Diving with sharks at Wolf Rock in Australia

Today we are taking you to live a special experience, which was on our bucket list (here :)) for a long time, diving with sharks in Australia.

We decided to try the experience at the Wolf Rock spot in Rainbow beach. Rainbow Beach is also a starting point for the famous Fraser Island (article here).

Wolf Rock is the only place on the east coast where you can watch the Grey Nurse Shark all year round. It was with the Wolf Rock Dive Center that we faced our fear of sharks.

How it is going? Which certification? To see what? At what price ? We tell you everything!

What you need to know before diving with sharks

This dive is considered as a deep dive, as you will descend to about 30m depth.

You will need to hold the PADI Advanced Open Water or Level 2 certification. If you only have the Open Water or Level 1 certification (to know all about how to pass the open water it is here). You must then pass the deep dive certificate.

The dive center offers several options:

  1. Complete the Advanced Open Water (2 days, 5 dives) - $720
  2. Begin the Advanced Open Water (1 day, 2 dives "DEEP" and "FISH ID" or "BOAT") - $470. You will then have to complete 3 dives in the club of your choice to be certified
  3. Pass your Deep Adventure Dive certificate (1 day, 2 dives) - $300 (our choice)

Passing the deep dive certificate, how it works ?

In our case we chose the last option, 2 dives: one for the deep dive certificate and one for the fun.

If you have not been diving for 12 months or if you want to refresh your memory before jumping in the big bath with the sharks, you can do a "refresh dive" in a pool with the club ($80). An instructor will then remind you all the good dive practices and help you to prepare your gear before taking a short dive.

You will also need to review the deep dive chapter of the PADI book (loaned by the club if needed) and answer a few questions about deep dive rules. The next day, you will sweep with the instructor the key points of the chapter and he will then explain the additional risks of a deep dive.

The next day, with the instructor, you will review the key points of the chapter, he will then explain the additional risks in deep dive. Then usual brief, depth, time, place, buddy, reminder of signs and safety instructions.

You will then follow with the usual dive briefing: depth, time, site, buddy, reminder of the signs, safety instructions, etc.

What you need to know about the sharks

The species you will see is the Grey Nurse Shark. It is a protected and threatened species and you can not touch them of course (do you really want to touch them? :)).

If they feel threatened, sharks will tend to flee rather than attack you. During your dive, they will probably be sleeping, but they can be awakened by the bubbles of your regulator, imagine being awake because you are blown on ... This can be unpleasant.

If this happens, they will emit a loud bang before fleeing, you will not be able to see them ... Follow your guide and you will not have any worries 🙂

Our experience

Definitely it is worth it! Diving with the sharks has been one of our best experiences. If you like diving, you can't be disappointed by this adventure. We were delighted with our visit to the Wolf Rock Dive. The club is awesome, the team is welcoming and attentive, they will be there to reassure you and you will feel safe.

We had an appointment at the club at 7:45 am for the briefing before leaving on their atypical boat "evolution". The site is 45min sailing, don't forget to take seasickness caplets if needed! Other than that, you do not need to bring anything, the team takes care of everything, coats for the wind, snack, water, sunscreen, etc.

It will take you little time to understand that you are on a particular site where the fauna is very rich. It will depend on the season (we left mid-June), but we had the chance to observe from the boat several whalesdolphins, a manatee and a turtle, all without having put the head in the water!

Underwater conditions can vary from one day to another: visibility, current, etc. In our case the water was rather cold, and the visibility was not particularly good but that will not prevent you from being impressed by the sharks!

Once descended to 30 meters, we were able to observe about fifteen grey nurs sharks, a wobbegong sharks, twoeagle rays and a lot of fish, including clown poisons.

After the second dive, return to the club around 14h for a beer and cookies, and a stamp on your logbook. Adventure at the top, we can only recommend you to brave the "big bad wolf" with the Wolf Rock Dive team!

To learn more about our adventure in Australia :
* One week in Tasmania
* A hiking weekend in Blue Mountains
* One week roadtrip in NSW

Feel free to ask us all the questions that you have, it will be a pleasure to answer

To find out more about our trip in Australia, it is here 🙂

One week itinerary in NSW: from Sydney to Canberra

To take advantage of Easter long weekend we decided to rent a car to Canberra.

In Australia, Friday AND Monday are off. However, this is not a good time to travel because the prices are extremely high and places are expensive!

We take you to get eggs in the bush, bring your sneakers!

 D1 | Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay is at 3 hours from Sydney.

We started our day with Booderee National Park. Here you will find beaches with white sand, light blue water and some hiking trails.

The park costs $ 11 a day by car. (only cash)

We opted for the Old Murray Track, trail really different than the bush. We are here in a very fire-sensitive area and it is a burnt vegetation that we could observe, an impressive landscape.

The park is populated with birds, you just have to look up to see a lot of different birds, including parrots.

In the afternoon, we head to Hyams Beach, the world's whitest sand beach.

During the weekend of Easter, you won’t be alone on the beach, it can be crowded but after this period, it will be quiet place to contemplate the horizon. Be careful though jellyfish, blue jelly fish may be present.

d2 | Batesman Bay

We continue our journey to Batesman bay. (2h from Jervis bay)

Batesman Bay is a small town at the water's edge with little interest for tourists. If you stop there, go eat at the Indian restaurant Kohli's Waterfront Indian, the food is good, generous and the service very pleasant.

We spend our second day at the Murramarang National Park located about 30 minutes from Batesman Bay. The park costs $ 8 per car per day. Only coins are accepted!!

This park is famous for the presence of kangaroos. To be sure to see them, arrive early, you will avoid the crowd and the possible mistrust of kangaroos.

But, they are there and easy to observe. Stop at Pebbly Beach and you may find them sleeping on the sand.

We continue, with the ascent of the highest point of the park, Durras Mountain, 293 m. The hike is nice, and even a weekend of Easter we were alone on the trail. Count 2:30 round trip.

J3 | Canberra

Count 2h30 from Batesman bay to reach the capital. Canberra is famous for being in the middle of nowhere, it is indeed a very quiet city.

Stop at Arboretum park. A peaceful place where nature takes over after a devastating fire. We really advise you to stay there for the sunset. The place is very nice and you will have a view of the whole city.

The next day we went to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. The Unzoo in Tasmania (to learn more about our trip in Tasmania, it’s here 😊) made us want to retry the experience.

The reserve is correct but nothing more. You can see Koalas, the only "attraction" that is worth it. We didn’t find the reserve very interesting, a little disappointed, maybe more for the kids. ($ 12 per car)

We then go to take our lunch on the Mount Ainslie.. The view is very nice.

Finally, we finish the day with some photos of the Parliaments and the visit of the Australian War Memorial, famous in Canberra.

The museum is free. The visit is interesting, we discover the world wars from an unprecedented angle.

D4 | Kangaroo Valley

We rested at Moss Valey in a very charming Heronswood HouseB&B. The breakfast is very generous and Australian, the hosts are very nice.

To finish this long weekend, we decide to rent Kayaks to cross the Kangaroo river. We chose Kangaroo Valley Kayaks, count $ 40 for renting a single place Kayak.

The ride lasts 6 km about 2 hours depending on your physical condition and your desire to take pictures.

The river is quiet and without difficulty. It really was our favorite of the weekend, relaxing. You can admire many species of birds, we had the chance to see an eagle, many iguanas also. If you are there in July-August you will surely have the chance to see some wombats!

While you are in Kangaroo Valley, don't hesitate to stop and observe the 81-metre high Fitzroy Falls!

to learn more about our adventures in Australi :
* one week in Tasmania, meeting its iconic animals
* A hiking weekend in the Blue Mountains

Feel free to ask all the questions that you have in the comments below :), we will be happy to answer.

To find out more about our Australian trip, it's here 🙂

Penguin watching in Bicheno Tasmania

It is during our trip in Tasmania, that discovered the life of the penguins (also called Blue Penguins, Little Penguins or Penguin Penguins) with the Penguin Tour in the city of Bicheno.

What is a Little Penguin?

There are many species of penguins in the world, the little penguin is the most present specie in Australia and New Zealand. These are the smallest penguins that exist, they measure about 35 cm for 1 kg.

They usually stay with the same partner all their lives and have a lifetime of about 6 years.

little penguins
little penguins
little penguins

Where to watch the Little Penguins?

The little penguins go out to sea all day to feed. They can travel up to 70 km a day! It is at nightfall that they return to the beach to rest from their exhausting day. They build their nests in small cavities, on beaches or rocks, but they don't systematically climb up each night, it depends on the seasons and if they are tired or not.

It is therefore at nightfall, near the beaches, that you will have the best chance to observe them. But you have to be patient,  life for penguins is not easy and going back home after a hard day is a strenuous effort.

We had the chance to observe them in Bicheno, but know that there are other observation spots in Australia. The best known are Phillip Island, St Kilda Beach near Melbourne, the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, the city of Penguin in Tasmania and Penguin Island near Perth.

little penguins
little penguins

When to watch Little Penguins?

The best season to see penguins is summer in the southern hemisphere (November to February).

Indeed, when penguin babies are in the nest (for about 3 weeks), you are assured that the parents will come back home each night. You can see about twenty go up each evening!

However, it is possible to observe them all the year.

little penguins

Our Experience

The tour starts from the centre of Bicheno at the surf shop. You leave at 8pm by bus, to see the penguins go home from the beach. Remember to book from the website because, although we were not in perfect season to observe them, the bus was full.

We went to see them at the end of March, so we were not sure that they would go up to the top of the beach, but we still saw 5 of them go up between our feet and a good ten more far away on the beach.

The experience is unique and you will learn a lot about the penguin way of life.

Photos are however prohibited to avoid disturbing penguins. You observe them in a natural environment, you must respect their environment (and the flash may blind them). All the photos in this article are those of the Penguin Tour, they will be offered if you ask for them at the end of the adventure.

We highly recommend this tour (35$AUD/person).

bus penguin tour

NB: Did you know? The colour of their feathers allows them to protect themselves from predators during their escapade at sea. Dark blue on the back to blend in with the colour of the ocean, for predators from the sky, and white on the belly to blend in with the sunlight and thus protect against predators from the depths.

To find out more about our adventure in Tasmania:
* A week in Tasmania, meeting its iconic animals

Feel free to ask us questions in the comments, we'll be delighted to answer  🙂

Find all our experiences in Australia here 🙂

A week in Tasmania, meeting its iconic animals

The only island state of Australia is often compared to Corsica for us French as its landscape contrasts with the rest of the Australian continent. Tasmania is famous for its wilderness classed as UNESCO World Heritage Site and its unique flora and fauna.

In one week we had to make choices on where to go and places to visit and we have decided to explore the east coast from Launceston to Hobart.

We take you to the biggest island of Australia, the land of devils, snakes and penguins, put on your sneakers, we'll walk !

coucher de soleil a Scamander

D1 | Launceston

To maximize our time we decided to land in Launceston and take off from Hobart. It takes approximately 1 hour 45 minutes of flight from Sydney.

We chose Virgin Airline for our trip, it was the best value for money if you have checked-in luggage.

Launceston is the second largest city in Tasmania but it won't take long to visit it. Do not hesitate to walk along the Cataract Gorges, in the park surrounding the gorge, you can probably see small wallabies and peacocks.

wallaby
groupe de paons
wallaby
coucher de soleil sur le port de Launceston
cataract gorge reserve

Continue your walk on the sea front to the city port, to watch the sunset. We were lucky, the clouds gave us a great show.

coucher de soleil à Launceston

Be careful, the restaurants close relatively early do not delay for dinner. On the recommendation of Lonely Planet, we stopped at the Pickled Evenings an Indian restaurant. It was a very good choice, the waiters are very nice, the food is very plentiful (no chance to take a dessert) and it's very good ! The only place we ate very well for a very fair price in Tasmania.

D2 | Binalong Bay

rocher de binalong bay

The next day we take the car to Binalong Bay (about 2 hours from Launceston).

Unfortunately the weather was not with us. More generally, be aware that the weather can change very quickly in Tasmania, plan a rain suit.

Once you arrived at the Bay of Fires, you can admire the famous fire-colored stones. Surprisingly, know that the color of the stones has nothing to do with the origin of the name of the bay ! Indeed it is the captain Tobias Furneaux who in 1773, arriving at the bay saw the fires ignited by the natives, who decided to name it this way.

In good weather, the contrast between the fire-colored rocks and the turquoise blue of the sea is striking.

rochers a Binalong Bay
rochers sur la plage a Binalong Bay
rochers a Binalong Bay

If you don't know where to spend the night, stop at Scamander at the Santuary Holiday Park for a night in a luxury tent !

D3 | Bicheno & Freycinet National Park

For our third day, we head to Freycinet National Park.

Definitely one of our favorite day. The park is really beautiful and the various hikes will allow you to enjoy it to the fullest. Count 1h-1h30 for the shortest walk, up to 8h for the longest.

The park entrance is $24 if you come by car and $ 12 / person if you are by foot.

We chose the 4h30 to 5h hike, which makes a loop from Wineglass Bay to Hazard Beach, through the lookout that allows you to observe the famous beach crescent.

wineglass bay lookout

It took us 3h of walk, overall indicated time are wide.

On the first part to Wineglass Bay Beach, you will meet a few people, the second part to Hazard Beach is much less crowded.

plage de Freycinet
coquillage
kangourou dans les hautes herbes
plage de Freycinet

If you are attentive, you will surely see some wallabies, but they know how to hide in the forest so keep your eyes open.

But these are not the only inhabitants of the park, snakes, including the famous tiger snakes are also present in the park ! Be careful where you put your feet!

tiger snake sur la plage
kangourou dans les hautes herbes
kangourou dans les hautes herbes
kangourou sur la plage

After visiting the park, we head back to Bicheno to spend the evening. As for restaurants, choice is quite limited, have a picnic and go eat in front of the ocean. The best view for a dinner, right ?

couché de soleil sur la mer a Bicheno

We end this incredible day with a penguins watching tour where you can observe them in their natural habitat, an experience that is clearly worth doing.

To know more about this expedition, it's here 🙂 !

D4 | The Tasmanian peninsula

The road to the Tasmanian peninsula, located on the south-east of the island, offers many views of the cliffs: Tasman Arc, Devils Kitchen, Blow Hole... In the end they all look a little bit the same.

falaise au bord de mer
falaise au bord de mer
arbres en bord de falaise
falaises au bord de mer

Take advantage of  your presence in the peninsula to visit the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo in Tanarra, where you can meet John, his team and the famous Tasmanian devil !

The Unzoo is so called because it is not a zoo but rather a reserve where animals are free, there is no enclosure except for the Tasmanian devils.

This tour was very enriching, you will be able to see many birds, including eagles, feed the kangaroos and especially learn more about the history of Tasmanian devils and see some in real life! Be aware that it is almost impossible to observe them in the wild.

The Unzoo is worth a visit, away from the crowd, with a pleasant and passionate team, you will learn a lot about Tasmanian wildlife ($ 35 per person). One of our favorite of the trip.

diable de tasmanie
groupe de kangourous
aigle en vol
diable de tasmanie
groupe de kangourous
mouette en plein atterrissage

D5 | Hobart

We finish our stay in Tasmania by the largest city of the island: Hobart.

Take your time to explore the city, walk around the harbour and stop for an ice cream at Van Diemens Land Creamery.

bateaux dans le port d'Hobart

If (and only if) the weather is clear, climb up to the top of Mount Wellington, the view of the city and its surroundings is breathtaking and spectacular. At sunrise you will have beautiful colors.

Don't forget to bring your sweater (at least), you will lose about 10 degrees when reaching the top!

We didn't have the chance to do it, but be aware that it is possible to go down the mountain by mountain bike.

vue depuis le mont Wellington

From Hobart, it is possible to take the ferry to Bruny Island to observe, among other things, the colonies of seals that live on the island. However, remember to check the weather and book your excursion in advance.

Tasmania is a really wild island, you'll probably be less out of touch than by certain regions of continental Australia, it remains nonetheless unique and rich in its fauna, it's worth the detour:).

Watch your driving: 100,000 animals are run over every year on Tasmanian roads...

It won't take you long to figure it out. Let's try to protect wildlife as much as possible, drive during the day, avoid sunrise and sunset and at night. Drive carefully and pay attention to the signs.

kangourou

Do it for them 😉

  • Freycinet National Park
  • Penguin watching tour
  • The visit of the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo

To find out more about our adventure in Tasmania:
* Penguin watching in Bicheno Tasmania

If you want to getaway from Sydney, find out more about our weekend aux Blue Mountains :
A hiking weekend in the Blue Mountains

Feel free to ask us questions in the comments, we'll be delighted to answer

Find all our experience in Australia here 🙂

A hiking weekend in the Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains National Park is one of Australia's most famous parks.

It has nearly 140km of trail on 1436 km2 and 1000 m deep, if you are in love with hiking and nature this park is made for you!

It takes 2 hours from Sydney by train from Central Station to Katoomba, 2 hours to take a real breath of fresh air and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

From Katoomba you have many hiking departures for all levels. Thanks to the different points of view, you can easily admire the bluish emanations of the eucalyptus trees that gave the park its name.

Not to be missed: the Echo point of Katoomba, from where you will have a breathtaking view of the 3 Sisters (40 min walk from the station). You can then discover the aboriginal legends explaining how the 3 sisters Meehni, Wimlah and Gunnedoo were transformed into stone.

Beware, the point of view being accessible by car and bus, it is often very busy, which takes away a little of the serenity of the place...

But no matter, after your hike stay and admire the sunset, it is magical !

Among the various hikes, we recommend the one that starts behind the Echo Point visitor center. You can follow the path leading to the 3 sisters through the Giant Stairway. You will engage in a long descent of about thirty stairs and a little more than 900 steps.

You will then enter the bush, where you can hear the many birds present in the forest. Very soothing and pleasant. At the end of the loop, you can walk back or take the Scenic World funicular.

It takes about 2 hours to walk back to Echo Point.

To spend the night, we opted for the YHA hostel, rather friendly and clean.

The next day, we decide to do one of the most legendary hikes of the park, the Grand Canyon.

We take the bus from Katoomba to Blackheath. Remember to check the schedules, there are very few bus during the day. Before starting, go eat a waffle at True to the bean, they are very good.

This hike is really our favorite of the Blue Mountains. You will descend into the canyon for about 3 hours of walking (ascent included), really grandiose. Try to arrive early enough to avoid tourists, to make the route even more magical. Be careful, as you go down the canyon, think of saving forces for the ascent 🙂

If you came by car, count a good half an hour by road to reach the starting car park at the end of the hike. If like us, you are on foot, continue by the short hike which will lead you to Govetts Leap lookout.

Then count a good half hour to reach the station of Blackheath.

We then took the train back to Sydney, but if you have time, stop at Glenbrook, a little further into the Blue Mountains to try to see kangaroos.

Clearly a must during your stay in Sydney.

  • The sunset on the 3 sisters
  • The Grand Canyon Hiking
  • Parrots at dawn

To find out more about our adventure in Australia :
* Road trip - 5 days in Tasmania, meeting its iconics animals

Feel free to ask us questions in the comments, we'll be delighted to answer 🙂

Find all our experiences in Australia here 🙂

Hiking the GR20 in Corsica

The GR20, one of the most famous hike in the world both for its beauty and its difficulty, it was for us one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences ever.

The GR20 crosses Corsica from north to south, from Calenzana to Conca, 180 km and 16 stages. This is a demanding mountain hike, don't be afraid of heights.

We decided to do the first 3 steps from the north, traditional sense (Calenzana - Ortu di u Piopu - Carrozzu - Ascu Stagnu).

We started the trek at 6:30. You should know that you can't sleep where ever you want, the bivouac areas are well defined, it is not allowed to camp anywhere, you shoulf follow the steps (but you can do 2 in one day).

Landscapes are amaizing, view from up in the mountains are breathtaking, the intense effort is worth it.

Expect to have unsecured climbing, on the mountain there is no question of trail. The weight of your bag will be a very important factor in the appreciation of the hike, go light!

Arrived at the shelter, the guard informs us that no walker can sleep in the shelters due to a bed bug infection (so this is not a legend) and although we reserved a bed in the shelter, we slept in tents. It is not really necessary to book, many unexpected things can happen on the GR, it is rarely full.

Shelters are spartan: cold shower without electricity and of course no network.  3 days connected to the nature and disconnected from the rest of the world.

Mountain stages should ideally be done in the morning, some can last up to 8, 9, 10 hours! We must therefore leave very early! Sunrise on the Corsican mountains will make you forget it.

Each stage is trying, but with different landscapes and different difficulties.  The place is gorgeous, you will enjoy being almost alone at 2000 m. If you are lucky, which was our case, you can admire wild sheep.

You cannot leave GR20 at all stages, you must be able to access a road.... Many variants exist, the guides will show you how to get out. For our part we stopped at the Haut-Asco, where we picked up the 9am bus to Ponte Leccia station and took a train to Corte.

A good physical condition and the habit of mountains are essential. For our part, we are both athletes (marathon, obstacle races, etc..) but the repeating effort was still difficult, add to that the heat, thirst and weight of the bag and you will have a very beautiful challenge to meet.

A little anecdote: the female record is 41 hours and the male record is 31 hours!

  • Gorgeous landscapes 
  • Go Pro /small camera
  • Your hiking shoes of course, the terrain is very rugged
  • Sticks (not mandatory, but greatly facilitate balance and help on descents)
  • A light bag, try not to exceed 10-12kg as you will need to add 2L of water minimum
  • Flip-flops for the shower, toilet paper (there are none in the shelters), a tick puller
  • Cash or a checkbook for shelters, credit cards are not accepted
  • Your motivation!

To find out more about our adventure in Corsica :
* Road trip - 2 weeks in Corsica between mountains and see
* Pass your PADI Open Water diving in Corsica

Feel free to ask us questions in the comments, we'll be delighted to answer 🙂

Find all our experiences in France, it's here 🙂

 

Things to do during a weekend in Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, the pearl of the Adriatic, is a city that has suffered a lot in its history, but it has been able to renew and restore itself harmoniously.

We never get tired of its narrow streets nestled in the middle of its walls that gives this city a very special soul. The sun presents a good part of the year highlights its roofs in pink and accentuates the contrast with the deep blue of the sea.

In short, a sublime city, certainly in the top 5 most beautiful cities in Europe.

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dubrovnik-161
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If you love the sea, you will be served by all the water activities that are possible. If you prefer visits, many monasteries and churches will make you happy.

For our part we start with a tour of the ramparts, a must in the city. There are often lots of people and it can be very hot, prefer the morning when the temperatures are more lenient and the less numerous tourists.

dubrovnik-164
dubrovnik-152

In the afternoon, we decide to take off with a paddle ride. We rent two boards for half a day and we reach the island located in front of Dubrovnik.

Without doubt one of our favorite activities, the paddle is soothing and allows us to get away from the crowds to admire Dubrovnik from the sea, a very nice moment.

Only a little strength in the arms and a good balance are required to appreciate this experience, do not forget your sunscreen!

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dubrovnik-150
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In the early evening, prepare your sandwich and go up to admire the sunset at the top of the cable car. One of the most beautiful sunsets we have seen in our traveler experience ...

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dubrovnik-189
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dubrovnik-185
  • Paddling in the Adriatic Sea
  • A tour on the city’s ramparts
  • The view from the top of the cable car

To find out more about our adventure in Croatia :
* Road trip - Itinerary for a 10 days roadtrip in Croatia

Feel free to ask us questions in the comments, we'll be delighted to answer 🙂

Find all our experiences in Croatia here 🙂

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