Hi Everyone, I'm in Airlie Beach in northern Queensland and am still swaying after spending three days on a sailing yacht. Dry land just doesn't move right! I'm a long way behind and so will do my best to fill in the gaps from my last entry in Melbourne up until now. I'm currently racing to fit in as much as possible in north queensland before flying to New Zealand on Tuesday (02 Sept). I didn't appreciate the distances involved in traveling up the east coast, and am jumping on an overnight bus to Cairns this evening to make up some time.
From Melbourne I flew up to Sydney and was treated with a window seat which proved useful because the final apporach into the city gave a perfect view of the city centre and the Harbour Bridge. This was to be my first hostel stay so I wasn't sure what to expect. All was well and I got settled into the Woodduck Harbour City Backpackers and got to know my room mates, Bavo and Tom, a couple of Dutch guys. Bavo had lived and worked in Sydney so knew loads of places to go and see. I stashed my stuff and hit the streets to take in the harbour and other central sights. As with most places I visit it took most of my time there to register that I was in fact on the oppositte side of the world looking at the opera house and the Harbour bridge. The hostel organised plenty of activities for the evenings with different pubs and areas to check out. On the first night we went to a few pubs and I met a load of people who were long termers (living and working) and they told me that because it was winter the town and particularly the backpacker scene was dead in the south, but busy in the north towards Cairns. This I didn't know but despite the lack of people (the hostel was less than a quarter full) I made the most of it and had a good time. I had four days in Sydney in total and saw many of the central sights, including a trip up the Sydney tower, a visit to the Austalian and Sydney museums, and some strolling around the city centre. I know it's a contentius issue but I really felt that Sydney lacked the atmosphere that's so apparent in Melbourne, it just felt a little sterile. The hightlight of the whole stay in Sydney was the ferry trip to Manly Beach, and hanging on the beach reading and writing in my journal. It was a beautiful sunny day and I think it was a that moment that I finally settled into the idea of travelling. I also realised that the time I had away from work and the opportunity to travel was actually over quite a short time.
The evenings out were pretty cool, except for one god aweful night in a really cheesy bar called the Gaff. My favourite night out was also my last night in Sydney. I went on a quick pub crawl with Clare, Bavo, Tom and others, and then piled into the World Bar for a cracking Indie night. I've never had so many free drinks in my life!
The plane ride to Brisbane was a little painful because of the success of the evening before but I grudgingly packed my bag again and got on the train. An hour later and I was halfway up the east coast in Brisbane. The train conductor from the airport was really drunk and so the train left 10 minutes early and then had to turn round and go back again! In Brisbane I was going to be staying with Abbi but there was a bit of a panic when her mobile wouldn't accept calls form any payphones. I jumped into an internet cafe and sent her a message on facebook and waited at the assigned meeting point anxiously. Abbi truned up and we were soon having some beers in a friendly pub on Elizabeth Street.
I've run out of time unfortunately so will continue with Brisbane, Byron Bay, Frasier Island, and the Whitsundays next time.
All the Best