Well here I am for a few hours back in Sydney until I fly home. The day did not get off to a good start this morning when we were sitting in our hotel in Adelaide and realised that our flight left in 40 minutes – we didn’t make it and had to buy new flights. Another $600 down the pan…..!
The reason being mostly down to a big night last night, the whole area we were in was mobbed with 18 year olds wearing almost nothing so we went for a little sightseeing. Myself and Stu had a go on the electric bull in The Woolshed, pretty much a good way to guarantee to make a tit of yourself, but it was fun.
We’re off for a dip in the pool and some lunch, my final supper before I have to cook for myself again! 🙁
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Been a while so lots to say…
I spent a nice evening in Hobart although it was pretty quiet, even in Salamanca Place where all the action is at. It’s a pretty little city nonetheless even though it doesn’t have a lot of specific things to look at and do.
Next day I duly went to Adelaide, flying via Melbourne. The first leg was fine but I was stuck in Melbourne for an extra 90 minutes, it turned out that there’d been massive storms in Queensland which was stuffing up the entire network, and have since moved to New South Wales which is interesting as I’m going there tomorrow! Anyway I got to Adelaide eventually and Teish had picked us a nice hotel right in the sleazy part of town with all the strip bars and stuff which was perfect 🙂 We went out for a few sherberts that night and Stu and I decided to partake in a little extra entertainment at one establishment. They were a bit fat and/or old though to be honest!
Next day we set out on the 845 Km road journey north into the outback and Coober Pedy. The trip was fine, we picked up a hitchhiker on the way who had a jerry can full of fuel and had run out 120 Km up the road from where he was. He’d hitched one way to get to the petrol station and we were taking him back. He was only young but looked and smelled terrible, it turns out he lives in Coober Pedy so that was a sign of what was to come… Despite being like a scene from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre we dropped him off and arrived Ok anyway. It’s a weird little town, and we found ourselves a fantastic two-bedroomed motel unit underground, the place is literally hewn out of the rock and it is just sealed with bondseal or something, but that’s your lot! Nevertheless it was very comfortable and very, VERY dark at night!
We hit a pizzeria for a big pile of meat and chips (it’s like Livingston actually), there was a girl in there showing off her engagement ring she’d just been given. Her fiance is a miner and had an opal stone he’d mined himself set into a ring for her. Then we did an underground bar or two. Next day we played golf in the desert, they give you a little patch of artificial turf to put under your ball! We also checked out an underground church, an old mine and underground home which was very fascinating, then drove a bit out of town on the dirt roads to some rock formations, all bright yellow and white colours, with the vast expanse of nothingness behind.
We did the remainder of the town’s pub crawl that night, one place at midnight made an announcement that as it was now midnight all under 18’s must leave! Today we’ve driven back to Adelaide, I got first prize for being pulled for doing 134 in a 110 zone and have been fined $310 🙁
So tonight is the last night then, we will go out on the razzle here a bit and then head off to Sydney in the morning. I’m trying not to think about it too much…
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I’m now in Hobart after a few days on the road. After Launceston was a trip out to the east coast where I bedded down in Bicheno, pretty little place with the most expensive camp site on the planet. I did a night tour with some weird old aussie guy to a rookery of the fairy penguins that hang out in those parts – this dude has been looking after them for 19 years and can individually recognise each of the 900 they have! Anyway you get right up close to them as they waddle home from sea for the night, and we got treated to a party night. This entails a load of noise, then they flap their wings, then they hug each other for a while, and finally they shag each other’s brains out. One of them was doing it with a mistress in front of his wife supposedly. She didn’t seem too worried though, she just shagged the next bloke that came along 🙂
Next day, far more civilised I went out to Freycinet National Park, a peninsula with huge granite cliffs and the famous Wineglass Bay, a semi-circular white sand beach. There was a kangaroo patrolling the beach, he would come right up to you and let you stroke him and everything. That night I went to Swansea (no, not Wales) which is another really nice little place and got a fantastic pitch to sleep on, just above the beach so you could hear the waves lapping whilst you (tried to) sleep.
Today I’ve done the final leg to Hobart where I’m staying in the city in a hotel, the campsites are too far out and besides it’s bloody freezing, thank God I got heating with Yenta. I lured a bird back into her last night by the way, I even made her breakfast. Then all her mates turned up wanting breakfast too, the greedy sods.
Tonight I’m going to hit the town to get pissed and then tomorrow I fly to Adelaide to await the arrival of Stu and Teish from Sydney.
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Last night I took the ferry, the Spirit of Tasmania II, from Melbourne across to Devonport in Tasmania. It crosses the Bass Strait which is known for being rough, but on this occassion it had also been affected by the same bad weather as I had been. The captain came on and told us that there would be 6 metre waves and that we were in for a “rough crossing”. He wasn’t joking – I had a cabin and just tried to hunker down as it was a night sailing, but I have to say I was scared! The boat was rocking and being pounded so hard by waves I thought we were goners for sure…
Still I managed to sleep a bit with the aid of some Boag sleeping pills and this morning woke to find Yenta still upright on the car deck, just with her contents strewn about inside, prety much.
Today we stopped at a lookout on Devonport for some breakfast and to recover, then went for a little excursion onto the dirt roads to see the Keeper Falls, Yenta’s not really meant to be on dirt roads and I found some inbred local to ask his advice on whether or not she could do it, and he said “Maybe. Maybe not. If not, come and find me and I’ll drag you back out with my 4×4”. A friendly lot around here…
Now we’re at Launceston, which they pronounce “Lawn-ces-ton” much to my amusement as Cornwall is the home of the original town of that name, pronounced “Lornce-ton” of course 🙂 I’ve decided to stay the night here, I wasn’t going to originally as it’s just a dull city really, but I’m too tired to drive any further. I’ll throw the kangaroo steaks I have in my fridge on the barbie tonight and get sozzled in Yenta I think.
Did the Cataract Gorge today – it was OK but I was somewhat underwhelmed, and they have the slowest chairlift in history, it’s official…
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I’m pretty remote now – I’ve eventually found a “milk bar” that has internet in the town of Warrnambool, I think they sell things other than milk, I can smell some rancid food anyway.
Jim got me nicely pissed on Tuesday, we did a tour of a few bars in the local suburb of Melbourne we were in. It was surprisingly busy actually! Next day I managed to jemmy myself out of bed and successfully navigated the trams and buses to another suburb where the campervan rental was and picked up my new home. She’s nice and I’ve named her Yenta as it’s the only name I can think of that starts with a Y (even then I’m not sure I spelled it right) as she’s high sided and driving it in high wind can only be described as trying to drive a yacht down the road with no keel.
Which leads me nicely onto the weather which has been CRAP! the last couple of days, reminds me of Cornwall really, lots of wind and drizzle. I drove down to Lorne the first night, a nice small town near the start of the Ocean Rd, and camped wild at the Erskine waterfall. That was nice if a little eerie being stuck out there in the pitch black on my own with only an owl for company. Yesterday I did the rest of the road, it’s one of these that hugs the cliffs in places and you get to see these massive limestone sea stacks and so on. It was impressive, as most of Japan also thought as they all seemed to be there too on coach trips.
Last night I spent on a campsite in this town which was nice as I can connect the heating up at night when I’m on mains power, it was a bit cool the night before, that’s for sure. Tonight I’ve got a night sailing in a real boat to Tasmania, then as a last minute change of plans I’ll be heading with Stu and Teish (my friends in Sydney) to Adelaide, then make a road trip about 10 hours north from there into the real outback, and the mining town of Coober Pedy where everything is built underground as it’s too hot above ground! Seemingly there’s hotel rooms and bars carved out of the rock, it should be different that’s for sure!
Rushing against the meter now so will sign off
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Had a nice evening back at Stu and Teish’s apartment on Sunday, including an impromptu whisk(e)y tasting session where we conculded that a relatively cheap local malt from Tasmania tastes as good as Johnny Walker Blue Label. Interesting if you want to save a few quid, eh?
I had a very straightforward trip down to Melbourne yesterday and bagged a nice hotel room in St. Kilda, which is Melbourne’s only beach resort a few Km south of the main city’s central business district, or CBD. I didn’t do much apart from check out the local area and relax once I got here, and today I’ve been up into the CBD to do a few sights, typical Matt organisation though, I got to the Queen St. Market too late, it was closed already, the Moving Image Museum was closed too, but I did get up the Rialta Tower which claims to have the highest observation deck in the southern hemisphere. It was certainly an impressive sight.
After this I’ve had a wander around the city, it’s pretty nice and the thing to do seems to be the cafe culture rather than really impressive sights as such. They say Melbourne has a much more European feel to it as compared with other Australian cities and I think that’s fair comment. What was somewhat amusing this morning is that it’s really not that warm, but people are still sitting and eating alfresco (as did I) wearing thick tops and jackets. More hard core people are seen to be walking the streets with vests and T-shirts.
Tonight I’m off to meet Jim who I used to work with in London who now lives here. By chance he also lives in St Kilda and he’s picked the seediest looking pub to meet in, he’s already warned me to be wary of walking into the small bar inside which is gay. So God knows what is in store later…
Tomorrow, assuming I can get out of bed, I’m going to pick up my new home, a little campervan, if I can find the place. My plan then is to do the ocean road near here for a couple of nights perhaps, then attempt to book the ferry over to Tassie for Friday night, all being well.
For now, I’m off to line my stomach with a loaf of bread 🙂
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Well here I am down under, in the apartment of my friends Stu and Teisha. I had a good flight, inadvertently when I checked in I picked a seat with open leg room so I had a good stretch out. One guy had been sneezing a lot during the flight near to me, which I noticed because Oz is really hot on the swine ‘flu thing. When we landed and stood up, we were told to all return to our seats whilst quarantine boarded the plane to make some checks. They came straight to the guy that had been sneezing and asked him a few questions, then led him and his partner away and then we were all allowed off! My theory is that the crew must have noticed this guy sneezing and radioed ahead to report him!!
Yesterday we went for a drive around the eastern suburbs to do a little sightseeing which was nice, it was a lovely day, then went to a local pub to begin the process of getting pissed, then came back to the apartment and ordered the two largest pizzas you’ve ever seen, cracked open the absyinth and got REALLY pissed. 🙂 Today we’ve headed down to the city for lunch and a wander around Darling Harbour which has been nice for me to remenisce as that’s close to where I used to live.
Tonight we’re going to chill with a big roast and tomorrow morning I’ll be heading off to Melbourne.
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Today is the day I am off to Oz, first flying off Phuket up to Bangkok to hopefully the same airport as the international flight leaves from – opinion differs on this one!
I have taken things fairly easy the last two days. I didn’t consider the 5th option on the bike which was to end up in the nick, in Patong I got pulled over and because I wasn’t carrying my license, fined 300 baht, just a money making scam I am sure. Also I had to go to a police station about a mile away to pay it, some local girl gave me a lift as she had been busted for not wearing a helmet. She had to pay 500 baht for that, so at least they are not biased I suppose!
I found a “back street” massage palour for one last rub down, that was an experience. Whilst I was lying there she would move your arms into certain positions depending on what she wants to do. At one point I thought “this feels remarkably like a tit I am holding” and I surrupticiously opened an eye to take a look, and sure enough it was. Then I started thinking “am I meant to squeeze or not?” and decided against it seeing as I was only wearing beach shorts….
Then when she turned me over suddenly I found my beach shorts being ripped down and having an arse massage, and I was beggining to get worried I would be facing “Happy Ending” surcharges at this rate. Anyway it was all fine, and I can honestly say was the best massage I’ve ever had!
Must rush and get one last plate of rice and pack!
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In my swanky hotel, it’s not that swanky to be honest, but for 1000 baht it’s a steal though nonetheless. I think it’s a case of them giving you the worst possible room they think they can get away with, given you’ve prepaid already…
I’ve exchanged my passport for a motorbike today, with the intention of running up and down the west coast of the island really, it’s a nice day to cruise around. As you don’t get any insurance, I might either end up dead/in hospital/very poor/home safely come the end of the day. Let’s hope it’s the latter!
Kata seems quite nice, it is much quieter with older farang and some families around, as well as younger travellers but not so much the 18-30 brigade so that is fine for an unwind on my last couple of days 🙂
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Well it’s been two days of getting completely bollocksed really. Some of the fliers they hand out to you give you free buckets at certain bars. These are little plastic buckets like you’d make a sandcastle with, and they fill it with some rocket fuel strong liquor and a splash of Coke and some ice. By the time you’ve had one of them you’re so wasted that you don’t buy any more drink anyway so I really don’t understand their logic!
The next day was really a write off and I pottered about, hiked up to the viewpoint where you get to see over the whole area that was tsunamied. This was followed by a quiet evening and yesterday I did an afternoon on a boat trip to Ko Phi Phi Leh, the smaller uninhabited brother of this one, which is where they filmed “The Beach”.
It was a nice trip if not outstanding, but met some nice people so we had fun. Some of us got together and got totally hammered again last night, so today again I’ve taken it easy and been on th beach and stuff. Tomorrow I’m taking the ferry to Phuket and have just booked a top end resort for less than a third of what it would cost in season so I’m hoping that will ne nice. It’s in Kata so is away from the madness and ladyboy scene of Patong. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping…
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