A Travellerspoint blog

Australia

You can't be serious, you bloody peanut!

Day 154 - 174 Brisbane to Melbourne

No. of Greyhound bus journeys = 8
No. of Greyhound bus drivers without a moustache = 0
No. of everyday english words shortened and an 'o' added = infinite (e.g. Servo, Bowlo, Veggo, Bottlo)

Favourite overheard:

" You can't be serious, you bloody peanut" - Fan shouting at ref during aussie rules game.

So we're at the end of our Ozzie adventure and heading to New Zealand tomorrow. We were in Brisbane when we last 'blogged off' and have travelled down to Melbourne. Back in 'Brizzie' I (Richard) was forced to take part in the XXXX factory tour which included four beers as a taster. However, most likely due to a lack of english on the tour, three of us ended up with about 15 each when everyone else left! Hence I was a little late for my rendezvous with Pauline.
The day after next we were whisked off on another adventure with tour guide Jo who this time drove us to Lone Pine Koala sanctuary. Highlights included Pauline getting to hold a koala, Jo being chased by an ostrich as well as feeding and sitting amongst the kangaroos mimicking their porn star style poses.
Leaving Brisbane we headed south on the Greyhound again and stopped for the day in Coolangatta which was well worth it because we finally saw a pod of dolphins. We didn't even have the binoculars out scanning the waves tirelessly as on previous days. We picked up the bus again late afternoon to Byron Bay where we finished the night 'a la carte' with a cheese sandwich dinner. Classy! Byron had quite a hippie vibe going on and was a bit different to a lot of the previous stops. There was plenty to do and we took bikes up to the easternmost point in Australia (only to be overtaken by a retired german couple we met in the hostel) complete with lighthouse and, judging by the photography exhibition, the scene of some pretty rough storms and amazing wildlife. Not that we we're fortunate enough to see any that day. We did however witness a dramatic surfer rescue which at one point had seemed doomed. A couple had swam out to catch the best waves on the headland and got washed up onto the rocks. While one guy clung to the rocks and was repeatedly engulfed by the waves the lifeguard tried in vain to get close enough on their jetski's. In the end he got washed off but was also, fortunately, carried out by the tide during a brief lull and was dragged onto the jetski. Dramatic stuff. Later that day we watched the yearly triathlon which was a big event with some international stars (apparently!) and we're destroyed by the sea attempting to bodyboard.

Yet another night bus later (no sleep for me, plenty for Pauline) we arrived in Sydney and straight away hit the tourist spots of the Opera House and the Bridge, Pauline was delighted to prove the Teesside heritage of the Sydney harbour bridge. We then boarded a double or even triple decker train (counting the vestibules) to the suburbs to stay with the Skinners. Probably a good time to thank all of our great hosts in Australia, our stay would have been a lot duller, not to mention much more expensive, without your beds, meals, company and advice. We had a great time in Sydney and filled the rest of our few days with an extremely rough ferry crossing to Manly, a coastal walk from Bondi to Coogee and some people watching and window shopping in the lively centre.

On to Bulli to stay with Eric. The week started out action packed with regular picnics, walks and slightly scary abseiling, crab races in city pubsand failed attempts at waterfall leaps. We explored a bit more of New South Wales and even took a stroll along infamous 'Summer Bay' (home of 'home and away', for the more cultured readers). The rest of the week was a real chill out, for us more than Eric as he had to go back to work. We ate like royalty and had plenty of Aussie gold to quench our thirst too. Eric's truly Austalian pad was home to us for the longest time since leaving England nearly 6 months ago. It was really hard to put those backpacks on again but more fun awaited us in Melbs.

We stopped off briefly in Liverpool, NSW, mostly for the surreal feeling that using the internet in Liverpool City Library would bring. Then spent the day in Canberra. Certainly doesn't have a capital city vibe but was worth a look. It's easy to see why Melbourne and Sydney fought over the Capital City title, Melbs like Sydney is a bustling metropolis with plenty to do. Our hosts, the newlyweds James and Lauren were great and with them we experienced a real highlight of the trip so far, an Aussie rules footy match and The Melbourne Cricket Ground. We enjoyed the great food on offer here and overall in Australia it has been great to feel like normal people and not so 'backpacker' for a while.

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Nearly forgot, Pauline satisfied another 'must do' here and went on the official neighbours tour. More on that soon. SANY0109.jpg

Posted by millfred 11:42 Archived in Australia Comments (3)

Aussie Rules. How you going?

Cairns - Brisbane. Day 140 - 153

sunny 27 °C

No. of koalas seen in the wild = 2
Litres of goon consumed = 15
No. of kangaroos seen before today = 0
No. of kangaroos seen today = 10

Australia has definitely been the refreshing change we needed, and at times (when raining!) its reminded us of home. When it is hot it's a totally different kind of heat to Asia, it doesn't hinder breathing at all and we are comfortable walking more than a few meters without needing a rest and a shower!

Touch down in Darwin but only to change planes, our first real taste of Oz was Cairns two weeks ago. We had high expectations since we had heard only good things about the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and we sure weren't dissapointed. My first impressions were that we'd accidentally flown over Australia and landed in America. Everything is huge. Australians don't do things by halves. Slowly though the Australianess creeps in. The Aussies are a very friendly bunch and being greeted favourably when entering a shop, walking passed someone's house and passing in the street takes some getting used to. The only thing that marred our enthusiasm to explore the country under our sandy toes was the realisation that the daily budget we had grown comfortable with wouldn't even buy us a bed bug riddled mattress here! A little adjustment was called for, and a keen eye for the reduced section in each shop. Living on a tight budget here is made much easier by being able to cook for ourselves, which after 5 months was a real novelty. Made even better by the 'free basket' usually found in a dark corner of each hostel kitchen. Here you can usually find some rare treats and staples, and some fellow bedragled backpackers who have spent all their money on 'Goon'. No danger of that with me and my shandy pants reputation, can't say the same for Richard. Some canny young Brits we met in Cairns put their cheap boxed wine drinking to the test and entertained us with karoake one night. Lets just say Danny Zuko featured heavily.
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No luck acquiring a camper van to head down the east coast, Easter weekend meant there was nothing available so Greyhound it was. Not such a big deal since the problems we encountered in previous destinations don't exist here. You'll never have to share your seat or crouch in the aisle for the duration. As opposed to no rules, there are too many. The drivers insist on listing all of the prohibited food and drink, it would be quicker to just tell us what is allowed! They also refuse to let you close the air conditioning blowers (even when its freezing) and tell you to direct it onto the people in front or behind instead! Where were these hardliners at customs when we were hoping to get on 'Nothing to Declare' with our smuggled instant coffee?

A few stops between Carins and Brisbane saw us sunning ourselves, eating easter eggs, playing fierce tournaments of table tennis and fishing on Cyclone Yasi torn Mission Beach.
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Swimming in the lagoon, avoiding young 'flashpackers' and playing cards in Airlie Beach and finally getting to swim in the Pacific from Agnes Water/1770. Until then we'd heeded the warnings on killer Jelly-fish. In most places they have stinger nets that you can swim in but as we discovered you have to get you tide times correct. We walked a really beautiful (that means long) coastal path in Airlie beach fully intending to cool off in the sea at the end. No net in sight... only some strange looking white boundaries guarding some mud, big dissapointment. When we eventually did get to go for a dip further down the coast, the sun decided to go for a rest but that didn't deter us, nor did the gigantic waves that nearly gave us concussion. The rain didn't even stop play in the middle of our 'skim ball' contest with our German companions Tina & Sven.
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It was fairly evenly matched since we split them up, both being well over 6ft we had to give ourselves a fighting chance!

Another hop on the Greyhound led us to a life of luxury here in Brisbane. Unfortunately our timing was thrown out in Cairns and we missed Richard's Aunty Lee, but we've thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality here and have our very own tour guide in the shape of Jo.
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So far we have spotted Koalas just around the corner
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and Kangaroos en-route to Lamington National Park. There we also fed the wild birds and I became the crazy bird woman as they seemed to be attracted to my bright jacket.
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Can't compete with their colourful feathers though. We had a great day on 'Straddie' Island looking out for dolphins, didn't see any this time but the weather was fantastic and we struck gold when we found a packet of lifesaver sweets on the path. Yes, we have stooped so low as to eat things we find on the street (they were genuinly sealed and obviously new,honest!)
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So far then we are loving Oz, the wildife is amazing and its all much more beautiful than I was prepared for, if only I didn't feel the need to check for red backs 100 times a day. We should take a leaf out of the Aussies book and chill out. There are more important things to worry about like how many cans of XXXX one can fit in the boot when visiting the 'drive through' bottle-O and how much the flamin' bananas are costing at the minute!
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Posted by Po Gallon 04:58 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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