Published: May 23rd 2008May 23rd 2008
Here is the Oz blog at last. You might have noticed its become impossible to keep up to date on these blogs I don't know how other bloggers manage! I have created just one blog for the whole of Oz rather than seperate ones for each region I visited, which were in order of appearence (1) New South Wales, Sydney - home of the Waratah's, sophisticated HRB's, Opera House, Sydney harbour bridge (and Lou Lou) (2) Victoria, Melbourne - home of the Quigleys (3) Queensland, Cairns area and Brisbane.
The flight down to Sydney from Bangkok on 9th April was pleasant enough and we touched down at around 6.00am. It was a great feeling walking through the terminal and being back in Oz after 2 1/2 years and Sydney 5 1/2!!! After clearing immigration I went through customs bag screening and I was a bit nervous as I had purchased some Thai Elephant shaped mini chocolate chip cookies and I wasn't sure whether they constituted fresh food or not. However they waived me through and after getting some Ozzie dollars at the FX counter and a short train ride I was in the heart of
Sydney's trying to find my Youth Hostel. It was the first time I'd stayed in a YH and it was an experience. A tiny room with shared bathrooms and showers which reminded me of the ones from a school trip 20 years ago. You have to hire a towel and give them a AU$ 10.00 deposit just in case you run off with it! There was a pool room where loads of hippies would be hanging out whenever I walked past. After checking in I went to sleep for a few hours and then walked to the CBD and harbour area where the sun was shining and walked around to look for all the old haunts. Within a few hours I was experiencing Culture shock after coming from the 3rd to the 1st world. The prices for everything were 5-8 times as much and no-one would hassle you on the street or try and get you on a motorbike or tuck tuck. I wasn't expecting this culture shock and it took me about 3 weeks to get used to being in a normal environment again.
I only spent 2 nights in Sydney before flying down to Melbourne. It was
USD 50 room in Hostel !!!
Could have got a 5* for that in Vietnam
a quick and pleasant few days, nice sunset over the Sydney opera house, went to a Vietnamese restuarant, saw a cheesy but funny film called Superhero and wandered around aimlessly a lot in culture shock.
Melbourne was great fun. Stayed with the Quigleys Pat, Fiona, Grace, Jamba and Suzy (I had to take tablets every day as I was allergic to Suzy but that was a minor inconvenience) and spent about 2 weeks in total in Richmond which is just east of the CBD. It was nice to be in a homely environment after being on the road for nearly three months. Had lots of home cooking, watched loads of Aussie TV including: So you think you can dance Australia (Demi should have won!), The biggest looser, Big brother Australia, Sea Patrol, Canal road, Ramsey's kitchen nightmares, Neighbours, Super 14 games, Aussie rules and EPL. Went to the supermarket a lot and purchased some new shoes!. Melbourne was like living in a different city for 2 1/2 weeks rather than travelling and I got to know lots of people in the local area and had a great time.
It was nice to get back on tourist
trail in Cairns. I flew up there on 22nd April and stayed for 2 weeks. Visited the great barrier reaf-amazing!!!!, crocodile farm -those Crocs can't half move fast when they want to!!, Kuranda via train and sky rail - lovely scenary, went cycling in the tablelands - exhausting!!, visited Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Forest - shared a dorm with loads of German's, went jungle surfing - bliminn scary!!!!!, visited Mission beach, stayed at the Sanctuary in a cabin in the rain forest and did lots of shopping in Cairns night market. Stayed in a combination of youth hostels and budget hotels. The budget was really getting blown in Oz without doing that much its so much more expensive than when I was here last ( inflation eh?).
Brissie was a slight dissapointment as I was booked on a 3 day camping tour to Moreton Island but they cancelled it without telling me so I turned up at the Transit station and no-one was there!! Never mind these things happened!! Instead I went to the cinema ( saw about 10 films) and chilled out in the lovely Botanic gardens, hired a bike, climbed the harbour bridge and
relaxed on the roof terrace of theh hostel. The best part though was seeing a Super 14 game the Queensland Red's vs the Crusaders which was a great game.
After Brisbane I flew back down to Melbourne for my birthday weekend ( thanks for all your texts etc even though some came through at 3.00am !!! I spent a few more days in Melbourne and left Oz after having spent a great 6 weeks there. I'm in Wellington New Zealand. Its freezing cold and raining so I'm thinking of saying good-bye to this part of the world asap and heading to South America.
Take care everyone and see you all soon. Keep the messages coming its great to hear what you're all up to as well !
P.S A special mention to my nephew Jake Mean who I heard got lots of A's and B's in his school report - well done Jake !!!!!!!!
There are more photos below