Brisbane is a cool city, the first place since we have travelled that we reckon we could live. we went for a jog one evening along the river and the skyline is amazing, although a huge bat nearly flew into us while we were admiring it!! However the highlight of brisbane for neal was the XXXX brewery!! we went a long for a tour and bumped into some random journalist who interviewed us and took our pic for the Brisbane Times and then enjoyed an awesome tour and tasting session (the former XXX beer was excellent!).
After quite a good night out in Brisbane we set off to Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, it is a glorified mix between Florida and Blackpool, which was a nice change from the remooteness of the rest of Queensland. we stayed in a BRILLIANT hostel and explored the city before rtelaxing on the beach on the first day. the next day we went on an organised pub crawl which was mental to say the least, met a few cool people and got back to the hotel ridiculously late/early in the morning! The next day, hungover, we could only really enjoy crazy golf, which caroline destroyed neal at (again!!) before setting off to Byron Bay (the home of Paul Hogan/Crocodile Dundee!)
Byron is gorgeous but our hostel was dubious to say the least. we slept in a glorified wagon next door to an oversized teepee! it was all abit too hippy for us really! the first day we went to the lush beach, enjoying the fact that stinger suits were no longer needed! we then walked along the beach to Captain Cook's lookout and then on to Byron's lighthouse, the furthest East point of Australia's mainland. And, after complaining about it Caroline spotted some wild dolphins at the bottom of the cliff! The next day we travelled to Nimbin (the hippy capital of Australia). We weren't really impressed as the town is full of weirdo's who have had a long life of drug abuse and currenlty share two active braincells between them all and the fact that the police had shut down the two main vistor attractions in the town; the museum and the hemp embassy didn't help.... that night we had a quality night out with our dorm mates at Cheeky Monkey's and bumped into a few other people we have met down the east coast.
The next day we were up too early and too hungover to travel to Surf Camp. we had a big lesson in the afternoon and both of us stood on our board at least 5 separate times which was class. When Caroline first stood up she was so excited, that while shouting to get neal's attention she fell off with mouth wide open and swallowed the majority of the water in the Pacific Ocean!
The next day we departed surf camp for sydney, which was really exciting (so exciting that caroline left a bag of toiletries on the bus!). After settling ourselves in at our hostel we went for a run to the botanical gardens, and got awesome views of the harbour bridge and opera house at sunset and then were treated to the flying fox migration over the city at dusk (and it felt like we were in gotham city (batman) not sydney). The next day we did the tourist viewings of the opera house and the harbour bridge, of which neal climbed the pillar (only the pillar as it costs $8, whereas the bridge itslef costs $180 to climb!)... this was amazing and he got great views of the whole city! we then had a wander around the rocks (the old part of sydney) and did a bit of shopping, replacing those lost toiletries! before having a bbq and hitting Sydney's red light district- King's Cross. We had a great night out and enjoyed an awesome/dubious club called the Moulin Rouge!! The next day we went to Bondi Beach and enjoyed some AWESOME weather in sydney, then got free dinner at the Gaff and went to some odd /gay bars on oxford street and had another quality night! on our final day in sydney we got up too ealry (as we weren't aware that the clocks had gone back!!) and went to the botancial gardens for australia's first RedBull FlugTag, which was brillaint (Google it if you are confused!), and we bumped into one of the girls we were with in Africa. then we went out on the harbour ferry to manly and went to the beach there.
The next day we left Sydney, which we had both enjoyed A LOT and set off on our three day trip to Melbourne. we went to Canberra on the first day, which is a very odd, sterile place and seemed quite boring, went to an awful museum but had a quality tour of the Houses of Parliament, which are just a total mix of the UK and US equivalents! that night we stayed in a nice motel and had a banter filled night of table tennis! The next day we got up too early again and went for a 10km walk to a gorgeous glacial lake next to Australia's biggest mountian, Mt.Kozcioscko (i think that is how to spell it!!!)... it is quite strange going from beach and sun to snow within 36 hours! had a quality bbq lunch before travelling on the worst road since Africa into Victoria. saw a number of small forest fires and towns with single figure populatios beofre arriving at australia's southern coast and enjoying a beach party. the final day we got up far too early again and visited Wilson's Pormontery National Park and Australia mainland's most Southern point. the national park was gorgeous and we went to some great vierw points and walked along a beach with sand so pure it squeaked when you walked on it, hence its name- Squeaky Beach! it was here that neal realised he had given the wrong date to meet andy stewart in Melbourne and we had a little panic as we could not find a phone! However, andy was a legend and met us in Melbourne and was fine about us being 24hours early! so we arrived into melbourne and got pizza!
The first day in Melbourne we just did our washing and caught up on a number of jobs and took advantage of the running track at the back of Andy's house! the next day we went into the city to some of the sight and lots of the shops and very randomly bumped into Clodagh and Lauren from our africa trip. Lauren gave us a full detailed run down of Melboune's bars and in turn we had an awesome night out. the following day we recovered from hangover's thanks to an excellent fry up courtesy of andy then went to meet his two kids- caroline went shopping with his daughter and neal enjoyed an afternoon of Aussie Rules at the Monsterous MCG stadium. He was glad that ANdy's team the North Melbourne Kangaroo's destropyed the Melbourne Demons! then we all went for a gorgeous curry- YUM!!!
Today we visited Melbourne's sea-side suburb- St. Kilda, which was cool. we also went on the hunt for Ramsey Street which we later found out was in the suburb next to andy's! and then we went to the airport in preparation for fiji (!!!!!!) having had a wicked time at andy's in Melbourne!
Australia, was excellent, we zoomed through it fast and saw everything we wanted to. the only complaints were that it is too expensive (more so than the UK!) and that we did not see one can/pint of fosters- it is a scam that it is soo big in uk- Australia's biggest beer... whatever!! haha... bring on fiji. we hope you are all well....