Saturday, 24 February 2007

The East Coast

We decided the best way to travel up the east coast would be to buy a hop-on hop-off bus ticket that allowed us to hop-on and then hop-off, whenever we liked. We think this was a wise decision as it was cheaper than car hire and it saves us from driving. Due to the bus route, bus timetable and the amount of activities we want to get through, we have had to plan the next three weeks of our trip with intense military precision. This blog entry is currently being updated in the 0.27hrs of today's scheduled communications time.


The Big Prawn- One of many big things attached to cafes and petrol stations across Australia. We have also seen the Big Rockin Horse and the Big Lobster but not sure if we'll get to see the Big Banana, the Big Pineapple, etc...
Our first stop on the the east coast was Byron Bay. The little town and most of it's residents were extremely laid back. It was a welcome change of pace after Sydney and after spending a little while browsing the trendy surf shops and taking in the stunning beach, we quickly fell in love with the place.





We arrived in the morning and quickly made for the beach. While Pamela sunbathed I went off and played beach soccer with a group of guys from the hostel. I scored one goal, got sunburn on my forehead and almost collapsed from exhaustion. It was great.

The next morning we took a 5Km stroll to a lighthouse and view point called Captain Cook's Lookout. The walk was hard going, up hill and in the blistering heat, but it was well worth it as the view was spectacular.

Later that afternoon I met up with Blackdog Surf school for my first ever surf lesson!


Check out my sweet moves dude. Gnarly!

We really loved Byron and would have stayed longer if we had had more time. Next stop was Surfers Paradise for one night. We squeezed in some beach time, a little shopping and we discovered the delight that is an Aussie Burger! Think of a McDonald's quarter pounder with bacon, egg and beetroot! Ripper!
Relaxing at the hostel
From Surfers it was up to Brisbane. Brisbane was quite a surprise, as we had assumed it wouldn't be anywhere as nice as Sydney or Melbourne. Most people we spoke to hadn't been very complimentary about the place but we really liked it. The city is built on a river and kind of reminded us of Glasgow a little bit. That was until we found the gorgeous man made beach and lagoon! After swimming in the water with the skyscrapers in the background we enjoyed fish and chips in the South Bank Gardens. before we got to used to City life it was back to the bus!


After Brisbane we continued up the coast to a lovely place called Noosa- very green with amazing restauraunts and houses. Noosa is a lot classier than touristy Surfers. The beach was excellent and the water was perfect for swimming in- Pamela even caught her first wave on a body board.

We went kayaking on the river where Pamela as ever observed the twenty's plenty speed limit!


We had already bought tickets for Australia Zoo (Steve Irwin's zoo) and planned to go last Sunday but we failed to book a seat on the courtesy bus. Public transport on a Sunday would have involved about 6 hrs of bus and train journeys so we decided to hire a car instead. We managed to acquire three more passengers from the hostel and were able to split the cost.

The Zoo was great. They have a very hands on approach, encouraging you to touch animals and get up close to some amazing creatures. All the staff kept quoting Steve irwin saying "At Australia Zoo you get close to the animals, you grow to love them, then you want to help protect them." Not sure if we were moved to love any of the animals but Pamela was fond of the little Koalas.

Some of the people who shared a car with us


Seeing this tiger climb a tree reduced our possible tiger escape routes to zero!

A tasmanian devil


We left Noosa on Monday the 26th and arrived at Hervey Bay for a two night stop over. Hervey Bay is where most Fraser island tours leave from and we head out on Wednesday. The town isn't up to much and it has a lot of large industrial units dotted around, but we haven't checked out the beach yet which is supposed to be lovely. The Fraser Island trip is a self drive, 4x wheel sand safari camping trip and we find out tonight who we are travelling with. Here's hoping we get a friendly bunch!

Friday, 16 February 2007

Sydney

We've been in Sydney for almost a week now. It's much bigger and busier than Melbourne and the scenery and landmarks are far more impressive. Not that that we didn't enjoy Melbourne! The Bridge and the Opera House are amazing and the atmosphere around the different quays at night is great. The hostel here has probably been the best so far, with it's own pool, sauna, some tasty make your own pizza nights and movie nights with free popcorn!
Palm Beach is about an hour north of Sydney and the lovely beach there may look familiar!

Yes! It's Summer Bay- where they film Home and Away. You might make out Alf Stewart's name on the bottom right of this sign! There were no stars on show though as they were all at Leah's wedding (or the actress who plays Leah!) in the city. Our invite was clearly lost in the post.



Ryan body boarding (drowning). Pamela stayed out of the water to avoid the blue bottle jellyfish that were everywhere! The crying jellyfish victim at the lifeguard tent confirmed her choice!

Summer Bay!


On Sunday we went to Hillsongs church, it was rather impressive. The service was really good and the whole building, inside and out, was amazing. The whole set up was very professional but it still had a very intimate atmosphere. One of the highlights had to be the bacon rolls after morning church and hotdogs after the evening celebration! Darlene Zschech led worship at the evening service- which was just like listening to one of the CD's.


Big screen advert for their next live album recording.



Sydney Aquarium- the blurry shape in the background is a giant turtle that jams it's shell between rocks so that it doesn't float around while asleep!


Scary teeth- look at the sharks too!

Snorkeling is becoming less appealing by the minute!

A platypus. Half mammal, half fish, half duck. That's an animal and a half!


We found Nemo!



Some Photos from our boat trip around the harbour:

A photo of our bridgeclimb photo! Cool suits eh?!


The Opera House just before sunset:








The view from inside the Opera House.




Inside the main theatre in the Opera House.



A bit blurry but still very pretty!

mmm.... doughnuts!

Bondi Beach.


Heading up the coast today... first stop Byron Bay.