Around the world adventure
Our week in Sydney was one of our best. We did all the things one has to, Bridge, Opera house, Harbor tour, Bondi, Manely, Palm Beach (AKA Summer bay, quite a religious moment for Zo), Olympic Village, Botanical gardens. Our highlight has to be the hours( and there were many) spent with Martin and Priscilla chatting laughing and, yes, drinking. We were also able to spend a night with my Uncle and Aunt, Rob and Carol, it was great to spend some time with family and meet the small additions. Rob and Carol also proved to be knowledgeable and keen tourist guides, taking us around Sydney the next day. Bidding farewell to friends and family, feeling recharged and ready for adventure, we hopped in our tiny Toyota for another driving epic. Sydney to Cairns. We soon learned two important things.Firstly, Australia is much bigger than New Zealand, with not much in between towns. (Which is probably why people told us we were mad to drive all the way). Secondly, Never travel the east coast during 'Schoolies'. We had never heard the term either, basically every single school leaver in the country flocks to Byron bay and Surfers Paradise, and every tiny spot in between. They then get absolutely smashed for two weeks solid. We arrived in Byron bay and could not find any accommodation, after some head scratching we decided we would have to buy a tent. We found one in the local pawn shop for $20. The guy thought that most of its pieces were in the bag and agreed to buy the thing back from us the next day for $10. What a deal! That night we went to watch the new James Bond (awesome) instead of getting hammered with every teen in Australia. The next day we sold the tent and got the hell out of there. Three days after leaving Sydney we Arrived in Brisbane, actually Surfers Paradise which is pretty much the same thing. Here we stayed with Nadines father, Paul. Linda was in London meeting and greeting the new grandchild, Teagan. Paul was such a good host that we ended up staying three nights, not the original one we had planned. We had a couple of very enjoyable evenings catching up with Steve and Nats. Our tour guide in Brisbane was Matt (old friend from USA and London) unfortunately the driving rain forced what would have been an extremely illuminating tour of the city into an epic pub crawl. Brisbane is great..we think? In Brisbane we swapped our little Toyota for a bloody great camper van, this thing made Jethro (Aaaah Jethro) look like a scooter. It took a while to learn to drive the thing, but we came to love it. Our first destination, Australia Zoo, Crikey Mate lets shove a finger up that crocs arse. How we all miss Steve. It was really good, we fed Elephants, Kangaroos and Koalas, watched the main show at the Crocaseum, and were blown away by the tiger experience. From the zoo we drove just up the road to Gympie to meet up with Jo and Margaret, friends we made all those months ago in Peru. A classic night of story swapping and gazing at photos ended with Zoe kicking them out of the camper van just before 5am. Fortified by Apple pie and a long soak in the hot tub and we were off again. One night in Rockhampton (dull), and two in Airlie beach (extremely beautiful) one near death experience involving our camper van and a slow moving train, and we were in Townsville. Townsville sounds a bit crap, but it is actually a really great place. We met up with Troy, a friend of Zoe's from summer camp in the States. He works at a local zoo and gave us an amazing behind the scenes tour of the place. He also showed us around the town and put us up for the night. Our long drive ended in Cairns. We did a full day boat trip on the great barrier reef, really good snorkelling, a surprisingly funny live entertainer, and rough enough seas on the return journey to make people sick made for a great day. From Cairns we took a flight to Melbourne to meet up with Chante and Stu who were on route to set up shop in New Zealand. The four of us spent two days in Melbourne seeing very little but chatting a lot. We then hired a car and headed east to Frazer Island. Frazer Island is a private Island managed by Mel and Dave, friends of Chante and Stu. The island comes complete with golf course, landing strip, two floodlight tennis courts, swimming pool, massive homested, two Jack Russles, dozens of Kangaroos, a red tractor, and a couple of deadly poisonous Tiger snakes. It was great to be able to play sport again, which is what Stu and I did for four days solid. Interrupted only by tractor driving, a life long dream of Stuarts reached? Another lesson learned, golf should not be played with six people, two dogs and clubs older than my grandparents.Our time on the Island flew by and all to soon we were at the airport, us heading to Perth and Chante and Stu to New Zealand. Our Hosts in Perth were Zoes Uncle and Aunt, Ricky and Margaret. Once again we were treated like kings by the whole family. The first night we had dinner at Lauren (cousin) and Kevins. The next day Ricky and Margaret took us up the north coast to The Pinnacles, bizarre rock formations. That night we went out with Byron (cousin) and Di for a couple of drinks. The next day we picnicked in kings Park, beautiful views of the city. On Sunday we met up with Sam (South African Cousin) in Fremantle and she showed us around some of the more popular drinking establishments in the area. The next day, feeling a bit rough, the three of us took a boat over to Rottnest for a day of snorkelling and general fun in the sun. While in Perth we also manged to squeeze in a very boozy and fun evening with Dan and Bron (friends from early London days). I managed to sub for Byron in his action cricket side, not making a fool of myself despite a massive hang over. We watched the first day of the first test at the WACA between South Africa and Australia.(SA won the match in record style, went on to win the second test and the series - still love beating the Aussies) All this in one week, no wonder we were exhausted. Australia is an amazing country, but for us, our time spent there will always be about the friends and family we were able to spend time with. Six weeks in South East Asia is all that remains of our massive adventure!