A Travellerspoint blog

Federation Square

semi-overcast 22 °C

Finally got moving down to Federation Square around noon after having a so called "webcam" with my BFF. Actually, we webcammed and she had to type....lol. Was great for us!

Federation Square is the heart of Melbourne where lots of activities happen and it centres the several museums, blah, blah...was neat but we really enjoyed walking over to Rod Laver Arena where Nadal won the title this year and where Dean watched the final match. Checked out the MCG too where they play cricket and Aussie Football.

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Then with my two construction men on hand, naturally they notice all the construction zones and wondered what was being built. As we walked and talked about the construction (well, some talked, some just walked), we stopped a construction worker (easily identifiable by his florescent yellow shirt which must be a requirement down here). Wwe had a most interesting conversation with him and the building that he was erecting is the new home for the footie and soccer teams, I guess. Don't quote me, I was half listening! We chatted for quite awhile and learned more about the cultural down under. Did you know that Australia (like us crazy Canucks) had some stupid mortgages called NINJNA (shortened to NINJA) which were mortgages for people with No Income No Jobs No Assets). Yep, same shit happens down under. Economy is slow down here too!

Did some shopping and had a little bit of fun.

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Again, we walked half way home before waiting for a tram for 45 minutes for Tram No. 79 and then realized that you had to take Tram 78 first and get off to get on Tram 79 to go to St. Kilda. Wondered why everyone keep getting on Tram 78 and no one was waiting for Tram 79. So much for our handy little tourist guide, Dean....no tip for him!

Went out for wonderful Mexican food at Amigo restaurant. Our waitress was South African...what the heck? I told you Melbourne is a very diverse place, didn't I? She was very nice and friendly and served great Sol priced at $8.80AU, enchiladas, jimichana's, mojito's and strawberry daiquiris.

On our walk back to our hostel, what do we see but a stopped tram, the driver out front reading the paper and smoking. With a few drinks in us, we asked the driver what he was reading and yep, you guessed it....he wanted to talk to. Aussie's are so friendly! He told us how to drive the tram and other useful and helpful information.

Tomorrow, we're off to Brisbane for 3 days. Gotta book our trip to the Australia Zoo and see the big roos and koalas.

Posted by Bada Bing 05:51 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Great Ocean Road

semi-overcast 24 °C

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I nearly forgot to mention that yesterday before we went wine tasting we stopped into a small town, Mt. Martha, along the way and had fish and chips. Wow, how great it was to select the fresh fish that we wanted and to have it freshly cooked, lightly battered and then wrapped in paper. The fish was unbelievable….how I said that word before?

Today, we started our adventure to the Great Ocean Road. It took about an hour to get out of the City and probably another 30 minutes before we reached the beginning of the “Great Ocean Road”. We stopped at Bell’s Beach…the beach that will host the 2009 Surfing Championships. It wasn’t a nice hot day but rather windy and cool. Still I think the temperature was about 22.

We stopped by the famous golf course where thousands of roos inhabit and naturally we only saw 5.

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Take a look at the picture of the house on the stilt. Apparently, it was designed by an artist and is now rentable….rumoured about 2000 per night(edited)....it's much cheaper than that. Go to http://www.thedeckhouse.com.au/ to read about it!

We ventured onward and visited the lighthouse at Aisley’s Inlet and followed the road as far as Lorne. To have reached the 12 Apostles would have been another 2 hours or so and we decided that each beach was just as beautiful as the last and that we had seen enough. It is beautiful but after all the winding road and views start to look the same.

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The road sign for today was “Slowing down won’t kill you”. Interestingly enough although most highways are posted at 100, few people go the speed limit, there are so many speed cameras and windy roads that people are rather cautious.

Posted by Bada Bing 04:14 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Indian food and Vineyards

No not together!

sunny 34 °C

Last night, Dean tried to culturize us and took us for Indian food. We agreed reluctantly. Well after several hours and several courses later, we made our way home. John says after eating that food, he was not going to the bathroom there (referring to Slumdog Millionaire). It was okay but not one of our favorite cultural food.

Melbourne is a city of wide cultures and you can find any cultural food just around the corner.

Dean rented a car today and we drove out on the Mornington Peninsula to find the vineyards and wineries and do a bit of wine tasting. The views of the bay were quite fantastic although I was too busy watching the oncoming traffic while Dean drove on the wrong side of the road. lol Actually, Dean drove very well (with a few reminders from Racheal) on the wrong side of the road and we only had one incident of him hitting the wipers instead of the signal light indcator. But it would take a long time to get used to driving on the other side of the road after having driven on the right side for so many years.

We visited two wineries and tasted their product. One was quite small, only 8.5 acres. They also provide wedding services and there was a wedding happening when we were there so we couldn't tour the vines. I read in a pamplet when in the wine area that the wedding services are $140.00 per person for 5 hours and a banquet but tents, chairs and other accessories were all extras. Sounded pretty darn expensive to me!

The other vineyard was Montalto and this was a very big winery with about 12 different types to sample. Of course, we didn't sample them all!!! It was interesting how the lady providing the samples started out quite rigidly to the program and then just started giving us interesting random information about the wines. This vineyard allowed us to stroll down a path where they featured art sculptures from various artists. The Peninsula is also home to numerous Galleries-about as many as the vineyards. Of all the places for John to forget to grab the camera, he forgot at this vineyard and there were beautiful views and several interesting pieces of artwork. Oh, well, guess I will have to burn the pictures in my memory bank in my brain.

On the way back through the burbs, we stopped at a "Bunnings" store for John to check out. This warehouse structure looked similiar to Home Depot and John has had this craving to check one out since he noticed one earlier on in our travels. Well, that didn't take too long as we soon discovered that it is different colors but it is so similar to a Home Depot that you could paint it, change the sign and voila...Home Depot. Prices were much higher than Canada according to John.

Travelling through the inner burbs back to St. Kilda, we went through a residential area of old, mansional (is that a word?) houses. Wow, there were so beautiful with all their brick, clay tile roofs with designs on them. Most of them also had brick surrounding fences and drive abouts (John's created word) meaning two entries into a semicircle driveway. lol. Part of what made them so amazing was that you could see the aged beauty when the old mansions IMG_5948.jpgIMG_5939.jpg all had the scrolled underhangs on the eaves, etc. It was amazing.

Tomorrow, we're off to the Great Ocean Road and yes, I will take the standard tourist pictures of all the wonderous sites that thousands and millions before me have taken.

Posted by Bada Bing 04:30 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

On the road again.....to Melbourne

sunny 27 °C

March 19 and March 20, 2009

Today again dawned bright and sunny in the Blue Mountains, weather warmed up considerably from the night that we arrived here!

Decided to grab the 11:00 train into Sydney and check out the Royal Botanical Gardens down by the Bridge. Yep, seems like you also miss something, so with time on our hands to burn till the night train to Melbourne, we headed on in.

The first thing we heard when we entered the Gardens was the squealing and soon, we discovered what it was....seemed like millions...well at least a few thousand flying foxes. What are flying foxes? Big bats!! They are good for the Gardens but have overpopulated it and now are a threat to the Gardens so they are taking natural measures to try and lower the population. It really was quite an amazing site to see! As Dean had befriended a giant spider (orb) out when he was woofing, he was always on the lookout for webs with spiders. Soon, he had both John and I seeking out webs and there were lots to be found. It was a very people friendly garden as the first signpost invited people to walk on the grass and touch and feel the trees and flowers. Certain plants naturally had signs requesting you not to touch as they were poisonous!

Boarded the night train at 8:40 pm and got to Sydney about 7:15 amtoday. We popped our gravol and had a not bad sleep but it certainly is not the same as one's bed. We had upgraded to first class which give us more room, bigger seats and more incline which did help.

Luckily for us, the hostel didn't have someone staying in our room last night, so they let us check in right away. Dean is staying with one of his friends in St. Kilda and we are at hostel/hotel. This one is nice too. No shared bathrooms, we have an ensuite and we also have a bar fridge in the room, free internet, toaster, microwave, kettle and coffee and amenities supplied. And it is the size of a 4 star hotel room. So it's very much a mixture of hotel/hostel as it also has a community kitchen to cook, internet room (for those suckers without a laptop) and washers and dryers to use. What more could one ask for? Believe it or not, I am getting used to staying in hostels with all the young-uns. Backpacking is a huge force throughout Australia although I don't know about other countries, perhaps it is there too!

Had John good and frustrated today trying to figure out the map of St. Kilda (by the way St. Kilda is a suburb of Melbourne). All streets here have angles and it took him at least an hour of studying the map to get it straightened out in his mind....you know him and directions...he just has to know! (which is good, because if I would have turned where I wanted to, we would still be walking)IMG_5889.jpgIMG_5885.jpgIMG_5905.jpgIMG_5896.jpg

Not sure what's planned for tonight, perhaps an open air theatre, who knows?

Posted by Bada Bing 23:26 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

golfing anyone?

sunny 24 °C

March 18

As if we haven’t done enough walking in the past couple days, we booked a round of golf at the local club. Weather in this area starts out cool in the morning but by 1:00, it heats up. We decided it didn’t look like a very far distance to the course so we set out on foot….well, after walking about 1 ½ miles up and down hills and huffing and puffing, we finally found the course. Did I mention to you that Katoomba is built on nothing but inclines…some steeper than others. I am still looking for a flat street! We will have the best toned calves and quads when we get home.

A 10 hole round of golf costs pretty much the same as Canada. It is autumn here (especially in these hills) so some of the leaves are turning yellow although they have lots of coniferous trees of which I don’t know any names but damn, they are nice…some are cedars of tremendous heights, others have acorns…what’s that tree name. John and I rented a cart and Dean pulled his clubs (needed to tire the lad out somehow). It was great fun and we had many laughs. Dean hadn’t golfed in over a year so between he and I, John was laughing pretty much all of the time.

They also have some white parrot looking birds here which look quite pretty but shit, do they squawk…you thought crows and magpies were bad, well these things can sound as if some killed a cat. After awhile they become downright annoying. On our walk back to the hostel….yes, we walked back too….we saw some beautiful parrot birds which were red and green (and quiet). Got some nice pictures of those beautiful birds.

Just hanging out for the evening, go buy some groceries, make dinner and watch some TV or something, then tomorrow off to Sydney and take the night train to Melbourne tomorrow.

Well, didn’t buy groceries instead decided to buy Dominios Pizza. No cooking tonight! Stopped at the store for wine and beer to go with it. Did you know that in Australia you can buy “clean skins” which is the bottom of the barrel of wine which could be a regular $80 a bottle wine? It is just labelled as Chardonnay - white, rose, merlot or whatever and then the vineyards name but you will never know for sure that you are drinking! And the best part is that the cost of one of these bottles is $5.99 Australian! Had a bottle of rose tonight and have another bottle of white chardonnay to try. Tasted very good to me! Now, I’ll probably wake up with a wine headache!!DSC03947.jpgDSC03946.jpgDSC03941.jpg

Posted by Bada Bing 03:53 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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