AUSTRALIA
October 2 - November 1, 2010

This part of the blog is going to be a bit different because I was too lazy to update my blog the entire time I was in Australia. I left my computer stored in Hong Kong because I wanted to surf less on the internet and more on the water! Well, I realized that I'm pretty much useless without my computer. It's my guide, it's my teacher, it's my confidante, it's my accountant, it's my playmate...it can even be my lover--a big yay for porn! Traveling without it was a dumb idea--or at least I should have gotten a mini-computer.

Anyways, the result is that this section is just a sparse collection of random thoughts and impressions of my major stops over the last month--Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns and Townsville. Plus I've included a bunch of photos.

Admittedly, it seemed a bit dull after traveling around Asia and South America--it's almost like it's TOO civilized. I might as well have been back in Canada! But I did some cool stuff once I got out there like the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Ocean Road. Missed the Outback though.

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SYDNEY
Sydney

I really liked Sydney. Pretty harbour area and nice beaches a short way away. Met some travelers, Keith and Dave from America and we did the grand tour of the city. There always seems to be something happening, from food and wine fairs in the park, to jazz at the beach, to Spanish dancing at the harbour.

And yes, I did try surfing and I sucked at it. But I looked good in the wetsuit, if I do say so myself.

sydney opera house keith and me sydney bridge
ferry to manly beach bondi beach lifeguards on bondi beach
crashing waves brunch on bondi imperial hotel
yes he did swallow kids fountain beautiful sydney harbour
doll at powerhouse museum
peas and pie
surfing at manly beach

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MELBOURNE
Melbourne and Great Ocean Road

Melbourne seemed pretty liveable. Myself, I lived in a crack den hostel full of rowdy kids working at shit jobs to pay for bills. It was weird being in a hostel environment where everyone has a local full-time job, but that's Australia! I almost wanted to work too because prices in Australia are 30-50% higher than Canada. It's shocking!

I did end up spending most of my time chilling at the hostel. Chatted with the residents. Read a book. Made a new friend Steve who plays guitar like a fiend. Drank a bit more than usual (because of Steve!)--I've decided to become an alcoholic after this sabbatical.

I also did a 2 day tour of the Great Ocean Road. Some nice scenery--but somehow it seems more impressive in my photos than it was in real life. Don't ask me why, maybe it's just the "untravel bug" that's been plaguing me for the last few months.

square in melbourne melbourne skylight
rowing on the river catlike artwork the horror that is lords lodge hostel
me and steve strumming at sunset goof on the stairs
bird on the head
picture frame rocks
mimicking london bridge
12 apostles at sunset
morning view

beautiful scene

in a bay tour group in bay great ocean road
me on the beach
baby ferns
not a koala

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CAIRNS
Diving at the Great Barrier Reef

This was definitely the highlight of my time in Australia. Cairns itself is not so interesting, but I did get to taste kangaroo, emu and crocodile! ....they all kind of taste like chicken.

I booked a 5-day Learn to Dive course with Pro-Dive. I highly recommend it--they have great instructors and everything runs super smoothly. The first couple of days were spent in the pool and classroom learning all the basics about diving. Breathing underwater is a trip the first time you do it. I had to self-talk myself from panicking every once in a while when I was at the bottom of the deep part of the pool--especially when I was doing a few of the skills like taking off my jacket or mask.

Then we had three days of diving at the reef, sleeping two nights on the boat. I didn't get any pictures of the first day diving on the Reef. Oh...my.....god. That sucked. It was raining sideways and the water was super choppy. It felt like a nightmare going in and out of the water. Luckily the weather cleared up the next day and by the last dive of the trip, I was really enjoying it all. Moving weightlessly through a coral garden full of little fish, turtles, rays, sharks, eels. It was fantastic! And now I'm a qualified PADI open water diver. Whee!

croc, emu, and kangaroo dinner training pool at prodive cairns diving the great barrier reef
sunset on great barrier reef
geared up for scuba
underwater
coral reef relaxing and colourful tooth guy at ramadan fair
padi training group reef fish big clam
ray
returning to the boat
me in the water

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TOWNSVILLE
Kangaroos and Koalas

Townsville is Dullsville, really just a place to stop to break up the trip south from Cairns. But nearby to the town there's a sanctuary where they let the guests interact with the animals. Hugging koalas and feeding kangaroos. So fun!

road to townsville
hugging a skinny koala
koala in a tree
koala resting
yellow lizard
baby croc
jumping croc me and the kangaroo kangaroos

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