Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Brekkie & Sunnies

The Australian slang never ends! ;)
Brekkie - breakfast
(I've found the Aussies enjoy shortening most words...you'll see more as the posts continue)
Sunnies - sunglasses

You definitely need your sunnies by the time you're up for brekkie! The sun is unrelenting in Oz. :)

And the weekly segments continue...although that last weekly post was LONG. Maybe I'm just really long winded?!? I won't be offended if you choose not to read all of this rubbish (the only word you'll hear for garbage/trash in Oz).

Sunday, Nov. 29th
-remember from previous post: I'm currently in Sydney!
-I actually got a notice via phone about the flight change this time, so I had time to change my plans since my flight left 2 hours later than originally scheduled.
-I took the shuttle to the airport; CRAZY Indian driver had to deal with roads being closed that morning and some really rude Americans yelling at him because they were going to be late for their flight. (Um, hello!? Maybe you should have planned more time to get there! The guy picked me up 20 minutes early!)
-I made it to Auckland without any problems and got checked into my hotel. It's swanky in the lobby, but it's a little lacking. I'll survive. :p
-Auckland is really hilly (aka STEEP). I walked to get dinner on Queen Street which is the city business district (CBD is common term here in every city).
-Stopped in Albert Park on my way back to the hotel to sit and eat my dinner. It was fantastic! The weather is a little cooler here at about 70F; that's a big change from the 110F weather in Australia.

the spot in Albert Park where I ate dinner

-Spent the rest of my evening watching TV and checking email. There is no washer & dryer in my room as promised by the front desk people when I confirmed the hotel reservation, so tomorrow morning I have to pack everything up and leave my bags with front desk...when I get back from the tour I can move into the new room. Hopefully this one has air conditioning as well...pedestal fans just don't cut it! ha

Monday, Nov. 30th
-Stored my luggage at front desk for the room switch (and yes, this one did have A/C!).
-Auckland City Tour
  • Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium
  • Devonport (small city you have to take a ferry to across the harbour)
  • Mt. Eden (dormant volcanic cone)
  • Parnell Village
-The tour was actually quite short today, which was okay because I am starting to tire of the on/off bus routine! ha Plus, it is gray and drizzly today.

Emperor Penguins being fed at Kelly Tarlton's

the Ferry Building in Auckland to go to Devonport

view from the top of Mt. Eden

-Walked back to the CBD and found a small grocery store. I am getting tired of the expensive food prices, so I bought some bread, lunch meat, chips, and yogurt for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow.
-It's a good night to do laundry so I have clean clothes for the rest of the trip...only problem is...this is a washer/dryer combo unit! And it left a stain on some of my clothes (luckily, I got the stains out later).

Tuesday, Dec. 1st
-Holy cow! How did we get to December already?? It really seems strange since I missed out on Thanksgiving as well.
-Waitekere Ranges Tour
  • seem to have made a Canadian friend today...haha...I'm his daughter's age so I must seem familiar to him (he's an interesting fella! ha)
  • Waitekere is the Maori (those are the aboriginals of NZ) word for "cascading water"
  • stopped at the Arataki Visitor Center
  • got my first ever view of a black sand beach and walked along it, or as we were told, iron sand (it's metallic in nature due to it's ash component)
  • walked in the "bush" (forest) of Pahi
  • had our afternoon tea...common in Oz & NZ...tea/juice and biscuits (cookies)
  • walked down to a waterfall just a short distance from the road
  • beautiful, lush country!!

a waterfall in the Ranges

black sand beach

the Christmas Tree...red bottle-brush in NZ, it's orange in Oz

-Feeling worn out from the trek today, so spending evening in hotel. Ordered room service. Early to bed tonight since the shuttle will be picking me up at 3:30am to go to the airport! Yikes!

Wednesday, Dec. 2nd
-Another on-time flight without any problems! Yay! :)
-Made it to Melbourne and had no problem using the SkyBus system to transfer to my hotel.
-The hotel actually had my room ready (they thought I'd have to store my luggage until later) when I got in well before the check-in time, so I got settled in right away.
-I'm staying in the best little area of Melbourne, at least I think so. Southgate is such a convenient place! There are restaurants and lots of pedestrian places (bridges, walkways, etc) to get you where you want to go. It sits on the Yarra River and there is stuff to do nearby!
-I walked down to the Southgate Food Court for lunch at an open-air McD's. Very strange. Not totally crazy about all the birds that just fly around and try to beg food from people, but it was convenient and cheap!
-I still had a little time before my afternoon tour, so I walked around the plaza taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful day.
-Melbourne City Afternoon Tour
  • short city tour (not nearly as informative as I'd have liked)
  • Dandenong Mountain Ranges
view across the Yarra River from Southgate

the Dandenongs

-It was still fairly early when I made it back to the hotel, so I decided to walk across the Southgate area to the Crown Casino. I donated my $15 to the slot machines (haha) and took a leisurely stroll through their complex. It's quite a massive place and really expensively done! It's a must-see if you go to Melbourne.
-Tonight is another upload pictures night! It takes so long to do this, but it's easier to do it as I go along (while I remember everything) than waiting until I get home.

Thursday, Dec. 3rd
-Another meal at McD's for lunch! I know I'm overdoing it...but I can't get enough! The big differences between home and here is that they put BBQ on every sandwich (of which I'm a huge fan) AND their bacon is really like a slice of ham. Wonderful! :p
-It was nice chatting with mom on messenger this morning since I had some free time.
-Phillip Island Tour
  • Warook Cattle Company - got to pet kangaroos and see lots of regular livestock
  • Koala Sanctuary
  • dinner at a restaurant called Hotel in Cowes - wonderful fish 'n chips!
  • Sunset Beach for Penguin Parade
  • I did the Private Penguin Parade Experience and had a tour guide lead us through the evening's events. There were only 7 of us. We each got headphones so the guide could talk only to our group, plus binoculars and chair mats. While everyone else had to sit on the bleachers, we sat down on the beach in the sand. Phillip Island is home to the Little Penguins. Each night the penguins make their way out of the ocean (from finding food for a day or two) and onto the beach. They then make the sometimes long trek back to their burroughs. They go back to the same burrough each time. If you ever make it to Australia...this is a MUST!! Karissa told me about this and I'm so glad I experienced it! I saw penguins feeding their chicks after making it back to the rookeries (the burroughs). Amazing. Amazing. Amazing! The only downside to this experience is that you are NOT allowed to take pictures. :(
kangaroo at Warook

koala having a scratch at the sanctuary

view from The Nobbies near Sunset Beach

Friday, Dec. 4th
-Early flight to Perth this morning! It was not full, so plenty of room to stretch out and relax.
-Karissa and Gabriella picked me up and we made our way back to Bunbury. Poor Miss G does not sleep in the car seat, so it is usually a long drive to and from since it was during her naptime! I'm so thankful they love me enough to make the drive instead of taking the train (which only leaves at certain times and it would have been late getting in to Bunbury).
-Had my first meal from Chicken Treat today (one of the many chicken based fast food chains), but it was really good!
-We enjoyed a relaxing evening at home. :)

Saturday, Dec. 5th
-Happy 1st Birthday Gabriella!!
-We got ready for the day and hung out at the house. Gab is so much fun. She's really gonna be on the move soon...she's trying to walk and does quite well with help, but hasn't made the jaunt on her own yet.
-Miss G had her swim lessons again. Such a joy to watch!
-BLT's for lunch at the house. YUM! Aussies really enjoy fresh bread, so they go to the bakery fairly often, buy a loaf and have it sliced there. (I am already missing this aspect of Oz!)
-K and I went shopping in the afternoon. My first experiences with Big W (much like Wal-Mart) and Woolworth's (aka Wooly's which is like Kroger). We also went to the local Farmer's Market for some fresh veggies. And let me tell you, it is a much different experience than in the states! The Farmer's Market is it's own store that purchases local produce to sell to the public. So you aren't dealing with the farmers themselves at a road-side stand. It is very nice.
-We "hired" (aka rented) movies from Civic Video. We only managed to watch 1 of the 3 tonight...Bruno. This movie is soooooooo wrong. Funny, but wrong. Pete thoroughly enjoyed it while K & I just shook our heads in disbelief. ha
-Tonight we had takeaway (aka carry-out) for dinner. You just can't get fish 'n chips at home like you can here! P warned me that I might never be able to tolerate the seafood in the states again...and he may be right! :p
-I'm a little more exhausted now that I've come back to the western side of Australia. Jumping ahead all those hours didn't bother me, but adding them back to my schedule seems to be messing with me. Good thing P & K are early to bed...9:30pm sounds good! ha

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  1. I signed up for two tours, West MacDonnell and Uluru. West Mac brought us to stunning ochre pits, gorges, gaps, chasms and waterholes sunnies

  2. I still had a little time before my afternoon tour, so I walked around the plaza taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful day.coque iphone 4



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