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Monday, August 1st 2005

07:42:26 PM

Back to the beginning: SYDNEY!!!

Tue 2/8/05

This is such a weird feeling to be back here i Sydney again. In the city where everything started almost 4 months ago.

I arrived here from Tasmania yesterday evening. Renee & Richard were so nice to pick me up from the airport which was great. We drove to the hostel, dropped our stuff and went to have a drink at good old Empire Hotel, livened up our shared memories, that was great.

Today is Renee's last day here in Aussie, it makes me realise how time flies by. One more week to go for me... Going to miss Australia, the nature, the friendly people, the food, the music (love their taste of music) Anyway, it's not that far yet. First I will enjoy my last few days here. Tomorrow I'll be going to Canberra (australia's capital) for 2 days. I'll return on friday, which is when Simon & Nigel arrive here too.

Simon & Nigel are the guys I went to Tassie with, miss them already! I'll be writing abiout Tassie soon, just need my diary to see when we've been where (why bad memory??).

Anyway c yaz soon,

Hugs Nicky

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Saturday, July 23rd 2005

06:09:10 PM

Melbourne

Fr. 22/07/05

First day in Melbourne!! So great to be in a big city again, I love it here! Had to make a full program though... First to the Observation deck to see Melbourne from above, went there with Anna. We were going to go to the immigration museum straight after but there were so many shops on the way that we didn't make it in time, 6 more days for that though... Then I met with Renee & Richard for lunch, that was nice. After that I went to the Victoria Markets, strolled around a little but didn't find it that special. Spent the rest of the day (window-) shopping... It's amazing how many shops Melbourne has got, you could shop for days!

Still having a great time here. Starting to look forward to going home now though, the last 3 weeks here! Tomorrow I'm gonna go to a footie (australian footbal) game with Anna & a friend of hers, looking forward to that.

Sa. 23/7/05

So, today we went to see the footie game in the famous MCG stadium in Melbourne. After having been explained the aussie rules (quite interesting) we headed off to the stadium and watched the local teams Hawthornes against the Carltons. The guy from the youth hostel told us about the teans and we decided to support the Hawthornes, and they actually won!!

While watching the game I got a message from Simon that he and Nigel his brother were in Melbourne and if we wanted to go out in the evening. Didn't have any plans yet so we said yes.

It was lots of fun and in the end Anna ended up with Nigel and me with Simon, perfect! We got home at 6am and hung around at the lounge of our hostel, that was really cosy..

Su. 24/7/05

At around 9am Simon and Nigel had to leave too check out of their hostel in St Kilda (funky suburb of Melbourne) and move to a new one in Melbourne-city. We walked them to the tram station, said goodbye and Simon said he'd send a message later on. Back at the hostel I noticed that I lost my cell-phone We spent an hour searching but without success (so back home I'll have to collect your numbers again...). Then we realised that Simon only had my number and wouldn't be able to reach us, luckily we could put the pieces together and remembered which hostel they were staying at. So we went there and surprised the 2 and decided to meet up in an hour to do some sightseeing. That's pretty much what I've been up to today... Still a little hung-over and tired so probably wont be doing anything special today.

Mo. 25/7/05

Last night we finally slept! Still pretty tired waking up this morning though... So Anna & I decided to start the day with a big coffee and then went to the immigration museum with Clara, my roommate from UK. The museum was quite interesting, it answered a lot of questions I still had about it. There were some interesting facts as well, for instance, 1 out of 4 Australians is born in another country!

After that we met Simon & Nigel again, had lunch and walked to the gardens. Then we brought them to the bus because they still had a tour booked.

Just went into the internet to book a flight, because I'm going to go to Tasmania after all! I was quite disappointed at first that I didn't get to go there because the tours over there were to expensive. Then Simon & Nigel said they were going to rent a car there and invited me to come with them. So now I get to go to Tazzie!!! Leaving on wednesday until monday, after that back to Sydney and then back home...

Anyway, c yaz soon!

Big hug, Nicky

PS. Happy birthday Mam!!!!

 

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Friday, July 22nd 2005

12:01:47 AM

The Great Ocean Road!!

Tue 19/07/05

Feeling better again! Ready to start the 3-day "Great Ocean Road" tour. The Great Ocean Road is the road that goes from Adelaide to Melbourne, along the ocean (no really?). After breakfast together with Marie, who stayed in my room and turned out to be doing the same tour, we got picked up at 7am. Getting to meet the others, in total we were a group of 10 people, the perfect number! Marie (Ireland), Cristoph, Anna (Germany), Cecilia (Switzerland), Kim (Nebraska), Emily, Emma, Duncan & Tom (UK).Sorry for always writing down all the names, just have to remember so many names here...

Anyway, we drove past the Adelaide Hills, on to the Arapiles for lunch and arrived at the McKenzie falls around 2pm. After that to the balconies (a mountain formation) to watch the sunset, amazing! The scenery here is so beautiful, while sitting in the bus I couldn't stop staring out of the windwp and was afraid to fall in sleep because I didn't want to miss anything. The landscape kept on changing from mountains to endless plains to ocean, lakes,... amazing!

We then arrived at our hostel (Yes! No camping on this tour!!!), it was really cosy and we had one big dorm for all of us. After dinner we sat down together in the living room and watched... the Simpsons, that was quite funny.

Wed 20/7/05

Wake up at 6am for a looong drive to Port Campbell. With many stops in between of course, the first one was at Halls Gap, where we had a 2 hour hike, it was great! It was quite an adventurous route with many rocks to climb on the way, pretty exciting...

Next stop was the Brambuk Cultural Centre where we learned some more about the aboriginal dreamtime stories.

From there onto the beach for some whale watching! We actually saw a mother & baby pretty close to shore, even Danielle said she had never seen a whales come that close. Unfortunately you could only see parts of it, on the pictures it just came out as a black spot in the ocean. It was beautiful though, amazing how large these animals are!

After that we hit the road again, off to the scenic part of the Great Ocean Road. We drove straight to the famous "Twelve Apostles" a rock formation with 12 rocks (meanwhile 4 have collapsed though so it's actually the 8 apostles, doesn't sound that interesting though...) just in time for sunset once again! Those rocks are so much more beautiful in real life then on the postcards, the whole atmosphere is so peaceful, I loved it!

When we arrived in the hostel Danielle (our tourguide) told us that there were 4 other people staying at the hostel in Port Campbell (middle of nowhere). I met Steffi and Susanne (2 german girls) first while I was smoking outside, and it turned out that we knew each other from the Darwin-Alice Ghan, they were on the seats next to me! That was weird... Anyway, as we were talking I was by chance watching inside and I saw this guy reading his book. Then at once I realised that he seemed familiar, I looked again and then I remembered.. it was Simon!! Simon I met at the Kakadu tour... Turned out he was doing the Great Ocean Road with his brother Nigel (the 4th person!). It's a small world!!

Thu 21/7/05

Last day of the tour but lots of fun things ahead. Starting of at the twelve apostles at daylight. We had the option of doing a helicopter flight above them for just 50 bucks!! As I was already obsessed with the rocks and this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I decided to do it, it was great!!  

After that we watched the other rock formations: London Bridge, The Arch, Lord Arche. I particularly liked the story about the last one, named after a ship from Ireland that sank there in the late 1880s. Of 54 passengers only two survived, an 18 year old guy, who heard the cries of 18 year old Eva Carmichael and swam out to save her,.. so romantic!

We then drove on to Apollo Bay where we had lunch and after that to Bells Beach to watch some surfers!   And on to Torqay to visit the factory outlet for surfers clothes.

At last we arrived in Melbourne around 7pm, totally exhausted. We then had to find our hostel, Christoph, Anna & me were at the same hostel so the 3 of us were walking around Melbourne with our backpacks, that was the first time I felt like a real "backpacker" here!

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Thursday, July 21st 2005

11:29:46 PM

adelaide - melbourne - great ocean road

well as you know i arrived in adelaide on the 12-07, tuesday evening...we stayed there until tuesday the 19-07 and i think up unitl now adelaide has been the best ever since i arrived in sydney.i was really sad when i left last tuesday, i wish i could stay longer but i couldn't ( but i can promise you i will come back!!! the owner of the hostel was a really nice man and i told him about what i thought about the city and that i would like to do my internship from university here in adelaide...he was really interested and he said whenever i know i can come back he will try to arrange an internship for me in the city...he has quiet a few connections to a lot of good hotels so i HOPE it will work out!

well enough about adelaide...i'm in melbourne right now and the past 2 days were just amazing...we left adelaide on the 19th quiet early heading towards the GREAT OCEAN ROAD.we made a stop in Mt. Gambier for the night and the next day (20-07) we finally made it to the road; it was so beautyfull, just amazing all those rock formations just standing there in the water....lots of caves, huge waves and much more...we made a stop in apollo bay for the night wich was quiet nice, and today we drove onward to torquay, geelong and ballarat. ballarat has a museum wich is originally built up again like "enkhuizen" wich was pretty cool.

i just had dinner here in the city, but it's rather confusing...so many people, so much traffic, i don't really like it....i hope tomorrow will be better.

i'm staying in a really nice hostel; it's an old historic building, completly renovated and only 5-10 mins walking from the CBD (central business district).

on saturday i have a flight back to syndey; my last 1 1/2 weeks...the time flew buy, i dont wanna go home anymore i wish i could stay  

so until next time wich will probably be in sydney, the beginning of the end is starting for me now...

 

big kiss, renee

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Sunday, July 17th 2005

07:32:05 PM

The Australian Outback!

Oh no, just wrote everything down and then the computer crashes!! I can't believe this! Anyway, back to the start again...

Sa. 16/07/05,  Su 17/07/05 &  Mo. 18/07/05

Have a cold.... So annoying, couldn't really go out the past 3 days. Today (monday) was the first day I actually wentt outside to meet with Renee & Richard and say goodbye to them. Hope it will be better tomorrow cause I've got a tour to Melbourne planned...

Didn't manage to upload the pictures yet, you'll be able to see "Uluru crying", "Rainbow Uluru", etc... in the next few days.

Fr. 15/07/05

Arrived in Adelaide around 9am, went to the hostel where I met Rens, a dutch guy and hung out with him for a while, waiting for my laundry to finish. When it was, I decided to go into Adelaide and meet Renee and Richard who had arrived here earlier. It was nice to see them again, and we decided to go out. We had a fun and way to late night out...

Thu. 14/7/05

Before leaving Alice again I still wanted to see the royal flying doctors museum, so the night before I had asked Katherine (danish), Laurie (french), Doug (US) and Sarah (UK) if they felt like coming. And at 10am this morning they were actually there, that was nice. So we had a look through the museum and then it was time for me to leave again. Say the dreaded good-byes and leave to Adelaide.

The journey on the Ghan was ok again, I actually sat next to german girl who also lived in Frankfurt. It was the first time I had spoken german again in quite a while.

Wed. 13/07/05

Got up at 5am (today for the last time!) and drove off to Kings Canyon to do a walk there. This walk was the best of all the walks I've done here so far. The scenery was simply breathtaking, the sun was shining and the walk was pretty exciting with several climbs. You had some amazing views down and across the canyon, Anthony told us that Kings Canyon is actually the world's biggest canyon (the grand canyon is actually a gorge) it would be an interesting fact, but once again I am not sure whether to believe Anthony, guess I'll get back to this one as well...

After the walk it was time to head back to Alice, we had a long bus drive ahead of us, but a nice stop to look forward to. Dinky, the singing and piano playing dingo. We didn't really know what to expect, and we didn't know if Anthony was serious about this one, so we were all kind of sceptic when we came in. Then the owner asked MArk (one of the english guys) to sit down and play some piano. He did, and then Dinky came out, he jumped on the chair, put his feet on the piano and started howling. That was really funny.

We arrived in Alice about 7pm and met for dinner at 8pm. After that we all went to the Bojangles (nightclub, only one  in  Alice???) and had a great night.

Tue. 12/07/05

Off to the Olgas (aboriginal name: Kata Tjuta, which means many heads. The Kata Tjuta actually have 36 domes, the Aboriginals believed all of them contained wisdom.) We did the walk around the Olgas once again in the pouring rain. That was terrible, it was so cold, the rocks were slippery and the sights weren't that amazing. We were all so happy to be back in the bus afterwards, and back at the campsite we threw all our clothes and shoes in the dryer, had some hot chocolate and started warming up again slowly.

After lunch we drove to Kings Creek Station, a 4h busride we were all looking forward to mainly because the bus had heating... We arrived just before sunset and set up our tents with daylight for the first time!

Tue. 12/07/05

 

Mo. 11/07/05

Sunrise at Uluru! After a quick breakfast and a strong coffee we drove to the sunrise viewing area in Uluru national park. We actually made it in time! And what happened next made up for the sunset we missed last night (and would miss the nigth after), a double rainbow suddenly appeared above Uluru!!! It was sooo beautiful... Unfortunately the pictures didn't work out too well, but this picture will alway be in my head.

This made my day! After enjoying the sunrise we drove to the Uluru cultural centre. It was like a museum where you could read about the aboriginals who had been living there. You could read about some of the stories they had about their rock. There were also a lot of letters from people who had taken sand or a piece of rock home and sent it back after experiencing bad luck. So no piece of Uluru for us! Than back in the bus for the 9km base walk around Uluru, I started wondering what Uluru actually meant, so I asked Anthony and he didn't know!!! He had to check it in his book, and after doing so he explained that it was named after Paddy Uluru, who was the caretaker of the national park about 20.000 yrs ago. Don't know if I believe him though, guess I'll be coming back to this...

After the base walk we had lunch at the camp and then drove back in the pouring rain to do the Mala walk. It was a walk that went past all the sites and rockpaintings where the aboriginals used to hold their mala ceremony. We were so cold and wet afterwards, but the view we had on Uluru once again made up for everything. There were actually waterfalls coming out... It looked amazing.

Unfortunately no sunset tonight due to cloud cover but we were still on a high because of the waterfalls.

Su. 10/7/05

The Ghan arrived around 7:30h and the first thing I noticed getting out was ...the freezing cold... It was about 10 degrees, which normally wouldn't be to bad, but coming from 35 degrees in Darwin it was quite a shock... I took the shuttlebus to the hostel, took a hoser, packed my bag and prepared for the "red centre" (outback) tour ahead of me. When I was ready I still had plenty of time till 12am, so I decided to go to the reptile museum with Teresa (girl from the UK I met in Alice). It was pretty interesting seeing all those snakes & lizzards and also seeing a show about the which was actually for a bunch of schoolkids there, but we could join.

Then at 12am exactly, Anthony, the tour-guide came and the adventure could start. In the bus I slept most of the time (it was an 8 hour bus ride to the campsite at Uluru - Ayers rock). Unfortunately due to bad planning while picking up people we missed the sunset at Uluru... The main reason for going there... Uluru is a huge rock which changes color (usually into a bright red) at sunrise and sunset. Anyway, we drove to the campsite, set up our tents and then warmed ourselves up around the fire.

Sa. 9/7/05

This morning I was going to travel to Alice Springs (Northern Territory - outback) with the "Legendary Ghan" railway that goes from Darwin-Adelaide.  It started off with quite some stress. I was expecting the railway station to be in walking distance from the backpackers I was staying at, so I was having a relaxed breakfast, chatting to 2 other backpackers, when I remembered that it might be a good idea to go downstairs and ask at the reception how long a walk it would be. The guy at the reception looked at me in disbelief, the railway station is about a 45 min drive from here,you have to go there by bus and the shuttle bus just left... oops... He said there was a dtuch guy who missed the bus as well, he was waiting at the bus station, we might be able to share a cab. So off I went to the bus station, cursing at my bad planning (when wil I ever learn it??) and suddenyl I saw a bus standing there. So I asked the bus driver where he was going.. the trainstation!!! Yes!!! I hurried to get my bags at the hostel and was on the bus just in time...

The train journey was ok, we had a 4h stop at Katherine where I went to the hot springs with Scott & Shawn, to guys I met in the Ghan. That was really refreshing, to dive into those plunge pools on such a hot day. After that we got back no the Ghan and it was time for dinner already. Then try and sleep (pretty hard chairs, can't lie down..) until the train would arrive in Alice  the next day.

 

 

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Wednesday, July 13th 2005

05:00:00 AM

finally arrived in adelaide

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Monday, July 11th 2005

11:35:19 PM

quick review over the last week

hi yah,

darwin was pretty cool, enjoyed the beaches a lot especially mindil beach with it's sunset markets. i only stayed for a couple of days so didn't do too much around there..well i took the train on the 6th of juli from darwin to alice springs wich was lots of fun, i had a guy sitting next to me wich was pretty funny cauz he came up with a bottle of wine so we had a nice chat and fell asleep pretty soon...(blame the booze!! ) the next morning i arrived in alice springs, it was pretty cold, got on the hostel bus and drove through the rather boring and dusty city. at the hostel i met richard again who i was supposed to meet anywayz and we planned our tour to ayers rock, king's canyon and the olga's.

he drove from carns all the way to alice springs by himself and in mt. isa a spanish girl joined him, mireila. she wanted to come with us too so we decided to leave asap.

it was raining like hell but we went anyway, driving for about 300 k's to curtin springs where we made a camping stop. it was still raining and we thought our trip would end pretty soon, so all sad we went to sleep very early.

the next morning (6.30 am) we saw the sun at the horizon, we decided to go to ayers rock and the olga's first because kings creek, just before kings canyon, was flooded and we didn't want to take the risk. we fist went to the olga's and it was soooo amazing, we took the long walk for 7.5 k's wich was pretty hard but worth every minute, it took us 1.50 h. after that we went to uluru (ayers rock) and did the Male walk for 4 k's and after that we saw the sunset with was absolutely beautiful. after a long day we went to the camping just before the national park and stayed there the night.

the next morning we went to king's canyon, wich was about 200 k's away from uluru so we set off pretty early again. we arrived at about 10 am and we went for the canyon walk for 6 k's wich took us about 3hours, it was pretty hard because u had to walk all the way up the canyon and arround it. it was the most beautyfull thing i've ever seen...

the past 2 days we were sooo lucky, we arrived in pouring rain but we spent the days after in sunshine and heat. ehen we left off to alice springs again it started to get cloudy, so we had to be so lucky

well time's almost up, 2 mins left..

big hugs end kisses

renee

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Tuesday, July 5th 2005

09:11:44 PM

DARWIN!!

Fr. 08/07/2005

Today I went to Litchfield National Park with Linda, Esther & Hatty. Of course the weather was great again (around 35 degrees) and after wathcing the impressive termite mounds we couldn't wait to have a swim. So we drove to the Buley Rockholes, they were about 5 naturally built and connected swimming pools, that was nice.

After that we went for a walk and arrived at the Florence Falls look-out, which was very beautiful, but I couldn't wait to get downt there and swim. when we did arrive down there it turned out that you could actually jump off the falls, quite an adventure of course. The waterfall was about 15 metres high, and the rocks to get up there were pretty slippery. But I saw some other guys do it and felt ilke trying it too. I convinced Linda to come with me, and we collected all our courage and started climbing. Beneath us everyone was watching us climbing, and encouraging us, some even took pictures! Finally on the waterfall it was a pretty weird sensation, my knees were still shaking from climbing up the steep and slippery rocks, and under me I could see a lot of tiny people. There was no way back because going down the slippery rocks would have been to dangerous, so I just did it! That was soooo much fun! It was an amazing experience.

After that adrenaline kick, we walked back to the car through Shady creek, which was actually pretty shady, quite a relief after being in the hot sun all day long. Than on to our last stop, the Wangi Falls. they were actually 2 waterfalls with quite a large plunge pool and natural (even warm) jaccuzi, not bad! Feeling totally refreshed we drove back to Darwin.

Thu. 07/07/2005

So, today I went on a scooter tour around Darwin with Michael. That was so much fun, cruising around the area. We first drove to Lake Alexander, a beautiful man-made lake, work up our tan a little! Then off to the museum to see "Sweetheart" -  a 5 metres (!!) long crocodile that was caught back in the 70s, quite impressive. You must think Australia is all crocs by now after my last few stories.. The museum was pretty interesting, I especially liked the aboriginal art.

After that we had lunch at Cullen Bay, which is a nice little marina town. After that off to the beach further east (don't remember it's name) and then back to Darwin, where we had a dive in the swimming pool at Michaels hostel (Melaleucas, really great hostel!), played some volleyball and after that quickly got changed for the "sunset markets".

The sunset markets are every thursday on Mindil beach in Darwin and aer quite a happening. We came just in time for suinset at 6pm and there were actually about 200 people at the beach watching the sun go down, pretty cool. After sunset we strolled through the market where they had lots of good food, nice australian paintings, jewellery, etc, and especially a great atmosphere...

Over there we met Linda (from the Kakadu tour) and she said that she still needed people to join her to go to Litchfield (national park) tomorrow. I said I could ocme, so I'll be going there with her tomorow, looking forward to that.

Anyways, c yaz soon. and please don't worry about me and Renee travelling alone. It is really safe here travelling as a backpacker.

Hugs Nicky

Wed. 06/07/2005 - Darwin

This morning I was supposed to meet Michal (a guy from Perth - Western Australia) to hire a scooter, but I woke up too late.. ahum. So we'll do that tomorrow and today I decided to just have a quiet day by the beach. Unfortunately you can't really swim on the beach (due to stingers, sharks and currents) so I asked at the reception if there was a lake somewhere or so. She said there was a resort close to the hostel where people staying at this hostel can use the pool facilities for free. Not bad, so I went there to check it out and it turned out to be quite a fancy 4 star resort... Nice surprise! Spent the rest of the day there, that was really nice and relaxing after the tour.

Tue. 05/07/2005 - Kakadu National Park

Our last day at Kakadu... We drove to Barramundi Gorge, where we also had a walk and went swimming. There were some great rocks to jump off and one hole under the rocks, about 2 metres deep under which you could diev and end up in a jacuzzi like pool (surrounded by 2 metre high rocks, so no way out except diving), furthermore you could walk around the rocks and there were pretty steep and exciting parts. That was an action-packed afternoon. After a nice lunch we drove back to Darwin with one last stop at an aboriginal art gallery where they sold paintings, didgeridoos, etc...

Back at Darwin we decided to have dinner and go out together and met at the Vic hotel an hour later. That was loads of fun!! There were games and a table-dancing competion, which we won twice... It was the best night out I've had in a some time! It was kind of sad though having to say good-bye to everyone afterwards, if you travel together for 3 days day and night, you develop quite a bond. That's the only part I don't like about travelling - the good-byes...

Mo. 04/07/2005 - Kakadu National Park

Woke up totally refreshed the next morning, turned out that the reason I had been feeling so tired and had a headache the day before was because I'd probably had a sunstrike while cycling in Darwin on Saturday (so after wearing a hat the next days I was fine again...). Shows how strong the sun is here...

After breakfast we drove to the infamous Jim Jim Falls. Well, we didn't exactly drive there, we drove to the Jim Jim camping site, which is about 2 hours walking from the falls. It was quite an exciting walk, a lot of climbing on rocks and of course about 35 degrees. We first climbed to the look-out where we took a group picture  and went swimming. I was thew first to dive in (after Matt of course) and I've got a really funny picture of it, you just see my feet disappear in the water, I love it! And then finally arrived at the falls. It had definetely been worth the effort! The scenery was beautiful, you basically have a plunge pool surrounded by walls 50m (at least) high rocks. Unfortunately the waterfall itself was dry, but swimming in the pool was great!

After the Jim Jims we went on to the Twin falls. The walk there was less exhausting. We first went a small part by boat, watching the sea turtles, fish (and even one freshie) in the clear river on  the way. The Twin Falls weren't dry fortunately and were really beautiful, you can see it on the pictures. There are really to waterfalls running down nest to eachother. At the twin falls we could lie down on the beach and relax in the sun for a little while. Then it was the same thuing as the day before, collecting wood, having dinner and chilling at the fire. That night the stars were amazing, so a few of us went to our neighbour (a local living in a campervan) to ask if we could borrow his telescope. He let us, and we watched the stars for quite a while.

Su. 03/07/2005 - Kakadu National Park

Got picked up by the bus at 6am and was soooo tired.... Slept all the way in the bus and only woke up for the 2 stops in between; The Mary River Wetlands (where we went crocodile spotting) and at Ubirr (a site where you can watch aboriginal rockpainting, kind of an open-air art gallery). The boat tour was pretty exciting, we saw 3 freshies (Fresh-water crocs) and some birds and learned a bit about the vegetation. It was also the first opportunity to get to know eachother. We were 13 people: Simon, Dan (Britain), Sarah (Sweden), Esther, Linda, Jeroen (Holland), Keiko (Japan), Giovanna (Italy), Jeremy, Marlain (France), Chevonne & her father Jake (Melbourne). And of course there was Matt, the tour-guide, really funny! After Ubirr we drove to our camping site (after collecting wood for the fire) and prepared for the night. We had (a great!) dinner and after hanging out at the campfire a little bit we went to sleep in....swags!! My first time in a swag (it is like a big sleeping bag out of tent material), you basically sleep under the stars, it was amazing...

Sa. 02/07/2005

Darwin, here I am!

Arrived here late last night on friday, about 3 hours later than expected, pretty lucky I could still enter the backpackers...

Next morning I got up early and felt like exploring Darwin so I thought the best thing would be to hire a bike, that way I'd be able to enter almost all roads and I'd get some exercise too... It was great! I cycled about 6 hours in total and went quite far. Took a look at the botanic gardens, had a break on Mindil beach, and ended up on a beautiful track along the coast up to Fannie Bay. There I met a local who filled up my waterbottle and after a chat I headed back to Darwin.

In the evening I had a drink with my roommates and than went to bed as next day I'd go to Kakadu National Park (at 6am..)

Anyways, that's it for now c yaz soon!

Nicky

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Sunday, July 3rd 2005

05:00:00 PM

Renee's first entry!

hee guys,

well well my first entry, better later then never huh

so right now i'm in darwin and it's a nice town but i really miss cairns! i had so much fun there and the 2 weeks just passed by as if it was nothing..so on the 25th i celebrated my 21st birthday,  we had some drinks the night be4 and celebrated in the pub. nicky got me a birthday cake wich was really sweet. it was daniel's birthday too so we decided to do something cool..the first trip was with the Skyrail, like a small "gondel", over the rainforest tree tops into the mountains. we made 2 stops in between, at red peak and at barron falls wich was absolutely beautifull. we made a couple of boardwalks through the rainforest and had some nice scenic views over a huge waterfall, the barron waterfall. the final destination was Kuranda, a small petite village in the mountains. over there we got some tickets for the Birdworld, Butterfly Sactuary and Koala kuddling. the Birdworld was so much fun, i saw birds wich i had never seen be4 in my life, just great..we got some birdfood so we could feed the "papagaaien" <-- oeps forgot the english word. when i held out my hand 3 of them flew over and sat on my hand, arm and shoulder, pretty scary in the beginning but lot's of fun . after that we went to the butterfly sanctuary with over 1500 butterflies, and not the ones you see in holland, no they were huge! and with so many beautyfull colours. in the end we went to the koala kuddling and  fed the wallabies and possums wich was also lots of fun. wallabies are soo cute! after a long day we took the scenic train down to the bottom again along beautyfull waterfalls and through a lot of tunnels. at around 4.30 pm we took our shuttle back to the hostel and i was so tired when we arrived , it was a successfull day!

the second trip was a boat trip to the outher great barries reef. the boat's name was Passions of Paradise and it really was! it was so great..we sailed out at 8 am and after 1 1/2 hours sailing we stopped at a reef and everyone was getting ready for diving or snorkeling. we were entitled to 10 mins of free diving which of course daniel and i did..in the water they asked us if we wanted to go down and dive for longer and i was so excited so of course i did it, i had never dived be4 so i thought what better place can you go diving than the Great Barries Reef, ahum NONE! it was the best experience until now, here in australia, we saw so many different kinds of fish, including huge buffalo parrot fish, i couldn't believe my eyes! you feel so free under water, like you're up in space..i will definately do some more here in darwin, maybe get my PADI, wich i really should've done be4, i didn't really know it was sooo much fun! well enough about the diving..after that we had some nice hot/cold lunch including nice prawns,yummie. when we were done we set off again to another reef where we could get some more snorkeling done. daniel and i got into the water and snorkeld for another hour or so, we could even swim to and island, which was lots of fun. imaging stand on a sand pile in the ocean with just water around you. well it already got late so we set off for the mainland again and arrived back in cairns at 5 pm. again we were so exhausted but the best day ever!

on the first of juli i left cairns on my way to darwin with pim, a dutchy i met on the way to cairns. he has to depart again from darwin so we thought it's much more fun if we got together.

today i was at the beach wich was pretty burning hot, i had to go into the water every 10 mins otherwise you just burn like a torch.

well anywayzz hope u guys are entertained now and i will write some more asap with more stories about beautyfull australia!

Cheers miss you a lot and big kisses

Renee

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Friday, July 1st 2005

10:50:54 PM

Darwin!!!

Oh ooooh... It's really been a while since I've last written... A lot has been happening in the mean time. The main change is: Renee & I are travelling on seperately... The reason is basically an addition of several factors. In the end I guess it comes down to the fact that we didn't really know eachother well enough before going here together and it turns out that we're too different in a lot of ways.

The decision was made on monday and it made me quite sad and also kind of scared actually... Renee still had Daniel, but I was going to be travelling all by myself now!

On tuesday I luckily had a tour to Cape Tribulation booked which set my mind off it. The bus went to Cape Trib with 2 stops. the first on was for the crocodile-spotting-cruise in Daintree river. We saw 3 crocs and I actually spotted one of them (practise from Kenya, haha!). It was amazing to see these huge creatures on such a little distance from our boat... Besides that we saw a kingfisher (bird), and amesthin python (yep, poisonous), black (!) crabs and a really funny bright green frog. From there we drove to our second stop, the Daintree rainforest, where we had a guided boardwalk. Our driver-guide told us about the plants and trees and how they were/ are used by the aboriginals. After that we all got dropped off at our hostels. Fortunately I was in one hostel with Lidevij (dutch), Jane (american), Christoph (german) and Amen (scottish). Unfortunately it had been raining all day and it was still raining when we arrived, so all we ended up doing was playing games. It had something, playing "shithead" (backpackers' game no.1) in a rainforest with Eric Clapton playing in the background...

The next day I went horseback riding. That was the greatest thing ever!! The weather was better,  I had a really sweet horse, and don't even get me started on the landscape... We rode on plains, on the beach, through the rainforest, what more can you wish for? We even went galloping, pretty exciting! There I also met Daisy, a british girl whom I saw again at the Cairns airport yesterday!

Wednesday I did a trip to the Crysal Cascades, really beautiful waterfalls. We were a group of 10 backpackers and all got along really well. The tour wasn't guided (cheaper...) so we practically had to find our own way around, that was fun. After the tour I practically hung out with Cecilia, Hannah (Sweden), Vicki and Fiona (Scotland) all the time. We went partying together and hanging out at the lagoon, I was really sad about having to leave Cairns yesterday. At the airport I met Vide (Australia) however and ended up talking to her for about 3 hours (our plane was delayed), that was really interesting because she knew a lot about the aboriginees as she practically grew up with them because her mother is a teacher at an aboriginal community.

Aah, time's up! talk to you soon, Hugs

Nicky

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Tuesday, June 21st 2005

07:39:45 PM

CAIRNS

Wed. 22/06/05

So, meanwhile we've arrived in Cairns, the backpackers' walhalla (apparently equals party, sun, a beautiful tropical lagoon, lots of shops and free meals...). No seriously it's a nice little town here. But it's pretty hard to find a job here I've noticed, the locals don't have ot high an opinion of backpackers and rather not hire them... I spent a whole day walking in and out shops and restaurants to hand out my resume. Then I met Marie, a friend from Airlie beach and she told me that a lot of her friends went on to Darwin because finding a job here was too hard...

That's why I was pretty happy when I found a job as a "kitchenhand" in an italian restaurant. Didn't sound too bad, back in Townsville Ben had told me that it's basically cutting veggies, dishwashing, etc., an ok job. So I was pretty unprepared for the reality of it. 2 full hours of non-stop dishwashing!!!! (Ok, except for a 2 minute cigarette break,... great!) Anyway, it was terrible! Almost as bad as the weed-picking... I mean, it's not like I really enjoy dish-washing anyway, but this is just worse, it's like never-ending dishwashing! just when you think you're done, the next load of pans gets dumped again... Plus the humiliation of standing there in the back of the kitchen, and the heat of the "dish-dryer"... it was a nightmare!!! When I came home again and told Renee & Daniel about the job at least we could have a laugh about it. Kept saying phrases like "It drains your energy" "How deep can you sink?" Just couldn't get it out of my system, had to take a shower to wash it all off.  Anyway, enough stupid jokes, this I know for sure: NEVER AGAIN!!!

So today I was pretty scared to start the other job I had found: working at a kebab shop. Had to be there at 7h and work until 2pm. That was really fun though, I got to do everything myself, take orders, make the kebabs and breakfasts, bring them to the tables. IT was busy non-stop from 7h onwards but I loved it! I didn't get bored for a single minute, the colleagues are nice, and the location is great (just across the lagoon) I am so relieved!

Yesterday Renee and I planned all of our tours and flights back to Sydney. I am very happy with our planning. We'll fly to Darwin next friday (July 1) and from there take a tour to the Kakadu national park and from there to the "Red centre" Alice Springs, Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kings Canyon, etc. After that we'll return to Sydney via Adelaide and Melbourne where we'll arrive the 28/7. Then on the 3rd of august I'll bring Renee to the airport (she has to leave one week early because of university) and then I might visit Canberra (depending on my budget). Really looking forward to travelling on again!

But first this saturdayl celebrate Renee & Daniel's birthday!


 

 

 

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Friday, June 10th 2005

10:00:42 PM

Reunion in Townsville!

Wed 15/06/05

Today I finally climbed Castle Hill! First Renee and I visited some employment agencies, and then I went to the beach, and then I spontaneously decided to climb Castle Hill after I'd been talking about climbing it for the past days I decided it was about time to actually do so.

It was quite a hard climb, especially on my thongs (australian for flip-flops, do you call them that?) and especially since I chose the adventurous path (goat-track) instead of the normal one. But when I was up there, it was really worth it. It was sooo amazing! I was just in time for the sunset and it was so beautiful to watch the sun going down over Magnetic island. (Which is truly magnetic, my camera is constantly drawn to it as you can judge by the amount of pictures I took of Maggie).

Tue 14/06/05

Happy birthday Papa!

Today we had our "application day". Renee and I went to the internet cafe and printed about 30 resumes. Then we visited several shops and restaurants to apply for a job... Hope we'll find something!

In the evening I met with Ben, and Renee met with Sam and afterwards we met together. It is so great that the 4 of us are getting along so well, it couldn't be any better!

Mo 13/06/05

Visited Maggie (Magnetic Island) today! The 3 of us hired scootered and crossed around the island. We even made a (3h) walk from Radical Bay to Arthur Bay. At Fort circuit which was on the way, we relaxed on the rocks there and you had a beautiful view over the bay (pictures!). On the way there we saw our first wild koala!!!! When I took the picture I could get so close I could have touched it! It was a beautiful day.

Su 12/06/05

Today we had a BBQ with Peter and met his little daughter Tiana (6) and Tilly, a friend of hers. It was so cute to watch these 2 little girls play in the garden, they made us some beautiful drawings, did a show for us, and were very keen on learning dutch words... that was lots of fun! The food was really great and it was a very cosy afternoon/ evening.

After the BBQ Renee and I went out to meet Ben & Sam again, that was really nice too. We couldn't make it too late, because we were plenning to visit Magnetic Island (island 8km from Townsville) early next morning.

Sa 11/06/05

Quite hungover today, didn't make it to the beach as planned after all... In the end I went by myself for about 2 hours to at least feel like I have done something! I guess we are really starting to need a job now, otherwise we'll just be hanging around on the beach all the time, which is great of course, but it's not why we're here...

Tomorrow we will probably go and climb Castle Hill, which is a really prominent hill around which Townsville is built, it's beautiful! And we might play some tennis too, really hope so because I've been missing it... Monday we will probably go to the Billabong sanctuary to see some australian animals from nearby! Keep you updated, lots of hugs!

Fr 10/06/05

Today was one more common day in Townsville, lying on the beach and from there making phonecalls to find a job... That just sounds sooo spoilt...What a life this is!!

In the evening we went to the cinema to see Mr & Mrs Smith (probably shouldn't be writing everytime we go and see a movie, seems as though that's all we do...) The movie was great though, really exciting! Then Renee & I went to the disco and had lots of fun, we also met 2 really nice and funny australian guys, we will be meeting them again on the beach tomorrow...

Thu 09/06/05

Today I went to the beach again, beautiful!! When I had lunch I met Peter, the owner of the kiosk over there and chatted a little bit with him. That was really nice, I told him about our travelling and that we're looking for a job now. Than he said that he was looking for someone new to work at his kiosk!! Found a job... The down side though, is that it's just one job and that wouldn't be fair to Renee... Same reason why the job at the horseriding farm didn't work out after all, they just had one vacancy,... apparently it just wasn't meant to be... But Peter said that he knows a  lot of people here and will help us find a job!

Then I got a phonecall from Renee and Daniel that they arrived inTownsville!!! Peter gave me a ride to the Transit centre, and there we met again, it was really good to see them again... I then showed them around Townsville a little and they both really liked it here too, so we will definetely be staying longer here.

After that we went to see Peter at the kiosk and had a drink at his place. That was so cosy, we talked for hours and had a great night. This weekend we'll have a BBQ at his place.

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, June 7th 2005

03:26:37 PM

Townsville

Mo 06/06/2005

After talking to Renee and Daniel I decided to move on from Airlie Beach towards Bowen to go and find us a (fruitpicking?) job there. The two are stuck in Bundaberg because the car broke down and it can only be repaired on tuesday... Once it is fixed they will come this way and we'll meet again.

I was there in Bowen and after a few phonecalls I had actually found a job, tomatoe picking. The hostel I would stay in was an hour from town and there was no regular transport, the guy on the phone told me to do groceries for a week!!! I didn't feel to well abou staying at some remote hostel and be stuck over there. I than remembered what the english guys had told me the night before about the tomatoe picking they had done in Bowen, really hard work, bad pay and not really worth it. After a short round in Bowen with lots of men whistling at me and staring, I decided I didn't want to stay in Bowen anymore. Luckily a Greyhound bus arrived about an hour later and the driver agreed to let me on it (without reservation), I was so relieved to leave Bowen....

I had decided to go to Townsville and look for a job over there. I arrived 3 hours later, found a hostel and went into town. It actually is a really nice little city built around Castle hill, with a lot of palm trees and 320 days of sunshine a day, yep, that's my kind of city!! I looked around a few shops and met 2 dutch girls there, Marlies and Tamara. We than decided to walk to the beach because we hadn't seen it yet, it's supposed to be the cleanest beach of Australia, and it is really beautiful. We then had dinner together and it was a really cosy evening.

Tue 07/06/2005

Today all I did was trying to look for a job, open an australian bank account, collected my mail and went to the beach. In the evening I met an australian guy and talked to him for a couple of hours, really interesting. Travelling alone has been really easy so far, at first I was kind of scared and nervous, but meanwhile I am more comfortable on my own and have less difficulties strating a conversation with other people. Tomorrow evening(or at latest on thursday) Renee and Daniel will be coming though, really looking forward to that, we'll have so much to tell each other!

 

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Saturday, June 4th 2005

01:01:24 AM

Whitsundays

Wed 31/05/05

So, let me continue with the 31st of May. Just before we went to the cinema I had called the people of the Whitsundays to ask if it is possible to delay the trip for one week, as we wanted to stay in Bundaberg to work a little. They answered no. There was no way to reschedule the trip and we'ld loose all our money if we didn't go...

That was at around 3 pm on tuesday, and the trip would start the next day... I thought it would be a waste of money not to go and besides I had really been looking forward to the sailing trip there, so basically I wanted to go, but Renee thought it was too last-minute and  preferred to stay in Bundaberg to work and earn the money of the entire trip back that way. It was kind of a hard decision because it was all quite stressful and very last-minute indeed, and besides I'd have to go on my own... But in the end I decided to go and make the Whitsundays trip and meet Renee and Daniel after that in Airlie beach.

Anyway, after the cinema I quickly packed all my stuff, we had a nice goodbye-dinner at an italian restaurant and then it was time for me to leave... Renee and Daniel brought me to the Greyhound station and at 8pm my bus left... That was really sad as we had been travelling together since 1 1/2 months and it was quite weird to be on my own now.

Tu 01/06/2005 -Sa 04/06/2005

I slept as good as possible on the GReyhound and arrived in Airlie Beach at 7am. I then had to go into town to confirm my booking, pay the reef tax and after that I had to pack my bag for the 4 days. That was all quite stressful but luckily I made it to the marina just in time at 12am to leave on the Ise Pearl (beautiful boat!!). 

At the marina I met the other 6 girls Kerry (Wales), Ulrika, Michelle & Jana (Germany), Claudia (Switzerland) and Sophie (Denmark)  (no guys at all??!!!) and the 2 boat owners (Captain) Sparrow and Machi. When we were complete we left to the boat and I loved it from the start. It wasn't a hiuge boat, but there was enough space to sit down and relax, even to lie down in the sun!

After everybody had chosen their bed and organised their stuff, we set sail towards the Whitsunday Islands! The weather wasn't too good, it was quite windy and there was little sun, but in the end that just made it more exciting as the whole boat moved with the wind...so glad I didn't get seasick!!!!

There is not much more to tell about the Whitsundays actually. During the 4 days we basically sunbathed at daytime, sometimes we had a stop at one of the islands to go swimming, snorkelling or fishing, and in the evenings we stopped at some quiet place and enjoyed the sunsets, the delicious food Machi cooked for us and we just chatted to eachother. Those 4 days were soooo relaxing.

Sa 04/06/2005

Today we came back from the Whitsundays, said good-bye to Machi and Sparrow and of course the Ise Pearl. We were all kind of sad that the trip was over and we were all still wobbling, because in those 4 days on the boat we hadn't set foot on land even once!!!

Jana, Kerry and I decided to have a BBQ together so that we wouldn't have to go back to 23-minute nnoodles straight away. That was really nice still.

Su 05/06/2005

This morning I had to say good-bye to Jana & Kerry and I was really on my own now. I decided to go to the beach, but it started raining... Then I went into town and did a little bit of (window) shopping there. I was on my way back to the hostel when I met Shawn & Michelle with their little baby Joey, whom we had met in Brisbane. IT was so good to see them, and Joey had actually leasrned to crawl in the meantime!!  I chatted a little bit with them and than they gave me a ride to the hostel. That was really nice.

In the hostel I met some Israelan guys and went to have dinner with them. Down there I also met Zoey, an american girl we had met in Noosa, and after that we met some really nice english guys. There was a live band playing and I had a really nice evening.

 

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Friday, June 3rd 2005

08:02:18 PM

27/05 - 31/05

Fr. 27/05/05

After breakfast I went to see an opal cutting demo which was pretty boring... I then joined Daniel & Renee to chill on the beach. Then I was getting a little bit restless and so was Daniel so we decided to go and do some bodyboarding. That turned into 2 hours of bodyboarding, a breajk of 15 minutes in the sun and then more bodyboarding. It was so much fun, the more you do it the more you get the hang of it, you start to recognise which waves are good, when to take them,...etc. and once you've understood it, it's fun, even addicting!

Sa. 28/05/05

We had enough chilling at Rainbow Beach so we decided to go on to Bundaberg and find a "job". We were actually going to look for a farm where we could go fruitpicking because that's whatBundaberg is famous for with backpackers. After a stop in Gympie we arrived In Bundaberg, checked out the beach (no good waves unfortuynately...) and then went to look for a hostel whgich was pretty hard as BB was full of working backpackers. We finally found quite a nice room in a motel which ended up being cheaper than a hostel and just for the 3 of us.

After that we took the car and explored Bundaberg, we found a cinema and decided to watch a movie for a change. We saw the interpreter (pretty dissapointing - good story but too little worked out and too little info about UN and Africa - that was our opinion) We weren't really satisfied so we decided to watch another movie "Amityville horror". A really scary horror movie, that was fun!

Su. 29/05/05

All of Bundaberg was closed today, nothing to do there so we decided to make a daytrip to Town of 1770. (It's called that way because Captain Cook who first discovered Australia (after the dutch!) set doot no land there in 1770). It was about 2 hours driving and it was lots of fun, especially since I got to drive!!!! My first time on the left side on the road and it wasn't even that hard, it was soo much fun!!

The town itself was quite disappointing, the beach wasn't too beautiful and the weather was cold, we stayed there for a short while and went backto BB again.

Mo. 30/05/05

Today we found a job!!! We went on the internet and called all the farmers to ask if they offered fruitpicking and finally found a farmer on a sweet potatoe farm where we could help out.  We went to visit the farm and it all looked ok so we decided to start the next day (at 7am!)

Tue. 31/05/05

So, today was our first day at work. We were pretty tired and quite curioous about what to expect. We drove up on the hill to the place where the potatoes were planted and expected to start picking the potatoes when the farmer started explaining us what to do. "Do you see this weed?" "Yeah" "Ok, start picking it". Noooo, we were supposed to pick weed instead of potatoes. That was terrible! We were there for 2 hours picking weed and were totally red from the earth. Our shoes weighed about 2 kgs because of all the earth sticking to it. We than had a lunch break and went to sit in the car. We looked at eachother and thankgod we all felt the same. No more weedpicking for us! After a short discussion about who is going to say it (yeah we were that polite!) I collected all my courage and went to the farmer to tell him we'd quit. All he said was "no worries mate!" And we were freeee!

We took a loooong shower and then drove off and landed in Childers at another cinema. This time we watched "White noise" a thriller about paranormal stuff, really scary!

 

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Thursday, May 26th 2005

12:27:48 PM

Fraser Island 24/05-26/05

Friday, May 27th

Two days ago we started our Fraser island tour from Rainbow beach. Fraser Island is the largest sand in the world (there is said to be more sand over there than in the Sahara) and you can only drive there with a 4wd car. That's why Renee and I had to book a tour which we haddone over in Brisbane.

We were a little bit scared to go, kind of afraid that we mgiht end up in a group like in NOosa again and were already thinking of cancelling the tour, but we couldn't and  of course we didn't want to waste the money so we decided to go after all.

Tuesday, May 24th

We left on tuesday and after having a long briefing and had to pack the landcruser we could finalle leave. We ended up in a group of 11 people; Mark and Duncan (irish), Pierre, Orrellion and Jessica (french), Ben and Becky (english), Henrik (danish) and Petra (german). This group was quite nide and it was so much better than the canoeing.

We first had to get to the island by barge, and from there we could jump in the carand drive off. It was really bumpy all the time and it took some time before we got used to it, especially as there were only to banks opposite eachother, so you were sitting with 8 people in the back and youcouldn't look in the front but only to the side, but once we got used to it is was great fun!

We first drove to Lake Wobby, from theere we had to walk about 45 minutes from the beach to the lake. It was quite hot and w had to walk over soft sand allthe time, we really felt as if we were walking in the desert. But once we made it it was amazing. A really pure and clean lake with lots of catfish swimming in it. From there we went to Eli Creek which is a creek where you can let yourself float from a certain point of the creek all the way back to the car. I didn't do it myself because it was too cold but it was funny to watch some of the guys get in and float off. After that ut was time ot set up our tents, we set them up by the beach and were done just before it was dark (5:30pm). Then unfortunately the other guys started todrink straight away. Renee and I didn't feel like drinking because we wanted to be fit in the morning, but we were so hungry. The others didn't want to cook yet though because theyplanned on having a long night, when we finally did cook there wasn't enough. Anyway that was really annoying so we went to bed early and were looking forward to leaving again.

Wednesday May 25th

Today we got up early to visit the "Champagne pool" and climb the mountain in Indian head because it is said that on a clear day youcan see the sharks and turtles there,...we didn't. Anyway we left there without a breakfast because the others wanted to wait more, which of course pissed Renee and me of again. The mountain and the view from there were really beautiful though. The sun was above the sea and the sunrays were like stagelights shining on the sea, it was beautiful. After the ,mountain we walked over the beach to the champagne pools, they are naturally formed pools with only rocks dividing them from the ocean. The waves from the ocean first go over the rocks and then land in the pools where it looks really white and bubbly; just like champagne. That was funny, but after thatwe were starving so we went back to our car to have brunch (baked beans and spaghetti on toast.... quite awful...). After that we drove to the Maheno shipwreck which are the leftovers of a japanese ship that once stranded there. It was basically just metal, whatI found quite cool to see though were the shiny shells that grew on them, like pearls. After that we went to Lake Mckenzie which is a really beautiful lake over there. The sand is supposed to be good for you when youscrub it on your skin and leave it in your har which is whatwe did.... and it's true!

About half an hour later it was time to set up our tents again,on the beach, this time we joined with 2 other cars so we were 33 people there. Agan the drinking started and the food wasn't enough again. But as we were sitting there eating there was an australian guy (who was campnig a few meters further on) telling us to come and take a look a the moon. No one went except for Renee and me, and it was amaaazing. The moon was really large and it was red!! Too bad the photos didn't work out too well but I will utthem on here anyway.

After that we started a conversation with the guy named JAson and his friend Ben. He was telling us somany interesting things. So later on in the evening there was a hug cricle of about 31 people sitting there and playing drinking games and about 2 metres further there was Renee and me with Jason and Ben learning a lot about Australia, the aboriginees and nature. That was the greatest night I have had in the last couple of weeks!! We ended up smoking a joint from (bush marihuana) and just chilling there laughing a lot. That night I slept really good...

Thursday, May 26th

When we woke up, we were a littl depressed because we had to go with the others again and they were going to Elicreek where we didn't want to go because we had already been there. So we were sitting in front of our tent when Jason and Ben came byand asked us if we wanted to go with them, we ddn't hesitate for a second, packed our stuff and went with them.

We ended up getting a private tour of the island. We first filled our water bottles atthe creek, the water was delicous. And then went to Central station which is a beautiful rainforest. We saw plants from the dinosaur time that were 320 million years old, quite stunning. We then went on to Lake Birrabee, an insider tip, it was as great as Lake Mckenzie but a lot more quiet, at a certain point we were the only people there. Than it was time to go so we went rally driving to the barge where Jason showed us his snake, a carpet python, really cool. And then over the beach back to the hostel.

At night Jason was playing (guitar) n our hostel and after that he came to join us and we were still there for a long time. In the end it was just Rob the skydive instructor, Bana the aboriginal guy, Jason and me sitting at a table just a few metres away from the drinking games again. It was really interesting, Bana said I had a warm aura, and told me that he was a medicine man in his tribe. At a certain point I was giving a backrub to Rob and Bana came behind me and gave me a backrub and that was amazing, a feeling went from my shoulders straight on to my hands and I felt soooo relaxed. Last night I slept great and this morning I got up at 7am without hangover feeling totally fit. Now I am going to go have a coffee and see what the others are doing.

I wish you a great day later on, lots of hugs,

Nicky

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Monday, May 23rd 2005

07:10:04 PM

May 21-22 Noosa and Rainbow beach

May 21- Canoeing the Everglades

Our canoeing trip in the Everglades turned out to be everything but a lifetime experience as they had told us in the shop where we booked it.

We started of from our hostel, where we got pickep up at 8am and from there we got dropped in the Everglades by a watertaxi. When they said "dropped" at the travel agency, we didn't know we had to take it that literally though! We ended up on our canoes with our tents and cooking equipment,...and a map, as it was of course a self-guided tour. So, there we were 12 of us, not really getting along, off to find our camping site. That was quite a challenge and the canoeing was quite exhausting but then at last we made it...

Renee and I didn't really get along with the group as most of them were from the UK and naturally bonding quite fast. What shocked us even more was that we didn't have a network there meaning, we were in the middle of nowhere, with people we didn't like, no showers and tons of mosquitos. At night it got freezing cold which we didn't know either. We decided to get up early the next day and canoe to the meeting point where the waterrtaxi would be picking up the group that left a day before us.

May 22nd - Escaping the Everglades

This morning we got up at 7am, built down our tent, and threw all of our stuff in the canoe. We then started off to canoe to the meeting point which would take us about 2 hours. We were pretty nervous as we didn't know whether the water taxi would take us and if there would be enough space in the bus after that,but we decided that it was definetely worth trying, as long as we would get to the civilised world again...

That morning was beautiful though. There was a layer of mist on the water, which was almost black because of the tea tree oil. Later on the water showed the reflection of the trees on the water which looked amazing. Added to that the only sounds were those of the paddling and the birds, it was really relaxing and made up for a lot.

When we finally arrived the meeting point we could leave on the boat with the others and later on with the bus too. We were so relieved when we finally got back to the hostel. We then took the greyhound an hour later and left Noosa to go straight on to Rainbow beach.

May 23rd - Rainbow beach

Today Renee and I are in Rainbow beach. We arrived yesterday evening by Greyhound and we'll be leaving to Fraser island on wednesday... Can't wait! Rainbow beach turned out to be a tiny town where all you can really do is go to the beach, which of course we have been doing so far today.

 

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Thursday, May 19th 2005

12:13:42 AM

Brisbane 12/05/05 - 14/05/05

May 19th 2005

Today wer had our last day in Brisbane. The past week we have been kind of relaxing, enjoying the "luxury" to stay in one spot for a longer time. We became good friends with Steve and Daniel, the italian guys and Mark and Michael (and his austrian girlfriend Nina) the dutch guys. Especially with Mark we hung out the last couple of days.

On tuesday we went to the city centre the 4 of us to check it out. Renee and I wanted to book our tour to the Fraser islands and the Whitsundays and Mark had to sell his car so we visited a few hostels to divide flyers. When we entered the last hostel, we suddenly saw 2 familiar faces: Cor and Peter!! two dutch guys of the group we started off with. We decided to go to the (fake) lagoon in Southbank to have a drink and see if maybe a band was playing. We then ended up watchnig some "newcomer" circus artists practising all kind of actsm it was so much fun to watch it and the atmosphere was so relaxed.

Yesterday we went to Surfers Paradise again to meet Steve and Daniel and also ended up swimming a little bit. The ocean was really rough, so it was quite an adveture to say the least!! After that we went back to BRisbane and had kind of like a "goodbye-dinner" the four of us in a himalayan cafe. That was an interesting experience, we went into the back room where they played meditiative music so it was really relaxing and the food was great!!

Anyway, now Renee and I are in Noosa and will be going to the Australia zoo tomorrow. Really got to stop now, time is up, continue soon!

Big hug,

Nicky

May 14th 2005

Today the weather was finally good again. It was about time because the past week we have been having rain almost all the time... I actually wanted to go to the beach with this weather but the hostel owners told us about the glasshouse mountains about an hour driving from here, Renee and Daniel were really excited about it and they persuaded me. In the end I am so glad I went there and not to the beach! It was really beautful, at first we went to the look-out where we could view over all the mountains, it kind of reminded me of the blue mountains as there was also the blue cloud of the eucalyptus trees. We then drove on to the Beerwah mountain which turned out to be the highest one and went for a hike there. there was one part where you could really climb on the rocks which was fun.

Meanwhile we are back in the hostel again and we'll soon have a BBQ (for a change!) with the other dutch and italian backpackers here. It is really nice in this hostel because there are only 20 beds so everybody knows eachother which is more personal than the last hostel in Byron Bay. Also the hostel owners, John and Laura, are really nice and helpful and make us feel at home here.May 12th 2005

Today we drove from Surfers Paradise to Brisbane. We arrived late in the afternoon and after 2 hostels we checked out were full we decided to stay in the next best one that had 3 beds. Too bad, because the hostel was quite weird...The owner was kind ofweird and so were our room mates, they were german but didn't want to speak german with us? There were also thousands of worm-like insects hanging from the ceiling... We didn't have much of a choice though so we just went to bed early and decided to wake up early and check out first thing in the morning.

May 13th 2005

Today we arrived in our new hostel in New farm. So happy to be here after last night in the Attoa house hostel. This hostel is a lot better, we have got a great room just for the 3  of us with our own bathroom!!

The weather was also wuite nice today, the sun was actually shining (for about 2 hours), so Renee and I went to Southbanks to see the lagoon there. it was really beautiful, they created a whole sandbank with pool (even including lifeguard!) nearly in the middle of the city centre!! After relaxing there I still wanted to check out the art gallery which was really interesting. When I came out the building though, it was suddenly pouring!!! So I decided to go by bus instead of taking the ferry and as I was waiting for the bus, looking around, I suddenly noticed that the sun was still shining, and then I discovered the rainbow..and another one!! There were 2 rainbows over eachother, it was sooo beautiful! I let the bus pass and went up the platform to get a better view and then i noticed that on the other side the sky was totally yellow! All the people around were taking pictures with their cameras and phones, it was an amazing experience...Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me...

After that I went back to the hostel to meet up with the others and we had dinner and met the other backpackers, it was really cosy..

Well, got to go now. Thanx for your messages, really great to keep in touch this way!

Lots of hugs,

Nicky

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Saturday, May 7th 2005

10:38:28 PM

Byron Bay!! May 7th '05

So, we've finally arrived in Byron Bay! I have been looking forward to going here for so long! After all these relatively small towns it is great to come in a bigger place once again. I just love it here. Byron Bay is very interesting, on the one hand it is quite touristic with a lot of back[packers walking round nd also a lot of travel agencies etc. But on the other hand it is also quite "alternative" with  lot of new age shop nd hippuie-like people walking around. The atmosphere here is quite relaxed, it kind of reminds me of Santa Fe.

We arrived here yesterday late afternoon in the pouring rain. We were all quite tired and didn't have a place to sleep yet when we arrived, when we decided to just park the car, have a coffee and read the lonely planet to see where to go. When we got out of the car we walked past a travel agency and when I peeked inside I saw two fmiliar faces: Ingrid and Sanne! They are the 2 girls we met in Port Macquarie and have been meeting everywhere ever since. That was quite funny and we decided to have dinner together afterwards as it would probably be the last time we'd meet.

We then went to have a cup of coffee and a local guy started a conversation when he saw the lonely planet. So I asked himn if he knew a hostel. He took his mobile phone and we heard him arranging a room for 18 dollars (really cheap for Byron!) in the centre!! Turns out he was the manager of a hotel over there... That was really cool! So we went there and were amzaed at how nice it was! When we went on the terrs we met some guys who said they were playing in a band in the pub of our hotel. We couldn't miss that! So after dinner with Ingrid and Sanne we went there to check it out and it turned out that they played really good! Some mix of r&b/ hip hop/ soul, it was really much fun!

Anyway, today we had to change hostels becuse the offer was just for 1 night, so after having a looong breakfast we searched whole of Byron Bay for an ccomodation landing in the funniest and dirtiest places until we finally landed here at the "BAckpackers at the beach", good price and 1 minute walkiong from the beach. Planning to stay here for at least 2 more days, I hope longer! Tomorrow going to go dolphin kayaking, really looking forward to that! But now we are first going to have our 10th???BBQ and meet up with a few other guys we have met so far who also turned out to be staying here.

Ok, time is almost up again, still didn't manage to upload the photos, hope to be able to do so in the next few days. Lots of regards from Renee too!

Nicky

 

 

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Wednesday, May 4th 2005

04:37:27 PM

Coffs Harbour 4-6. May

May 4th

Yesterday evening we were sitting in the hostel, kind of bored and a little disappointed because we had the hostel of Port Macquarie and Tony (the hostel owner) still in our heads, when suddenly Ingird and Sanne( 2 girls we met in Port Macquarie) turned up! They saved our evening! They also felt the same way about the hostel, and when later on we also discovered corkroaches we decided to change hostels first thing the next morning.

So that's what we did today. We looked in our lonely planet to find some hostels and called them to find out about the price and everything, until we landed at the Hoey Moeys. Quite a big hostel with our own room for the 5 of us, it was more like a hotel, really luxurious to us! We checked in and made ourselves comfortable and then went to the mall again to have lunch and buy a couple of things.

After that we went to check out the big banana, which was smaller than we expected actually, it was quite funny! From there we went on to rent some kayaks. There is a beautiful creek in Coffs and paddling around it with the kayaks was really amazing! The water was so clear that you could see all the fish swimming past the boat, and of course the "jumping fish", it was really nice and relaxing (apart from the paddling!!)

Back in the hostel we found out that the pub was just opposite our door which really made us happy! We then had a BBQ at the hostel and met some more dutch people, and also an american guy, Rob. It was really cosy and after the BBQ we all went to the pub and had a great time!

May 5th

Today Sanne & Ingrid had to leave really early in the morning and we did the total opposite. We slept until about 11am and got up pretty tired and hung-over.

I still felt like doing something and as I couldn't really convince Renee and Daniel I decided to rent a bike on my own and explore Coffs by bike. It was really beautiful, I ended up cylcing for nearly 3 hours , cycling through the botanical gardens, walking the mangrove boardwalk which is a wooden kind of bridge going through the magroves, really beautiful. And from there I cycled to the marina to walk to muttonbird island where there was a beautiful view over the marina and Coffs. Than it was time to head back to the hostel and return the bike, wish I could have taken it with me!

Back in the hostel we had lunch and hanged around a little bit, checked out the beach which was 5 minutes walking and in the evening visited our pub again...

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Tuesday, May 3rd 2005

10:36:01 PM

2. - 3. May

May 2nd 05

Today we left Port Macquarie, but first one stop at the koala hospital! We met up with the other dutch guys and drove there together, really funny, 5 station wagons driving behind each other. The koala hospital was nice, they were sooo cute! But I still hope to see them wild (and healthy!) while I am here.

Anyway we drove on with our 5 cars behind each other until Southwest rocks, where the others were going to stay. But first we had a stop at crescent heads which was really beautiful. It was a beautiful beach witha golf court next to it which you could cross to walk up the hill. Or climb,via the rocks, which was really exciting! And you had a beautiful view up there.

In Southwest rocks Ruben left and joined the others, that was the best decision for all of us. And then the 3 of us (Daniel, Renee and I) drove towards Coffs harbour but as it was getting dark we decided to stop at Nambucca heads, where we landed on a pretty cool camping site. We had our own cabin with tv and all, which was real luxury for us backpackers!!

May 3rd 05

This morning we left Nambucca heads early to still look at the town a little bit. The town turned out to be one small shopping street and 2 beaches. The special thing was a golf course on an island, so we decided to take a look at that. You could also take a walk there, so  we did. Only I got lost again (of course!) so the guy working at the course gave me a ride on his trolley which was so much fun!

After that we arrived at Coffs harbour, checked in the hostel and wanted to check out the beach when it started raining... So we just took the car and drove around a little bit which was fun too. We ended up in the mall where we spent about 2 hours which was quite relaxing for once. Then we went to the beach and ate an ice cream while sitting on the rocks (weather was a little better again) which was really cosy. Today was quite relaxing, hope that tomorrow the weather will be better again though!

Bye bye

Nicky

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Sunday, May 1st 2005

10:12:59 PM

27. April '05 - 30. April '05

April 27th

Today I was going to leave Sydney with Renee, Daniel and Ruben to head towards the east coast. I felt really bad because I had the feeling I hadn't really seen Sydney yet. So, about 10 minutes before leaving I told tghe others I was staying in Sydney and meet them up by bus later on. I waved them goodbye, checked in to another hostel and walked towards centre to arrange my stuff.

As I was walking there I was suddenly starting to feel lonely. I felt sorry about my decision because I would be coming back to Sydney anyway. And that was when Renee called. They hadn't even left Sydney yet! So I then decided to join them and off we went.

At around 17.30h we arrived in Nelson Bay, a cute little town by the sea. We put up our tents in the dark and started BBQ-ing. We then still had a wine by the ocean, sooo beautiful about 1 minute walking from our tent (we took some pictures of that too) and went to bed on time.

April 28th

This morning we got woken up by some weird sounds. It sounded like bats so at first I didn't dare to get out of my tent. When I had collected all my courage and went out, I saw that they weren't bats but parrots!! It was soo cool! (photos).

We then went back to Newcastle because we hadn't seen it and put up our tents in Stockton. There we had a BBQ again and met some locals who invited us on a trip on their boat the next day. We asked them where we could go out and they told us about a club. Turned out to be the bowling club... We moved on towards the next pubfeeling a little bit disappointed and arrived at the Gladdys (Gladstones' hotel). As we entered it we suddenly discovered a familiar face, and another one... About half of our group was there!!! It was like a reunion it was really cosy. Then some locals there invited our group to their place where they served punch and has a karaoke machine. So all night long we were singing and dancing there.

April 29th

This time we got woken by some weird bird that seemed to laugh at us. We were still quite hung-over so it was kind of a weird feeling to see a black bird wathing you and making some sort of laughing noise. Anyway we spent half day at the beach and at around 2pm we went on our boat trip. It turned out to be a speed boat. it really was loads of fun.

April 30th

After going to bed on time we woke up early and headed towards the next town: Port Macquarie. But first to Hunter valley. I wanted to go there so badly because I had never done the wine-tasting before and neither had Renee so we both felt that Hunter valley was the place to go.  The wine tasting was interesting, we even tasted a 125 years old red wine!

After that we had to more "coffee stops" at Kuara and Kew and arrived in PM at around 6pm. We found a really nice hostel here. The owner met us in front of the door and showed us our room. He invited us to the BBQ so we went outside and met some other backpackers there. At around 10pm the owner had another pick-up (had to pick up some guests from the station) and took us with him to the disco. And there...surprise surprise, we met the others again!! Renee, Daniel and Ruben went home early so I went on to the next disco with the others forgetting that I didn't have the key...  So when I came home I couldn't enter the hostel anymore. After some desperate knocking on the window and screaming "hello!!" I climbed in through the window, who cares??

Anyway, I am still enjoying myself and feeling better than ever! Big hug to all of you,

Nicky

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Sunday, May 1st 2005

04:56:54 PM

1. may 2005 - update!

1st May 05

Today we are going to go on a " mystery tour"  the owner of the hostel is taking us, I am curious what we will do. Well write to you soon again. Big hug to all of you,

Nicky

Well, we have gone on the mystery tour and it turned out to be great fun. We first drove to a lookout point which was amazing because we could see about 70 kilometres far. Took some beautiful pictures. Just as we thought it was over the tour went on. We drove over a real dirt road with loads of stones in our station wagon (no 4wheel drive!!) and were just glad we made it, when we noticed the next surprise: kangaroos!!!

They were just there, loads of them and without thinking I just went to them and tried to pat them, the first few ran away but then I tried again with a little bit of grass in my hand, and I managed to actually touch th e kangaroo and pat it!! That was soooo amazing!!!

Daniel took some pictures of that and I will put them on the internet as soon as I have the possibilty.  But that was definitely the experience of the day!

Than we went back to the hostel and were already thinking about  what to eat. We asked Tony (the hostel owner) what would be a good place and he said that if we would wait 2 minutes he would drive us! So of course we waited, and he took us to a great chinese restaurant (that was such a luxury after days of BBQ!) And it was great fun. Tony told us about him and it turned out that he had actually fulfiled his dream in Australia. He was living a busy life with expensive car, goodlooking girlfiriend and everything, but little time. When he went to Port Macquarie on a holiday he fell in love with the town and bought the house there which is now the hostel. It was a really cosy evening.

 

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Monday, April 25th 2005

09:23:09 PM

26/04/05

Noooo, just wrote an entire entry and instead of pressing post I presseed cancel!!!!

Ok, I'll start over again. Today was quite a relaxed day. Started of really great, sitting in the cafe next to our hostel with a cappucino and a lonely planet planning the day. I went to the national gallery of art and the sydney museum where there was an exhobition about jorn utzon how he made the opera house, that was really interesting.

Then after the cultural part I went shopping and arranging some things at the TCP (travellers contact point where you can get info about tours,..etc) and then met Renee again to go on the sydney tower, which was really amazing. You had a view over entire Sydney. I'll be uploading the pictures soon.

That was about it. Today I decided to join Renee, Daniel and Ruben on their "road trip"  to the east after all. Way more fun then travelling alone. So now the plan is  to leave for the east coast tomorrow and from there up to cairns, alice springs, adelaide, melbourne. sure it will be lots of fun. Bad thing is that Riccardo can't come, but that's (backpacker's)  life!!!

So, it might take a little longer from now on, but I will definitely continue updating the site and keeping you up-to-date.

Lots of regards from Sydney!!!!

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Monday, April 25th 2005

03:24:33 PM

25/04/05 - anzac Day

Today was a national holiday here in Australia, it is a celebration to remind the soldiers who fought for Australia. A lot of marine guys walk around in their suits andt here was a parade (which we missed because it started at 7am!!!) but the most typical thing was tuap, which is kind of a gambling game which is illegal all year long except on anzac day. I took some pictures of that too.

All shops were closed so there was nothing much to do, except drinking actually which most of the group did. I went outside with Riccardo to walk around Sydney. Riccardo is an italian guy I met yesterday,...really funny. I was standing outside the internet cafe smoking a cigarette when some irish guys said hello to me. I must have looked quite stunned because they said "she doesn't speak english"  and I said " yes I do!". So we started talking and went to the pub which is 5 metres further where I knew the rest of the group was. Inside I wanted to look for the others and then I met Riccardo.

Anyway, it was really fun, we walked through the botanical gardens and we fed parrots (see pictures) and watched the opera house with the full oon over it (pictures) and  then walked around Sydney Harbour area. I finally got to see the opera house closely. Did you know that the material used are plain tiles?? I was so amazed to see that! We also walked on the harbour bridge which was really amazing.

When we came home the others were already, well funny. And we decided to go out which ended up with us returning at 5am.

Our plan is to leave Sydney tomorrow direction Melbourne. I am quite sad to leave Sydney already because I just love it here, but well, that (backpackers) life!!

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