We stayed some days in Kanazawa, a city 150 Km north of Nagoya. We planned on visiting one of Japans most famous gardens and met with our friends from Takayama. In the end, we took a decision which wasn’t made easily.
Continue reading “DAYS 21 – 24: KANAZAWA”
After staying in the biggest urban region of the world we were interested how the Japanese hinterland feels like. We decided to stay a day in a traditional thatched roof farm house in the village of Ogimachi. On this tour, we experienced an also traditional Ryokan and met new friends on our way.
Continue reading “DAYS 18 – 20: TAKAYAMA AND OGIMACHI”
So far, we’ve been in Tokyo the whole time on our trip. But although Tokyo is versatile and amazing Japan has to offer so much more. Something only found in Japan (and even there only at a few places) are the famous Nihonzaru or “Snow Monkeys”. These monkeys are the most northern living monkey species in the world and the area they inhabit is covered in snow several months a year. They adapted to the harsh conditions and can cope temperatures as low as -20° Celsius. But most notably these monkeys like to bath in hot springs if the weather is to cold, which is unique among monkeys. As we were only some hundred kilometers away and in the right season to see the Snow Monkeys we had to seize this opportunity.
Continue reading “DAYS 14 – 17: BATHING MONKEYS AND A HISTORIC CASTLE”
As our time in Tokyo came to an end we had to see the sakura (cherry blossom) at least once. The sakura forecast predicted the blossoms to be in full bloom five days later but we wanted to see them opening nonetheless. Our flat was located next to the Gyoen Park so we decided to give it a try there. As countless other tourists and Tokyo inhabitants did. Despite the size of the park, it was really crowded. We strolled through the park with our camera equipment and the tripod. But we were actually one of the modest photographers there. Some of the park visitors had very expansive cameras and even more expansive lenses. But there were artists as well. People created images with chalk or pens. Some painted with brushes. They were all inspired by the beginning cherry blossom, it seems.
Continue reading “Days 12 – 13: LAST DAYS IN TOKYO”
We started the day early. At least we tried. We planned to visit the famous Tokyo Fish Market Tsukiji which starts at 5am. We realistically evaluated the chances of us getting up that early and dismissed the idea completely. So we went to Tsukiji when it was almost over (not that there were no other tourists…). Even after it was almost closed it still was an impressive place to see. The Tsukiji is located in several buildings and has the size of several small towns. Or at least it feels that big. Actually it isn’t this big but still huge. You can walk around the place for hours and see whole sellers, restaurants and a lot of frozen fish. Because we were terribly late we mostly saw a lot of frozen fish garbage, expensive restaurants and not whole sellers but tourists. Although the Tsukiji inner restaurants are highly recommended by many people, it isn’t worth the price in our opinion. The restaurant prices were hefty AND the restaurants were crowded although the Tsukiji already was closing down. The experience is probably super nice and the Sushi probably exceptionally but after we saw the price (and all the fish garbage) we decided not to eat there.
Continue reading “DAYS 10-11: VISIT FROM HOME”
Visiting Australia was a childhood dream of Tina. Seeing Kangaroos and Koalas, learning about the culture of the Aborigines and seeing the red sand which Australia is so famous for. Despite experiencing her dream the both of us felt as if our time in Australia was coming to an end. Australia is a fantastic and vast country which we’re happy to have visited. The people are kind and the animals here are (from our perspective) super strange and interesting. We only had seen a tiny bit of this continent and there is still so much to explore. We missed the Uluru and the outback. We haven’t seen the northern tropical parts or crocodiles. The cities of Perth and Cairns hadn’t had the chance to experience us. And we didn’t see the Great Barrier Reef.
Continue reading “LAST DAYS OF AUSTRALIA”
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world and there are a lot of tours one can book on Fraser Island. We decided for a guided one-day tour in a four-wheel-drive. The tour included the guide, ferry and national park fee as well as lunch and pickup. When we got picked up we realized that we wrongly assumed “four-wheel-drive” is some puny pickup semi-truck or such. Actually the “four-wheel-drive” looked like the lovechild of a full-blown truck and a bus, with some offroad magic sprinkled in. A huge monster of a bus with seating for 40 people and as offroad capable as any buggy. Our guide Cameron was a local who did the tour for ten years and had a lot to tell about the island.
The first highlight was the ferry with which the bus was set over to the island (when we first saw the bus we asked ourself if the bus will drive through the water while having low tide maybe). On the ferry were warning signs for estuary crocodiles, which we hadn’t seen so far (lucky us…). After the ferry the bus drove with the maximum allowed 80km/h over the sandy beach to our first stop, the morning tea at the Eurong Beach Resort. Actually, writing about it: 80km/h does not sound that fast. But in a bus on a beach this speed already translates into pretty violent jumps for the passengers. Driving on the beach with maximum speed in a bus is an experience for itself, but we also overtook basically every car we saw. Also we drove through really steep and narrow rain forests with the bus. But the bumpy forest road was worth it: We arrived at the Lake Mackenzie. We were given plenty of time to swim in the clear water and even a short rain shower did not mar our good mood. Replenished and wet we climbed back into the bus and were driven to the Resort where we had our lunch. The second part of the trip again involved bumpy forest roads but now we were used to it. We stopped at a former logging camp which was the start of short bushwalk. Our guide showed us a crystal clear creek and some plants unique to this area. From the bushwalk we drove back to the beach where we saw the shipwreck of the SS Maheno as well as a holy place for the Aborigines, the Pinnacle Colored Sands.
When we returned from the Sands we were offered the chance to do a scenic flight over Fraser Island in a Chessna plane. As I never did that before I seized the opportunity flew 15 minutes over the island. When the plane landed I rejoined Tina at the Eli Creek where we chilled for a while which would have been more relaxing if there hadn’t been several other tourists also making a pause at the Creek.
The crocodiles we have been warned of before didn’t show up. Also the (in)famous Fraser Island Dingo was nowhere to be seen (which is probably good, as there are warning signs of “Dingos WILL steal your baby” and “Dingos hunt in packs” literally everywhere). The only sign of dangerous animals we have seen were small holes which our guide identified as “Funnel-Web Spider
The day on Fraser Island ended almost the same way as it began: A bus full of tourists driving with 80km/h over the beach. But this time everyone was so knackered that the whole bus was quiet.
Other 4WDs on the beach
The roads on Fraser are sandy and can only be driven by 4WD
Cameron told us a lot about Fraser and its plants
Real subtropical rainforest
Yes, there is water in the creek. It’s so crystal clear, that it’s hard to see
the rainforest on Fraser is unique
A shipwreck from the early 20th century
The colorful sand is a holy place to the Aborigines
Torben took a scenic flight over the island
Frasers east coast, looking south
This dune looks like a foot
Eli Creek and unbelievable many tourists
The plane Torben took
Walking through Eli Creek
The water was cool but refreshing
As we had to return our car (we called it Uma – Japanese for horse) in Brisbane we drove further north to reach it. On our way we stayed a night in Nambooca Heads. This small city has both: hills and beach. Our motel was located on one side of the hill so we had a good view over the city. Asked for a restaurant recommendation our motel manager recommended the V-Wall Restaurant
near the breakwater of the city. The restaurant had really good fresh fish and a direct line of sight onto the waterways surrounding Nambooca Heads. But actually not the water but the breakwater is mentioned in travel guides. The breakwater consists of big natural stones, which are painted by tourists and locals and show greetings, condolences and farewells.
Continue reading “WATERFALLS AND BEACHLIFE”
Before we got to Australia, I had two particular images of Australia in my head: The first being the vast outback with the Ulluru in the background and kangaroos jumping through the desert. The second image I had was the Sydney Opera House. Although we didn’t see the desert and the Uluru, we saw the Opera House.
We arrived at our accommodation in Sydney Balmain and were greeted by our host. We had a nice big room with our own deck and a stunning view over the city. The house, the room is located in, was occupied by three friends living there together. All of them were super friendly and we had good inspirational talks with them. We even were invited to a breakfast with friends of them! In retrospect this was probably the best airBnB accommodation we ever had.
Continue reading “SYDNEY, NEWCASTLE AND FRIENDS”
After our fantastic time in Melbourne and our experiences on the Great Ocean Road we started our road trip to the east coast.
We tried to keep to the coast as much as possible on our trip as we love the sea. Our first stop on our tour was the town of Lakes Entrance. As the name suggests, this town lies at the entrance of a system of lakes. When we drove in the town we had a stunning view from the top of the surrounding hills. Allegedly there live estuary dolphins in the lake but we didn’t see them.
Continue reading “MELBOURNE TO SYDNEY”