Adelaide has come up with its own solution to the declining religious commitment. The cosy city known as the "City of Churches" has a surprising high number of churches, but some do not serve the Almighty anymore. These have been taken over by a lovely diverse range of enterprises. You can find anything from a chemist over lingerie shop to night clubs in these nice grand old buildings. The stained glass with Christen motifs are often still in place which only makes shopping for cough medicine a bit more colourful.
Located in South Australia lies the Lake Eyre Basin. A large majority of the time it's actually dry and so its classification as a lake can sometimes be a stretch. However, once in a generation or so water will travel some 1500km from Australia's north-east, flooding the lake and bringing with it birds, fish and flora. Looking out across the lake in to the vast flatness that characterises central Australia, you could be forgiven for thinking you've reached the coast and aren't still in the centre of one of the driest continents on earth. Camping alongside is the best way to absorb the amazing scenery.
Nimbin is hidden beneath a seedy underbelly of drugs and crime, or at least that's what the papers want you to think. On the north coast you couldn't find a bunch of people who know how to party and enjoy life more. Better known for the vast quantity of Marijuana offered to the everyday passer by that may look like a tourist, Nimbin has cashed in on the reputation and used it to create a traveller's paradise with shops full of hemp products including clothing, cosmetics, the occasional cookie, and many other handmade goodies mostly locally produced. Once a year everyone peals themselves away from their private stoned bliss to celebrate in the street as part of the Nimbin Mardi Grass, in honour of the future liberation of Hemp. Complete with a parade, combi van line, bong throwing contest, joint rolling race and some years an out of this world doof party. Beware when anyone yells 'taxi', there are no taxis in Nimbin!
A crazy landscape of thousands of limestone pillars that rise abrupt from the yellow sand. Some are only a few centimetres tall while other have grown into several meters high towers. The strange pinnacles are part of a process where they get build up beneath the sand and then get exposed, for then many years later getting covered again by moving sand dunes. Apparently the best time to visit is from August to October, when the desert vegetation bursts into bloom.
Set amongst the lush, humid rainforest of the Nightcap National Park is a landmark of local pride and perseverance. Protesters Falls is named for the people that defended its very borders against loggers and their bulldozers in 1979 destroying the rainforest of New South Wales. Ferns grow from the cracks in the rocks surrounding the waterfall pool; Bangalow Palms create a corridor that leads you along the boardwalk following the creek all the way. Being so well preserved it has an abundance of wildlife including native frogs, goannas, rare butterflies and the most beautiful and harmless carpet python.
From the local shop it takes 30 minutes to reach the car park, and from there it is a 10 minute walk to the base of the falls. Camping is limited to one night only and no dogs are allowed, as it is a national park. If you fancy a bit of nude frolicking there are plenty of secluded water holes around the camping area, be wary that it is mountain water and is a lot cooler than it appears.
Off the South Australian coast lays Kangaroo Island. The isolation from the mainland has left it with a diverse wildlife due to the absent of dingos, rabbits and foxes. A quarter of the island is declared some kind of Conservation Park and about half of the island has never been cleared of vegetation. The varied coastline offers beaches, sea lion colony, and picturesque white light houses above towering cliffs. In the South-West corner stands the twisted weather-shaped granite boulders famous as the Remarkable Rocks. It's pure rough beauty.
Sand between your toes is not something you normally experience in big cities, even less gorgeous beaches, but locals and tourists are spoiled in Sydney. They can choose from 37 beaches where Bondi, Tamarama and Manly are some of the most popular ones. Bondi is the definitely the most famous with great people watching, while Tamarama is the glamour one, and Manly has the easiest going local vibe. Remember to check out the cove at Shelly Beach a short walk east of Manly Beach. If it's surf you are after then Bronte Beach, a couple of hundred meters further south of Tamarama, is your place. See, it is possible to have everything.
These are the less-known sisters to Uluru (Ayers Rock), 25km further west. A collection of monoliths, like Uluru, shaped by the wind and water into smooth domes. The tallest is Mt. Olga that stands 546m above the plain, more than 200m higher than Uluru. Tracks wind through the ravines and gorges and make a fantastic hike into the maze of red cliffs. You might even think they are more impressive than Uluru, due to the serenity of place and lack of everything except natural beauty.
Why would anyone live in the desert? In Coober Pedy, 850km north of Adelaide and 680km south of Alice Springs, the answer is opal, a colourful little gemstone. Since the first findings in the beginning of last century people have despised the harsh environment and settled down here in the middle of the outback. The surface is hot, burned and dusty so most residents have searched for cooler temperatures underground. Dugout homes, shops, bars and churches have been refurnished from old mines and you can even spend the night in one of the cave hotels. If you haven't seen enough weird things, you can visit the Great Barrier Fence, the dingo fence running the whole stretch from coast to coast adding up to about 5400km, just a bit out of town.