New Zealand

I’ve been in Auckland a little over 24 hours and so far so good.

I arrived yesterday and ended up in a dorm room full of Scottish and English boys, some of who I really couldn’t understand a word they were saying. We ended up playing cards in the lounge area and then these two Swedish girls joined us. Next thing you know…we’re all getting drunk in the hostel bar and we went out dancing for a good portion of the night. It was probably one of the funniest nights I’ve had in a long time. The guys were just absolutely crazy and they started doing all these insane dance moves. We had a great laugh over the whole thing.

Today I haven’t really done much. Auckland is ok…but unless you go and do day trips, which I can’t really afford to do right now, then there’s not a whole lot to do here. I just went and met the Swedish girls for lunch…we ended up walking around the town and took a few pics…but there’s really much else to do. One good thing though…the girls are flying out today and they gave me these flexi-passes for the bus system in New Zealand worth about $100. So tomorrow, I’m going to leave Auckland first thing in the morning and head up to the Bay of Islands which is supposed to be quite beautiful. I’ll only stay there a night though, then come back to Auckland so I can catch my flight out to Fiji that night.

I really wish I had the time and the finances to explore New Zealand more. From the stories I’ve heard and all that I’ve read you can do, it seems like quite an amazing place. But it would be really hard to travel it and do some of the cool things if you’re on a tight budget. I’m definitely coming back though at some point. It’s basically just a big playground for adults.

Australia – Back in Sydney

Things have been going good in Sydney so far. I left Melbourne Monday, took a 12 hour train ride and arrived in Sydney Monday evening. The train ride wasn’t too bad…although I had this lady sit next to me that was all cracked out on caffeine…and some guy a few seats in front of me just staring back at me most of the trip (a little creepy…but I was too tired to pay attention to him).

Life has been pretty mellow. I’m low on cash and trying to save for Fiji…so partying really isn’t an option right now (drinks in Australia are quite spendy) which is kind of a bummer, but I think I can make it through ok. Hopefully.

I had a good day yesterday. Spent the day walking around doing a lot of sight-seeing. Went to Circular Quay..saw the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, the Royal Botanical Gardens….then I went to Darling Harbour, the Queen Victoria Building, Pitt Street Mall, etc. etc. Sydney is probably one of the coolest modern cities I’ve ever been to. It’s so clean and has so much character. I love it. I just wish I had more money to enjoy more of the sights. I took some great pictures yesterday though. It was a beautiful day and there were just a few clouds in the sky to make it so that it wasn’t too bright for pictures. Although it took me about 10 different tries to get a good one of me in front of the Harbour Bridge, which is all I wanted. I think I was cursed or something…no matter who I asked to take a picture, they would just mess it up so bad…being too far away or putting me at some weird angle in the picture…or something else or another…I didn’t want to ask people to retake it…so I just kept asking different people to take. It was quite comical at the time. Literally, by picture 16 or so, I finally got a decent one. Not sure when I’ll be able to upload those, but I’ll be sending the rest of my photos from Australia soon.

I’m staying at a little beachside town called Coogee Beach. It’s fairly small…lots of shops, restaurants, cafes and the like. It’s near New South Wales University, so there are tons of young people everywhere. Went to the beach this morning and got a little burnt. But the weather is great here, so I can’t complain. I’m just going to spend my last few weeks of vacation getting as much sun as possible I think….before going back to the Oregon winter.

Only a few more days in Sydney, then it’s off to Auckland for a few days. Then I’m off to Fiji. Renee sent me some info about where we’re staying and it looks like we’re staying in some pretty cool places, so I’m stoked about that. It’ll probably be like heaven compared to some of the hostels I’ve stayed in….although Australian hostels are quite good comparatively.

Australia – Melbourne

Things have slowed down a bit, but I’m having a great time in Melbourne so far. I got into Melbourne on Thursday and stayed in St. Kilda, which is a huge backpacker area near the beach. The hostel was great, very modern, great restaurant and bar – plus free drinks for ladies that night. Then, my friend Dan, who I met in Thailand, picked me up on Friday and I’ve been staying with him.
Friday, we went out to the Crown Casino here. It’s right alongside the river and there are tons of shops, restaurants, pubs, etc. We had dinner, gambled a little (I put in 3 dollars and won 20 and Dan put in 4 and won 20), and had some drinks. After dark, every hour, there are these tall columns that shoot out these enormous flames in various patterns (much like a fountain, only with fire). We stayed and watched those. Very cool stuff.
Saturday, we went around some mountainous area and went to a viewpoint, played miniature golf (where I got my butt kicked and Dan won a free game). Then we went to a barbie (bar-b-q) at one of his mate’s house. It was really fun just hanging out having a bar-b-que. Reminded me of home.
Yesterday, we took one long ass drive, but it was well worth it. We drove west to the Great Ocean Road and saw the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, and Triplet Falls. It was so scenic and just the best possible weather you could have asked for. I have quite a few amazing pictures.
I’m hoping to meet up with another girl , Ellie, that I met in Thailand. It’s so nice to see familiar faces and have people to show you around the city, not to mention a great way to save some money.

Australia – Surfers Paradise

I’ve moved on from Byron Bay and have settled in the glitzy, flashy, universal-city-walk-like Surfers Paradise. Although I’ve never been to Miami, I would imagine it’s similar. The long beautiful beach is lined with skyscrapers, hotels, etc. And the main part of town is filled with neon lights, bars, restaurants, shops, etc. Not quite as laid back as Byron Bay, but it’s kind of one of those places you have to see. I imagine this place is “blowin’ up” at night, as the Hard Rock guitar looks as though it caught on fire with pieces of the Hard Rock logo hanging from the guitar (you’d think they’d get something like that fixed).
There are even more schoolies here than in Byron Bay. Although, I don’t think these schoolies are quite as rich or snobby. But that’s yet to be determined.I’ll find out tonight.
It’s really funny. I love Australia, but so far it seems as though the Australians either love you or hate you. I’ve gotten some pretty interesting comments said to me as an American. Some people have been extremely rude. Others great. The other night I was standing in line waiting to get into a bar and this girl and a bunch of her friends behind me heard me talking. They were so excited to hear an American accent they all came at me saying, “An American accent. Say something. Say something.” It was really funny. I had no clue what to say. I guess it’s similar to how much I love hearing the Aussie accent though.
Heading off to Brisbane tomorrow….then to Melbourne on Thursday morning (Wednesday in the States). Right now I’m suffering from some seriously swollen tonsils. Got some throat drops and some anti-anflamitory stuff, but it’s making me a little miserable. Trying to take care of myself, but it’s hard when you’re on a budget. Hopefully I’ll live though.

Australia – Byron Bay

I’m in Byron Bay, which is a few hours south of Brisbane on the East Coast and I’m so glad I hurried to get here – it is a great little beach town. I drove up here with some cool folks I met at Coffs Harbour. When we got here, we were soooo glad we came. The water and beaches are beautiful. The town is awesome. And it’s full of backpackers and “schoolies” (apparently all the Aussie “high schoolers” have just finished school for the summer so they head to the beach to party). Not sure how that will be, but I’m sure it will be cool nonetheless.
I will probably stay here for a while. It’s great.