Friday, 28 February 2014

Leaving Brisbane, a short time in Sydney and back to the airport

22nd October - the day I checked out of Brisbane City YHA! A sad moment, knowing it was time to go back to Sydney for my flights to home :(

I then got a day pass to get access to the hostel after checking out. I paid for a big locker to store my luggage then went out to get food for the day and chilled up on the roof afterwards. It was a quiet day, I wanted to chill on the sun bed up on the roof because I knew I won't get much sleep that night. It was really hot so I put my feet in the cool pool, it was a bliss so I just sat there for a bit. Thought about Australia, life and how lucky I was. I really appreciate every little things!

Soon it was time to head to Brisbane Transit Centre for over night bus (Greyhound) to Sydney. I learnt from my last experience and didn't eat a heavy meal before the bus journey! I had little snacks now and then :) Once again, I didn't really sleep well. I had a lie down on the seats when it got dark, I enjoyed the views along the way to Sydney and watched the sunset. Beauty views!

Arriving in Sydney the next morning, I went straight to a company nearby where I left my luggage for a small fee and bought transport tickets to the airport. I had few hours to kill, I was dying with the heat so I headed a shop to buy Slushie to cool down. I love Market City so I went there to buy few final Australian gifts for my family and myself. Soon it was time to pick my luggage up and head to the airport for more long travels again.

So I had a blast in Australia! Unforgettable trip! Hoping to go back to Australia again! :)

Fitness First, Shopping & South Bank

As I am a member of Fitness First in my home town, and was getting antsy not exercising in my gym so I checked out Fitness First gyms location online and found one in Brisbane City so thought to head the city. I walked around the city checking out the area and found the gym. I went in and told the staff that I was already a member but in my home town. They let me in for free so I was happy and went to the changing room. It was different from my home town, it took me a bit to work out the lockers! :) Also some fitness machines were different so I have wasted a bit time walking around and trying to work out how to use them haha. One personal trainer took pity in me and showed me how to use some of them, how cringing! I soon had a blast working out and was pleased to find a vending machine for protein snacks and shakes!!

I then decided to hit shops afterwards but was horrified when it rained down on me!! It was warm so didn't wear a waterproof coat, ooppss! :) I explored Queen Street Mall but I wasn't impressed with it I soon left it and explored the small shops. So far on my travels, I have found I prefer small independent shops to big shopping malls. I then got unique gifts and headed back to the hostel. I chilled a bit up on the roof eating food and enjoying the views. What a bliss!

The next day, it was sunny and warm. I decided to rent a bike, it was bright green - perfect! I wanted to explore South Bank by bike and decided it was the perfect day for that. As soon as I arrived in South Bank, I fell in love with everything there. I rode my bike on a path for bikers, along Brisbane River and locked it up beside the only man made beach in Brisbane and hit the markets nearby. As usual I got few unique stuff. I love markets, there are always unique clothing, stuff and gifts! Also, it's a great way to support local people :) I then went back to the beach and sunbathed there. It was so lovely! I then rode back to the hostel, got some food and went to bed happy!

I was so tired the next day, and in pain so I decided to stay in the hostel to rest but was up on the roof almost all day chilling and sunbathing. Of course, having food and took a dip in the pool. It was a perfect way to rest my poor feet. Then in late afternoon, it got colder so I went up to TV room and watched TV/movies with other travellers and got back to my room after that. Another perfect day!

I loved exploring via riding a bike so the next day I rented a bike again but this time it was orange my favourite colour! I again went to South Bank to sunbath, chill and ate out. More riding around South Bank, it was a beautiful day exploring and sunbathing. At some point, I stopped and sat beside Brisbane River, having a bit of thinking. I soon got sad when I realised it was my last day in South Bank as I knew I would spend the next few days packing and getting ready to go to Sydney for flights back home. Just perfect area, to sit around to do some thinking or writing! I then took my time riding back to the hostel :)

Arriving in Brisbane, Australia Zoo & Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Wow when I stepped out of Brisbane Transit Centre, the heat hit me!

I was staying at Brisbane City YHA, not far from Brisbane Transit Centre but I felt like it took forever to get there what with the heat and heavy luggage. I learnt from it though!

When I arrived there, I got told my room wasn't ready. I felt and looked crap so I was dying to fresh up and have a wee sleep. I then got told I could get a day pass to get access to TV room and bathrooms etc till my room was ready. I was happy about that! I was so tired and sore so I went to the bathroom to fresh up and stayed in TV room till my room was ready.

By the time I arrived in my room, it was the afternoon already. So I unpacked a bit and went out to explore the local area and shops. Had some food. There were a big supermarket nearby I was so pleased with the location as I wanted to be near the shops and good transport links. I also checked out the rest of Brisbane CIty YHA which has a roof pool, fabulous views! I of course took lovely photos :) I then went to my room and crashed for 9 hours straight!

The next day, 16th October, I went to Australia Zoo - opened by the late crocodile hunter Steve Irwin. It was a long journey to get there, approx an hour by bus from Brisbane Transit Centre. It was a great day! I knew it was a big zoo and was relieved to see a free shuttle bus so I didn't have to walk around the zoo. Knowing that I get tired easily, I picked certain animals to visit so I checked the map to see where the shuttle bus go and made sure I was in the right place to see certain animals. I wanted to see the tigers and did see one. There were staff in tiger homes but the tiger was friendly so I guess the tiger were used to certain staff members. I did something I never thought I would ever do in my whole life! I held a huge snake and that was scary but admittedly it was really cool :) I ended the trip by nipping to the gift shop and bought a few gifts. Another long journey back to Brisbane, got food and slept.

I went to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary the next day but went on a river cruise before that. You can drive to the sanctuary or take a cruise. I picked the cruise option as it would have saved me plenty of energy and time seeing I was on the river cruise for the tour of Brisbane then got to the sanctuary by the same ferry :) The tour staff were so nice, having learnt about my deafness and realising I won't be able to hear them explaining about Brisbane, they gave me papers to read and explained that what they will say about Brisbane will be in the papers so I won't miss out. I thought that was nice of them. I learnt few facts and found the tour cruise so interesting!

When we got closer to the sanctuary I got excited knowing I could cuddle koalas! I loved the whole trip! Bumped into kangaroos, saw funny wombats sleeping and bats upside down! I had a cuddle with one of the koalas, I of course, had some photos taken! It was so cute but it's claws stuck into my arms! Haha. It was an experience! Then again, back to Brisbane city for some food and sleep!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Beach Walk Sydney, Bar Crawl & Market City

12th-14th Oct

Last weekend in Sydney! Hangover free! As usual :)

Met others at Ultimate Oz Office for a guided beach walk which took over 4 hours. It was beautiful but hard work in the heat. Saw lovely views.
Stopped at Bonte Park/Beach for some rest (sunbathing!) and lunch. Yummy!

Others carried on with the walk after late lunch but I wanted to chill at Bronte Park for a bit as I was a bit sore and didn't want to make the pain worse for the bar crawl later on.

Once I got the bus back to Wake up! I had a rest in my room for a bit and had some dinner, then I got dressed up for the bar crawl in Sydney.

It was a great experience being on a party bus in Oz everyone went wild dancing on the bus. It was funny to watch, laughed my head off. Had many free drinks which was great but then I got tipsy as usual.
Eventually we went to Side Bar near Wake up! Had a drink then grabbed food with some friends. I tried my 1st chilli dog, gawd it was so yummy!

The next morning I slept in for a bit and chilled in my bed.

I knew I had to get up so I got up and hit the shops at Market City nearby - I so love that place!! I bought few lovely gifts and stuff :)

That day, it was so hot I wanted to hit the beach but had to wait till it cool down a bit because I knew there weren't much shade at the beach. Eventually I went to Coogee Beach and went there by bus. I knew my way around by now :) I kept splashing water all over my face to cool down. I couldn't go on the beach as it was too hot so I sunbathed on the grass nearby like a lot of people, as there were plenty of trees for shade! I stayed there for few hours and got back to Wake Up in the evening.

I started packing my luggage and got my clothes ready for the next day as I was heading to Brisbane the next evening by Greyhound coach (Overnight)

14th Oct the day I left Sydney for Brisbane! I double checked my luggages and panicked when I realised I lost my hearing aid. I was late for checking out but Wake Up staff were great and told me to take my time. Major panic! I needed my hearing aid and didn't like the idea of losing it in Oz. I always leave it beside me on my bed but eventually found it in my luggage, it must have fallen in from the bed.

Spent all day writing my travel journal, making plans for Brisbane and eating a lot of food. I then went to the station to catch my overnight coach to Brisbane. Very weird experience!! I had dinner beforehand so I felt so ill on the coach journey as it was so rough.

Sure enough I had broken sleep that night but interesting experience?! It wasn't that bad really :)

Sand-boarding, BBQ & Dolphin Cruise

The night before, I was horrified to learn that the breakfast was at 6.30-7.30am because we all went to bed late after leaving the beach at 1am. But I did wake up before my alarm went off so I was okay with having breakfast early.

We left BaseCamp at 8am to explore the sand dunes by 4WD, it was wicked! It was very dry and hot! Then after that, we went sand-boarding. I would love to do it again but it was a hassle getting up the sand as it was very soft so a huge thanks to the leaders Shell & Mark who helped me. I wasn't the only one who felt it was a hassle getting up the sand to do sand-boarding again. But I would do it again!

We went to the beach afterwards and had some photos taken. The view was beautiful!

Then we all went back to BaseCamp to get ready for guided bush walk through Tomaree National Park. I didn't go on the walk as I was so warm and knew I would struggle on the walk as the leaders told me it included uphills etc. So I stayed behind. Mark sorted out wifi for me so I had something to do.

When they left, I went to find Josie to take more photos then uploaded them to Facebook. I love Josie :)

My group soon arrived back at BaseCamp, I was surprised because I killed time so fast.

Then we all had yummy lunch and everyone decided to go to the beach afterwards but I wanted to stay behind and sunbathe at BaseCamp knowing I can head to my room anytime if the heat got too much for me. Sure enough the heat did get a bit much for me so I went back to my room to cool down but I couldn't cool down till hours later, thanks to my rare condition. My room had a fan, I'm thankful for that!

Some girlies soon came in our room to let me know that BBQ dinner was ready so I got ready and joined them. It was gorgeous! Very filling!

All evening, I was walking around to my group and joined in all the fun with games and chats. Some of us had early night, I decided to have early night too, before 12am as I was too tired from the heat and fun! :) I had great sleep but I reacted to the bed clothes so I put my towel on the bed and slept on it.

11th Oct - The day of the Dolphin Cruise, so beautiful! Chilly on the sea! Warm on the land! Took photos of the dolphins and enjoyed the views.
Then when we got back on the land, we went to fish & chip shop I was shocked to see the menu full of fishes unlike back home which include chicken burger & battered sausages etc. SO I only ordered chips, got given a massive portion! We had plenty of time till our coach arrive so we went to shops nearby. A lot of gorgeous colourful stuff, you can see I love colours! :)

Then a long journey back to Sydney once again, I relaxed and enjoyed the views again :)

Got ready and had dinner at Wake Up! Cafe before joining the others downstairs at Side Bar. I got drunk too fast, haha so I had to go up to my room and had some more food before drinking again. By 12am I was drunk and knackered, others wanted to move on to another bar but I didn't want to join them so I drank a lots of water to avoid hangovers and went to bed. Good times :)

Ultimate Oz BaseCamp

The day where we all began our amazing few days at BaseCamp filled with fun actitives, amazing experiences and partying.

We were supposed to meet at Ultimate Oz office in the afternoon so I spent the morning checking out of Wake Up! And walking around checking out the areas. Had summit to eat then I walked back to Wake Up! To meet some friends in my group and hung out till it was time to leave to meet the rest of the group.

We all left our main luggage at the office and walked to central station for our bus to BaseCamp in Port Stephens. The journey took approx 3+ hours but saw some great views along the way. Chatted to the leaders and listened to music whilst some of them slept during the journey.

When we eventually arrived, we all had the option of staying in big tents and cabins. I stayed in one of the cabins with some girls.

Josie the kangaroo live at BaseCamp so I kept my eye on her jumping around, took photos of her :) Stroked her, her fur is so soft!

For dinner, we all had loads of yummy pizza & plenty of booze. I tried my 1st Australian lager (Thanks to Mark) mixed with sprite. I got tipsy quickly as I don't drink booze very often so I didn't drink any more lager. I stuck to sprite and water after that.

In the evening, some of us played hilarious drinking games, later on in the evening we all went to the beach in the dark!! Fun times! :) We stayed there till about 1am. It got chilly for me and everyone tried to keep me warm, ah bless them! It was a great night listening to music, having a laugh and taking plenty of photos. Some of them swam in the cold sea.

There were toilets nearby but it was so dark and there weren't any light in the toilets I had to use my iPhone for the torch. I ended up crapping myself when I suddenly heard a strange noise I soon got out of there very fast! I was so spooked haha and yes I had my hearing aid on!

The start of Ultimate Oz

I decided to go with a tour company to start off my trip in Australia and knew it was one of great way to meet other travellers. I checked around online and found Ultimate Oz. I am glad I've picked them because of them, I knew I want to go back to Australia again and I learnt a lot.

7th Oct - the week of Ultimate Oz!!
We met at Wake up! reception at 11.30am. The leaders Shell & Mark went through their list and called out our names. Mark walked around, I stopped him and let him know that I am deaf so won't be able to hear him calling out my name then I let him know that I am Kelly and here! :) I had my hearing aid with me during my Australia trip but the background noises were too much for me to hear everything clearly so I needed Mark's help. A big help!

Then we all walked to Ultimate Oz office, the leaders went through everything and explained our plans for the week. Mark then told everyone my name, that I am deaf and I could lip read so everyone were aware to face me if they wanted to talk to me. Pretty soon everyone were looking at me, thanks Mark! :) But it was useful so they know to not to talk away from my face as I need to be able to face people to understand them.

Then we all went on city walking tour which took like 5+ hours but included lunch in Darling Harbour.  Mark was great to me, coming up to me explaining things and making sure I could lip-read him. The tour was beautiful but it got painful to walk at the end of the tour. At the end of the tour, I didn't want to walk back so I took a bus back to Wake Up! With Shell one of the leaders, gotta love her. So helpful!

I then went to my room to rest and took painkillers because I knew we all were going to meet again at 7.30pm at the reception for dinner and drinks I wanted to join so I had to rest before that. Dinner and drinks took place at Side Bar downstairs, great location! Yummy dinner and it was great getting to know everyone. We all had one free dink too. Typical of me, I didn't always drink booze :)

The next morning, it was travel & work planning morning, perfect for people who had work holiday visa I didn't have that visa but wanted to join in to learn because one day I want to have a work holiday visa for Australia one day. The morning was so interesting and gave me ideas for the future travels and possible more travels in Oz.

After it was done, we all walked to Darling Harbour (I love that area!) But my group were too far away for me to catch up and traffic lights were too quick I had to stop for the cars going past. I knew they were going to some shop to buy booze and food before the cruise starting at Darling Harbour. I had a map with me and arrived in Darling Harbour before everyone. Once they arrived, we all got on the boat for Sydney Harbour Cruise. Sometime it was chilly on the sea but other times it was warm. There were booze, photos, BBQ and music. Great times!!

When it was time to go back to Darling Harbour, some of us took a long route back to Wake Up! It was a great way to check out shops on the way and check out what is available.

Early night for me and also I packed again for BaseCamp sorting out my small backpack and big luggage as we had to leave our big luggage behind at Ultimate Oz office and bring our small backpack to BaseCamp.

1st Sunday in Sydney

Time zones are so confusing! Harsh on my body! But it's worth it when you are out exploring new countries! Experience new things! Overcome your fears!

On the 1st Sunday, 6th Oct, I learnt that an hour went forward I had to adjust a bit again to the time zone. I kept getting confused, fun times! Haha

There was a party in my dorm room last night and the party didn't end till 5am so I slept in a bit and got up later than usual. I decided to go to Coogee Beach again and it was too hot I felt like I was dying of the heat but I eventually cooled down. It was a perfect way to chill and relax as I knew the week ahead was going to be busy full of fun times.

When I got back to Eddy Avenue from the beach, I decided to check out the shops near the station on the way to the hostel. I soon fell in love with shops especially one shop that sells plenty of colourful and funky clothes! I wanted to get clothes there but decided to wait a bit knowing I can go back there near my home time and see how much I had left in my budget :)

I went out for dinner and went in a Chinese restaurant - yes I am happy to eat out on my own I am independent lady!! Chinese food is so different there from home, I was expecting to see sweet & sour chicken in batter and blah haha but it was so fresh and no batter included. A lot of vegetables but yummy!

After my dinner, I went back to Wake up! Some people know I love fitness so I bought resident bands to work out when in Australia. I was getting ready and saw some guys in my dorm room getting ready to work out. I was amused, I get amused easily, and watched them working out. I was impressed because they were determined to work out - you don't always need a gym to be able to work out - I loved it! So I gave one of them some tips and the look on their faces were class so they thanked me. I carried on watching them to make sure their form were correct haha, they didn't mind anyway.

Then they left to go out, I decided it was perfect time to work out on my own as everyone else were out too. That weekend I was in a dorm room of ten. Brilliant way to meet other travellers! :)

What a lovely weekend chilling on the beach and exploring local areas getting to know how to use buses etc before starting my hectic week! :)