Overview – Australia 2010

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Apparently, Qantas and Air Canada have some sort of agreement where you can connect with one another allowing our checked baggage to transit through to our next flight although they are not connecting flights in one ticket purchase.

My observations of Australia:

-Cairns is pronounced “caines”

-Brisbane is prounounced “brisbeen”

-Melbourne is pronounced “melbin”

-Shell gas station is called Coles here

-Sportsgirl is like Zara but less variety and more expensive

-Woolsworth is the main supermarket chain here

-It’s weird but no matter what eye colour or hair colour the parents, majority of the kids, babies I’ve seen here are blond hair, blue-eyed

-Tons of tall people everywhere

-Ugg boots are ugly anywhere; what’s worse, a guy sporting ankle high ugg boots with shorts

-There are 8 digits for landlines and 10 digits for mobile in Australia while in New Zealand there are no area codes and only 7 digits

-The ambulance doesn’t have backwards letter to see forwards in mirrors; they spell things differently as in cheep instead of cheap, yoghurt instead of yogurt and tyres instead of tires

-Different laws for parameters of a koala depending on state – the more north – Cairns – you are allowed to carry a koala (they are much smaller); Melbourne – you must stay 10 meters away at all times – touch a koala and get fined and potentially injured

-They use tons of roundabouts instead of traffic lights

-They paint LOOK on the ground before crossing the street for safety

 

Sydney

– Sydney reminds me of Toronto but has a better balance of city / nature.

-There is a huge population of Cantonese speaking people in Sydney & Melbourne.

-When people speak cantonese, they lose their accent (sound like normal canto I hear back home and on television) but once they start speaking in english – aussie accent. Not all the time though (I have heard someone with a really thick aussie accent speaking canto and it was interesting)

-Very easy to get around using public transit.

 

Cairns

-Huge population of Japanese in Cairns

-Cairns is tropical and HUMID

-O Zone layer is very thin – Apply and re-apply sunscreen

 

Melbourne

-Melbourne looks like downtown Toronto

-Melbourne also experiences all 4 seasons in the span of 1 day

-Free inter-city tram

-Federation Square – FREE WIFI!

 

 

 

  • – I could picture myself living in Australia one day

 

 

 

Melbourne, Australia – Auckland, New Zealand 2010 – Day 12

05/06/10

Since we did 2 full day tours in Melbourne, we weren’t able to really get a chance to see the town. I for one wanted to see Flinders Station and Federation Square and Chinatown area. We decided to get a late flight to Auckland so that we could explore. We took the tram – it runs on a honour system. You purchase your tickets on the back of the bus from a coin machine as the driver is sitting in a box and doesn’t interact with you. The trams run quite frequently. We made our way to Queen Victoria Market which is very similar to Toronto’s St Lawrence Market including a similar looking building albeit white instead of our burgundy one outside. We had a quick bite before we scurried past Chinatown and took to the main touristy streets I suppose. Did you know Federation Square is Australia’s largest free wifi hotspot or that Flinders Station is their Union Station as the central hub for transport. As I was taking a panoramic, a group of school kids with bright orange hats were crossing by and this little boy made my day. He basically saw me and had walked along with his class but then he turned back and walked back towards me and said hello! than ran back to his classmates. We didn’t have enough time to go shopping nor go through the National Gallery of Victoria (180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3006) (mind you the gift shop was lovely) but we we’re able to stop by San Churro Chocolateria (Shop LTL 255, QV Centre/Swanston Street) – basically gourmet chocolate churros and other chocolate products. I got a raspberry rumba which is a white chocolate shake with raspberry topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

We noticed the time and were running a tad late in returning to our hostel to catch the shuttle. We hopped on a tram but apparently the wrong one, hopped off and got back to the hostel right on time. We got to the airport about 4-430PM and our flight was at 605PM. We got to the Qantas check-in counter for our flight from Melbourne to Auckland and the lady asked to see our boarding pass out of New Zealand; having only booked a one way to New Zealand, we had to go purchase another ticket before we could even check in. Our minds weren’t clicking before that we were flying internationally meaning to another country so we didn’t think we needed to book a flight out. Anyways, we wanted to fly from Rotorua back to Sydney and stay a day with uncle Ronald and auntie Maisie but apparently the visa we had trouble getting before departing toronto (the ETA) is only valid for a single entry only so once you leave the country, you cannot come back in unless you reapply off of Australian soil overseas.

So this put us in a predicament as our international flight home was in Sydney. There were 2 plans that we looked into with the helpful people at Flight Centre, the first being – fly home from Auckland (cost double the price of our existing flight home = no good), 2- book a ticket to Fiji and show that to get us approved for our Auckland flight (which was almost ready to depart) and once we get through, cancel the ticket and reapply for Australian visa once we landed and book a ticket back to Sydney. So for a split second we purchased a ticket to Fiji. As we purchased that ticket, we went back to the check-in desk and the manager of the check-in  desk with the Qantas team had told us since we have proof of our returning home flight that all we need to do is purchase a ticket back to Sydney but we would not be able to leave the international terminal as we would be “transiting” to our home of origin flight thus, no need for a new visa. Andrew ran back to change the ticket while I waited at the gate. We were indeed the last ones checked in but luckly not the last ones to board as we cleared security quickly. Apparently, Qantas and Air Canada have some sort of agreement where you can connect with one another allowing our checked baggage to transit through to our next flight although they are not connecting flights in one ticket purchase. We hopped on and flew roughly 3 and 1/2 hours and because of the time change (2+) we arrived at 11PM-12AM-ish.

We are staying Freemans Lodge which apparently is New Zealand’s #1 hostel and last year NZ’s cleaniest hostel. Once you enter, your shoes must be taken off. Did I mention free wifi the whole length of the stay. This hostel is apparently known as a B&B but there is only free tea and coffee and our twin private shared bathroom is actually a double bed in a smallish private room with a shared bathroom.

Melbourne, Australia 2010 – Day 11

05/05/10

We booked Great Oceans Road Classic Tour (125AUD) with Bunyip Tours. Same as the previous day, we hopped on a 20 seater van but we had a more interesting and animated group of people today. Our guide/driver Cameron was cool and a noted plus was that it barely rained.

We drove through Torquay, the hometown to brands such as Quiksilver and RipCurl. Bells beach is situated in this small town and holds one of the largest surf contests. We had a bunch of tourists from around the world on our tour – Germany, France, Ireland, Thailand, Japan and Korea.

Cameron told us that the great oceans road was built by the returning soldiers of WWI. Since they did not have jobs when they returned they were shown gratitude by being given this task which proved to be difficult and actually take some more lives, adding to the many already lost in the war. The roads are windy and have a beautiful view the whole way. So clear that we saw multiple rainbows.

Our next stop was Split Point Lighthouse which was a location for an old comedy that aired in Canada. We stopped at a koala park where there are wild koalas unlike the ones I had seen earlier on this trip. Cameron reiterated the rules that are in place in different states in regard to Koalas. In Queensland, you can do whatever you like to them (as in hold them, take a photo with them) but in Victoria, you are not allowed to touch one or you will be fined. The reason being, the koalas in Cairns are in the humidity and much smaller (anorexic let’s say) while in Victoria, the climate is much cooler (giving them the ability to be full weight and larger – plump). Cameron told us some stories of animal accidents that took place involving koalas and others with kangaroos. A girl on one of the tours came to Australia with her mind set on cuddling a koala, but being disappointed that the first ones she saw were up in the trees too far to hug. On her way to the toilet she spotted a koala sleeping on low tree and just had to get her hug! She ran up to it and tried to pry it off of the tree to no avail. Managing to wake the male koala, it held out an arm and she saw it is an invitation and ran in… Only to receive a nice big slash in the cheek 75mm deep.

Our next destination was to Loch Ard Gorge that I must say is one of my favourite locations of this trip. It is located in the Port Campbell National Park. There were 3 paths you could walk to and view view beautiful rocks. This rock formation is named after a shipwreck story with a romantic twist.

The Loch Ard, an iron clipper rumoured to be jinxed, set sail from Gravesend (I’m not kidding!) in Scotland in 1878 with 54 passengers and crew on board for a 3-month voyage to Melbourne. It struck Muttonbird Island near the Loch Ard Gorge. 52 people died and eight-foot high wreckage was spread across the golden sands, along with the only 4 bodies that were retrieved – and later buried in the clifftop cemetery in coffins made from piano cases! Tom survived, was recuperating in a sea cave and heard cries from the water. He valiantly dashed out into the raging sea to rescue Eva, who was clinging for dear life to a chicken coop and then a ship’s oar. large image Tom rescued Eva, they sheltered some more in the cave, drank some brandy and, unfortunately for the romantics amongst us, did not go on to live happily ever after, but went their separate ways. (link here)

We then drove over to see the 12 apostles and I must say it was stunning. I ended up running out of battery and running back to the van to get a new one but it was so amazing how all the photos turned out without even trying. Apparently the formations were named the 12 Apostles to attract tourists especially Europeans.  Before heading home, we stopped by a nearby town and had a pizza dinner at Red Rooster. Had a long day but a fun one. Met some cool people although didn’t get their names.

Melbourne, Australia 2010 – Day 9 & 10

05/03/10

Flew to Melbourne today with Virgin Blue. We flew out at 1245PM but had a connection in Sydney so the flight took an approximate of 5 hours. My last name is more easily accepted here! well at least through the kiosks and we both got through so quickly.

We landed about 10 minutes early however we didn’t leave the airport for another hour because we were searching for a green and white shuttle that is suppose to take us to our hostel which is difficult since that is all they tell you. The highway system is a mix of  toronto and LA however, they have these toll points which are similar to etr 407 and they have these light-up signs with estimated time for exits but it’s less congested than LA. The main street has various lanes and has a dedicated centre lane for their trams like our lrt/street cars. Gas here for regular is 130.1

We are staying at Habitat HQ (formally Coogee on St Kilda) which apparently isn’t a very busy part of town and food options are quite limited. We finally arrived around 8-9PM. I like it a lot. It’s a cozy environment with a huge common lobby, full kitchen, 24 hour reception with helpful people in the front.  We booked a twin private ensuite (meaning a room with 2 beds and an ensuite bathroom). This room is awesome and 10x better than our hostel in Cairns. This room features a nice bathroom, no table but a double bed and 2 single bunk beds as well as a tv, kettle and coffee maker. Depending on the night, there are hostel activities like a social BBQ or a petting zoo/ magic tricks night.
I didn’t get the guys name at the front desk but he has helped me out a lot since we got here about 4 hours ago. We had discussed about doing Stand-Up Paddle Boarding but in the end, we decided to book 2 tours through Bunyip Tours. The only thing about booking these 2 tours is that they are full day meaning we have only half a day to explore Melbourne before leaving which veto the chance for SUP at all.

The weather is different than Cairns that is for sure. It really feels like Toronto. After settling in late,  Andrew and myself walked down a street to find dinner and found ourselves walking down a very quiet suburban street that reminds me of downtown toronto – west end. There are some really nice hidden houses here. There is even a King and Queen St here!

05/04/10

We booked the Penguin Parade Ultimate Tour (139AUD) with Bunyip Tours to Philips Island. The morning started off actually cold and a little windy but from what we were told is the you experience all 4 seasons in a day here in Melbourne. We started off taking a shuttle over to the main office/ loading area on Flinders St and took a very scenic route I suppose as we picked up other tourees. We arrived at the office to pay for our tours. Although Toronto doesn’t have LTRs just yet, the system here seems to work really well. As we went through the core of downtown, it felt a lot like driving on the DVP and seeing all the tall business buildings.

Our driver/tour guide was this jolly man Bernie who apparently lived in Yukon digging in a coal mine for a year. We started off going to a small wildlife conservatory and saw more wallabies and kangaroos as well as other animals. I held a python snake there as well and its not bad.The scales are pretty cool but as I was paying attention to its head, its tail was going elsewhere as it started to wrap around my leg. Snakes smell through their skin. After lunch, we passed through Cape Woolamai, a beach that had pretty good waves but it was chilly and sunny so onward we headed to Churchill Park. Highland Cows! They are so adorable! We also were shown sheep sheering and a work dog corralling sheep.

The weather took a turn for the worst and it started to cool down and rain. It was horrible weather when we went to the koala conservatory and quickly went through the path to see the koalas sleeping far up in the trees. This of course was not the end of the trip as we still had the penguin march to watch. Did you know a group of penguins is called a raft and their feathers are waterproof. The penguins after a year start maulting, where they lose all their feathers and must be on land for about 8 days until they grow back. They must fill their bellies because they only eat in the water. As it get dark out and tides start to come in, the penguins swim back to shore to rest. Cutest thing ever! The penguins we saw were really tiny ones that were silver and as they were brought in by the tide, they would start to walk and because they ate double their weight they can barely walk and plop over. They have poor eyesight so if they are too slow, they lose the crowd and get frightened so they scurry back into the waters to wait for the next raft to come in. Photography is not allowed during the march of the penguins because tourists have wrecked havoc on the poor penguins with flash photography.

It was cute but the weather was cool and wet. Andrew didn’t bring a sweater and was in a t-shirt the whole time. We ended off eating pizza and going back to the hostel. We booked Auckland and I am psyched for New Zealand! It just sucks we don’t have enough time to stay and discover Melbourne. I want to try the free tram service and goto National Victoria Gallery, Federation Station (apparently the largest FREE wifi area). The hostel we are in; Habitat HQ is voted #3 in all of Australia. I highly recommend it.

Cairns, Australia 2010 – Day 7 & 8

05/01/10

We went to Kuranda via SkyRail Rainforest Cableway for a full day experience – Tjapukai Aboriginal Experience, Scenic Skyrail ($103.50CAD), Koala Gardens and Bird World ($28CAD). We got picked up from Cairns Central and headed to the Skyrail Station.

Our first stop was the Tjapukai experience from local aboriginals that inhabited this area/village. We got to throw with the aboriginal spear thrower and also throw boomerangs. The spear would be held in the throwing stick holder where the spear is held by a hook before it is launched. I threw it past the targets. The guy that was teaching us boomerang said that he didn’t expect me to have so much power as I threw the boomerang too hard. You need to throw at 1 O’Clock for the perfect throw to return. The boomerangs were actually used as weapons to hunt their prey. I bought a plain boomerang so I can throw it back home while Andrew bought a nicer looking one for the shelf. They did a little performance for us about their culture and about the animals and performed a bit of didgeridoo for us.

We then hopped on the Skyrail and went straight up to the top of the rail line (well a 40min ride) after bungee jumping, heights aren’t really too bad except for the rickety parts when the gondola passes the towers. We decided to B line past the towers to Kuranda Village that was filled with multiple arts and crafts shops. The locals seem to live off the tourism. We decided to eat lunch in this area and I finally was able to grab myself a Crocodile Pie! The taste is similar to chicken but with the texture of fish. I also picked up some homemade salt water taffy that was made in front of us.

We made our way to the Koala park. You can carry a koala and take a photo with one but for 16AUD I felt it wasn’t worth it and a little cheesy but I did however get some good shots myself of them! Did you know that there are different rules on touching koalas depending on what state in Australia you are in. In Cairns because it is so hot, the koalas are smaller in size thus the laws allow you to be able to handle a koala however if in Melbourne, you need to stay at least 10 meters away from a Koala because they are larger and their claws could kill you.  Koalas are so weird looking but cute nonetheless.

Nearby, we were able to go into the area where the wallabies and kangaroos were and we fed them. There was one kangaroo that was a little aggressive and grabbed me with their claws but no bloodshed but there there was one that was really gentle. The wallabies are my favourite because they are so tiny, cute and gentle. Andrew was actually really excited to goto Birdworld and I was greeted with a bird that said hello. Trying to train it to say Andrew didn’t quite work though.

We then headed back down on the skyrail to visit the stops along the way. We saw the Barron Falls where we walked through some rainforest and had some beautiful views. Second stop was Red Peak – the highest point on the Skyrail with some huge spiders and trees. There isn’t too much to do in the city so we called it a early night.

05/02/10

Jungle surfing is in Cape Tribulation which is about 2 hours away from here. We decided to skip renting a car to make the 2 hour trek there and back for a 2 hour activity. Bad decision. We ended up leaving our room at 9am-ish and made our way to DFO (direct factory outlet) which was a 20-30 min walk. Both Andrew and myself aren’t big shoppers but that place was very unexciting and didn’t have anything that we liked. We decided to come back to Central Cairns Mall and roamed separately.Didn’t end up buying anything besides a nice lychee gelato and watched bats flying over me around 3PM.

If we knew earlier that Cairns doesn’t have much to do, we would’ve taken a day from Cairns and spent it in Melbourne instead but you live and learn. Melbourne tomorrow!

Cairns, Australia 2010 – Day 6

04/30/10

Today we went on a day tour with Passions of Paradise to discover the Great Barrier Reef (169AUD). Its a local tour and the crew was fun and very helpful. We started at 830AM and we sailed out about an hour away into Michaelmas Cay. The catamaran was pretty full of people and there were part of the vessel you can lay out on roped areas but BE WARNED: the O Zone layer is very thin especially in Cairns so the UV rays are strong and you will get burned (coming from someone who doesn’t burn that often) so please put on sunscreen and re-apply. We encountered a few Canadians from Vancouver on this tour but for some reason they have weird accents…?

We decided to go scuba diving (70AUD). The instructors give you a quick lesson and into the water you go after being suited with your flippers, goggles, water tank and respirator. So water and me are not the best of friends. After jumping into the water with the gear on, we were told to start by sticking our head under and breathing through the respirator. Naturally, I breathe through my nose so my first breathe made my goggles pop up and I started to panic and didn’t want to go down and at that point wanted to give up. The instructor Steve tried to calm me down and told me to keep looking at him underwater. Then he pulled me, Andrew and another deeper and deeper. I haven’t swam in years so I kept a hold of Steve’s hand. He brought me right over a sea turtle and over the home of clown fish – we found an anemone! He even threw 2 jellyfish at me to hold… They look like longan/ lychee.

After about an hour down under, we surfaced and our scuba diving was over. We then traded in the tank for snorkels and headed on our way to Paradise Reef for snorkelling. I took random photos at Michaelmas Cay but unfortunately the camera somehow malfunctioned for our second session of snorkel at paradise reef with no land mass nearby. It was much prettier here. I swam into schools of fishes.  It took about 2 hours to sail back and I was on the brink of getting seasick but just stayed curled up as a ball inside the catamaran and made it through! A few decided to let it all out in the water which brought fishes to our vessel. I must say that it was a once in a lifetime thing to snorkel/scuba at the great barrier reef. Got back to the hostel and booked our flight and accommodations for Melbourne in which we would leave for in 2 days.

Cairns, Australia 2010 – Day 5

04/29/10

Uncle and auntie woke us up at 4-430AM and we got to the airport by 530AM for our 7AM flight. We will have one more day in Sydney at the end of our trip. I really did enjoy the atmosphere of Sydney – very similar to Toronto atmosphere I think. I could picture myself living here one day although driving is still something that I’m still getting use to. We flew with Jetstar from Sydney to Cairns; roughly a 3 hour flight. It would’ve taken us 48 hours by train to travel Sydney to Cairns so we were happy to fly.

We arrived in Cairns around 1030AM and got picked up by Leah who works at Dreamtime Travelers Rest Hostel (189 Bunda St, Parramatta Park QLD 4870, Australia) where we are staying. Chris working reception was really helpful and friendly. We booked a private room with 2 single beds – shared bathroom/toilets. The room has A/C but otherwise is quite humid and has a mini fridge but no table with 2 single beds and a fan. Internet is available with purchase of a internet card. I had gummy bears with me from my flight over and put those in the fridge and they were such a nice little treat after coming home from the heat.

Cairns (which is prounouced as “canes/quanize”) is very humid and its been raining a lot lately here. It is indeed very tropical here.

My brother doesn’t care to make decisions so since we only had half day, we didn’t book jungle surfing, I decided that we would go bungy jumping.  We booked AJ Hacketts – bungy jumping – $169AUD+$49AUD photos. The van picked us up and off we went. 20 ppl per bus, on our original van only 3 decided to bungy while the rest did minjin (fastest swing).

They get you geared up and you let them know what you would like to do – Bungy jump or Minjin. Next step is they weigh you to ensure they adjust your ropes for your weight. At this point, it just makes me feel so bad about my body and a workout is dearly needed. I will tell you right now that I am not one for heights but what the hell, when in Cairns and the opportunity comes up, you should just go do it. To reach the top you must walk up the stairs. Getting up those stairs was probably the most difficult part for me. Once you get up there and have time to watch others go first made my nerves calm.  Andrew went first and well he wanted to take a dip but he was too light that he didn’t even reach the water. He was in a diving position the whole time but didn’t quite break the water barrier.

I don’t know how to explain my jump… I wanted to push off so the photo would look cool but I looked down as I pushed off and lost all the strength I built up. The only thing you could hear from me on my jump was me yelling “oh shit!” I hate roller coasters and bungying is beyond that. Flinging my body on my own free will 43 meters down. They tell you when you reach the bottom (recoil) to just tuck your chin in so that you don’t get whiplash. My first recoil, I curled up like a ball and practically made it back upright maybe 5 meters under the jump-off platform. All I know is my head immediately started hurting after that and it was incredibly hard for me to breathe smoothly. So there you have it, I, Rosanna U bungy jumped in Cairns, Australia. Probably won’t ever do it again but now I can say I did it (and have a shirt and photos to prove it!). There was a guy named Michael (Irish guy that looked like Alexandre Despatie) and some other girl who did about 9-10 jumps each. There was also a girl up on the platform that started to cry and was afraid to jump and unfortunately the only way for them to come down, the staff will push you off the platform because there are no refunds. She did enjoy it in the aftermath.

We arrived back around 530PM and walked down to Spence St to find food. We found ourselves in the marketplace and wow… The Japanese population takes over…. Its like Cairns is a J-town. We bought a few souvenirs in this one jap souvenir store. We ended up eating in the Daily Night Markets at a place called Good Food Cafe. We both ordered kangaroo burgers and chips. The meat is tough/gamey but good. We then proceeded back to the hostel and I edited images and passed out.

Sydney, Australia 2010 – Day 4

04/28/10

We booked Blue Mountains Special Tour with OZ Trail tours. We met somewhere near Central today to catch our tour bus for Blue Mountain to visit the Three Sisters. Our guide Steve was very informative and funny. Traveled in a 20 seater bus (full bus) and made our way around to Blue Mountain. Stopped by the Neapean river, a short bushwalk to Wentworth falls and to Leura Village where we stopped for lunch and ate some nice meat pies.  After lunch, we travelled a bit father before arriving in Katoomba. We then hopped onto a cable car to cross the canyon between the Three Sisters and the Katoomba Waterfalls.

The story behind the Three Sisters is actually really interesting. Three sisters fell in love with three men from a neighbouring tribe, but marriage was forbidden by tribal law. Battle ensued, and the sisters were turned to stone by an elder to protect them, but he was killed in the fighting and no one else could turn them back.

We took the railway up a steep incline to the rainforest where they pointed out different types of gum/eucalyptus trees (ribbon gym, scribbly gum etc) on our walkthrough. We then made our way to Kings tableland. It’s a high point with a beautiful view but apparently there were a number of suicides and wrecked cars when you looked over the cliff at the bottom. It was a little windy but nonetheless a beautiful view from the edge.

We took the cable car over and down then the train back up which pulls you backwards so it feels like you are standing. Sad part of today was that we were unable to see kangaroos even after visiting another national park after Kings Tableland. On our way to the ferry, we drove through the Olympic Park where the driver pointed out several buildings that were used for the 2000 games. The ferry ride home brought us along the Parramatta river where we watch the sun set and had the pleasure of the full moon making its presence known as we sailed under the Harbour Bridge.

We leave for Cairns tomorrow morning.

Sydney, Australia 2010 – Day 3

04/27/10

This morning we decided to goto the famous Bondi (Bond-die) beach and try our hand at surfing… surfing never happened (for us). We ended leaving home around 930AM and made our way to Bondi Junction. At Bondi Junction, we went to Westfield Mall which was a lovely mall with stores outside. Some staple stores were Chanel, Louis Vuitton but also stores like Quiksilver and Glue.  We shopped for a bit and finally got to Bondi beach by 1-130PM. We walked the boardwalk not really knowing where we were going but for a holiday, the beach wasn’t overly crowded. We found the “Let’s go Surfing” shop but saw that the hours for surf lessons ended at 12 which we didn’t check on the website before we left. We saw them on the beach in mid lesson. What a bust. It also didn’t help the mood that it was an overcast day and sun was far from being seen. We grabbed some fish and chips and ate on the beach then waded in the water for a bit before making our way to the coastline which was the Bondi to Coogee walk. The walk is nice and brings you above the water and a good lookout point. Waves, rocks, beach and surfers made the walk even that much more enjoyable. On this walk, you can walk the whole coast up to Coogee Beach or just leave the path and enter in the suburban areas and catch a bus the rest of the way.

We walked on the trail up until Tamarama beach where we entered into the suburban neighbourhood. I absolutely love good architecture and being beach homes and what not, there were a few modern homes I could picture myself living in.  We made it back to Bondi Rd and tried to plan last minute to see if we could make it to the zoo but then realized it closed at 5PM and it was already 4PM so we decided to head back to Circular Quay area to shop at a semi indoor and outdoor mall. We finished around 530-6PM and took the train to meet up with uncle and auntie for dinner. Uncle had lent us a mobile to use during our stay so we met them in Chatswood at one of their usual spots. So much food. Apparently, to their standards they say Andrew and myself don’t eat much. Trust me when I say I am stuffing myself. Uncle keeps joking that he doesn’t want us to return home and complain to our father that uncle didn’t feed us enough. As per my fathers request, we had Aussie lager with uncle.

Tomorrow is Blue Mountain and day after we leave for Cairns.

Sydney, Australia 2010 – Day 2

04/26/10

Uncle had offered to be our tour guide and take us on a day tour of Sydney. We walked over to the Cityrail (equivalent to Toronto’s Union Station) and took the train from Gordon into the city to Central Station. It was a double decker train going in which was nice. When we arrived at Central Station, we found our way to Circular Quay where you can see the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Uncle and Auntie had recommended a Belgian beer restaurant to try a pot of oysters but it being a holiday and all, it was closed. We did our touristy stuff and took tons of photos at the harbour and of the opera house but being a holiday, the place was covered with people. Uncle bought us day passes – “MyMulti” that he calls “1 day trippa’s” which cost 20AUD that gives you access to train, bus and ferry transportation. From the docking area, we could’ve boarded a ferry that would’ve taken us to the zoo but we opted to head over to Manly beach. It was a nice 30 minute ride over with views of the harbour and Opera house from the waters and less people in my shots. When we docked at Manly Wharf, we walked the coastline on the path as the beach was overly crowded due to the holiday. We stopped nearby for lunch at sushi restaurant with a conveyor belt. I tried to do some shopping but as i was looking around, I was wondering why there was winter jackets out and i realized that in Australia right now (April/May), they are going into fall. Also, we were confused with the conversion rate from CAD to AUD which is actually at par with one another.

We decided to take a “scenic route” home by taking the bus with many turns through rural neighbourhoods which took about an hour. It stopped in Chatswood which is like another Chinatown unfortunately we were too tired to walk around. Uncle is letting us go out on our own the next 2 days. I think i know my way around now.