Far out

G’day, we are a couple doing the big lap around Australia in a 4WD and positing pictures along the way.
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SCENIC RIM, QLD

KM 15,056

One of the many waterfalls found on our way during our roadtrip in the Scenic Rim in Queensland.

With the sunny Gold Coast in our rearview mirror, we start our ascent towards the Scenic Rim inland from Brisbane. The winding dirt road leads us through a creek that should be easy to cross in drier weather, but with the rain from the previous days, the bed is not visible. To gauge the depth, I cross it on foot first: the current is strong and the rocks below are slippery. As night falls, we are too far along to turn back, the only option is to move forward. Engaging the low range, we start the slow crawl through the water, making it to the other side, safe but scared.

BURLEIGH HEADS, QLD

KM 14,581

Surfers Paradise seen through the pines lining up the coast at Burleigh Heads.

With nearly 15,000 kilometres on the clock, our trusty Prado is due for servicing. After dropping our car off at the mechanic, we set out to explore the Gold Coast on foot, eager to experience the area beyond its reputation. Surfer's Paradise, with its towering high-rise buildings and neon-lit nightclubs, certainly lives up to its party-hard image. But beyond the glitz and glamour, we discover a more laid-back side to the Gold Coast, with tree-lined beaches stretching as far as the eye can see, hip restaurants and designer stores. The relaxed vibe fades off quickly as we pick up our car, we will need to fix a few expensive parts before we can resume our journey.

CABARITA BEACH, NSW

KM 14,247

The rocky headland at Cabaret Beach in the background, with swimmers and beachgoers in the foreground.

The North-East coast of New South Wales is blessed with amazing surf spots. Almost every headland along this coast transforms the swell into clean, right-hand waves: Angourie Point, Yamba, Lennox Head. And Cabarita is no different. A short walk through a grove of pandanus and eucalyptus, a set of wooden stairs, and we reach the sand. The vibe is relaxed, and the water is crystal-clear, making this the perfect place to spend the day.

BYRON BAY, NSW

KM 13,832

Two surfers walking on the beach with their board under their arm.

During our ten-day stay in Byron Bay, we spend most of our time in the ocean. The Pass, the renowned point break north of town, produces a a long, gentle wave perfect for relaxed surf sessions. Nonchalant longboarders and groups of tourists taking their first lessons share the sea with pods of dolphins and sea turtles. The sun shines brightly, and the water is warm. Every day in Byron Bay is a great day.

BYRON BAY, NSW

KM 13,425

Cape Byron white lighthouse photographed as the sun sets.

The infamous Cape Byron Light illuminates the night sky with a beam stronger than two million candles. Situated on Bundjalung land at the easternmost point of mainland Australia, it offers a prime vantage point for observing whales during their annual migration. We follow the boardwalk out of town along the beach, through a dense bushland of eucalyptus and tea trees, to reach the viewpoint. Hundreds of other visitors have gathered to witness the sun setting beyond the horizon. The gold light irradiates Wategos beach below.

SCOTTS HEAD, NSW

KM 12,132

A longboarder surfing a wave at sunset.

Scotts Head has always been our favourite destination for a long weekend getaway. It is close enough to Sydney for a day trip, yet far enough to deter large crowds. It has long been a dream of mine to visit during a random weekday and have the surf spot to myself. This time, we are in luck: no long weekends, no school holidays, and a promising surf forecast on the horizon. All the ingredients for a great couple of days.

CRESCENT HEAD, NSW

KM 11,611

An aerial shot of surfers waiting for waves in a turquoise water.

As we exit the Pacific Highway at Kempsey and turn towards Crescent Head, I cannot contain my excitement. We came here before, we know exactly what we are in for. This small coastal town is globally renowned for its right-hand wave, one of the longest and most consistent on the Australian East Coast. It is busy on this random mid-week morning, with a few dozens people waiting at the peak. Fortunately, other secluded beaches nestled in the nearby National Park also offer fantastic waves, minus the crowds.

HONEYMOON BAY, ACT

KM 10,744

A sunset at Honeymoon Bay, the croissant-shaped beach in Australian Capital Territory.

Shortly after the Australian Constitution was signed in 1901, Melbourne and Sydney, the largest cities at the time, couldn't agree on which should become the capital of this new country. A compromise was found, and Canberra was established in the middle of New South Wales, between the two major cities. To avoid a landlocked situation, the Australian Capital Territory was also given a piece of land on the east coast. It's there, in the midst of picturesque tourist villages and military bases, both surrounded by the whitest sand in Australia, that we set up camp for the night. This prime location offers a perfect spot to watch the sun set over the tranquil waters.

PEBBLY BEACH, NSW

KM 10,524

A kangaroo overlooking the water at Pebbly Beach, in New South Wales.

The weather changes quickly. The wind shifts onshore and the dark clouds loom on the horizon. The sea is getting more chaotic, the groomed swell lines turn into a mess of foam. At last, the rain starts. And everywhere around us, kangaroos remain unbothered by the storm coming our way.

BERMAGUI, NSW

KM 10,277

Bermagui's Blue Pool seen from above with a lone swimmer.

On the Sapphire Coast, any road east of the Princess Highway leads to a peaceful coastal town with an exotic name: Pambula, Merimbula, Tathra, Ulladulla. Each of these places is a little paradise - crystal clear waters surrounded by verdant bushland. We daydream about how life must be easy here as we continue our road trip North. Bermagui’s Blue Pool, the 50 metre-long seawater swimming hole, is almost deserted when we arrive in the middle of the afternoon. We have the luxury of having the whole place to ourselve.

BEOWA NATIONAL PARK, NSW

KM 10,145

Boyd's Tower appearing in the distance, behind a curtain of trees.

Just outside of Eden lies Beowa National Park, spanning 45 kilometres of jagged coastline. We drive along winding dirt tracks to reach the rocky Bittangabee Bay. The secluded creek exudes a peaceful stillness, its turquoise waters reflecting the untouched landscape that surrounds it. In the distance, the iconic Boyds Tower stands watch over the ocean, a remnant of the park's whaling heritage. It is now the perfect vantage point to spot whales during their annual migration.

EDEN, NSW

KM 9,846

Eden's pool on the south coast of New South Wales, with the pink cliffs in the background and the water in the foreground.

We continue our journey and cross the border to reach New South Wales’ southernmost outpost. Once a vibrant whaling station, Eden is now a sleepy coastal town. Surrounded by state forests, national parks and turquoise waters, the landscape is striking. We stroll through the historic streets, lined with buildings from a bygone era, until we reach the beach below. The man-made rock pool, nestled at the foot of the striking pink cliffs, provides the perfect place to cool down on our road trip.

WILSONS PROMONTORY, VIC

KM 9,290

An emu photographed inside Wilsons Promontory National Park, in Victoria.

We keep driving eastward, hugging the Victorian coast's rugged curves as we near Wilsons Promontory. Towering grey granite boulders emerge, scattered across secluded sandy coves. We can get a glimpse of the round summit of Mount Oberon through a thick veil of clouds. The National Park teems with wildlife and we need to pause on several occasions to let wombats unhurriedly cross the road. An emu even stop by to say g’day.

PHILLIP ISLAND, VIC

KM 9,132

Noe and Olive, two dingos, on a surfboard.

A short 90-minute drive away from Melbourne lies a surfer’s paradise. With its rugged coastline creating beaches and reefs facing different directions, no matter the wind and swell of the day, there will be a spot working on Phillip Island. From the moment you cross the bridge linking it to the mainland, you know you are on an island - the pace is a little slower, the people a little nicer. The locals are so welcoming and I have never experienced such a relaxed lineup in the surf. Everyone is cheering each other on and happy to share waves - a true surfer’s paradise.

SORRENTO, VIC

KM 8,719

Cape Schanck lighthouse, near Sorrento in the Mornington Peninsula.

Sorrento has to be one of Victoria’s best kept secrets; coming from Sydney, we never heard of it before. This coastal village, located at the western tip of the Mornington Peninsula, is surrounded by water. On one side sits Port Phillip with its calm waters, while on the other lies the Bass Strait with its cliffs and ocean swell. The town centre is filled with historic limestone buildings, upscale shops, and trendy restaurants. But the highlight is Millionaire’s Walk - the path along the waterfront where grand mansions overlook the sea.

CRADLE MOUNTAIN, TAS

KM 8,263

A wombat in the grass with a small mountain in the background, taken from Cradle Mountain national park.

Cradle Mountain stands tall dominating the eponymous National Park. The kind lady at the visitor centre warns us; there is plenty to see and do here, and the two days we have planned won’t be enough. It’s a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. From a gentle stroll around Dove Lake to a steep climb alongside a rocky face to Marion’s Lookout, there is a trail for everyone. But our favourite part has to be watching the wombats at sunset from the boardwalk.

LAKE ST CLAIR, TAS

KM 7,993

A picture taken from a drone of a car alongside the blue water of Yinga, the Great Lake.

Leeawuleena, or “sleeping water”, is nestled in the heart of Tasmania. The deepest freshwater lake in Australia, approximately 215 meters, has been carved out by glaciers over two million years. We walk between the towering eucalyptus and snow-gum woodlands looking for platypus. We were told we could see them here, but not today unfortunately. On our way North, we stop by Yingina, the Great Lake, for lunch; the red soil gives an extraterrestrial appearance to the place.

HOBART, TAS

KM 7,763

A red and yellow graffiti representing a face in Hobart.

Next stop Antartica. The southernmost state capital is also the second oldest Australian city. The port city was established on the Derwent River, sheltered from the rough Tasman sea and now serves as a base for scientific expeditions to the South Pole. No matter where you are in Hobart, the gigantic presence of Mount Wellington can always be felt. It stands tall watching over the city.

MUSEUM OF OLD AND NEW ART, TAS

KM 7,758

A building of the MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania, with the city in the background.

This controversial museum is the brainchild of David Walsh, a local that became rich developing a gambling software. It’s the kind of place where you can watch a robot eat and defecate next to an Egyptian sarcophagus. Luckily, we are visiting during the Faux-Mo festival and heaps of free concerts are organised on the grounds of the museum. There is enough arts and entertainment to keep us busy for the whole day. One thing is sure, the MONA definitely helps keep Tasmania wild!

BRUNY ISLAND, TAS

KM 7,498

The Neck, a thin stretch of land joining the North and South parts of Bruny island.

An island, Bruny island, off an island, Tasmania, off another island, Australia. The irony. All those who went there kept telling us how good it was; its rugged scenery, its playful waves, its unique wildlife and its gourmet food. However, we are not overwhelmed by the charms of the island. The landscapes are no better than other places in Tasmania, the surf is average and the oysters are not as good as the ones from home.

SWANSEA, TAS

KM 6,908

A small stone cottage in the coastal town of Swansea, in Tasmania.

A proper bed with fresh linen, an oven and even a bathtub. We treat ourselves for Olive‘s birthday. The small stone cottage at Piermont Retreat faces the sea. We can watch the sun rising across the bay from our bed. And we spend the next two days enjoying the small luxuries that we are missing on our road trip.

FREYCINET NATIONAL PARK, TAS

KM 6,806

The panorama from the top of mount Amos, where we can see Wineglass Bay and the Hazards in the distance.

The Mount Amos track is said to be rather difficult but the « Hazard level: Extreme » sign at the beginning might be an overstatement, right? After a gentle slope uphill, the gravel path stops at the foot of a granite wall. The only way forward is on all four, scrambling up some rather big boulders. It is steep, slippery and pretty scary too. But at the top, the panorama of Wineglass Bay and the Hazards further convinces us it was worth it.

BAY OF FIRES, TAS

KM 6,578

The orange lichen on granite boulders in the Bay of Fires.

The Bay of Fires, on the Northeast coast of Tasmania, is celebrated for its beaches and is a must-do activity on a big lap. It is true they are picture-perfect with their white sand and pristine waters. One might be forgiven for thinking its name comes from the bright orange lichen covering the granite boulders in the area. It was named in the 18th century when Captain Tobias Furneaux spotted fires along the bay. They were used by the many aboriginal groups in the area to communicate.

SCOTTSDALE, TAS

KM 6,446

An intrepid cowboy bull riding during a rodeo.

Hundreds of cars, dirty utes, and beaten up 4wds, are lining up to enter the arena. The dust bowl is packed. The first rounds of rope and tie, bareback horse riding, and barrel race warm up the crowd, but everyone is here for the bull riding competition. Reckless cowboys doing their best to remain on top of raging bulls, the show is both scary and impressive. From now on, I can say that it’s not my first rodeo.

LITTLE BLUE LAKE, TAS

KM 6,232

The turquoise waters of the Little Blue Lake photographed from above via a drone.

The Little Blue Lake, near Derby, might be one of the most photographed places in Tasmania. Chalky white cliffs and turquoise waters, the contrast is eye-catching. The man-made hole is a result of past mining operations in the region. As inviting as it looks, we cannot swim there. The high content of mineral makes the place unsafe.

SCOTTSDALE, TAS

KM 6,114

The lavender fields in Bridestow Lavender Estate in Tasmania.

Everyone told us about the Bridestowe Lavender Estate near Scottsdale. So we have to go! The best time visit is from December to early February. We are a bit late . We can only image how good it would have looked with the purple flowers.

LAUNCESTON, TAS

KM 5,918

A picture of the shop at Design Tasmania with some unique designer furniture.

«The best shop in Tasmania», says the gentlemen at the door when we enter Design Tasmania. The design centre, gallery, and shop displays work of local designers and makers. Launceston is lucky to have plenty of galleries and museums. Art ARK for ethical aboriginal artwork, Dada Muse for the Salvador Dali collection, or the Queen Victoria Museum for the Natural Sciences exhibition. Enough to keep us busy for the day.

LAUNCESTON, TAS

KM 5,790

An orange dahlia from Launceston City Park.

On our road trip along kanamulka / River Tamar, Launceston appears in the distance. Tasmania’s second largest city is welcoming on a warm sunny day. The architecture is elegant, a mix of historic and contemporary buildings. The city park is a green oasis in the heart of the city. We are in luck, the dahlias are blooming.

MONTEZUMA FALLS, TAS

KM 5,612

A woman crossing the suspended bridge at Montezuma Falls.

The Wild West coast of Tasmania is made of roads zigzagging through mountains, sometimes up the crests, sometimes down the bottom of valleys following riverbeds. It offers plenty of opportunities to stop and Montezuma Falls are the perfect break on our way back North. Named after the silver mining company working in the area, these falls are some of the highest on the island. Under the fern canopy, we follow the old tramway line that linked the smelters to the mining operation. We reach a suspended bridge overlooking a gorge and the falls in front of us.

CORRINA, TAS

KM 5,335

Our Toyota Landcruiser Prado photographed by a drone. It is a top-down view of the car on a dirt road.

To get to Strahan from Marrawah, on Tasmania’s West coast, you have two options. You can either backtrack and go back to Burnie via the highway and then head South. It is faster, but pretty boring. Or you can drive on 100 kilometres of dirt road to reach Corrina and then take a barge to cross the Pieman river and take a barge in Corrina. Of course, we pick the second option.

TABLE CAPE, TAS

KM 5,127

Table Cape tulip farm in the foreground with other fields in the distance.

Five kilometres out of Wynyard, on Tasmania’s north coast, Table Cape dominates the landscape. The dead volcano, towering at 180 meters, offers spectacular views on nearby farms. It is also the home of a tulip farm attracting tourists and photographs every spring. When we visit, the flowers are no longer blooming. But it still makes for an interesting picture.

SHEFFIELD, TAS

KM 4,928

A starry night at Lake Barrington in Tasmania. We can see two people standing on a pontoon and flashing a light at the stars.

Tonight, we sleep on the bank of Lake Barrington. The artificial lake, a reservoir for the Devils Gate power station nearby, is an angler’s dream. The Inland Fisheries Service stocks it for recreational fishing. During the day, boats speed by, families have lunch on the grass, and fishers fish on the shores. At night, the starry sky reflects on the still water.

SPIRIT OF TASMANIA, VIC

KM 4,700

The Spirit of Tasmania, a ferry joining Tasmania to the mainland twice a day.

All aboard the spirit of Tasmania. Over 15,000 years ago, Australian sixth state was joined to the mainland. It is now 240km away across the Bass Strait, or a short eight-hour ferry ride. The Spirit of Tasmania connects Devonport to Geelong twice a day. As the vessel leaves port, the wind starts to pick up and so does the swell, it is a rocky crossing for us.

GRAMPIANS, VIC

KM 3,817

Silent Street is a narrow canyon hikers need to go through to reach the Pinnacle viewpoint.

As we drive, North from the coast, we can see the shapes of Mount Sturgeon and Mount Abrupt growing in the distance. These two mountains mark the beginning of the Grampians National Park. Gariwerd, the aboriginal name for the mountain range, was created by the great ancestor spirit Bunjil. During the process, he often took the form of Werpil the Eagle to view his work. The region is pivotal for aboriginal communities in Victoria and has the largest number of rock art sites in southern Australia.

CAPE BRIDGEWATER, VIC

KM 3,546

A seal cave near Cape Bridgewater in Victoria.

After two weeks in the outback, we catch our first glimpse of the ocean since starting our big lap when we arrive at Cape Bridgewater. The coastal town has a population of 150 inhabitants and more than 650 seals. Two colonies of Australian and New Zealand fur seals share the breeding area. A two-hours trail along the coastline leads to a viewing platform where we can catch sight of a cave that was once used by sailors to protect their boats. The place is now the territory of the seals.

SEA LAKE, VIC

KM 2,947

Four silos painted by Drapl & The Zookeeper representing a young girl on a swing.

We keep driving South after crossing the Victorian border, following the Silo Art Trail. Various farming silos have been painted by international artists to create a 700km journey connecting 16 rural towns in the Wimmera Mallee. The artworks are varied and celebrate the history of each host town. The piece in Sea Lake, created by Drapl & The Zookeeper, represents a young girl swinging from a Mallee Eucalyptus. It is a celebration to the still and calmness found in outback Victoria.

LAKE MUNGO, NSW

KM 2,503

The cliffs of the Walls of China in Lake Mungo during sunset.

The road to lake Mungo goes through hundreds of kilometers of unsealed road and a thick cloud of dust forms behind the car. The scenery becomes greener; small shrubs turn into fully fledged trees on either side of the road as we get closer to the Willandra lakes region. Once a fertile aquatic environment used by aboriginal tribes to fish, lake Mungo is now dried up and forms a vast grassland. The Walls of China, cliffs of sand and clay eroded by centuries of westerly wind, are located on the eastern shore of the lake. At dusk, the white cliffs turn pink in the setting sunlight.

BROKEN HILL, NSW

KM 1,924

Sunset over a sandstone sculpture near Broken Hill

Wild goats are everywhere in the Far West and we see more of them than kangaroos on our road trip to Broken Hill. After hours driving in an ocean of red dust, the mining town appears like an oasis in the desert. The Silver City, is located near the border with South Australia, and despite being in New South Wales, it shares the same time zone as its neighboring state. We visit the Main Street and its heritage listed buildings before going to the outskirts of the city, to the Living Desert park. From there, we watch the sun set over the sculptures made of sandstone.

COBAR, NSW

KM 1,274

Top-view of an open air quarry in Cobar.

The soil turns a darker shade of red as we get deeper into the great outback. There is no wind and the sun is burning high in the sky, the thermometer shows 43°C. We reach Cobar in the early afternoon. The sign on a massive concrete wall at the entrance of the town is a reminder of the town’s glorious mining history. We drive South to reach Fort Bourke Hill’s lookout overhanging an open gold mine.

WARRUMBUNGLE, NSW

KM 929

Split Rock in the Warrumbungle National Park

The sun sets on Split Rock in the Warrumbungle National Park. The rocky face changes color as the sun gets lower. The park has a lot to offer. Bush walks during the day and watching the stars at night. Australia’s first Dark Sky Park is renowned for its stargazing opportunities with low light pollution, low humidity and high altitude.

WARRUMBUNGLE, NSW

KM 909

One little Joey visiting us

Our last stop before entering the Great Outback. We reach the Warrumbungle National Park on a sunny day. After climbing a thousand steps to reach Fans Horizon and its view on the valley below, we get back to camp. Eastern grey kangaroos are here to welcome us.

PORTLAND, NSW

KM 414

Portland's Foundations and their painted silos.

We drive through dirt tracks following the Turon river South. Bob Dylan’s Bloods On Tracks plays on the radio. The road unwinds through gently rolling hills. As we reach Portland, we can see the paintings on the silos from the distance. This piece painted by Guido Van Helten in 2018 is a tribute to Portland’s glorious industrial past.

MANLY, NSW

KM 0

Our Landcruiser Prado in the street

Today, we hit the road. After two years of planning our big lap, the car is packed. We are headed West towards New South Wales’s outback. Our first stop is Sofala on the Turon river. The small town was once famous during the gold rush in the nineteenth century.