Day 92 and the start of 2009. After the hectic goings-on of yesterday, we all slept well and didn't get up till about 11-12. The Bunk that me and Coops were sharing is a creaky one and it was at its worst. Luke was first up and a little worse for wear, but seemed ok. He had a kebab late last night and was feeling the effects in the morning. After showering, we all met the Dans out front of the hostel and headed to the bus stop. We were heading to Bronte Beach. The bus ride took about an hour as there were loads of people heading for the beach as the sun was out and it was mega hot. Once we got to Bronte, we got some food which took an age also. Fish and Chips for lunch was awesome, but there was so much that some of the others couldn't finish. About 2pm we were on the beach, which was much smaller than the others beaches we had been to (Bondi, Coogee, Manly) but still good none the less. It was pretty windy so sunbathing was actually a bit of a chore as the sand was blowing everywhere. Soon us 5 lads decided to head for the water. The waves were pretty good, and the Dans seemed to enjoy their first taste of the Auzzie surf. After the sea, we headed back to chill out and read etc. I fell asleep at this point and apparently dribbled which led to the others taking photos of me. About 5-6pm we got the bus back to Hyde Park and then walked back to the hostel. At this point we split up from the Dans as they were going to go out and get some food of their own, while we went to Coles to buy dinner, Coops and Helen would be cooking us Tacos. The cooking process took ages as the hobs were awful. Whilst the girls were cooking their appeared to be some lads in the kitchen doing drinking games which involved rules about getting naked and running around the corridors, which wasn't the nicest thing to walk out into. After dinner we sat around and chilled out as we were all pretty tired still. We had agreed with the Dans to go to the Sydney Opera House in the morning and then to Bondi beach.
Day 93 and we heard the alarms go off at 830ish but no one seemed to get up. We napped a bit longer then realised how late we were so hurried up and rushed down to the harbour. On the way Dan Fraser text us to say they had got bored of waiting and had gone for some breakfast, which meant that when we got to the Opera House, we were waiting for the Dans. A taste of our own medicine. Eventually by about 11ish, we met with them and booked ourselves onto the tour of the Opera House. The guide we had was very good and the building itself was immense. I could vaguely remember doing the same tour about 13 years ago when I was on Holiday in Australia. The views from the top of the building over the harbour were worth the entry fee alone. After the tour we headed for the bus stop, but on the way, you guessed it, got one of our customary pies. This was also the Dans first taste of them and I think they seemed to enjoy it. The bus to Bondi, like the one to Bronte, took ages. Just over an hour and by the time we got there it was about 2pm. We set our towels down in the raging wind with Helen suggesting that it wasn't the best beach weather. After a while, me Burns and Dan Wall decided to test the water and we did so with a Hoff style sprint into the freezing water. The weather was slightly overcast so there was no direct sunlight to warm us. The waves were as always epic and very strong. After the sea we had our lunch (Roast Pork rolls) and got the bus back to the city. We got seperated onto 2 buses, and I was at the front of one and all I could hear above everyone else was Helen and Laura chatting away about clothes and all sorts of other girly stuff. I never realised how loud they were. Dan Wall was stuck near to them and looked bored big time. Back at the hostel we cooked dinner which was burgers and onions. The girls came back from showering to tell us that they had got chatting to a girl in the toilets called Anna who was going out later and that we should to. The Dans arrived about 9ish and we did some drinking games in the room, which Helen and Laura were both bad at. We had been told not to wear flip flops out as we wouldn't get in so we all wore trainers and trousers. We ended up in The Star Bar where we played the Chug Dice drinking game which didn't actually make any sense, but we all got a bit drunk. After some embarrassing dancing by all, the girls headed home early and us guys staggered to a 24 hour kebab house. I even asked the man working there "how many hours do you work?" He said, "20". None of us believed him but none the less we got a kebab which was amazing. Burns claimed it was the best he had ever had! The Dans walked back to their hostel and we headed back and went to sleep.
Day 94 and while Luke, Laura and Helen could sleep in, Burns and I were up at 830 as we had tickets to the first days play at the SCG between Australia and South Africa. We had prepacked some crisps, Whiskey mixed with coke and plenty of water. Our bus left Central at 9 but we didn't get to the SCG until about 10 as the traffic was mental. We found our seats in the newly built Victor Trumper stand which had an excellent view. We were in line with point for all of you with cricketing knowledge. It wasn't overly sunny but was still very hot and humid. In our free gift pack we got some sun cream, which I used, and a paper which was perfect for a day at the cricket. Australia won the toss and decided to bat which the locals were pleased with. Burns and I opened the coke and started the drinking. The atmosphere was excellent and some of the crowd were already rather rowdy. We bought a TV commentary radio which Burns used first to try and understand the cricketing laws more. Throughout the day there were several beers towers created with all the plastic cups which got loud cheers and applause from all around. There were also numerous Mexican waves which were very distracting from the play. At lunch we both had some pies from the bar and the coke kept flowing. As the day wore on the stewards were getting more and more aggressive with any drunk behaviour and even ejected a few who could barely stand. These people got standing ovations from the crowd. The Auzzies also had a thing for beach balls which were flying all about the ground with people volleying them. When the ball went onto the pitch, the person who did it got slated with chants and boos, really rather funny. As the day drew to a close the Auzzies made 269-6 and the beer towers, Mexican waves and beach balls were in full use. We left the ground at 6ish and got the back to hostel via bus by about 7. The others were already there with the Dans as they had been doing odd things during the day. Me and Burns both felt exhausted and a bit ill if anything (We think it was the Whiskey). As we both fell asleep about 8, the other headed out to see the film 'Australia'. When they returned the girls said it was awful, but I listened to the guys opinion who informed me that it was the one of the worst films they had seen. Tonight was our last night in the Maze hostel which we had been in for 11-12 nights. Everyone packed their bags and we were ready for a bus tmoro afternoon to Newcastle, about 2 hours north of Sydney.
Day 95 was our last morning in Sydney. We were all up and showered by 930 and headed to reception where we were met by a mammoth queue which even went up the stairs. After 20 minutes of queueing and then leaving our bags in a downstairs toilet which had been converted to a store room, we all split up for the morning as our Greyhound bus didn't leave until 215pm. I went to an internet cafe and then walked back via the park. The girls walked to Darling harbour and some shops, and the guys went to the Apple Mac shop to pikey some internet. After meeting at 1pm we went to Central station where our bus left for Newcastle. After a 2 hour journey we arrived in sunny Newcastle with no immediate accommodation sorted. The Dans were also in Newcastle after getting a train from Sydney. After walking past several pubs and asking without any success whether they had any rooms, we found the information centre shut (no surprise 6pm on a Sunday). Luke and I walked for about 30 mins looking and eventually found the Bimet Executive lodge. It was pretty pricey but had rooms available. We figured if the Dans were staying, we could get 2 double rooms and cram all 7 of us into both. We met with the others and they agreed to our cunning plan. 4 of us checked in to start with and then 30 minutes later, Dan, Dan and Burns snuck in we all dumped our bags. The rooms were massive and nothing a backpacker should be staying in (unless you split the room between 7 and save a fair bit). We watched TV and generally did nothing, and after a full episode of Look Around You the girls had enough of it and went to get some food. They came back 45 mins later with Chinese takeaway for 7, which was loads. After watching some more telly, eventually people headed to bed. Helen, Luke and I went on the Internet near reception to book some greyhound bus tickets and some accommodation for Coffs Harbour. About 1am we got to bed hoping to find some cheaper accommodation for Newcastle.
Day 96 and after an uncomfortable nights sleep me Helen and Burns were up and ready to leave the Bimet Lodge by 930. The Dans left before this as they would be going their own way onto the Hunter Valley. At the information centre we confirmed with a local lodge that there was a room for 4 people available and we would be making our way there (we would sneak the 5th person in). After a 30 minute wait we got a bus to Mayfield, about 20 minutes outside Newcastle. At the Hanbury Lodge Luke phoned the owner who gave us a series of instructions to get into the lodge. Once on the phone we had to walk round the back of the building, type in a code for a safe, then pick on of the several keys to then use in the door, to get into the building. Once in room 3 we settled all our bags down and had a bit of a chat as we needed to work out where we would be going in the coming days. The other 4 wanted to do a one day tour of the Hunter Valley, but I wasn't to keen so they booked that for tmoro morning. We walked into town and to the local Woolworths where we bought dinner, Lasagne. Once back in the room, we sat in the back garden area and read some of the lonely planet trying to work out where to stay. After about 30 minutes we all agreed that it was to hot so we went to the room where I had a doze along with Helen (think the others watched Finding Nemo). After the nap, we had the Lasagne, which was a banquet, with salad, and home made garlic bread. Dinner was so filling we all lay about not really in the mood to do anything. Burns changed this by suggesting beer, so we went to Woolies again where the other 4 bought lunch for tmoro and we also got some beers in. We sat in the room and played scrabble, and eventually went to bed about 1130ish.