Budget Recap: Australia

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As you may have read in an earlier blog post, we came in amazingly under budget for our two awesome weeks in New Zealand. We spent most of that time in a small van, eating ramen and campground meals. Would Australia be the same? Would road tripping up the eastern coast of one of the largest countries in the world break the budget and ruin our hopes of a $100/day average? Lets find out!

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Australia: Wrap Up

We spent a total of 26 days in Australia— some bad, some outstanding, most of them pretty good. Australia toyed with our emotions quite a lot, it was a constant up, down, up, down, as we adjusted to long-term travel and learned how to get into the groove of living on the road. The first Kangaroo we saw in the wild was roadkill, and we thought it might be a bad omen for the rest of our trip.

We entered Sydney with mixed emotions; we were excited because we were in a new place, we were sad to say goodbye to New Zealand, we were frustrated as I had recently sprained my ankle. After spending five days in Sydney we left to begin our great road trip along the east coast of Australia. We pictured stunning beaches, lots of amazing wildlife, cool surfer dudes, and overall a chilled-out vibe from the whole country. We did get some of that, but not until later on, as we made our way further north.

The beautiful Sydney Harbor
The beautiful Sydney Harbor

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Snorkeling The Great Barrier Reef

We ended our great Aussie road trip in Cairns, the biggest gateway city to the Great Barrier Reef. Like everyone else in the world, the reef had been on both of our bucket lists since forever.  It was a no-brainer that we were going to spend a day out there.

Disclaimer: We were way too busy enjoying ourselves and wrapped up in the moment that we didn’t take any photos ourselves. Sometimes you just gotta live without a camera in your hand and enjoy the moment in the present. The pretty photos below we did not take. They came with the photos we ordered of the two of us, (which are pretty ugly but we still wanted them to remember the day) and we didn’t steal the off the internet.

Choosing a Tour Operator

I once thought that it was overwhelming simply to chose what company to cruise with for our Milford Sound cruise in New Zealand and our Halong Bay Cruise in Vietnam. Psh, the number of cruise companies in those places pale in comparison to the number of operators running tours on the Great Barrier Reef! There was a myriad of options for us to choose from, all offering their own unique tour of the reef.

The maximizer in me was starting to get stressed! We were going to be spending a lot of money on this day-long trip, way more than our daily budget. We obviously wanted to get the most bang for our buck and not be stuck on a boat with 300+ people all trying to swim over one shallow reef.

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Fraser Island: Not for the Faint of Heart

Beach Camping In Australia

I’m sure many of our family and friends thought we were absolutely nuts when we announced that we were going camping in Australia… in the middle of summer. Well yeah, we probably are nuts. That’s pretty much like announcing that you are camping in Florida during summer, but maybe a little worse because there’s like no ozone layer in the Oz.

Crazy or not, we didn’t care. We were committed. We booked two separate camping trips during our Aussie road trip. We figured we might be miserable but it would be an experience we would never forget. This is actually a huge improvement from our original plans, which included renting a station wagon, buying a tent, and camping every night along the coast. We quickly scratched that plan when we realized that we would be camping in a tent for 26 days during the Australian summertime. Looking back, we actually would have been fine with the original plan; No place we have stayed in Australia has actually ran the air-conditioner that is inside the house. It’s strange, we know.

A sunset all to ourselves
A sunset all to ourselves

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A Day in the Life of Whitehaven Beach Bums

Whitehaven Beach is a perfect beach. And the world knows it. It’s consistently rated one of the top 10 beaches in the world every year. It’s the beach that you think of when you think Australia. It’s postcard-perfect, the one that you see featured in two-page spreads of magazines. The water is clear, turquoise, azure, depending on where the sun is in the sky. Whatever it’s shade of blue, it’s always a magnificent one. The sand is soft and white, 98% silica. It’s some of the whitest sand found on earth. It feels like you are walking through flour.

Whitehaven Beach is a 7 kilometer stretch of sand found on Whitsunday Island. Whitsunday Island is a part of a greater archipelago called the Whitsunday Islands. It’s towards the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. There are 70-something islands, and many of them of uninhabited. Some of the islands feature high-end resorts, like the one Taylor Swift stayed in a week before we were there.

Now, that's a stunning beach!
Now, that’s a stunning beach!

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One Month In: Adjusting to Long-Term Travel

I cannot believe that it has been a month since we bid farewell to our comfortable lives back home and set off for a year of adventure. And, what an adventure it has been! To be honest– with all of the traveling I have done in the past I have never been gone for a full month. Sure, I’ve gotten home from one trip only to turn around and pack my bags for another, but I’ve always had at least one night’s rest in my own bed, my home, my comfort zone.

This month has flown by and I am thankful for the experiences
This month has flown by and I am thankful for the experiences

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