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Published: January 27th 2008
KL petronas towers
look how tall I am
We travelled first class over night on the train to Singapore where our friend Jose was there to meet us. We had 4 great days staying with him and Vicky and we ate loads! As a wedding present they took us for a buffet dinner at the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel - all you can eat seafood including lobster and crayfish, sushi, western, Chinese and Indian dishes, a chocolate fountain and umpteen yummy desserts. Amazingly we still managed to have room for a few drinks with Vicky and her workmates afterwards in Clarke Quay. The 2 of us had loads of fun at Singapore zoo the next day, our favourite being the very tuneful and active gibbons. That night we met up with an old colleague, Tessa Halstead, for incredibly tasty and incredibly messy black pepper and sweet chilli crabs. And then it was off for the dreaded karaoke which turned out o be great fun and we’d sung our way to 1am before we knew it!
On our last day Jose took us to man made island Sentosa, just off the mainland, which was typically Singaporean in how lavish it was but the huge container ships off shore were evidence of
the large port nearby.
Bali was our next destination. We spent our first few days and Ruth’s 30th birthday at an eco lodge on the side of Mount Batukaru, which we really enjoyed. This was a gift from SBDU at Future and Angela and Michael Watson - thanks all for a brilliant and very relaxing few days. Check out the picture of Ruth’s mountainside massage! The food was great (including snakefruit crumble) and one night Ruth helped cook our chicken sate meal while David took Lily the macaque for a walk in the rainforest.
We were sorry to leave but quickly recovered when we saw our next hotel in Seminyak, where we were to stay for 4 days over Christmas. Thanks to Clare, Peace, Jen and Pat for that! Ruth also had a second birthday thanks to David emailing the wrong hotel so we got surprise desserts twice in 3 days! We had a couple of days on the beach but then it rained solidly for the next 3 or 4 days including Christmas Day. We did get to the beach but stood under our brolly under a tree and still got drenched! Our Christmas dinner of calamari, tuna
Dim Sum anyone
Jose educated us in the way of Dim Sum
and snapper was lovely though (thanks Mum S) and we happily relaxed in the pool and our Jacuzzi. Next was a 2 night stay in Ubud where we visited the Monkey Forest and generally spent time wandering round the town and lounging in cafes.
And then after having to pay to leave Bali, it was on to Oz! We had a great few days in Sydney and stayed in a lovely place in a lovely area - thanks Dan and Robbie, Mason and Susan, the Murphs, Nick and Bec and Ian and Tonia! This was our base for the next 5 nights to explore Sydney and celebrate New Year. Upon arriving it didn’t take us long to find the popular local eatery - Una’s - where we gorged ourselves daily on their monstrous breakfast baps which fuelled us for the rest of the day! While we were there we went to Darling Harbour, ate at Pyrmont Fish Market, walked round The Rocks, visited the beaches Coogee and Bondi and of course admired the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. We also went out for a drink at The Paragon so that David could reminisce about his trip with his mates
6 years ago. It was lovely to meet up with friends Sally and Geoff and Geoff’s mum one evening too, who were there on holiday.
We had a brilliant New Year’s Eve picnicking, drinking and soaking up the atmosphere in the Botanical Gardens in the run up to the fab midnight fireworks. Thanks Pauline for the drinks money!
We caught a train out to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains for a couple of days where we walked through gorgeous scenery admiring the blue haze effect of the millions acres of eucalyptus trees. We walked along the cliff top then took the very steep (45 degree) train half way down so that we could walk the Federal pass. We walked for a couple of hours past some small waterfalls before climbing hundreds of steps back to the cliff top in Leura.
We then headed back to Sydney and caught the ferry to Manly where we stayed for a couple of nights in a grotty hostel with roommates getting up to all sorts! Needless to say we didn’t get much sleep - neither did they!!
You may recall from our Vietnam entry that we had a fund evening in Hue
It's times like this you realise you really can't sing, but then you don't give a damn
with Sarah and Steve who invited us to stay with them in Port Macquarie, and so that was our next stop. We really enjoyed our stay not only because we were very well fed and got to go sailing and surfing, but our hosts were great fun and made us very welcome. Thanks guys. (we’ll stick to our promise and not mention running aground or hitting the fishing boat, or your herb garden!)
After Port Macquarie it was back on the Greyhound bus, this time to Byron Bay. Our hostel was really good and we borrowed bikes and body boards. We also got to see 2 great bands for free. There’s been loads of rain up the east coast in the last month but other than the odd shower we’ve been really lucky. We loved Byron but being on a relatively tight schedule we had to move on.
We had one night's a bit further inland in Murwillumbah - a great little YHA with free ice cream every night and a visit from a local carpet python, which nearly scared David to death when we spotted it right by our bedroom door in the middle of the night!
After Murwillumbah it was on to Surfer’s Paradise - full of high rises which cast shadows on the beach from about 4.30pm. We went out for a free drink at a local club with people from our hostel, not our kind of place at all but David was chuffed as even he had to show ID!
Next stop on our whirlwind tour was a night in Brisbane. We didn’t see much of the city as we headed straight for the koala sanctuary. We never have a bad days when there’s animals involved and this was no exception - the pictures say it all.
From Brisbane it was on to Hervey Bay. After missing out on the Gibbon Experience in Laos we decided to use Julia, Reuben and Rich’s wedding pressie money on a 2 night camping trip to Fraser Island which was out of this world - thanks guys! 9 of us in a 4x4 making our way around the island to gorgeous freshwater lakes, streams and various stop offs along 75 mile beach on the east coast. In our group were fellow honeymooners and self confessed “flashpackers” Sarah and Phil (hello!) It was an amazing trip
and the lake water and beaches were simply idyllic - the water is apparently cleaner than mineral water! Even the rugby guys singing in the small hours one night couldn’t spoil it and we learnt a different version of The Automatic’s song - what’s that coming over the hill? is it a dingo?!
We also met Jac and Jo in Hervey Bay as we shared a dorm and were in part of the same group of 4x4s on Fraser Island. We managed to share a dorm when we got back too and went for a posh Italian with them that night. Definitely our best roommates to date!
On the greyhound again, this time to Agnes Water/1770 where we stayed at the lovely 1770backpackers, a really friendly, chilled out hostel with quilted, scented loo roll! We did an absolutely brilliant tour there - Scooteroo! For 3 hours 20 or so of us drove 50cc scooters made to look like mean machines round the back roads of Agnes Water and 1770, stopping near the marina in 1770 for sunset and a beer. Great fun. The next day was surf day. While Ruth had a lesson David hired a board and got
to put practice everything Steve had taught him in Port Macquirie. Ruth managed to stand up for about 3 seconds but admits that the water was so shallow that the board was probably on the sand at that point!
We’d have loved to have stayed there longer but we had to get to Airlie Beach for our trip to the Whitsundays. And wow, what a trip! We got back yesterday and are still grinning. We had such a good time , thank you Mum and Dad M, Nan and Harvey, Mandie, Kat and John and Laura and Nick!
We were on boat Powerplay, not a sailing boat which we were in a quandary over, but it was great. The 4 members of crew - King dave (skipper), Stu, Damo and Apryl - were brilliant and the other passengers were just our cup of tea and really made it for us. We did loads of snorkeling and had our first scuba dive which we really enjoyed. We saw nemos (plus loads of other fish), turtles, played with jellyfish, had a jacuzzi on deck, ate mountains of gorgeous food thanks to Damo and Apryl and made some great friends, including Brazilian
Luis who has promised to track us down and kill us if we don’t meet up with him in Sao Paulo!
Fortunately the fun didn’t stop when we got back to Airlie Beach as not only was it Australia Day yesterday, but it was also the anniversary of David popping the all important question! Thanks to Mum M for paying for us to have a lovely seafood lunch to celebrate. A bit later we met up with King Dave and Damo and then the others for lots of mojitos, beer and rum. We had a brilliant time, made even better when us Millsys won a huge VB (Victoria Bitter) coolbox, a Warnie cricket shirt and other VB goodies! A BIG parcel will be on it’s way to Alcester soon…..
So here we are now, bringing the blog up to date in Airlie Beach. Queensland, you’ve been great but it’s not over yet! Next stop Mission Beach then Cairns.
Take care all
PS Happy 30th Birthday Julia! x
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