Trip Start Aug 19, 2011
Trip End Feb 23, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Monday, December 19, 2011

We landed in Melbourne on the 20th and were met with a christmas carol crew, complete with a full brass section which put us in great form.The first thing that struck us was how nice everyone was being...Even the immigration officer, normally people spawned from Satan, was smiling away. We grabbed the bus to Southern Cross station, and made our way to the tram and on up to Miss Roisin Logan's house. Enroute we met a) An Ozzie who gave us his seat and told us how 20 years ago he bought jewellery in a back room of a chinese shop in downtown Manhattan with some lad walking around with an AK47 ready to rock and b) An 80 year old Italian man who hadn't been home in 50 years. We landed at Roisin deadly apartment and met up with Andrew and tacey......from where?? - Only Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, that's where. That evening we met up with Daire's friends, Michael and Amelia and wandered around Melbourne for a few hours until the night hit and we walked into what was to becone our second home for the few days - The Drunken Poet!! We ended up meeting the Mullingar crew & honorary Mullingar crew member - Colin!!  The place was jammed both nights and we were well into the xmas spirit by the time we headed for Angelsea for some dinner :)

Angelsea is where Daire's Auntie and family liveand we were there for xmas! Thank you Dolores, Ms. Master Chef who cooked us a proper roast dinner with homemade christmas cake (which i've never had before and loved!!). Even though we were surrounded by beach and warm weather the Dooley’s stirred up a warm Christmas with Bing Crosby in the background, a proper Christmas tree glittered with lights, hot toddys, and Risk. Risk, is a "friendly" game that taught me how to take over the world albeit unsuccessfully. Daire ended up world leader the first night night, only to be knocked off the throne 2 days later by Philip! If you ever want to play a game that divides every member in your family, and causes multiple hours of shouting, arguing, blackmailing and general chaos - this is the one. The next few days were spent walking the beach, swimming in BALTIC seas, learning chess and eating and drinking the face off ourselves. 

Before we left Anglesea we made sure to drive the coast road and check out Cape Ottway (one of the most famous light houses around) AND took tons of pics at the 12 apostles. Another day we headed to Bells beach - which has the most insane waves I've ever seen - we were in awe even looking at the lads jumping into waves, the height of a normal semi detatched house.

From Anglesea we drove back to Melbourne for New Years where we BBQd in the park and stuffed ourselves with honey soy burgers, irish sausages, fresh salsa and guacamole and an endless supply of goon and beers. Midnight rolled around and the only reason we knew was because we were showered with fireworks for a solid 20 minutes right above our heads. We couldn't have planned our location any better for checking out the fireworks. As the night started to come to an end around 4ish we had to share the park with a handful of uninvited guests- the Possum cleanup crew that snuck up on us and settled in alot closer than we would have liked. We had a motley crew from an American, to Irish to Scottish and English. I couldn't have asked for a friendlier hosts- Roisin, who is Daire's sisters bff & Colin.  We were truly lucky to be surrounded by such nice people on New Years.

Our next stop after the New Year was Sydney where we did the touristy thing and took pictures at the Opera House and in Darling Harbour, went to the Aquarium (way overated) and stopped at a pub for a $10 staek. Again we stayed with one of Daire's friends, Niall and had a great laugh in the house. The amount of Irish here in Australia is ridiculous. On our way to Bondi beach Daire spotted one of his friends from back home getting off the train and went over to say hello! We had a night with Niall, Glen, Andrew and Stacey at the infamous Cock and Bull bar in Bondi Junction.

Our next stop was Airlie beach staying with Daire's aunt Mary and uncle Steve - not to mention Grace Rule and Bindi!. Our days there took on a much needed change of pace, for the first in a long time, we were gettin up at 7.30 and landing in bed before 10pm. Couldn't have been better. Firstly they live in, what is basically an amazing, lavish tree house up in the clouds - with a pool. Grace, Daire's tiny cousin, who is 6 going on 30 took over our world. Teaching her piano, free style swimming, ice skating and how to ride a bike consumed half our days while entertaining her has filled the other half. We've painted volcanoes and birds, baked cookies, cakes, and chocolate chip pancakes, not to mention endless sesssions of make believe with zoo zoo pets. The evenings were unbeliveably relaxing - Beer, wine and Mary's cooking! We watched movies and I got introduced to Father Ted!! The "wildlife" up there is insane - there's everything from Rhinocerous beetles to Python's and every imaginable sort of creeply crawlie in between!! The worst being a disgusting 8 inch long centipede....yuuuuckkkkk.
We met up with Daire's friend Mark and had 2 great nights out for dinner and a bit of fishing. We had breakfast out at Dingo beach and got eaten alive with bugs out at the creek. The time literally flew and we miss their faces still!!

The final part of our brief Australia visit is Brisbane!! Last but definately not least. We stayed in Bulimia with 2 of Daire's best friends - Con and Marita...........and the two kids - Bruiser and Snookie. From Rock climbing to destroying crates of Toohey's new beer - we had a blast.

We landed in New Zealand today and are currently in Christchurch keeping a watchful eye on the buildings around us!! :) Chat soon
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