A Travellerspoint blog

Sydney

We flew from Avalon Airport in Melbourne which is quite a bit out of town. I think it is just for Jetstar flights but it really is in the middle of nowhere!

So Sydney, we meet up with our friends Will and Stef again which is great. They have since been back to UK and gotten their year visa for Australia and had moved into their flat 3 days before we landed!! The flat was in Mosman and was lovely, it’s about 20 minutes out of town in the bus and you have to go over the Harbour bridge every time you go into the city which is nice.

Just our luck though the weather was not that good, infact it was properly chucking it down!! On one of the really wet days we actually went to the cinema to see Harry Potter just to escape from the rain!

When the weather cleared up we went to the city just to have a little wonder and found the gardens as we always do!! The plaque at the entrance was really sweet and said ‘Welcome to Sydney Botanic Gardens. Feel free to walk on the grass, smell the roses and hug the trees!’ There was a lovely herb garden which smelt gorgeous with little water features dotted around.
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As you follow the gardens it brings you out to the path which follows the harbour. Then you turn a corner and there is the Opera House! And behind that is the Harbour Bridge! A little like the Taj Mahal in that it’s very familiar but as you get closer to it it changes somewhat. It was built by Jorn Utzan and what you don’t see on all the photos is that the skin of the Opera House is made up of tiny little tiles, 1,000,000 of them! But this is only evident as you get closer to it. There was a rehearsal going on in there and it was televised in the foyer, sounded really good! The Organ in there is huge though and has an amazing 10500 pipes!!
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We had a lovely afternoon just on the harbour with the fab backdrop with Will and Stef drinking cold beers and basking in the sun when it finally came out!
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The Bridge is quite impressive too. The locals call it the ’old coat hanger!’ It was built in 1932 costing $20 million to build, which took them 60 years to pay it off! We could see lots of people walking up it, like tiny little lemmings!! We didn’t do it for various reasons, mainly because of the weather- the views aren’t guaranteed, and also because of the price- $170-250 each!! Ah well!
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We also visited the Fish Market which was quite good actually, but quite smelly!! We tried properly fresh sushi which Darren didn’t really like but I thought it was good, Tuna and Salmon with wasabi and soy sauce. Yum!
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We couldn’t leave Australia without trying Kangaroo though so one night we bought some Roo and flash fried it and served it with mash and veg with a red wine sauce. Very nice!! We had bought so much of it not realising how far it would go so the next day we also did a stew with it which wasn’t bad either!

One night we went to the dog races which was hilarious and an experience!! But actually quite funny. We must have had beginners luck though because we won one race!!
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Posted by downbhoy 15:47 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The Great Ocean Road

semi-overcast

Most of the great things to see on this road are quite near Melbourne rather than Adelaide. The company that we went with were wildlife tours and it seemed to be a good deal. The day was $90 each. It was a long day though as we had so much to cram in. The guide was good, his name was Patrick, and we found out right at the end of the day that it was his first tour solo!! But he did really well.
The first stop was Bells Beach which is famous for it’s surfing. It was a really windy spot and quite chilly so we didn’t stay long. 5216139428_837d22e742.jpg5216348702_9d21165c19.jpg5215758209_fddbd63507.jpg

The next photo opportunity was at the Memorial Arch. This has been burnt down quite a few times in bush fires so it’s not the original one. The Great Ocean Road was built by soldiers after WWII when they didn’t have any jobs to come back to after the war. It took quite a few years to complete as it was all done by hand and was quite tricky to cling to the rock face.
Next stop was to hunt out some Koalas in the wild. So after a short walk around some Eukalyptus trees we do spy them asleep high up in the trees. They are very cute and don’t seem to be bothered that we are buzzing around them.
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We were driving through the little towns that cling to the winding roads. Patrick was telling us about other bush fires that devastated the area leaving just 3 buildings standing including the lighthouse from the Australian TV programme ’Round the twist’!
We stop for lunch at Apollo Bay which is lovely and has a big long beach, the weather seems to be picking up when we get there which was good.
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Next stop is the Otway Rainforest which is a cool temperate rainforest and really interesting. There are meat-eating snails in this forest which are really weird! We had a good walk round and saw some very old trees and tree ferns. Apparently these grow 1 cm per year and they are taller than us which makes them probably around 170 years old!!
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After the walk we then had a drive to the 12 Apostles. These are columns of sandstone which have been left when the cliffs have been eroded away and left huge stacks in the middle of the sea. They do keep being eroded further though which means they collapse into the sea.

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Near the 12 Apostles is the Loch Ard Gorge which is where a few ships were wrecked. It does look quite dangerous with the water crashing into the cliffs.
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The last stop was London Bridge which had fallen down! It was linked to land until 1997 I think when it crumbled into the ocean creating yet another stand alone stack.
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So it was a pretty busy day considering that we left at 0730 and got back at 2100 but I think it was well worth the money and much better than driving it ourselves because we wouldn’t have gotten the history and old stories about the area

Posted by downbhoy 14:42 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Melbourne

We took the bus from Adelaide to Melbourne which took 10 hours and cost around $55 each but it was so much cheaper than hiring a car after insurance, petrol and one way fees so we were happy with that!! We arrived in Melbourne at 0630 and my friend Lucy met us there (Lucy is an old school friend who moved to Australia in 1995. Lucy married a lovely guy called Joey last year) 5285304350_845e516163.jpg5285303452_b128bc31a1.jpg

5217176494_e12470b11d.jpgLucy had an early meeting in Melbourne so we went for breakfast and put our bags in her car and then me and Darren went to do touristy things. We didn’t know how long we would last because we hadn’t had much sleep on the bus at all!
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When we found Foundation Square which is full of really modern buildings we found the huge tourist info place which is all underground. So much good advice there and we also discovered that Melbourne has a free hop on hop off tourist bus. So that’s what we did!!

The first stop was Queen Victoria market which is massive- I think it is the biggest openair market in the Southern Hemisphere which something like 600 stalls selling everything!! We were starting to flag by this point so a half kilo of cherries from one of the stalls went down really well!! When we were waiting to hop on the bus again I discovered that I had broken my sunglasses so back into the market to buy a new pair, Darren says the new ones are ridiculously too big for me but I think they look quite nice!!!5217127840_c49f7988c0.jpg5216537153_c350ba3628.jpg

There is a really strange traffic menouvre in Melbourne and apparently it is quite famous for it, a Hook Turn. If you need to turn right and you are driving in Melbourne then you need to get into the LEFT hand lane and wait for the lights to tell you to cross in front of the rest of the traffic to your right and then the in front of the stationary traffic from the other direction. It’s because of the trams that go inbetween the 2 lanes of traffic- and stops you from blocking their tracks when you are waiting for the rest of the cars to clear to turn right.

Botanic gardens are nice here, lots of flowers and places to sit and chill. It had just chucked it down when we had got there and then the sun came out and the steam coming off the ground was amazing!! Around the gardens there is the ‘Tan’ which is the 4km track very popular with joggers and walkers.5216556733_34b72edc6c.jpg5216551821_27c2beba83.jpg5217130446_337b98cee6.jpg5217147498_c2ebccfae5.jpg

Also next to the gardens is the huge Shrine of Remembrance which was built for the Victorians killed in WW1. There are loads of brilliant candid photos of soldiers during the war in the museum. It has a really good position in the city and towers over most of it. We went to walk around the top of it but just as we did the heavens opened but it made for some good photos with the really grey sky. 5211318254_d614e69b9e.jpg5210723671_c084b42459.jpg


The next day Lucy was very kind and took us on a tour of Melbourne, especially the Fitzroy area which was super cool, very bohiemian, a little like Camden I suppose. Loads of boutique shops, cafes and very quirky markets. Along the little alleyways the walls were covered in street art graffiti and some of it was really impressive. Infact Lucy’s Dad approached some of the artists to do the walls around the pool in the back garden and they look really good with loads of wall flowers. 5216581893_2f916ffac8.jpg5216584049_492c2a6357.jpg5217180588_f04c9982a2.jpg

Actually it was really good seeing Lucy and her family even though I hadn’t seen Lucy in about 5 years and her family since 1995! So her brother who was about 2 when I last saw him has definitely changed!

We went to see the Ned Kelly exhibition in the Library which was really interesting. The Library is a really lovely building too. 5285363444_11942b54f0.jpg5285314552_98b5ed2355.jpg5284708217_4a990e7c12.jpg5284709163_d7b3682e00.jpg

One of Lucy and Joey’s friends was in a film which was on for just a couple of nights at this really gorgeous cinema. The film was called Belladonna and it was sponsored by the Polish Film company. I think it was quite a low budget film but I really enjoyed it, good story line, good acting and very thought provoking.

Lucy lives in St Kilda and Acland Street near her house is famous for it’s fantastic cakes!! So many shops to chose from and so many cakes to try!!! ‘Monarch’ is famous for its chocolate kogelhopf so we tried that one and also pecan pie and cherry crumble and lemon tart and …… yummy!
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Also in St Kilda there is a theme park called Luna Park. The entrance is though a gigantic mouth of a crazy looking laughing man. As it was Movember (where men grow their moustaches for the month of November for Men’s health) the laughing man had a huge painted tash!
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Because we got from Adelaide to Melbourne on the overnight bus we didn’t see any of the scenery on the great ocean road so we organised a one day trip to see all of them, that’ll be the next blog…..

Posted by downbhoy 02:44 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Adelaide

On the road again!!!!

overcast 24 °C

We stayed with my lovely Great Aunt Marion and Uncle Robert, really enjoyed seeing them again. We had such giggles with them and we were really appreciative of the effort they went into making us feel welcome and showing us the sights of Adelaide. 5214288010_0414660ac9.jpg

Our first day there we went on a boat trip down the river from Port Adelaide and were really lucky to see dolphins right up close swimming along side the boat. We were surprised at how hot it was actually and caught the sun a bit this day.5214366292_c5cfda066a.jpg5213770383_2e6eabac3f.jpg5213739409_d2a9099d4d.jpg5213753735_71b80656a7.jpg

Now, Auntie Marion does like her bingo and it would have been rude not to go so Sunday night we went down to the club and tried our luck....... but it wasn't to be!!!! The closest we got was 1 number away, no beginners luck unfortunately!!5213693425_0aa3df1f07.jpg5214271994_d67043bb98.jpg5213679795_c0b96ae0c9.jpg

The next day me and Darren went to Adelaide city and had a gander to see what it had to offer. A really nice little city actually. A lovely river runs through it with loads of ducks and swans bobbing around. We went up as far as the Zoo then walked around the Botanic Gardens there which was nice. Again it was a gorgeous day so we didn't do anything too strenuous!! The Migration museum was next on the list of places to visit and it was really interesting, didn't realise that people were moving to Australia when they did, it was a lot earlier than I thought, especially from Turkey, Greece and Poland. My relatives were some of the 10 pound pommes and came over in the early 70's.The natural history museum is defintely worth a visit too, huge skeletons of whales and dolphins and a great section on meteorites and minerals and rocks etc.5216124518_111163acca.jpg5216116770_e8c8a4fba2.jpg5215511733_f7df2c3983.jpg5215509497_fb2a48082a.jpg5215530323_984b4d28c0.jpg5216067630_d9e450819f.jpg5216074146_d68dec8048.jpg5214370706_b85887f7ee.jpg5215497339_5cb7d19355.jpg5214362292_a32699a381.jpg5214371890_6015288d5d.jpg5213770219_1f96c96ac5.jpg

Speaking of relatives I met up with all of them!!!! Some of them who I'd never seen before and it was really good to put a face to a name when I had heard so much about them!! We are facebook friends with them now and we mean it when we say come and stay by the way, but just wait til we are home first!!
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The next day we went to the Gorge wildlife park which was sooooo good!!!! Holding Koalas and feeding kangaroos was such a great experience!! Seeing baby joeys was definitely a highlight!!!!5216399121_e03f35425e.jpg5216403751_dddb4938d2.jpg5216983010_8287937870.jpg5216997754_ae79aff8cf.jpg5217017648_d0fdbbe25e.jpg5217033764_f78285732f.jpg5216451603_28ea6a49c7.jpg5217035126_53b17e519a.jpg5217051624_8e81928c0d.jpg5217056800_a6d4eb322f.jpg5217058318_f7914fe892.jpg5216478899_afa678ef7b.jpg5216486031_1534c2283b.jpg5217083958_44d45263f9.jpg5211276656_9d5ca89ddf.jpg

The Barossa wine region was next on the list. I never knew that Jacob's Creek was from here!!! Another great wine we discovered was from the McGuigan vineyard. We also never realised that we really liked port until we got to the Seppelsfield area and tried their tawny........how old are we!!??????? A great tour here by the way and we both learnt so much. I could tell you all about the fortified wines and that they add brandy at various stages of the fermentation process to make it dry or sweet. If you want dry then add the brandy at the end of the process when all the yeast has used up all the sugar. If you want sweet then add it at the beginning of the process and leave lots of sugar in the mixture, you see it all makes sense!!5213685097_6733df03f7.jpg5213688357_985ec38e1b.jpg5213689797_04a87f4eb4.jpg5214298694_0879303d96.jpg5214303394_b61cd5b304.jpg5214306232_031cd6095a.jpg5213714885_1eabf4c5c3.jpg5213719267_40fa778123.jpg5214350020_4bfaae3159.jpg5213725959_b5663be05f.jpg5214321544_26e2e5d35a.jpg5213761889_183b17dd73.jpg5214327714_dac2a16c0b.jpg5213758739_8291e17f9a.jpg5214358548_cef8e23898.jpg

The next trip was up to the biggest rocking horse in the world at 18m high!!! Its a huge wooden toy factory attached to a little wildlife centre and well worth a visit if you want to stock up on old fashioned wooden toys! Unfortunately our rucksacks arent big enough!!
Just a short drive from here was the car museum which was really impressive! So many old cars looking amazing and so shiny!! As well as a good selection of motorbikes too.
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That night we said teary goodbyes to everyone in Adelaide as we hoped on the Greyhound on our way to Melbourne. FYI tickets were $121 for the 2 of us overnight leaving at 2015 arriving Melbourne at 0645!

Actually i might just have a moment for Auntie Marion's collection of dolls!!! Enjoy!!!!5210713685_ccd9a22083.jpg5211266462_fd75e45226.jpg5211263590_650801df29.jpg5210668115_3eb77c5eb0.jpg5211260612_cb21e5dd8a.jpg

Posted by downbhoy 21:45 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Rottnest

sunny 25 °C

Nearly missed this one out!!!! Had organised this day way in advance so that everyone could get the day off work etc so we chartered a boat to go to Rottnest which around 17km from Perth. Started from Fremantle quite early on the Sunday morning, wasn't particularly hot and quite overcast first thing. We all got on, 18 of us and off we went. We had organised, or rather Elese had organised!, this trip and it included a BBQ on the boat too so we were all set up for the day. The only thing we needed to bring was any drink. Don't worry we weren't in charge of driving the boat!!
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To our amazement on our way to Rottnest we came across 3 humpback whales!!!! We saw them in the distance then went a bit closer and then cut off our engine and they came up to us and circled the boat a few times! We started to head off and then they looked like they were waving at us!!! Was absolutely fantastic!! There were 2 big ones and a calf we think, just spectacular!! 5153962513_a7818d3252.jpg5153961605_55c2fbbfeb.jpg
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We stopped to snorkel first and the water was pretty nippy!! But some good fish down there. The swimming aids came in handy (?) they were getting blown all over the place and quite a few had to be rescued because the wind had just caught them and off they went!!
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After our BBQ we then went onto Rottnest and went for a drink at one of the gorgeous beachside bars there.
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There are funny little creatures on Rottnest called Quokkas which is a cross between a rat and a...... well just a huge rat basically!! They are so tame and just eat leaves we think, but they are very cute, just mingling around us eating the leaves and the occasional stray lemon slice!!
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All in all a very nice day and to finish it off nicely we took the boat up the swan river to where we were getting dropped off in Perth.

Posted by downbhoy 02:29 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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