Welcome to tropical Australia.

When I was packing up in Taylors beach that morning, four different people came over to me to give me advice or tell me where I should go. One woman even said “I sound like your mother!” haha, but it’s all good. I appreciate the concern. And I had planned to drive a road called the Savannah way heading west from here but they told me that it’s in horrible condition and that I should take the other road so that was very helpful. After that I headed north and minutes later I came over a hill and the landscape completely changed. From having been extremely dry and dusty, if I would describe how it had looked I would say like a desert, but all of a sudden I was in the tropical part of Queensland, and the rainforest was all around me. It was quite magical actually, and very unexpected. This is why I prefer to do very little research (well, and general laziness) because I can actually be surprised. 

I drove to Mission beach first because I’ve been told it’s beautiful and it was. I climbed a palm tree and found a swing. 

  
   

After that one of the ladies had told me to go to Josephine’s falls, which I did. It’s in the middle of the rainforest so I had to walk through it to get there. It was really beautiful and I had planned to go for a swim but there were some big type of bug bitting my legs so I said “nope” and walked back out again. Ugh, I could do without the bugs…

  

After the falls I was only an hour or so away from Cairns. I had my eyes set on the most central of the caravan parks since I like to walk and not have to drive everywhere. The girl working there said that yes, they had room for me for four nights but she thought I should stay for a week. She spent almost 45 minutes with me going through all the different brochures and I walked out having booked another snorkeling trip and with 7 nigthts booked at the camp site. Whoops? Since coming here on Wednesday I’ve seen three movies (the intern, the Martian and Everest), I’ve walked around the city, and I’ve gone to a crocodile farm.   

Pool in the middle of Cairns. 

    

Very low tide. 
   
 The girl working here really recommended Hartley’s crocodile adventures so I thought why not. And they had koalas so that’s always a big selling point in my book.   
  

This is Fred. I wanted to adopt him but they said no. Rude. 

  
    

The crocodile show. It was fun. Everyone screamed when he walked into the water though, crazy Australian…    

This is a cassowary. Doesn’t it look kind of like Kevin in the movie Up?  
I also went to the snake show. This is a snake eating a mouse.  He also explained what to do if you’re bitten by a snake so that was good. I’m so happy that I have my  emergency gps tracker as I’m heading out into the outback…
    

   

Ugh koalas are so cute! The constantly look surprised, I love them so much.   

  Waking up is such a chore. The other night I was sleeping with the back open and the tent on when it started raining. I though “I’ll be fine, I’m sure it’s waterproof enough.” Seconds later it started dripping in my face. I had to rearrange my bed in the middle of the night but it was fine and I was dry again. And in the morning I could open the roof and look at the morning sky as I was waking up. In the evenings I can look at the stars just the same, it’s a very nice feature. 
Today I found a Swedish cafe and had a Swedish meatball lunch and bought a bag of candy. The woman working there said “hej hej!” When I came in and I got so happy. Then she said “Eller alltså, you are Swedish right?” Is not always easy to tell but I think it’s pretty obvious when it comes to me. Everyone around me was speaking Swedish, it was almost like being at home again. Except for you know, it being 27 degrees in October. 

    
  

Tomorrow is Sunday and I have booked a sky rail tour to Kuranda and the rainforest up in the mountains. I’m super excited about that, but I better remember to pack my rain jacket and bug spray. It sure does rain a whole lot up here. Every day so far, for several hours, but I don’t mind very much. And then on Monday I’m heading out on the reef again! Exciting times!

Feeling free as a bird. 

After the whale watching in Hervey Bay I headed north. I spent a night in a place called Emu Park before I arrived in Airlie beach which was my next stop on the trip. As I drove into the city I went by a place called Seabreeze which looked nice, so I stopped and asked if they had a spot for me to camp in for three nights. That was no problem at all despite it being a Saturday, so I parked in the big field where the unpowered camping was. It was pretty full but I found a half shady spot so I was fine. The ladies working there also helped me book a snorkeling tour for the Monday, perfect. I don’t like making phone calls so having someone else make them for me fits me just fine. 

  
The beach at Emu park. 


 Airlie beach. Finally!

 

On Sunday a lot of people left the campsite luckily, so I could pick a new spot at the camping under some trees. They are so necessary, I hate waking up in the early morning bathing in sweat because of the sun. First world problems I know… My life must be very good when that is my biggest issue!

I did all the boring grownup stuff like laundry and hung up my hammock so I could lie in it and read. I bought it from a camping store right after I picked up the van, and it’s proving to be one of my best investments. I also went for a walk to Airlie but found it way too crowded so I went back to my hammock for some nice solitude and reading. I’ve recently finished The girl on the train, and I loved it. It’s going to be a movie soon with Rebecca Ferguson playing a big role, the swedes may remember her as Anna in Nya Tider? She’s also the awesome female lead in the new mission impossible movie. I love successful Swedish women. Anyway. 

   

  

  

  

 On the Monday I had a boat tour booked. I had basically just browsed the tour brochures and picked one, luckily Big Fury was a good choice. They didn’t offer prescription masks though but could point me in the direction of the dive shop nearby where I could rent one. The boat left at 10:30 and of course half the boat was filled with Germans. They really travel a lot, that has been my experience this entire trip. They’re everywhere! The boat is one of those super fast ones, it literally flew over the waves. There were a lot of them as well, it was crazy windy. But they claimed I wouldn’t get seasick and I didn’t, for some reason it went so fast that there wasn’t a lot of that awful rocking motion.   


 It took about an hour for us to get to the snorkeling spot. I hadn’t really planned to rent a wetsuit from the company but I’m glad I did. The water was around 22 C but after an hour that gets pretty cold. I was fine though, and really enjoyed looking at all the amazing coral and fishes. It’s been a dream of mine to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef for as long as I can remember, it was kind of unreal.    

    
   
After the snorkeling we headed towards Whitehaven beach, which has been voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world several times. The sand is really amazing and the water was warm and nice to swim in. We were also served a nice lunch buffet and hiked to the top of an overlook. All in all it was a pretty great day, and I arrived back at the campsite covered head to toe in sand and salt and completely exhausted. I wish was had snorkeled some more, but I will try to get out to the barrier reef again when I get to Cairns.    

    
    
    
  
 This morning I got back in the van and headed north. I have a great app on my phone called wikicamps Australia and it’s so helpful. When I felt like I’ve had enough driving for the day, after 4-5 hours approximately, I opened the app and it showed me all the campsites nearby. I picked one in a place called Taylors beach and when I got there it turned out I was the only person under 65 staying here. Just my type of place! I was promptly invited to drinks later that afternoon which I showed up for, and spent a couple of hours drinking beer and chatting with the “grey nomads”. That’s what the retired people traveling the country in their caravans are called. They gave me a lot of good advice and I had a really good time. I don’t know why it is that I’m always drawn to the elderly crowd, perhaps I’m an old soul. I prefer them to the youngsters though, especially since everyone retired back to their own place at dusk which fit me perfectly.   

And I have recently discovered that if I open up the kitchen compartment I can use the back portion as a couch since that gives me support for my back. Very comfy! Though I don’t like keeping the doors open without being able to supervise from the outside, I’m terrified that spiders and bugs will crawl in. Ugh. 

Tomorrow I’m heading north again, towards Cairns. I’ll stay there for a few days, I haven’t really decided how long yet. Isn’t that just great though? I love not having to decide anything! As long as I’m in Sydney on November 28 (Taylor swift concert…), I can do whatever I want. This is really the ultimate freedom. 

The Spaceships Alpha campervan. 

Since I picked up my campervan Fanta Pants on Monday, I’ve been living out of it. Cooking most of my meals in it, driving it and sleeping in it at night. I was a bit nervous at first that I wouldn’t like it. I mean, I’ve never lived in a campervan before, and now I was supposed to do it for 75 days. I didn’t need to worry though, I love it! I have slept like a baby in it, which is a tiny miracle since I’m such a bad sleeper. It’s a good thing I’ve gotten used to living in tiny spaces during my years living in Stockholm though, since it definitely is small. But I love crawling into it at the end of the night (ha, who am I kidding, as soon as the sun sets!) and curl up with a book or watch a movie. It’s so cosy!

So let’s take a closer look at Fanta Pants.  
So this is the front of the car. Still so weird to sit on that side, but it’s going surprisingly well. I have three mascots in there as well, though you can’t really see them. One is a wooden cat that Amy gave me from Bali, since she wouldn’t let me adopt (steal) her cat. Hanging from the rear view mirror is a tiny koala and on the right side is a crocheted heart with arms my mother made for me before I left Sweden. Here I also have water, and a very important box of electronics. 
   
Hanging from the car seats I’ve put storage things where I can put all my small things. There’s more water, my toiletry bag, a big box with all my clothes, some books and other stuff. I can sleep completely inside the car if I want, in that case the bed ends on top of the backwards seat. There’s a portable part of the bed that can either be put at the front or back of the bed. It’s very convenient.   

If I sleep outside with the tent part on the back, the bed extends this far. Oh, and underneath at the back is a lockable storage space. There I have even more water, 10 liters of extra petrol, my bags and other things I don’t need to access very often. 

  
 The bed is big! 1,92 m in length and 1,4 in width. I fit more than well. Hanging by the side of the bed is my lantern, the sun sets so early here so it’s absolutely necessary. Oh, and see that thing hanging off the right side above the bed? That’s a DVD player that also plays files from usb sticks. Best. Invention. Ever. It runs on a separate battery so I don’t have to worry about not being able to start the car after having used it. Very clever. 

  
Underneath the bed at the front is the kitchen. Two portable gas powered cooking plates,  and a tiny fridge which I only use for storage. It runs on the same battery as the DVD player so I’d rather use the power for entertainment… 

On the side I can put a portable table to use to cook on. Everything is really very clever in this car. 

 
So this is the van in all its glory, with the tent part on the back. I will probably use that every day except for when it’s supposed to be super cold (so never) or rain a lot since it’s not waterproof. It’s much better than sleeping inside the car (we all know how hot cars can get), another reason why I like this camper better than for example the green and purple jucy vans. They don’t have this feature. Also this is cheaper so… 

Yesterday as I was sitting by the van skyping with my sister a tiny boy came walking up to me with a huge grin on his face. He stood there staring at me in the way only very small children can do. When I hung up three of his siblings showed up as well, and asked where my tent was. I showed them the bed inside the car, and they were so amazed. I think at one point all four of them were inside my car, and then I heard them when they got back to their parents “she has a BED INSIDE HER CAR!” haha. The boy later came back when I was having dinner to stare some more. So cute.   

So yeah, so far I love this life. Being able to just drive around and not have plans is so great. It’s also very good for my obsessive planning disorder, I really have to work on being laid back and not plan every single detail of my life so this is great for me. I like challenging myself to go outside my comfort zone. Now I’ve made it to Airlie beach where I’ll spend three nights. I have a tour booked for Monday to go out to Whitsundays islands and go snorkeling. Exiting stuff! Oh, and I have now been on the road for more than 4 months having adventures. Time really flies when you’re having a good time.    

  

Campervan life.

After Rob and Amy arrived back from Bali, I said goodbye to the animals and headed south with Reese to house sit his parents house for the weekend. He took me to a camping store because I needed to buy some supplies, I also managed to amuse the staff when I shouted “I don’t want to look like a tourist, I want to look like crocodile Dundee!” While trying on hats. 

We also went to a theme park called Dreamworld while we were there, it was so much fun. We went on almost all the rides, and I was only terrified a few times. 

   I want this sign! I’m going to steal it. Not sure how I’ll get it through customs on my way out though…

  

  Soaking wet after the log ride. 

  

And then it was finally Monday and time to go get my campervan! Reese drove me there and then I finally laid eyes on the orange beauty that will be my home for the next 2,5 months here in Australia. After the paper work was done and I had waved goodbye to Reese it was time to head out on the roads. On the left side of the road. Let’s just say I was terrified and kept repeating “keep left keep left keep left” to myself. That would probably be more reassuring if I could actually tell right from left though. 

But I made it out of Brisbane safe and drove a couple of hours north. I hadn’t booked a camping but found one pretty quickly, close to a lake and very scenic overall. It just felt so good to finally be out on the roads again! 

   
This is my car. She already had a name when I picked her up, fanta pants, so I’ll guess I’ll have to stick to that… It’s written on the door so. 

   
I spent two nights at the camping, just getting organized and trying to figure out what I needed to make life comfortable for the upcoming months. I read a lot, went kayaking on the lake and was even invited over to my neighbors for beer. Though it started pouring down at that point, so it became a few more beers since I didn’t want to walk home in that weather. 

   
Time for breakfast.   

    
   
My neighbor Lee and his wife’s tent in the pouring rain. 

After two nights at Boreen Point I got back in the car and headed north. This time I had a plan though, I was going back to Hervey Bay where I spent a week just after I arrived in the country. Reese’s parents had just been here and told me that I had to go whale watching and that I wouldn’t get seasick. I trusted their opinion, and I’m very happy that I did. Also because the new camping spot in Hervey Bay is right by the beach and I got to witness the most magical sunset. Oh, and I bought a huge hat.    

  
 So this morning I headed out on the water with Tasman venture at 8:30, and they served us coffee, tea and cakes while they headed out towards more open water. In less than an hour we came upon a single whale doing spins in the water, flipping and splashing his fins on the water. 
    
    
A while later we came upon a large group of whales, 7-8 of them chasing each other around the bay. Or the males were chasing the two females, poor things. They tried to escape but no such luck. We enjoyed seeing them swimming around our boat though, for more than an hour. 

    
  
After that we tried to find a mother and a baby because they usually jump a lot and are very active, but the only ones we found were feeding and laying still when we arrived. Too bad, but it was great nonetheless. And I didn’t feel a tiny bit seasick despite forgetting to take a pill before heading out. Success!
In my new huge hat. I love it. 

Tomorrow I’m packing up again and heading north. My next big goal is Cairns and to head out snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef but it will take me a few days before I get there. It’s so easy having a campervan though, I just get in and everything is packed and ready to go. And so far I’ve slept like a baby in it, couldn’t wish for more! Life is so good!