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Archive for the ‘In Australia’ Category

So it’s our last day in Australia! TEAR! In true backpacker fashion, I’ve had far too little sleep, may still be a little drunk and I’m heading to the airport in about 3 hours.

Yesterday I spent most of the day hanging out with my good (Australian!) friend, Ben. It was great to see him again but very sad. Hopefully he and I will cross paths in Europe in 2010 when I hopefully head out to Amsterdam and either Dublin, Norway, or London. Already planning the next trip, ay? Sounds like a traveler has been born.

Here is a video we made while waiting for my train to take me back into the city from Bondi Junction.

Next stop: Fiji! We will be staying there for 5 days, then heading to San Francisco (via LA). I’m looking forward to both! From there, Kelly and I split up! I head off to Vancouver to visit some friends and family while she heads to Calgary to go skiing in Fernie.

Our grand adventure is coming to an end however, I am most likely going to continue to update this blog for some time with pictures and the mass amount of videos I have. I can’t decide if that makes me pathetic or just normal? Readers?

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SKYDIVING

This is what I did yesterday:

SKYDIVING!!!

Over this:

Whitsunday Islands

This is how I felt about it:

FEELINGS

I got to steer for a bit!

Steerage!

I was happy to be on the ground!

GROUND

HURRAY!

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Dear Parents:

It is here I lay to you Exhibit A: Proof that Emma has been using sunscreen, not only regularly but all the freakin’ time.

I AM WHITE OH LORD

I think this picture speaks for itself. No need to continuously ask me if I’ve been using sunscreen because I am sure you can tell from this, that I most definitely have been. I appreciate the concern, nevertheless, and kindly request you turn your concerns towards my friend, the elusive Kelly, who has taken a moral stance against sunscreen and all sun-care related products. Use your parental powers on her; she definitely needs them because she is going to return with LOTS AND LOTS OF CANCER.

XOXO

Your ever-reliable, responsible and intelligent daughter,

Emma

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So Kelly and I survived Byron Bay. It was a nice little town – took me a little while to warm up to it (way too many people, way too many partiers) but in the end I was sad to leave. The beach was beautiful! There’s a sunken ship right off the shore-line that Kelly and I swam out to a couple days ago. It’s so great she has a water-proof camera. We amused ourselves taking pictures in the water.

Yesterday we headed to Nimbim, a hippy town 75km west of Byron for the day. It’s crazy, lots of old hippies around smoking their happy herbs, drinking coffee. It felt a little bit like a time warp. But was definitely fun.

Today we took a VERY long bus ride (7.45am – 6.30pm + 1 hour time zone change) to get to Hervey Bay. We depart at 6.30am tomorrow morning for our 3 day self-drive 4WD tour of Fraser Island. We’re going to be put in groups of up to 11 people and they give us a car and send us off to explore. Should be REALLY interesting. I’m very much looking forward to it.

Here’s where I sign off. Glacier, rest of NZ plus some Australia pics will have to come sometime later. Have a lovely Valentine’s Day. I know I will. xoxo

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So after my trip to Uluru I flew to Melbourne to meet up with Kelly on Christmas Eve. We stayed at a great hostel in St. Kilda called Cooee. I really liked it, it was super clean!

On Christmas day, Kelly and I got up and wandered around until we found a place to grab breakfast. It was this great European style cafe and while the service was slow, the food was great. We talked to some Aussies at the table next to us and they were very friendly. They even identified us correctly as Canadian which immediately won us over! As we sat there eating breakfast, a bunch of 20-something guys , drunk and dressed up in drag ran by. …Christmas is weird in Australia! The number of drunk people we saw on Christmas eve and Christmas day was not something I expected, to be honest. Oh well, different traditions, I guess!

After our breakfast we went to the beach, where I called my parents to let them know what a smart, smart daughter they have! The day was perfect beach weather and we enjoyed ourselves until it was time to make our way to Kelly’s cousin’s girlfriend’s mother’s house. Mouthful! It was awfully sweet of Julie to take us wayward Canadian girls in and we really appreciated it! The food was delicious, the company entertaining and we drank many bottles of wine, champagne and beer. They cooked the turkey on the BBQ which I thought was fantastic.

The next day, Kelly and I met up with my friend Jill from school. We went to the Old Melbourne Goal which was really neat to see. It’s the place where Ned Kelly was hung and we actually got to see the place where they hung them. Most cells were open to walk through and each open cell had a story about a victim and their death mask. That was really quite interesting, if not a little morbid!

That night we went out with Jill and her friend. It was a lot of fun and we ended up at Hungry Jack’s – a poor substitute for Burger King. I’m not sure if they’re owned by the same company or not but they also sell the Whopper (?).

After that, we did a lot of shopping for a couple days at outlet stores, saw Wicked (which was… dare I say it? Wicked. YESSSS.) and headed to Sorrento, to meet up with Kelly’s cousin again. He actaually lives in Sorrento, which is about an hour’s drive outside Melbourne down on the coast. It was absolutely gorgeous there! The spit was only a mile in length and dependent on the weather, you could chose which beach (and which side) you wanted to go to that day. We did a bike tour the morning we were leaving on the bike trails and it was awesome to see the gorgeous beaches, surf and towns. I absolutely loved my stay in Sorrento and want to thank our wonderful hosts for putting us up and feeding us so well! Playing with baby Finn, Jer’s 10 month old baby, was also a bonus. He was so well-behaved and SO cute. I’m not a huge baby person but Finn is definitely adorable.

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So we’re finally on the last day of my Uluru trip. Phew! I apologize for the sheer amount of photos in this post. But it had to be done. Hopefully you’ll forgive me.

So day three!

We woke up again super early, somewhere around 4.30am. The sunrise from our camp was absolutely stunning and is now proudly displayed as our header. After a quick breakfast and pack-up of the camp, we headed to do the King’s Canyon walk, which was approximately a 7km return hike (including a stop over at the “Garden of Eden”). As you’ll see from the pictures, temperatures were predicted to hit upwards of 40*C! Yikes. My 1.5L water bottle came in handy many times during the trip but by the end of this morning I was horribly tired of warm, even hot, water.

After our beautiful hike around the top of the canyon, we went and had a BBQ lunch back at King’s Creek Cattle Station and I sat by the pool for a bit. Then it was off on the road, to slowly make our way back to Alice Springs. On our way back, we cut across the land on outback road and that was about an hour’s drive. Very fun though, like a really long, slow rollercoaster, haha. After that, we stopped in to see Dinky the Singing Dingo and the Dodge truck that opened up the outback dirt roads and then home to Alice Springs.

That night in Alice Springs we all went out for dinner and I ordered a Camel & Stout Pie. And let me tell you… camel taste like, well, camel. It tasted dusty? It was very tender but not very good. I ate about half the pie before I gave up. Worth a shot. Funny how I got food poisoning not from the camel, but from my work holiday party. You’d think it would be the other way around!

In any case, here are my pictures from Day 3. Enjoy.

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This post is about my second day of the Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) tour I did with Wayoutback Tours. Again, a fantastic time!

Started the day off with a 4.30am wakeup call! So early. We had slept on the ground under a tin roof the night before. Those that decided to be a little more “cool” had slept out under the stars. They quickly moved when it began raining sometime in the night. It was actually a pretty good sleep, despite sleeping on the ground surrounded by strangers.

We headed to a sunrise lookout point where we got to take some fantastic pictures of the sunrise and have our breakfast. Shortly after that, we headed to Kata Tjuta, or the Valley of the Winds for our hike. Those that chose to do that whole hike (like me) walked about 7km in a big loop that day. We finished around 10.30am and boy, it certainly felt like it was 2 or 3pm in the afternoon thanks to the early wake up.

I had a hiking buddy with me for the second part of the hike (after the point when those that decided to take the shorter route turned around). We didn’t talk much but we both kept at the same pace. I decided that by the end of the hike, either he had the fitness level of a 23-year old or I had the fitness level of a 58-year old. I was really hoping it was the first one! Considering we were the 2nd and 3rd person back (yes, even beating those that took the shorter route), I am going to say it’s safe to assume he was in great shape.

After that, we went to the Uluru Camping Ground and hung out at the pool. There’s no words to describe how it feels to immerse yourself in a refreshing water after a long, 37 degree hike. It was amazing. After a lazy lunch, we headed to our next campground and set up. I got to take a shower in a tin shower stall (see pictures) and I think that was a pretty fantastic experience. There was no curtain or door on the shower and I got to watch the sun set in the outback as I showered away the grime and sweat from the day.

That night our tour guide, Adam, cooked us Green Curry on the open fire AND bread made with beer. I was highly impressed and it was delicious! We then settled down around the fire for a sleep under the stars. Absolutely gorgeous, lying there and gazing into the universe. I could have done without the flies or mosquitos, though! I think I woke up pretty much every hour and was covered in bites by the morning but the night-time sky and sunrise that following morning more than made up for it.

Here are some pictures from Day 2:

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