Hi everyone. It's been a while since we posted a blog - we've just been too busy drinking I guess!
The last stretch of our Oz Experience tour took us from Adelaide to Melbourne via the Great Ocean Road. Like the rest of the tour it was good quality fun - even if our tour guide Jen was really quite irritating. Lara's anger nearly overboiled due to her persistence on referring to us all as her 'family'!
Our first day took us from Adelaide through the Grampians National Park. We went for a trek up Hollow Mountain - there is a cave that extends through the mountain hence the name, then we went to Mackenzie Waterfalls. Quite an enjoyable afternoon in the park despite Jen! Then it was onto the town of Halls Gap where we spent the night, it seems to become overrun with kangroos at dusk and dawn! The remainder of the trip was spent on the Great Ocean Road, which takes you along to Melbourne via the Southern coastline - pretty spectacular even though the weather was cold and raining! We visited most of the coastal sandstone formations along the road including The Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Bay, Bay of Martyrs etc! We even managed to see penguins coming ashore at sunset (12 Apostles), koalas roaming the trees along the road and (probably the most exciting) the lighthouse from 'Round The Twist'! All round good end to our Oz Exp trip and met some quality people along the way.
Then it was into Melbourne and thanks to Lu we managed to get decent cheap(/free - haha) accommodation (cheers dude!) for our first night and then had our second couple of couchsurfing experiences - which turned out to be an excellent laugh. Our first host Ali was hosting a fair few other couchsurfers as well so got to meet some cool people. While there we accidentally crashed a Swedish easter bbq party at South Yarra which turned out to be great fun - playing egg and spoon and sack races with them. The Swedish were even kind enough to teach Lara some of their local folk dances and songs - bit random but funny doing frog jumping in circles in the middle of a park in Melbourne! Easter Sunday was equally as fun coz we got to go to an AFL (aussie rules) footie game then when we got back Ali had cooked us dinner and had beer in the fridge for us!
We managed to get out to a Neighbours night in the city, having convinced all our fellow couchsurfers to come along too - even local Ali. One of the best parts of the night (apart from Lara getting a kiss from Boyd!) was our Swiss friend, Brocolli, meeting the stars - he was so excited yet had never watched neighbours.
Our next couchsurfer lived 2 hours away at a town called Mornington. Although it was a shame to be so far out of the city Anna and her housemates were an excellent laugh and we didn't want to leave! Mornington is a pretty seaside town on the opposite side of Phillip Harbour to the city - it got destroyed a few days after we left with storms!
Pug met up with some of his extended family at a dinner and we ended up staying with his 3rd cousin Sarah and her boydriend Chris in the city for our last few nights there. They miracuously stayed up with us all night drinking and talking before we had to get our bus to Canberra at 7am (despite having to work in a few hours). We were gutted hadn't met them sooner as were great hosts and such a good laugh, hopefully will see them again though.
Other than party we got to see alot of the city in the days through walking tours. It's a cool and vibrant city and always seemed to have something going on.
We arrived in Canberra and through sleepless eyes we were greeted by a smiling, waving crazy woman - turned out to be Linda (Pug's Aussie auntie!) Linda took us back to her farmstead near Yass where we stayed for almost 2 weeks raiding the beer fridge and being spoilt with nice food. The mountains and valleys of the surrounding countryside are really beautiful and it was the perfect place to relax for a while.
While there we also got to visit the sights of Canberra (Parliament House, War museum etc), watch a Brumbies match (unfortunately they lost), swim in the nearby river, crashed Linda's neighbours house for a curry night, played with the animals (including Blinky the blind cow), sleep in a comfy bed with 'lecky' blankets and drink lots of beer!
We didn't want to leave as were having a great time chilling but we needed to move on if we wanted to get to the reef before we leave Oz on the 25th (having brought our flights forward). Once we left Linda for Sydney we were feeling slightly homesick and as if we had just started our trip again!