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Australia May 2005
3 hours of sleep I wake up my American friends in their van. They
promised to drive me to the airport and so I have to be hard and shake
the van as hard as I can, with moderate success.
slept so well that night, and especially morning, that I only got out
when it was already lunchtime. After a slow brunch I explore the
of town with the beautiful Federation Square, the National Gallery of
Victoria, the cobble stone streets and big shopping malls. I join Anne
for some after work beers and a very delicious Chinese, although a bit
spicy for little Wim's stomach.
we leave to the airport and fly to Adelaide, where we meet Anne's
boyfriend Stephen. Anne and me do the shopping, and wandering around the
fresh produce market it feels like I could be in the 'Mercado de
Barceloneta' in Barcelona. The place feels very Mediterranean,
consequence of lots of Italian and Greek immigrants. Adelaide is a lot
smaller than Melbourne too, so I am confused when we drive to a second
airport to fly out to Thistle Island. We load up a Cessna 6 seater with
all the food we bought, and than the girls (Anne and dog ZoŽ) move in
the back, and Stephen and me go for the pilot's seats. Stephen got his
flying license recently and I am the lucky man serving as his co-pilot.
The view and feeling sitting in front of that plane, being explained
most of the buttons, the radio communication, and even flying the plane
myself for a minute,... Awesome! Thistle island is only 50 minutes away,
and is quite impressive from the air, Whalers Bay beach on one side,
huge cliffs and rock formations on the other.
land on gravel, fill up the ute (that's what they call a pick-up here)
and drive to the end of the gravel road, where the beach house is. It is
a very pretty house, big open living/dining area, with a kitchen,
surrounded by glass panelling and wooden terraces. Cosy guestrooms
downstairs, all with perfect sea view. And the fridge is full of beers
and wine; it can't get much better than that.
next few days I get little relax though, as we go out hiking to the
seals, see rock wallabies, spot dolphins, take the zodiac out for some
squid fishing and set out crab nets! Total catch: 12 crabs and 3 squid.
I must confess I really like the squid fishing, although one of the
victims covered me in its black smurry ink...
have some great seafood meals, drink beers with a perfect sunset over
the cliffs, talk and chat till the wine almost closes our eyelids.
in Melbourne I explore some more of the city, find out that
malfunctioning camera will cost too much (so I use its limited functionality only), have some nice beers and dinner in St. Kilda, and
book the next part of the trip.
I fly back from Sydney in 2 weeks, I don't want to spend a week between
Melbourne and Sydney. Ok, the sun does shine, but it is pretty cold.
Luckily I find a flight to Byron Bay, the sunny side of Australia, actually the
most easterly point of Australia !
early and check in at Aquarius, a typical beach town backpacker,
full of English, Canadian and all other you can imagine, 18 to 20 year
week here is enough though, I got some sun and even a bit of a tan, so
lets go back south, on to Sydney !
Sydney is a huge city, spread out over numerous suburbs, of which Kings Cross is the most popular backpacker hangout. But I got recommended not to stay there, but go to one of the beaches. In the bus sits Pascale from Quebec and Graham from Vancouver. Pascale brings us to the Surfside, straight in front of Coogee beach, a superb spot and well provided backpacker, just a bus ride from central Sydney. In summer it is mainly Bondi beach that gets the biggest crowds, but as it is getting colder, more backpackers opt for this cosy place in a cosy town.
With Graham I have lots of good talks, and we explore the city centre, the old 'the Rocks', where the first settlements were, the opera house and harbour bridge, Powerhouse museum, Imax theatre, Darling Harbour and the new Star Wars ! The other days I relax on the beach get some more tan and enjoy the silence of this small suburb. I also walk over the cliffs and beaches from Coogee to Bondi, with stunning views along the way, small cafes, a great coffee and cake, some postcards to write. In the evenings it is good just to hang out in the backpacker's, with some wine and beer from the liqueur store and some good talks with Donna, an sweet English nurse.
Australia is pretty nice, but the crowd of people you meet is a bit too young for my age. Mostly English, Canadian, Swedish. 18 to 20 year olds, who have rules like you have to get someone in the weekend, and bring that person home, even if it is a dorm you are in. To say it simple, most of these kids are very inconsiderate, make noise whenever they want (even at 4 in the morning), smoke wherever they want, and ask the same questions over and over again: Where are you from, how long, where next, . I was quite happy leaving the country, and hope to find some good snowboard companions soon in New Zealand ! But I will come back here, with a friend and a van, to travel and sleep !
Next, back to NZ and go to the snow, the season starts 4th of June, and I will be there, on Mount Hutt !
Keep on tripping,