We're here for a good time, not a long time.

Trip Start Jul 19, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Well, I am a bad blogger.

Could you imagine that I aimed to update this thing once a week? Good grief! I haven't updated since September! Tsk, tsk. And, I really don't have any excuses. And if I did, they would probably be - school, work, and that Australia is just too awesome that even the thought of writing a blog post overwhelms me with things that I would want to talk about that I give up and go back to the beach.  

Australia is now behind us and I am writing from Stillwater, New Zealand. It's a small suburb north of Auckland and is beautiful.  But more on that later.  Gotta keep things in order.
Well, as I always (never) say, better late than never. So here are the last three months in a nutshell.

  •    We moved apartments whilst in Sydney.  Our last little pad in Darlinghurst became a problem, so we hightailed it out of there. Do you remember that time that a sweet little lady from Adelaide ended up on our couch? Well, a month later, the "landlord" (I put that in quotes as she was hardly a landlord because it's kind of hard to be a landlord in Sydney when you live in Melbourne, but, I digress.) still hadn't bothered to fix the door that any old key could open.  This, combined with a number of other misdeeds sent us looking for another place.  Luckily, an apartment that was perfect for us popped up for sublet in the same neighbourhood. It had a rad balcony that we could see the Opera House and Harbour Bridge from.  We were in a much better place for the rest of our time in Sydney and were sad to have to leave it and the city.
  • School is over! Master's degree is in the bag. It's a great feeling. I'm having fun adding the credentials to the resume.  There have been offers from the university to pursue a Ph.D., and though I'll never rule that out, I'm not too keen in diving right back into academia any time in the near future.
  • Matt has been busy with work! Amongst other projects, he's in the middle of developing a video game which is a lot of fun! Fun for me because I get to be the game tester (I had fantasies of this as a profession in my youth) and, we got an iPad! For business purposes only, of course.  Absolutely no fun to be had on it. I definitely do not take it to bed with me at night. Every night.
  • I stopped taking my camera around every where we went in Sydney.  I guess that's good and bad.  Good because I guess that meant that Australia was feeling more home-ish and less like an extended vacation. We were living in Sydney instead of being observers. That's pretty neat. We had our favourite hangouts and parts of the city, certain coffee shops, stores and neighbourhoods. The bad part is Sydney was so beautiful that there were many times where I thought "gah, I really wish I had my camera." 
Even though our adventure in New Zealand has been awesome, we miss Sydney and it makes me sad that we aren't living there anymore. We fly back to Toronto from Sydney, so we'll get at least one night more there, but not enough to cram in a half-years worth of living into one nostalgic last day.

We went on a farewell tallship dinner cruise as our final farewell to Sydney the night before we flew out to New Zealand.  Sailing on a 100 year old boat around the harbour was the perfect last night. Also - it was an open bar! We both managed not to go overboard, but wouldn't that have been a great last night in Sydney story?!
Sydney was awesome, but we've been to two equally awesome (but radically different) places that I have neglected to blog about!
In late October, we decided to take an extended long weekend on my break from school and head out to Melbourne for 4 nights. We waited until there was some good weather in the forecast (Melbourne weather can be quite dodgy, apparently) and got a good deal on a flight and hotel package online.  We were excited to have our first non-Sydney area experience!
Melbourne was one of nicest cities we've ever been to.  It didn't take us more than 10 minutes to figure that out. Everything was absolutely beautiful.  The skyline was filled with intricate and stunning architecture, combined with the urban characteristics of Sydney that we adored so much. It felt very familiar and home-y to us!

We didn't go to Melbourne with a whole lot on the itinerary, but we found out that Melbourne has a free tourist shuttle that takes tourists to 12 of the must see places in the city. We trusted the bus and spent our three days hoping on and off when we saw somewhere that that piqued our interest.

One of the highlights was the infamous Queen Victoria Market.  It's the biggest farmers/produce/goods/everything market in the southern hemisphere.  It took up several city blocks! We spent an entire afternoon just walking around the different booths and seeing what local Melbournians had to offer. Everything from fresh squeezed juice to italian leather and even a live animal stand.  I tried to convince Matt that a little live fluffy chick would be an awesome souvenir but he disagreed. So practical, he is. We settled on a couple of trinkets. 

We also went to a new area of development called the Docklands, which is right on the harbour.  It was a new development that has recently been completely redone.  It has a great atmosphere and condo buildings to drool over.  Everything was so new and clean and nice! The shopping was also really good.  I'm sure in some of the pictures Matt is lugging around the numerous pairs of shoes that I couldn't live without.  Carryon luggage limits be damned, I was getting those shoes.  Sadly they did not make it to New Zealand with us, but they are safely stowed back in Sydney in luggage storage. I can't wait to see them again.

Like Sydney, Melbourne has a Royal Botanic Gardens that (Sydney, close your eyes and ears) is even nicer than it's Sydney counterpart.  Granted, the Melbourne version did not have amazing views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, it also did NOT have thousands of bats that are plotting my death.  But it also seemed bigger, brighter and more beautiful - not that its a contest! Also on the grounds of the gardens is the Shrine of Remembrance which serves as war memorial for all of the armed services and conflicts Australia has been involved in.  

 The shrine itself is a massive, Grecian building that is eerily ominous and serves to communicate solemness of what it represents.  The inside of the building had shrines, tombs, and an entire floor of war artifacts and information about Australian involvement in domestic and world wars.
We also hit up a number of great restaurants, cafes (Melbourne is known for its cafe culture) and went to the very impressive casino.

All in all, a great whirlwind trip! We flew back to Sydney late Tuesday just in time for me to get to school at the crack of dawn Wednesday morning.

Melbourne seems so long ago.  Maybe because it was.

We've been in New Zealand now for nearly a week and I'm already jazzed to write the blog post for the stuff we've done here so far.  Naively, I thought New Zealand would be a mini Australia, but I couldn't have been more wrong. It's so different.  It seems that aside from the accent, there is very little in common.  We. Love. It. Here.

We originally had only booked two weeks to spend in New Zealand, and then had tentitive plans to fly back to the Gold Coast of Australia before we fly back home (!) on December 12th.  It didn't take us more than 12 hours to bail on that plan and stay in NZ for the rest of our time abroad.

Just going to throw this out there: how about all of our friends and family move out here instead of us coming back home? You don't need to commit yet, just think about it, okay?

I'll update soon with details of the crazy bananas stuff we've done in NZ!

Miss you all!

M & G xx


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