This is my last blog entry, and subsequently my last day of travelling. I begin my flight home at 1am tonight (tomorrow morning). I'm not going to lie, I've never felt so torn before: a huge part of me is dying to pack up my rucksack and head off to Asia in search of a job, money and some more adventures or even go to Sydney and up to Cairns via Fraser Island in Australia and continue to postpone going home. However, I am so excited about going home and seeing everyone again, and Nick's smiley face at station on Saturday!
My two weeks in Oz were really chilled and special.
As I was flying quite low over Adelaide(?) it hit me how incredibly Australia is. I had been so desperate to revisit the beautiful New Zealand and I really should have taken more time to do an Australian experience because the country is just MASSIVELY EPIC. It took five hours on a plane from Sydney to Perth. I am so curious to come back here and travel north from Perth to Exmouth and into Alice Springs etc... I NEED TO COME BACK (note to self).
When I arrived in Perth Ronny and Clare (friends of the parents) met me at the airport and drove me to their sun trapped, swanky penthouse apartment overlooking Swan River. It was really great to see the lifestyle that they'd set up in Perth and as per usual Demi and I instantly clicked and became best buddieeees for the ten days I spend with them. Demi works full-time at an australian Master Chef restaurant on St George's Terrace and catches a ferry to work every morning. We made the most of her first day off with a 'traditional' visit to Perth Zoo where we saw the Kangaroos, Wallabies, Kuala bears, Tasmanian Devils and Sea Crocodiles.
One of my favourite parts of my visit to Perth, as recommended by uncle Geoff, was the variety of outdoor 50m pools to swim in. No wonder Australians can swim! I managed to visit two on my trip. It was so nice swimming at dusk in Coolbinia in the pool, it made me wish for more pools near my house in Scotland! I also loved the exercise culture in (Perth) Australia. My old boss Gary at Newlife Fitness Club told me that a major inspiration for building the club came from his stay in Oz and the abundance of small gyms, cycle/running paths and exercise equipment. Most days I would go for a run along the river in search of the Swan River dolphins, which i saw! On your run you'd meet at least 60-70 other keen sportsmen out cycling and running along the paths by the river and, unlike in Scotland, I felt normal, rather than abnormal, exercising!!
Demi and I had a few nights out: one where we ended up about an hour from Perth at her colleagues flat drinking fruit cider and playing card games until about 4am; and another where we popped in on my friend from Queenstown, Scotty's birthday and rodeo themed flat warming party, which was...errrr...Australian?
A highlight from my stay with the Lardner's was our day trip to Rottnest Island. Rottnest in situated 19km off the coast of Fremantle and is home to small coral reefs, over 20 white sand beaches and Quockas (small marsupial kangaroo things native to Rottnest). Due to it being winter (23degrees), and a major shark ridden area, we didn't go snorkelling. Instead, we hired bikes and cycled around the whole island stopping off to sunbathe in a few of the tiny secluded bays. It was just gorgeous!
THE BEST PART OF MY OZ STAY and possibly of my whole trip (excluding Queenstown ;) ) was my skydive. It was a nail biting 14,000ft skydive with a 60second free fall. If anyone hasn't done a skydive and has it 'on the bucket list'...DO IT NOW YOU MORON! It was honestly the best thing I've ever done. My guide was called 'Dodgy Tommo' and he videoed my entire jump (which I will put on Facebook on a rainy day when I'm home and sad, because it's hilarious). Demi and I jumped into a very rickety cardboard-like plane with 11 other divers and we ascended to 14,000ft. I was strapped so tightly to Tommo that I could feel 'everything' which was slightly unnerving even without jumping out of a plane!
I can't remember much about the experience to be honest...I remember the red light in the plane going off and putting my sexy goggles on and one by one the divers excited the plane. The free fall was mental. The thing that I was most aware of was that I couldn't breathe...watching the video back I appear to be a fish giving birth. If I could explain the feeling to you of jumping out a plane it would go like this: imagine jumping out a plane, that's what it felt like. Clouds flew upwards, the earth spun beneath us and my, albeit very correct and professional free falling position, unlike Demi's impersonation of a stiff log-shaped dead person, ripped my arms from my sockets as we plummeted. It's the most alive I think I've ever felt. If you don't want to feel alive, a simple parachute cruise would be the option for you....BORING!
The last four days of my stay I was welcomed with open arms by my crazy Australian cousins into their home. They have a rainbow lorikeet, a poodle, 1000 mango trees in the garden, two house chickens, three love birds and meal worms. I hadn't seen them in right years and I was hit by a feeling of sadness that we (the other twelve cousins) don't live closer to them.
Day one Felice (20) and Isaac (17) and I spent the day at the Serpentine Dam with my Great Uncle David, and were joined later on by the other two kids and David and Fran (my honorary aunt and uncle) and we had a fantastic roast dinner and played scrabble and Cluedo. TOP FAMILY FUN. :)
Day two we had a visit to (AQWA) Aquarium of Western Australia to see the famous great white sharks up close and personal...Shark phobia Demi had a ball!
My time in Australia was more like a nice holiday at the end of all the bedbugs, noodles and recycled underwear travels in NZ and it was so relaxing (minus sharks and skydives).
Can't wait to see you all in 2 days time.
Love Nadia x