It took a while, but here are my first experiences from Australia!
I arrived in Melbourne on Saturday 15 January at 9.45 pm and Claire and Steph (two Australian girls I met when I was studying at Malmö University in Sweden in 2005) picked me up from Tullamarine Airport. We drove through the city and they showed me the Central Business District(CBD), Melbourne Cricket Ground(MCG), Melbourne Park (Australian Open) and the Eureka Tower (highest building in Melbourne). After that we went for a drink in a bar in the city centre. We ordered Victorian Bitter and talked about everyting that happened over the last five years. At the end of the evening we went to Steph's place who lives in a suburb of Melbourne called Hawthorn.
On Sunday 16 January Claire and Steph showed me the city of Melbourne by daylight and we went to a beautifull place in Melbourne which is called Abbotsford Convent. We went for lunch there, there was a market and the nature was beautiful.
After that we drove to the Docklands (harbour) and walked around in a new shopping area. We went inside a shop were they sold paintings of landscapes
from a famous photographer called Ken Duncan.
Then we drove to St. Kilda where we met Eefje (my travelmate from Holland) around 2 pm. First we checked in at the Ritz Backpackers hostel where Eefje and me stayed for 5 nights. The hostel is located on Fitzroy street, a street full of bars and restaurants, 5 minutes from the beach and 10 minutes by tram from the city centre. We went for a drink in a cafe called the 29th Appartment in Fitzroy Street. Then Eefje and me went for some grocery shopping, had dinner, played pool in the hostel and made plans for the next days.
On Monday 17 January I woke up early around 7 am and went for a run through Albert Park. This is a beautifull park, with a lake and lots of sport facilities. When I came back at 9 am we had a hot pancake breakfast. This was a service from the hostel that we used every day.
After that we went to the city of Melbourne with tram 16, took a lot of pictures from beautiful buildings and churches and enjoyed a free city circe tram which took us around and showed
us a lot of highlights. We walked towards the MCG and Melbourne park and already watched a little bit of the Australian Open from a bridge. We had lunch at the Yarra river, bought a simcard in a Vodafone shop, watched Australian Open on a big screen on Federation Square and went to Chinatown.
On Tuesday 18 January we went to the Australian Open after our hot pancake breakfast. We took tram 16 to Federation Square and in the tram we met Tessy, a girl I know from Tilburg and she joined us to the Australian Open. We had a ticket for Hisense Arena, the second biggest centre court, but the matches on this court were not that great, that’s why we saw more matches on the showcourts. The only match we wanted to see at Hisense Arena was Murray-Beck, but we were watching Baghdatis-Zemlja on Showcourt 3 and didn’t want to leave until this match was finished. On Showcourt 3 we also met Daan, who I know from studying in Tilburg. When the match was finished and we went to Hisense Arena to watch Murray, Beck unfortunately already retired.
On Wednesday 19 January we went to the
Australian Open again and we met Tessy and two of her friends, Jasper and Lonneke at the tram at 10 am. Inside Melbourne park we also met up with Daan again. First we went to see Arantxa Rus losing her second round to Svetlana Kuznetsova, then we saw Berdych beating Kohlschreiber and Robin Haase winning from Monaco. We also met Claire and Steph again and with them we saw Wawrinka and Monfils. When Monfils was finishes we even got in Rod Laver Arena to see Federer beating Simon in a 5-set match.
On Thursday 20 January I woke up early and went for a run along the pier in St. Kilda. After that I watched Nadal beating Sweating on the TV screen in our hostel and then went to the beach with Eefje at St. Kilda. After the beach we went for a walk in St. Kilda and along Acland Street (where a lot of bars and restaurants are). We tried to look for a hostel for Sunday night and stopped at the Oslo Hotel. That was the hostel were Tessy stayed, but when we arrived they told us to come back the next day, because the people from
the reception were gone. We couldn’t book the Ritz for Sunday, because it was already full. After dinner we decided to join Christel and Ingrid (2 Dutch girls we knew from the hostel) to watch the penguins at the pier on St. Kilda beach. The penguins return back to their homes at sunset and it was awesome seeing them coming out of the sea and walking to their holes.
On Friday 21 January Eefje and me woke up around 9 am and after our breakfast we had to check out at 10 am. We booked 3 more nights at the Ritz (31 January, 1 and 2 February), because we decided to come back to Melbourne after a week Tasmania to see more of the city. We left our backpacks in the hostel during the day and went to the State Library to book a hostel for Sunday and the Spirit of Tasmania(ferry) towards Tasmania. We also finally had some time to go on the internet. At 4 pm we were back at the hostel, because Steph picked us up to go to Philip Island. We drove to Claire’s place in Bayswater, changed cars and drove to Philip Island. We
bought some food in a grocery store along the way and after that we bought fish and chips, souflaki and some beers and while we were eating on the beach we watched the sunset. After that we drove to Claire’s parents’ beach house were we stayed for two nights. We played some games, had some drinks and went to bed.
On Saturday 22 January Eefje and me finally had the chance to do some laundry. In the afternoon we went to a wildlife park, were we saw wallabies, kangaroos, koalas, wombats, Tasmanian devils, dingos, emus and a lot of other animals. After that we went for lunch at the Subway and then to a place with a lovely view which was called the Nobbies. This is a breeding place for birds and seals and this attracts white sharks aswell. Then we did some grocery shopping and drove to Smiths beach were we stopped for a short walk. After that we came home and I went for a run. Then we had some nice kangaroo meat (firs time:)) and watched Tomic losing to Nadal and Stosur losing to Kvitova at the Australian Open.
On Sunday 23 January we packed
our stuff, cleaned the house and went back to Melbourne. We drove through the woods and the mountains and had lunch at a village called Olinda. Then we moved on and stopped for an amazing view over Melbourne at a mountain in a small village called Belgrave. Finally we arrived at Claire’s house again. We said goodbye to Claire and Steph brought us to our hostel (Nomads All Nations) in the city centre. We dropped our bags and went to Federation Square to watch the Australian Open again on the big screen. We saw Wawrinka beating Roddick in 3 sets. After that we did some grocery shopping, went back to the hostel and finally to bed.
On Monday 24 January we woke up early at 7 am, packed our stuff, checked out of the hostel, took tram 109 to Port Melbourne and went on board of the Spirit of Tasmania. This is a ferry that goes between Melbourne and Devonport (Tasmania). We had to check in not later than 8.15 am and the ferry departed at 9 am. The ferry is amazing. You have everything on board: a cinema, lounge, bars, restaurants, sleeping cabins and you have a great
view over the Bass Straight. We arrived in Devonport at 6 pm and Adrian (a guy I met when I was studying at Malmo University in Sweden in 2005) picked us up an we drove to Ulverstone were he lives. We had a couple of beers, watched the Australian Open and talked about everything that happened the last five years.
On Tuesday 25 January we woke up early and drove to Cradle Mountain. This is a beautiful mountain in a national park and it has the shape of a cradle. Cradle Mountain is on the World Heritage List and it is one of the most beautiful places I have seen in my life. We walked around and did the Overland Track and the Face Track and saw the lakes: Dove Lake, Lake Hanson and the Twisted Lakes. Then we drove to Leven Canyon, which looks like the Grand Canyon in the United States, but then a bit smaller. After that we drove back to Ulverstone, bought a steak sandwich and chips and watched the Australian Open at Adrian’s place.
On Wednesday 26 January it was Australia Day and Adrian and me woke up early and went to Penguin
to play golf. It was the first time that I played 9 holes and it was good fun. Adrian was an excellent teacher. After that Adrian had to work as a lifeguard on a beach in Burnie from 12 till 5 pm. Eefje and me went to the library to go on the internet, but it was closed, because Australia Day is a public holiday. We did some grocery shopping, went home to go on internet and watched the Australian Open. Before dinner we went to Penguin again to go on a picture with a huge statue of a penguin. Then we had dinner, watched the evening matches of the Australian Open and I booked a trip to the Great Ocean Road and a flight ticket from Bali to Singapore.
On Thursday 27 January we went to a strawberry farm in Turners Beach in the morning and then we took the bus from Devonport to Hobart at 11 am. We arrived a little bit earlier in Devonport and walked around the city and towards the pier. The bus that took us from Devonport to Hobart had a stop in Launceston, the second biggest city of Tasmania after Hobart. When
Eefje and me arrived in Hobart it was 3.30 pm and we walked towards our backpackers hostel (Narrara). The guy that runs the hostel was a very friendly man, he showed us our room and all the faclities and gave us some tips. We dropped our bags in the hostel and walked towards Battery Point (where you find old houses), the Salamanca Market and the Waterfront. We ate fish and chips at Flippers with a view over the harbour and after that we did some grocery shopping and walked to our hostel were we watched the Australian Open with other backpackers.
On Friday 28 January we woke up early and after breakfast I walked through the Rivulet Linear Park to the Cascade Brewery, the oldest beer brewery in Australia. There I did a tour where the guide showed us around, told us everything about the history of the Cascade Brewery and we were allowed to taste three different types of Cascade. The tour ended around noon and then I walked uphill to Fern Tree, a small village at the foot of Mount Wellington. From there I did a few beautful walking tracks: the Fern Glade Track, the Radsford Track
and the Middle track. It was awesome, because I was walking in the middle of the jungle. I arrived on time for the bus back to Hobart, that left at 3.30 pm and arrived at 4.02 pm in the city centre of Hobart where I had to see a doctor for a blatter infection and a stye underneath my upper eyelid. After that I went to the pharmacy to get my antibiotics and went to the Vodafone store to change my plan and to recharge my credit. Then I walked back to the hostel, Eefje and me had noodles for dinner and we watched the Australian Open with some other backpackers in the hostel.
On Saturday 29 January we woke up early, because we had to check out before 10 am. We went to the Salamanca Market, where almost everybody in Hobart goes on Saturday morning. You can buy almost everything there: fruit, vegetables, clothes, art and there was entertainment aswell. Then Adrian and Robyn came to pick us up at the market at 10.30 am. We picked our bags up from the hostel and drove to Port Athur, an ancient prison on an island just outside of Hobart.
Port Arthur is on the World Heritage List and this was the place where prisoners were brought when they commited several crimes in Australia. You can see ruins of for example the Penitentiary, the Church, the Isle of Dead, the Guard Tower, the Commandant’s House and the Hospital. We did a walking tour and a boat tour and it was absolutely fantastic. I can definitely recommend it to everybody. After spending the whole day at Port Arthur we drove back to Hobart and passed Eaglehawk Neck. This was the only small piece of land in the shape of an eaglehawk neck, that lead to Port Arthur and it was guarded 24 hours by guards and a dogline. Ofcourse we made plenty of pictures and after that we drove to Robyn’s parents’ house in a richer area in Hobart called Howrah. We had a bbq with Robyn’s parents, Robyn, Adrian, Eefje and me and after that we watched the ladies final between Klijsters and Li. After dinner Adrian, Robyn and me went out in Hobart to Irish Murphy's and the Observatory. Irish Murphys is a pub, where we talked, had some beers and danced and after that we went to the
Observatory, a nightclub were we danced for another hour or so. Then Adrian drove us back home and we went to bed.
On Sunday 30 January we woke up around 10 am, and I had the best breakfast so far since I came to Australia. Robyn’s parents made an omelet with bacon and mushrooms and fresh orange juice. Then we packed our stuff in the car and drove (about 2,5 hours) towards Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park. We passed a small town called Richmond, where we stopped and made some pictures of an old beautiful bridge. When we arrived in Freycinet National Park, we walked for about 1,5 hours, saw some lizards and finally reached a beautiful lookout over Wineglass Bay. This is an untouched bay in the form of a wineglass where we made some pictures. Then we walked to the bay itself were we relaxed a little bit, looked at the fantastic view (the Hazards (mountains), trees, a beautiful beach and the sea) and made some more pictures. Then we walked the whole way back, saw a wallaby (small kangaroo) in the wild and drove back through the Midlands to Ulverstone. That drive took us about
3,5 hours, but we stopped around 6.30 pm in Campbell Town to have dinner at the Subway. While driving back to Ulverstone, we listened to the men’s final of the Australian Open between Djokovic and Murray on the radio. Finally we came home and we watched the last set on TV. After that Eefje and me booked our ticket from Melbourne to Cairns with the Greyhound Bus and went to bed.
On Monday 31 January we woke up early in Ulverstone, packed our stuff and went to Devonport again were we had to check in not later than 8.15 am. On the way we stopped at a supermarket to buy breakfast and food for on board. Then we thanked Adrian and Robyn for everything and said goodbye. The Spirit of Tasmania left at 9 am and we arrived in Melbourne again at 6 pm. We did some grocery shopping, had dinner and went to bed.
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