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on the run, on my own: heads or [kangaroo] tails

Image: Jo Williams

Image: Jo Williams


At the moment, I’m in a rather enviable position compared to most foreign backpackers in Australia. I have just had the last of my 88 days signed off for my second year Visa and I have only been here for just over four months. Now I have almost eight months up my sleeves to travel, explore and basically take my time without having to worry about finding farm work along the way.

So when I arrived back in Darwin, which is pretty much the top of the middle of Australia, I needed to make a decision: somehow, I needed to get back down to the south – but should I head east or west?

A few weeks ago, while I was still at the farm, I was talking with my friend about what we were going to do after we finished there. He had his heart set on the east coast and was trying to convince me to go there too. There have been times while travelling that I have felt like the only person who hasn’t seen the east coast yet. Pretty much every single backpacker I’ve spoken to has told stories of Frasier Island, Noosa, Surfer’s Paradise and The Whitsundays. I think the east coast is what you imagine when you come to Australia: gorgeous beaches, beautiful drives, permanently sunny weather and a decent nightlife.

But the West Coast? I know of maybe five people who have visited the West Coast, and all of them have said that it’s one of the most amazing things they have done.

One of the only things I know about Western Australia is that it is big. Massive. When you’re a traveller in Oz, the guidebooks like to constantly explain just how huge it is with helpful little analogies. Like, for example, did you know that WA is as big as Texas? Or, if it was its own country, it would be the tenth biggest country in the world.

It’s big.

The more I came to research it, the more I came to be intrigued by it. It’s wild. It’s dangerous. It’s vast. It’s unknown.

Maybe it’s what I wanted after months of knowing exactly what I was going to do the next week. Or did I want to continue with the safety of knowing where I was going to be and what to expect?

And that brings me back to Darwin and my decision.

I’ve always been the kind of girl who would dwell and dither over decisions – even the little ones. I would think through every single possibility so that I could weigh up the pros and cons and truly make the right choice. But since I’ve been in Australia, I’ve noticed that my decision making when it comes to travelling is a little, well, unconventional.

Each direction has its pros and cons but ultimately, I knew I would enjoy either way. So, heads I go east; tails I go west.

I flipped a coin and that’s how, with the help of some kangaroo tails, I’m going to be travelling down the West Coast of Australia in a convoy of kombis.

Image: Jo Williams

Image: Jo Williams

I’ve always had it in mind that I want to do a Great Australian Road Trip. There’s something about the sprawling roads and the endless coasts that seem to be screaming for a long road trip with some good tunes and playlists. And I knew that a road trip was pretty much the best way to see Western Australia.

After finding a great group of Australians who are currently touring the country in two kombis (of course, I’ve had Men at Work in my head for the past week) on Gumtree, we started planning our journey. We’re going to take three weeks to get to Broome, stopping wherever we want to in between and taking our time. We’ll go down to Katherine via Litchfield then work our way across, stopping at national parks and sleeping in free campsites. There’ll probably be no internet, no signal and probably no showers – and it’s going to be brilliant.

It feels a little weird to be leaving NT though as I’ve been here for the last three months. But even though I’m going to miss a lot about this place, I’m itching to go travelling again, move onto the next place and see what else Australia has to offer.

See you soon, WA!

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