Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category:

Australia Outback

March 20th, 2007

I orginally didn’t plan on heading to the middle of Australia, but then i decided i had to. I mean, why go all this way and not see the part of Australia that is really unique to Australia? It added a thousand bucks, 10 days, and definitely a worhwhile experience to my trip. Sarah and I booked a 6 day package tour thru Groovy Grapes that spent about 3-4 days in the middle, then the other days driving south to Adelaide. It was a fun trip, met some cool people, had a nice hot desert experience, learned about Indigenous culture, and saw one big ass rock – Uluru.

Uluru is the most recognized natural wonder in Australia. It was impressive, and i’m glad i saw it, but its not the most amazing thing i’ve ever seen. I appreciated learning about the indigenous tribes and the overall experience more .. sleeping under the stars, enduring the heat of the outback, getting pissed at hundreds of flies in my face for days, and doing hikes and walks around Uluru, Olgas, and Kings Canyon. Specifically the little swim in Kings Canyon was great – refreshing and unique. We also learned about 2 types of trees that are poisonous – thats right .. a splinter from the wrong tree and its off to the hospital. Australia is not the safest place in the world. You knew that.

The Groovy Grapes tour was totally fun – Joe, our driver, was a very easy going guy. Almost too easy for some – he would often be late in the mornings, but i’d much prefer that than to somebody who was strict on schedules. Our fellow travelers were all cool – everybody could take the heat and hiking with a smile, would help out with dinner, cleaning, loading the truck, and whatever else needed to be done. I liked sleeping under the stars in a swag (a durable sleeping bag thing). I’d also learned a few more drinking games. Coober Pedy was a nice bonus for the trip. I really liked all the underground stuff – the mines, the houses, our hotel, and the museum. But it was alot of driving, especially the last 2 days .. i’d say 2000 km the whole week.

The trip ended in Adelaide – not exactly the outback, but i’ll sum it up here as well. My last 3 days in Australia were in Adelaide, and it was nice. Our first night most of the groovy grapes crew went out, starting off at a thai place before having a few beers. At the thai place i finally ate kangaroo, and it was delicous – kinda like a nice cut of beef. Adelaide was the first time i felt no desire to see all i could see. I wanted to chill and enjoy myself – and i did. I stumbled upon the Future music festival – an all day DJ music event in the park. Green grass, lots of people watching, dancing, good music, and a few beers. Soo nice. The next few days i basically hung out, Sarah and i did a little exploring and had a nice Indian dinner as my last real meal in Australia.

Australia was great. A bit pricier that i expected, so i didn’t want to chill out there too much – much prefer to do that in SE Asia. I got roughly 3 months there , then a month in India, then it’s back to the USA (maybe a week in europe). Wish me luck in Thailand!

Australia Done.

March 15th, 2007

Well, i’m done with Australia. Whew. It was a nonstop month-long adventure. I saw many beautiful cities, beaches, mountains, deserts, kangaroos, koalas, birds, beers, and backpackers. A great trip, i spent more and stayed longer than originally planned, really enjoyed kickin’ it with my peeps from Cali, and met more people not from Australia than from Australia (backpacker way). I will not go into detail every day like I did for New Zealand, just give the broad strokes. I have over 1500 pictures that i’m still sorting through, i expect to post several hundred of them onto flickr within a week.

As mentioned earlier, I started off in sydney, meeting a few friends from the bay area – Damian, Juan, and Ramon. Next we flew to Brisbane, where we had a few pints before meeting Sarah and Steph. Not just any pints – a few pints of Kilkenny, a smooth, creamy, Guiness-like beer only not as dark. You can’t find it in the US, but you can in Europe, Hong Kong, and apparently Australia. Mmmm… After meeting the girls, we hopped on the greyhound bus to Hervey Bay for our Fraser Island experience.

We rented a 4WD Land Rover for Fraser Island – all 6 of us and our stuff squeezed in very comfortably (yeah, right). I did the most of the driving – it was fun driving on the wrong side of the road, especially on the sand once we got on the island. The beach on the east coast of the island had a 100kph speed limit (60mph). Cruisin’ down the beach was saweeeet. I did have to share my road with planes – yes, airplanes land on the beach. Why wouldn’t they? The Shipwreck Maheno was cool, the view from Indian Head was stunning (you must see all my pics), but my favorite on Fraser Island was Lake McKenzie. It was unbelievably beautiful. Fresh blue water, blinding white sand, green trees and plenty of relaxing vibes.

After Fraser we took the greyhound back to Brisbane for one night before heading to Melbourne. Our last night in Brisbane was fun – we had a few drinks at the bar/hostel we were staying in – tinbilly. We even made up a cool game – guess what the next song will be. you pay a buck for a guess, you get as many guesses as you want, and if you win you take the pot. And if you’re the first to identify 2 songs in a row, you get to add a guess. Fun, eh?

We arrived in Melbourne on Sunday, Feb 25, checked into our hotel, Rendezvous, and started walking around. Melbourne is almost as big as Sydney, but seems a bit less busy. They have lots of random art, cool people watching, but one of our more interesting moments included an ice bar – that’s right, a bar where the inside is made out of ice. It was sooo cool. heh. The black cat in Fitzroy was another cool bar. I also give props to the bars and restaurants in St. Kilda – so now you know where to drink. But St. Kilda also had penguins – we saw one on the pier. We saw more penguins on Philip Island, a few hours from Melbourne. Our trip down there also passed through a kangaroo farm and a nice beach.

Wednesday we left Melbourne for Hobart. Hobart? yes, Hobart, in the bustling state of Tasmania. This was the smallest city on our tour, about 120,000 peeps, and the second oldest city in Australia. Its famous for Port Arthur, where prisoners from the UK were sent from 1830 to 1856. Before 1856, Tasmania was called Van Dieman’s Land, and it received more prisoners from UK than anywhere else. We spent one of our 2 cloudy days at Port Arthur. The other day was at the Cascade Brewery – Australia’s oldest Brewery (1824). They had tours of the brewery, but it was booked up, so we just enjoyed fresh beer and lunch there. My favorite was the Blond beer.

Friday we flew back to Sydney to have a bit o’ fun before the boys head back to California. We squeezed into this hotel/apartment place called the Macleay. I loved that they had internet in the room, plus a nice view from our room. Friday night we got our drink on – first at the Fountain cafe – where its 2 for 1 beers from like 4 to 6pm. Then on to more bars and dance clubs around oxford street. We slept in pretty late saturday, but made it out before sunset for snacks before the mardi gras parade. The parade was huge, several hundred thousand people were out watching it, and it lasted a couple hours before took over the streets. Only juan and i made it to the end (it did get boring), but then juan and i had fun bar hopping before heading to this cool bar in kings cross called Melt. A/C, Good DJs, and a nice dancefloor. Brilliant. Kebabs and bed. Sunday the four of us had a big brekky before they had to fly home. I love me a big brekky – eggs, bacon, sasausage, beans, tomato, mushrooms, and toast. Altho their bacon sux – they need to learn american bacon.

Later sunday i met up with Sarah and we headed out of Sydney to the blue mountains. We stayed in the Katoomba YHA sunday night – it was super nice – and did a bit of hiking monday. Our hiking included ridge walking, rainforest walking, and leeches. Yes, i had 2 leeches on my foot and Sarah had one. Looking back on it, it was funny how we both freaked out .. i got them off of us using a stick – it wasn’t too hard. Sarah’s leech was huge compared to mine, and i eventually squished it, but it didn’t die. It just squirted out all its blood but then crawled away. Ooooewww!

Monday night we stayed in Sydney, had a couple pints of Kilkenny (mmmm…), then got up early tuesday for our flight to Alice Springs.  We booked a 6 day outback adventure tour from the middle of australia down to Adelaide on the coast.  You can read more about that in the my Australia Outback entry.



February 20th, 2007

“Good on ya, mate!” That means “Nice one, brutha!” Well, i’m here in the land down under. Where the women roar and the men thunder. I arrived in Sydney a couple days ago, and we’re for Brisbane today. Sydney is a really beautiful city – clean, lots of parks and trees, water from the harbor goes most everywhere. It feels more like a european city than most anything – they say you have to get out to feel the real australia.

I arrived and met the boys by our hotel – my friends Juan, Damian, and Ramon, all from California. The first day was mardi gras thing in the park – Juan and I and several thousand others had fun dancing to DJs, drinking beers, kickin’ it on the grass, and enjoying the warm sun. Damian and Ramon had their luggage temporarily relocated by the airline – so they had no clothes. Damn Qantas. The next day we walked around the city, hitting the botanical gardens, sydney opera house, downtown, and taking a ferry to the Zoo to see our Koala bears, wallabees, and kagaroos. Yesterday we did more walking, checked out the view from the sky tower (like seattle’s space needle), and hit Bondi beach – a really gorgeous beach.

Today we leave Sydney and head to Brisbane, where we’ll meet up with Sarah and Stephanie, our California girls. But we quickly hop on the bus and goto Frasier Island. After that, we fly to Melbourne for a few days, then Hobart to see the real Tasmanian Devil, then back to sydney for a few more days. I’ll stay in the land down under for another week while most everyone else leaves. I was thinking of doing Uluru (ayer’s rock), but that it is expensive to get there. We’ll see.

Cheebra! (short for “cheers, brother”)