We thought we'd be chasing summer our entire time on the road and decided to send home all our sweaters and warm socks, beanies and gloves before heading to Australia/New Zealand from Southeast Asia. My dad had met us in Vietnam and it was an opportunity to rid ourselves of anything superfluous. We wanted to cull down as much as we could and carry only the essentials during our last couple of months, which meant erring on the side of tanks and shorts and a couple of pairs of pants for occasions where we would join society.
As soon as we touched down in Melbourne, the chill of the late spring evening seeped into our pores, the coldest we'd felt in a while outside of self-imposed, artificial cooling that offered relief from the mugginess of tropical climates. We quickly learned that weather in that part of the land down under is as fickle as that in the San Francisco Bay on a warm summer day. The bright side was that it made our decision to "rough it" easy. We had just come from 4 months of accommodations full of privileged amenities - AC, warm beds, hot showers, flush toilets, cable TV, unlimited wifi - at such incredibly affordable rates that the sticker shock upon re-entering the first world may as well have punched us in the gut and emptied our wallets in broad daylight. In an effort to defy these overpriced, overrated conveniences, we transformed our car rental into a mobile home of sorts and, when available, resorted to public showers or natural swimming holes to stay clean. Despite sending shivers up and down our spine at the sheer thought of cold water on cold days, we embraced our inner tramps, simply grateful for running water and a chance to reset ourselves.
To our contentment, the farther northeast we traveled, the warmer the weather, rendering the sweet water even sweeter. Goosebumps abound, we clenched our teeth and took the plunge each time.
Any dreamers out there wandering eastern Australia this summer, we impart to you some of the bone chilling, joint aching, clear water swimming holes we stopped at on our 12,000-km jaunt up and down the coast and wish you happy bathing.
Josephine Falls Wooroonooran National Park, Bartle Frere, Queensland [pictured above]
Babinda Boulders Babinda, Queensland
Cedar Creek Falls Mt. Tamborine National Park, Proserpine, Queensland
Wallaman Falls Girringun National Park, Wallaman, Queensland
Five Mile Creek Cardwell, Queensland
Colo River Colo, New South Wales
Wentworth Falls Blue Mountains National Park, Wentworth Falls, New South Wales
Ladies' Well Barrington Tops National Park, Upper Allynn, New South Wales
Ellery Creek Big Hole West MacDonnell National Park, Alice Springs, Northern Territory
Ormiston Gorge West MacDonnell National Park, Alice Springs, Northern Territory