Following our succinct flight from Singapore to Perth and several obtrusive quips by the airport staff pertaining our exposure to bucolic animals in Asia, we arrived at the ‘Comfort Hostel’. Such two words juxtaposed together would normally be inferred as an oxymoron, but to our elated delight, for budget accomodation, the Comfort Hostel was clean, warm, efficient, equipped, homely, hospitable, fun, affable, vivacious and…comfortable! There, we met the vacuous Martin Drue from Exeter – a recovering drug addict who decided to tour the gaping coasts and ruddy inlands of Australia with the intention of overcoming his tumultuous past. Now, seven weeks later, he is still in Perth. Furthermore, the pernicious influence of Jakey’s malignance transgressed him into absolute delirium. At least Martin’s vivacity (or absence of it) was equilibriated by our other dorm room-mates: Phillip, Phillip and Lars. All German, but all right. During our stay in Perth we briefly visited the quaint city of Freemantle and the desolate town of Kalamunda in the Perth Hills.
Due to several missed transit buses amd Perth’s stagnation on Sundays, it took us seven days to escape what seemed to be the ineluctable most isolated capital city in the world. Moreover there was a deficit of activities to indulge in at night bar surf the internet. Whilst the Comfort Hostel offered a free one hour internet session per room booking, we knew that this would not suffice. Subsequently we formulated an elaborate concoction whereby we checked out of the hostel, only to return minutes later, thus securing a new booking and free internet session. To our delight, the ruse was successful!
Once we finally booked our mode of transport – the Greyhound bus service – we left for Cervantes. There, with the aid of a philanthropic Swiss named Steffan, we visited ‘Cervantes National Park’ which was comprised of a vast landscape of protruding limestone pinnacles and other eclectic rock formations.
Next, we visited Geraldton which we had been forewarned was the last moderately sized town on the West Coast until Brome which was thousands of kilometres away. Consequently we stocked up on our rations at the local Coles (an Australian equivalent of Tesco) and meandered around the proximate area before departing to Kalbarri.
As Kalbarri is renowned for its contiguous sand dunes which reach heights of up to 100 metres and inclines of 45 degrees, we decided to embark on a sandboarding trip. Although gliding down the sandy hills was exhilarating, the subsequent assiduous ascension back up the steep slopes was physically dehabilitating. Furthermore, when Pepe was hurled headlong following a collision with a jutting rock during his audacious descension standing up (something which Jakey never quite managed), we both harmoniously agreed that it was no substitute to skiing. On this sandboarding trip however, we auspicously met Mark Crayford from Brighton whom we visited ‘Natures Window’ – an excavated rock formation which ‘frames’ the surrounding area – with following an excursion around the town on two decrepit bicycles.
With Mark and his rented car we drove up to Denham where we rented an apartment comprised of five rooms for $20 AUD a night (eight pounds Sterling). Compared to the intrusive and public domain of dormitories, this was a liberating change. In Denham we drove to ‘Monkey Mia’ where a school of obseqious wild dolphins swim from the open ocean to the shore each day for a public feeding. Whilst we could not touch them, their close proximity fully revealed their glistening, smooth supple bodies, which is accentuated by their immaculate design. After Monkey Mia w edrove to an adjacent lagoon (which Jakey refused to swim in due to his fear of sharks) that was isolated, silent and bliss. Mark unfortunately had to depart the next morning due to an impending job interview in Perth, but the altruistic manager of the apartments allowed us to extend our stay for another day at the same price of $20 AUD each (resulting in a total of $40 and opposed to $60).
Our next destination, Carnarvon, was like King Henry VIII; large but uncultured, unruly and ugly. So we left on the next available bus travelling to Coral Bay.
The aforementioned town had celebrated beaches with lucid, pristine water that were transparent like translucent panes of glass. Also, an Italian couple named Sara and Luce who we had met at several prior destinations augmented our stay due to their genial and affable personalities which resulted in an abundance of discussions and chats on wordly facets. With a looming flight from Darwin to Cairns in less than two weeks however, we truncated our stay and soon moved to Exmouth – another beachside town renowned for its voluptuous waters.
To our exasperation, when we arrived in Exmouth at 4 am no youth hostels were open to accomodate us. Faced with such an abaiting conundrum, the intrepid travellers had to rest outside in a secluded park area, surronuded by enigmatic (and potentially pugnacious) emus.
Pepe, instilled with apprehensive vigilance, remained awake, semi-conscious.
When the sun rose, dirty and dejected, we walked to the beach (or to be more precise, stumbled, before resorting to hitchhiking), saw that it was entirely unimpressive, subsequently returned back to the central street in Exmouth (which was nevertheless despondently dull), surfed the internet for 90 minutes, fortunately managed to watch ‘Happy Gilmore’ as the compassionate proprietor of the internet station saw our dilemma in having nothing to do, and then waited a further eight more hours by the Vistor Information Centre for the Greyhound Bus to arrive.
The eighteen hour bus journey to Broome fluttered by with relative ease, primarily because it allowed us to replenish and eradicate our fatigue. A vivid, transcending sunset in Broome’s Cable Beach which comprised of an abundance of contrasting yet emollient colours which were as distinguished as an artists palette was the most eminent part of our short stay.
Then we engaged in a further twenty five hours of commuting to reach our final destination on the West Coast of Australia – Darwin.
After being transferred and then changing rooms respectively in our youth hostel in Darwin, we met an Irish-American aptly named Sean O’Connor (click here to view his travel blog). With Sean we visited ‘Litchfield National Park’ where Pepe swam in the cool, natural brooks procreated by thunderous waterfalls, whilst Jakey, afraid of fish, was resigned to sunbathing. We went on short treks under the humidly mitigating sun, saw long stretches of verduous tropical scenery and explored the park to its full potential. At night, under a starlit sky, we ate dinner in darkness from a viewpoint adjcent to a ravaging stream of water whilst talking about intriguing, fascinating and enlightening topics, before returning to the car where Jakey and I slept, whereas Sean opted to camp outside. This will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable and poignant Christmas Eve’s of our lives.
When we returned back to our youth hostel in Darwin, Sean had a flight to Singapore the following day, so the brief but fruitful contigency departed.
In contrast to the freedom of visiting Litchfield ourselves, we proceeded on an organised two day tour of Kakadu National Park. Our group, which consisted of eight people including ourselves, comprised of five Germans, one vivacious Japenese man named Nobuja (who we later renamed to the all-encompasing ‘Johnny’), and ourselves. The was eventful, initially visiting an aquatic crocodile farm where the ghastly beasts emerged from the waters in search of their prey which was conveniently placed on a dangling string from our boat. Following the crocodile farm and a further three hour drive we arrived at Kakadua where we once again walked over rocky terrains, sawm in hydrating pools and water and Pepe ate the popular local delicacy – Kangaroo steak – which he maintained tasted like decomposed bacteria laced with bleach.
After Kakadu we returned to Darwin’s city centre where we had a flight the following morning. As opposed to squandering money on a brief nights sleep, we visited the airport prematurely where, again, Jakey slept like a weary, elderly feline cat, whereas Pepe contentedly slept in intermittent periods of nocturnal discomfort.
Before leaving England on our gap year, due to demand for rooms around the New Year period, Pepe booked a youth hostel in Cairns which operated under the dignified name ‘Cairns International Youth Hostel’. When we arrived, the hostel had undergone new management since this booking, and a new name; the eponymous ‘Asylum’. Such was the condition of the rooms, and equipment – it was saturated with grime and dust and dirt. Unfortunately our room was booked for seven days, so we had to persevere and bide our time until the start of the new year.
During our stay we visited the exalted Great Barrier Reef which was unfortunately overshadowed by sea sickness. Nevertheless, Jakey, armed with a foam float and his sheer determination entered the ocean, where after two minutues his capitulation resorted in the bemused lifeguard throwing a rubber ring to aid him back to the boat. Pepe on the other hand went scuba diving twice where he saw the luminous expanses of the egregious reef. Following Jakey’s battle with what his insists was a “fierce” ocean, he resided on the boat for the remainder of the trip, devising his will, confusing sea sickness with death.
Before we finally left the verduously tropical region of Cairns we embarked on a brief visit to Cape Tribulation via Port Douglas. The former was a minute town under the vast canvas of looming, domineering trees and wildlife, whereas the latter was an affluent port vicinity, complete with illustrious hotels.
Although this is a fairly extensive entry, many facts and stories have been omitted due to time constraints and the necessity to be relatively terse. Likewise, a plethora of our experiences are simply ineffable but we can nevertheless assert that they are irreplaceable in our hearts and minds.
Remember to view the new photographs and videos!