‘Wow, you’ve come along way,’ is one of the most common reactions you hear when to tell people in Iceland you’re from Australia. Not surprisingly, most of the other travellers you encounter are European or American. Although yesterday a Texan lady broke with tradition and said, ‘Oh, we’re being overrun with you guys.’ To my confused expression she clarified, ‘Our guide is Australian.’ At my even more confused expression her confidence wavered, ‘Isn’t he?’
‘No, he’s from the UK.’
‘Really, you sound the same…’
‘Definitely,’ [and we don’t]. He was from Yorkshire.
There are more and more Australians venturing to Iceland and joining the booming tourist trade. With just over 300,000 people, Iceland’s population is joined by almost 1 million tourists every year, most of whom travel during the peak summer season of July to August.
For me, the appeal of Iceland was the opportunity to explore somewhere far away, to see somewhere that is characterised by remoteness, to find out about Icelandic culture and to see firsthand some of the incredible natural wonders on offer. I also have a teeny obsession with mountain climbing and glaciers. And like many kids, volcanologist was once high on my list of potential careers. So once the initial seed was planted and the idea of travelling to Iceland crossed my mind, it quickly flourished into a firm plan.
The three week itinerary includes three nights in Reykjavik, almost a week trekking the Laugavegur trail and just under a fortnight to travel the Ring Road and circle the country anti-clockwise. This is a lot longer than many people seem to spend. Surprisingly most of the people we have spoken with have been staying for a week or less. And after just a few days on the road I can tell you that it is not long enough.
I don’t mind air travel too much at all. I like air plane food, I enjoy settling in with the selection of movies to pick from and I can sleep a bit. So planning this trip it seemed logical to push through and compete the trip from Australia to Iceland in one hit. I mean once you are in Europe, it is just another three hour flight.
Factor in stop overs and we were looking at 32 hours of travel. Do-able. But then you add in the two hours to get from home on the Gold Coast to Brisbane airport with public transport. And the short delay in London that pushed the stop over past six hours. And the fact that Reykjavik surprisingly turns out to be the busiest airport you’ve ever walked through. And the two bus transfer into Reykjavik…
It was part way through this final bus transfer that I said to Ryan, “I’ve just done the maths. If we arrive at our guesthouse in 30 minutes time it will be 42 hours since we left home.’
‘Don’t do the maths,’ said Ryan.
8 – 11 July Reykjavik
11- 16 July Laugavegur trek
17 July Reykjavik to Bergthorshvall
18 – 20 July Bergthorshvall to Kalfafellstaddur
20 July Kalfafellstaddur to Djupivogur
21 July Djupivogur to Egilstaddur
22 July Egilstaddur to Grimstaddur
23 July Grimstaddur to Akureyri
24 July Akureyri to Drangsnes
25 July Drangsnes to Isafjordur
26 July Isafjordur to Holmavik
27 July Holmavik to Olafsvik
28 July Olafsvik to Reykjavik