Travelling Down Under
I may have the opportunity to travel to Australia next year during the month of August if I get accepted to the conference I want to go to in New Zealand at the beginning of September. Due to work regulations on conference funding, I would only be able to stay in NZ for 10 days, which is why I want to focus on Australia beforehand.
I've been to Oz before, but it was a month of teacher training up in Cairns during the rainy season (Feb), and I got rained out of every tourist thing I tried to do up there on the weekends. At the end of the month I thought that Uluru/Kata Tjuta/King's Canyon would be a safe bet, but a cyclone that had hit the top end continued inland as a major rain depression and I had five days of rain and gloomy skies and getting stuck in the red mud in the middle of the desert as a result. The only upside to the rain was manageable temperatures and seeing waterfalls pouring out of the canyon. But this was when I was only shooting with a P&S camera, so basically I have no good photos from my time there.
In any event, if this works out, I'll have the entire month of August to explore some parts of Australia, with the major focus being photography. I'm not a beach person or someone that does a lot of activities. I'll be travelling alone as usual, which is great in terms of doing what I want, but not so great when it comes to keeping costs down.
Of course I already know quite a lot about Australia and I've been through the guidebooks, but what I really want to know is, photographically speaking, what locations would be the best to visit at this time of year? I think the NT would be good, Tasmania, maybe not so much. Any suggestions for an itinerary?
I'm just a visitor from years ago, and I don't know how it will be in winter, but one vote for the Blue Mountains.
August is the depth of winter here. Can you plan the trip for September, after NZ - weather is usually very mild then in the southern parts.
I know. Unfornately, the university holidays in Japan are August and part of September, but if I did Oz in September I'd only have two weeks, really. Besides, I was planning on using my 10 days in NZ in September, because I think August would be even worse over there. Luckily I have friends on the South Island I can visit, which would make up for bad weather.
Originally Posted by raoul
As a Canadian, I think I can handle whatever Australia throws at me weather-wise (especially seeing how poorly the Aussies I know here handle the mild Japanese winters ;)), but the question is, is winter in Southern Australia grey and rainy, or cold, blustery, but with blue skies? I will most likely fly in and out Sydney, and wouldn't mind heading over to Melbourne and doing the Great Ocean Road, but is it worth it at that time of year?
Winter in the south can be grey and drizzly... but you do have some clear, cold, stunningly blue days. Problem is that it is likely hit and miss. But certain things such as waterfalls would be good at this time of year.
Really depends what you want to photograph :)
IN winter I would say stay in the north If you have the time do the north west like Broome Monkey Mia etc.. Darwin is bearable in August and you can access a lot of the National parks in NT that are flooded in summer.
As an Australian I'd recommend New Zealand. It's such a compact landscape; the 8 hours or so drive from Auckland to Wellington alone includes desert, semi active volcanoes, farm land, lakes, Maori settlements, seascapes (if you detour a little) and cityscapes.
I do, however, suspect that the weather i.e. light is unpredictable there currently as it is in Australia.
The Blue Mountains as posted is tricky for me as a B/W photographer, contrasty when you're in the bush on a sunny day, low brightness range on a dull day--but could be fine for colour pics.
Australia over the last 1Ĺ years, has generally been the wettest since 1974-1975. So I would suggest you do some research regarding places you may think of going to, to ensure they are not underwater still.
You could go to Cape York to the Tip, August is usually the best time to get there as the rivers are down and vehicles can get through, however that would mean an organised tour, which wouldnít be cheapish, but would probably get you to places and things you have never heard of.
My first successful trip to the tip was in 1980, third attempt. Water was down to waist high; we floated the bikes across the Jardine River.
The Great Ocean road is quite over rated, yes itís not too bad, but I wouldnít call it spectacular at all. I have been on it on motorcycles for the last 45 years, but now itís just a tourist thing with overblown suggestions.
Central Australia, whilst often freezing in the nights at that time of the year, can be terrific. Bring a tripod for astro photography. One favourite pastime is lying down wrapped in a sleeping bag and looking up into the night sky and counting satellites.
My suggestion is to contemplate central Australia; itís the time I have often been there. Bring warm clothing and sunscreen.
Another suggestion may be the top end either in the Territory or the top left corner of Western Australia. This is getting sort of near to the end of the dry season and the water holes are starting to dry up, meaning the wildlife starts to congregate. Best would be a tour. Iíll try and get some information from a Canadian lass who stayed at our place for a while, she and her significant other had a whale of a time on a trip up the top end. Both from an Aboriginal cultural and food and custom thing, as well as general sight seeing. Sheís quite into photography as well, stunning piccies.
The east coast of Oz is reasonably touristy, nice in tiny bites, thatís all.
The Flinders Ranges in South Australia is or could be very good at that time if the spring comes early. Air trips over Wilpena Pound and some organised trips to some of the spectacular lookouts and gorges are good. Four days to one week there, should see many things, but on the other hand you could find somewhere nice to just travel out from and come back every day.
Mt Augustus in Western Australia is huge, itís the biggest rock around, makes the rock in Central Australia look like a pebble.
Lots of things to do, just requires money and time!
I'd definitely recommend doing the Great Ocean Road, just remember to drive on the left side of the road, and watch out for motorcyclists with the bike on the correct side of the road, but their heads on your side. The scenery along the road and into the Otways is really good and it is one of my favourite places in Oz.
South and east will be the depths of winter: grey and rainy. Perth in winter gets rain too but often has nice clear cold sunny periods.
If you go to the tropical areas like Cairns, it will be great that time of year. Since you have so much time, I would suggest doing the north of WA: Kimberleys, Lake Argyll, Karijini Gorge, etc. The weather will be beautiful and the scenery there is quite spectacular.
The outback is a good bet for it not raining, but you can expect nights as bad as -10C with no facilities other than whatever tent/bag/vehicle you bring.
Hell, with a month, you could do a Perth->Darwin->Adelaide trek and see so much beautiful stuff.