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Solo adventure from Sydney to Melbourne via the Blu mountains, Gold Coast, and fun camping.

Seven months in the company of newly met friends, lots of adventure, and always a backpack! This travel blog retraces the best places and moments lived in 2013.


The young and trendy metropolis

The first month in Sidney was spectacular. The city offered many nightclubs, the population was very young and extravagant.

One of the first beaches visited was the legendary Bondi Beach, wonderful, full of kids and foamy waves. The sand was gold in color and gave the water a crystalline turquoise color, water which, however, as in all oceans, was freezing.

Bondi Beach can be reached easily by public transport, we got there from the east with a 15-minute walk once you got off the subway. Alongside this beach are cliffs, parks, and monuments with wonderful views over the bay. Admiring surfers is common practice for both tourists and Australians themselves.

The following weekend instead we went to Mainly Beach (with a ferry that always departed from Sydney) where you have a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean, large palm trees, male and female surfers, golden-colored sand, and foaming sea waves. The seafront is very impressive, as is the avenue that crosses the two beaches.

In this area, there is excellent street food or other more typical restaurants. For many, especially locals, this beach is preferred over Bondi Beach.

Another beautiful point to visit is the Royal Botanic Garden Side, in the city center and overlooking the sea. A few steps away you can visit the famous Sydney Opera House, an absolute icon of the city.

If, on the other hand, you prefer architecture to natural landscapes, I recommend the Cathedral of Saint Mary which, although not very ancient, reflects the Gothic style.

For those who love the nightlife, Sidney has everything you are looking for: The Bank, The Sheaf, and Sweethearts Rooftop. Note that alcohol in Australia is very expensive!!

As far as food is concerned, Sydney is a multicultural city in which the presence of Asian or European cuisines is widespread. Could I recommend the Mamak ( in Chinatown where to eat Asian food at better price.

Halloween in Sydney

The first Halloween in the heat

Celebrating Halloween in Sydney - in a spring climate - was a fun experience. With my friends we opted to celebrate Halloween with a boat party, obviously dressed up.

We went to a Chinese shop to buy different costumes. Some bought just a mask, some just the makeup, some the whole dress. I chose the Doctor one, disfigured.

Once we arrive at the port of Darling Harbor (King St. Wharf) we take a few ritual photos with all the guys present and masked up, to start the party. The Halloween Boat featured ballrooms, three bars, and various decks both inside and out.

The "cruise" lasts about 3 hours and does not disappoint for the excellent view of Sydney from the sea and the approach to the Opera Theater.

The evening was fun, the music was good (sometimes they do weird mixes) but the alcohol was quite expensive. I'm sure I spent at least $100 that night, even though it's been several years now!

Blue Mountains

The first step out of the city

After picking up the car at the car rental, we began our adventure in search of a Farm where we could work to earn some money since I had applied for a Working Holiday Visa. Since Australia has a poor labor force in the agricultural sector, the Government acts accordingly and issues work permits for one year, renewable for two if you work at least 3 months on a farm. The farms can grow bananas (risky because one of the most poisonous spiders lurks), apples, pears, watermelons, various fruits or potatoes, onions, garlic, and other varieties of tubers or vegetables. The pay is good and they even offer room and board if you're lucky.

With the map in hand, we head towards Queensland, passing through the interior, with a first stop at the Blue Mountains.

Australian roads are perfect, without a pothole, and often extremely straight.

The Blue Mountains are two hours from Sydney, can also be reached using transport such as buses, and are located precisely in New South Wales. Evocative sceneries await you, walks in the eucalyptus forests, and easy encounters with koalas, a protected species. In the Blue Mountains National Park are the famous Three Sisters, next to the town of Katoomba overlooking the Jamison Valley, and are one of the most famous sites to visit Their name, taken individually are Meehni, Wimlah, and Gunnedoo.

There is no shortage of viewpoints to admire the valley and the Eco Point where you can, indeed, scream. and hear its echo.

Outside the National Park, we continue north (at random but in the direction of Queensland) and we come across a nice zoo whose name I don't remember. I haven't had a deep knowledge of kangaroos, or alligators and I could, for the first time in my life, pet a real Koala...

Goulburn River National Park

Wild animals at the National Park

We continue by car north again through. the Highway B55, sleeping each night in the car - one in the front and one in the back seat - in the lay-bys that are frequent and well stocked. We are young and for us, it was not a problem, on the contrary! It was a fun experience, we ate under the trees with a packed lunch and washed in the showers of the municipal swimming pools. Today I don't know if I would still have the physique for certain experiences, but I don't regret it, I set off on an adventure and it was an adventure.

Along the road we see a sign with directions to Goulburn River National Park, we stop the car once we arrive at the place and we walk in this place full of wild animals. We met kangaroos, horses, sheep, some koalas and insects like beetles or other species that I can't describe.

This National Park has huge rocks stacked on top of each other as if some giant had fun moving them into strange positions. Sometimes I wondered how they kept their balance. We climbed these rocks and admired the view from above as we always liked to do.

Another wonderful thing about Australia, when you drive outside the cities, is the extreme vastness of the territories, the fiery red sunsets, and the variety of animals that you meet along the way.

Gatton Caravan Park - Queensland

A second home and a second family

We continued crossing Queensland for the first time, in the direction of Toowoomba which was recommended to us along the way by a group of motorcyclists, upon requesting our information about an area not far away where we could work on a farm.

The journey lasted a few days, not so much due to the important mileage but because we often stopped to visit villages in the middle of nowhere, we stopped on the hottest days under the trees or in parks or because often, due to the heat, we needed a refresher in the municipal pools in the villages we visited.

Shortly before arriving in the city of Toowoomba, we refueled in a small village called Gatton where we read on a sign of the presence of a place to sleep that looked like a campsite, which was precisely called Gatton Caravan Park.

After several days of sleeping in the car, the time had come to sleep like normal human beings and we entered this Caravan Park turning up our noses a little.

At the reception, we are welcomed by Jane and Steven, two genuine Australians, owners of the campsite, very kind and nice. They ask us for our passport and show us the price list.

We choose a caravan and pay a whole week for 70 Dollars (I'm going from memory). The caravan was in the middle of a small field, under the scorching sun which had already boiled it since the early hours of the morning and had the refrigerator outside. The light was paid separately once a week. The village offered a swimming pool (without filters) for the guests, a shared kitchen, and a common room and that was it.

The first few days were quiet, a bit tiring due to the heat and the electric plates where we usually cooked pasta inside the caravan (1 hour before the water boiled).

Every time we walked from one part of the campsite to the other we heard voices speaking Italian and day after day we met new people, immediately creating a small group of Italians and Europeans. At first, we had to know each other well, maybe we were a little shy or didn't know each other's limits, but within a few days that campsite had turned into a giant party.

Daily routine:

- Untimed alarm clock

- Breakfast all together

- "The Walking Dead" series until lunchtime

- Afternoon swimming pool, beers and more beers

- Evening, dinner all together and then party!

Parties were mainly organized by us. We rented large music boxes and spent the night dancing in the fields and at the campsite to drink or eat. A month and a half passed like this, as in every boy's best dreams.

Curiosity: we found the suit of a snake huge behind the house; we had scary encounters with giant spiders of all kinds and colors; the ants have poison (formic acid) and periodically "bit" us in the pool so that for a couple of hours the arm remained asleep. The anthills looked like volcanoes and the ants themselves had particular colors from yellow to red.

In this Caravan Park, you could avoid paying the rent and the electricity bill by working for the campsite itself. Stevan did the weekly "hirings" and each of us, based on our own experiences, could do gardening, cleaning, maintenance, etc. I knew someone who paid nothing for a month's stay!

Today the Caravan Park does not yet have a website but you can find info here: and on the Facebook page where you can also find advice and contacts for working on the Farm, a unique opportunity for those looking for work. The Farmers came directly with the vans to the campsite around 3 in the morning to collect people and by 10 they were already at home (obviously the times are to avoid the heat which even reached 48 degrees)

This place offers exciting experiences, meeting guys, and the opportunity to extend your work visa.

En route to the Gold Coast

Discovering a small but peaceful Venice

The experience at Gatton Caravan Park had marked me. I still have my heart and the promise of a return, I don't know when yet but I will. My Pearl Jam songs always refresh my memory when I listen to them.

After my friends worked for three months (we met some of them there and they arrived a long time before us) we took the car and, free and happy, we reached the famous Gold Coast of Queensland. Actually, Gatton was already in Queensland, but the sensation was not that because we had not yet seen the sea of this region. Queensland is youth, parties, heat, and the sea.

The road we took was the same as the outward journey, there weren't many alternatives. We still slept in the car, crossed villages, and suffered from the extreme heat but in the end, it was worth it. We spent the first few days wandering around, going to clubs, eating street food, and getting to know some other Italians.

Christmas was approaching and the idea of spending it by the sea at 40 degrees was exciting.

Gold Coast and Christmas on the beach

Santa Claus in costume!

Christmas was finally here, December 25th in Australia! People celebrate at the beach and we have followed this tradition. We equipped ourselves by buying charcoal and grilling meat right on the road (Australia has public barbecues even in rest areas) and stocking up on drinks for the afternoon and evening.

After lunch, we go down to the beach, put some cream on buy some Christmas hats from street vendors (yes, there are also here), and relax on the beach. Towards mid-afternoon, some kids play music and we join in having fun all afternoon until sunset, admiring surfers riding the waves wearing Santa Claus hats.

New Year's Eve in Sydney

The most famous fireworks in the world

Our last stop of the year 2013 we wanted to be in Sydney to celebrate New Year's Eve with our other friends who stayed there. We take the car and drive in turns from the Gold Coast to Sydney (about 850km), stopping overnight in Port Macquarie which is about halfway and which I will talk about in the next paragraph.

Once we arrive in Sydney on December 31st, we book a hotel for the same evening and organize the evening. Since we met at the last second, all the bars and restaurants were full, but on the one hand, it was better because it would have cost us a lot! So we decided to buy food at the supermarket, and something to drink at the Liquor Store (where they only sell alcohol and where you have to show your identity document) and we opted for the park in front of the Sidney Opera Theater to be able to admire the show of fireworks the most beautiful in the world (as they are defined).

At the stroke of midnight, we toast and raise our (plastic) glasses and enjoy this scene of the fires that leaves us speechless.

Until 2 in the morning, we stay to celebrate in this park close to the river (or sea) first. to crash into a club in the city center and party until morning.

Port Macquarie

Cities, animals and Shark rocks

I highly recommend this stage between Brisbane and Sydney. Port Macquarie is a coastal city also watered by the Hastings River and boasts several possibilities of dolphin sighting in the channel, planes landing on water, pelicans, and kangaroos. We have also seen several koalas, but unfortunately, most of these gray animals perished in the fire of 2019.

The city offers beautiful beaches, forests, close encounters, and the opportunity to visit the Koala Hospital, the old penitentiary, and the lighthouse if you take a bath it is also possible to pet a white shark (if you still have hands) because Australia is full of them!

Another particular place is the promenade along the port where the rocks are all painted by artists from all over the world and one in particular is called Shark Rock.

Last stop: Melbourne

Australian London

Melbourne is a modern, colorful, and very elegant city! It gets around well with public transport, you see many young people around and the nightlife offers all kinds of entertainment. We spend our evenings in clubs and weekends in discos, bars, terraces, and restaurants.

To give an example of the summer heat here in Melbourne, I bought a Macbook Air at a cheaper price than in Italy but the infernal and abnormal heat forced me to "rest" the Mac in the refrigerator or the freezer very often, to be able to cool it down.

Someone will turn up their noses but I'm writing this post in 2022 almost 10 years later and the Mac works perfectly!

Last stage of the last stage: Frankston Beach

Dolphins, sea eagles and golden sand

Our last stop before I left Sydney we decided it was Frankston Beach. To get here there is a very modern little train from Melbourne, but unfortunately where that day the air conditioning did not work and with almost 49 degrees outside, the carriages served as ovens. For the entire duration of the trip, people were panting, and sweating (including me) so much that it felt like we were in a horror movie while they cooked us alive.

Finally, the train stops and people beat each other in front of the door to run out. We slingshot to the beach and look for a place a little sheltered from the sun but it was almost impossible. We undress and dive into the water, an incredible feeling after that train ride.

In the afternoon we see the first dolphins appear and let's have a nice meeting with a sea eagle that had reached the shoreline.

After about a month, I said goodbye to my friend Manuel whom I would see again in Riccione a few months later, I took a bus that connects Melbourne with Sydney airport and which covers a distance of about 890 km.

So I leave for Italy and leave this magnificent land behind me.


10 years have passed now and making a mental calculation between the cost of tickets, overnight stays (many of which were in the car or those not paid for in Gatton), food, extras, etc., I remember that I had spent about 3,500 euros in almost 6 months.


I must admit that I was very young at the time and had the goal of having fun rather than exploring. I know that there aren't many detailed bits of advice like you can find in other posts because, in addition to 10 years have gone by, I have preferred to dedicate myself to light-heartedness.

But I can recommend:

  • Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

  • Great Barrier Reef North Queensland

  • Great Ocean Road and the Twelve Apostles

  • Kangaroo Island

  • Daintree National Park

These above will be the places I will visit when I return to Australia while the other recommended places I have made are:

  • Sidney

  • Melbourne

  • Blue Mountains National Park

  • Gatton for those looking for farms

  • Gold Coast and Brisbane

Itinerary on the map:



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