This blog covers our trip around the world in 2006. We will post here with news of where we are and what we've been up to. Enjoy! Ang & Jane

Monday, October 9

Location: Alice Springs
Miles Travelled: 26337
Time Zone: GMT + 8:30

So it was time to leave Byron Bay and head to Arrawarra and Surf Camp. We all boarded the bus in Byron a little excited about trying surfing so it was straight to surf camp and once we'd gotten our rooms sorted it was straight into a quick surf safety lesson before we got suited up in very fetching wetsuits and grabbed our boards and headed for the beach. Once on the beach we were shown firstly how to paddle and when to paddle and then it was on to the hard part! The how to go from lying on the board to standing on the board in a nice smooth movement, or not so smooth in my case. Once we practiced it a few times on the nice solid beach it was off into the waves to try it for real. It was great fun although not very successful. I managed to stand once in our nearly 2 hour session but I did do alot of almost standing and lots and lots of tumbling off into the water and a few nose dives too...ouch! Once we'd finished our lesson it was back to the camp ground and time for dinner and drinks and some after dinner games. To be precise an after dinner quiz which unfortunetly our team lost which meant we had to do all the wash-up and cleaning after the dinner - that wasn't so much fun. But the rest of the night was cool...sitting round the camp fire chatting and then once the camp ground's curfew kicked in we moved ourselves and the fire (literally in a wheelbarrow!) down to the beach which was fabulous...just sitting on the beach in the pitch black listening to the sea and watching the was a great night. The next morning it was up early and as soon as brekkie was eaten it was back into our still wet wetsuits and back down to the beach for some warm up's before hitting the water again. I would like to say the second day was much better but alas it was only a tiny bit better for me as I still only managed to stand once but I did have alot more almost standing moments and no nose dives!! Once we'd done our 2 hours surfing we all climbed back onto the bus tired and slightly sore (or maybe that was just me) and headed for our next stop in Barrington.

Our stop in Barrington was the most remote stop we'd had so far...on a farmstay in the outback about 40 minutes from anywhere. When we arrived there was an option to go night kayaking which we didn't bother doing cos we were both wrecked so instead we chilled out in the main building where we indulged in $10 all you can eat pizza. The night would have been a bit of a disaster if it wasn't for a very kind man by the name of Roger who volunteered to drive some of us to the off licence so that we could all buy a few drinks for the night. It was our last night on the Oz Experience trip and we all wanted a decent send-off so he was our saviour as well as Ang and Tracey who made the hour and a bit round trip for the rest of us! Once the kayaking was over everyone sat around the fire or in the hot tub and relaxed until the wee small hours. It was a lovely way to spend our last night. The next morning we got up and hit the road for our final destination on the Oz Experience - Sydney.

We had alot of road to cover so it was pretty much a full day of driving in the hope we'd get into Sydney early and catch the end of the AFL final which was on that day. We hit Sydney at around 4 and thanks to our fabulous bus driver we got dropped off right beside where we were staying. Odie, a friend of Ang's from home had thankfully come to our rescue and offered us somewhere to stay for our first few nights in Sydney as our original plan to stay with Big Dave had gone a bit wrong cos Dave was actually away the weekend we arrived. But I have to say a better pair of hosts I have never met than Odie and his flatmate Scott(and fellow squatter Trevor!) who made us feel so at home straight away that infact we ended up staying with them for our whole stay in Sydney - thanks again guys! Our bus driver had organised dinner and drinks that night as a final send-off so we headed out to The Gaff on Oxford street to meet up with everyone and say our farewells. It was a great night with many a laugh and the invention of a new dance move in honour of our driver Pistol Pete - it mimics someone kayaking and then falling out - which apparently he did alot of at Barrington!! The next day we had arranged to meet up with Nicole whom we had met on the Oz experience further north and whose last day it was in Sydney.
She brought us down to The Rocks for lunch and then we headed towards Circular Quay from where we got our first real glance of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge which was pretty amazing. I kept finding myself thinking - God I'm really in Sydney - and then having to try and make myself believe it! From there we walked round to the Opera House itself and took several million photos of the surroundings which are more than impressive. Nicole had to head back so we walked her to the station and then wandered back to the apartment for the evening. The next morning Scott (who had won big at the weekend) brought everyone for Yum Cha (chinese brekkie) which was yummy. We had another bus pal to meet that evening and that was Jeremy who was leaving Syndey that night. We met up with him and headed out for dinner and a drink in Scruffy Murphys. After that we walked him to the station and waved him off...another bus pal gone...sniff sniff. The next day we had a very lazy start and chilled out in front of the very huge telly for a few hours before heading out and picking up a dvd of photos our bus driver had kindly left for us at the office. The photos were cool as there are a few of us surfing which we didn't have any of. That evening it was off out again this time to meet up with Big Dave in the Opera Bar by the Opera House. The bar has amazing views but was a little pricey for us backpackers so after admiring the views and taking some photos we moved on to The Basement bar for another drink before heading to PJ O'Briens where we were joined by Odie and grabbed some dinner. Dave left early due to having a 6am start the next morning but we stayed on and were soon joined by Scott. Odie also headed home but Scott, Ang and I kept going and once PJ's closed we headed homeward but enroute popped into The 3 Wise Monkeys for just one more before we retired. It was a really fun night out.
Due to our activities the previous night the next morning was another slow burner. We needed to get to Kings Cross to collect a box which we were going to fill with stuff and ship home. Scott eventually offered us a lift cos he figured we'd never have made it otherwise and he was probably right (the couch was far too comfy!). So we grabbed our box and then headed home and started to get ready for a pub quiz that night in Durty Nellys. Scott and Trevor had won it 3 times before and so the pressure was on for Ang and I to help in retaining the crown. Luckily they didn't need much help from us to retain the crown and we won the quiz and have the gold medals to prove it. After the quiz we headed to PJ's again to meet up with Odie, Ash and Jack for a few drinks. After PJ's closed we again headed homeward but this time got distracted by Cheers where we went for one more before finally getting home.
The next day we got up and headed to catch the ferry to Manly Beach. The ferry ride itself was so beautiful as you got to see the harbour in all its splendour so I was happy out with just that. Once we landed in Manly we strolled down the Corso towards the main beach and of course did some souvenir shopping on the way. When we got to the beach it was a little windy but we did lie down on the sand and admire the scenary for awhile before heading back towards the ferry. We caught the ferry just before sunset so on our return to Circular Quay we got to watch the sun go down behind the bridge which was brilliant. We headed home where there were big bbq plans afoot. Trevor (who was also only visiting the apartment) had spent all afternoon preparing a mountain of food for a bbq. After some initial fire lighting issues were solved (the solution involved tequila!) the bbq was underway. Odie's girlfriend Ash and her friend Jack were there and Big Dave came along too. The food was fabulous and the only casualty was the chicken which was slightly cremated. The bbq was great and once the food was gone we sat round the bbq campfire styley and had a natter and a few drinks before retiring inside for some movie watching.
The next day was our last day in Sydney so we tried to fit a few things in, firstly we headed to Wildlife World in Darling Harbour. Darling Harbour itself was lovely and Wildlife World was pretty cool but a little disappointing. Although Ang did get to see a Bilby which she was convinced was make believe! After that we headed home and finished the packing of our box which we needed to drop off and thankfully Scott was on hand again to offer us a much needed lift. We got the box shipped finally and headed home for some dinner before hitting the town for the final time. Trevor was gone out in Bondi and poor Odie was feeling really ill (so ill in fact that he ended up in hospital that night but thankfully is on the mend now - get well soon!) so it was just Scott, Ang and I who headed out. Our first stop was the Shangri-La bar which is on the 36th floor and gives great views out over Sydney. After that is was on to The Australian Bar (apparently the oldest bar in Sydney) for a few more before hitting our final bar of the evening The Mercantile. It was another great night in Sydney, we had a fantastic week in Sydney and neither of us wanted to leave but alas flights and tours wait for no woman! We'd like yet again to thank our hosts with the most Odie and Scott - thanks a million.

The next day we were up early to get packed up and off to the airport to catch our flight to Alice Springs. The flight was about 3 hours and flew over what looked like waste ground which was kinda weird having been on the coast for the past month. We landed and immediately the difference in weather was obvious...its was 35 and very very dry. We got a bus to our hostel and checked in and chilled out for awhiel before heading to the bar for dinner. After dinner we took a walk down town and ended up going to the cinema to see "Thank You for Smoking" which was good.
Yesterday we went online and started this mammoth update of the blog and then wandered round the town (which isn't very bigg) and then headed for dinner and watched some tv. Today we went to the Royal Flying Doctors base here which was cool. We got to see the communications rooms and learn how the whole thing started. It was really enjoyable. And that brings us right up to now.


mel said...

What a fab trip, sounds like your having the time of your lives...Just gave you a quick call Janey but its about 3am so your probably asleep (to be honest, I expected you to still be up).
You should try and upload some photos so we can all see!!! :-)
Mel xxxxx

5:22 PM, October 13, 2006  

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