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Published: December 4th 2008
Well, I’m afraid this might be a rather long blog due to the poor standards of Australian internet. We have finally been able to get some wi-fi to be able to post pictures and the blog so here’s your latest update:
When we woke up to leave Adelaide at 5.30am we were tired but quite glad to be carrying on with our journey, and even more glad when we looked out to see that it was raining quite heavily. It took us 26hrs to get from Adelaide to Sydney but quite a lot of that was spent sleeping and watching films which made it bearable. Although from Melbourne to Sydney (12hrs) I had an extremely fat man in the seat behind me who kept digging his legs into the back of my chair, snored very loudly and took of his shoes so all I could smell was cheesy feet! I ended up having to slyly spray perfume under my seat to make it smell a bit nicer! Nick on the other hand slept like a baby, typical! We arrived in Sydney at 8am and managed to find a hostel quite easily which was good. The only problem being that we couldn’t check-in until 2pm and all we could think about was having a nice hot shower. We decided not to waste a day sat in the hostel and caught a bus down to Circular Quay where you can see the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. We decided to walk along the Harbour Bridge which was pretty disappointing because they had loads of railings up so it was hard to get a clear view of the city from there. After that we decided we were a bit too tired to be traipsing round the city so we headed back to the hostel and sat in the lounge reading until we could check-in. We were back to dorms again but this one wasn’t too bad because it was a 6 bed dorm with an en-suite. The only problem with the hostel was that between the ground and first floors there were no stairs so you had to wait for the lift, but the lifts kept breaking and there would be a massive pile up of people in reception waiting. On our first night we joined in with the hostel quiz and actually came 3rd which we were really surprised about (and yes there were more than 3 teams!).
The weather was really nice on our 2nd day so we decided to visit Sydney’s famous beaches but our friends in Adelaide had told us to start at Coogee instead of Bondi. So we caught the bus to Coogee and started topping up our tans. We set up camp between the yellow and red safety flags which wasn’t actually necessary as the sea was absolutely freezing so we didn’t make it in further than our ankles! After lunch we started the walk from Coogee to Bondi, which we’d been told was about 40mins, well it ended up taking over 1½hrs and our feet were so sore by the end. It was a really nice walk though along the cliffs overlooking the little beaches and surfers down below. When we finally got to Bondi I couldn’t actually believe how big it was, it seemed to go on forever and was absolutely packed with people. Not really our thing at all so we didn’t stay to sunbathe and ended up catching the first bus back to town. We ended up getting off at the Opera House and were surprised to see a massive stage set up with TV cameras and big screens; obviously we went over to get a closer look. We were even more surprised when we realised it was set up for Australian Idol and stayed to watch them rehearsing. That evening was free wine and cheese night which just topped off a brilliant day.
On our 3rd day the weather was really nice again so we thought it might be nice to catch a train up to the Blue Mountains which had been recommended by lots of people. Foolishly we didn’t read up about them in our guide book and thought the weather would be similar so wore shorts and a t-shirt. It took 2hrs to get there and we were already getting a bit cold from the air-con. It was really sunny at all the stops until we got to our stop at Katoomba where it was grey and miserable! When we stepped out onto the platform we were greeted by a gust of freezing cold wind! Then as soon as we left the station it started raining; not a good start! To make matters worse we could only find tours to the lookout and there was no tourist information centre! Eventually we found a YHA and the lady told us it was a 20min walk to the lookout and was easy to do. Luckily the sun came out just as we set off but the wind was still freezing cold. The famous 3 sisters (3 bits of rock sticking up) weren’t that impressive but the view over the Blue Mountains was gorgeous. The mountains get their name from the oily-mist given off by the eucalyptus trees which give them a blue tint. It was so cold that we were only able to stay for a photo opportunity before heading back to the train station. We were lucky not to get rained on whilst we were walking but when we arrived at the train station it started to snow! We couldn’t believe it was snowing in Australia in the summer! We also couldn’t believe that the train still had its air-con on when it was snowing outside; we were freezing!! That evening we watched the NZ vs. Aus rugby league final which was really tense and for the first time in ages NZ won!
On our last day in Sydney the weather was really strange, it would rain then be really nice and hot and then rain again, so it was quite hard to decide what to do. In the end we decided to go birthday present shopping for Nick’s birthday as he wanted some new clothes. After walking around a massive shopping centre he’d only found himself 1 t-shirt so he wanted to head into town and look some more. Finding all of the shops a bit too far out of our price range we decided to stop for a coffee near the harbour. Nick had a coffee and I had a mocha and both came out in massive mugs topped with a scoop of ice-cream and loads of whipped cream…YUM! That evening was the live final of Australian Idol down at the Opera House so we thought it would be nice to go down and watch it from the Botanical Gardens which overlooked it. Just as the show was about to start some girls that had been there longer than us just ran off so we thought there might be free tickets, with nothing to lose we walked down to the entrance. Luckily for us because the weather wasn’t that great loads of people hadn’t turned up so they needed to fill up the crowd and were giving away free tickets. It was a really good show with loads of fireworks behind the Opera House but the Australian crowd was really dull. I think I cheered the most out of anyone there and I didn’t even know who I was cheering for!
After a busy night we were less than happy to be getting up at 6.15am to catch the bus to Newcastle 2hrs up the coast. When we arrived in Newcastle we got talking to a group of girls in our hostel who were going to a koala sanctuary at 1pm, so we joined them. It only cost $3 and they brought out two 11month old koalas which were so cute and we were allowed to stroke them which was cool. It’s illegal to hold them anywhere but Queensland but that was fine with me because their claws are pretty big! We went to watch the being fed in their enclosure and the young ones were really active which was nice because they normally just sleep. The next day Nick paid for a surf lesson but the waves looked huge and the sea was freezing so I just sunbathed. It was really funny watching the others trying to surf though, especially the girls with no upper body strength. Nick was actually pretty good though and the instructor said he was a natural; so now all Nick talks about is surfing and thinks he’s a pro. On our last night in Newcastle we went to the pub which was 2 streets down in a straight line. Somehow we ended up drinking a bit too much ($3 pints will do that to you) and when it came time to go home we got lost and had to get a taxi!
Our next stop was Port Macquarie 4hrs north of Newcastle but the weather was terrible while we were there so we didn’t do much except watch films and read magazines.
Then we went another 4hrs north to Coffs Harbour which we both really enjoyed. The weather was excellent and our hostel had free canoes, boards and bikes and a swimming pool. On our first day we went to the beach and just as I’d settled down a little dog decided to run over and jump on my chest, do a little dance and then run off again, I was absolutely covered in sand and dog hair…lovely! The beach was really nice though and there was a little market next to it which had live music playing which was nice to sit and listen to. On our second day we took the canoes out with some girls we’d met at the hostel. We were only paddling around a saltwater creek so the currents weren’t exactly strong but with my minimal upper body strength my arms were aching within 20mins. The creek was really nice and peaceful with gum trees surrounding it and mangroves dotted about. The water was a bit brown and murky but that didn’t stop Nick starting some splash fights! We ended up paddling round for 2hrs and Nick wanted to carry on but my hands were sore and are actually still hurting 4days later!
In the afternoon we played games in the pool which was really fun. Instead of buying dinner in the evening we paid $7 each for an all you can eat BBQ which had burgers, sausages, onions, buns, salad and pasta.
We’re now in Byron Bay for Nick’s birthday and we love it here. It’s packed full of backpackers and reminds us of Newquay. It’s a beach town with a massive surf influence and our hostel is full of really nice people which always helps. Nicks already been down to the beach with one of the hostels free surfboards thinking he’s the most amazing surfer ever! I keep worrying he’s going to get too cocky, go out too far and get dragged out to sea, but he seems to be ok at the moment. We also had some amazing homemade ice-cream which was so delicious, I had ferrero rocher flavour and Nick had sticky toffee pudding. We woke up this morning to find it was overcast so we decided to walk to the lighthouse and most easterly point in Australia. It was a really nice walk and was nice to do some exercise but now we’ve got blisters from where our flip flops have rubbed!
Well I think that’s about it. Apart from its Nicks birthday tomorrow so let’s hope the weather brightens up a bit so he can go surfing! We still can’t get over how it’s so sunny in December!
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