sydney is now in full lockdown for the third time. We have been very lucky so far in Australia, but it is now becoming more and more apparent that the government had failed us.
Our last few days in Tasmania until we need to board the ferry back to mainland Australia. We took the long and winding road towards Launceston, Tasmania’s second major city. The main highlight in town is clearly Cataract Gorge, a piece of wilderness just minutes away from the city centre.
“Mum, will you forgive me?”, asked the boy. “You haven’t done anything wrong”, mum replied. “Well, I haven’t been the best child. We used to fight all the time when I was growing up. I must have been the worst teenage boy any parent could have asked for”, he looked back in regret. “No you were not, you were an absolutely beautiful boy. I’ve always appreciated how determined and independent you were, and I’m very proud of what you have become”, mum assured him.
Bay of Fires was given its name in 1773 by Captain Tobias Furneaux – an English navigator who accompanied James Cook – as he saw the fires of Aboriginal people on the beaches. It is known all over the world for its extraordinary clear blue seas, brilliant white beaches and striking orange lichen-cloaked boulders.
Heading up north on the eastern coast of Tasmania, we are heading towards one of the biggest attractions on the island – Freycinet National Park. Freycinet has a global appeal – it is iconic, memorable and breathtaking by all means. The park is best known for the stunning beauty of Wineglass Bay with its crystal-clear waters and white beach, making it one of Tasmania’s most celebrated views.
The following morning Will and James were driving the car in silence, not mentioning last night’s events. As Will pulled over to drop his mate off at the hospital, he whispered “Do you think he’s alright that guy? We kind of left him out there in the dark injured, you know”. He looked away as James leaned back against the window. “Are you kidding me? He got what he deserved. Toughen up dude, what’s wrong with you?”.
“What did you say?” he called out in anger. “I said G’day”, the guy responded in a very calm voice. James looked at Will with his eyes wide open in complete disbelief. “Did you hear that? He said ‘G’day’. The fuck’n immigrant is using Aussie slang”. “Right, where did you learn to speak like that, ha? Do you know any other words in English? You bat-eater”. James was already on his front foot. “Hey, why don’t you go back to your country, Corona-man”.
Port Arthur is a village and historic site in southern Tasmania, Australia. Sitting on the Tasman Peninsula, it was a 19th-century penal settlement (considered to be the worst of the worst…) and is now an open-air museum. Unfortunately we found ourselves underwhelmed…
One of the basic fundamentals of a modern society is the relationship between the country and its own citizens. Most importantly – Duty of Care. A government that doesn’t protect its own citizens, is absolutely unworthy, as it is neglecting the most crucial aspects of leadership and democracy – taking care of your own people.
When President-elect Joe Biden made his winning speech last November, he highlighted some of the major problems he intends to focus on once he gets into office. The US is due to lead the world once again in taking action on coronavirus, equality, economy and climate change. However, the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has refused to bow to pressure from the US.
Bruny Island is located off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania, Australia. To get to the island we had to take a 20-minute ferry to discover a unique and isolated landmark with very few locals, many more tourists, and stunning views.
It was an early autumn evening. The trees started to shed their leaves, signaling the end of summer. That was the worst time of year for Jono, who simply hated it when daylight-saving ends and all of a sudden it’s getting dark much earlier. Jono was sitting in his car, driving back home from another hectic day at work. “I have to do something” Jono thought to himself.
Hobart is the lovely capital of Tasmania, and it truly is lovely. We arrived to the city late afternoon and went straight to the Waterfront Piers to walk by the water and have an early dinner in one of the many restaurants. The following day, Saturday, is market day at the famous Salamanca Market. There’s lots to see and do.
Heading south to one of Tasmania’s oldest national parks and also one of its most diverse – Mount Field National Park. After an interesting encounter with a friendly echidna, and a glimpse of a sneaky platypus, we took a leisurely walk through the towering tree ferns and giant eucalypts to Russell Falls and Horseshoe Falls. Both are stunning and the whole walk is kids-friendly, meeting plenty of pademelons along the way.
After an eventful day at Franklin-Gordon National Park, we arrived to Lake St Clair Park for a late afternoon stroll by the lake, skimming rocks on the still water, and taking an endless amount of photos. Black and furry possums greeted us on the way back to the caravan.
Cutting through the heart of Tasmania, we’re crossing from the wild West Coast inland through national parks and new adventures. First stop in Queenstown, a nice town surrounded by dramatic hills and mountains, which was once the world’s richest mining town. Next, we make a few stops at Franklin-Gordon National Park, which appears to be very special.
As the whole family gathered around the table, Luke was scanning the room, feeling the tension. He knew people were whispering behind his back. He knew he needed to prove himself all over again. Then, while the entrée was served, an unexpected visitor showed up at the door.
Our next stop is Strahan, a historic and very touristic town, considered to be one of the highlights of a visit to Tasmania. It offers plenty of “Award-Winning Wilderness Experiences” though we found it completely overrated. Thankfully, we climbed up Henty Dunes for a real slice of adventure and fun-filled Sandboarding.
Standing in the rain, waiting. Joey didn’t mind the rain, although it was pouring quite hard for the last thirty minutes or so. But he didn’t care. The sound of big drops pounding on the concrete, on top of cars moving along the road, on Joey’s half-broken umbrella. That noise was overshadowed by the voice inside his head. She will turn up. She will. She has to.
Heading inland, we finally arrive to one of Tasmania’s best known highlights – Cradle Mountain National Park – known for a range of features, including wild landscape, beautiful rainforest and alpine heathlands, glacial lakes and a wide variety of wildlife. The unique mountain range and Dove Lake at the foot of Cradle Mountain is one of the best sceneries you will ever see.
The pub was busy as it always is on a Friday night. A group of men were standing right at the centre, dressed in gold-and-green jerseys, cheering in front of the big screens as the Wallabies scored their first Try of the match, knowing this might be the highlight of the evening. A few couples gathered on the other end around a bottle of champagne, celebrating something which seemed to be rather special. Ben stepped in with a couple of mates from work, and with no hesitation walked straight to the bar.
One unique thing about Australians is that we don’t like talking about politics. The conversations at meetups and barbeques mostly evolve around real estate and sports. But it’s not a hot topic to speak about our politicians, their policies or anything evolving in our capital Canberra. But that has to change.
Stanley is a little town in North-West Tasmania. The main attraction is a natural wonder – The Nut. The unusual hill above the ocean is a result of volcanic activity millions of years ago. From the top we get stunning views of the bay, white beaches and turquoise water – one of those places that wherever you look it is absolutely breathtaking and you have to take just one more photo, and then another one.