What a hectic, crazy, non stop month down under!
26.09.2008 - 09.10.2008 25 °C
Another exhausting overnight bus trip and we arrived in Cairns in the early morning with the sun blazing already. It was some slog to our hostel in the heat but we finally made it, only to be told we'd have to wait 5 hours til noon to check in. So we were hanging around exhausted doing nothing for ages. We went up to the girl at reception at 5 to 12 but she wouldnt let us check in yet, so we just stood there for exactly the 5 minutes watching the girl do her nails when at 1 minute past she let us check in......we were too tired to even give out to the w***e!
So Cairns. We thought it was a bit of a strange town to be honest. Roasting hot weather with a cool promenade and lagoon on the seafront.....but thats about it! Apart from tonnes of Irish people and bars. Courtown in the sun.
In the lagoon on the waterfront in Cairns
We spent the 1st day exploring and wandering and seeing as it was a Saturday there were loads of locals out sunning themselves as well. Thing is, the huge majority were Australian blokes by themselves oiled and greased up getting that perfect tan. We have to say this now and hope we dont offend anyone....but Ozzy blokes are the most vain self-obsessed people we've ever come across!! Even worse then me....maybe.
Cairns is a funny kind of town & there is not a whole lot to do there unless you spend a fortune. There is plenty of sun, bars & beach bod's but thats about it! The highlight of Cairns for me was meeting up with Robs old childhood friend Caz & her boyfriend Don on our final night in Cairns before flying to Melbourne. They put on the most impressive spread i have ever seen. Don is a chef & we were treated to the best god damn food we have had since we left home - well it wouldnt be hard to beat Pot Noodles but the food was excellent & we thoroughly enjoyed the night. Needless to say there was quite an impressive amount of alcohol drank that night & we were all feeling a little tipsy by the end.
Dinner with Caz and Don
We had one hours sleep before we had to catch a taxi to the airport. I was pretty unwell if i remember correctly & it didnt take long for the drink to wear off & leave me sick as a dog! The hangover lingered for the entire flight to Melbourne & until we eventually got to our destination.
The trip from Cairns to Melbourne was a bit of a nightmare alright! Everything went smoothly enough and we got in on time (had to get 2 flights one to Sydney then on to Melbourne) but we were both just hanging. We caught a few minutes sleep here and there in the different departure lounges but apart from that we ended up going 40 hours without sleep!
We were staying in Melbourne with Lorraines schoolfriend Sue and her boyfriend Gary who we'd also met up with in Chiang Mai and had that lock in with - see blog chapter www.lynmoo.travellerspoint.com/4/ ! So Gary very kindly met us off the shuttle bus from the airport and brought us on a couple of different trams to their place in East St Kilda. We cannot describe just how happy we were to see a couch and somewhere to put the bags down at that stage. That and, a TV. Gary had become an expert on all things daytime TV and we spent that first day watching, in no particular order, Dr Phil, Ellen, Opera, The View, Jeremy Kyle, The Bold and the Beautiful, Neighbours and Home and Away. It was brilliant!
Pier in St Kilda
Melbourne is a really beautiful city it has to be said & Gary very kindly gave us a walking tour around the city showing us all the most popular sights. The whole city is connected by a pretty intricate tramline network which is confusing at the best of times but the old trams look spectacular as they make their way through the city. There is a nice combination of old & new buildings with really cool narrow streets with vintage style shops & a definite Soho feel.
Melbourne is a really cool city full of little alleyways crammed with cafes, restaurants and bars. There are some alleys were its legal to graffiti so there are brilliant bits of street art around. The other side of that though is that there's also alot of sh*t graffiti around too!
St Kilda birds
One of my favourite days in Melbourne was when the four of us (Sue, Gary, Rob & myself) went to St Kilda's for lunch. St Kilda's is a beautiful seaside town on the outskirts of Melbourne city. We strolled along the seafront for an hour or two before getting a tram into town & going on the beer. Well in our defense it was a Saturday & Sue had been working all week so we all needed to go out.
Her holiness Lorraine in St Kilda!
We decided to go to Brunswich Street which is a hippie street in the center of the city. We spent most of our day drinking up a storm & making friends with random people in the bar. We had a great day/night. I must say a special thank you to Sue & Gary for being so kind to us & letting us stay on their blow up matress for a couple of days. We will be forever in your debt
After that heavy Saturday night on the town I had arranged to meet up with my Dads brother who id never met before and lived in Melbourne. Things didnt start so smoothly though! I'd rang him the day before and arranged to get a train out to him for around lunchtime, but we slept til nooon and didnt get to the station in the city centre until 2 so we were an hour late already.....before we rang him and found out the clocks had gone forward too so we were actually 2 hours late! Not a good start. But everything else went really well. My Uncle Bren and Aunt Peggy picked us up from the station in Ringwood 45 mins from the city centre and brought us to their place where they immediately fed us beer wine and food. They have a bar and a pool table in the house, enough said. We had a great time getting to know them better and were up til the very wee hours of the morning.
My wee family reunion (from L-R myself, my Aunt Peggy, cousin Linda and Uncle Bren)
We slept in again the next morning and Bren dropped us back to Sue and Garys in a very very tender condition for us to get packed and jump on our last overnight bus to Sydney.
Thankfully when we arrived in Sydney we'd had the foresight to book a hostel near the bus station right in the city centre so we didnt have to walk far at all for once, our bags are getting seriously heavy now! This was our second and final time now in Sydney and we just had the 2 nights to explore what parts we'd missed the first time. And thankfully it had gotten alot warmer here in the 3 weeks we'd been gone!
In Sydney Botanic Gardens
Walking around the city on this occasion was the first time we'd gotten up close to the Opera house as we'd gone the other direction around the harbour the 1st time we were here. It really is just a stunning building, and huge as well. We went inside to chance our arm at maybe getting some cheap tickets for a show and we got lucky!
Opera house up close
WOW SYDNEY!!!!! I absolutely loved Sydney. Everytime i caught a glimpse of the Sydney Harbour Bridge & the Opera House i would nearly lose my breath. We had the most amazing final day in Sydney spent walking around the Botanic Gardens, Anzac War Memorial, The Opera House & then shopping in the numerous malls around the city. We thoroughly enjoyed our day which was topped off by going to see a play in the Opera House that night. We were really lucky to get discounted tickets to see 'In Spitting Distance' a play about a Palestinian living in Israel which was an excellent one man show. What a way to finish our time in Australia.
A snifter of wine before the show!
Another excellent part of Sydney was getting to meet up with my friend from home Leah who was living there at the time. It had been easily 6 months since I last saw her & it was like nothing had changed at all.. We could have been in Dublin for all we knew. It was really great to see her again & catch up
Lorraine and Leah
Ah so our time in Australia had come to an end. It really had flown by once we'd gotten over the jetlag! It has been a crazy and hectic month of non-stop travelling but we loved every bit of it!
Next on to New Zealand and the next chapter.....
Opera house at night