With my friend Jake arriving from the UK as soon as work ended, I quickly settled back into the 'tourist' lifestyle. We spent a few days in Brisbane visiting Lone Pine Koala sanctuary which was a highlight along with the XXXX beer factory and South Bank. I held a koala and fed kangaroos, what more could I ask for! Just watch out for their sharp claws!
We met my friend Ashleigh for a final BBQ in Brisbane one evening enjoying fantastic home made burgers, egg free of course! I had to say my good byes to my fellow door knockers which after 5 weeks together we had become a pretty close team. The last evening in Brisbane a few of us took the free ferry along the
river giving a fantastic view of the city at night.
Our next stop was Byron Bay, which I'd already visited on my road trip with Ashleigh but was happy to return to. I unfortunately hurt my ankle playing football before leaving Brisbane and was in a bad state so had to visit a hospital where they fixed me up on crutches and strong pain killers - luckily nothing broken! This put a dampener on our Byron days and resulted in me missing my skydive...but I will now jump in New Zealand! I still could make it to the beach for some sun bathing which was great as usual and we played card games to pass the time. I managed to hop around the centre on our last day browsing the shops and enjoying Australian coffee. The heat was still way over 25 degrees here so I'm still maintaining my Frio® cooling pouch for my adrenaline.
Each evening we cooked dinner. Well, Jake cooked dinner as he was working as a chef in the UK before arriving here...handy! Of course having known him for years he is well aware of my allergies. He cooks a fantastic chicken and noodle stir fry and made many other great dishes which we both enjoyed for a modest backpacker price.
We went on a fantastic free walking tour of Sydney, which was a great way to get our bearings and learn about the cities interesting history. Visiting the town hall, old hospital, Hyde park and underground malls we finished the tour at an area called The Rocks, an older part of the city. Of course the highlight was seeing and learning about the Sydney Opera house and Harbour Bridge both world famous structures.
We couldn't resist having coffee and 'chocolate lick' in Max Brenner chocolate bar! I checked no nuts were used before tucking into my little chocolate pot! Sydney also has a huge market called Paddy Markets whee we spent many hours. That evening we cooked (well chef Jake cooked) chilli con carne as we purchased a fresh herb and spice mix from the market. One of the best I've ever tasted!
Sydney is a trip highlight...having a great time visiting Manly beach, taking a harbour ferry, crossed the Harbour bridge and enjoyed fireworks at Darling harbour on the saturday along with a night out. I'd also looked at the online ingredients for a shop here called PieFace discovering the pies were suitable for me so lunch one day was a steak pie.
We loved Sydney and our week there flew by! We soon arrived for an overnight stop in Canberra which for some crazy reason is the capital. The strangest city, few cars, empty pavements and its attractions...well we didn't find them attractive, I can tell you now!
Anyway, we took the Greyhound for one final time for 9hrs to Melbourne, our final stop in Aussie where we have two weeks. The weather here was much cooler at only 18-23 degrees so I stopped using mg cooling pack, lightening my day bag. We spent the first 4 days at the Melbourne Formula 1 race which was fantastic and great to walk on the track at the end!
While there, we went on a great ocean road and twelve apostles tour which was fantastic and just down the road from Melbourne! My friend Alaistair is working in Melbourne and in our hostel so he is showing us around. The Eureka sky tower which is the tallest building in the southern hemisphere gave us a great overview of Melbourne.
Our final meal together before leaving Aussie we cooked (I did help Jake a bit...!) - Kangaroo fillet in a red wine and garlic and sea salt marinade served with chipped sweet potatoes...a fantastic feast to end to our time together and 3 months in Australia.
Next stop New Zealand for two months and with any luck....my skydive!
Until next time...