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♡ There's nothing like Aus-tra-li-AAA!! ♡ (part 1)

Tuesday 21st Feb- Thursday 8th March 2012...

semi-overcast 25 °C
View Skye 2012 on sdestecroix's travel map.

Tuesday 21st Feb- Saturday 25th Feb 2012

Arrived after a LOOONNGG flight from BA, where I was sat next to a VERY annoyingly chatty Peruvian man, and served by the rudest air stewardess I have ever come across... Yes, OK, so I might have been asleep when you brought the dinner around, but it is nearly 3am and I haven't had dinner yet, so... did you try and wake me up?? No?? Well then please can I have the meal which I have paid for now? and NO! I didn't mean the vegetarian option!!! Not an unreasonable request, I don't think... but apparently enough to have her tutting and scowling at me for 17 hours! JOY! :-(
To top things off, when we flew into Sydney, the weather was cloudy, so although I could see the opera house and the harbour bridge out of my window on decent... it wasn't clear enough to photograph!
On the plus side though, Australia = English speaking people! So the transfer to my hostel was a doddle and I checked in pretty swiftly at 'Base' on Kent Street. Had a quick wonder around and a much needed shower and then attempted to beat the jet lag monster by staying awake until 10pm.. went to watch 'The Vow' at the cinema and finished reading 'The Help'.
Also, was really impressed by their cool, colourful money!! It's waterproof as it's made of plastic and each note is a bright colour! Haven't seen a 'greeny' though ($100- too rich for me!)

In the morning, the weather was MUCH better, so I took a stroll down to the opera house and the harbour bridge for some photos and then walked back through the Botanical Garden where I stopped to read/ sunbathe and then swiftly left once I noticed the BATS! in the trees! eek!
Back at the hostel a new Canadian guy and his crazy Irish mate had checked into my room and invited me down for a drink in the bar next door... fast forward a few hours and we were in MacDonalds eating chicken nuggets and trying to stop the Irish guy starting a fight over BBQ sauce!
Thankfully we had ANOTHER sunny day the next morning so I went on the ferry over to Manly Beach with Emily and her uni friends... the view of the harbour en route was awesome, and we had a great day on the beach, even seeing a blue bottle jelly fish! (quite common in Aus and only little but the first jelly I have seen!)... on the way back we stopped for ice cream at Gellato's, triple scoop tub with hazelnut, caramel and chocolate AND hot nutella sauce... NOM NOM!
I also bought my IPhone 4S on the way back to the hostel... SOOO exciting! x Then after I checked into my new hostel 790 on George Street, I met up with Emily for a drink at Russel's Wine Bar, which was lovely! I like the fact that in Aus they offer you a water with every drink you purchase, the idea is to keep people hydrated and it's great because when it's in front of you, you drink it! defo something that should be bought over to the UK!

The next morning I woke up early for breakfast with Harrison as his hostel was right next to mine! Had some DELICIOUS thick brown toast with Vegemite... not as nice as Marmite but similar in taste! MMM!
We then got the tube to Bondi Beach, which was PACKED due to the lovely weather and the fact that it was Saturday! There was even a skate competition on the top! A good opportunity to wear my Brazillian bikini and catch some serious rays! We had to leave around 3pm as H had work, but before we went we had THE BEST ice cream I have ever tasted 'Movenpick', a Swiss brand, pana cotta and creme brulee! SOOOO good, really creamy! :-D x
That evening I stayed off the drink and packed up my bag ready to head up to the Blue Mountains and visit Bree...

Blue Mountains
Sunday 26th Feb- Tuesday 28th Feb 2012

Spent the morning booking all my trips for the coast with Peter (a slightly inappropriately flirty Hungarian) at Travel Bugs... over GBP1000 later, I had booked my Greyhound bus ticket, Fraser Island, Whitsundays and a 14,000ft SkyDive + DVD! so when Bree finally arrived around 1pm, I was SOOO ready to leave... but excited for what was to come!
We got the train and a bus up to Blue Mountains, where I booked into the Flying Fox hostel in Katoomba, which was VERY hippy and full of Germans, but free breakfast and nice communal vibe!
Bree took me to her parents house en route to the hostel to pick up her mums car and I was given a lovely salad and spinach/ sundried tomato muffin! Then once I had showered and changed, Bree and I went to Station Bar (the only option) for Kangeroo Pizza!! and red wine! The Kangeroo was lovely, like a really tender steak! Would defo eat it again! x
In the morning Bree and I went for breakfast together, I had some raisin toast which is EVERYWHERE here and the best idea ever! kinda like Gauche or a teacake in a loaf form, but more readily available as a breakfast food! My fave! x
She then drove me to Flat Rock, which is a place where local people often go that looks out over the Blue Mountains, has lots of carved names in and a make-shift cave where an Australian hippy escaped service in the war for a while!
I had to get my train back to Sydney around 4pm to catch the Greyhound up to Byron overnight, so Bree parked at the 'Kiss and Ride' area and said goodbye!

Byron Bay
Wednesday 29th Feb - Friday 2nd March 2012

The over night bus wasn't TOO bad, the only annoying thing was that everytime the driver stopped, he turned on the lights and gave us a brief history about where we were etc, even though it was 3am and NO ONE cared! :-S
Byron was a cool town, basically just one main road down the centre which had shops etc on it leading up to the beach at the end... my hostel was Nomads and it was VERY nice, really modern and big! Met a girl on check in called Emily from London who I spent the rest of the day with, we went to the beach to chill out until it was time to check in and then that evening we joined the hostel pub crawl, which included free pizza, a somewhat fixed limbo competition (the girl that won was 5ft nothing and worked at the hostel, and she was against a 6ft 3in German guy!!), and goon waterfall, where we had to down our goon punch (free) and put the cup upside down on our heads before the next person could drink theirs! Deadly! x

Surfers Paradise
Saturday 3rd March - Monday 5th March 2012

Woke up upset and with a BAD goon hang over... needless to say, this was a low point in my trip, too early to call mum but holding back tears for most of the morning I thought it best to just try and sleep on the short bus ride up to Surfers and prayed that things would get better soon, it's not nice to be upset when you have no one you love around you for a cuddle!
Luckily, when I arrived I instantly loved the place... the weather was a bit temperamental but everyone was very much in party-mode and as soon as I checked in I was told all about the organized club nights for the weekend!! JUST what I needed!
After a shower and a skype home for some perspective and encouraging words from mum, I was brave, put on some make up and went to say hi to a table of strangers with my free glass of wine... SO proud of myself because they turned out to be the nicest group of people I've met! Lauren, Nish, Mel, Ben etc... We got on really well and ended up playing drinking games including 'Fuck the dealer', 'The Woo Woo Game' and 'Yee Haa', all before 10pm when the shuttle bus took us to a few bars in town... one was like an Irish pub in one direction and a dingy punk rock club in the other! and then there was 'Cocktails and Dreams'... dark and tiny and only marginally better than Soho, but with a great mix of people (including my new husband Ben), I felt a thousand times better!
Besides, you cant argue with $7 bottles of wine!
The next day I met up with Emily in the afternoon and went to the beach with her until the Queensland weather turned again and started raining, we went back to her hostel and watched The Hangover, then I got the shuttle back to my hostel and had another night out with Ben, where we watch a 'Best Bum' competition and did a lot of dancing!
I would have happily stayed longer but had booked my Greyhound up to Nambour to meet Marty and Ali in Monteville...

Monday 5th March - Saturday 10th March 2012
I cannot describe in enough word how INCREDIBLE my time in Monteville was, Martin and Ali were SOOO incredibly welcoming and hospitable, their house was to-die-for and they treated me like a member of the family the entire time!
It was amazing to feel like I was at home again, I had a big comfy double bed, chocolates, magazines, a private bathroom and some of the best meals I have eaten in a LONG time!
They own a gastro pub in the area and so I ate their with them every night (apart from one where Martin cooked a bbq at home), and to top it off their son Ryan is BLOODY GORGEOUS! haha... We spent the week exploring the surrounding neighbourhoods, eating great food and relaxing...
One day we even went to a cafe that was amidst a fancy tree-house themed hotel! Everything was made of wood and each cabin had a different name and a different creature carved into the wood! Very cute!
We also went to Moloolabah and had fresh seafood, with Martin teaching me how to pull apart whole king prawns! But my favourite meals of the week were the lamb shank with mash potato (something I miss dearly) and the eye fillet steak with a watercress salad and beetroot puree... I didnt think I liked beetroot but that was AMAZING!
I met uncle Bob's brother, and we chatted about Jersey which was cool and there are even photos of the town church and Corbiere lighthouse in the pub! (^_^) x

Australia Zoo
Thursday 8th March 2012
This is where I ticked two more things off of my 'to-do' list for Australia... 'Hold a Koala' and 'Feed a Kangeroo'!!
Martin and Ali had to work today, so they dropped me off at the Steve Irwin zoo around 9:30am and I wondered around the animals all day, they mostly have crocodiles similar reptile species, as well as a lot of birds, but I also saw Rhinos, Zebras, GIRAFFES!, fed an Elephant named 'Bimbo', Red Pandas (SOOO cute), a GOREGOUS tiger, Tazmanian Devils, Camels?? and of course the Koalas and Kangeroos!
They have a Koala stroking area, where you can pat them on the back, and they have smaller grey kangeroos that you can feed and pat! When you hold out the food in your hand they come up and cup your hands with theirs as they munch away! bless!
To hold the Koala I had to pay $25 for a big photo, but it was worth it... they DO NOT smell nice, as Stephen Fry told me, but they are SOOO cute... you really do just want to take them home!

After one more night with Ali and Martin, I thought I'd probably over-stayed my welcome, and I had to be up in Hervey Bay for Fraser Island so I reluctantly packed my bag and made my way up the coast and back to the reality that it pesto pasta and squeaky bunk beds...

Posted by sdestecroix 03:43 Archived in Australia

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