I rode from Brisbane to Byron Bay with a quick stop over at the Gold Coast to meet another rider couple. I was hosted in Byron Bay by my friends from India, and they were gracious enough to let me stay along with them at their hostel. This quaint little hippy town is located in the northern end of New South Wales.
The first signage as you enter Byron Bay is ‘Cheer up..Slow down ..Chill out’ and the city actually radiates that vibe.
The town is packed with an eclectic mix of people, charisma, nightlife and of course the surf. As a backpacker hub, it caters well to the nocturnal activities of travellers and there are numerous places where you can enjoy a cold beer and good company.
Byron Bay Lighthouse has become a landmark for Byron Bay. Built from prefabricated concrete blocks it was finished in 1901 and for a century it alerted passing ships to the dangers of the coast. It’s the most easterly lighthouse in Australia, and one of the most powerful. The trek upto the lighthouse gives a spectacular view of the ocean.
Byron Bay is home to a handful of the nation’s most iconic music festivals, encompassing a range of different genres. My timing wasn’t great as there were no performances during my stay.
The ride to Sydney through the coastal towns was a great experience and was truly a visual treat. I took some time out at Coffs Harbour riding through the town and taking a break at the coffee shop at the harbour. This was the longest distance I rode in a day. It was approximately 770 kms in a day. The sun would set only by 8:30 pm, so I took that extra time to my advantage and was able to enter Sydney before dark. I had my family and friends who were hosting me, so it was indeed fun meeting them after long.
Australia’s most populous urban center is among the world’s great cities. I had my plans charted out as I was planning to be here for six days. One day was dedicated to visiting the historic Rocks district, it is packed with shopping opportunities and upscale hotels, and is a good vantage point for viewing the monumental steel arch Harbour Bridge. Darling Harbour is filled with tourists, but a lively and interesting precinct with museums, restaurants and a stellar aquarium.
I met up with a friend from India who was holidaying in Australia. She too was a rider and we ended up renting a bike for her and rode to the Blue Mountains and the Jenolan Caves. A memorable ride I have to say, with stunning views that forced us to stop and take it all in.
Great scenic valley, open cliffs and dense rainforest, a paradise for photographers and wildlife lovers.
You may want to walk for hours or if you prefer take a ride on the cable cars. Either way you will be covered in the Blue Mountains. Just make sure you see the Three Sisters before leaving this amazing national park.
I am a foodie but being a vegetarian that cuts my options to a a few places. Newton is the known destination for the foodies and me along with my friends ended up in MARY’S. It’s a very happening place and the most talked about among the young happening crowd. As expected the place was packed. I loved the ambience. Mary’s is known for their burgers, and you just can’t pass the Cheeseburger, with special tangy sauce and scrumptious cheese. Hailed as the Best Burger in Sydney, these burgers are soft, greasy, and everything you want after a late night out! After all the heavy duty binging, we had to cool ourselves and the next destination was N2, which is located right across the road. N2 offers good ice cream / gelato /sorbet (with a touch of novelty in a chocolate-filled syringe!). You definitely don’t want to miss it.
The Sydney motorcycle show was happening the same time I was in Sydney and I spent an entire day meeting other riders and I was literally astounded seeing the lineup of new bikes and classic retro ones which caught everyone’s attention. I was fortunate to meet THE DUSTY OLD BAGS, two young English women aged 68 and 69 who have been touring round the world. I headed out of Sydney and as I exited the city, I did a quick stop over at Kamay Bay National Park at Cape Solander. Cape Solander is undoubtedly one of Sydney’s best whale watching spots.
I spent the most of my Australian sojourn in Melbourne, a really cool city with a lot of creative influence riddled with nice coffee shops. The city is known as the Street Art capital and it’s an interesting experience exploring the street art trail. In fact I would suggest the best way to explore the entire city is by walking it out. So when in Melbourne, get into a pair of comfortable shoes and get moving.
I spent a good day at the Federation square and the museum down the road. Hosier Lane and Rutledge Lane are both worth taking a stroll. The Niagara Lane and McKillop street have a unique touch. The lane is paved with red brick and has several trees and heritage style lampposts along it. In addition to this, there is restricted access to cars.
If you are a foodie, Melbourne has to top your list. The Victorian influence is very much evident in the construction and the city has a seamless mix of the old and the new. The old English houses in the Eastern part of Melbourne was an amazing sight and the streets lend to the ambience.
The Great Ocean Road, is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. It was a great ride, and every corner had a different view. The road was built by returned soldiers and dedicated to soldiers killed during World War I. In fact it is also known as the world’s largest war memorial. The 240 kms stretch winds through varying terrains along the coast and provides access to several prominent landmarks, including the Twelve Apostles.
There is always a vibe as you enter a town, especially one with heritage. Ballarat was one such town. It had every characteristic of a town where everybody knew everybody. Encapsulated within a radius of 8 kms, you can cover all the main areas for sure. Having said that there is a strong and vibrant history to this town. The Victorian Gold Rush transformed Ballarat from a small sheep station to a major settlement. Gold was discovered at Poverty Point in 1851 and news quickly spread of rich alluvial fields where gold could easily be extracted. Besides the gold rush, the Eureka Rebellion began from Ballarat and this is the only armed Rebellion in the history of Australia.
I was fortunate enough to be there during the Spring Festival and it was the culminating day which is the Springfest Market Sunday. The entire city was out and the mood was very festive. The festival revolved around the Lake Wendouree. There were hundreds of stallholders offering the best in food and craft; as well as musical entertainment, family fun and lots more. Sovereign Hill is a popular attraction, depicting Ballarat’s first ten years after the discovery of gold. It traces the various stages of the gold mining era. The museum brings alive the lifestyle of the days when the prospectors visited the mines and the lifestyle. The dress code, the language, the construction is all well maintained allowing the tourists to soak in the atmosphere of the early years.
Turkey is a cultural potpourri that you need to take in as you travel from the East to West. In fact this was the exact route I took entering from
Warrier's Trail is a crazy dream of a simple guy that was inspired by a desire to travel, meeting people, see places and live life full of uncertainty.
The dream is to travel 40 countries, in over 500 odd days in 5 regions (S.E.Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe & Africa)
A journey of exploration!