WOW that was a long journey but luckily I am becoming quite a fan of aeroplane food, free wine and free ice cream - I dont remember that being part of the service!
When I arrived at Sydney airport I had to transfer to Melbourne - I was so glad I arranged a taxi transfer as I was shattered, confused and it was just easy having at least one thing taken care of to take my straight to my hostel in St Kilda... in which I arrived at about 11am.
The hostel I stayed at "International Coffee Palace" was nice... although it held about 270 people they mucked up my accommodation so at no extra cost I had a double room to myself with a fan, basin, table and storage - which I hadn't fully appreciated until I saw some of the dorm rooms (which literally only had 5 or 6 bunk beds.... wooden floor and thats it) I hadnt realised carpet was such a luxuary lol... as good as it was having my own room the fact that I was in a new country and knew no one... well it woulda been the perfect time for a dorm as I felt a bit lonely :(
That day I just explored the local area and in my head knew it would be the worse day ... as I thought that we had a storm most of the day and the rain meant I spent most the day in the hostel (sorting out boring things like laundry, mobile activation... and having a nap - all normal "sunday afternoon" things I would prob do in England - even then I dont have that much time to do those things lol)... in the evening I knew as part of my package I had a free dinner - so enjoyed a Dominos pizza in the common room and then was soon making friends just by talking in the mass crowds... and being introduced to GOON
..GOON is CHEAPO white wine that back packers live on to basically get pissed... its $10 for 4 litres of s*** and people mix it with a lemon cordial to make it standable ...take it out the cardboard box container and carry round the "goon pouch" (silvery bag of booze) ..that with a night at "tongue and groove" the dive of a club by the hostel and yagar bombs... I ended up having an unpredictable pissed night out passing out at 3am in my dorm - messy but a good way to break the ice making friends lol!
I made a chum Andy during my stay - it was nice as he was from England...most others were from Ireland, Scottland or "the north" - I didnt really meet in Australian people in the hostels or in St Kilda - apparently its more of a back packers place anyway! Me and Andy (and then Nicholsa this Swedish dude) explored Melbourne central and in the next 2 days I spent there I got to see Finders street station, federation square, the main shopping district (obviously) ride the trams ...go to the aquarium (saw the biggest penguines - like 3 feet high!!!) and even founf an English tea place to enjoy some normality... ahh it was annoying that the weather in Melbourne wasnt brilliant as it kept raining on and off but we also found "ferry penguines" ran over st kilda at sunset so instead of paying $100 for a day trip of penguines - blagging student discount at the aquarium and a free trip in the rain (I got DRENCHED!!!) to see the penguines in the peer worked out creatively cheaper and was more fun!
Other hostel things... In the hostel I was in ...it was bloody huge! But the kitchen and common room were good places to meet up - and get free goon... mmm I was offered weed and acid from a random - nice to offer but I politely declined as sharing was the aim of the game here - including mass bad sharing - sex dugs and rock and roll (or goon) seemed the main selling points here and
I can see why some people would like to East coast it for a year... people I spoke to were staying here from days (like me) to one person who had being staying here almost 2 years (he obv really liked the life style) and some lived here and worked and really make it their base! I must admit it was cool they had a DVD room - to watch movies on giant sofas and bean bags and free breakfast pancakes (though this was sooo early that I didnt actually get a chance to experience them)... apparently the hostel has very mixed reviews but I enjoyed the experience and my last night was spent in a dorm but a nice one - only 4 of us sharing with an en suit - still pretty nice... as as long as your on the 3rd floor (I was both times) then it werent too bad.
...On Sunday morning I said my goodbyes and was met by Kerrie (who was on my first GAP trip - China, Laos to Bangkok) it was absolutely FANTASTIC seeing her again and we went round all the sites in the morning (saw Luna park) ... like the sports stadiums and central sites that I missed out and well by then I felt like I had a good vibe of Melbourne
**Arty city - good to live in but not as exciting to visit... very compact - everything is in blocks... and cafes seem to close at about 3pm - not good for those like me who love my tea! The Yarra river is nice but other areas like st kilda seem to be studenty...
With Kerrie I met up with her family and friends and of course Sue who was also on the GAP adverntures and with them we saw PUFFIN BILLY (a famous steam train that runs through the suburbs) ... where Kerrie works... an animal park - where I got to feed kangeroos (they are massive and actually quite scary) ... feed a lama... see a joey - cuddle a koala (I have pictures on their way home) and see wombats... a whole range of birds and insects...reptiles... etc... we even went to a bird park and fed and held some amazing coloured parrots and cockatols (not sure on the spelling of that one)!
It was brilliant catching up with some friendly faces and they looked after me so well with food, tea (wow) and I had my first proper Australian BBQ meal too and phoned home... I had such a great couple of days that I was sad to leave and wish I was there longer as Kerrie made me a photo albumn with all photos in from our first trip in an albumn and a goodie bag with lots of Australian treats... I felt so spoilt and looked after and even got a VIP tour (them driving me around showing me everywhere) I felt like I got a goof feel of Melbourne and like the suburbs where they live more than central as more seemed to be happening... though it was quite far out and would be hard if you didnt drive!
ahhh but after my 5 day adventure in Melbourne I was taken to the bus station to my first trip on the Greyhound... 12 hours of coach ride to Sydney - I was half dreading it but I can say I have been on a lot worse so was a piece of cake and ended up half sleeping (well napping with neck ache) and half chatting to this gal - again from England who was also back packing... all in all I survived and then arrived in time to get the morning buses to meet Siobhan in Sydney...
Other random things:
**Australia is expensive...apparently they tax food and alcohol because of the obesity here (Ive seen a few fattys so I can vouch for that but dont know the validity of that hearsay)...otherwise things like eggs...baked beans and bread are all expensive (even by UK prices over a pound or so!!) They say its now $2 is 1 pound but its actually more like londong prices as a yagar bomb was like 10AUD - still a fiver - still london prices (I can see why some people in the hostel had spent a couple 000AUD's in a few weeks and how you need to strictly budget to make your money last!
**It keeps raining (dam global warming) but the hot days are still lovely - doesnt feel very christmasy here though!
**Lots of wildlife around (esp random big birds)
**Chocolate is expensive and tastes crap
**There are loads English people here that I hope I actually meet some Ozzies soon to feel more for the culture lol... tune out next time...