04.03.2009 - 04.04.2009
The long flight fron South America into Sydney could of been worse but it was bad enough. A baby directly infront, oh no was our first reaction - but she was such a little sweetie, not making much fuss at all. It was the bloody adults we were jam sandwiched between that were the problems! Nice guys but boy, once on the sleeping pills they couldnt half snore!! They were big guys two who took up their own seat and more! The funny thing was when we got chatting to them they knew eachother, but chose to not sit near eachother because one of them said his mate snored badly! We soon got to hear how badly he snored too. Cheers guys!
Anyway we did find the funny side of it after loosing a day through the time zone and catching up on some Zzzz.
We had no definate plans for Australia, lots had been recomended by fellow travellers we have met along the way and friends from back home. The only couple of things we had wanted to do is go and watch the first Grand Prix of the season in Melbourne (Sean is a fan of it, this being the year to fufill some of our wish list-why not?) catch up with Alex, an old Uni buddie of mine and a few other travelling friends who live here if theres the opportunity.
So a couple of days before we flew in to Sydney I e-mailed Al to say we were on our way form Santiago and if he fancied meeting us at the airport at 7.30am it would be great to see him, if not wed cathch up later in the 4 weeks we were in Oz. Me knowing the old Alex from uni days was absolutely blown away to see him at the arrival lounge. That was the last thing we expected - if that was the only good thing in Oz id of been satisfied. Got to see him a few times whilst in Australia and catch up which was just the best (love ya Alex-dont ever change).
Totally unaware that the day we were entering Sydney was their Mardi gras. Great! We had a relaxing coffee & chat with Alex before he took us to Newtown (city suburb), where he had got us a place to stay for a couple of nights to get us on our feet. What a cool guy?! He was then off for the rest of the afternoon to prepare for Mardi gras himself! Performing in the street parade as a gay geisha. We dupmed our belongings and headed off to grab something to eat and get to the festival ourselves. We had so much fun sitting in the bar opposite where the parade started watching everyone turn up in costume (or no costume was sometimes more like it - just glitter! The vibe was electric, so much fun. Apart from one incident we whittnessed with the police, everyone was out for a good time. The costume, makeup and glamour incredible. A good day to arrive!
We done some sight seeing in Sydney, the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Museum of Comtemporary Art and a short visit to Manly and Cremorne by ferry to catch up with Katherine, Kristy, and Rebecca who we had met whilst travelling in Peru and Galapogus (great to see you too guys). Stopping in Newtown was the best, a cool atmosphere in a hip part full of the wierd and wonderful where people like to be different, so a great place for a relaxing coffee to people watch.
Not wanting to be restricted to timetables of public transport we hired a car from Melbourne for the remainde of our time there.
We didnt get to see the Grand Prix live. Booked the flight to Melbourne, and then found out afterwards that they had moved the dates to two weeks later, Oh...... after several explicits we decided to not hang about in or aroung Melbourne for this period of time and to get on the road and enjoy. Being in Sydney for a few days was good, but it was good to be out of the city too! Collecting the car and heading away from Melbourne we had one great road trip ahead of us. Covering 7500km in 3 weeks, Phew - but experiancing a vast amount of Australia too. We loved the people, so full of character, lively and friendly. The only place we felt unwelcome in was Cooper Pedy, a small mining town full of natives (and tourists! that probaly explains why!).
So on the road we made for the Great Ocean Road. A long tourist route takes you along the coast, the most well known point being the 12 Apostles. We managed to get off the beaten track a couple of times and find some very remote places with incredible lava rock formations carved out by the ocean. We spent hours exploring areas until we reached signs of life. The famous 12 Apostles were great, huge scupled pieces of rock jutting out from the endless coastline in the pristine turquoise sea. Even more beautiful for me i think was Lochard Gorge, definately quiter and there is a pathway down the cliff face to a pristine sandy beach where initially you are faced with a cave and limestone formations, and then turning towards the ocean the perspective drwaing you to the shaw you notice around the corner yet another magnificent cave with more colourful stalicmite formations. Along the route we found many quaint villages and ports, one being Portland where we saw our biggest ray fish to date just gracefully gliding along the coast. Mount Gambia concludes the Ocean Road, with 2 dormant volcanoes close to the town one with eye dazzling blue water in it (hence being called the Bule Lake) only this blue at sertain points of the year and the other Lake Victoria which had water sports on. Otway Fly canopy tour is a few km off the route but well worth a visit. The highest being a 40 meter structure for you to see through the tree canopy and experiance the high life.
Until this point we had omly encountered kangeroos as road kill-pretty sad really. So being intuitive we headed for Kangeroo Island in hope of seeing some alive! Alive and kicking the were both wild and in sancturarys. If you ever get over there go to Pauls Sanctuary near Stokes Bay also worth spending time there. Paul had lots to show us and it was very full on having to bottle feed a joey, hand feed the walabees, kangeroos, deer, goat, laamas, emus, ducks etc. Got to hold a koala, possum, birds, snake and prickly freshwater lobster! Sean had an emu eat off of his head too!? after Paul put seed on it-what a character. Found some great places to stay, cabins and a retreat where
youd get the local kangeroo and walabees peering through your window! We went sand surfing on Little Sahara(fun), Admirals Arch Peninsular(lots of seals and beautuful), and Koala Walk(cute).
We travelled up through Adilaide, Port Agusta, Cooper Pedy (where we stopped underground), and in to the norterh teritory crossing several time zones since leaving Sydney! The vast distanses between towns where full of flat open desert with the odd beautful salt lake. We ran out of things to eye-spy!
Soooooo hot! Never felt intense heat like that. we had all the windows open in the car going along and was still sweating. Up to 40 degrees somedays and more once we got to Ayres Rock. I had all my hair cut off - infact Sean shaved my head (the heat and wind Pi**ed me off! - Sean knows what comming if he ever does the same to me) no, really its something ive always wanted to have done but never the guts and it was leukemia week here where people were having thier heads shaved and donating it to charity to have wigs made for leukemia sufferers-all in a good cause. It is great, no more knotty hair, quick to style(actually there is no style, even better) it keeps me cool, lets face it ill need it in some of the places we will encounter and an added bonus that i like it.
Kings Canyon first, then the Olgas, and then The Awsome Uluru. We saw the sunset and rise over these magnificent forms. We didnt walk up Uluru as we respected that the Aboriginals believe this to be sacred ground and prefer pepole not to. Once we was up close, we wondered why you would want to?! The steep climb and deathly descent looked almost impossible. It was closed due to high winds and temperature when we were there.
You can apperciate it for all its glory and grandure. A very magestic from with a huge presence to it. The walk through the Olgas and around Kings Canyon was also jaw droppingly geourgous. The big pitfall to this area is the ridiculous amount of flies that love to try ang get in to your ears, eyes, mouth and up your nose. Quite discusting and can only be tamed by wearing sexy fly nets over you head, which does tend to mask the textures and colours of everything around you. But a must if you still want some sanity left by the end of you time there.
From there we headed back down again, across to the Murray River, through the Snowy mountains(Yarrangobilly Caves-the most decorative caves weve ever been to-up close and personal), up the coastline to Narooma, Bulli, and Jervis Bay (a National Park which is meant to be the 2nd best area to the Barrier Reef) and up to the Blue Mountains(Katoomba, for the 3 Sisters and it stunning craggy canyon, turning powerfully mystical when foggy) before heading back to Sydney. Each one holding its own little amazing memorie for us and all places we would love to spend longer in. We knew that 4 weeks in Australia would never be enough to see it all being such a vast country but we think we gave it a good shot and hope to come back one day to do the Western Teritory, Northern Teritory and Queensland.
Thanks Australia for letting us share some amazing moments, an epic journey through your land which would make or break alot of couples and for letting us experiance some real dunnies! Their a whole new story.