Hello finally got around to updating with ...

Trip Start Nov 04, 2000
Trip End Nov 04, 2001

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Flag of Australia  ,
Tuesday, May 8, 2001


Finally got around to updating with the last month of fun in Australia. Been lazy with this webpage I haven't been inspired by much, plus I'm running out of cash at a faster rate than I was in all the poor Asian and south east Asian countries (note to self: bring more cash next time, or smuggle priceless antiquities from Cambodia). Anyway, as a hot tip, Sydney airport has free internet access so you can hitchhike out there every couple of days (don't be paying for buses, g) and check your internet Ebanking balance at www.tightasagnats.com.au - I know I did.

Arrived in Sydney on the 6th of April (seems like ages ago). There were plenty of hostels in the guidebooks and I guess I could have stayed at one of them but had to arranged (invited myself) to stay at the flat of a friend from my old work in Glasgow who had also decamped to the southern hemisphere for a year. It was great to see a familiar face again and hear some familiar accents, he's from Scunthorpe and his girlfriend is from Glasgow and I was made to feel very welcome. Cheers Steve and Christine. If anyone reading this is going to Sydney I'm sure they wouldn't mind you dropping in. And they might buy you fish and chips for your dinner. Lovely.

Spent the 7th (saturday) at the beach with Steve and Christine in Cronulla which was a train and wee ferry ride away and very picturesque too. It's no wonder people love Australia, you can be sun bathing within minutes of leaving the office, and be in the pub before your self-tan fades.

I didn't see much of Sydney on the way in, I was off to Melbourne on the night train on the evening of the 7th. NB You can get cheap flights at www.impulse.com.au which are cheaper than getting the train and much less arduous - I just didn't have time to organise it.

Melbourne 8th - 14th

Had headed down to Melbourne to meet up with old friend Cameron whom I've known since I was about 6.

Stumbling out of the station at about 7am I caught a tram up to the Chapman Gardens YHA. It's a very civilised way to travel, and you always know where you are going as there is no chance of the trams taking a wrong turning or hitting a low bridge or something.

Found Melbourne a very friendly city, with a decent amount of stuff to do. Took some bikes from the YHA (free) and got a train out of town (with our 20$ weekly travel pass, bargain) and cycled through Yarra Bend Park, along the river side. Good exercise and good cycle routes too. Free stuff always good.

Also visited a couple of the parks in town just to get away from the busy down-town area. One of the parks has Captain Cooks house open to visitors. I thought he actually built his house in the middle of the park, but it was apparently transferred from Surrey or something in the 1920s, brick by brick. We were about to go see it, but it was $6 to enter. "Cook this" (plus gestures) was Cameron's response. (Funniest thing he said all week).

Cameron had some chums in the theatre biz and since the Melbourne International Comedy Festival was on we mooched about at some shows (free) and then to some after-show pah-tays. I hadn't had any alcopops for a couple of months and it made a nice change to go socialising in pubs and clubs. Saw some good shows (recommend Jerry Sadowitz) and some not so good - the Australian comedians I saw were pretty average, often like 3rd rate Russ Abbotts. Imagine the torture.

Can't remember much else about that. Left and went to Canberra. But on the way we made a stop at Bateman's Bay and visited the Birdland Animal Park which was fun. Got some pictures of wallabies and that.


Canberra is alright, though it's a bit spread out so it would be best to have a car when you visit. The bus service is terrible, with buses stopping at about 7pm! Outrageous. Anyway, it's just as well their art galleries and museums are top notch otherwise there would be almost no reason whatsoever to visit the seat of government. The city seems to be full of civil servants and looks like East Kilbride town centre on a bigger scale. It's ok to visit on a rainy saturday afternoon but not the kind of place you'd want to say anymore than 3 days. Cameron and I took a walk up Anzac Parade towards the War Memorial. On either side of long wide road are memorials to all the servicemen and women and the wars they served in - Vietnam, Korea etc. We passed a pleasant fountain and shallow pool surrounded by a beautiful curving wall inscribed with the names of all the army nurses who had served over the years: and there was a family of Australians enjoying a paddle in the memorial pool! Kids jumping in and out... oh oh here come's dad to sort them out... uh wait, he's taking off his shoes and socks and getting in for a dip too! Anyway, there are certainly some thickos in this country.

War Memorial was outstanding, with involving exhibits about Gallipoli (which was interesting to see from the Allies side after being fed the Turkish story when I visited there last year). There is also a 'Power over the Pacific' area with aircraft and information about the Japanese offensive in South East Asia which stopped narrowly short of invading Northern Australia. Great stuff. Last Post played as the museum closed and the trumpet echoed down Anzac Parade as the families jumped in the pool and rode down the surrounding grass verges on ninja-scooters. Mental.

I'll write about Sydney in a bit. I can't be bothered at the moment. I'm currently at the YHA in Forster which is about 5hours north of Sydney. I'm doing a couple of hours cleaning in return for free accommodation which is great. Though I've been here for about 10 days and starting to tire. There are a few other people working there too so there is company and i get to stop moving for a little bit. I'm trying to teach myself how to surf but have only manage to get pounded by the waves, and freak out when I see rays swimming underneath me when I'm on the board. There are dolphins swimming about too but haven't seen them yet. The town is quiet though, and it's a struggle to find things to do except lie on the beach and read, which isn't such a hard life.

I'm going to stick around here until I turn up some work in Sydney, else I'm skipping out to New Zealand.

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