Friday, April 17, 2009

Melbourne times

Last week in Melbourne (no longer last week.. this was the 1st week i was back after my trip)
On Monday showed Michiel around the downtown, we went along the Yarra river, on Bourke street mall, to the docklands (where I had never been during the day) and then the exhibition centre before splitting ways. He then came over on Tuesday night for a nice homemade dinner and to come see the lovely children. The rest of the week was back to normal routines with the kids who I did miss, and luckily they had also missed me and were very happy to see me again J

On the weekend Katrina came back and on Sunday we went to go see the formula 1 racing. It was quite the excitement, we met up there with my friend Roman who I had met on my cloud 9 trip from Darwin to Alice springs which was good since he knew a ton about racing and explained it all to us.

There were a few races with mini coopers and other types of cars until the big race at 5pm. We found a nice place to sit right after the corner on a hill where we could also see the tv screen (which is a must cuz if not it’s even more impossible to try and follow the race). There were also some pretty cool airplane shows, little red planes doing all sorts of formations and a jet that was crazy, at one point it shot straight up like a rocket twirled and kept going until we couldn’t see it anymore.. it never did come back haha.. oh and the highlight of the show.. a quantas jet flying over (which I guess we learnt after is now the biggest plane in the world).
Finally the race started, first race of the season and first go with these new cars. It was very impressive to see all these cars going by so fast and also soooo loud.. luckily some lady had some extra ear plugs to give us….because the cars get so spread out after the pit stops and such that its just a continuous loud especially cuz we were right after a corner so they sped up right infront of us. Anyway all this for a not to exciting final, because there was an accident in the last few laps due to the 3rd place car trying to pass the 2nd place car (apparently a stupid move this far into the race) there was an accident.. meaning the safety car had to come out and due that last few laps with the race cars (and when the safety car comes out no one is aloud to pass each other), what a grand finale haha.

And last but not least the who concert was also included in our ticket. They were awesome!!!! The lead singer and guitarist was such a comedian and awesome host dude. All in all a marvellous day.

Other than that Leslies back in town for a few days… Katrinas left Melbourne now about a week ago.. And Alexi is back from south east asia!! Woohooooo!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

cloud 9 adventure tours australia tour

ayeeeeeeeeee!! this is the last part of my trip... enjoy!! I apologize about the uber uber longness

March 13th:
So I had a freak out of a start this morning haha.. but this was in no way an indication of what was to come on my trip. I woke up in a frenzy looked at my phone and it said 6:30 (my trip was suppose to leave at 6:20 :S) I asked Dutchie (Michiel) and he wasn’t 100% sure of the time either but he was still there which was a good sign.. and he though there was a 30min difference between Darwin and Brisbane which I had no idea about baha. Also I had set my alarm for 6:50 instead of 5:50.. good on me mate!! Anyway Michiel was right and I made the tour. In my frenzy I forgot to say goodbye to Alexi but luckily she came down to say good bye at 6:00 am.. what a trooper J.
Met our driver Adam and made our first stop maybe around 9am (oh and a bit before when Adam found a dead snake (king brown snake) on the road to show us, ) at Florence Falls which was gorgeous and refreshing. We saw a few rock wallabies and swam up the falls.. and just relaxed until the fish came along and started “biting” me.. which I realised after was them biting my scabs off EW EW EW. Next stop Buley Rockholes, a bunch of little rapids to “relax” in.. ok not very relaxing because I felt like I was going to be swept away down the river at any second. After that we did a quick visit of the termite mounds… pretty impressive, the biggest one we saw was about 6 metres high (each metre takes 10 years to build), I think the highest ever was 9 or 10m high. After that a quick stop for lunch and then off for a drive through a swampy plain (Fogg Dam Wetlands) where we saw lotsa cool birds (some Jabirus etc) and then we went for our crocodile cruise on the Adelaide river led by our driver Steve.

We saw about 3 saltwater crocs in the water and 2 laying on land. We got one of the crocs to come get a hunk of meat from a rod and he jumped about 1 metre out of the water just like 2 feet off the boat… a little scary (and now im sorta more freaked out after seeing the movie Rogue). The birds we saw were I think Whistling Kite that feasted on our meats a bit, White bellied sea-eagle (2m wing span, which circled our boat a few times and came down for some meat)

Finally we made it to our campground in Litchifield national park at the Point Stuart Wilderness Lodge (which is where we spent the entire day). It was higher class than I expected, I though it would be tents and little blue mattresses like fraser island but no… tents with frames and doors and even beds inside woohoo. The dinning shelters were also fully covered and equipped with fridges and stoves and all. Happy days. We all helped out with dinner, which included some kangaroo which wasn’t bad (sorta tastes like steak but not as good). We then stayed up to chat during the rain downpour and have some goon which I bought with david and fay. Good nighttt, oh ya our tent was leaking quite a bit but I just flipped the mattress and pushed my bed up against Prescilla and it was ok.

Tour group: Michiel (holland), Leanne (Scotland), Roman (Switzerland), Wilhem (germany), Bo Mi (Korean, David and Fay (England), Morten and Gette (denmark), Kat and Chris (Sydney and Toronto), Priscilla (spain) and 2 more Danish (these 3 last ppl were only with us for the 3 day Kakadu and Litchfield trip)

March 14th
Up at 6am for some simple Breakie and then headed north to enter Kakadu national park via the north-west entry of the park. We drove quite a way and then visited the Bowali information centre to learn a bit more about the area and so that Adam could see what would be open and where we could go due to the downpour the night before. First stop a leisurely walk at Nourlangie Rock (Namarrgon the lightning man, anbangbang shelter and gallery ) to view some of the aboriginal art (some over 20000 years old), Adam was very knowledgeable about the paintings and told us quite a bit (although he only knows as much as say a 4 year old aboriginal would know because to know more you have to be initiated and we’re not allowed to know more details). We tried some little orange fruit (kakadu plum, that apparently has like 5 times the vitamin C than an orange. We then drove to Nourlangie Lookout (I think…or some look out around there) where we first did an about 20 minute hike to a 1st look out point and then we went all the way to the top.. I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much in my life (ok maybe a little less than Darwin), it was disgustingly hot and so humid. But, it was all worth it, the view at the top was incredible, you could see like 50km away and the gorgeous escarpment (boundary between Kakadu and Arnhem Land and stretched 500km south from the sea). Oh and we saw a black wallaroo (yes it does exist we saw it on a post card later).Next some lunch
And then off for an about 50 minute hike through a flooded path, we had fund times trying to cross the many rivers going through the path without getting our shoes wet. We passed a sign that said beware of crocodiles but Adam convinced us that we were safe!? So the boys and I ventured off with him to find this neato hidden waterfall.. it was gorgeous and so serine. Then off to our permanent campground within Kakadu national park, here Prescila and I went for a nice swim in the pool and then had a much deserved shower after so much heat. For dinner we had some chicken stir fry which included some carrots a la dutch style (aka not cleaned or rasped). Happy times, more goon and I learnt tons about swiss politics (swiss german), what a crazy ass country.

Oh ya we also encountered 2 dingos on our walk to the bathroom.. luckily Michiel was with us.. not that he was much help lol, the dingo decided to sit between us and the washrrom but we covered our nipples a la fraser island and calmy went on our way and michiel decided to join us women instead of venturing to the male toilets (our guide said that in the last few weeks many girls had been cornered off by dingoes… scary!)

Big willy: “ I give it to you!!!”, “ once I met a boy…”

March 15th
Off again at 7am to unknown places… I know we headed south and out through the southern end of the park but first stopped at 2 lovely waterfalls. The first one was sorta like a layered cake where you can climb up to the different levels along the side. I climbed up to the top with the guys where Adam threw a frog down the waterfall that landed on Michiel haha. Did some jumping off the rocks woot.
2nd waterfall was also gorgeous, it’s Adam’s favourite one with nice ledges to jump off into the water.. I didn’t have the arm strength to climb dayum.
We had lunch at Mary River and then our 4 hours or so drive to Darwin.
I was in a dorm with Fay, David and Michiel and 2 randos. We did some joint laundry, showered and then headed down to the bar to pass the time before heading to The Vic where we had vouchers for free meals. Happy days.
On the way to the Vic Roman asked a girl to take a group picture and she ended up having to take about 10 cameras haha, lucky her.
We entered the vic and there was a table reserved for us and a lady came to give us tickets to enter the chance to win a 50$ bar tab, David asked to have a second one and then we were all like what we want to.. which uped our chances of winning by a ton wooo. (some rice and some fries). We ordered some 7$ pitchers of northern territory beer, tequila shots and then we put all our tickets together and obvi ended winning seeing as there were like 10 other ppl in the bar. It was Prescilas ticket that was the winning one so first up was tons of Sangria for everyone, tequila shots followed and that night is when our hole group bonded haha. Everyone got up to dance, Leanne pretended it was her birthday and sang 500 miles up on stage with the band, we had balloons tied to us all night. And we headed back around 1am. There was a poor old man staying in our room who we woke up at 8pm when we went in to fold our laundry, 1am when some got in, later when the other roomie got in and then we had to get up at 5am haha.. not a good night for him.

-“do you have any german in you? No.. would you like some”
-“would you like some german in ya?”

March 16th
Woke up at 5am and everyone was still drunk and giddy. Our new driver Jordan (the man of happy days and fuckin’eh) musta though we were pretty dull but he realised fast that we had just had a harsh night and quickly joined into our inside jokes and teasing of each other.
Michiel: I’ve realised that I say actually a lot and I’m starting to annoy myself
Cat: I didn’t notice but now I will probably pick it up everytime you say it, I can pinch you everytime u say it if you like?
M: ya I’d like to find another word to you instead… maybe like infect?
C:haha ya why not just purple or something
M: -looks at me confused -, oh maybe I ment in fact haha
Needless to say infect and actually stuck for the rest of the trip and then everyone started over using it on purpose, happy days(I need to stop using happy days).

Stopped at a grocery store and while looking at easter chocolate (lindt for swissy) it was revealed that according to Michiel the Germans go to the east coast beaches of Holland to dig holes for unknown purposes (perhaps shelter from the cold.. perhaps because the dutch put beer and bratwurst in the bottom of the holes so they fall in).

We finally made it to Katherine Gorge, packed up some sandwiches and ventured into the information center. The 4 people who didn’t go out last night decided to do helicopter tours and boat cruises in the gorge while the rest of us stupidily decided to go on a 3 hour hike in the boiling heat… although it was worth it in the end. We first had a gorgeous view of the gorge, which is when we realised Davids hiking boots were gonners, the rocks were so hot they melted the glue between his sole and boot and the sole was slowly coming off :S. needless to say we made it to the water hole and waterfall which was gorgeous.. made me think of the lion king… only thing was that Jordan was semi scared himself of going in.. he wasn’t sure about the crocodile conditions (ok well I hope he was just trying to scare us).. roman got in and I was so hot that I jumped in pretty fast.
The gorge has many different level along the river and when the water is high the salt water crocs get in and then one the water level goes down theres formation of many sections in the gorge in which all the now hungry crocs get stuck for a while. That area is definitely a no swimming area. (apparently crocs are quite smart, I was told MANY times during my trip that if you camp near water never go to the same place to say wash ur face and never go at the same time because crocs will stalk your every move) After a nice afternoon of relaxing we finally headed back and for some reason we were all craving a nice cold coca cola from the information center… but luck would have it that it was closed by the time we got back.. dayum. Anyway finally left to go back to our campground which we decided to ditch because there was no door on our kitchen shelter and no lights or fans.. woot! So we found another camp ground and set up.. relaxed before dinner.. had some beers and then downed our delicious stir frys. More talk about dutch beaches and Germanys comeback is the fact that Holland invades Germany with their caravans.
Oh also there was a black headed python chilling on the back of one of the tents… luckily there were 12 tents for 4 ppl each and we were only 12! Night w/ leanne

March 17th
What a surprise, up at 6am. Drove about 3hrs to the thermal springs (at Mataranka) that Jordan was almost certain would be closed cuz the road is always flooded.. but luck be it it was open (which ended up delaying us the rest of our day :P). We had a little walk around where we saw rock wallaby and then went swimming in the thermal pool, so warm, and threw a nerf ball around. Back onto the bus for a long drive ahead… but luckily kat and chris decided to buy us some dvds to watch (stitch first). At one point along the way while we were probably sleeping Jordan stopped the bus abruptly on the side of the road, turned around and said “I’ll be right back”, we all had confused looks on our face as we looked out our windows and watched as Jordan ran about 100m down the highway into the bush. Back he came holding frill-necked lizard, what an amazing driver (hail to the bus driver, bus driver bus drive), he had spotted it in a tree and brought it back for us to see. Ok short break, back on the bus for another few hours down the long straight road where some sang some karaoke (in swiss, german and dutch)
We made it to Daly Waters Historic Pub for lunch in a town where the first international airport is, drove by some famous tree?, enjoyed some chicken burgers and play by the pool in which I got soaked before even entering or having my bathing suit on.
At a random gas station we saw a truck train with 86 wheels waaaaa and there were snakes in the gas station we could hold.. they scared me. Watched hooke sorta and played a sweet ass card game with Michiel
Finally, finally we made it to Tennants creek at Junos horse farm in the dark around 8pm. The boys went to make a fire for the kangaroo tail we had all pitched in for. We prepared some Moroccan lamb and then sat down to enjoy it along with some Tooheys before trying the kangaroo tail (taste like greasy lamb) which we enjoyed in a caveman manner.
We then gathered around the massive campfire for some amazing times. Leanne, Roman, Michiel, Willy and I all slept in swags (like bigger sleeping bags with a mat in them that covers everything but ur face) by the fire.

Situation: massive stick coming out of the fire that once burnt will fall on us in our sleeps
C: “michiel can you re-arrange that stick please”
W:” oh it’s been burning for the last 30 minutes and hasn’t broken off yet”
C: yes but the fire will eventually burn upwards on the stick and then we will all be on fire in the morning”

Actually, definitely, absolutely, make a photo (germans and dutch make photos, we had a good time with that one, for them it’s a direct translation), for sureeeeeeeeee

March 18th
Woo we got to sleep in till 7am.. although the flies on my face woke me up a little earlier. There was a Red back spider (verr poisonous in the girls bathroom and apparently some had taken a shower with is.. fun times. Off we went an aboriginal music centre where we watched a group of musicians play us a few songs for 2 hours, not really with traditional instruments (drums, base, guitar, singing…), Leanne joined them on the drums for a bit and some of them did some dancing. This was really our only big stop all day. We stopped at a place called the Devils marbles for a while, gorgeous red round rocks with a striking blue sky as the background, made some photos and then back on the road until lunch at a gas station with a bbq and pool for some lunch (some hand made gooey tuna burgers). Other highlights: sleepless in Seattle, card games, gas stations (where the boys played some footy barefoot on the pavement and poor David developed massive blisters on the bottom of his feet :S) crosswords, telegraph centre, tropic of Capricorn before getting to Alice springs around 5pm. Showered and got ready to go out to Bojangles for our last outing with the whole group L (the people doing a longer than 9 day tour had 2 days off in Alice Springs and we were leaving the next morning for Uluru tour). The only ones left would be Michiel, Fay, David and I, sill a solid crew of fun. Enjoyed some overpriced focaccia meal and a bit of Fays crocodile (tasted like chicken) and then chilled with the group until we 4 party poopers decided to leave since we had yet another early morning while the rest of our group had a break.

March 19th
Happy days, up at 5:40am for some breakfast and then went to catch our bus with new tour guide Christine aka Chris. First stop was a little farm with camels, dingo, kangaroos.. and well mostly camels!! We played some fun games on the bus and she had window writers so everyone wrote there names and drew something on there window.. after Michiel took up most of our window I got to draw a map of Canada and fill out a few German holes and a caravan on his map of Holland! We also played that game where you’re a celebrity and you can only ask questions with yes or no answers. Next stop overpriced liquor store where Michiel and I picked up some wine for the sunset not realising champagne would be provided and also admired some lovely birds in cages at this stop.
Saw Fuluru or Mt-Connor on the way.
Got to Yulara (where u camp or stay when visiting Uluru, you can no longer stay at the base of Uluru) for 1pm to have some chicken burgers and then took off for the national park and a hike (had to bring all our booze because there used to be lots of problems with aboriginals coming in and stealing the booze). From now on our tour was much busier than the calmness and having nature to ourselves like the rest of our tour. We were also a full 24 person bus so it was hard to get to know everyone and we couldn’t spread out crap around the entire bus that we would have lotsa leg room.
We drove to Kata Tjuta (mount olga, for a lovely stroll in the deathly heat and crowds of flies. Despite this it was gorgeous.. apparently a section of the hike is closed if it’s over 36o and well we hiked it at 34o. good times.
We then headed to Uluru to enjoy a gorgeous sunset.. the sun though did not set behind Uluru.. instead in front and changed the colors of the rock so that we took about 5 million pictures of it. We had a good time though, enjoyed some champagne out of plastic cups and a few chips and dip. Then back to our camp for another kangaroo dinner and then off to bed quite early to enjoy the stars and shooting stars from our swags.

March 20th
Up at 4:45, I heard other people zipping their swags and I just thought it was because everyone else was cold, until my whole bed was shaken by Michiel meaning crap it’s actually time to get up (and the stars were still out).
Went to see the sunrise at uluru.. although I think the drive to uluru with the sun peering between the trees was the nicest part. We were sorta disappointed and trashed the whole thing oops, because we were expecting to now at least get to see the sun rise behind the rock for something different.. but no the sunrise viewing area is on the other side of the rock from the sunset… dayum! And well I guess we were sorta mad about the getting up at 5am and then just seeing a rock… yes apparently we had to be in a more spiritual mind frame to fully enjoy it haha.
We then did the hike around Uluru ( I think about 9km flat).. we started this probably around 7am. We could either chose to climb uluru or walk around it, although the guides are obliged to give us a big talk from the aboriginals how to them this walk is very spiritual and they ask that we please do not walk it and so we did not…. It’s mostly all the Japanese and Chinese that do it. So anyway our guide did part of the walk with us explaining paintings and different locations on the rock and then we went off on our own into the blazing sun. It was nice.. but again the rock was now just a rock to us.
Back for some delicious frozen orange slices and then off to the visitors centre… although we were all to exhausted to read or concentrate on anything so back onto the bus for some lunch at our campground and then off we drove for a long while to Kings Canyon. (we made lunch in record time, it was crazy)

I can’t really remember if we did anything of semi exciting on the way, I think a quick stop to go run up a deadly hot sand hill to view a giant salt lake and also mt-connor (fuluru). but we made it early enough to kings canyon so we did a nice hike (I just typed halk apparently putting hike and walk together… just in case you wanted to know :p).. um yes it was quite gorgeous looking up at this canyon and taking in the scenery. Then back to a campground for a quick swim, shower and over priced cold coke from the bar.
We finally made it to our campground after viewing a sunset on kings canyon to prepare some spag bo (aka spaghetti Bolognese) and some yummy desert and then Chris wanted to show us a possum at S.I.S (safari in style) which ended up being a stuffed one.. she liked the lame jokes haha and laughed like Janice from friends. Off to bed in our lovely swags.

March 21st
Up again at 5 am, quickly packed up to start our hike of Kings canyon by like 7am.. twas a little crazy but for sure the best way to do it (before the sun is killing you and eating you alive). This hike was only 6km long, but took us forever which was ok because Chris stopped along the way to explain to us how the aboriginals used everything that was around us (clip on Koalas in the trees). I loved this hike with all the bee-hive formations, I would rate it as cooler and much more pleasurable than Uluru. (Amphitheatre, the Lost City, the lush and ancient Garden of Eden and the North and South Walls).We also stopped at a lovely water hole to enjoy a small snack. Back to the same camp ground as yesterday for a swim and lunch and then the long journey ahead of us back to Alice Springs.
Along the way we stopped at a restaurant to see Dinky the singing dingo. We were finally back in Alice springs and ready to check in at Haven for our last night.. when they claimed I hadn’t paid them yet which I had.. anyway there was a massive ordeal and finally she called her boss and they let me stay (although they didn’t have an over balance or anything that night.. and apparently the girl working was the one who I paid.. effed)
Got ready, we downed our wine before meeting up with the rest of our group at Annies for some 5$ meals and cheap beer. A little slappy happened and some good fun until we all said our goodbyes to everyone but mostly big goodbyes to Fay and David staying at the YHA so Michiel and I wobbled back to our room for a good nights sleep.(M: “ where’s my bed?”)

March 22nd
We were able to sleepin somewhat and then took the shuttle to the airport where we had some last goodbyes to the English girls (Kat and Ashia I think), checked in our luggage and waited until the last second before checking through the tiny airport. And well at the last second Fay, David and Bruno showed up for their flight for some last sad goodbyes. We checked in fast and rushed to our plane because for some reason they were announcing final boarding 15 minutes before the plane left. Michiel and I settled onto a pretty empty quantas flight (which means we get fed woohooo) where I watch an utterly boring movie (the day the earth stood still). Landed in Melbourne WOOHOOOOOO!!! This is where Michiel and I said our big goodbyes not knowing if we would have the time to meet up. I was sad to no longer be a nomad… but excited about having my bed and room again, not living out of a backpack, and seeing the children and my “family” again :D.
I would have to say the highlights of my trip were probably the great barrier reef, Kings Canyon and I would say at the top all the wonderful people I met. The travel bug has now hit me hard and I really wanna go visit everyone I’ve met.. mostly from Europe. Europe road trip here I come… hopefully in the near future.

Monday, April 6, 2009

a little more for you all!!

so hopefully everyone who's interested has now had the chance to read my other massive post.. so I shall give you a little more now (it is also taking me ages to write this whole thing)

March 7th: (still in rainbow beach)

Finally got to sleep in today.. oh wait what am I talking about, I convinced Alexi to go do the dolphin feeding with me at Tin Can Bay… which was cool and I now get to say I’ve fed a dolphin but it really wasn’t worth the 20$ it cost to get there with the tour boat. Oh well. We then got back to the hostel in time to say goodbye to everyone, most ppl were leaving but due to the Oz bus schedule we had a nice day off in Rainbow beach where we mostly lazed around and tried to recover from the 3 day adventure that was Fraser island. At night though we went with Andreas to find the sand blow which was gorgeous. We bought a box of goon obvi. And set ourselves down to watch the sunset. There was also a boy sandboarding there.. so I tried it.. well for 2 seconds and then decided it would be funner to use it as a sled and go super duper fast.. this caused me to bust my toe which I did not really realize until the next morning because I was wearing trainers. We also got to try some rope swinging into the sand. Fun times.

“Alexi.. can I go to bed now”

March 8th:

Got up to catch the 8am bus to Noosa. We hadn’t booked any place to stay yet and the oz driver kinda freaked us out but we managed to book a place at the YHA which is right near the beach. He also told us about a game we can play in Noose called “spot the fake body parts”. The hostel was gorgeous and we found our room.. and then I proceeded to take off my trainers which is when I realized that my baby toe had swollen double the size and was a lovely shade of blue.. all this after we had already booked a surfing lesson for that arvo (afternoon) haha. So I toughed it out… Alexi and I went to explore Hastings and then got picked up to go to our surfing lesson around 1. I can’t say surfing was my type of thing.. it was quite painful and I tore up my foot even more and plus it was exhausting. I did manage to stand up a few times but well I blame my lack of upper body strength in my many failures.

After the exhausting lesson we made our way up the giant hill to pick up some groceries (obvi: pasta and tuna yum yum yum).

We headed back to the hostel for a welcoming free wine, made our dinner and went to bed pretty early… like 9pm haha. The constant traveling and partying had finally started to hit us....HARD!

March 9th:

We took the shuttle bus this morning around 8:30 to the Australia zoo. It took about an hour to get there but there whole time we got to watch some movies about Steve Irwin and also some of his crocodile hunter movies!! The zoo was quite awesome… I forgot to take my camera which in a way was good because I didn’t get to capture one of our only rainy days and well I took time to admire the animals instead of trying to get the best shot.

We got to see many massive crocs and also watch the croc show twice in the crocoseum wooohooo (this included a bird show and euh other cool talks). We had seen everything there was to see a long time before the bus was suppose to leave.. hence why we went to the croc show twice. More pasta, explored hastings street and treated ourselves to some delicious ice cream and again an early night.

March 10th:

Caught our last Oz bus from Noosa to Brisbane. We got there around 2ish, checked into the Xbase palace and then walked around downtown looking for a new cell phone and a camera for Alexi. More pasta and tuna…we then finished off our bit of goon and headed down to the hostels bar for ladies night.. meaning lotsa free drinks. I got to throw rings onto bull horns for the chance to win a glass of wine or beer woooo!!! We did loads of dancing.. highlight the ladies man (ok well most men were dressed up as women because I guess it ment they also got some free drinks)

March 11th:

I was exausted all day today, we just did some internet time, packing up of our stuff, walking around the downtown again a little.. and my highlight finding a sour apple slushie which I am now in love with. And for lunch we spoiled ourselves with some shawarma… (it contained corn which didn’t make me to happy). We then took the train to the airport pretty early so that we could just be lazy there and then took our flight to Darwin at 9pm wawaweee. We finally landed at 12:30ish I think… got the shuttle to our hostel (the cavanagh) where there is suppose to be a 24 hr reception. WRONG.. ok well we lay infront of the reception for a while until some guy that was clearly high came by and told us he would look out for the night guy and send him over.. the night guy finally drove up and said he locked the keys inside the reception.. was a little frantic.. asked us if we could read some number inside the reception for him (which we couldn’t ) and then drove off again claiming he would try and find a key. Next an old drunken man shows up saying “ I bet you havn’t had sex tonight” and luckily at this time a lady showed up that works there (who had hurd from man locking his key inside) and came to save us. So much confusinon for one night.. oh and I wasn’t even in there system but they stuffed me in a room with Alexi! Wooo… we were finally settled in just after 2am. Good Night!

March 12th:

Woohoo we got to sleep in again and then off we went to “downtown Darwin” to brave the immense heat and do a few errands and phone home. I don’t think I’d ever sweat so much in my life when I phoned me parents from a public phone on the street and I was literally dripping sweat ( I know this is all a lovely image you all wanted to have), it was disgusting, even down my leg there was drips coming out below my short line (no i wasnt not peeing in my pants thanks). We got everything done and then hung out as long as we could in our air conditioned room before making some dinner. We then met our new room mates, one of the Michiel who amazingly enough was also doing the 9 day tour and then flying to Melbourne the same day as moi. Woohoo!!then there was more confusion when a girl tried to come and find a bed in our room that was already full (because i hadnt been put in the system and they just put me in a room with Alexi there was mass confusion on the staff) Alexi and I then went down to the bar to have one last beer together before going to bed. What a lovely trip we had together. Now on to part dos of the trip

Monday, March 30, 2009

my australian journey... part 1!

My Trip!! Advisory: this might be extremely long. I think I might split it up in East coast and then 9 day Cloud 9 trip through the desert. ok i split it up even more because it's way to long (oh my i just realized i have to translate all this also.. fun times!)

The trip all began on Feb. 21st. I said a very sad goodbye to all the kids, Cooper thought he was coming with me, I coulda probably stuffed him into my backpack haha.

I met up at the airport with Alexi for our 9pm flight to Cairns!! We landed around midnight and waited for Alexis friend JJ to come pick us up. We were a little scared because Alexi wasn’t 100% sure she had confirmed with him and he was a little late and we couldn’t contact him on his cell phone. Also all taxis had already left, happy days! Anyway he finally showed up and we drove to a gorgeous house where his girlfriend and friends were staying to pick up a key of one of his friends where we would be able to stay the night. We were finally in bed around 2ish.

Feb 22nd:

We got up and picked up some bacon and eggs, lettuce, tomatoes from the store and made delicious massive breakfast buns. We then headed out to Daintree national park and Cape tribulation. We first stopped at a nice bar on the side of the road to have a morning beer and then made our way up past Port Douglas to Daintree. We had to take a ferry across in the river ( a 5 year old boy had been killed in that stream about a week ago by a crocodile.. and apparently JJ used to swim in the stream when he was young, I was finally starting to encounter the real dangers of Australia). Once in the park we stopped at a couple beaches and did a few rainforest walks despite the rain that was coming and going all day sometimes in downfalls and sometimes the bright sun would nicely come out. Alexi and I were very impressed by all the cool twisty vines, the massive leaves (Handsome Palms), the giant spiders etc. We finally made it up to Cape tribulation where we walked out to the beach to cool our feet off a bit but the water was literally almost boiling. I’ve never experience such hot water, ok maybe I have at thermal springs and such.

We then headed back to JJ`s house in the tablelands after stopping for some coffee at his aunts house. It was a long and winding road up to his place about 1:30 hours north of cairns. We stopped off at becs (his girlfriend) for a while and then headed to his place, it was dark by this time and we didn’t really get to see where he lived. We crashed pretty early because we were so exhausted despite the fact that we had picked up some beers on the way. (Catherine put your hand beside the spider so we can get the actual size of it )

JJ lives on a farm in a small town or area called Kairi near the Atherton Tablelands.

Feb 23rd

We got up to enjoy a nice view of the tablelands and then relaxed (while getting pooed on by a lizard) most of the morning and tried to figure out a hostel to stay in in Cairns and also a day trip to the great barrier reef. Becs took us on a visit of her farm on the Lake Tinaroo.

Later JJ took us to see the curtain fig tree ( and also Eacham lake (a crater lake) which was gorgeous. We did a nice walk around the lake (got a little soaked from the rain) where we spotted some turtles, and JJ pointed out to us some nature things and insects oh and Alexi and I got eaten by some leeches woohoo. We then went for a nice swim in the lake.

Next we stopped in Peeramon historic village for some fries and a drink before heading to Becs for dinner, where we slept early cuz we had a very early morning.

Feb 24th

Got up at 6am so we could make it to the Cairns harbour for our 8pm great barrier reef boat thing. We did our tour with Reef Quest. It took about 90 minutes to get to the snorkelling site. We got in the water for about 45 minutes and it was amazing.. so many cool fish and colourful reefs. The second site was even more amazing. We went here after lunch which I couldn’t eat because I felt pretty seasick. And good thing I didn’t eat because I was sick at the second site.. thought I would share all this information with you, I also concluded that this is a good way to attract fish J. I think we snorkelled at Norman and Saxon reefs.

From what I remember some of the fish we saw were: emperor angelfish, groupers fish, parrot fish (they were my favourite :, blue lined surgeonfish (also pretty cool :, clown fish aka nemo and much much more.

We got back to land around 4, found our hostel Gilligans and then went to get our free meal (free when you buy a drink). Our night included playing a quiz with our Swedish team mates and Chris.. we didn’t win but still had a fun time, looking for a karaoke bar in Cairns, buying tickets for 5 drinks for 10$ and dancing the night away. We had planned to go to bed early cuz we had an early start the next morning, but this did not happen.

Feb 25th

We got 4 hours of sleep cuz we had to get up to catch our first Oz bus (with bus driver Squatter) to Magnetic island. We stopped at the Johnstone Alligator farm which we didn’t go into because we knew were already heading to the Australia zoo!! But we still got to hold a baby croc (16 months), a python and a lizard.

We stopped in Mission beach to pick and drop people off and also grab some lunch… mmm yummy pizza! From there it was about 3 hrs to Townsville where we caught the ferry to Magnetic Island. We stayed at the Xbase backpackers which was right on the water, quite gorgeous. We had a cabin with 8 beds and an opossum. We figured out the rest of our trip with help from Squatter. We also met a Vancouverite Ryan who had rented a moke for the next day and asked if we wanted to join. We ordered some nice massive salads from the bar and hung out with a group of 8 Germans (Dennis, Clause, Toby…) and Ryan.

feb 26:

Had a delicious morning breakfast of bacon and eggs and hash browns cuz we had not yet had the chance to make it to a grocery store. Ryan then went to pick up our lovely Marvin the Martian moke, we first drove around a bit left of the hostel, went around round abouts a few times, had views of Townsville. We then drove along to Acadia bay where we found and fed some rock wallabies and walked along the rocks. We then headed to Horseshoe bay where we relaxed on the beach, had a swim and stopped in a pub for some lunch. After lunch we had quite the adventure driving around random roads, dirt roads through the forest just east of Horseshoe bay. At one point emerged a massive sand dune that we climbed to find a nice long secluded beach where we relaxed for a long time. We then drove back, found a flooded bridge which we decided to drive back and forth on about 10 times yelling and causing water to splash up on each side of the moke! So much fun!

Next on the list a hike to ```the forts`` where we saw 2 koalas (one was active!!), some bats and some amazing views of the bays on magnetic island. On our way back we stopped at the grocery store to pick us up a few staples to live off of.. aka nutella and bread!

After that we treated Ryan to a couple pitchers of beer with a couple straws in them and then after showing off a few skating moves we headed down to the beach with Ryan to enjoy the gorgeous stars. Went to bed so sandy and there were only 4 left in our room J.

Feb 27th

Slept in till 11!!! That`s a new one. Today was a nice relaxing and lazy day, made some phone calls home, swam in the pool, relaxed by the ocean, ate some of our yummy eggs, and then hit the sack early. We were the only 2 left in our cabin that night.. oh plus the possum who has been visiting Alexis bed since day 1. There’s a hole in the screen right above where her top bunk was.. he proceeded to jump down on it and circle her bed a few times before finding a way down to the ground. (lexy shot)

Feb 28th

Headed back to Townville on the ferry earlier than we had to so I could find my bank and walk around Townville a little! not very exciting. Around 11 we hoped on the oz bus with our new driver Ute (yes named after the ute car). We had a nice drive through to Airlie beach where the highlights included a giant spider, a giant snake and a giant mango.. oh and the fact that the whole bus was filled with people from England except for Alexi and I! a little crazy. We got to Airlie to stay at Beaches hostel around 5 and started off the ritual of our fav. Dinner, pasta, tomato sauce and cheese yum yum!!! We then headed down to the bar because Ute had promised us free drinks and appetizers.. really more as a hoax to bring us to that bar instead of any other but whatever a free drink is a free drink J. Here I met a guy who when I first mentioned I was from Ottawa the first thing he mentioned was the Ottawa senators.. I was pretty much in total awe the entire conversation haha (he was from middle of nowhere Australian working in a mine).

March 1st

Got to sleep in till around 8 :O! then the shuttle bus picked us up to go do some Ocean Rafting. It was quite amazing and a gorgeous day. We first sped along to the Whitehaven lookout.. I don`t think i`ve ever seen anything so breathtaking in my life. We then went back to the boat to go to the beach to relax and have some lovely lunch. After lunch we went to 2 places to snorkel, we had to wear some sexy stinger suits. There were giant fish and a lot more than Cairns but they were less colourful, and I didn’t manage to see my sea turtles L. This tour apparently does the same thing the sail boats do in 3 days. It was lovely. We then walked through the lagoon and back to our hostel for some more pasta and after an exhausting day in the sun we watched some SYTYCD and Rove and crashed.

March 2nd

Had to take the bus at 6:40am to Kroombit. Got up early so we could check out with everyone else and still make the bus… but once we got there our driver (Sneaky (sneaky sneaky!!) or Dane told us we had a full bus.. more like we were 5 including the driver on a like 30 person bus. How exciting for the long long drive we had ahead of us. Ok it turned out not to be so bad… we were traveling with 2 other girls (the princesses Lauren and Kate) and our driver was quite awesome. We stopped along the way for some breakie at subway yum yum. Other highlights were the sketchy looking road working man in the middle of nowhere, crossword puzzles, the movie troy and KFC in Rockhampton. We finally arrived at the Krombit cattle station for around 4pm (much earlier than any other group who had made it there due to the fact that we were only 4)

Once there we played some ass hole, got fed some niblets (random pieces of meat from goat) and I tried some goat testicles (sorta like liver but tastes even worse ew ew ew). We then got fed some delicious soup, roast and potatoes while being watched by a lovely neon green tree frog who lives in the table (jumped on Laurens Beer). Also I let a moth land on my finger and decided not to flick it off, apparently a bad idea in australia (duh) cuz one of the guides was like what’s that on ur finger, take it off you never know, and made me wash my hands intensely in soapy hot water, oops :S. I think that pretty much scared me of everything in Australia and made me be a little more careful. Probably a good thing.

Tonight included: some wine, dressing up, learning to crack a whip, riding a mechanical bull (I fell off after the 1st buck the 1st time, 2nd time I stayed on for 8 bucks, much better). We played some I love my little red bull i`m going to kiss it on the… oh and the highlight of the day I broke my favourite gold flipflops

March 3rd

Got up at 6 again, had a quick breakfast at the station before heading out to learn how to lasso a goat. I could do it on the practice post but wasn’t very good when it came to lassoing an actual got!! I only caught its horn. We then got to muster the goats on horse through 2 paddocks into a new one. We had to form a U shape around the goats and zigzag in an S behind them to slowly move them through. It was a little harder cuz we were only 7 due to the fact that our bus was so empty (2 of those ppl were the guides and well the 2 princesses didn’t do much). On the way back we went through a few deep streams on the horses and got back early so had time to play around in the pool. We then took off for rainbow beach. It was a long long long trip where we played tons of asshole, saw some deer, ate slushies and managed to get there early due to the fact that at each stop we didn’t have to gather 30 ppl. Once at the Hostel Fraser on Rainbows we showered and got a short briefing about fraser island before finishing up some ass hole business with Dane and then going to bed quite early but not early enough.

March 4th

Alexi and I had to get up at 5am to go watch some safety movies about fraser island because we had missed that briefing the day before and also the food shopping and therefore meeting our group. We eventually found them, learnt how to load up our 4 wheel drive and then headed to the mechanics of the company we had rented from for a low down of our car. In total we were 3 cars leaving together with 11 people in each. We eventually took the ferry to Fraser Island but not before having something go wrong. One of the cars had something dripping from under it and they soon realised it had to do with the radiator, luckily one of the men that works for the company had came onto the island to show us the way at the beginning and so that we would miss the tides.. but still it took a long while for some other help to arrive so Dwayne (the man guiding us) decided to take the first two cars down so that we would make it around before the tides came in. Not long after we lost the other truck behind us.. apparently some hook in the gears had broken and fallen off and Dwayne had to repair it with a fish hook. Finally we were on our way, after getting stuck a few times we made it to Lake Wabby around 11. Here we did a 45 minute hike in the boiling heat until we came to a gorgeous lake with as the beach a massive dune that hit the gorgeous blue sky. We relaxed here for quite some time and the 3rd group with the help of Dwayne and using the inland trail finally made it also. But by this time it was to late for Dwayne to go back so he just decided to stay with us and spend a nice night on the island.

Next we gave our water bottles to Dwayne because he was going back to Eurong to fill them up for us so he told us to head off and find a campsite. For some reason we kept driving and went much further than we think we were suppose to, but we set up camp anyway thinking that Dwayne would never find us and that we wouldn’t have water so we bbqd up some burgers and started on the goon. Eventually he did make it.

We were all so tired and expected to hit the sack at like 9.. but once the goon started flowing the games started(never have I ever), the star gazing and laying on the beach, dingo spotting I don’t think we made it to bed until like 2 in the morning.

Oh ya and the flies are horrible here but slow, they nicknamed me the killer due to my love of killing these beasts and shoving them in an empty beer container :p ( piles of flies)

Slapping of Dee’s elbow to kills a fly sent her goon flying.

March 5th

We had an early start of delicious bacon and eggs and then started our early journey to first Eurong for some water and toilets (instead of holes in the ground, when u have to bring a buddy with you to protect you from the dingoes). We then took the long and bumpy road to Lake Mackenzie and finally got there prob. Around 11 again. It took a while but at least we had some good music due to ipod plugs and a fun group. Lake Mackenzie was gorgeous, only 5 minutes from the parking lot and the most breathtaking lake I’ve ever seen. Phil, Ricky and I decided to swim across it to another little beach where we saw a goanna and some lake-ish birds. We then had some lunch and this is when our back door decided to fail us. We could no longer open it and therefore no longer get our ladder out to get to the roof (it’s ok we found other ways of doing it) and it meant that every time we got stuck and had to unload we had to go out through the front. Good times! We then went to do a rainforest walk which our whole group failed at doing because we decided it was going to be to dark.. so instead we waited for Phils return from the bathrooms and then decided to head back to the campsite without the other groups. We prepared some delicious spaghetti, gooned it up, star gazed, played some red rover and then ended up going to bed at 3am… not to good since we had a 5:30am start.

March 6th

Woke up so early and our group was not capable of getting ready as fast as all the others… probably cuz everyone else went to bed early except our group.. the party group plus maybe 4 ppl from other groups who wanted to party with us. Anyway the other groups left for Indian head without us, but we eventually caught up.. only 5 from our group made the small hike to the top with a gorgeous view down the whole coast. We then hopped back in and checked out the Maheno shipwreck, cooled off in the Eli creek (a very cold lazy river you can lay in and float down.. not many ppl did cuz it was shallow and cold but we braved it).

Final stretch along the beach and then on the inland trail (bumpiest road of my life cuz I was sitting right at the back.. I thought the doors were gonna fall off). They eventually switched me up with some ppl at the front.. one of the cars broke down about half way along the trail (20 minutes or so in) and we didn’t have cell phone reception so we drove to the ferry and called for some help. We finally got back to rainbow beach where we hung out with our group and then hit the sack pretty early.

My group: Alexi and I, Eilish, Sinead (twenty tree) and Deidre from Ireland, Phil from Germany (fix it Phil!!), Juan, Dom and Pete from England, Alice from England and Michelle from Florida.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

picture overload

so here's a picture overload from my trip. a massive update is soon to come.
but for a slight preview: my trip was AWESOME!!!! and the pictures will tell you quite a bit in the mean time. (Cairns to Magnetic Island) (Magnetic Island to Rainbow Beach) (Fraser Island) (Rainbow Beach to Darwin) (Kakadu National Park, Litchifield national park and Katherine Gorge) (Trip from Darwin to Alice Springs) (mostly 3 day Uluru and Kings Canyon)

that'll keep you busy for a while :P!

Monday, February 2, 2009


My adventure to Tasmania started last Friday, very early last Friday. I had to get up at 4am, to take the first train downtown at 5am, connect with the skybus at 5:30 to make it to the airport on time for my 7am flight. It was a little close and caused a few nightmares but I made it there in one piece (after an hour flight, you can also take the ferry, a bit cheaper but 12 hours long, ew).
I landed in Hobart (Tasmania’s capital), took a shuttle to the CBD, where I booked a bus ride up to Mount Wellington (1271 m AHD over the city), where it was very cold but offered great views of the bay and city.
In the afternoon I was pretty tired, I did the lonely planet walking tour of the city, relaxed in a few parks, walked along the harbour, picked up some fish n chips and visited the free Tasmania and maritime museum. Oh I also decided it would be a good idea to find a place to spend the night, they phoned about 5 places and they were all full (it being a Friday night of the Australia day long weekend), luckily the last place they tried at the info centre had a bed for me. I went there, played some cards and crashed pretty early.
Saturday I went to the Salamanca markets… so many people and such a variety of things to buy. I then met up with 2 ladies I had contacted from a website to organize car pooling in Tasmania. I then joined Diane(Quebec), Hannah(Quebec) and Hussy (turkey) on an afternoon adventure to the Royal botanical gardens.

Sunday morning we picked up our rental car (Caroline from France, Diane from Quebec) and headed east and then up the coast. It was gorgeous, we stopped many times along the way to take pictures, had a lovely picnic before arriving to our destination at Bay of Fires (near St-Helen town). We relaxed at the beach for a while and then went to a lovely dinner on plastic bags, and drank goon out of Tupperware containers. Sweet! Diane and Caro had a tent to sleep in and I got to sleep in the car, not to comfy and pretty cold but for one night, it’s fine.
Monday: woke up early to watch the sunrise, had a small breakfast and then we hit the road, west and in land now through the mountains. We stopped at St- Columba falls, a Cheese factory where they had free taste testings (yum), in Derby (population of 302) we stopped to have a delicious iced coffee and around 5 we made it to Launceston. I booked a hostel here, left my stuff to then walk around the tiny downtown (which was deserted because it was Australia day) I then did a nice sunset walk along the cataract gorge. I also, after debating for a long time, booked a tour to Cradle mountain (the must see of Tasmania) for Tuesday. I was a little scared because the tour was from 7:30am till 6pm and my flight was at 7:50 pm (for which I wanted to take the shuttle bus and not a taxi).

Tuesday: I got up early and joined a tour to Cradle mountain. I was with 7 other girls and our driver was great. We first stopped in Deloraine to walk around a bit and find some lunch for later, our driver thought she would try something new and bring us to Alum cliffs (it was a 20 minute return trip to a nice gorge, we saw a few wallabies), we then drove for about 2 hours through the winding roads and made it to cradle mountain. We could chose between 3 walks, we chose a mountain walk (Hanson Trail) that was at the time only somewhat in the clouds (I hiked with Chloe from England, Danielle from Holland and our driver), it was quite a steep climb. We enjoyed our lunch at the top and as we walked down the clouds finally started to clear, we sang for the mountains a bit and they let us see the peaks. It was quite gorgeous, and again so nice to be in the middle of nowhere, breathing fresh air.
On the way back we went to visit the little chalet of the founder of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (where cradle mountain is), Gustav Weindorfer and walked through a very ferny forest.
We then stopped at the gorgeous Cradle mountain lodge for some coffees and then headed back to Launceston via Sheffield (the town of murals). I made it back in time to catch my bus to the airport and my flight wooohooo. Successful trip. I think there is still so much to see though.

here are the pictures:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

and some new pictures
life in general: