Chilled and happy with a funny take on the english language... chucka youie mayte! (means do a U-turn)
State of WCs:
Can't fault them - 10/10
21*c - 34*c
All sorts, we were spoiled
No. Of bites:
Maryam 6 v 1 Andy, (Everyone else... lots!)
Solar shading on buildings
If you go to St Kilda pier just before sunset, you can spot the little penguins swimming into shore to feed their young and retire for the night, they are super cute
Koala bears, penguins, parrot, spiders, tarrantulas, dingos, and Matilda the cutest dog ever
Cheaper than New Zealand, comparable to the UK, petrol cheaper, vegetables a bit more expensive
Sand, fireworks, sexy dingos
11 hours ahead of GMT
First of all, the film 'Australia' does not depict Australia very well (we were informed of this by our hostess in Sydney).
Secondly, there aren't kangeroos running around all over Australia (much to Maryam's disappointment).
Thirdly, the Sydney Opera House is not white, its very much an off-white colour, and made from tiles.
P.P.P.P.P.P.P.Pick up a Penguin! We headed to St. Kilda Pier to watch the tiny fairy penguins returning to their burrows after a day out at sea hunting for food! Much closer and cheaper (free actually) than going all the way to Philips Island, we got a much more personal experience as you could be closer to the action and had less people to contend with. The penguins were super cute, especially the baby ones!
A trip to Melbourne wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Schubert Manor for a BBQ! The grill master put on an incredible spread and Kerrie (the superstar) made her infamous Lammingtons. Don't know what a Lammington is? Neither did Maryam but she's now hooked! Lammingtons are cubes of sponge cake covered in chocolate and coconut - simple but oh so tasty! Nom, nom, nom! And Andy got to take the last one home :o)
Like all the travellers we have met on this trip, Sydney seems to be the number one destination for New Year’s Eve! Now, we’re not sure if you know much about NYE in Sydney but, let’s just put it this way - it is manic! With this in mind we got there early, 1pm to be precise! Armed with our rugs, ‘eskie’ (Australian for coolbox - thanks for the loan Stu) and suncream we hit Balmain peninsula with our gang of Irish and Dutch and waited for the show…
In the interim we got some unexpected entertainment from one of the other people in the park. The area was a designated ‘no alcohol zone’ which basically meant you could drink but, if you were rowdy the police had an excuse to kick you out. Of course it was one of our drunken countrymen that decided to test this, firstly by taking a piss in the corner of the crowd and then when the police came to speak to him, he dropped his pants to reveal all he had beneath! He was subsequently put in handcuffs and whisked away!
The main event was well worth the wait, both the 9pm fireworks for the kids and midnight fireworks for the older kids!
We didn’t do the official bridge climb but, we did walk/run across the bridge with our Slovenian friends that we met in San Pedro. Rain had been forecast for 3pm so we knew we were on a deadline but, felt confident with our 12:30pm start. We were wrong! As we reached the middle of the bridge it absolutely monsoon rained and we got absolutely drenched! #epicfail After the walk, we sheltered in a Hungry Jacks until it was safe to head back to our flats. We also found out that we are known as the ‘English couple who lost their bags’ as we met them 24 hours after we were robbed!
Brisbane has a Southbank area on the river which is where all the cool kids hang out. With a full array of sights from street markets to Nepalese peace pagodas to an artificial beach it is definitely worth a wander around!
So, we were let in on a little secret about Brisbane theatre. If you go to the box office at 5:30pm you can get rush seats for that evening's show, meaning you can get a huge saving on any seats still available! The result - we managed to bag premium AUS$150 seats for only AUS$45 for Les Miserables! 'And I will always love you... (rush seats)' #flashpackers. The only slight issue was that we didn't have time to go back to the hostel after buying the tickets (just to get a cheeky Nandos!) so we were grossly underdressed for such an occasion in our shorts and flip flops!
In Other News...
'Active wear, active wear, Aussies love to do no exercise in their active wear'. Literally everything but exercise; coffee with the girls, the supermarket shop, sitting on the sofa but, no exercise! Check out the video for comedy entertainment…
Next stop Southeast Asia for some tasty food, shopping and temple rading...
Merry Christmas Everyone! We got to experience Christmas Down Under with our lovely hosts the Watsons! Christmas in Australia is very different to the UK because it is sunny which means you can actually leave the house and don’t need to be locked away inside all day. We went to the Grovesnor Hotel for dinner (eating out was a new experience in itself) before heading for a swim with dolphins* and then to a friend’s house for drinks and nibbles (*OK so it was an inflatable dolphin!).
Special thanks to them for everything during our stay, they were amazing! Claire is definitely the hostess with the mostest.
We were incredibly lucky to be taken on a day trip to the Great Ocean Road, not only because it is beautiful scenery but also because it was sadly ravaged by bush fires the following day. One of our big concerns was for the welfare of our Koala friends that we had seen on our trip! We don't know if you've ever met a Koala but they are some seriously laid back kids, probably cause they are high as kites from all the eucalyptus they are eating, so it was unlikely a quick getaway was on the cards when the fires came! Thankfully, it was reported in the news that they were safe and sound albeit maybe a little burnt around the edges!
We were treated to some wonderful Christmas presents from Steve and Carol and Lila and Graham (thank you, thank you) and we don't know how they managed to coordinate it so well! ;o) ...
... A day at the Opera House ensued, firstly an amazing afternoon tour which took us backstage and gave us an insight into the building of the opera house followed by a delicious lunch in the Opera kitchen. That was then followed in the evening by tickets to see 'All You Need Is Love', a Beatles inspired show performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra which was out of this world!
We spent 3 days cruising around the largest sand island in the world, Fraser Island in 4WDs with our team of sexy dingos! The South American hand gesture for a sexy llama can in fact be used worldwide and adapted to suit other animal based trips, as demonstrated by the sexy dingo! The 4WDing was fun especially as we motored along the golden beaches looking out to the crystal clear seas.
We found ourselves back in Maryam's favourite sleeping conditions - camping! And the creepy crawlies and spiders sitting outside were of no worry to her... NOT! Our camp was located on aboriginal land and came with some strict rules including no whistling as that scares off the aboriginal spirits. #heebeejeebees
In the country of reunions, we also met up with Rory (of Rory and Jane from Bolivia) who took us on a chauffeur driven journey to Watson’s Bay on the Southern Head of Sydney Harbour. Until you go to a point like this and stand and look over the sea (as popped to the harbour), it is quite easy to forget that Sydney is actually on the coast! The view back to the city was also incredible from here as the sun was setting behind the skyline. It was all topped off by a Doyle’s fish and chips supper.