A Travellerspoint blog

Surfers Paradise, Byron Bay, back to Sydney

Skydiving the bay

sunny
View round the world on calumfife's travel map.

From Hervey Bay we headed back South, via Brisbane to Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast. We took a bus to Brisbane, then changed to another one for the hour drive to Surfers. The bus stank. There was rubbish strewn all over the seats. A bunch of old biddies got on and sat right next to us and their leader went on and on and on and on and on about the smell. She wouldn't shut up. Then to make matters worse the guy sitting in front of them was sick on the seat beside him. Absolutely revolting. It sprayed all over the people next to him. Disgusting. Then he didn't even wipe it up, just took his T-shirt off and sat in his own vomit. Unbelievable. Luckily the old bag hadn't noticed otherwise she would have had an episode. Very glad to get off the bus. We stayed in quite a plush hostel, and spent a couple of days on the beach at surfers. The beach was pretty amazing. Really wide white sand. It is kind of spoiled by the skyscrapers and the road that it backs onto.

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A bit like a more glamorous version of Benidorm. The town itself wasn't up to much either. It's clearly trying hard to be like Miami, and their are a lot of numpties wandering about the place thinking they're glamorous. They're not. They're numpties. It was ok, it's just trying to be real glitzy and trendy and fails. Neon signs, Irish bars and run down casinos is basically what it amounts to. We spent a couple of days here before catching another short bus South to Byron Bay.

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Byron is cool. It's a total hippie haven, with loads of long haired, heavily beaded, guitar sporting old dudes and women wearing clothes they've made from things they've found kicking about the place. It's just a cool little town though, with a really laidback atmosphere.

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The beach is really pretty, with the lighthouse perched on the rocks at the easternmost point of Australia, at one end.

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We spent 5 days here. Unfortunately the weather was a bit changeable, but we did spend some quality time in the sun on the beach. We also took a couple of trips up to the lighthouse. On our second visit we were lucky enough to see whales again. They were just off the coast, breaching.

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Was really incredible to watch. Difficult to catch on camera so this was the best we could do. There was quite a large group of them, and they seemed to be just larking about jumping about and splashing for shits and giggles illustrating where the phrase having a "whale of a time" comes from.

We also did a bit of surfing whilst we were in Byron. We hired a board between us. Unfortunately we picked a pretty rubbish day to do it as the waves were all over the place, and it was pretty grey.

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Was good fun.

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Jenny was far more proficient than I was. I never even managed to stand up once. She did a couple of times. The surfing was made all the more exciting by the fact that a woman was attacked bya great white shark in the bay a couple of weeks before we arrived. Jenny was convinced they were waiting for us, and every 30 minutes would point and ask "did you see that?" which was quite alarming just before entering the surf. We both survived however.

The highlight of Byron was doing a skydive. Jenny was too chicken to go up. Did it in the afternoon, and spent most of the morning in the toilet at our hostel. I actually wasn't nearly as nervous as I'd thought I might be. The worst bit was the hanging about in the minibus on the way to the airstrip. We went to a really plush hotel to pick up some delegates from some conference who were doing it too. They were delayed, so we had to hang around about an hour longer than was expected. An hour longer to contemplate death.

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When we got to the airstrip I was harnessed up by my instructor, and given 5 minutes instruction on what body shape to adopt. Then off we went. The plane was ridiculously small. There were no seats, and we sat astride each other in two lines facing the back of the plane.

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There were 4 others doing their first jump with me, and a bunch of idiots doing their own thing. Was pretty nervous when we were climbing up into the sky. We did a cirlce over the lighthouse and beach. Amazing view. We climbed up to 14,000 feet then the plane levelled out, and someone opened the hatch at the side of the plane. Then the group of divers started shouting and screaming and slapping each other on the back. They all climbed out the door and hung onto the outside of the plane before disappearing into oblivion. Very quickly. I started getting a bit panicked at this point. Also the whole plane had lurched to the side as they jumped out. I was first in, last out, so had the opportunity to watch everyone else leave the plane. Didn't inspire confidence. Only at the last minute did my instructor, sitting behind me, clip me onto him and pull the goggles down over my face before shuffling our way to the gaping hole in the side of the plane. With every shuffle you could feel the plane moving with our shifting weight. Then I was dangled over the edge of the plane, hooked my feet under the bottom of the plane had a quick look down, almost had a heart attack, tilted my head back, arched my hips forward as instructed, then we rocked back once before bowling head over heels into the sky. I wasn't quite prepared for the initial feeling of dropping like a stone, losing my stomach, like you would on a rollercoaster, before straightening out and freefalling towards earth. It was absolutely incredible. Never felt anything quite like it. So exhilerating, words can't quite describe what it's like. I was doing a lot of yelling and screaming and laughing. It was so fast and the noise was almost deafening. The speed was the thing that really shocked me, and the fact that you could see the ground coming up so quickly. The view was absolutely unreal as well. I could see the whole of Byron Bay and the lighthouse. There were only a very few clouds. We dropped for 70 seconds. 70 very long seconds. 14,000 feet is the highest height you can jump from in Australia, and 70 seconds, the longest freefall. It was unbelievable. Then my instructor pulled the chord and the parachute billowed open. Needless to say that was quite a big relief. The rush of air stopped and it went silent. I was still screaming like a little girl, much to the amusement of the guy strapped to my back. There was a huge jolt as the parachute opened, and then we were floating. Before I could say anything the instructor said " I'm going to make you a little more comfortable, don't worry this is perfectly normal I'm not doing anything unsafe." and he unclipped something round my undercarriage, and the straps seemed to come a bit loose. I also dropped slightly, probably only an inch or two, however it felt like I was about to fall out of the harness. I just about wet myself. Turned out it was fine, and I was still firmly attached.

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The ride down wasn't quite as sereen and floaty as I'd imagined. In fact it was the opposite. The instructor kept yanking the chords attched to the sides of the parachute, sending us into a tight downward spiral. Was really good fun as well though. After 3 minutes of this we came inot land.

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I brought my knees up and we landed on our feet. I was on cloud 9. I couldn't stop smiling. It was absolutely different class. Would recommend it to anyone.

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I must have shaken the instructors hand about 20 times. Obvioulsy I've bored Jenny to tears since I've done it describing it over and over again and how great it was, and I am for having done it. It was simply unbelievably great fun though, everyone should do it. I would now quite like to be a skydive instructor. Getting out of bed in the morning would be easy if that was what I was doing every day. Amazing.

Other than that we've just been lying on the beach and today travelled back to Sydney. We're staying here for a couple of days before flying out to Singapore on Thursday. Will be sad to leave Oz, as it's been great. Can't wait for South East Asia though......

Posted by calumfife 15:08 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Fraser Island

Sand, Dingos, Whales and Sand

rain

Just returned from our 3 days away on Fraser Island. We went for a self-drive 4x4 hire package which basically meant that we had a bit more freedom, and didn't have to squeeze in the back of a van with 9 other randoms, nor take the big tourist buses with all the geriatrics. So we pitched up at the hire place the day before leaving and got shown a half hour instructional video on how to drive a 4x4, which was actually 5 mins instruction and 25 mins lecture on all the various things not covered by the insurance eg. Driving the vehicle into the Pacific Ocean. We also got shown a video about camping, as we were going to camp the two nights we were there. This video centred mostly on Dingos and what to do if you come across them. They've had a bit of bad press in the past having killed a 9 year old boy on the island in 2001. So they now have signs all over the island warning about them and to keep your eye on your kids, and eat in the designated cages that they've erected round some of the picnic sights.

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They also warn of $3000 fines for encouraging them or feeding them. Jenny was very restrained, despite initially suggesting that we take some dog food over for them. We had a couple of encounters with them whilst we were out there.

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They are pretty shifty looking animals. We had one come right up within feet of us. In fact it was circling within feet of her and our bags whilst I was swimming in one of the fresh water lakes. It was scoping out what was worth taking, which gave Jenny a bit of a fright.

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They're quite small, and seem pretty solitary. We did however have a pack of them come up to our campsite, but they moved off pretty quickly, only to return and sit directly outside our tent howling at 3.30am, which was annoying. We found them pretty timid though, and if you stood up they normally buggered off. The advice on the signs was to "Defend yourself aggressively" luckily it never got as far as that.

The 4x4 that we hired was the cheapest one available, a Suzuki Jimny, which we named Jimmy.

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It was effectively like my micra at home with massive wheels on it. It wasn't long before we realised that nearly everyone else on the island had 4x4's twice the size of our little Jimmy, twice as high off the deck, and with 100 times more power. We came off the ferry and began off down a sand track to the south of the island.

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Everything was going ok and we were bumping along quite nicely......until we went over a big jaggy stick that fired up through the base of the car and up through the gear stick narrowly missing my arm on the way. Scary stuff. We slowly began to realise that it was going to be tougher going than we thought as Jimmy was so low to the ground, and there was so much sand piled high in between the tyre tracks we were following that he was dragging his arse along the ground effectively. Despite plenty of encouraging shouts of "Come on Jimmy" from both of us we did end up stuck at one point, and the lack of tuition in driving a Jimmy, or my attention to it, became apparent pretty quickly.

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I managed to dig us in twice as deep as we were initially by giving it plenty of wheel spins. So we had to get out in the blazing heat and dig the wheels out. Having dug them out and the undercarriage of the car I again managed to get us bogged down by spinning the wheels faster this time completely grounding the vehicle. To make matters worse (initially) a huge bus load of tourists came up behind us wanting past. We were blocking the road and I had to dig whilst all the tourists got out to have a good look. None of them offering to help. Simply to look.....and take pictures!!!! of me scrabbling about digging the sand out from under the wheels in the 30 degree heat, bright red and sweating. Eventually the driver, who was obviously on a tight schedule, put me out of my misery and encouraged the tourists to help push whilst he took the wheel and drove us back to slightly less soft sand. He clearly had us sized up as a couple of clowns who didn't have a clue and was being a bit arsie, but he did get us to safety so can't complain too much. Certainly was a crash course in how to get unstuck, and we survived the next 2 1/2 days without any other driving difficutlies. You're only allowed on the island with a 4x4, as there are no road. Despite having a kind of hybrid car/4x4 the driving was amazing fun. Hammering about the soft sand tracks in the bush was proper offroad driving, quite hard going and deafening as all the camping gear smashed about in the back. So so so much fun though.

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75 mile beach runs right up the eastern edge of the island and is very spectacular, as it is so long, and has the Pacific crashing onto it. It is also amazing in that at low tide is a big wide sand motorway.

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Driving up and down this was superb as well. We had to time it for the low tides to use the beach, and cut it quite fine on our second day with the tide fast coming up and running out of beach to drive on we only just made it to a safe spot to stop whilst the tide came up and went away so we could continue. One of the things the hire company hammered into us was NEVER drive in salt water, as that totally destroys all the electrics, so we were very careful about this. There were lots of little freshwater creeks running from the island interior onto the beach and out into the ocean. These were great fun to cross as well.

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Eli Creek is the biggest, fastest flowing of these at about a couple of feet deep and about 3 metres wide, and crossing it was quite exciting as they warn that if you get stuck then the vehicle just gets buried which is not good news as a tow costs about a million dollars. We managed to get wee Jimmy across it a couple of times safely. It was quite funny watching the other folk who had the same model - their were a couple which made us feel not quite so stupid - sitting weighing up whether or not it was worth it to attempt certain creeks or deeper sands, then revving it up and hurtling at whatever obstacle was in the way.

The camping went reasonably well, although you forget how uncomfortable lying on the ground all night is. We weren't allowed to use the campsites provided because we're cheapskates but were able to camp anywhere along the beach just behind the dune, which I thought was better, because it meant we could choose anywhere we wanted and get a feeling of being in the wilderness.

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Jenny initially liked this idea then spent most of the first night under the stars listening for unusual noises thinking someone was creeping about outside the tent coming to kill us. She was out with the torch a couple of times. We survived. On our second day we travelled right the way 50km up the beach to Indian Heads, the northern most point to which you can take the vehicles. On the way we stopped at the shipwreck of the Maheno, which was a luxury cruise liner, built in Scotland! that washed up on the shore of Fraser Island just before the 1st World war, during a typhoon.

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Was pretty cool. We also drove past the Pinnacles which are coloured sand cliffs. When we got to Indian Heads we climbed up the rocks from where you get a good view of the beach and out to the South Pacific. At this time of year Humpback Whales migrate South down the coast to warmer waters with their young, and this viewpoint was supposed to be a spot where you could spy them. We didn't see anything. It started raining and we just got wet, which is unbelievable, as I think they only get about 2 days rain a year there! Typical. We got a mixed bag of weather which was a shame, because when the sun is out the place is incredible. Jenny wasn't terribly impressed with all of this, as we had only seen one scabby dingo that looked a bit mental up til that point and it was quite cold. However she had her close encounter with the dingo later that day, at a freshwater lake we climbed up to and swam in, Lake Wabby.

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The sun came out all that afternoon and we did a bit of sunbathing and watching the giant catfish in the lake. Things got even better when I spied some bursts of spray and humps breaching the water just off the coast where we had just decided to camp. So we did get to see humpbacks, literally 500m off the coast. Was really spectacular. Even I was quite engrossed watching them.

We camped for our last night and I got up early the next morning - 4.30am - to try to catch the sunrise.

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Unfortunately the sun was hiding behind the clouds, and it was freezing, but still reasonably spectacular. We were pretty sleep deprived the whole time we were on the island, having to get up at 5am to pack up and get moving so that we could use the beach as a road. We were in bed by 8pm each night as well which is not something I've done since I was about 8. On our way back across the island to the ferry we stopped at Mackenzie lake which is the most famous and picturesque of the lakes.

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Unfortunatley the weather wasn't great so we lay on the beach freezing and getting sandblasted from the wind for 1/2 an hor before leaving.

All in all, despite the mixed weather, Fraser Island was really beautiful. It's an amazing place given that it is entirely made of sand, and yet you drive a lot of the time through rainforest that has managed to grow in the sand.

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It was great to get away from it all as well. Despite their being quite a few others hacking about the place in 4x4's, for a lot of the time because the island is so big, you can be totally alone and be on miles of completely empty beach or seemingly untouched rainforest. All pretty smart. We both really enjoyed it. Back in Hervey Bay taking it easy for a day or so. Had our first showers in three days yesterday which was a godsend. Sand all over the shop. Booked a coach back to Brisvegas tomorrow then heading on to Surfers Paradise for some beach action, surfing and some bloody sun hopefully.

Just a quick aside - Now not only can I wear lots of gold, but drink it as well. Happy days.

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Posted by calumfife 19:05 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Back on the Road

Brisbane, Hervey Bay

sunny 32 °C
View round the world on calumfife's travel map.

We've now left Sunny Sydney and made our way North to even sunnier Queensland. It's absolutely roasting here. It's great. Over the last week or so that we had in Sydney we didn't get up to much. I spent a horrendous couple of days stuffing letters in envelopes for money. Worst job yet, thought I was going to go mental. Luckily I managed to score a better job off one of James' mates after a drunken discussion in a pub. We had gone to watch the Australia v England game in probably the busiest pub in Sydney. Very disappointed with the Wallabies. Needless to say I was cheering for the for them and, true to form as with just about every team that I back, they failed miserably. Was a good mix of pommes and aussies, so it made for a pretty good atmosphere despite the terrible game and result. A good few beers later I'd managed to land a cash in hand job flyering for about twice the pay I was getting through the agency. Did it for three days. Was good to begin with, but began to regret it after developing a blister the size of a 50p on my foot. Was good to be out and about, and got to see a whole lot of Sydney which was good. Our working days are now done, which is superb. No more work for the next 3/4 months. Woohoo!

On Saturday we went out to celebrate our last night in Sydney before going up the coast. We met up with Russel at the Surry Hills festival, which is basically an excuse to go and drink in one of the parks in Surry Hills.

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Was nice weather, so sat about there for a while listening to the live music and drinking warm lager before heading to James' to meet up with him and Sarah for a few drinks at his. He's been trying to start his own aquarium, but hasn't been very successful. He got a quite small tank and put so many fish in it that about half of them jumped out during the night, dying all over his livingroom floor. Not being satisfied with fish, he's now invested in another tank housing two seahorses. So the grand unveiling was on Saturday.

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They were pretty impressive, although I'm not convinced he has a clue how to care for them, although I'm happy to proved wrong. We all went out for a Thai meal which was good fun.

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My hair is an absolute disgrace at the moment. It's entirely out of control. I've not had it cut since we were in Cusco back at the beginning of May! I got it all shaved off then and have let it grow since then, almost 6 months. It is particularly unusual looking as it is all the same length all over. Without any gel ini it, it looks a bit like an old-fashioned motorbike helmet. Thinking about just letting it grow until we return in February to see just how ridiculous it becomes.

After the meal me Russel and Jenny went down to a pretty scummy Irish pub in the city to watch the highlight of the evening - Scotland thrashing Ukraine in the football. We ended up watching the game in a kind of dingy social club in the bowells of the earth. Sarah and James came down to join up with us and left after about 5 minutes. Not very impressed with the place I don't think. Meanwhile me and Russell had got psyched up for the game and donned the blue and white in support.

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Was quite a good atmosphere, probably about 50 or 60 folk in the place. We were making most of the noise after drinking for the entire afternoon in the lead up to the game which kicked off at 12am. Both of us got pretty carried away and did quite a bit of running, screaming and throwing lager about the place in celebration of each of the three goals.

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Such a good game. Very proud to be Scottish at the moment. We ended up back at Bondi for about 3.30am needing to be up to take a taxi to the airport at 7am. I was a total wreck. I'm never drinking the night before we have to fly again. Felt like death the whole day. I did however battle on, and we managed to do some sightseeing round Brisbane when we arrived.

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Brisbane's ok. It seems a nice enough place but we've been totally spoiled by Sydney. You can't help comparing them, and Brisbane just doesn't cut it. We wandered down through the botanics and along the river Brisbane which was nice, but other than that, and a massive Casino in the centre - which we weren't aloud into because we were wearing flip flops - there didn't seem to be a lot to see. It does seem to be a bit more "Australian" than Sydney, by which I mean Sydney is really cosmopolitan and there are so many tourists and different nationalities, whereas in Brisbane there are a lot less tourists and more Australians, and even some Aborigines.

We used Brisbane as a base for a trip to Australia zoo on our second day. It was about 1 1/2 hours North by train and bus. I thought Jenny might need some reigns put on her she was so excited.

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Australia zoo is Steve Irwin's zoo, and to be fair it is probably the best zoo I've ever been to. As you would expect it's really hands-on, and there are loads of shows going on throughout the day. The centrepiece to the zoo is a ridiculous 5,000 seater stadium, like a football ground, called the "crocoseum". They had various birds swooping around the place literally feet above your head as we sat there which was pretty amazing. Then they brought out the crocodile and made it jump out the water and attack from the water for bits of steak.

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Was really impressive. The water is clear so you can see it stalk up to the edge then lie perfectly still before striking. All very entertaining.

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They also had large areas where kangaroos and wallabies were roaming free and you could go up and feed them, or torment them. I think they are now my favourite animals.

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They just lie about on their backs all day, eating and scratching themselves. We saw a couple of children get a bit to close to one of them lying down. The stupid mother was encouraging them to crouch down right beside it and they were getting a bit rough, grabbing at its face. Naturally the kangaroo took offence to this, turned and took a proper swing at the boy, trying to punch him in the face! Funniest thing I've seen in a long while. Luckily he was wearing a cap, so he only took a smack on the peak.

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The elephants were a highlight also. One of the keepers was throwing a football at one of them and it was smacking it in the air with it's tail. It enjoyed rolling the ball under its front foot, before popping it like a balloon. The keepers then had the elephants come right up to the barrier so that you could feed them various fruit and veg.

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Jenny went mental for this and kept re-queueing up to do it after a go. I think she managed 4 or 5 turns, and was grabbing two bits of fruit on her last few goes......probably meaning that some poor child didn't get a go. But she had a great time. It was pretty amazing, as you got a real sense of how massive an animal they are when their towering over you and sniffing about at you with their trunk. One tiny little boy was clearly terrified and wouldn't let go of the fruit, kept turning away and trying to back away from the elephant, until his Dad grabbed him and thrust him towards it. I've never seen a look of horror nor heard a scream like it. Probably scarred for life.

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They also had tiger cubs which were very cute, and we went to watch a tiger show which was pretty spectacular as well. They had them jumping up on the handlers and climbing up posts to get their food. All in all the place was great and we both really enjoyed it.

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Jenny had a tanrum when we had to leave and cried all the way home because she didn't want to leave.

Yesterday we left Brisbane on a 5 hour bus North to Hervey bay. The main reason we're here is as a base to get across to Fraser Island. Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. It's supposed to be amazing. It's got spectacular beaches and rainforest to explore. The only way to get about the island is either to go on an organised tour on a coach, or to hire a 4x4. We've decided to splash out a bit and go on a road trip adventure by hiring the 4x4 and camping gear. So we set off tomorrow for a couple of nights in the bush over on the island which should be fun.

Posted by calumfife 13:50 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sunny Sydney

Birthday bash, Grand Final Weekend, Home and Away

sunny 26 °C
View round the world on calumfife's travel map.

I've been having a pretty relzxed time over the past week or so. The recruitment agency that I'm with haven't been coming up with the goods so I've had a few days off, which is no bad thing. Managed to get my birthday off which was great as the weather was glorious. So whilst Jenny was slaving away at the hospital, I was stretched out on Bondi which she wasn't very impressed with. Needless to say I had a great time dozing in the sun. We went out for a swanky meal that night (care of mother and father - thanks again) at cafe sydeny. Cafe Sydney a really smart, popular restaurant right down at the wharf looking out over the harbour. We had a great table on the outside balcony with great views over the bay and out to the harbour bridge.

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Unbelievably, considering that the weather had been so so good until this point, when we sat down it started blowing a gale, the temperature dropped right down and it started raining. Despite the awning and mushroom heaters, we got rained on and Jenny had to succumb to looking like an old granny wearing a blanket on her lap and round her shoulders.

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To be fair she wasn't the only one that resorted to this, and there were even some guys taking them, big nancies. In spite of the wind and the rain the meal was spectacular. So good. We started by having a couple of cocktails then tried some local fare as entrees, in the shape of Yabbies and Bugs. Yabbies are like big fat bastard prawns with claws. Really really good, if you like that sort of thing. Ever the touch of class I couldn't restrain myself from getting a photo of myself man-handling them, and making them wave at the camera, in spite of the disgusted looks of the snobs at the table beside us.

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Bugs are like miniature, really ugly, flat-headed lobster. Again really really tasty. Kind of a cross between lobster and crab. I had tuna and Jenny a seafood Bouillabasse for mains. Both excellent also. All in all, in spite of the weather, the meal was magic. And we had a couple of expensive bottles of wine which was a nice change from the cheap rubbish that we've been drinking since we got here.

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In fact it's been very difficult to revert to drinking the plonk, well it was for the first bottle, after one the second always goes down easier, as Jenny proved at the weekend. We went out for a BBQ at russel and nic's friends house. Barbecues at the weekend are kind of a national institution for Aussies. Especially as it was grand final weekend. They go mental for the AFL grand final. You can't escape it. It's almost the only thing on TV for a week prior to the actual game, and on the Saturday the whole of Australia, certainly Sydney, is covered in a layer of sweet smelling meat flavoured smoke.

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We walked around for a bit trying to find the BBQ we were supposed to be attending, and literally every 2nd house had a stream of smoke coming from the back garden. Our BBQ was a good laugh, watched Geelong whip Port Adelaide in the Grand final then ate some snags and drank some stubbies, true Aussie style.

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Turned out there weren't actually any Aussies at our BBQ, mostly English, so chat centred around the Premiership as opposed to AFL. Was all good though, apart from the fact I managed to carve my toe open on a rusty nail at the party. It happened quite late on, after quite a few bevvies had been consumed, and so I was provided with a make shift bandage which, amazingly, did the job.

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Jenny was clearly very thirsty that night, and I basically had to carry her home interspersed with a bit of her rolling about on the ground, which was a bit of a role reversal for us.

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She spent most of Sunday crawling about the toilet and rolling about in bed groaning that she was never drinking wine again, lesson learnt.....we'll see.

Yesterday was a public holiday in Sydney, so we both had the day off. The weather has been glorious for the last week or so, and yesterday was really warm, so we decided to take a trip out of Sydney to Palm Beach. Palm beach is about 1 1/2 hours North of Sydney by bus......or 2 1/2 hours if your bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere and you have to wait for the next one, as we did. It was worth it though, as the drive up there is very picturesque, driving up the cliffs looking out over the Tasman Sea. Palm beach is pretty spectacular, with great surf. It was also pretty familiar, as it is probably better known as Summerbay from Home and Away. So we took some photos pretending we were on the show and went to see the Surf club.

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Turns out that the surf club in reality is a public toilet block. We could have arranged to go to Palm Beach when they film episodes, as you can find out from the internet when their going to be shooting, but I decided that was too sad much to Jenny's disappointment. We spent a while lounging on the beach before taking the 2 hour bus back down the road. We spent a lot more time on the bus than we did on the beach which was crap, but it was well worth the visit.

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We've had a breakthrough with the noise problem in our building, in that all the complaining that we have been doing has resulted in the noisy buggers across the hall being evicted. We came back to find them being told to leave and got a bit of a shunning from them. Brought a smile to my face and serves the tossers right. So since then we've managed to have a good run of proper nights sleep which has been a luxury. No ear plugs. No yelling and screaming. It's been great. Just pray that the landlady doesn't put another bunch of reprobates in the room in their place. Only got 1 1/2 weeks to survive now so it's all good. Anyway don't have work today but better go as Bondi beach is a strict mistress.

Posted by calumfife 09:57 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Still Sydney

overcast 18 °C

We managed to get a brief break from Bondi the other week, when we scored James's flat for the APEC long weekend.

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Really plush little bachelor pad complete with harbour views, balcony and barbecue, and sky TV.....and most importantly of all no annoying drum playing neighbours. It was like a wee holiday for us. We were both just glad to get a couple of full nights sleep, and to have the luxury of sleeping without earplugs crammed in our ears, for the first time in weeks. Whilst we were satying there we got a proper view of the fuss that surrounds George W. What a carry on! Anytime he went anywhere in his convoy of 200 vehicles 3 or 4 helicopters would take off in advance to scout about the city, checking the entire CBD was safe. At night it was really creepy because they would hover and cirlce the skyscrapers shining the most powerful light I've ever seen in through the darkened windows, peering in looking for baddies I presume. They did this 3 or 4 times a day for the 4 days that he was in town.

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We had to cook all our food on the BBQ because James doesn't have an oven. No bad thing though. Ate a lot of meat whilst we were there. Jenny let the BBQ get a bit out of control at one point and basically set fire to the balcony. I gave her moral support by shouting instructions, waving and sipping wine from the inside, behind the glass. Was great to get away from Bondi for a couple of nights.

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We returned to our place to find a surpise in the fidge. A cockroach that had perished on its way to the turkey slice. Absolutley rank! but not as bad as the baby ones that we found scuttling about on the inside of the fridge door a couple of days later. Needless to say the fridge has been thoroughly scrubbed since then. Again I hasten to add that the cockroaches are not living with us because we are being dirty skanks, they are simply everywhere. The pest problem isn't helped by the fact that our neighbours are manky student scum. The communal kitchen is disgusting and smells like a public toilet. Also there is a weird fat dog that waddles about the place. It has free roam of the building and is left chicken carcasses and bones on the carpeted hall by its owner which is nice. It goes without saying, of course, that Jenny has befriended the animal and has invited it into our room for some of the turkey slice on a few occasions. I'm a bit wary of the dog because it's got a bit of a shifty look about it, like it might enjoy biting my hand if I went to clap it. So I've been trying to steer clear of it which was becoming more difficult as it now knows where we live and was beginning to lurk outside our door waiting for a feed. It was however run over by a car this week and has allegedly broken its back so it's been convalescing in its owner's room for the last few days.

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Unfortunately, although I now have safe , unhindered passage to the room, the dog is now contributing to the already unbearable noise in the night by whining and howling, which is extremely irritating. I lost the plot last night when the drums started at 12.30 and went and did a bit of shouting and swearing at the guy which seemed to get through to him.

Managed to find Irn Bru in the supermarket which is a godsend of a Sunday morning. That's a good example of just how many Brits and Irish there are over here, that you can get that sort of thing so easily. What hasn't been easy, is watching any football. I spent a good few hours trying to find a pub to watch the France game, without success. There are plenty of 24 hour pubs, just there isn't any interest in "soccerball" over here. They don't care about football at all, which I find very sinister. A famous Aussie footballer John Warren 30 years ago quoted that the Australian attitude to the game was that it was fit only for "wogs, sheilas and poofs" and that attitude doesn't seem to have changed over the years which is a shame.

Other than that we've not been up to much except working. I've got a job at a bank now, which is just as depressing as all the other jobs that I've had. Not long to go though, and we've booked flights up and down the coast in three weeks time, so the beach beckons.
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Posted by calumfife 15:20 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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