Tag Archives: australia

Australia Wild Islands – The Video

Well, it took a week to upload that video from India’s on & off Internet connection (thanks to the Monsoon), but hopefully you will appreciate watching it;-)

The video of our trip to Fraser island north of Brisbane, the largest sand island in the land and a beautiful piece of nature where the sand meets the forest and sea. Then Lady Elliot island, the most isolated island on the south of the Great Barrier Reef, with an incredible flight to get there, and mind blowing reef and marine life! Memories that the family will keep for a long time with lots of footage filmed from the sky!

 

Australia Road Trip – The Video

4000 kms road trip from Melbourne to Noosa Bay, discovering beautiful nature, from cold Tasman sea climate to tropical bays north of Brisbane. Long roads, many hikes in natural parks, theme parks, surfing… and loooong moments stuck in the campervan practicing survival skills!

This is our Australian road-trip story.

Offsetting our Australasia Carbon emissions

As part of our commitment to leave a positive Carbon footprint in the regions we cross, we wanted to offset our Australasia Carbon emission (from our trip in New-Zealand, Australia and India) through projects in that same region.

With Thomas and South Pole Group advices, we picked two projects that are creating sustainable emissions reduction, as well as interesting social impact.

Prony wind farms, New Caledonia

The Pacific islands region, from Australia to Tahiti, faces increasing environmental and socio-economic pressures sharpened by global climate change. The UN recognizes small island developing states as being particularly vulnerable to climate change (like the Micronesian archipelago). Already severely affected by climate variability and extreme tropical weather events, they remain extremely vulnerable to future changes in the regional climate and to rising sea levels. Australia has already committed to welcome some of the very first climate change refugees coming from those small islands, and it’s already happening now !

0344_02Rich in wind resources, New Caledonia is reducing its dependency from fossil fuel with sustainable wind power. The two wind farms of Prony and Kafeate are using world first technology to green-up the national grid and provide socio-economic improvements for the communities, with 30 temporary and 28 permanent job creations favoring indigenous Kanak people.

In order to save nature and landscape partly disordered by former deforestation and mining activities, the infrastructure of the wind farms is based on existing roads only to limit erosion.

New Caledonia being located in a hurricane hot spot; the wind turbines used in the project are specifically designed for this type of climate, meaning that the whole wind farm can be tilted down within a few hours in the event of an extreme weather alert. This smart engineering approach makes the project a perfect match for the location and ensures that the nations green power supply can sustain an extreme climate event such as a hurricane.

The project activity lead to 32,000 tons of CO2 annual emissions reduction.

Micro-hydro plant, Indonesia

This micro hydro plant makes use of the natural flow of water to generate sustainable power for the island of Sulawesi, without the need for a retaining dam.

0322_02The project is utilizing the natural fall of water between the upper Moaat lake and the lower Iloloy lake to generate low impact sustainable energy. The hydro plant has an installed capacity of 3 MW only.
Beyond the provision of the region with clean energy that replaces fossil fuel fired power, the project is also concerned with saving local landscape and nature. Upstream of the hydro station, trees have been planted to stabilize the river banks and reduce erosion and improve the soil’s water absorption capability, thus securing local water supply.

0322_04In addition, the local population benefits from the small hydro plant. During the construction phase, most of the building material was bought in the region. Heavy machinery in this sensitive environment was avoided during construction, generating an over-average level of temporary employment, thus providing about 200 people with safe income. In the operational phase, about 20 locals are employed as technicians. The power plant management is in female hands which makes for a strong signal of gender equality.

This microhydro plant serves as a good example for sustainable development in a remote region, at the same time benefitting global climate and local communities.

The annual CO2 emissions reduction is 8,500 tons.

For more information on those two projects, and want to offset your own Carbon emissions, please check the South Pole Group website.

Melbourne to Sydney road-trip

We left Melbourne with a pretty bad weather, and we were impatient to find some sun on the road to Sydney!

We stopped in the beautiful Wilson’s Promontory park where we could see plenty wildlife: Kangaroos, Wallibies, Ostriches, dozens of birds including the famous laughing Kookaburras (that do indeed laugh), and the cutest animal ever: Wombats! This place is truly amazing, and off-season, we could have it for ourselves. But the weather still being cold, we headed straight to Sydney!

The road was quite tiring, with Kangaroos jumping in front of the car, and unfortunately, dozens lying dead along the road, together with Wombats that also suffer from these roads cutting their habitat…

We arrived in Sydney where we had to deal with a number of issues, like a dead computer, and getting visas for India, which took 2 days, 3 attempts, and 8 hours total in the worst bureaucratic private company we had ever seen. We still hoping to get those visas on time!

Appart from those usual world traveler duties, we could enjoy what must be one of the coolest city in the world: young, dynamic, cosmopolitan, and surrounded by nature! We could attend the kickoff of the Vivid Festival, an amazing Light show across the city where the main buildings are transformed in art at night.

But the highlight was certainly our 2 days in the Blue Mountains. We initially were a bit scared by the proximity of the Highway that is getting people into this “World Heritage” natural park, but once you leave one of the numerous lookouts along the highway, you really quickly enter beautiful nature, and despite the crowds and dozens of tourists’ buses (mostly Chinese tourists) arriving there, we could do two hikes almost alone, as we were of course taking the “off the beaten track” trails, including the 3 sisters rock trail that is revealed only to those daring the 900+ steep stairs going down!

We could also meet our good friend Tom, the Marketing Director of South Pole Group, the company that we used to offset our Carbon footprint. We had passionate debates about Carbon compensation and how the world should move to go towards a more sustainable economy. The conclusions were not too enthusiastic, but we are still doing our best to travel with the lowest possible today.

We are now heading to the Gold coast and Sunshine coast, and we hope they are well named, because cold weather stuck in a camper-van is not fun (see Jade’s latest video telling all the truth;-) !

Here is the Melbourne To Sydney Photo Album with some highlights below!

Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road

We spent our first week in Australia! We started the journey by living the Melbourne city life! We visited the second city in the country, a vibrant and cosmopolitan urban area that looked a bit like a New-York of the Southern Hemisphere, close to the ocean. At night, we could attend an Australian Football match (Aussie Rules), sitting next to hordes of fanatics of this unique game (mixing many other sports like football, rugby, basketball and cricket) played only in Australia, and very popular in the south of the island (in other places, Rugby is the n°1 game…). That was real fun, and the kids were happy to get back to some “civilized lifestyle” (as they say) after a month in the NZ wild!


We then took the road to the “Great Ocean Road” east of Melbourne, a famous drive along a wild coast of limestone cliffs assaulted by storms and huge waves all year long! We could see the 12 Apostles (actually just 7) under a storm which was creating a dramatic atmosphere… And it was as somebody died, probably of a hearth attack, when we arrived at the viewing point. Sad, and a bit of a weird start of the Aussie trip as we saw the day before somebody trying to jump from the roof of a church (hopefully aborted), and we avoided a car driving on the wrong side of the freeway! We will pay extra -attention for the rest of driving here!


We also visited the Otway Cape, the second southernmost cape of the country, watching the storm from the oldest lighthouse in crazy wind. Around that point, the family did a great walk in the forsest and witnessed many birds, kangaroos that were jumping too fast to be photographed, and adorable koalas (that are easier photo subjects).


We concluded this road trip in Victoria (the name of this southern state of Australia) by stopping in world famous Bell’s Beach, the former epicenter of the surfing community and industry as several major surf brands were born here. Could catch the end of a nice swell, surfing both Winkipop and Corners that were a bit crowded like expected;-)


Now we are stuck in Melbourne as the campervan engine broke with probably an important repair or a replacement soon!