After sorting out all of my last minute bits at the Oldham's I took some pictures of the garden because I know if I didn't my mum would kill me! It started to rain on me which was lovely so I got a move on. Once dinner was out of the way it was time to go with Russell to St Kilda and check in at Base, the hostel I was being picked up from in the morning. Luckily enough Russell was heading into the city that night to go to the Arts Precinct to see a show.
I arrived at the hostel and went up to my room which I knew would only have 4 beds in it which is quite a luxury compared to the normal 8-10. When I walked in though I was nicely surprised to find that there was no one else in there! It was late as well so I thought there was a good chance no one would be checking in that night and Id have my own room for the night, complete with ensuite. I had a sort out and then went to meet Suzanne who was staying at the hostel as well. She was just coming back from the city centre so I met her at the tram stop and she went into McDonalds to have some cheap food. I knew she was going there so took my laptop to use the free Wi-Fi and hoped that it was a good time to catch my mum or Lauren on Skype. They weren't on though so I just left a message which would be the last one until after the weekend.
Once Suzanne had finished her meal we head back to the hostel to get changed into something casually nice since I wanted to go out for a little bit to celebrate getting into University. Suzanne had to pack as well so she went up to her dorm whilst I went to mine and had a sort out; there was still no one else in the room! I was ready a lot earlier than Suzanne so had said I would go up to her room once I was done. I had a bit of an issue getting in though because I couldn't get into her corridor without a key card to a dorm in that corridor so I had to wait for someone to come through, thankfully that wasn't too long though since everyone was going out for Friday night.
When I finally got into her room, Suzanne was still getting ready as I was enjoying looking out of her window and looking down into the bar. Suzanne told me a story of a couple of nights ago when a couple were apparently getting a bit frisky up against the bathroom window and everyone in the bar could see their silhouette and obviously they all made a huge fuss of it; must have been quite funny.
We head down to the bottle shop after that to get a cheap bottle of bubbly to celebrate. As we weren't supposed to take alcohol upstairs in the hostel we had to sneak it in but thankfully we got passed the bouncers fine. That's when we knew we had reached the ultimate part of our lives; drinking a cheap bottle of bubbly sitting on the floor of my dorm, classy! It was a hell of a lot cheaper than buying drinks from any bar though so well worth it; $8 for one drink or $5 for one bottle…hmm I wonder which we would choose?!
Whilst we were sitting in the dorm my one other dorm mate showed up. He was from San Francisco and just got back from the Great Ocean Road. He was really nice; I think Americans are really laid back. He sat and had a chat with us a while and then went down to go on the internet. We head down to the bar then once we had finished the bottle. It was really busy already and was only about 10ish. Suzanne got a Cider and we went and sat at a table in the middle. A couple of Irish lads came over and started chatting to us. One was called Johnny and was a bit of a weirdo to be honest. For some reason he wanted to blow a raspberry on my belly but I pushed him away! He then said to me would it be inappropriate if I kissed you. I said yes!! I have a boyfriend who's just over there…it's the best way to get rid of weirdos!
Next one up was a lad called Paul who turned out to live quite close to Suzanne so they instantly had a connection. He was really nice and bought us a couple of drinks. As I probably looked a bit of an odd ball whilst Suzanne and Paul were talking, an Aussie local came up to me and started talking. He was quite nice, very laid back as they are but he said that he was going elsewhere with a group of mates later so our little group should come along. I was well up for it since I hadn't been dancing in such a long time! He text me later and we all head out to the front were we met them and walked up to Fitzroy Street.
We got to a club which was free to get in thankfully and had a little bit of a dance but it was about 2am at this point so I thought I should head back since I was getting up at 5.45am. We started walking back were we bumped into Paul and his friend just along the street. We walked back, well Paul gave me a piggy back which was slightly scary as he had had a few too many to drink! We went to McDonalds were I got my lovely 50c ice cream. Heading back in to the hostel over the road I thought Harry (the Aussie) and Paul had gone off to the toilet so I sat with Paul's mate whilst he ate his McDonalds. It turned out they had gone off to the bar and Paul had left his McChicken sandwich because he didn't want it anymore so bonus of the night, free McChicken sandwich!!
We stood in the bar talking for a while which was probably a bad idea as by the time I went to bed I think it was about 3.30am and my alarm was set for just over 2 hours later! What a lovely way to start the three day trekking weekend! I didn't feel too bad as soon as I woke up since the adrenaline about finally leaving Melbourne and seeing more of the country was keeping me going. I met Suzanne down in the reception and we met our tour leader who was really really camp!! Our pick up was the last one so everyone was already on the bus and we head straight out of the city.
First stop was at a little café where we had the opportunity to have breakfast. Even though it was quite cheap I didn't want to buy anything because I had only had the McChicken sandwich a few hours before. I regretted that decision when everyone's food started coming out though because they all had really nice looking toasties and sandwiches. I did have a banana as an emergency back up in my bag from the Oldham's house so thankfully I could have that. I had also decided I wanted to eat healthily from then on as I had eaten such rubbish up until that point.
Well that idea was completely out of the window when we went to the supermarket to get some lunch. I knew I would need to buy some food since we would be doing a lot of walking if the last trip was anything to go by! I couldn't find anything that was healthy and not a ridiculous price. All I wanted was something like some wheat crackers or crisp bakes. I found some that claimed to be healthy and weren't too pricey but these actually had the calories on and turned out to have about 800 in the pack!! So there was no way I was getting them. I looked for ages and couldn't find anything to buy so in the end I had to make a quick decision as everyone was waiting in the bus so I ended up getting a large pack of crisps for $2. Very healthy.
We then had a 2 hour drive down to Wilsons Promontory, but it went very quickly as Cam, the tour guide, was chucking a load of facts at us and had us all introduce ourselves to the group quickly. The first stop was at a random place on the side of the road. We got out of the bus and went to a field just behind a bush where there were loads of Kangaroos, and I mean loads probably close to 100. We all had to walk in single file behind the guide; his reason was if there was a snake in the grass he would see it before we stood on it, nice and reassuring! As we walked along the field we came across a tire that Cam had apparently found a while ago. He had turned it over and inside were red back spiders!! These kill you if they bite you!! So I wasn't too happy; took a picture with the zoom rather than getting close. Further up the field we came up to a family of Emus which were really big and another animal I could add to my list that I have seen!
When we were back in the bus, after a short drive down the road we saw a Wombat on the side of the road. The bus couldn't stop because of traffic restrictions but I managed to snap a picture of it. Apparently it was ill so wasn't looking great but I thought it looked cute still.
The second stop was a proper car park area with the lovely long drop toilet! Once we had all relieved ourselves we had a walk up to a big rock on top of a hill where there was a really nice view of both the southern ocean and the eastern ocean of Australia, I'm not quite sure which ones they are though I have forgotten. Once we had climbed down from the rock we all gathered round and Cam drew a map for us in the sand of how to get down to a beach. Apparently it was really easy and the only right turn but we managed to still get lost! It was like a maze with loads of dead ends. We managed to find it in the end though thankfully. The beach was called Squeaky beach as the sand is so fine that it squeaks when you walk on it. We just had a walk along there which was really nice and we sat at the end waiting for Cam to wake up after a nap in the bus.
Once that was over we had a long trip again but went to a place called Foster to have a bit of 'afternoon tea'. It was a really empty and small beach town. Suzanne wanted a proper ice cream as they are amazing over here with amazing flavours! We couldn't find anything unfortunately so she ended up having one out of the freezer in the Supermarket. That was only a short stop so we got back onto the bus as soon as she had finished that. We had about a 3 hour drive then to get up to Lakes Entrance where we were stopping for the night. I slept a lot on that part of the journey and got a bit of an achy neck because of ending up with my head in a weird position. I even got a bruise on my head from falling asleep and my head hitting the bus window.
Lakes Entrance is called what it is because it is where a few lakes join the ocean. We went to the view point where you can see them all coming together and it was quite interesting. First stop in the town was a fish and chips restaurant where we had dinner. I didn't want fish so was given a chicken burger instead and we had chips and salad. Once dinner was finished with we were taken to the hostel which wasn't as nice as the ones on the last trip but it was ok. I was in a room with 4 other girls. We just dumped our stuff near the beds and all got together and took a walk down to the beach. It is the longest beach in Australia and is 90 miles long! I wouldn't want to run along the length of that beach.
It was quite a nice evening but still a little chilly and the sea was very choppy and people were surfing in it. We wrote Merry Christmas in the sand and then took a slow walk back up to the harbour to see if we could look around the boats. There wasn't much there so we did the normal trip around the supermarket to kill some time. I wasn't going to buy anything but there was chocolate on offer for 99c which is just too much of a bargain to ignore so I got a packet of caramel rolo sort of things.
We all head back to the hostel after that and sat in the room eating the chocolate and having a chat. We slowly all had showers and got ready for bed since we had an early start again the next morning and a trek up a mountain to look forward too! Thankfully we didn't have too much of a late night and I was in bed by 10 which I think is the earliest night I've had so far, apart from the first I think.
The next morning was an early start. My alarm unwelcomely went off at 5.15am and the first thing I noticed was a text from home. I was expecting it to be just the text back from me letting them know I was safe but it was something I completely didn't expect, especially at that time in the morning!! I had got the job for next summer which should have been majorly good news it's just that it started a month earlier than expected. So that means I will be getting home and have only around a week there and then straight off for training. As I was so tired and it was so unexpected it didn't come across as good news at first, but as I woke up and thought about it I became a lot more excited and really next year is working out exactly how I want it to. Australia to New Zealand, Europe (hopefully Rome) for the summer and then off to University when I get back; I can't really complain at that! The homesickness part just means that the family will have an excuse for lots of trips to Europe.
Setting off on the bus at 6.30am (after a lot of cups of coffee to wake me up) we stopped first at the beach again since it was nice weather. The sea was really calm in the morning compared to the night before and it would have been really nice to stay there for the day, but I have to remember there are going to be so many even nicer beaches along the way. So it was back on the bus and driving for a few hours to get to Barry Way.
Along the way we were passing by a creek and an area that apparently had a lot of Koalas so we drove slowly trying to spot some. First one up was quite far away and was only a little baby one. It was quite cute half way up a tree trunk clinging on. The next we saw was so cute! He was quite a fat one sat in the middle of where a few branches met and was looking down at us so curiously. Luke (the only lad on our bus trip) hadn't seen a Koala before so he went out to take a few pictures and Cam told him to kick the tree to see what the Koala would do. It started to climb up the tree which Cam told us they did by digging their huge claws into the branch. I have seen these claws before and they are ginormous!
The rest of the trip was through mountains and over really windy roads. I was getting very nervous when we came close to the edges of the road, especially since we had the trailer on the back as I was worried that even if we made it round the corner, it might swing off the side. We made it thankfully down to a little place called Suggan Buggan which has only one resident who is 70 years old! I couldn't imagine living somewhere so isolated, especially at that age! We only stopped for a toilet break in the long drop and then it was the start of another 2 hour drive to the place we would be having our lunch.
Along the way to lunch we stopped at the Snowy River to take pictures. Thankfully it brightened up a bit at this point so it actually looked like we were in Australia! The river was really pretty though and it the landscape around was really green, it has been surprisingly green in most places because of the amount of rain they have had this year. We were at a spot on the river where there were a few rapids and it was gradually getting smaller as it went winding further into the hills.
Once we had left there we went to a town near where we were staying where we were going to have lunch by the reservoir. It was nice and sunny when we got there so I was looking forward to having a picnic but by the time we came out of Woolworths with our lunch it was raining!! We ended up having lunch on the bus instead of sitting by the lake which wasn't quite the same. This time though I managed to find something to eat that was actually healthy. Suzanne and I decided to share some wraps and a pot of tuna ready made up, it was lovely to have something good for me!
After lunch we were supposed to be heading up to the mountains to go on a 17km hike up to the highest point in Australia but apparently there were bad blizzards forecast for up there so instead we got to go on a lovely 5km hike through some national park but it was absolutely chucking it down by this point! I knew I should have bought some wellies with me! Thankfully Cam lent me his waterproof jacket otherwise I would have been absolutely drenched. I still got soaked with that on and my trainers were swishing with water inside. It took a while to get to the end but along the way we did see some huge kangaroos. It was such a relief at the end especially since I needed the toilet really badly!!
We had been told that we might be able to go up to see the snow in a chair lift once we got to our accommodation but Cam said when we got there that it would be too cold and we just didn't have the right equipment. I was pretty gutted to be honest because I was really looking forward to playing in the snow and making a snow man; it would feel a bit like home! Apparently it might snow around our accommodation overnight though so fingers crossed. I can't believe that we have gone from sunny beach in the morning to snowy mountains in the afternoon!
The accommodation here is really nice; it's a cross between a hotel and a hostel because in our room we have coffee facilities and a TV it's such a novelty! We've even just been in the hot tub which was such a laugh. We played a game were we had to say two stories about ourselves; one true and one false, and the rest of the group had to guess which was true. Its strange how many people have met famous people or been on TV!
I'm writing this blog as I go along since I struggled to remember it last time after the three day road trip! So it will keep jumping from present to past tense. Right now I've just got out of the shower and we are going to have dinner in two hours. We are having a bit of a Christmas party tonight which should be great fun! I can't believe that I am in Australia though and sat in a dorm with a blanket wrapped around me and a warm cup of coffee! It's supposed to be hot here!! Fingers crossed it will be up the east coast J
Well last night was a great night! After writing the last part we got ready for dinner and went down to the restaurant. It was really nice; true ski chalet style with Christmas decorations up. We were the only group in there for a while until another load of people came and sat at the long table behind us. I spoke to one of them and it turned out they were a swimming team who were training and the Olympic sized pool which was over the road.
It took such a long time to get the food ready and I was so hungry since we had lunch at 11.30 and it was now around 7! It didn't help that the other group of people all had their food before us and it looked really good. I kept turning round and looking at it, I just hope no one saw me because I must have looked so desperate for food. When it finally was ready we went up and were served like canteen style but they gave us a really good portion. It was some sort of Pasta Carbonara and chips with salad. Was sooo nice, especially after waiting that long.
After dinner we were all given a free sample of the locally produced Schnapps. I was expecting just to be given a glass of it but they had a game called Schnapps Ski where you had a ski with 4 holes in it to put the shot glasses and four people had to stand in a row with their hands behind their backs whilst two people holding the ski at each end tipped it into their mouths. Was such a laugh! They tried to get me to go with the first group but I couldn't because they were all loads taller than me.
After doing that we head up to the room to grab the box of goon we had got between us all and then went over to Cams room since there was a lot more room in there. We were still sat with our blankets on and I was huddled by the radiator. The night really just involved drinking games like I Have Never and Fives. Not that we could drink too much though as we were on short rations with the alcohol side. It was a great night though with the music playing and all getting to know each other.
This morning we got a lie in as we didn't need to leave until 8!! It was such a luxury. Breakfast was cereals, toast and pancakes which were lush. I was clever and made myself a jam sandwich to take with me for my lunch by wrapping it up in the finished bread wrapper. First stop after leaving was up the road a little way to stop and play in the snow! I can't believe that I am in Australia and I have been playing in snow! I wanted a picture of me in my shorts, strappy top and flip flops with the sunnies on standing in the snow. I literally whipped my jacket off ran over did a pose and ran back to grab my jacket.
It was so strange being in the snow; it actually got us all in a really festive spirit so all the way down the mountain we were playing the Christmas tunes on the bus and having a sing along. It was so nice but as soon as the snow had gone away we changed them back to the normal music of everyday life. It's not quite the same listening to that sort of music in the sunshine.
We had a good three hour drive to Canberra then. It's strange how the journeys here are so long but they don't seem it at all. In Canberra we had a quick look at Parliament house and then went over to spend a couple of hours in the Museum. We only whipped around the place really because I was just too tired to take any of the information in, but we did go in a radio booth and Suzanne recordedher own weather report and then we went in a revolving cinema which was quite interesting. It had a film about the history basically of Australia from the Aborigines to when the white people took over and the wars and the introduction of the TV to the 21st century. It wasn't so much a film though rather just a summary of it all.
We still had some time until our allotted amount of time had run out so we went for a wonder around the lake even though it was so windy! Thankfully that killed a bit of time and we then left to go to the city centre to get some lunch. We discovered that it is extremely hard to find a small corner shop or newsagents in Canberra. My theory is that everyone is so rich that they eat out all the time or have food delivered to their house. I had a salad in the end in the food court which was really nice. Just to have something healthy felt so good.
After leaving Canberra we began the 3 hour trip to Sydney. Along the way we stopped off at a petrol station which had a giant sheep statue outside. One of the many giant statues across Australia apparently. In the bus I tried to work out basically how long I have in Australia to do the East Coast. I think it will be about 1 month which is going to be fairly rushed which is a shame but I will be able to do everything just abouts. It's just annoying that I can't have any chill out days really but I'm sure it will work out fine. I am going to look into it properly later on as we are going to find wireless internet somewhere in Sydney and organise things. Thinking about the next two weeks in Sydney, even though we are there for a long time, I think it is going to be very busy and really good J I can't wait!
This weekend has been such good fun. Met a load more great people who I will keep in contact with as much as possible hopefully. Got a place at University, got a job for the summer, done a few treks, seen Canberra, drank some Goon, played on the beach one morning, played in the snow the next. All I can say is wow…Australia is amazing!