A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Lisieloo04

Port Macquarie

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

all seasons in one day 25 °C

We arrived in Port Macquarie on the 7th December, after an amazing few days in Coffs Harbour. When we arrived at the hostel, we instantly fell in love with the place. The hostel building is a converted house, with its own living room, and open plan kitchen area. Its only a small place, but it felt like a home away from home immediately, and we got on well with the manager Heather, and night manager Martin. The town is only small, but very quaint, and a stone's throw away from an amazing beach.

On day 2, we loved the place so much we asked if there were any jobs available at the hostel for free accomodation or a wage. There was nothing immediately available for us, but Heather said she'd see what she could do for us. On the next day, we decided to take the hostel's 'Moke' out for a spin (small buggy/go-cart thing) and took a drive south of Port along an ocean road and saw some of the area's other spectacular beaches. We met some lovely people at the hostel, and we spent a lot of time together, sitting around playing cards, or going out for meals and playing drinking games in the evening. We also went on a sunset cruise around the Port, and saw wild dolphins swimming a few metres away from our boat!! There is also a Koala hospital just up the road from our hostel, so we went there for a visit, and did lts of walks and sight seeing.

A few days later, Heather and Martin told us that they had figured out a way to get us work at the hostel. The current cleaner of the hostel was looking to move on, and there was another lady working at the hostel on reception that wasnt doing too well and was thinking of leaving for another job, so things were looking promising. Our major decision now was whether to stay in Port Macquarie and work for a few months, which would mean not being in Sydney for Xmas and Nye. We mulled it over for a few days and decided that the only reason we wanted to be in Sydney for that time was to see the Sydney Harbour Fireworks. The deciding factor was that we could either spend xmas and NY in Sydney, or spend it here in Port Macquarie with our friends, and earn money, so we decided to cancel Sydney. It would mean us both cleaning in the morning for free accomodation, and me working an evening shift 4 days a week on reception for a wage. It would also mean moving into a seperate unit of the hostel and having our own flat, so it was a pretty good deal.

We have met so many amazing people since working here, some that only stayed a couple of days, and others who were long termers, who have become good friends. Matt, a French guy who was here for over a month, became a close friend to us during his stay, and we spent many a night playing cards or Xbox, him teaching us various swear words in French. There was a great group of people in the hostel around on Xmas day, and we all had a massive BBQ and spent the day drinking wine and playing games in the sunshine, which was fantastic. On Ryan's birthday, Heather cooked us all a meal in the unit, and we played a few card games in the evening. Its been so amazing meeting so many cool people, although its always sad saying goodbye to them as they continue on their travels. We'll definitely stay in touch though, and we've already been thinking about who we want to go and visit when we get back to the UK :)

For New Year Eve, a few of us from the hostel took a walk to the port and watched the firework display that was on at 10pm, then we took a slow wander back and a group of us sat in our little flat in time for the Sydney fireworks to be shown on tv live. The Sydney fireworks looked spectacular on tv and apparently Australia spends something like 5 million $AU on the display each year. Unfortunately, they only lasted 10 minutes, so we think we made the right choice by staying here and making a bit of money instead. Its been a lovely Christmas and New Year in Port Macquarie, not quite as flash as Sydney, but spending the holidays with friends has made it a memorable experience.

Posted by Lisieloo04 18:23 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Coffs Harbour

sunny 32 °C

We arrived in Coffs Harbour on 30th November, after 4 hours of being cramped inside a very full Greyhound Coach. As soon as we arrived here, we instantly fell in love with the place. The weather was beautiful and the town was very pretty with lots of botanical gardens and nice houses. The hostel was equally as nice, very modern and friendly, and just a stones throw from the harbour itself. I decided as soon as we arrived that this was the place i wanted to be for my birthday. On the first day, we took a wander around the town, looked around the shops and took a walk to the harbour. From the harbour you could see or miles out to sea, and looking inland towards Coffs Harbour, you could see mountains and hills surrounding the town. On our second day, we decided to hit the beach, for a day of sun and surf (less of the 'surf' though). In the evening we just relaxed at the hostel and watched tv and films with the other backpackers. On the third day, we decided to go to the Pet Porpoise Pools, a small sealife park for dolphins, sealions, sharks, pelicans and a green turtle (ironically no porpoises, as apparently the dolphins are not classed as 'porpoises' anymore). The place was very small, but the facilities were great, and the animals had a lot of space. We watched the dolphin show, and both of us had a 'kiss from a seal' We also got to feed the sharks, and i stroked a huge green turtle, which was amazing. After the shows and feeding were finished, all the masses piled into the park restaurants to fill their stomaches, but me and Ryan decided to hang around the dolphin pool and watch the 2 male dolphins 'Zippy' and 'Bucky' swimming around for a while. The park keepers threw in a couple of balls and the dolphins grabbed them in their mouthes and swam up to us wanting to play ball, so we played catch with the dolphins for maybe an hour or so. It was a lovely experience for both of us, as we spent some time alone with them without masses of screaming toddlers and tourists with flashing cameras. At one point, one of the dolphins swam right up to us and rolled over letting us scratch his belly for a couple of minutes, which was an awesome experience. In the afternoon, we watched the second dolphin show, as well as the sealion show and spent a bit more time with the dolphins, once the majority of tourists had gone home. In the evening we sat in the hostel playing cards, and met a few Australian girls, and a german girl called Ines, who were all a good laugh. The next day (low and behold) it was my birthday, so we decided to hit the beach for another day of sunbathing with Ines. It was very strange spending my birthday in the blistering heat on the beach next to the sea, when usually it snows or rains and is rarely above 10 degrees!! In the evening, we sat in the hostel with a couple of staff members who worked at the YHA, and had a few drinks with them (everyone sang happy birthday to me, which was really sweet). After, we decided to hit the town, went to a couple of bars with an Irish guy we'd made friends with called Brendan, and a couple of other Brits staying at the hostel. On the very last couple of day at Coffs Harbour, we chilled in the hostel, or had a wander around town, before our departure to PORT MAQUARIE on the monday. It was the perfect end to a perfect few days.

Posted by Lisieloo04 19:58 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Murwillumbah

all seasons in one day 32 °C

Hey Everyone! Sorry for the delay in updating the blog, we've been very busy seeing lots of sights!

So on 16th Nov, we headed south to a place called Murwillumbah, a very green mountainous place, further inland from the coast, to a quiet little hostel overlooking a river. The town was very quaint and old fashioned and quite quiet, pretty off the beaten track, but it was nice to get away from all the tourists for a while. The hostel was pretty dead to begin with, apart from one or 2 backpackers and the manager, Tassie, a little old guy who was very welcoming. The hostel is very 'nature friendly', with lots of information about local wildlife and vegetation. There were rather large wild 'waterdragons' that Tassie always fed and let freely roam inside the hostel, which occassionally gave us a fright when they scarpered past the doorway or came running around a corner towards us. On the first day, we decided to explore the town and all the little shops in the area. That evening, Tassie gave us some free Ice cream and we played board games and cards (there wasnt much nightlife). As the evening drew in and the sun set, we began to notice these weird large beetles start climbing up the windows and hearing them smack into the doors. Apparently, they are called Christmas beetles (only come out at xmas) and if its been a hot day, they all come out apparently.Literally thousands of them were flying around, hitting the window, the doors, lights, crawling through gaps and flying into our faces. By the end of the night, we were battling to keep them out of our dorm room, because they were so bloody noisy!!!

The hostel we were at offered free canoe hire if you stayed for more than 3 nights, so the next day we took advantage, and canoed all the way up the river and through a little creek leading on from the river. It was very beautiful and peaceful, with nothing but the sound of water and various squawking birds/insects/reptiles. And then, just when we were relaxing, cruising down the creek, and taking in the atmosphere, we drifted around a corner, and we almost had a heart attack, there were at about 10 cows standing literally on the edge of the riverbank, just staring at us.......staring...and chewing. God, it was so creepy! Mum, you were right about the evilness of cows!

That night, we had a similar night, free ice cream, board games and fighting off those massie beetles. The next day, we decided it would be a very good idea to climb the largest mountain in Murwillumbah - Mt. Warning, (as you do). Tassie also offered a free lift and 'guided tour' when you stayed 3 nights, so he drove us to the bottom of the mountain and gave us as promised (which was a self recorded guided tour spoken by Tassie on an old tape recorder, bless him!) Well, the climb was, as expected, exhausting. The climb took us 1 hour 40 mins (of nothing but steps!!) and the way down took about the same length of time, but it was worth it for the sense of achievement. Unfortunately, it was extremely foggy that day, so we couldnt see much of anything when we got to the top. However, it was all worth while for the experience, and we were very lucky to see a rare glimpse of a Lyrebird during the climb too.

On our last night, we were pretty exhausted and aching from all our climbing. A couple of German guys had just checked into the hostel, who were the first guests we'd seen in a couple of days. We got chatting to them, and that evening we all played a few games of cards, had more free ice cream, and a few glasses of 'Goon', before checking out the next day. But what a brilliant few days we had! We're so glad we didnt miss this place!!

Posted by Lisieloo04 00:22 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Living the dream in Brisbane

sunny 30 °C

Howdy folks! Sorry for the delay in updating the blog, basically, we havent done a lot of travelling (other than commuting to Brisbane City) since the last post, so we havent updated.

So what's new? Well, me and Ryan have jobs! Yes, pretty hard to believe, but its true. We were very lucky, both of us put ads on a site called Gumtree, and applied for jobs via their website, and thankfully, we both had results. Ryan currently has a mon-fri job working in a printing factory in the city, printing t-shirts, ironing transfers, and making stubby coolers (little foam beer coolers). Pretty basic stuff compared to what he's used to, but he is enjoying it for the free t-shirts they give away! I'm doing data input in an office, watching cctv footage of traffic for 6 hours a day, clicking buttons to count how many cars pass through traffic lights (rivetting stuff!) My job is more casual employment, so they basically call me when they have work for me, although they have been pretty reliable so far. So weekdays have consisted mainly of working, which has been a nice change, as we've been 'working for the weekend' again. On weekends, we can either chill out here in Tanah Merah, which has a local complex 5 mins away with its own shops, cinema, restaurants and bars, or we can head into the main city about 30km away. You can get a day ticket into the city for around $10 (5 British pounds), hop on a bus or train for 40 mins which will take you into the city, and includes all transport in and around Brisbane, including the ferry (it was nice to be able to catch the ferry back into the city after work!) There's loads to do in the city centre, cinema, theatre (a little out of our price range!), the Brisbane Wheel, Botanic Gardens, or we can chill at the beach (not the actual beach, a manmade thing near the river) as well as a few theme parks, about an hours drive from the city, so i'm sure we wont get bored.

So far we have been to an AFL game (Australian Football League) at the 'Gabba' stadium in the city, and watched the 'Brisbane Lions' thrash the 'Melbourne Kangaroos (I am just in the process of uploading pics). It was a fun day out, the stadium was massive, and AFL is like no other sport I've seen, and seems to play by the rules of 'hot potato'. All the fans are allowed to sit together, and not seperated into teams, because no one out here is as competitive or violent over sports, as with a particular European ball game that will remain anonymous. We're hoping to go to a Rugby League game at the Suncorp stadium soon as well, as they're big on their rugby out here.

We have also been to a house party one weekend, one of Ryan's colleagues birthday's. It was fancy dress, and the theme was Rubix cube, which meant you had to wear different colours of clothing, and at the party you had to entice and persuade others (using any means) to swap different articles of clothing with you until you had all of one colour of clothing and win a prize. There was pass the parcel, wrapped in each sheet was a vodka shot, a sweet, and a fake moustache (?) It was a brilliant party, although there was more drinking than clothes swapping, and by the end of the night, the hosts were downing the champagne 'prizes' themselves. Still, we had a lot of fun, and eventually I ended up crashing out, curled up asleep on a beanbag with their pet labrador, Mr Jungle!

Woody has often invited us along to his 'after work drinks' on a friday evening, which has been pretty cool. Its been nice to get to know his work mates, who are all lovely. On one or 2 occassions, the 'evening drink' has moved on to a club or 2, and on one night, a strip club (very funny night!). One of Woody's mates, a guy called 'Gibb', is in England now as i type, has been since monday, so we enjoyed telling him of the delights he will experience when he visits the Motherland. Hopefully we will see them all a few more times before we leave Brissy, and i'm sure we will stay in touch either way.

...And as football season has not long started (Ryan has been lost for months without it!) there have been a few games to watch. There's a pub in central Brisbane called the Pig and Whistle, which is a massive Gooner pub, and has a late licence to play all the games, incl. the 3pm saturday games, so thats been pretty handy (the early morning commute back on the last night bus at 6am isnt so much).

And if we're chilling in Tanah Merah, there's the cinema or bars to go to at the local complex. One place we have regularly stopped at is a little bar called Fitzys, conveniently placed just outside the complex, at the start of our long walk home, after the last bus has dropped us back from the city. Its pretty cheesy, a very random place, that holds random events and tribute bands like 'The Fleetwood Mac Experience' but still a laugh when the mood is right. Just the other night we stumbled in on a jelly wrestling competition (and before you ask, no I didnt!) but yeah, thats Fitzys!

And if we cant be bothered to hike to the complex, we can head to the local parks, have a picnic, rent a movie out on 'dollar tuesday' from the local video rental, watch the new Australian Pop Idol that's just started, or help Woody bottle up (and then drink) his home brew beer. One evening, probably one of my favourites of all, there was a huge electrical storm which we stood outside the house watching, and afterwards when it cleared, me, Ryan and Woody climbed onto the roof of the house and watched the stars when the sky cleared. It was pretty amazing. The weather is getting hotter, winter is just about over, which means its getting up to the 30's again. Apparently it hits the 40's in summer, i'm not sure how we'll cope!

So, yeah, thats about all so far. All in all, we're still having a fantastic time, the time of our lives. Brisbane is probably the best place we've been to so far as its become like a 2nd home now. We'll be sorry to leave this place. Hope everyone is well back in the UK, missing everyone lots! Thanks for all the comments so far, its fantastic to hear from you all, keep them coming! :D Lots of love xx

Posted by Lisieloo04 22:51 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Noosa

A random couple of days

sunny 25 °C

Getting on the bus at Rainbow beach to head to Noosa, we bumped into one of our friends we'd met at Mission beach, Cat, who was staying in Noosa and in the same hostel as us. After checking in, all 3 of us decided to explore the area, and we found another botanic garden/nature reserve to wander through. Later that evening, we went down to the bar area and received our free welcome drink and introduction from the hostel and signed up to a pool competition that was going on that night (not that we won anything but it was fun)

The next day, we decided to go to Australia zoo (the zoo founded by Steve Irwin and his family). There was a lot to see, plenty of crocs, and we got to feed the elephants, which was quite an experience. We went to the 11am crocodile show, which was hosted by Steve Irwin's wife Terri, and their kids, and the daughter, who can't have been older than 11, fed this massive 20 stone crocodile bits of meat inches away from it. Very random, but a good show. Steve Irwin used to do that show, so it would have been amazing to have seen him there if he were alive. It was a very nice zoo, probably one of the best i've been to. We got to feed the Kangaroo's as well, which was cool.

That evening, we were pretty knackered so we all chilled at the hostel and played some cards. After a couple of hours, a guy called Paolo/Pablo, (cant remember his name for definite) asked us if he could join. He was this Italian American guy from New York, who knew a lot of card games and tricks. We got on really well with him. We chatted and played cards, and when the hostel bar area closed at 11.30, he invited us back to his hotel room across the street for drinks. Apparently he'd paid $500 for his room, as he arrived at Noosa late in the day and all the hostels were booked, and it was the only place he could find. So we decided to go for it. Next thing, we're in this massive hotel room, with its own living are and kitchen. Paolo/Pablo realised there was no minibar in the hotel room, so decided he was going to take a wander to go and find something. We didnt hold out any hope as Bottle shops close around 9pm here. About 40 minutes later, somewhere near 1am, Paolo/Pablo wanders in to the hotel room, with a massive white sack, full of shorts, beers, mini wine and champagne bottles. It turned out, in his search for alcohol, he had asked a receptionist how he could get more booze, and she had said the only way was to buy a 2nd hotel room with a minibar. The guy must have been loaded. So we stayed up till the small hours drinking and chatting. When we were thinking of heading off (about 3am?) he offered us to stay in the 2nd room he had booked, saying it would be a complete waste of time and money otherwise, and to just go for it. We weighed it up, and decided to take him up on the offer, as there were 3 of us together and we had the only key, so me, Ryan and Cat headed over to our 4 star room for the night. The room was huge, had its own living area and dining space. The bed was big enough for all 3 of us (and Ryan in the middle of 2 girls made him very happy lol!) In the morning, we were delievered a newspaper to the room and everything, very posh! The next day, we went over to Paolo/Pablo's room and thanked him, and headed off. We were due to meet up with him again before we left and buy him a few beers to say thanks, but unfortunately he had to cancel and we didnt see him again.

We all had surf lessons booked up for that day, which was a great way to end our RANDOM time at Noosa. Ryan was really good at it, little surfer dude he is, but i think i only stood up on the board for about 3 seconds before nose diving each time! Cat was pretty good at it too, by the end of it, i was the only one in the group who couldn't stand up, oh well :) That evening we played scrabble and went to bed very early lol. Next stop, Brisbane!

Posted by Lisieloo04 12:55 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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