A Travellerspoint blog

Australia

Up to Brisbane, and beyond.

overcast 30 °C

Now we are at the end of our three week long Aussie road trip, in total, we have driven through 3 states up the East Coast, tallying up over 4200kms on the little hire car, have seen countless old friends.. and a few new ones, we have luckily managed to avoid flooding in Queensland (although we saw plenty of the aftermath), Cyclone Yasi, a rash of bush fires and flooding in Victoria, we have stayed in rooms over 2 pubs, walked along dozens of beaches, drank in several wineries, attended two Australia Day barbies, fed and held koalas, kangaroos, snakes and crocodiles, hmm... getting a bit carried away, here’s what we’ve been doing for the last week:

It took us a few more days to reach Brisbane, driving through more national parks, past golden beaches and breakfasting by gorgeous lakes (it’s been tough). Mike even got himself a gorgeous didgeridoo and some circular breathing lessons- I’m sure everyone would love a wee show when we’re back! Haha! We visited Byron Bay, paradise for all surfers, and stayed in a pub which was definitely the most popular place in town- with flowing beers and a good band, it was a great place to spend the night. We also went through the Gold Coast which is essentially a rash of towns where surfers can go, where schoolies can let off steam before starting a job or uni, and where kids can go to waterparks.

In Brisbane we were staying with the lovely April, another ex colleague from Abu Dhabi, and we had an excellent time catching up and laughing about old times, admittedly- not much else was done, but we don’t care. After a few days we took a lengthy drive up to Yeppoon (on the Capricorn Coast, the irony of driving up the Sunshine Coast in the pissing rain was not lost on us) to see Mike’s old friend Sid who he hasn’t seen for 8 years. In Yeppoon we went to the highest point in the area, visited a crocodile farm, and spent an afternoon feeding kangaroos! But the best part was, of course, seeing Sid.

When we got back down to Brisbane we stayed with Andy, Jenny, and little Lottie who we know from Aberdeen, through Mike’s work. We were able to spend some time with them and have a good catch up, and even catch the first glimpse of Lottie’s Tinkerbell birthday party before heading off to the airport.

We can’t believe it’s time for us to leave, we’ve had an amazing time here, and have enjoyed being able to catch up with so many people.

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Posted by lesleymw 13:13 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Making our way from Melbourne to Sydney, and further North

And spending a few days in Sydney

sunny 35 °C

So now our Aussie adventure has started, we are now driving up the east coast towards Queensland. Driving along the coast is absolutely beautiful, with white beaches and hair raising cliffs on one side and trees, hills and national parks on the other. (Of course, as luck would have it, within an hour of driving -for the first time on the left side since before moving to Abu Dhabi- I have almost had a bump with a kangaroo- one of the most scary and surreal experiences yet!) Driving up the highway, we’ve been passing through little old towns that don’t seem to have changed much in the past century, harbours with stunning views and an excellent excuse to dip our feet in cold water, and historic sites which are full of aboriginal artefacts and monuments.

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We stopped over in Sydney for 2 days and.... wow! It’s a gorgeous modern city filled with parks and lots of things to see (outdoor cinema by the harbour, stand up comedy at midnight, light shows in the Chinese gardens to name but a few) but the real beauty of the place is the little old buildings lining the streets, most of which are over 100 years old. Sometimes you would have been forgiven for thinking you were in Edinburgh instead of half way across the world!

We spend most of our time in Sydney walking through the massive gardens, by the waterfront (the view of the opera house never gets boring) and having a relaxing time- which again, is very easy to do when you’re in Sydney. We also took the mandatory visit to one of the most famous beaches in the world- Bondi Beach- it’s hard to believe that snow white sand, 3ft waves and crystal clear water is just quarter of an hour from Sydney Harbour- another remarkable thing about the city!

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Yesterday we hit the road again and continued heading north, but not before taking a 4 hour detour to the Blue Mountains, and it was worth every minute. Being from Scotland we weren’t expecting to be blown away by some Aussie mountains- we are full of them ourselves after all. But the minute we got to the top, both of our jaws dropped to the floor and we stood corrected. There was peaks, rock formations and thick trees as far as the eye can see, and all blanketed with a thick blue haze (hence the name) which rises from the numerous eucalyptus trees, the whole area, including a few little towns have this haze and the refreshing smell that goes with it, the whole experience is truly amazing.

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We continued our drive into the evening past Newcastle, via the Blue Tongue brewery, to stay in a sleepy little town in the Central Coast. I have to say, something that’s remarkable when driving here at night that I’ve never seen before, is the vast number of stars. We used to joke in Abu Dhabi, where the sandy haze is thicker than any cloud, that “the star” was out at night. Here, driving in the middle of nowhere, you can barely see the dark sky for stars, it’s literally a blanket. We’d probably be tempted to sleep outside under them, if I wasn’t so petrified of snakes and dingos!

Posted by lesleymw 16:58 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Melbourne

Stunning, stunning, stunning.

sunny 32 °C

What can I say? The city is gorgeous, as are the people. Everyone and everything is quirky in it’s own little way- we have had such an amazing time!

For the first time in this trip, instead of going from hotel to hotel, we stayed with a dear friend who we first met in Abu Dhabi, and we had the best time, Peter certainly has the art of entertaining foreigners down perfectly! We had BBQs every night, visited wineries that could fool you into thinking you’re in the Italian countryside- and had the unique pleasure of seeing an excellent Queen tribute band while dancing and sipping wine in the sun (who could ask for a better Sunday afternoon?), forced him to sample haggis on Burns night, celebrated Australia Day, sampled “Bundie and Coke” and a home made “snot block” (folks that know Australia will know what I mean), got a birthday tattoo (mike, not me)and saw Melbourne from a local’s perspective.

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We were also lucky enough to meet with some other friends who we hadn’t seen in a while (for those who don’t know, I worked for an Aussie company when we first moved to Abu Dhabi, and most people I know from then have since moved back here) and Mike’s cousin who he hadn’t even seen since they were at school! Definitely a city for reunions!

We have had the most amazing time in Melbourne and we’re sad to leave, I think we would have spent weeks here if we didn’t have to hit the road- but it’s time to go on our adventure up north. Not sure where we’ll be going, all we know is that our flight is in 16 days from Brisbane..

Posted by lesleymw 22:54 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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