Australian Adventure (July 18 - 19, 2013)

40 Days Down Under (Day 35 & 36)

Thursday, July 18, 2013
I met a bonafide prince today. He sold me a stamp, some foreign currency, and gave us a tour of his Capitol City - Nain.

Did you know that you could drive from mainland Australia into a new country without crossing water? We did that today. In fact, I stood in two countries at one time today.

The road to Nain.

We are in two countries at one time.

The Principality of Hutt River has been an independent sovereign state since seceding from Australia on April 21, 1970. The country is roughly the size of Hong Kong with 18,500 acres of land over 75-or-so square kilometers.

Our tour guide was His Royal Highness Prince Leonard the First (Leonard George Casley) who recognized that the territory of The Principality of Hutt River was never British proclaimed territory after Australia introduced a wheat farming quota that would have destroyed their way of life.
Prince Leonard of the Principality of Hutt River gave us a tour.
Prince Leonard himself gave us a tour of the post office, church, and sovereign reception building.

I got to sit in the honest-to-goodness princess chair.

Sadly, just last week, the principality lost its princess. Flags were being flown at half-mast while we were there. I'm sure giving the tours is a distractor for His Royal Highness who was incredibly gracious and must be a very intelligent man to have figured out this remarkable loophole to avoiding the wheat quota and to never have to pay taxes to the Australian government again.

Flags at half-mast

Capitol City of Nain in the Principality of Hutt River

There is some incredibly unique artwork in the country and fascinating displays.

Royal Rolls Royce
After leaving The Principality of Hutt River, we viewed the leaning eucalypt trees of Greenough. This bizarre natural phenomenon is caused by the airborne salt content blown in from the Indian Ocean. It reacts interestingly with eucalypt trees. It doesn't seem to alter any other trees.

Greenough Leaning Trees

Next up was Nambung National Park to see the Pinnacles at sunset.

The Pinnacles are thousands of ancient rock pillars rising from the desert like weathered tombstones. They are made up of shells from the way-back-when. During that time, the sand there was beneath the sea.

It's interesting how rainwater can change what happens to shells. In Hamelin Pools, the rainwater made the calcium carbonate in the shells create blocks of shells that could be used as stairs and walls. In Nambung, the rainwater made shells create The Pinnacles. Granted, winds and erosion helped form The Pinnacles too, but it's remarkable nonetheless.

Our overnight for the evening was at the Pinnacles Caravan Park.

Kris attempts a Tim Tam slam with some coffee milk and a Tim Tam.

Friday, July 19, 2013
We spent multiple more hours viewing the Pinnacles today and completing one of the Pinnacles walks.

While walking, we came upon a kangaroo with a youngster.

We also found some gray and pink gallahs.

We passed the White Desert while back on the road, and I finished the Kris recommended Duma Key by Stephen King (very long book - 581 pages). While I can easily admit that Stephen King is a very good pictorial storyteller, I can't say that I like the twisted thoughts the book put into my mind. I don't think I'll be reading any more Stephen King.

White Desert

Today was largely a drive day, so we were happy when we finally arrived at our overnight for the evening...the very nice Tressie's Museum & Caravan Park.

In addition to having very new facilities, the people at Tressie's were the friendliest we'd met all trip. We had a great dinner of chicken tacos on the barbie while we chatted with two sets of retired Aussies touring around.

There really isn't anything quite like a fire pit gathering.

One of the ladies had marshmallows. I asked if they'd ever had a s'more before. This blew their mind. I had to explain how to make a s'more.  Poor deprived Aussies.

Top 10 Places to Take Your JUCY Condo in Australia

Narrowing down a list of places to go and see in Australia is a nearly impossible task. Opportunities abound for adventure in this massive land down under, and it is truly difficult to condense the experiences into a Top 10 list. Regardless, I'll give it a try.

Top 10 Most Memorable Experiences while Traveling in a JUCY Condo:

01. Picnicking at Mt. Tomah Botanic Gardens at Blackheath

Make sure to skip the area closest to the parking lot, and opt instead for the grassy picnic area in the park.

Visiting Mt. Tomah Botanic Gardens is free and exploring this park with gorgeous views of the UNESCO World Heritage Blue Mountains can take you hours.

02. Going to the Featherdale Wildlife Park

Admission is only $28 for an adult, and Featherdale doesn't charge extra for you to be photographed petting a koala. This excellent park is obviously dedicated to tending injured animals and providing them a safe home.

You can marvel at the song of a kookaburra, feed kangaroos and wallabies, or enjoy gazing upon the wombats, koalas, dingoes, penguins, bats, emus, peacocks, large eagles/falcons and other birds of prey, and some reptiles too. There is even a barnyard animal petting zoo. This park is an excellent place to spend a few hours.

03. Feasting on Fredo Pies in Frederickton after visiting the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie

The Koala Hopsital in Port Macquarie rehabilitates injured koalas in hopes of setting them back into the wild. The Koala Hospital is also fairly close to the Port Macquarie library where you can access free, responsive wifi. We went to the free 3pm koala talk and made it to Fredo Pies for dinner. Fredo Pies is an award-winning pie shop with flaky, buttery crusts and a massive number of choice fillings. Inspiring day with incredible food.

04. Stepping back in time at the Trial Bay Gaol ruins

The Trial Bay Gaol ruins show a side of Australian history you might not see elsewhere, plus we spotted a whale from the gorgeous coastline view. Minutes away is the towering and pretty Smoky Cape Lighthouse, another great whale seeking spot. We loved the freedom of getting to tour the ruins without hordes of people and the South West Rocks area offers great camping and hiking.

05. Enjoying the best view of the Brisbane skyline from the main strip of the town of Coolangatta

Coolangatta offers a great beach and park with an incredibly photographable backdrop of Brisbane. Parking is free and it's a great place to picnic.

View of Brisbane from Coolangatta

06. Fossicking in White Cliffs

Fossicking in White Cliffs is great fun for those who wish to get a bit off of the beaten path. While in White Cliffs, you can also view the underground abodes of artists and residents in this opal mining town. (You don't have to get off of sealed roads to fossick, and it is completely legal to noodle without a license as long as nobody already has a claim. The sides of the main road are fair game.)

07. Indulging in a spider, waffle sundae, or milkshake at Bell's Milk Bar in Broken Hill

We couldn't get enough of Bell's Milk Bar, so we went twice. Once after exploring the town of Broken Hill, and the other after visiting Silverton, the Mundi Mundi Overlook, and the Living Desert Sculptures. Bell's Milk Bar offers a free strong wifi connection with purchase and free parking for your JUCY out front.

08. Escaping on Kangaroo Island

The Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch on Kangaroo Island are some of the coolest formations ever seen. There is an abundance of kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, seals, sea lions, and even some fairy penguins on this excellent island. (Plus, driving backwards onto the ferry is quite an experience.) Highly recommended for nature lovers, but give yourself a few days there.

09. Visiting the World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves National Park

There are 26 limestone caves in the Naracoorte Caves National Park, and some house the fossilised skeletons of giant marsupials. Make sure to take a tour of the Alexandra Cave; it has some of the prettiest and most delicate formations you'll likely ever see. There are tours of the various caves at different times during the day, so stay local so you can devote the day for cave exploration.

10. Laughing at the giraffes at the Werribee Open Range Zoo

Australia has a lot of wide open spaces. The town of Werribee has taken advantage, and they have established the Werribee Open Range Zoo. Situated over more hectares than I can fathom, this zoo has created an open air African safari-type adventure. Make sure to take the 90-minute open vehicle adventure for the most memorable experience with African wildlife you can have short of visiting an African safari.

Truth be matter what you matter where you'll have a fabulous time.  It's about the adventure - not the destination - and the JUCY Condo is the perfect way to get you there.

*I was provided a discount for writing this blog article, but all opinions are my own.  We were truly sad to have to turn in our JUCY Condo at the end of our journey.