Visit: Fraser Island + Video | QLD

Fraser Island, or K'Gari is a paradise island of wild adventure off the Queensland coast. K'Gari means paradise & it is exactly that. Is the largest sand island in the world, measuring 75 miles in length, by 15 miles. 
A visit to Fraser Island is extremely popular for backpackers travelling the East Coast & one I urge you to put on your bucket list. Whether you visit on a single day trip, or camp out overnight - however long you stay you will have the best time! 
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Top 10 Things to do in Perth

Perth; where it all began for me. Its an unusual starting point for a backpacker - many choose to fly straight to Sydney to Melbourne to begin their adventures. Well I had other plans and booked to Perth so I could kick off my Australian adventures doing the trip I was most-looking forward to doing - up the West Coast. 
I was based in Perth for around 5-6 weeks "settling in" - if you don't plan to work in Perth, this is too long to stay here I will admit. I do feel bad for Perth, I loved it there but it gets such negative feedback purely because its so far away. 
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My Favourite Road Trip Songs

Planning a road trip with your friends is great fun; choosing where you're going, all your stops in between and who gets to come in your car of dreams. One of my favourite things though - & i'm sure its yours too - is making the beloved playlist. Back in the day it would be a case of staying up all night burning your favourite 20 songs (if you were lucky and the disk was big enough) to a CD and praying to god it worked in the car CD player. It was probably the hardest decision in your life narrowing down your favourites to just 18-20 songs. & the worst part after finally making it, and writing "DJ Gemma's Jamz 2K6" in sharpie, for it to come up with "Error, CD cannot be read". 
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Visit: Karijini National Park + Video | WA

Karijini National Park is by far one of my favourite places in Australia & not because its the birth place of my gin-affair, but because how out-of-this-world beautiful is it! Granted it is an absolute bitch to get to but it is 100% worth every hour of driving to reach this isolated dusty red-dirt paradise. Located in the Hamersley Ranges in the Pilbara region in Western Australia, Karijini is made up of unspoiled nature, the best hikes i've ever done, teamed with an abundance of gorges, and fresh water holes. It really is an unforgettable outback experience. 
Where else are you able to walk through some of the oldest rocks on earth and take a dip in fresh clear pools and cool off under beautiful waterfalls? Where!? 

Getting to Karijini is not a quick trip - its around 1400km from Perth - or a 17 hour drive. If you take the trip over a week from Perth you can combine a trip to Karijini with a brilliant road trip. Take a look at some of my favourite places along the way HERE: 
You can fly if you want, the closest towns are Paraburdoo or Newman where you can transfer onto Karijini's nearest town: Tom Price. I'd recommend hiring a 4WD vehicle so you can access as much of the sites as possible in the park. 

Try to stay at Karijini for at least 3 days to try and explore as much as possible. You can camp over in the park and we stayed at Karijini Eco Retreat. There we had already assembled tents, or if you want to sleep under the stars get your swags out for the lads. There are quite alot of dingos in the area so make sure all food and belongings are well hidden and concealed. The Eco Retreat was perfect for our trip; we were great driving distance to all the main spots and even walking distance to Joffre Gorge for a seriously fun afternoon! If you ever do end up at Karijini Eco Retreat I would warn you of a local creature; it hasn't been spotted since April 2016 but rumour has it its still lurking in the shadows waiting to come out. They call it the Red Dust Angel. 

We visited quite a lot over a 3-4 day period and I had the best time. I love hiking and being rewarding with jumping into cool springs and plunge pools throughout each hike made it 100% more enjoyable. I don't think I have ever laughed so much at everyone slipping and sliding over the wet rocks in the water and it made for great games. 

If you want to read up an all the different hikes and their difficulties and locations you can follow the link to the Karijini NP site

Hackcock Gorge: Class 5 Hike
Our first hike in Karijini & a great introduction. It does involve a fair bit of swimming so make sure you're wearing your swimmers! The hike itself I didn't find too strenuous, its a great mix of walking, scrambling, swimming and scaling rocks. One of my favourites sections of the hike is the "Spider Walk" where you have to scale with hands and legs along the rocks to the end where you are rewarded with the beautiful Kermit's Pool. The trail ends here so you must make your way back the way you came. The rocks here were especially slippy so made for all the slip n slide fun! 

Weano Gorge: Class 4/5 Hike 
The start of the trail is a Class 4 - you can opt to hike to either Upper or Lower Weano Gorge and return to the trailhead. For the more adventurous you can continue onto the Class 5 section of the hike and head towards Handrail Pool. This is a great place to stop and relax for a while and have a swim in the water before making your way back to the top. 

Hamersley Gorge: Class 3 Hike
The hike down is on steps and can be quite steep in parts so take care when walking down. Once at the bottom you can jump, swim and slide in the massive rock pools here. The area is huge and one of my favourites. We spent alot of time here exploring all the gorges and hidden pools. If you climb up the rocks towards the waterfalls you will find a large open pool, hidden behind here is the Spa Pool; an intimate enclosed rock pool with a natural waterfall inside. 

Joffre Gorge: Class 2 / 5 Hike  
Joffre Gorge is without a doubt the one of the best adventures I've been on. It is just a short walk from the Karijini Eco Retreat and if you fancy the easy option you can take a short walk to the lookout to view the waterfall and natural amphitheatre below. OR if you're cray you can take the Class 5 option and hike down into the gorge. This involves a lot of scrambling and a massive team effort. Explore inside the amphitheatre before embarking on a fantastic swim. You spend the next hour or so switching between scaling rocks and swimming through the centre of the long gorge. Its a rock climbers dream location and we had a blast exploring. At the end of the gorge you swim up to a swamp where you take a short walk to the end of the gorge and view the massive waterfall plugging down into the rocks below. Rest up because you have to swim aaalll the way back and climb back up to the top of the gorge. It really was a brilliant adventure and one I probably wouldn't have done had it not been for our tour guide assisting us the whole way. 

Dales Gorge: Class 3/4 
From Dales Gorge car park, follow the trailhead for Fortescue Falls. Its a lovely hike and great view of the falls at the end. If you have time I would definitely say to carry on towards Fern Pool for a final dip in the Karijini pools. Swim up to the waterfall and take a refreshing shower in the plunging water. Return the way you came back to Dales Gorge car park. 

There are plenty more hikes and areas to explore; these are just the ones we had time to visit over our 3/4 days at Karijini. If you're planning a trip in Western Australia, ignore how far away it is inland, make sure you add it to your itinerary! It will make your whole road trip just that little bit more incredible. 
There are limited resources once in the national park so make sure you stock up on supplies to last your trip before entering. 

Check out my video below of my time exploring Karijini:

G Goes Global - Australia #4 Karijini National Park - GoPro Hero 3+ Silver from G Goes Global on Vimeo.

If you liked this post, check out my other Western Australia posts that might help plan your road trip: 

Thank you for reading & happy travels 

♡ G

Join me on Instagram @gemwills 

& follow me on my Australia Adventure! 

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Top 10 Things to do in Melbourne

Melbourne; the city that has all 4 seasons in one day.
But I have learnt to deal with the sudden drop or rise in temperature, and am happy to have settled here and call it my 2nd home. 
Melbourne is a very relaxed city, it has a lovely European flair to it and embedded in the heart of Melbourne is a fantastic coffee and art culture. 
There is so much to see and do here and I can fully understand why it has been voted the "most liveable city in the world" for the last 7 years in a row. 

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Visit: The Great Ocean Road | VIC

The Great Ocean Road is a must-do in Victoria and one of my favourite road trips. With access just over an hour away from Melbourne you'd be silly not to take a visit. Relax as you drive through the twists and turns with the ocean at your side. 
There are so many options to go, whether you opt for a single or multi-day tour, take your own car, or  hire a rental - however you go it'll be a fun experience. 

I've been twice, both times did and saw different things. The first time was with my friend from home Emily. We rented a car and blasted it from Melbourne to The Twelve Apostles in a day, camped overnight in Port Camball and then took the inland road back to Melbourne the following day. 
The second time was over 3 days, taking our time in a pimped out graffiti van from Melbourne to Port Campbell, added in a Gourmet-Trail and then drove the whole route back to Melbourne. Both trips were great fun & got to see so much! 

Home of Australian surfing, stop here to either have a go for yourself, or watch the pros from the beach. There's a really nice boardwalk over the river and up to some viewpoints overlooking the beach. 

Airey's Inlet:
Home to the Split Point Lighthouse, and the very reason you'd want to visit. This lighthouse was in fact the very same lighthouse made famous by the brilliant tv show Round the Twist
"Have you ever, ever felt like this? When strange things happen, are you going the round the twist"
Me & my sister used to watch it after school all the time! 

Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch:
Not too long after leaving Airey's Inlet you will approach the Great Ocean Road Arch - its kinda hard to miss, a great big archway over the road saying "THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD". Funny story though, the second time I did the Great Ocean Road, we did actually miss it, both ways - so keep those eyes peeled kids! 
There is a small area where you can pull over just before going under the arch to hop out and take those famous photos. We didn't stop, this was my best attempt at a picture from the car.

I really like Lorne, such a great little spot. Loads of shops, cafes and restaurants lining the beach front. Take a trip into Grandma Shield's Bakery to stock up on some seriously good pies, pastries and cakes. There's quite alot to do in and around Lorne :- you can have a wonder round the shops, relax on the beach, or take a drive up to Teddy's Lookout. The views from here are amazing. Or go a little further afield to Erskine Falls
If you're looking for somewhere to camp overnight we actually stayed at a campground just outside of Lorne. Technically we weren't supposed to park up and sleep in the van, buuuuut we did. We even made a new fox friend which was fitting because our van was called the Foxy Lady. 
Stay at: Allenvale Mill Campground

Kennett River:
Not long after passing through Wye River you will come into Kennett River. As you are driving along make sure to look out for the famous Kafe Koala. It is usually very busy in this area because it is prime koala and wildlife territory. Park up and take a walk down the gravel path to the left of the Kafe (basically where everyone else is) and you will see so many different birds flying around and jumping from hand to hand. In the trees in the area and around Kennett River Holiday Park there are so many koalas. 

Apollo Bay:
Apollo Bay is probably one of the biggest towns along the Great Ocean Road so a good place to have a break, stock up on food (and wine) and take a walk round. They have a nice beach and promenade here, a brewery and plenty of shops to explore. If you're looking for a bite to eat I would definitely recommend stopping at the Apollo Bay Seafood Cafe and getting yourself some fish and chips! 

Cape Otway Light Station: 
Its quite a long drive from Apollo Bay, but as you start to head inland through the forest you will see a turn-off for Cape Otway. Follow this road and as you come out of of the thick woodland and into more scattered trees, slow down and see if you can spot any koalas. This is prime koala location! The first time I came here with Emily we pulled over so many times and saw at least 10 koalas in the trees. Because of this, I dragged everyone in the van the 2nd time down here "You'll see soooooo many, they're everywhere" ... saw one. One tiny ball of fluff in a tree, can't even be sure it was a koala. You can carry on all the way to the end to visit the Light Station if you want. You have to go back the way you came and then back onto the GOR

The closest "town" before arriving to the Twelve Apostles, and a great base for the night if you want to camp over. We stayed at the Princetown Camping Reserve, it was dirt cheap and great set-up. The owner even let us have a fire pit for free and another camper gave us all his wood. There's a kitchen, shower & toilets and even a tennis court. My favourite part of this camp ground was the big oval sports pitch which was covered in kangaroos! 

Gibson Steps:
Just before the famous Twelve Apostles you will see sign posts for Gibson Steps. Park up here and take a walk down the 86 steps for a brilliant beach-level view of this coastal architecture. 

The Twelve Apostles:
The main-reason you're here (more than likely)! Park up at the Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre and take a walk to some incredible view points overlooking these impressive rock stacks. I would highly recommend coming for sunset, the lighting is just perfect. Funny story, there aren't actually 12 of them, never has been. They started as 9, but after a collapse in 2005 just 8 remain (good maths there Gemma). Having studied Physical Geography at university I was always so keen so visit these and so happy I have - witnessing the power of the physical environment and how it has shaped and eroded this massive rock structures is incredible. You go Mother Earth!

Loch Ard & Gorge: 
Turn off for Loch Ard & Gorge and here you can have chance to visit a few different trails and lookout points. The site is named after the ship Loch Ard that ran aground and out of all the passengers only two survived: Tom & Eva. There is lookout named after them nearby. Climb down the steps and onto the small beach area to get a beautiful shot out to sea. 

Port Campbell:
Next stop, Port Campbell. Another small town with a handful of pubs and shops. Useful stop if you find you're running low on wine ;) I camped here the first time I did the Great Ocean Road at Port Campbell Recreation Reserve. Great spot to put up a tent and stay the night. If you're after a bite and happen to be in the mood for pizza, go to Nico's Pizza & Pasta - TO.DIE.FOR

The Arch & London Bridge (now London Arch): 
Shortly after leaving Port Campbell you will see a turn off for The Arch & then not long after for London Bridge. Both stops have parking spaces and a short boardwalk to the viewpoints. London Bridge is now called London Arch as the "bridge" section collapsed back in 1990. It left two tourists stranded on the now isolated rock and had to be rescued by helicopter. 

The Grotto: 
And finally we come to the last main stop on the road - The Grotto. This famous sinkhole formation is really cool & can be reached down some steps from the car park. 

Tim boon Gourmet Trail 
If you've got some time I would recommend having a drive through the Great Ocean Road Gourmet Trail. You can get maps from Information Centres in Apollo Bay and they show you all the different spots you can visit to test out the best local produce. 

If you like this post on the Great Ocean Road, I imagine you'll LOVE these:
- Top 10 Things to do in Melbourne 
- Best Day Trips From Melbourne 

Thanks for reading & happy travels

♡ G

Join me on Instagram @gemwills 

& follow me on my current Australian Adventure! 

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