In July 2016, a really good offer ticked into my Facebook feed. It was a plane ticket with British Airways from Gothenburg via London (and with a short stop in Bangkok) to Sydney i Australia. The price was 3200 kroner.
It was simply too tempting to ignore and I just had to see if I could find a ticket for the price they had found. I pushed myself a little back and forth on the suggested dates and there was bingo.
Well enough, there was only departure 10 months later, but that was only an advantage, because then there was plenty of time to get the travel plans fitted in with other plans.
Now I do not live in Gothenburg, but from Copenhagen it is quite easy to take a train via Malmö, and if you book through Swedish channels, you even save a little there.
In addition, I had a sinister plan not to take advantage of the last leg of the trip home, but instead hop off in London and stay there for a few days or three. It is still cheaper to come home from London than from Gothenburg.
Basically, the trip was 11 days in Sydney, but I'm way too restless to be in a single place, so of course something more was needed. First thought was to split the trip up with half the time in Melbourne, but when I looked at bus, train and air fares between Sydney and Melbourne, something else popped up at the same price: Launceston in Tasmania.
Launceston is Tasmania's second largest city - but still nowhere near a big city - and the airline Jetstar flies back from Sydney for about 500 kroner. Then I had to go to Tasmania!
Now the plan was for 3 days in Sydney, where I had been before, 5 days in Tasmania and then 3 more days in Sydney. It is not long as fascinating a place as Australia, but then you just have to set the pace high while you are there.
The winter in Australia was about to start when I landed, but with the summer we have in Denmark this year, it is a winter down under to prefer… Sydney has plenty of hostels and many of them are lumped together in two areas; around the port of Woolloomoolloo and around Central Station Central.
I found a place in both areas and had 3 nights each place. The hostel scene in Australia is well organized and you get pretty much the same everywhere. My advice is to look at the location and then otherwise spend the time out on the town.
Sydney is a city for all budgets and I had decided to spend as little as possible. Fortunately, there are excellent free museums, lots of walking routes, world-famous beaches and beautiful parks. Just something for a poor adventurer!
In addition, the ferries across the harbor, and especially the ferry to Manly on the north side facing the Pacific Ocean are worth the money. Incidentally, Manly is a cozy surf town, which in itself has a lot to offer.
Sydney and the surrounding area has a smart travel card system called Opal, and there is a ceiling on the maximum price per day. That is, if you travel a lot on the same day, then it is free when you reach over 15 Australian dollars. And on Sundays, the max expense is even only $ 2,50.
Therefore, Sunday is excursion day for many locals and I even took a ferry ride up the river to Parramatta. It was a popular trip for both tourists and Sydney families.
The departure to Tasmania took place early in the morning and the flight time is just under two hours. Jetstar is a low cost company as we know them from Europe so there are strict rules for luggage on board.
I traveled with a single small backpack, and it was no problem to bring it as hand luggage - especially since I had filled my pockets with something that weighs… In return, you must remember to print out your boarding pass in advance, as Jetstar does not accept this kind of thing on mobile.
When you arrive in Tasmania's second largest city on a Sunday - which is even Mother's Day - it's quiet. Very quiet. The shops are closed and the streets are almost deserted. It's like Denmark in the time of the Closing Act. After much city walking and a visit to a few museums, I finally found a supermarket that was open.
It was like finding an oasis in the desert. Here there was life and people, and I got to shop a little for the coming days. At my hostel, which was an old significant building with an interesting history, there was a nice large kitchen with living room, billiards and table football, so after the supermarket it was easy to fend for yourself in the closed city.
The next day it was time to move the calf muscles. Right in the middle of Launceston, a hiking trail starts through a stunning mountain gorge, and you don't have to walk very many meters before encountering wallabies (small kangaroos), beautiful birds and other creatures.
And then there is a beautiful view from the vantage points you meet on the road - or rather, when you leave the road and follow the steep paths up to the top. There is a cable car across the gorge, a now abandoned hydroelectric power plant and a very varied nature on the way through the gorge, which is called Cataract Gorge.
The route is not too difficult to walk, but it is a beautiful way to use most of it. And then there is not very far home, if you do not bother anymore.
Launceston is, as I said, a manageable city, and I had already made plans to take a bus to other than the island to the capital, Hobart. The infrastructure for us without a car is not very developed; in addition, the population of Tasmania is simply not large enough.
But there are buses between the main cities a few times a day, and Hobart is naturally the center of much of the tourist infrastructure. The bus ride from north to south offers beautiful horizons while driving through a landscape dominated by agriculture and open plains.
Largest city in Tasmania: Hobart
Hobart is by far the largest city in Tasmania, and this is where you can find everything you need. The city is by no means a metropolis with high-rise buildings and metropolitan atmosphere as in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, so one is still very close to the surrounding nature.
Above Hobart sits Mount Wellington, which with its small 1300 meters in height has become a hallmark of the city. At my hostel, one of the perks was a free ride to the top of the mountain, where you could then either drive home or even hike down the trails.
I was completely convinced that I should hike, but the trip up in a slightly 'rustic' minibus convinced me of something else… As is often the case, when you get up in the heights, the clouds were close over the mountain, and we had to settle for a view as if we had held a piece of white A4 paper up in front of our eyes. But the trip was nice anyway.
Because it was winter on those edges, there was a nice discount on several of the day trips that run around the island based in Hobart, and I found a trip that looked really interesting. It drove up the east coast to the Freycenet peninsula and the focus was on beautiful nature. Go with me.
We ended up being 5 people from 4 different countries and an extremely local driver who was full of great stories. That's how most Australians are, but at least he here lived up to the prejudices of a true native 'aussie' - or rather 'tassie'.
The trip was excellent and gave a good feeling of being in Tasmania. The island is in many ways different from 'mainland Australia' and the nature is awe-inspiring.
After another city walking day in Hobart, the trip went back by bus to Launceston and the airport and from there up to Sydney again.
One of the great sights in Sydney is the Blue Mountains. They are located west of the city itself and attract a host of tourists and locals especially on weekends.
Despite the prospect of overcrowding in the area, I chose a Saturday for my excursion to the mountains, and 'luckily' there was both rain and track work on the train tracks that day, so many had probably stayed home anyway.
The trip to the Blue Mountains takes a few hours by train, and there are a strip of stations you can get off at to visit the mountains. Katoomba is the center of most things and this is where most people stand by. I drove a few stops on to Blackheath, from where one can hike to one of the best vantage points in the area.
The rain disappeared on the way up to the mountains, and it became a very beautiful day of hiking in the impressively beautiful - mostly green - mountains. Definitely one of the best low cost attractions in Sydney and Australia in general.
Before leaving for Europe and my 'free' stopover in London, there was time for even more city walking, ferrying and beach visits in Sydney, and it's hard to say goodbye to one of the world's most beautiful cities after such a short time.
Fortunately, I know that it's not only a goodbye, but also a reunion when another great offer comes along that I can not ignore. Australia goes in the blood of one.
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