Wishing everyone a jolly Christmas and a Merry New Year from Melbourne

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December 21st 2009
Published: December 22nd 2009
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I'm back where I began this trip around Australia...good old Melbourne, St Kilda, and its just as lovely as I remember, if not lovelier due to the sunshine. Summer is well on its way and its difficult to believe its Christmas in just a few days!

Where to begin my update of where I've been and what I've done?...here goes an attempt to be concise - Cairns to Alice on a Greyhound, 33hours on a bus...epic, but not overly traumatic, saw a whole heap of nothingness along the way, you really ae in the middle of nowhere out there. Alice itself was a dive of a town, not particularly safe, so I didnt venture out too much for the 2 days I was there, very odd place.

Next was the Adventure Tours trip Alice to Adelaide via: Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) - overrated, but nevertheless awesome; Kata-Tjuta (aka the Olgas) - stunning, a little heard about Gem; King's Canyon - prettyful; Coober Pedy - very odd mining town where lots of people live in houses dug into the rock, famous for Opal Mining (that's pretty much the only thing it has going for it); the Flinder's Ranges - Wilpena Pound was stunning and we stayed in a cute little town called Quorn, which I loved, and we scared ourselves silly watching Wolf Creek and learned something of the history of the white-aboriginal politics watching Rabbit Proof Fence (awesome film); Clare Valley - wine tasting...yumcious; and finally Adelaide.

In Adelaide I planned a trip with a Canadian friend I'd met on the Adventure Tour...we hired a camper to drive to Melbourne. I say planned...we gave ourselves 5 days and vaguely knew where we were going...it wasnt particularly well planned as its actually rather a long way, which we didnt realise, so driving took a liitle longer than we'd have liked, and we didnt have as much time to do stuff as we'd hav liked, but still t'was fun!...
Day one was wine tasting in McLaren Vale - I was designated driver so had to spit rather than get drunk on the wine, but it was still fun learning a bit about wine and it was lovely to drive through all the pretty vineyards. That night we camped by the beach and watched the sun set over the sea.
Day two was an epic drive to Mt Gambier, where we visited crater lakes and cave gardens.
Day three we drove to Naracoorte Caves, home to fossils of giant marsupials, than we drove to the Grampians which were awesome...wish we'd had more time there. We camped next to a field full of kangaroos and next day saw an echidna cross the road as we drove out of Halls Gap. I think we terrified the poor thing in our attempt to get a good photo.
Day four was the drive to the Great Ocean Road, where we saw all the various rock formations, watched sunset at the twelve apostles and saw fairy penguins playing in the waves on the beach.
On the morning of day five we visited Triplet Falls in Otway National Park, which were very beautiful, then we finished off the Great Ocean Road with a quick stop at Bells Beach to watch the surfers before arriving in Melbourne to drop off the van.

So that's my travels up til now. I've been in Melbourne for 2 weeks and have found a job working in a cafe and also at the hostel for free accommodation. Last weekend I played in a volleyball tournament on the beach with a few people I recruited at the hostel. We had a fantastic day and made it to the final and altho we didnt win, we still got a medal and free drinks and meal vouchers! On Sunday night I went to watch Funny People at the Moonlight Cinema which is a cinema screen set up in the Botanical Gardens. Everyone brings rugs, bean bags, pillows, even duvets! and a picnic and when the sun goes down the start the movie. It is a brilliant set up and runs throughout the summer, so hopefully I'll go plenty more times while I'm here (I sound like they're paying me to promote it, dont I?!).

Plan is to stay in Melbourne for a while to earn some money for the final stage of my travels which I expect to begin mid-March. Christmas will probably be spent at the beach, Boxing Day I'm going to watch the cricket at the "G" (not really bothered about the game, but apparently its the thing to do here, so I'm going to check out the atmosphere). Then, who knows what mayhem will ensue on New Year's Eve...we'll see what happens. As always there's a good bunch of people about to celebrate with, so it should be fun!

I hope you all have a fantabulous Christmas and New Year and you will no doubt get another update from me next year! I look forward to hearing all about your jolly holidays too.

Hannah Millican over and out for 2009, see you in 2010! Here's to next year topping this one...cheers!


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