A Travellerspoint blog

Melbourne, Australia

overcast 27 °C

In Melbourne we stayed at the International Backpackers hostel. Again you needed to leave deposits for sheets, keys and dishes. We managed to get there on time for breakfast. Robert was very brave to try a vegimite sandwich, but that didn't go down too well. After some strong coffee, we wandered around the streets of Melbourne. It had lots of nice bakeries, bars and restaurants and the vive so different and seemed a lot more relaxed and fun compared to Sydney.

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We then went on a tour of the MCG stadium. The guy who was showing us around was sooooooooo slow, I was ready to kill myself. The waiting list for the MCG is about 25 years, so the guy who was showing us around said that he already registered his grandson. He also could'nt answer any of the questions that Robert asked him, so pretty uselss to be honest.

After the tour, we went back to the hotel and met the Irish girls who were staying in the same room as us. We chatted for a while and then went to get some fish and chips dinner in the bar close buy, they had great deals on food and drink - and it had a great atmosphere.

Next day, we went on a trip along the Great Ocean Road. Surprisingly, the girls from our hostel were on the same trip as us. The driver kept saying that the views are going to get better and better, but in the end we were just driving along the coast and I thought that New Zealand was so much better :). I did get to see wild coalas though - and they were getting it on :-)). We've obviously stopped at the 12 Apostles and at London Bridge - which were cool.

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Apparently two rocks were joined by a natural bridge. But one day it fell leaving a stranded couple on one rock. They had to wait for hours until they were rescued, but it looked like they were lovers and their husband/wife weren't too happy to find out about the whole afafir on the TV. Not sure if the story was true though.

Some people were spending a night in a National Park nearby to see kangaroos, but we headed back in another car. We should have gone to the park as well, as we had'nt seen a single kangaroo so far - but we didnt even know that was an option.

For dinner we got some hoummus, olives, vine leaves, salami, some bread and some vino.

The next day, we went to St. Kilda and met up with Carl, a friend of Robert's that he met while travelling round Europe a few years before. We didn't stay too long as we had to catch a fight to Cairns.

Posted by Laima 04:02 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Sydney, Australia

We landed in Sydney and took an airport shuttle bus to Kings Cross. We were walking around, looking for a place to stay and prices were very high. We had looked at the prices of the hostels while in New Zeland and expected to pay about $50.00 for a private room, but they were quoting $70-$100.00. We went into a hostel called Hotel Deluxe. Again their prices were ridiculous, but we remembered that we had seen a deal on the website. After some negotiation, we got the room at the required price. We were laughing that it was the same as in South America :)

It was nice to sleep in a normal bed again and I probably spent 3 hours in the shower. Unlimited time can you believe it?:)

Next day, we decided to sort out our travel arrangements for our Fraser Island and Whitsundays trips. We went into one agency called Wicked Travel as they had free internet. After 2 hours negotiation we booked our trip and accomodation that covered our whole time in Australia. We got some good discounts for the trips and some hostel vouchers, which worked out to be really good value.

As it was spring in New Zelanad and still a bit chilly, I was quite looking forward to the hot weather in Australia. But it was exactly the same and raining :( Nevertheless, we walked to the botanical gardens and the Opera House. We met up with Robert's friend Erin and had some wine by the Opera House. The story about getting stuck in the mudd was a winner!

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After that we walked around Darlington Harbour where everyone was partying like crazy. We decided to have pizza for dinner, but cook it at our hostel. We saw quite a lot of people cooking different stuff, so we thought that would be easy dinner to make. The kitchen was packed with dishes everywhere and our pizza got a bit burnt as the oven wasn't working properly. :) It wasn't that great at all.

The next day it was still raining, but that didn't stop us and we kept walking around. We had lunch at Harry's Cafe De Wheels pie shop. Oh my god, it was so good and it came with some mushy peas on top. It's worth going to Sydney only for that.

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We then went to the Bondi beach, walked in the rain again and then tried to see if we could have dinner at Bill Grainger's restaurant. But it appeared that it's only open for breakfast and lunch.

We met up with Erin for drinks in the evening again. We then went back towards Kings Cross and checked again at Bill's but we ended up in a German restaurant that was cheap, packed and excellent. I had a snitzel with sourkraut. Yummy and big difference from last night's dinner! ;)

The hostel where we were staying was quite weird. There was no talking about travelling plans and everyone around us seemed to be looking for a job or working somewhere. So they would silently iron their shirts and eat their toast in the morning without raising their eyes. The kitchen was constantly full of piles of dishes and they had huge fridges filled with Coles bags with names on it. These guys were not travellers like we had met everywhere else - they were basically using the hostel as a cheap flat while working in Sydney - some of them had been there for 6 months already.

The next day we got to the Premier bus stop. We were taking 16 hour bus ride, leaving at 2pm and arriving in Melbourne at 6am. We stocked up on some fruit, water and chocolates. Imagine how surprised we were once the bus driver announced that we can not take any food with us as we were going to a different state. And we also had to wear seatbelts all the time, so uncomfortable. I was starving and finally at midnight we stopped at Mc Donald's and I had what seemed like the best burger in my life. :)

Needless to say from there on in we ignored the bus driver and ate what we wanted and stopped wearing our belts :-)

Posted by Laima 04:00 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Banks Penninsula, Christchurch and goodbye New Zealand

sunny 20 °C

After some long driving we ended up in Akaroa town. It is famous for its penguin trips and it is quite a lovely town. After walking around, getting some food and some cheese, we decided to drive further around. We asked for advice for the best beach and spent lots of time to get there down a winding road again. The beach wasn't that great, so we had to come all the way up and kept driving on the touristic scenic route. You could see the whole peninsula and we managed to find another perfect spot to camp.

We opened a bottle of Ata Rangi Chardonnay, had some cheese and were enjoying the sunset. We were in the middle of the nowhere on the top of the cloud with gorgeous views. After some time we decided to cook dinner and the realised that we used all the matches. I couldn't believe that, we went to 3 shops that day and didn't buy any. We tried to burn some paper using the van's cigarette lighter, but that didn't work. After the hour we gave up, finished our wine and went to bed without dinner. :)

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Next day we drove to a little town, that had a convenience store according to our guidebook. The whole town looked like it was from the 1920's and the store had a sign saying that it was closed until 'some time today'. We found a campsite and managed to take a shower - $2.00 for 4 minutes and yes I have managed to was my hair during that time :) We then headed back to the main road, only to find out that the road was closed for construction works. They were digging it up and laying some pipes. The road was extremely narrow and we couldn't turn around. So we spent an hour playing cards and yelling for the workers to hurry up. It's not even that we were in a rush, but it's still nice to explain to people how they should do their job, isn't it? :)

We then went to Christchurch and found a spot to camp in a huge park. It was nice to get out from the car and take a walk. All the paths were excellently marked with pedestrian, horse, dog walking and running tracks. So efficient as always.

Next day, we headed into Christchurch and spent hours circling and trying to find a parking spot. We had forgotten how it feels!

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We sat in the botanical gardens watching people punting. It felt like we are back in England.

We got back to the park and walked again. We saw people coming in with their horse carriages and riding these amazing horses. The park was busy and people were turning up all the time, jogging, walking. Very motivated people I must say. We were working out with our wines glasses in our hands. :)

Next day we went to another park and had some coffee. We cooked some meatballs on some hotplates for dinner later that night. We also went to the beach for a walk and saw people training horses again.

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After that we headed to Christchurch to visit modern art museum. It was quite good, but the whole museum looked so big, but in fact the space inside was very small, so I felt a bit disappointed.

We then went back to our van to have some lunch. We used all the remaining ingredients for salad and it was a sad sad moment to see the fridge almost empty.

After lunch, we went to botanical gardens again and to the History Museum.

The next day, we cleaned the van and drove to give it back. The guy took us to the airport and we were ready for new country again.

New Zealand was great and people were so nice, always asking us how we are doing. I think they are all sports freaks and have a passion for killing possums that I don't understand. But it was great and I am definitely coming back one day.

Posted by Laima 13:47 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Mt Cook

sunny 17 °C

After camping by Lake Dunstan, we drove to Mt Cook. We took about 3-4 walk to the glacier. The views were amazing, but it was quite cloudy, so the pictures weren't coming out that great.

After the walk, we started driving back and managed to find this huge picnic spot by Lake Pukaki close to Twizel town. That was the spot to open our Ata Rangi bottle. So we just sat there starring at the Mt Cook view and enjoying the sun. It was definately a special moment.

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After the coffee in the morning, we looked into our itinery and decided to go to Banks Peninsula as we had couple extra days. I was quite sad to leave and thinking about it we should have stayed at that spot a little bit longer. That's another spot that I intend to go back to :)

Posted by Laima 13:45 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Milford Sounds, New Zealand

rain 20 °C

In the morning we drove to Te Anau. We had some pies for breakfast, they were good, but I would prefer to have them for dinner and then probably not eat anything for a week. :)

We stocked up our fridge in the shop and checked the weather information. There was snow on the road and we required to get snow chains. Unwillingly we rented them from a garage and I am so happy we did!

On the way up the road was very steep, but it was nothing in comparison to what was to come. We reached this one way tunnel with no lights. I was cluching my seat, but thank god no cars were coming as it was quite early.

We then went down the hill on the winding road with 180 degree turns, that's where we thought that snow chains were an excellent idea.

The mountains were covered in snow, it was raining outside and the waterfalls were cascading down everywhere. We stopped to see potholes and got to know Kea parrots trying to catch a ride on our van.

Once we reached Milford Sound, we booked ur tour. We could see some sunny spells, even thought it was still freezing and raining, which just added to the misterious feeling that the whole place had. We took so many pictures and the views were unbelievable. Apparently, you can do a 4 day walk to Milford Sound, so that's what I am planning once I return next time :)

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We found a DOC campsite for the night. It had a lot of aloocated fire spots and lots of wood around. So as soon as we stopped, we tried to make a fire. It looked like all other people from other campervans had the same idea. You could see smoke everywhere. So we tried, tried and tried againt to get something going but the wood was to wet, we gave up and you could see all the fires die out. We got saved by wine and Robert's creative cooking again.

The next day, we drove all the way back to Te Anau and returned our snow chains. We then visited Arrowtown, which was supposed to be this little pretty town. We weren't too impressed and after 30 minutes headed towards Queenstown.

It was quite a long drive, so we decided to stay on another side of Lake Dunstan. The weather was a little bit nicer and the sun was out. I started feeling normal again. The spot that we found had an awesome fireplace and soon we had a fire going. So we recovered from the previous disaster quite well :)

Posted by Laima 13:42 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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