Mar 7th, 2012
Driving back from Great Ocean Road to Melbourne took a lot of patience.
We had to concentrate as city driving has certain obstacles being from Saskatchewan wouldn’t be familiar with. Example: Hook Turn – Because of the tram system in Melbourne, auto drivers must make a right turn by moving into the furthest left lane and driving forth.
Always keeping in mind they must turn into the left lane. Sound complicated? Tell me about it. I’ve never been so happy to drop off a rental car in my life. Melbourne is a dangerous place to be for shoppers like myself. A girl could do some damage buying an entire store filled with shoes, clothes, jewelry and more. The weather here is much cooler and I can feel my tan begin to fade. As they move into their fall months, the temperature begins to drop. I need more sun quickly!!!
Mar 5th, 2012
Yesterday we flew to the beautiful city of Melbourne. Here we will be staying with friends but today we drove the Great Ocean Road. Easily the most scenic drive of my life! The roads are thrilling with gorgeous vistas around every corner. We rented a small vehicle for the day and I’m glad we opted for something smaller because those roads can be quite narrow. We made it from Torquay (beginning of the stretch) to The Twelve Apostles.
The rock formations are stunning in person and I’m so glad we made it out there. Tonight we are staying at the Sandpiper Resort, a charming boutique style hotel located in Apollo Bay. After a long drive, we could use some R&R.
Mar 2nd, 2012
We made the drive down south to Byron Bay today. This might be my favorite area so far! The small beach town is a happy mixture of tourists and locals. Byron is the most eastern point in Australia and seems to be a great getaway for nearby Aussies from Brisbane and other big centers.
We spent the day walking around in the hot sun and discovering hidden beaches, excellent shopping and finally some affordable restaurants. The town area is not that big so it is very easy to get around. We met up with other Canadian friends who were traveling and hit the town for some cocktails and laughs. We were told that “The Balcony” was a great place to start the night with some Thai iced teas and kiwi martinis to compliment our delicious tapas. The Balcony is in a great location, right in the center of it all. Later that evening, we made our way to “The Cheeky Monkey”, a nightclub near our hotel. The music was loud, it smelt funny and it was filled with too many people. Just proves to me again that I’m too old for this. Sigh!
Mar 1st, 2012
One of the great features of Hervey Bay is that you are just a ferry ride away from Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world.
We rented a 4×4 and cruised over by barge with our new ride for a day trip. Our day flew by with amazing, challenging trails and unbelievable sights. Driving on the beach with the water 20 feet away is something else. We also visited the beached shipwreck of the Maheno which has been on the east side of the island since 1935.
The highlight for me was Lake Mackenzie, a large freshwater lake in the middle of the island. There, we swam in warm crystal clear water. It was so clean you could almost drink it. Looking for dingoes was a bust. Apparently, they aren’t the friendliest so maybe it’s for the best. Unfortunately, I threw my neck out and may need to be referred to a chiropractor from all the off-roading, I wouldn’t change a thing though.
Feb 28th, 2012
We were off to an early start today because we are off to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. We hopped on another Jetstar plane for a two-hour flight from Cairns to “Brissie”. Once reaching “Brissie”, we grabbed our car for our four-hour drive to Hervey Bay. Driving on the left is nerve racking for me and I’m only a passenger! The vistas are incredible with unusual looking trees and wildlife all over. One thing we have noticed is the laid-back nature of the people of Queensland. Everyone is very friendly and accommodating. Surprisingly, nobody wears shoes! Gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants are filled with shoe hating Aussies. Once we reached Hervey Bay, we were spent. Thankfully, we have the next two days to bask in the sun at the beautiful Hotel Santalina. My new “home away from home”…
Feb 27th, 2012
I woke up excited about our trip today to the Great Barrier Reef! It’s not every day you get to visit the world’s largest living organism. We had booked our excursion back home with Viator. We decided to combine our snorkel with a visit to Green Island, one of the many beautiful islands within Great Barrier. Our boat ride over there took about 45 minutes on what may have been the roughest seas my poor stomach has ever had to endure. Thank goodness for Gravol because I was able to keep my breakfast down! Arriving at the island, we quickly set up shop on the beach. We decided to take the Lycra suits that were highly recommended by the crew. Jellyfish stings are on the rise at this time of year so it never hurts to be careful. We jumped into the warm water to find the best snorkelling we’ve ever experienced! The pockets of coral, fish and colors are indescribable. I can’t believe the amazing things we saw. Green Island is a haven for those looking for some peace and quiet. There is a small resort here for people who want to spend a few days. We packed a picnic lunch as prices on food are quite high. I think food prices here are even higher than in Europe. All in all, another great day!
Feb 26th, 2012
Today we flew to Cairns in Northern Australia. This is my first time using Jetstar Airlines. I was worried about the overall experience because their fares are so cheap, but I was pleasantly surprised. We rented a car and had a day exploring the northern coast. Cairns and the surrounding areas are very humid and it feels like we are in a tropical jungle. Everything is so lush and green.
We first visited Ellis Beach where we had the area to ourselves. You couldn’t see another person in sight for miles of shoreline. The UV rays are very high so we have to be careful about burning. It’s such an intense heat here. Next, we did some cable wake boarding using a cable line. None of us had seen that before. The boys are awfully sore but for $39 AUD each they are happy they tried it.
Next, we made it to an animal sanctuary in Port Douglas, just 50 km away from Cairns. There we got to feed kangaroos! It was amazing. I was very nervous at first because it’s a big open area with about 50 kangaroos and tons of birds. It took me a while to get comfortable but what a truly Australian experience!
Feb 25th, 2012
After a long journey, I’ve finally made it “down unda”. I am so glad we went direct from Vancouver because the flight was painfully long. We quickly hopped in a cab and started our trip to the busy, yet beautiful, Bondi Beach. It almost reminds me of Waikiki beach with all the shopping, restaurants and bars. It is very commercialized but appeals to the young with plenty of hipsters and surfers looking to relax.
We stayed just across the street at Hotel Bondi; a grungy little hotel with what might possibly be the best location on Bondi Beach. The beach is powdery white sand and there is plenty of room for the thousands of people who spend their Saturday’s lazing around. It is so beautiful here and I’m excited to come back at the end of the trip to explore the rest of Sydney.