As you may (or may not!?) know this is The Big Banana which resides at Coffs Harbour in Australia. (351 Pacific Highway, Coffs Harbour NSW to be precise!) I visited it on a TopDeck Tour I did from Sydney to the Gold Coast! It is one of the many 'BIG' things to see in Australia, along with such things as the BIG Prawn, the BIG rocking horse, the BIG orange and the BIG Kangaroo!!
At this point I had been travelling solo around Australia for about 10 months, having arrived in February 2013. I had done all my farm work and gained my second year visa so it was time to travel! I'd been on travels from Airlie Beach into the WhitSundays, up into Townsville and across to Magnetic Island, further north up to Cairns and into the Daintree rainforest. I'd taken a flight west to Darwin, awaiting a tour south further into the outback, sleeping outside in swags and cooking on gas stoves, hiking down to gorges, swimming in natural pools and hiking back out again. Working as a team to cook dinner for everyone, taking showers outdoors and making friends with green tree frogs each time you visited the loo! (Did I mention the 4 tour buses we had to have on this tour.....??)
A glorious weekend in a hostel to re-charge, wash clothes, shop and re-connect on wifi. Leaving old friends behind and gaining new ones. Enjoying the pool and having dinner with the new tour leader one night felt like total indulgence. Waking up on the morning of the new tour, checking out of the hostel and having breakfast with everyone before setting off again.
One beautiful weekend spent in Karijini National Park, sleeping in swags, cooking on gas and hiking in/out of the most gorgeous of natural pools. Tackling daunting gorges and waterfalls. Seeing sights which would stay in the mind forever more, building friendships you hoped would last. Eating such foods as 'bush trifle' and 'dampner bread'.
It was with mixed emotions we moved out of the national park and took rest in actual beds when we had just got used to swagging it. Nevertheless, the beckon of proper showers+toilets and the joyus cool of the pool was too much to resist. Cooking steak al-fresco sealed new friendships and cemented old ones. Chatting with miners and having a good game or 3 of UNO, it didn't seem so bad after all!
It is amazing how quickly you get used to being mostly dirt and sweat! Yes you scrub yourself in the showers each night, but there's something to be said for getting back to nature this way.
For most, staying in the hostels each night were a welcome relief. Whilst it was good to get back to proper showers and toilets; I missed choosing a swag pitch for the night and falling asleep to the stars each night.
Nothing beat crossing The Tropic of Capricorn on our continued adventure south....
The 3 weeks went by too fast in a blur of hikes, swimming, sleeping on swags and talking into the night. Friendships were made and memories never forgotten. Photos taken and memory cards filled. Clothes made red and washing bags full. This was by far one of the best trips I have ever done. It opened my eyes to Australian life and how vast this wonderful country is. I had only covered on small part of it, yet it seemed like how could this be?? Surely there couldn't be more to see? But alas there was and after finishing in Perth I was due to fly east to Adelaide and take another tour towards The Great Ocean Road....aahh how iconic this one road is across the world. I couldn't wait to see it for myself.....but first, Adelaide!
I hope you have enjoyed taking a sneak peek into my Australian photo album....I am aiming to do more of these types of posts as I have a whole bunch of photos which need sorting out....! Let me know what kind of travel posts you'd like to see next?? Have you ever travelled to Australia?? Would you ever like to go?? =)
*Although most of these photos are my own, a few are courtesy of our amazing tour leader, Christine Sparks! Used with permission*