First Impressions Of Australia

Heather Markel, Writer, Speaker, Photographer, Traveler, Business Strategist

Saying goodbye to an unexpected new home is very strange.

I’ve finally left New Zealand behind, and am adapting to being in Australia. The first strange thing was getting used to mask-wearing regulations. I got used to having one on at all times, anytime I left the house in Auckland. In Australia, however, you only need one indoors. My vaccination card is now required to enter certain shops and I have to get used to checking OUT of places with the Australian Covid app, another adjustment.

With Bec, at Fitzroy Falls, Australia

Copyright, 2021. Heather Markel.

I’ve come to Bowral and have a walk around my first couple of days. I take in how different it feels to be able to go into shops, and only wear masks in populated areas and stores, as opposed to the lockdown in Auckland. My attention is momentarily taken up by a man hanging out with his two birds…

birds in new zealand

I was so happy to be able to celebrate my birthday with my friend Bec – the one I’ve been trying to visit for the past two years! I’m happy she’s a great role model for walking, aspiring to a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, which my body needs! (Pandemic-gut be gone!) We took two lovely walks near Bowral.

Bong Bong Track

I felt quite rude that my mind went right to “instrument to smoke pot” when I saw the name of this track. In fact, it’s an Aboriginal term, and, looking it up, I found several definitions:

1 – the part of the human anatomy that we sit on. (I suppose that’s a euphemism for our butt.)

2 – many watercourses

3 – many frogs

As far as the Bong Bong Commons is concerned, I suppose all three definitions are relevant. There’s a river you walk along, we heard frogs, and, there’s a bench to sit on at the point where you might feel you need a break from walking.

The trail is lovely, and, apparently, sometimes has kangaroos, though we didn’t see any. There’s a road that curves around, shared with cyclists and walkers, alike. There’s also a small bridge over the waterway, in a state of decay. Along the walk, we saw sheep, and horses, but, no kangaroos.

Fitzroy Falls

This walk was nothing short of spectacular. In contrast to the New Zealand landscape of curving bays where land meets sea, here, the eye is captured by an expansive mountain range where water falls, land collides, and clouds nest.

We perfectly sandwiched our walk between heavy rainfall. At the start of the walk is a fork in the path. We took the one to the right, which goes all around the rim of the spectacular mountains. Along the way there were numerous lookout points. I loved getting all the different views, and how, with the pending storm, which changed the lighting, they all looked different.

The Fitzroy Falls walk is mostly even ground, and fairly easy, unless you go down the steps at one part of the walk, into a small opened cave area. Those steps were a bit steep.

Marsden Cross New Zealand

Spectacular view at Fitzroy Falls. Copyright 2021, Heather Markel.

Getting There

Both these areas are near to Bowral, which is about 2 hours south of Sydney. If you’re short on time, Bong Bong Commons is a fairly quick drive south. Fitzroy Falls is another roughly 45-minute drive from Bong Bong Commons.

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In 2020, I was traveling in New Zealand as the coronavirus pandemic brewed, and, got stuck there. If you want to read about what this time was like and traveling during this time, check out this page.

At the heart of international travel is learning about the many different cultures and ways of being around the world. The posts compiled on this page speak, specifically, about the cultural observations I’ve had.

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