Wednesday, January 27, 2010

East Coast in Australia

Day 9 - January 13
Today we drove to Maroochydore which was one of my favortite places. The beach here was so amazing and it was such a cool town to be in. On our way there, we stopped for a picnic lunch at the beach where the ocean was really shallow and you could walk out a far way. And it was one of the first times we could actually go in the water without worrying about the jellies. For dinner I had this massive burger with "the lots" which I feel like its everything you think could be on a burger is on some. Hannah and I walked along the beach to meet up with the boys who drove and it was so peaceful and a great way to see the town.

Day 10 - January 14
We had an early run and swim along the beach this morning before we headed to the infamous Australia Zoo, or Steve Irwin's zoo. After a whopping $55 to get in, Hannah and Brennan fed the elephants before we were able to walk around a kangaroo park where you could pet and feed them. It was insane on how cool they were with people coming up to them. I also got to pet a Koala Bear which was really soft and very cute. Wanted to take one home with me. We of course saw crocs and a croc show where the Irwin family all came out on the stage and hosted the show. Parrots and these crazy fast birds were also flying freely around us. I felt like I was in a different world. We also saw wombats being fed which were surprisingly really cute animals, despite the name. Tigers, Red Pandas, Dingos and Tasmanian Devils were also a list of animals we saw. After the zoo we made our way to the Gold Caost where we stayed in Surfers Paradise which is an extremely touristy place. We had a quick swim in the ocean before Hannah and I split off from the boys to have a girls night. We went out with 2 girls we met from our hostel and went to a bar called The Bedroom where ladies could drink free as long as you had your glass to bring up. It was so much fun to have a night out with the ladies and dance the night away.

Day 11 - January 15
Woke up again with another early run and swim in the ocean and before we headed to our next location. Today we were driving to Byron Bay which is known for its backpackers vibe. It was such a small hip town where all the pretty people go. The beach was once again beautiful and great to walk along and relax by. It was different than Surfers Paradise in that it was a lot of less people which made it a lot more peaceful. Along the coast, cafes, bars and shops were lined up for the tourists, something we definitely enjoyed. We kept it easy tonight and enjoyed dinner, drinks and card games at our hostel.

Sorry about the short posts, I just have so much to catch up on. Will try to update more tomorrow!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Road Trip Begins

Sorry about the delay, finding and paying for internet is not always fun. Here is recap of what I've been up to the past couple days.

Day 4 - January 8
Drove to Melbourne today and got to see where our new home will be. We started learning all of the different areas of where to live, and I'm def excited. We went straight to St. Kildo beach for some lunch before we walked around a bit. The beach is filled with tons of shops the way and I can't wait to start making some money to buy some of these things. We also checked out the Crown Casino to gamble some (I didn't, but some of the guys did) and walked around some more. Its such a beautiful city with tons to do. They have millions of restaurants and each cuisine has its own area or street. For dinner we tried out China Town and ate at a place where it was BYO which I've never seen before. So we all came in with our wine ready to enjoy great Chinese food. We had a lot of Uppsala people meet up with us at the restaurant and it turned into a huge reunion. After we stuffed our faces we went to a karaoke bar. This was pretty cool because you book your own room so you are only singing in front of your friends. I def rocked out to Spice Girls.

Day 5 - January 9
More of a lazy day today with sushi for lunch and some wondering around Melbourne again. They have tons of sushi stands that are relatively cheap to buy and you order rolls that hasn't been cut in slices and eat as is. That was different and felt very weird picking the roll up with my fingers and just eating from it. We did a free tram ride that makes a big circle around Melbourne and it was a good way to see the city and kind of catch my bearings. We went to Lygon street for dinner which is a street with Italian restaurants lined up one right after another. It was absolutely delicious food. And to just pig out some more, we went to a chocolaterie for dessert where we had mousstinis and tirimisu. The best chocolate mousse I've had in my life. I was in heaven. All of these amazing meals is confirming that Melbourne truly is a food capital.

Day 6 - January 10
Woke up early to catch a flight to Mackay. From Mackay we picked up the Van that we are renting and starting our road trip. We drove to Airlee Beach which is where you catch boats to the great barrier reefs. You are not aloud to swim in the ocean this time of the year without a wetsuit because of the stingers (jellyfish). They have tons of poisonous ones right along the coast, and the second most deadliest one can be only 3mm long so hard to see. We relaxed by the man-made laguna instead for some hours before heading to our cabins where we will be for two nights. We have kitchens in our cabin so we can cook our own meals which will definitely help out keeping costs down and for some home-cooked meals. Luckily Brennan can cook well! :)

Day 7 - January 11
Once again another early morning but its for our snorkeling excursion, makes it worth it. There was 21 of us total on a sail boat heading out to some islands for snorkeling. Its not exactly the Great Barrier Reef but pretty damn close. The sail boat was nice because we kind of took our time out there and didn't have the annoying sound of a motor for 2 hours. The first island had amazing snorkeling. You could just float with the fishes near the surface and they would get so close. We saw quite a few rainbow fishes which are absolutely beautiful fish with all of their colors which just sparkle in the water. We snorkeled for about 2 hours before we headed to the second island for a quick 30 min snorkel. The wind really started picking up here so the visibility wasn't quite as clear as the first island but still amazing. This one had a lot more variety of coral with beautiful colors. We then got back on the boat and attempted to eat lunch while sailing and windy conditions. Food was flying all over the place and the wind even carried Chris' bread roll right off his plate and into the water. They had big swells as well so we were getting quite wet up front which actually was fun and entertaining. We got back to our cabin around 4 and took showers before making dinner and drinks. After some drinks we took the 15 min walk into town to check out the pub scene which included lots of live music, outdoor areas and people all over the world. Met some guys from England and girls from Sweden. It's always so fun to meet people from all over and find out what they are doing in Australia. Great fun!

Day 8 - January
Today we left Airlee Beach and made our way to Rockhampton where we will be for one night. We made a quick pit stop in who knows where and had some lunch. It was right by the ocean and it was so shallow it was hard to see where the ocean ended and the sky began. So pretty. Hannah and I wanted to see how far we could walk out but alas, those stingers got in the way. The drive was also full of tons of greenery and rolling hills, a nice change from dry Colorado. The rain has also been off and on today which makes it a little cooler, but its still pretty hot if there isn't a breeze. We were told that it reached 43 degrees Celsius in Melbourne yesterday, that's about 110 degrees Fahrenheit I reckon. Apparently Rockhampton is know for their beef so we will be eating out tonight and getting some steak. Then later I guess we are going to a pub where there is mechanical bull riding....interesting. We will see how that goes.

Love you and miss you all!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The First Couple of Days

Hello all!

I've made it to Australia now safely after 3 flights, 9 hour layover in LAX and about 20 hours in the air. Everything went smoothly which made it nice. While I was in LAX, I actually met an aussie who had family in Longmont so we talked quite which was a nice surprise and made LAX not as miserable as expected.

It has been soooo good to see all of my friends again. Its amazing how quickly we can just pick up where we left off. The weather is absolutely amazing, I mean it is the summer time and all. Slightly pink on my face but so far doing good with the whole trying not to look like a lobster thing. The jet lag hasn't been too bad, just been waking up at 6am and getting tired around 6 but its getting a little easier. Below are the these that happened in the last few days in Oz land.

Day 1 (January 5)
Chris and Sophie picked us up at the airport and we made our way to Geelong with a packed car. When we arrived we had some drinks waiting for Rich and Simon to arrive before we made our way to the beach. We picked up some dinner for the beach and I had grilled flake (which is shark...awesome) and chips, such a classic Australian dish. After dinner we made our way back to Chris' for some backyard cricket. That game is so confusing with so many new terms I've never heard. I still really don't understand it at all but I gave it a try and was at least able to hit the ball with the paddle. Maybe one day I will understand.

Day 2 (January 6)
We started off the day by driving to Torquay Bay where we saw our first sighting of surfers and then made our way to the famous Bells Beach for a quick stop. I'm still amazed that I'm here in Australia right and I'm loving all of the beaches...and the ocean. The ocean is bright blue with hints of aqua, it is so beautiful and I'm loving every second of it. We took the Great Beach Rd, which is the scenic drive along the coast to get to our final destination for the day. We also stopped at Anglesea golf course that apparently has tons of kangaroos just hopping around while people golf. We were all expecting to see tons of kangaroos and didn't see any. Right when the car I was in was leaving, I luckily spotted one in the fields and we stopped to snap a picture. I got really excited about lame. We then stopped in the town of Lorne for some lunch and then headed to the 12 Apostles. 12 Apostles was not what I expected. I knew that it was these big rocks sticking out of the ocean and I'm sure there is more history to it, I'm just not really sure what it is. It was extremely touristy and tons of flies which was random. Other peoples pictures are so misleading in the fact that it looks like no one is there, but there are TONS. But I guess I am doing the touristy things and will just have to accept it. We then headed to our camp ground for the night in Apollo Bay and set up camp. It was nice to just relax for the rest of the evening walking along the beach, watching the boys play some Australian Rules Football and getting tackled.

Day 3 (January 7)
Once we were all up, had some breakfast, and packed our things, we started driving back to Geelong. We made one quick stop to see a lighthouse at Split Point which is where a TV show was filmed and based on. It was a very beautiful and picturesque lighthouse and the views of the coast were breathtaking. We just made it back to Chris' now and soon will be heading for the beach for some swimming and tanning (hopefully not burning) and some relaxation. I'm looking forward to it. Hope the winter time is treating everyone well, I know I'm not missing it. :)