I recently returned from an atypical trip. The kind of journey that can’t leave you indifferent. Crossing the sixth largest country in the world from north to south on a road called the Explorers Way is something to do once in a lifetime. Today, I’m taking you on a road trip with me. Hang your seatbelts, here we go!
The Explorers Way
It all starts with a long, very long flight. Australia is clearly not the next door. Needless to say, the choice of the airline is therefore quite important in such a situation. And I can only recommend Singapore Airlines, probably one of my favorite airlines! USB sockets, for computers, large screens, and above all, a lot of space even in eco class since the Paris>Singapour flight is done in A380! On top of that, the connection is necessarily in Singapore and this airport is probably THE reference for me. By the way, a small good plan: If you stay in a stopover for more than 6 hours at Changi Airport, you can get vouchers worth 40 dollars.
After about 25 hours of travel, I finally arrived in Darwin, the first stop on this memorable journey. Darwin is the capital of the Northern Territory, aka Northern Territory.
In practical terms, this territory is more than twice the size of France. That’s all it is. And there’s a lot to see in the latter! Nature, adrenaline and wildlife lovers will love it.
Darwin, The Land Of The Crocodiles
Proof of this is Darwin, for example, you don’t have to swim everywhere because there are a lot of crocodiles in the area. Enough to calm down on the jump in the water. But this city of about 115,000 inhabitants is full of surprises. Starting with its sunsets, each more beautiful than the other.
For a unique experience to discover the sunset, you can also take a boat that will take you a little off Darwin and offer you a typical Fish and Chips in front of beautiful landscapes, and, of course, a beautiful sunset.
If you go to Darwin between May and October (which is a good idea, as the weather is milder in this city where humidity is great), you can enjoy a Weekly Mindil Beach Sunset Markets night market that takes place on Wednesdays (from 5pm to 10pm) and Saturdays (from 4pm to 8pm). The perfect place to eat something unusual, and enjoy the sunset on the beach that is nearby. Unmissable in my opinion!
After 2 short days in Darwin, I invite you to drive to Wangi Falls. A necessary stop for a fairly magical and easily accessible place. The same is true for Tolmer Falls, further down the road, which is a little more hidden and therefore less touristy. Don’t forget the jerseys.
Meet an Aboriginal
This experience made a huge impression on me. We hear a lot about Aboriginal people in Australia, whether it’s good or bad. Unfortunately, often in trouble, it must be admitted. However, I had the opportunity to meet one who was simply exceptional. He explained to me the differences between the modern way of life and that of the Aborigines. It was exciting! Notably the difference in the notion of time in our culture (everything is timed, measured) unlike that of the Aborigines (no watch, we meet for long periods). We also made local paintings and I realized that I wasn’t at all made for it.
It all lasted 2 hours, but it passed in 10 minutes… For the curious, here is the Facebook page of this place not to be missed if you go through the Explorers Way. A memorable encounter in perspective! Besides, I told you that you’ll also see baby wallabies there? Unmissable I tell you.
Daly Waters, where time stood still
Wow. I think I will never forget this place. Daly Waters is the typical city of the Australian Outback. Everything you can imagine is in it: Cowboys by the dozens (real, kind with the hat and everything!), a totally out-of-the-ordinary pub, and a unique atmosphere in the world. Not to mention a magical sunset when I arrived, but, I have the impression that we are entitled all over Australia. You MUST visit this place at least once in your life.
Devils Marbles, Geological Wonders
A little further south, in the centre of the Northern Territory, you can discover a truly atypical geological site. These are huge rounded granite rocks that can reach up to 6 meters in diameter!
For those who wonder why these stones are of this form, this comes from the erosion created for millions of years. More than once, I wondered how they could balance. I really advise you to go to this place an hour before sunset, the stones then change radically color over time, it’s really crazy!
Alice Springs, Central Australia (almost)
Alice Springs is this city that you can always see on the maps of the world, displayed in bulk, fat, big. I’ve always been curious to find out, given the importance it has taken on this huge map attached to my bed since I was a kid. And I was amazed by what I discovered there! Contrary to what one might think, Alice Springs has only 25,000 inhabitants and the atmosphere there is like that of Daly Waters: Unique. Very hipster, very different from what you have known so far. And, above all, there is the Kangaroo Shrine which is simply unmissable.
This sanctuary aims to bring together orphaned baby kangaroos from (tens of thousands) of parents crushed on the road every year in Australia. We don’t necessarily know, but there’s a good chance that even if the mother dies after being hit by a car, a baby may still be alive in her pocket… And it is here that the sanctuary makes sense. You know, I’m not a zoo fan at all. But I had the impression that this place was far from the cash machines that can be found in Thailand with elephants for example. Here, only preservation seems to count and that’s what makes me happy. You will never be hundreds in the place, there is only one possible visit per day… And, above all, we’re not going to lie: Coming to Australia without being able to see the kangaroos, it would still be a shame!
Uluru is this big rock that you can find on 90% of the communication pads of travel agencies looking to send you to Australia. It’s a magical symbol of the country. In short, Uluru, it’s worth a visit.
My stomach was knotted when I saw this huge icon in the distance, and the Sunset and the colors that changed over the minutes did not fail to give me the chills. I’m just a little disappointed that there are so many people in this place. But it makes sense when you know its reputation! We don’t go to the Eiffel Tower hoping to be alone on Trocadero.
Flinders Ranges, another jewel not to be missed
Heading for another territory, South Australia. And god knows it’s going to start well for you! You can’t miss the famous Flinders Range, otherwise known as Flinders Ranges, which represent the largest mountain range in the state. The highest point is Wilpena Pound. You may come across many kangaroos while strolling through them, so a tip, opens your eyes.
I didn’t expect to discover such a landscape in Oceania at all, let alone Australia. Yet Lake Eyre is very real, and it is the largest salt lake in this part of the world with an area of, please, 9300 kms2. A unique place, quite simply.
I had a huge crush on this island. At first, I thought that the name did not portend anything good, it seemed to me really marketed as ever. And yet! I was stunned by the beauty of the island itself, and especially its eco-responsible side that does good to see these days. Here nature is queen before man. Besides, there are not many men. There are less than 5,000 of them in an area of 4400 kilometers, the 3rd largest island in Australia!
As for animals in total freedom, you will enjoy yourself. There are millions of Wallabies, koalas, sea lions, seals, and so on. More than 250 species are on the island. In short, it is paradise on earth.
How not to end this article with Adelaide, the final point of the Explorers Way but above all a city of which I have always heard a lot of good things during my travels. I quickly understood why the city is nicknamed “the 20 minutes city”, it’s impressive how easy it is to get around Adelaide and especially to find yourself so quickly where you want to go! The city is also known for its botanical garden, Central Market and the State Library of South Australia. Personally, I especially remember a city where it seems to make a very good life and where the gastronomy is of very good quality, even for vegetarians.
Final Thoughts on the Explorers Way
In the end, what is my assessment of this trip? Actually, I still have a little trouble realizing everything I could live on the other side of the world during these 3 weeks of road trip. One thing is certain, I am marked by this stay. Above all and especially by the beauty of our mother nature on Kangaroo Island, but also for all the slaps I was able to take during the Australian sunsets or for the feeling of ultimate freedom that I have felt so often as I drove on these desert outlines. To travel to Australia, you need a large budget (count about 100 euros per day). But crossing the sixth largest country in the world from north to south, definitely, it can not leave indifferent.