Drifting Dane

Around Australia

  • Morten Noerregaard
  • Australia

The East. West. North. South.

I am now Magnetic Island where I`m gonna stay for the next few days. It`s a nice, beautiful little paradise about 8 kilometres out from the coast of Townsville. I arrived here yesterday after I'd been driving 350 km from Cairns. In Cairns I spend a little more money on my diving then I was supposed to, but I figured, what the hell! who doesn't want to go diving at night with sharks? I tell you that's an incredible feeling and adrenaline rush and to make it even better there was a hurricane which made the waves seem like monsters. I was, OF COURSE, the one who got the honour of jumping in first with this little thing in the hand they call a flashlight (bigger ones cost extra) and there I was hanging on a rope that leads you all the way down to the bottom, trying to be one with the black water and the huge waves and with the amazing flashlight that gave me no comfort whatsoever. I dive down and about 10-15 meters I start flashing my light around only to discover 2 sharks on my left and another 3 on my right, I stopped breathing for 30 seconds and I could feel my pulse rising to the throat fairly quickly. and that is it! after that you just start flowing with all these creatures of the sea and the only thing that you recognize is it`s beauty as you swim along the Great Barrier reef. It just comes alive during the night, all you have to do is put your fear behind you and jump in and you`ll love it till the day you die. June 13-2006. After two days on Magnetic Island I moved on to Airlie beach, which is a small beach town from where people normally go the Whitsunday Islands, there are more 90 Islands where most of them is not inhabited. Here I went on a 3 days cruise on a sailing boat with 15 others. During the day we would be snorkelling around in the reef, tanning on the deck and exploring whatever Island we had anchored out in front of. At night we would be on deck telling stories about your travels, having a Barby and drinking wine, freedom and luxury!!! After 5 days in Airlie beach, I continue down towards Rainbow beach, which is a 12 hours drive. I drive non stop for 7 hours until I reach Rockhampton, where I spend the night In some kind of pub-hostel with some lovely lady`s staying there. I would defiantly had stay couple of days to keep them company if it wasn't for the fact that I was already late as hell to get to Rainbow beach, thank god for Betty (my car) for getting me everywhere. I reach Rainbow beach the next day, just in time to book myself in for a self drive tour on Fraser Island which is the biggest sand island in the world, where you can drive on the beach just a couple of meters from the water…pretty cool! we are 8 groups, that`s going to the Island and with about 10 to 11 people in each group That could turn out to be one hell of a beach party before we leave. We pack the jeep with all the necessary stuff for the trip and head on to Fraser. It is a great feeling all of a sudden driving on a beach with a view of the beautiful ocean on one side as the waves splashing up 2 meters from where your driving, the great sand dunes on the other side. At one point I hear two small voices coming from the back…shouting, WATCH THE ROAD!!As I just seem to float away in my mind, enjoying this amazing cruise along the beach and the feeling of total freedom. I shout back…WHAT ROAD..laughing, because I seem to be the only with no worries. Anyway, our first stop is Lake Mckenzie, which is a big freshwater lake in the middle of the Island, and from here it`s strictly 4 wheel drive only, as you don`t wanna get stuck in the middle of the bush, and this is defiantly the fun part of driving. It`s like being on a roller coaster, but where you can`t slow down, because that`s when you get into trouble. 1,5 hour later we finally reach the lake, and everyone is just cheering and happy that we didn't get stuck (probably why I remained the driver for the whole trip yeeah!! Not long after everyone just jumps in this big cool freshwater heaven (aaaahhhh) where we spend the next couple of hours just relaxing in the sun and eating lunch before we head on to find our camp for the night. We lose track of time and it`s getting dark, which means that the tide is closing in and makes it impossible to drive on the beach unless you can afford a new jeep….not recommended driving on the beach after sundown. We find our camp just in time before the ocean closes up the beach, and the same goes for two other groups. After putting the camp up and eating I walk around, and start chatting with the other groups. Looks like we have a little of everything here…France, Holland, Japan, Sweden, Germany, England, Italy, and of course me, Denmark. (This is where I meet Frederika from Italy, who joins me on road down to Sydney) Dingoes!!! Small look alike crossing between a dog and a wolf, mostly related to the wolf, though! and Fraser is full of them.They especially enjoy scouting around where the tourists are, meaning in most cases easy food without the big afford of chasing it. At one point one manage to sneak into a German girls tent just before she had to get something, It scared the living shit out of her, so whenever I shouted DINGO`S…hahaha, well I think you can guess the rest! The next morning we move on to Maheno, a big wreck of an ocean liner that was forced upon Fraser by a cyclone back in 1935.Then a long drive up to Indian head, where you have the highest point on the Island, and from where you can see dolphins, sharks, whales, and manta rays. We walk along the coast then over to the champagne pools, which is natural rocks that form a pool, where it`s safe to go swimming (the sea at Fraser is a mekka for the 3 most dangerous sharks, tiger, great white, and hammer shark) so no swimming in the sea, unless you're sure that you can outswim a shark or pack a pretty good punch underwater) Ooh, yeah back to the pools! all of us start jumping in from the cliffs and as more people join in, it turns out to be a pretty cool place to have a pool party. (Time passes quickly when you are having fun and just enjoying the freedom in life) It's our last night on Fraser, and all 8 groups decide to hook up the same place for the night to end this great memory of a trip with one hell of a beach party. We all find a spot for the last night and park the jeeps in one big circle, preventing wind from blowing the sand dunes down on us. During the party, there`s a jeep that won`t start (you have to remember, even though your drunk and having fun, to charge the battery on your jeep, as it`s function is also to provide you with power to numerous other things on your trip) and it turns out that the battery is dead, thank god for the locals passing by with jumper cables, or so you would think. The jeep gets charged up and the party continues with a bit more local taste as they play the guitar and didgeridoo. Next morning a jeep is trying to get out of the camp but gets stuck in the sand, even though everyone tries to help It takes us 30 min of burning up energy and gas before it`s noticed that only the front wheels are moving, seems that someone had fun last night unlocking the 4wd drive so people would get stuck the next morning. I personally get a suspicious look from everyone, seeing that I was more or less know as the joker and funny guy. Nonetheless, it wasn't me (this time hehe) but the nice locals that have there own little fun getting tourists stuck in the sand. We enjoy our last drive on the beach, towards the ferry back to the mainland, everyone in high spirit, though with big hangovers. For me, this was a great memorable trip, with a lot of fantastic people. From Rainbow beach me and my new travel companion, Frederika from Italy, continues down to Brisbane, my first really big city. Brisbane is defiantly one of the hardest cities to find your way around in. It feels like being in one big roundabout all the time with no chance of escape.This time around we just spend a lot of the time relaxing, exploring the city, and shopping (Frederika) we meet a Canadian girl at our hostel an go for a drive up to Mount Cousa to watch the sunset over the city. Brisbane is a big city but very relaxing and down to earth kind of place. From here we travel on to this little party place of a town, called Byron Bay where everyone seems to be smoking weed a lot, which comes as no surprise as soon as you learn what the neighbour town, Nimbin is known for. I think that most of the Danish population would know what I`m talking about if I were to mention, CHRISTIANA. We are staying at this great hostel named the Arts factory, and this place just about has everything you`ll ever need. Jacuzzi, cinema, a bar…everything!!! We meet some good people here too, and that always makes it suck when you have To leave. This is also the place where I have my first hang gliding experience, Jumping off a Mountain hoping that wind will catch you just right and then hovering and floating 300 meters over sea watching the turtles and dolphins playing around in what looks like another planet from up here.Truly amazing flying around with the eagles by your side. From Byron Bay we continue your journey down towards Sydney, on the way we spend two days in Port Maguire where we visit the Koala hospital and an old village from the 1800 century. 2 days after we are in Sydney, and I`m starting to feel the need for some more adventures stuff, besides shopping and finding a place to park the car. Frederika is flying home the day after, so we just enjoy each others company for the last day and visit the DANISH opera house and harbour bridge. It`s a great feeling finally standing here, in Sydney even though it`s just another big city….fast!!! But probably the cleanest big city I've ever been in and as your standing there watching the green park, with skyscrapers grooving in the back and the water around you, you can`t help recognize the beauty of this contrast that surrounds you. It`s a bit strange all of a sudden being alone again and I quickly decide to continue my quest for adventure in the great Blue Mountains, a 2 hour drive inland from Sydney. The first day in the Blue mountains I go on a hiking trip up in the mountainous terrain, as I`m walking up I discover this little train going up and down along the side of the Mountain…. hmmm, what the bloody hell!!! I think as I`m trying to get a better look.This train acidly goes up and down on the side of the mountain attached with cables, and nothing else then the gravity and your feet are holding you in place. I tried it and paid about 8 bucks for 10 meters when I could have gotten the whole trip up for the same…..(RIP OFF) looks like I`m walking down too. But make no mistake, if you enjoy nature and mountains the best way is always gonna be on your own and getting those none touristic spots and seeing the things that the local guide never would show you on a normal hike. Day 2 I go rock climbing with an English couple and an instructor. That’s pretty good adrenalin, as the only protection your climbing with is the trust in the people on the ground that’s holding the safety rope in case you fall or slip, and then the fact that you don`t know them at all makes it a bit more thrilling. (my normal sense and logic tells me that a 55 kg girl will have problems holding a 88 kg guy if he starts falling) It` s amazing what you can get your body to do just by the thought of falling, and trust me you also want to reach the top instead of giving up. Just the view itself is worth every drop of sweat and struggle! we climb five different kinds of rock sides, where each is getting harder than the one before.The last one is the most difficult one, and of course after you've used up all your energy on the four first ones. I`m standing there looking up at 30-40 meters pure rock wall, it looks smooth, like its been polish beforehand. The only gab you see is a long crack that follows the rock all the way up and separates the two giant mountain pieces from each other. There is nowhere to put your feet, and the first 20 meters is all about how long you can hold your Bodyweight with the strength of your hands, and then at the same time, using your hip to take some off the pressure of the hands, in between, as you`re pulling yourself up. Fuck! that was hard!!! My arms are completely numb after this one, and I never made it all the way up. Rock climbing is defiantly a “must do thing” for everyone who likes an adrenalin kick or is suffering From that WILL YOU CATCH ME IF I FALL trust!?

Day three I meet Warren, a South African guy, and it turns out that he`s getting ready to move on to Look for work, as he wants to extend his visa just like me. We go for a proper mountain bike trip up in the mountains, 30 k`s up, getting lost on unknown trails along the way, but well worth the effort and excises as we`re getting closed to the top of the mountain. From there it`s just a kick ass ride all the way down and the thrill of trying to control your bike in high speed without crashing gives you that adrenalin kick you've been working hard for on the way up. Next day, I and Warren pack up our stuff and hit the road, seeking a temporary place to just chill and work for a couple of weeks. we headed inland from the Blue Mountains, towards all the small farmer towns, we didn't really have any clue on where to find seasonal work. we just went by instinct and stop in the towns along the way, asking the locals if they knew about any work in the neighbourhood. No luck, what so ever, because where ever we stopped the season was over we reached a small town called Griffith, where the local gas station owner, promised us work on his parent's farm but we would have to wait a couple of weeks before orange picking started. Nothing to do in Griffith, at all! So waiting a couple of weeks for something that’s not sure is a waste of time, if you ask me.At this point the winter season is close and is only around 500 km from the Snowy Mountains, I came up with the idea to head down and go skiing, (yes, you can go skiing in OZ) while we wait for work. You have all the weather season in Australia, being a wast country it changes from state to state, but if you were to compare it with Europe, it`s pretty much sunny most of the time, and for a European, it wouldn't be considered cold here at all.Being from South Africa, Warren had never felt or even seen snow before, so of course, he was all up for it Our journey continued up in the great snowy mountains, we started off perfect, after a bad night sleeping in the car at the local MacDonald parking area. Being on the wrong side of the road in the early morning traffic will surely wake you up, if not a local Aussie guy is sure to point it out to you if you missed it.(YOU`RE IN THE WRONG LANE, MATE!!!!) hahahaha, his probably thinking....blotty Europeans!! Warren didn't have a clue either. When my brain finally caught up with me and noticed that I was the third lane in a two lane, (doooooh) reversing 50 meters back, pulling in behind the last car, just as the cops came up the road, No doubt they knew what was going on, as they saw the old Ford Falcon station car making a 3rd road available......thinking blotty (fucking) Europeans.......!!! NOTE: I've skipped the chapter of the Snowy Mountains, instead I've uploaded a bunch of videos and pictures from there. The visual aspect tent to be much stronger then words can describe....so enjoy!!

Back to my story....I`m on my way down the west coast now and I`m sure everyone would love it here. Its"s amazingly beautiful and there"s no comparing the east coast with this part of OZ (THE REAL OZ) I worked in a town called Berri in south OZ close to Adelaide for 6 weeks and stayed at this perfect hostel where everyone was like one big happy family....which made it harder to leave ones the work was gone. Anyway...from there I drove up to Alice Springs, Uluru, And Darwin together with a Korean friend, which I mat in Berri.

We also tried to make a movie about backpackers in Berri but the project failed, nonetheless, we had so much fun making it, or trying too! and that"s the point of it all, right??? We didn't really like Alice Springs or Darwin maybe because we came from such a warm and friendly place as Berri, and that our expectations were too high. But I drove us up to Uluru on the way which was the main thing that I wanted to see. when we got to Darwin it was just another touristic place, nothing else to do than going out on the piss, and too bloody hot to even move around whit out constantly sweating. I ended up getting a job in Kakadu National Park at a resort in the middle of nowhere, and johnny ended up going back to Berri because he was so unhappy up here. I work for almost 6 weeks in Kakadu doing Housekeeping, and I hated it like hell because of the isolation and nothing else to do then going to the bar every night. But hey, that`s how you save up money, quick! you adapt to a routine just as you would have done at home, and the fact that you are very isolated with nothing to spend money on makes you pass time and be creative in other ways...so at the end of the day it turns out in your fever. In my case, I decided that if I was to live here for at least 6 weeks I would have to do something to keep my mental state focused on something else, so I mostly just keep to my work every day and in the evening I would go for a run or work out at the gym. I left Kakadu 2 weeks earlier then I wanted, but with new experiences and 5 kg lighter. I Heading towards Broome on my own, I was happy to leave the Northern territory!!!I stopped at Wolf Creek on the way, but BETTY (my car) wasn't so happy to go all the way into the on a shit dirt road...so I gave up before reaching the crater and continued on to the lovely west coast. Broome was a nice change (Bloody hot) but a very nice place to chill out after Kakadu. Beautiful beaches and relaxed.....OOOOH, I forgot about the duchies!!! a couple of Duch Boys that I mat in Berri has been travelling the same way as me, so we kept meeting up....either they were behind me or me behind them somewhere. good always having some friends to meet up with whenever you were in a new city. In Broome I mat a German girl who decided to travel with me, we vent to Karijini national park an took our daily showers under the waterfalls and vent swimming in the big gorges.

After that, we went on to Cape Range park where I started my fishing project, which was supposed to keep our stomach full to save money. It didn't go as expected....hahaha, caught one fish that we couldn't eat and after that everything just went wrong. We ended up living on can food and noodles instead, but at least we cooked out in nature. From Cape Range, we drove on down to Coral Bay and went diving with the great big Manta rays. that was an amazing experience swimming next to these big (flying like) creatures!! There"s not so many backpackers in the west this time of the year so the time I spent here has been a good time to contemplate... Anyway, after Coral bay we moved on to Monkey mia where I finally got to see flipper and his family, and we went bushwalking where a couple of big emus "s  didn't think we belonged there and started chasing us....hahaha that was funny! and Julia was scared shitless, trying to hold them off with a tiny stick....hahaha! From Monkey Mia to Perth there wasn't a lot to see that we hadn't already seen...went to the pinnacles desert which is thousand of big stones in different shapes created by sea shelf material, millions of years ago and the wind carrying them inland. then a scenic route to see some blowholes, that could be mistaken for a geyser or natural spring.....

after that we went straight to Perth. 2 weeks of camping in nature with Julia as my travel companion and pretty much no people turn out to be a very good experience and completely different from what I would have expected. So when I look back on my whole trip, one of the best things i"m gonna remember is whit out a doubt the 2 weeks down the west coast, because this was the time and place where I felt the freest, and alive. I worked a couple of month in Perth as a Thieler and enjoyed it very much, even though it was a tough job. I lived in my boss house which had a swimming pool and barbeque outback and spend a week on Rottnest Island with Julia, camping out. Perth remains one of my favourite places in Australia along with the west coast. I stayed through Christmas here and decided to split up with my travel mate, Julia, whom I'd shared a memorable time discovering the west with, and then drove 40 hours and 3800 kilometres non stop with a dutch an English guy who also wanted to reach Melbourne for new years eve.

I never did finalise the ending of this story... After Melbourne, I toured through the small island, Tasmania.