5

MAY, 2018

“Roaming free and feeling free. Life cannot get any better. Starting point of my new journey is Bali, overcrowded with tourists so better cruise with your motorcycle and find some quiet spots.”

I took a bit of time away from work as I do every winter, took time off to spike new ideas and inspiration and there is a lot of things brainstorming while traveling. But it is nice, not doing much, waking up late hanging out with friends, drinking pretty awful Bintang beer but you have to stay hydrated somehow.

Before this big trip to Australia and New Zealand it is nice to have a bit of time to appreciate the smaller things. I have been in delay for 3 days as my flight was cancelled from Bali to Melbourne so what can you do as travel can be a bit stressful sometimes.

Why I chose Bali as a starting point for this trip? Immigration policy in Australia is a pretty strict one and I bought a ticket to Bali in case I get rejected. It was a very complicated process of planning the trip but I lef enough time and got visa for a short period of 3 weeks which is quick.

7 hours flight and here I am in Melbourne. You could never tell when you open a world map that is that far but it is. Melbourne is a typical European city and the most liveable one as declared a couple of years in a row.

Melbourne’s trendy bars, picturesque wineries and world-class sporting venues mean nothing if you’re unable to access them.

I was just amazed walking the streets, meeting Greeks, Italians and Croatians as they have a huge immigration over here. Welcome to Australia, some snakes and spiders will kill you and do not go to swim.

You always hear those things about this continent, maybe it is true as I saw signs everywhere and people just relaxing at the beaches with a red flag on for shark attacks. You have to appreciate Adriatic where you can take a dip in the middle of the sea and not being afrais that something is going to eat you.

You will feel something in this country and you will love that about this country. It is called tolerance and is hard to find it around the world. You just go to immigration museum and you can learn how it feels to pack your life in one suitcase. Unfortunately we learned that in Croatia in the 90’s.

Indigenous Australians are the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia, descended from groups that existed in Australia and surrounding islands prior to British colonization. Australians show respect to them.

I was fortunate enough to visit a lot of beautiful places around the world. The most astonishing and memorable experiences were my trips to New Zealand and Australia.

How to travel in Australia? Buy a car or rent one. Sleep in a hostel where you can make a plan for a road trip with so many other travelers. Many people just buy a car in Sydney and sell it in Perth on the west coast.

Driving through vineyards, national parks and Ocean Drive Road is such an amazing experience, stopping in the surfer’s villages along the way. Experience is avoiding kangaroos while driving.

One of the must do things is visiting 12 Apostles. Created by constant erosion of the limestone cliffs of the mainland beginning 10–20 million years ago, the stormy Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs. There are approximately 600 known shipwrecks along Victoria’s coast, although only around 240 of them have been discovered. Many of these wrecks occurred on the Shipwreck Coast, with several road signs leading visitors to the known resting place of some of these ships.

After the road trip I have returned to Melbourne to catch my flight to New Zealand, which is just 3 hour flight to the end of the world. Now I am 12 hours ahead from home so when you go to sleep your friends in Croatia wake up.

If you want to spend time in nature, without a signal on your cell phone and a bit isolated this is just a place for you. I met more people hiking than in their cities. My car was a rental so it can go through the fields, water and never let me down for 2 weeks. I got used to it driving on a wrong side of the road.

Seriously this country looks like as seen on the pictures from the magazines. Landscape change is fascinating and it changes every half an hour while driving from the sandy beaches to rainforests and fields. They do not talk about earthquakes as you feel couple of it each day. The land of the long white cloud as they call New Zealand, within its small compass it has an amazing range of scenery, a complete portfolio of every sport that you can think of, a number of sophisticated cities, superb skiing and surfing and some excellent wines.

You will be surprised how many Dalmatians live in New Zealand, almost 60 000 as they are pioneers of wine making in New Zealand. New Zealand’s Māori culture is an integral part of Kiwi life which you can find mostly in the North Island. I can imagine Maori performing Haka to Dalmatians who are the masters of the art of doing nothing. But I am sure that they produce the best Sauvignon Blanc.

New Zealand or Aoteroa, you have been beautiful but I have to go to Sydney and then back home after 2 months of treaveling. Sometimes you feel homesick but there is still so many beautiful places to see around the world.

Landing in Sydney, seeing Opera and Harbour bridge or maybe half of it as the mega cruise ships dock in the middle of the city. Taking a ferry to Manly as city is crowded with Chinese tourists with selfies sticks as tomorrow is a Chinese New Year’s celebration. That is a spectacular thing but I am one of the people who does not like big cities if we do not talk about NYC.

Spending almost a week in Sydney and the area, almost went for a swim but remember, this is Australia. Time to say goodbye until the next adventure starts.

Ivan Vuković, travel writer

Travel blog

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