It's Friday, it's 5 o'clock, it's traffic jam time

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Jun 18, 2011

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Friday, October 22, 2010

Our flight today is at lunchtime so we were up really early to get the last of our packing done and to clean the camper. At the depot we had to pay a diesel tax on all the mileage we had driven during our trip, we had managed to estimate it quite well so it wasn't too much of a shock when we got the final bill, plus we got two days worth of our money back from the campervan company to compensate for the two days we were stuck in Nelson due to problems with the van. When we were organising our campervan rental back in the UK we had dealt with a lady called Lynda, who had also helped when we broke down a few weeks ago, but today was the first day we had got to meet her. Lynda was absolutely lovely and after she had given us a lift to the airport we had a little hug; despite the issues we have had with our vans, we would still recommend this campervan company as they have constantly done everything in their power to help us. Once we had got checked in at the airport we settled down in the departure lounge and spent the last of our New Zealand cash on a burger for Tom and a yummy smoothie for me. On the plane we got some fantastic views of the Southern Alps below us and it felt really strange to think that we had been driving and hiking those very same mountains just a few weeks before. As the last of the New Zealand coastline disappeared out of view I felt a bit teary eyed at the prospect of leaving the country that I have spent the last 46 days doing nothing but exploring.

After the 3 hour flight we landed in Sydney and got through customs and immigration in just a few minutes. We have got a hostel booked for the first three nights in Sydney and had arranged for them to pick us up at the airport, all we had to do was ring them once we arrived. So we gave them a call and they said we would be collected with 10 to 45 minutes. Well an hour later there was still no sign of anyone, but a few minutes later a guy who had been wandering around the arrivals lounge came and asked if we needed a lift to our hostel. We said no and that someone was already coming for us, but he just answered that it was him that had been sent to collect us. Feeling very unsure we rang the hostel back and sure enough he had been sent to collect us; we had to wait for a while though for some other people who were getting lifts to other hostels. By the time we got into the mini-bus it was 5pm on a Friday afternoon and we hit rush hour traffic trying to get into the city. It must have taken us about an hour to get to our hostel, which was only actually about 15 minutes away. The driver was also a bit of a nutcase and spent the whole time shouting at other drivers out of his window; some of the other people in the mini-bus were getting quite irrate, but I thought he was great, it reminded me of being back in a squashed Turkish dolmas on the way to a swimming pool on a baking hot day.

The hostel we are staying at for the next three nights in on the edge of the Kings Cross area of Sydney, which is quite a notorious part of town. Most of the city's backpacker hostels are in this area of the city but we were quite lucky to get one on the outskirts away from the dingier parts. This will also be our first experience of staying in a hostel and neither of us have any clue what to expect, having spent to last 46 days constantly in each others company whilst in New Zealand it will be really strange being surrounded by new people and in a new city and country. Feeling slightly apprehensive we arrived at the hostel and got booked in. We were in a 6 bed dorm and 3 of our room-mates work in the hostel and the other is a dental nurse; all of them are from the UK. First impressions seemed really good but we were feeling really disorientated and a bit overwhelmed... we had gone from sitting in a campervan in the middle of nowhere, to being stood in a hostel dorm room in one of the biggest cities in the world not having a clue what we were doing. The hostel was having a hot-dog night but neither of us were feeling very hungry so we went for a walk to help get our bearings and ended up grabbing some food later on in the evening from a chinese food stall at a food festival that was going on in one of the big park areas. We got back to the hostel feeling unbelievably tired and worn out, I even fell asleep in the TV room while everyone was watching a film. Both of us where worried that we wouldn't be able to get to sleep in a dorm room, but I slept so deeply I woke up in exactly the same position I had fallen asleep in, I didn't move a muscle all night. Tom didn't sleep as well as I did, he woke up each time someone entered or left the room, but considering it was our first ever night in a dorm room it wasn't as bad as we had expected.     
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