The Big Walkabout (Start Sydney) » Review by Toneya
The Big Walkabout is one way to describe it. Coming from Sydney and never seeing Australia I thought this was a great way to explore my country. We started in Sydney, saw Manly Beach (which I live two mins away from) and climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge – which has the most amazing views. Then on our way to Cairns we saw the Big Banana and had a surf lesson at Coffs Harbour, went kayaking in the ocean hoping to see dolphins at Bryon bay but no such luck, held a koala at Currumbin, spent a day in Surfers relaxing, Had Australia Day at Noosa while our whole bus dressed up in Aussie stuff, it was pouring down with rain. Next we attempted to drive to Fraser Island, but being the wet season the roads were close, so back to Noosa we went. Despite missing Fraser Island, our tour manager and Bus driver managed to get us all back to Brisbane safely and onto a flight to beautiful Hamilton Island within a day or so notice. We then caught a ferry to Day Dream Island to continue our journey. Day Dream Island is beautiful, a nice place to relax. We went to Whitehaven beach and it looked like a postcard, so magnificent. Next was a long drive up to Cairns where we would spend our final days on the East Coast. As our last night together we went to the Wool Shed which can be one of the highlights of the trip!! Some of the optional for Cairns were White Water Rafting and The Great Barrier Reef Cruise which I would highly recommend to everyone.
Next part of our adventure was flying to Alice Springs. In which we saw the Contiki bus coming to get us as we were landing! First afternoon in Alice Springs we went to a reptile park, where we could all hold a snake, blue tongue lizard and a frill neck lizard. Next night we slept under the stars in an Aussie swag, which was surprising comfy. We tried bush tucker which included Kangaroo’s tail. Next day we headed to Uluru. First we went through Kata-Tjuta (the Olgas). Uluru day – which included waking up at 4am to see the sunrise, then we had the option to walk around Uluru, next was an optional helicopter ride over Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Finally we spent the afternoon at Uluru where our tour manager and Bus driver put on a Champagne Dinner! It was a beautiful afternoon. Next day we headed back to Alice Springs where we went to an optional dinner at the Overlanders Steakhouse which we tried Crocodile, Emu, Kangaroo and Camel, which were all very yummy.
On our way north to Darwin, we stopped at Tennant Creek, Wycliffe Well – to see UFO’s, Devils marbles, Daly Waters Pub – oldest pub in the NT and Mataranka Thermal pools. Katherine Gorge optional cruise was very nice to see the gorge and to see how high the water comes up. In Kakadu National Park we went on a Billabong cruise, we saw crocodiles in the wild. Darwin was our last stop our last few days together as a group, in which some of us had became very close! First thing we did in Darwin was an optional Cage of Death, which involved getting in a cage with a crocodile, now you see why it is optional! I’ve never screamed so loud in my life but I would do it again! Last night out was spent at Monsoons where we had a great night out. Last day involved looking at termite mounds and tall as houses and the beautiful Florence falls, which as just majestic.
Overall the optionals were great, the accommodation was fantastic, and food was always yummy. The bus rides were some of the best times. Tour mates were wonderful and we still talk everyday! I would highly recommend this tour and Contiki to everyone, it was such a great experience and so organised, I would do it again in a heartbeat!
Review written Mar 2013event 0.3