Since leaving sunny Sydney, we headed down the south coast to Melbourne and have been hopping on and off the bus stopping at a few coastal towns along the way. First stop was the city of Wollongong, we took a walking tour of the town and the coastline. But what we enjoyed most was the spag bol we cooked ourselves! After a night in Wollongong it was back on the bus and down the coast to the pretty seaside town of Kiama. After finding out the hostel was shut because the manager had gone on holiday - didn't he realise we were coming!!!! - we booked ourselves into the next cheapest option 'The GRAND Hotel', well it wasn't grand but it was a place to sleep. We then headed straight to Kiama's number one attraction - the blowhole! It can spout up to an impressive 60m! Again we enjoyed taking in the views by walking round the coastal path of Kiama. The next day we visited the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre just inland from Kiama, which had a 1.6 km boardwalk through the rainforest and a second 2.6 km boardwalk up to the Minnamurra Falls. We got to see water dragons and the elusive Lyre Bird, which can mimic any sound including human voices. Unfortunately we thought we were stranded there as the only bus returning to Kiama didn't turn up to pick us up! Luckily one quick phone call meant we had a bus all to ourselves for the return trip back to the hotel. Now this is a note to both our Mum's - we miss your cooking! With no kitchen to cook up some culinary delights for two nights, we had to make do with a rotisserie chicken (from the supermarket) and chips (from the chip shop). I'm seriously in need of some fruit and veg!
After a delightful stay in Kiama and an argument with Gavin over whether we could afford a hot chocolate - seriously Gavin is really strict with this budget!!! (Gavin here - we have to cut back as we've been over budget everyday in Aus so far!!!). We got back on the bus to Bateman's Bay, we used this as a drop off point to get the bus to the city's capital -Canberra. With such a short time here we decided to go straight for it and head to see some of the sights, first stop was the Captain Cook's Memorial Water Jet on the lake, then to the New Parliament House on Captial Hill, which is a great view point to see the city from. By this point we were very hungry (and still craving fruit and veg) so headed back for the tastiest salad ever! Fully recharged, we headed to the Australian War Memorial (this is right up your street Dad!) We spent so long walking there and looking at all the memorials that line the Anzac Parade leading up to the War Memorial and the view up to Parliament House, that we arrived with 15 mins to spare before closing time! We did however get to see the tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier whose remains were returned from WW1 Battlefield in 1993 and placed in the Hall of Memory. At closing time everyday, they gather everyone to watch a staff member play 'The Last Post'. After a lot of walking we decided we'd relax in the hostel's swimming pool and jacuzzi! Oh yes this hostel exceeded our expectations, we couldn't believe it ourselves!
The next day was Sunday and an early bus back to Batemans Bay and a long wait for the bus to our next stop, Eden and some whale watching! We found Eden is a really sleepy coastal town, nothings open pretty much past 8.30 p.m, even the pub! They had a fantastic beach from which you can spot whales and dolphins. If a whale is sighted in the bay, then a siren is sounded from the Killer Whale Museum and to our surprise we actually caught a glimpse of a whale when the siren went off! You can see the water spout up and it breaking the waves, it was really cool to see! We then walked further round the coast to visit the Killer Whale Museum which has the preserved bones of a famous Killer Whale called 'Old Tom'. Old Tom and his pod of killer whales would trap whales in the bay and then alert the whalers, the whalers would leave the carcass of the whale for the killer whales to feed on - they only ate the tongue and the lips and then the whalers would have use the rest whales carcass for blubber. After the museum we went to the look out point to have our lunch and we got an even better view of some whales! We saw a mummy and baby humpback whale making their way along the coast, what a fantastic sight!
It was then back to the hotel, to have a drink and collect our bags, by chance we started talking to a couple of guys at the table next to us who said they were playing in a concert across the road and would we like free tickets to watch - well who's gonna say no to free tickets? Anyway turns out that one of the guys, William Barton is the No.1 digeredo player in th world!!! The other guy, also Will was from LA and makes digeredoos he also told us his Dad was the CEO of the company that makes Rugrats! What are the chances???
After an eventful evening, we only just managed to grab a pizza from the only place open at 8.30. It was a meal for two and a 3 hour wait at the bus stop for our bus to Melbourne, as it didn't arrive til just after midnight. Now I know how a tramp feels!
We have now arrived safely in Melbourne and are planning to stay here for the next few days. So will update you with our capers in Melbourne soon!
Lots of love to you all and remember when you have the chance tell you Mum you love her cooking!
Helen and Gavin xxx