Re-Treading Old Steps

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February 5th 2008
Published: February 8th 2008
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Sunsetting Over The Harbour
After a fairly easy night flight from Darwin to Brisbane we landed about 6am and hung around the airport for a few hours waiting for the city to open. We had found a deal on a really nice hotel in Brisbane called Terraces On Wickham so we headed straight there to dump our bags in their luggage room. Drearily we trudged around the city until we couldn't keep our eyes open any longer. We snoozed in our lovely cosy room all afternoon, venturing only out to the balcony to see the Australia Day fireworks that evening.

The following day we got up early to take full advantage of the free buffet breakfast and after we were suitably full we headed out to catch yet another greyhound bus this time to Coffs Harbour. As it was a bank holiday weekend the bus was lovely and quiet so we had a quick trip down. Our room in the YHA again was very nice and after a quick spruce up we headed out to investigate the harbour.

As we were walking along I heard the distant sounds of happy hardcore which could only mean one thing - there was a fun fair taking place on the green in front of the beach. We wondered around the stalls eating chips, watching everyone on the rides and enjoying the tunes. Afterwards we walked up to Mutton Island and admired the views of the sunset from the top.

The rest of our days in Coffs Harbour were spent exploring the local bays which were all beautiful, we walked and paddled our way around as many as we could get to whilst trying to not get burnt too much.

It was onto Port Macquarie next, a holiday resort which supposedly gets more sunshine than the Gold Coast. Cashing in on our newly acquired YHA member cards we choose to stay in another. Our room was in a house with four bedrooms and we seemed to be the only ones there. It was exactly like a student house, not really a place for two flashpackers but we scraped by.

On the sea barricades along the bay there is a quirky collection of giant rocks all of which have been painted and decorated by locals and people passing through the area, it certainly brightened up the walk reading all the messages. The icing on the cake though was seeing some dolphins swimming and breaching through the water in the bay that evening.

The local people in Port Macquarie are very friendly and there is a great sense of community. The morning we had to catch our bus to Newcastle at 5.40am we walked down the street with three of the local residents who get up early every day to walk the streets and pick up litter, not that there was much anyway but they said it kept them fit and the weather at 5am was more agreeable.

Newcastle initially was a bit of shock; in comparison to all the other cities along the east coast this one looked old and derelict. The longer we were there the more we could see that they were trying to regenerate the area, the old buildings were certainly worth restoring. Along the port front they were also building a super yacht facility so we could see that this area in particular could have a lot of potential in the future.

Finally the day had come to catch our last and final greyhound bus (yey) to Sydney. We arrived at Sydney central in fairly good time however it was pouring with rain. We hoped the weather would improve so we could do some walking, it took a few days but finally the rain dispersed and we were able to retrace our old running route along Potts Point to the Opera House. We even visited the avenue where we lived for a little while 5 years ago. The building hadn't changed much but Potts Point has definitely come up in the world, we knew it would being so close to the CBD.

After having my hair hacked off (the hairdressing in Sydney is as bad as ever!) we decided it was test the McDonalds again. Of all the places we have been the vanilla milkshakes in Sydney taste better than anywhere in the world and I am glad to report the standards have not slipped in 5 years.

In between the rain showers we managed a visit to Darling Harbour to check out the maritime museum, it being one of the only things in Australia you don't have to pay for. They had an interesting exhibition about the oldest glacier mummy; an Italian guy who was killed 6000 years ago and got mummified in the ice.

Other than getting my photos erased by some photoshop idiot in Kings Cross we didn't get to do too much else in Sydney as time was ticking. Sydney is still as nicer city as ever and is getting bigger and taller by the year. It is definitely the only city in Australia we could see ourselves living in the future but we'll have to see. No's only career choice in Oz is tour guide up at Katherine which couldn't work out because he knows nothing about caves and doesn't like insects.

We over spent our budget by a few hundred pounds, we knew we would in Cairns as the exchange rate was high and everything seems to be very similar in price to Britain. Well its onto Asia next where hopefully the dollars won't be flying out of our wallets quite so fast.

Just a forward note on china; apparently china is going through a humanitarian crisis currently, it is experiencing the worse weather in 10 years and everyone is stranded in train stations....great!!!

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