My Travels with LOKA, Australia
Submitted by Rosie Baily - Arts Univeristy Bournemouth | February 28, 2016
Travelling the east coast of Australia from Cairns to Brisbane with LOKA exceeded all expectations. Having travelled with numerous other backpacker companies (Paddywagons / Kiwi Experience / Stray), despite really enjoying them I felt they were all pretty commercial and stayed to the beaten track when it came to providing experiences. LOKA differs from this, as they have some amazingly cool partnerships with farms and an indigenous rainforest camp, in which proper locals give you the tour. You really get to see how the locals live and learn about the real story of the people of Australia! The good, the bad and the ugly! For me this was great, as even momentarily you feel like part of the community, instead of some annoying tourist!
The highlight for me was definitely the rainforest experience in Tully! You get to have a proper wilderness experience with Doug The Ultimate Survival Guy (way better then Bear Grylls), setting up camp, walking through the forest and learning about the ecosystem and history: Swimming in the most beautiful water hole: Preparing dinner with the whole crew with whom you are traveling…which can be a bit eventful. You then cook everything in a pit underground and cover the food with these leaves which smell of lemons !!: Sit under the stars, go looking for creatures of the night, we only saw fireflies (which are amazing) but if you are lucky you can see snakes and stuff. I think my group were too loud and scared all the wildlife off!!
My other highlight was sailing in the Whitsundays! Words can’t justify how beautiful these islands are, and the sailing was nuts!! It was a whole day ‘do’ and you got to try and help (probably just get in the way) of sailing the boat, go on a big walk on the main island, which is just another universe and go snorkelling on a coral reef (it was good but the tail end of ‘The Great Barrier Reef’…better than Cornwall but not the full on experience).
Another great aspect of LOKA, is that you travel with your tour guide, I had the most lovely girl called Robyn. She knew her stuff about Australia, but also loads of general knowledge and I am a sucker for a fun fact! So, to sum up if you want a backpacker trip, which is flexible, gets you an ‘off the beaten track’ experience, traveling with some really interesting and ‘hip’ people….get yourself on that LOKA bus!!
The memories are worth every penny
Submitted by Cheesehead4lyfe - Oshkosh | February 24, 2016
I had a freaking amazing time on my trip! I was already in OZ when I decided to do the trip and my friend from home did the Sydney to Brisbane trip with me.
Our guide, Swanny, was absolutely hilarious and was a true-blue Aussie for sure. He even stopped the bus to rescue a snake from being hit by a car in the middle of the road! He had random bits of cultural information to share with us but also just got us to have so much fun!
Every one of the stops were awesome, and I don't think I could pick a favorite. They were all unique in their own way (as cliche as that sounds). Barrington
Tops is beautiful especially for people who like mountains/hills in the middle of nowhere. They have everything you need, though, so it doesn't matter that you're out of the city.
Spot X is like it's own private camp right on the beach, and you get to surf basically where you sleep. And you party like mad when you're there as well - they even have a complimentary "beer run" too ;)
The kayaking at the river retreat was really cool as well. I hate long kayak trips but this trip was the perfect length. The guide showed us thousands of soldier crabs running around the sandbar and we got to get out of our kayaks to check them out! I had never seen anything like it that's for sure.
We did cliff jumping in Yamba as well, my friend and I snorkelled in Byron Bay (it was so good!) and we hiked up to the lighthouse too. There was always something to do, and you don't feel like you've seen what every other person has. You see more than just the really touristy spots and make friends from all over the world!! Having everyone on the bus together with Swanny as our guide just made it so easy but so much better than anything I was expecting. I just wish I had booked the full Sydney to Cairns trip :(