G'day mate

Trip Start Jan 19, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
couch surfed

Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Australia for only a week.  The New Zealanders all commented that we planned our trip right,... 11 weeks in NZ, one in OZ.  I think we made the right decision too.  Australia is huge,... and with the time and money that we had to work with, it would have been really expensive and a ton of driving to try and see a good portion of OZ.  In our 11 weeks in NZ,  ... we explored both islands pretty extensively, excluding the very south part of the south island. That's one of the beautiful things in NZ, ... being able to drive such a short distance and see such different landscapes,... beaches, caves, and lush mountains one day, ... snow capped mountains, penguins, and ice glaciers the next.  One week in OZ was only a taste.

It's interesting being here in Australia after leaving NZ... it's similar but very different.  Besides the obvious that OZ is much bigger and spread apart, the people speak differently and have a different vibe to them.  Before coming here, I totally wouldn't be able to distinguish between and Aussie and a Kiwi just by their accent,...now, I think I could.  I don't really know how to explain the difference, ... NZers just have a softer approach to speech... a more inviting demeanor... and a more layed back feel.  We have met some really nice Aussie's,... I think we are just a little biased after falling in love with NZ.  
 Another funny thing about Aussies is that they shorten everything... breakfast is "brekkie", Christmas is "Chrissy", barbeque is"barbie", a sick day is a "sickie", a present is a "prezie", mosquito is a "mozzie", ...they even shorten thanks to "ta"!!!  "Ta mate!"  I didn't know you could shorten a one syllable word,... but the Aussie's figured it out.  This must be a fun pastime for them to try and figure out how to shorten as many words as they can.  It was amusing, that's for sure.  A few other cute slangs were:

bathers... swim trunks
cuppa... cup of tea
chook... chicken (same in NZ)
snag... a sausage
stickybeak... a nosy person
rellies... relatives
nappy... diaper
dilly bag... small food bag
good on ya... good for you (another NZ favorite)

... and these were only the ones we picked up on in one week!

We ended up couch surfing in Sydney with a great couple from Istanbul, Turkey.  We had our own room and a key to the house, so we could come and go as we pleased.  They were incredible people, funny and inviting.  They made us dinner one night and had two friends come over our last night... it was alot of fun talking with them about Istanbul too.  Since we'll be there in June, she wrote out a whole itenerary for our visit... beautiful.  And we may stay with her family a night or two while we're there.  

We decided to rent a car for 4 days and head out of the city to see more of the country.  We went about 10 hours north to Byron Bay, as suggested by an Aussie we met in NZ.  It was a cool, layed back hippie kind of town.  It reminded me of a really small Asheville, but with a beach vibe to it.  We stayed in a small hotel right outside of town for two nights and then headed back south.  We did get to watch "Crocodile Dundee" on one of the rainy nights, which was fun.  Classic movie.  

Unfortunately, it rained and was cloudy 6 of the 7 days while we were there, which kindof put a damper on things (no pun intended),... but all in all we had a great time in Australia.  Our last night, we stayed at a super sweet hotel in downtown Sydney for surprisingly cheap (nothing in Sydney is cheap)... and had an in-room full kitchen, bathroom, and laundry (our clothes were definitely pretty rank)... so we had plenty of room to re-pack our bags for flying to Bali.  The world famous Australian zoo was our last touristy thing that we had to do, before leaving Sydney... it was great.  We did get to see kangaroos and koala's in the wild on our trip up north, but we wanted to see them closer up,... so the zoo was great.  OUr flight wasn't til 9:40pm, so we took the ferry back from the zoo and spent the next couple of hours by the waterfront.  It really is a beautiful spot... right on the water with the Sydney Opera house, Harbour Bridge and city in the background all lit up beautifully.  Stunning.  Now off to Kuala Lumpur for a brief layover and Bali, Indonesia for 3 weeks.  This trip is amazing.  We pinch ourselves everyday and try and be present as much as possible.  Life is good.   
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