If I ever have a chance to come to Australia one more time, I would still choose to drive the car again on the road across the vast fields, trying to feel the feelings of nature and life of people who partner with nature for a living.
Maybe there are many people will ask why I not go to Melbourne or Sydney to lie on the beach, to admire Sydney Opera House? But maybe, in my opinion, those are not the most preferred options, because, most modern cities in the world are similar and the most special character of each country are not usually there. That’s how Australia is.
The four first stop in this business trip in Australia is Darwin, a small harbor city near the top North of Australia, the export place of most beef meat and cow milk of Australia to the world, especially to Asia. Darwin is quiet, quiet and peaceful with slow pace of life. The city gets more exciting when the sun goes down. That’s when people go out and gather to watch the sunset on the harbour, have a beer and some snacks, chatting away. It was time the bar at the center began to open with the music blasting on speakers or the restaurants get their first guests to enjoy the cuisine.
However, our trip only really started when we landed a flight from Darwin to Brisbane and from there, we hired a car and drove up to Rockhampton, capital of livestock and beef production of Australia, and again, from there back to Brisbane, reach down to Gold Coast to enjoy unforgettable experience of nature here.
Landing Brisbane airport at dusk, after renting car at the airport, we looked for a motel with 4 bedrooms in the suburbs, close to the A1 road connecting Brisbane with Rockhampton, so that it’s more convenient for an early journey the next morning.
The next morning, we began our journey with Thuyen’ words, our friend in Australia and also the tour guide accompanying us throughout the journey: “Welcome you all to my country, let’s partake on a journey to truly explore Australia, won’t we?”. We absolutely can fly from Brisbane to Rockhampton and back, but according to him Sailing, the driver traveling on the cross-country route is the best way to feel Australia.
And after five days and nights of moving, filming by car, we understand why he recommended this ode of transportation. By car, we could watch sunrise on the savannah at its first rays of light on the foggy grass land, watching sugar cane fields spreading to the horizon, with herds of horses graze leisurely or feel so small before the steppes of sight along the blue sky with few clouds drifting by.
Australia spred before us with the cattle beef farms with all their glories. During his trip, we had the opportunity to visit Paradise Lagoon, an area of nearly 2 million hectares (about the size of Vietnam’s Gia Lai province) farming about 160,000 cows. Here, cattle are raised mainly in the form of natural grazing with only about 20 farmer employees. Standing atop the central hills of the farm, watching his 2 millions ha property, we feel all privileges from the Nature of Australia. Accounting Australian cattle beef industry alone, each cow has an average of 1 ha of grassland to graze about.
A special experience that we get when traveling on the road connecting two cities is to meet Australian travelers communities who prefer traveling cross-country by car. Along the highway, about each 100km, the government built a fully equipped rest stops for the caravan car travelers. At each stop, we can dry clothes, shower in public toilets for free, cook, barbecue from the gas stoves and even sleep in a car right there worried-free. When asking about such stops, an Australian from Perth told us, such stations are indispensable in all of Australia’s roads, since traveling by caravan car has become a typical culture.
Besides such station, roadside motels are also common sights. Luckily we had the opportunity to “experience” a motel on the way back to Brisbane from Rockhampton. In Maryborough, about 270 km from Brisbane, it was too dark to go on, we decided to crash in a roadside motel, paying $80 AUD for 1 room with 4 beds, run by a nearby to buy chicken, bread, cold ham and fruits for a modest dinner yet very “Australian overnight style”.
That’s it, nearly 2000 kilometers and 5 days we have a journey from the end of steppes to steppes, from grassland other sugar cane fields, learn how Australians and really feel, how living in “Little House on the Prairie” would be like. Australian nature is not only fields and green lands but also the deserts, national forests, the nature reserves, faraway coasts that we have not had the opportunity to set foot in. I’ll leave it to the next adventure in Australia.
Truong Cong Thanh