The best rides are worth waiting for. After my longest wait in ten years of hitchhiking, we meet Joel, Bekk and Tillie the dog at a roadhouse in the north west of Australia.
They’re from the east coast, and they’ve quit their jobs and bought a van. They’ve taken a similar route to us, all the way from the east.
Gone are debates about racism, politics and animal rights. We’ve met our kindred travelling spirits!
Initially agreeing to take us for a couple of hours, a small journey turns into an adventure of a couple of thousand kilometres, all the way down to Busselton, in the far south-west of the country.
Days are spent visiting the most amazing white beaches, or driving on the desert highway, music blaring. We snorkel with fish at Ningaloo Reef, and take a paddle in the shark-filled shallow waters at Coral Bay. Nights are spent wild camping.
Western Australia’s beaches are, dare I say it, better than those on the east coast. Australia is blessed with some of the most spectacular nature in the world.
As we get beyond Geraldton, and enter the south-western part of Australia, the terrain changes noticeably. Trees appear and wheat fields surround us.
It’s a shock as Bekk drives through the outskirts of Perth. We haven’t seen so many people, and we haven’t seen any traffic, for weeks now. Perth seems like an ugly mess to me, after spending so long sleeping in the white sand or on the red dirt.
Fremantle, on the other hand, is a lovely little alternative city – slightly too gentrified – but still holding onto its creative edge.
We continue down to Busselton, where, sadly, we say goodbye to Joel, Bekk and Tillie. They have shared their space – and their lives – with us for 2,000 kilometres, and they’ve made our travels through Western Australia beautiful. Travelling’s special because of the people – and the animals – you meet, rather than the places you see.
Our hitchhike around Australia has finally come to an end. We have hitched roughly 14,000km, from Melbourne, up the entire east coast, then through the Outback and then down the entire west coast. We finish our adventure by meeting up with my uncle Pete and his wife Susanne, who comes from Busselton. How surreal to be seeing family so far from my home.
Our visas are about to expire. After hiking the Cape to Cape Trail (more on that in another blog post!) we hastily book plane tickets away. If I could, I would stay. This giant island, with its colourful squawking birds, has stolen my heart.
I have written a lot about the racism here, but what has made Australia really special has been the beautiful people we have met. Those who invited us into their homes and those who fed us; those doing activism for a better society; the Aboriginal Australians whose country we explored, who educated us and taught us about their connection to land; and, of course all the people who took us in their cars. This adventure wouldn’t have been possible without them.
For months after leaving Australia, I pine for it.
To read part 1 of hitchhiking Western Australia, click here. To read our experiences of hitchhiking central Australia, click here and here. To read my account of hitchhiking the east coast, click here.
To read my blog post Learning About Australia, click here.