I arrived on to my sixth continent and my 29th new country over all of this past year of travel via an overnight flight from Bali landing in Sydney on the Saturday morning after Thanksgiving, with no hotel reservations and no real plan. Which, I thought was an ok way to enter Australia, but I quickly learned, not so much. – But, let me digress and get back to that story in a minute, first let me start with passing on a good cheers to you all…
…and with a little music video to go along with your reading this post. I pass this on with many thanks to my good friend Reed, who I learned through him that Nickelback was on the road in Australia and was doing a show in Sydney the night as I arrived and again in Melbourne a couple of nights later. It was too late too coordinate seeing them in Sydney, but Reed had a tie with the band through a good friend from high school who was able to line me up with a VIP package to meet the band and see the show from the floor in the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. The below video is from the show and hopefully a good listen while reading this post. The band has tons of great songs that you all know, but this as well as being pretty well-known, gives a good tie to my friend Reed, who is rock star along with his friend Jonas and the band manager Chief – Many thanks to you all!!
Sydney and Manly Beach
Now, back to Sydney and no hotel room on a Saturday night… – In my defense, I had checked on-line a couple of times for hotels, but they were all so expensive, I thought getting in so early (7:00 AM) I would be able to talk to a tourist information place and hopefully they could help… – well, in reality, all they did was laughed at me… they said weekends book out in the City and prices go up accordingly… – They also said they have no idea or
recommendations (at least not under $450US per night) – until a place seemed to open out at Manly Beach, which sounded nice and a fun excursion through the City on the train and on a boat over the bay to Manly… – which worked out perfect. Until I got to Manly that is of course. – I had paid for the room, $120US and had a great ride on the train and the ferry with landmark views of the City and the harbor and out to a cool little area called Manly! – When I arrived at the hotel, it was really a
Backpackers hostel and they had no rooms/beds available which they had apparently told this to the information center that and in turn they had not received my payment…. – oh well – what do you do… – luck would have it through while I was there talking to the women about options, another women came in who was staying there and had just booked for another week, but had found a house to staying and did not need the extra week. She was ready to move
out tomorrow… – Which did not help me tons, but after she heard my story, she checked if she could move in that day instead and was able to and in turn she gave up her room for me!! YAY!! – I have a place to sleep and a day to discover Manly. I got my laundry done, I laid out on the beach and saw all kinds of surfing classes, mainly for little kids, which was cool and I got to eat my first burger and first burrito in way too long. Life was good!!
Coastal Drive to Melbourne
Out of Sydney I rented a car to discover a bit of the back roads and coast lines of Australia. I left Sydney on Monday afternoon in route to Melbourne (for the show and more touring). Although the drive was beautiful and a learning experience, the biggest excitement and biggest bummer of that 1,000 km + drive from S to M was seeing my first kangaroo in the wild, but sadly I did not get a picture of it. A view of the sights and the signs that I did see below:
Amazingly cool city. Of course it started with arriving to go to an amazingly cool concert, but it was cool regardless. I had heard about the alley bars and restaurants and shops and all, which I got to experience first hand, but first having my hotel blop in the middle of one of the alleyways. Cool, fun bars and people and all. – No complaints on Melbourne, other than I wish could have stayed a couple more days! A couple more pictures from the concert and some sights of walking around the City.
The Great Ocean Road
The GOR is beautiful, but truly the best part of the trip was meeting four college folks who were studying in Sydney and who were starting their summer break with a road trip to Melbourne and a drive down the Great Ocean Road. I bumped into them in a small town toward the end of the ocean road as we were all checking into a hotel; them without a car.
They apparently had a rent a car that they had been in an accident earlier in the day and it was out of commission. They were looking for a ride back to Melbourne the next day, which is about four or five hours along the highway, and since I was headed back to catch a flight anyway, I of course offered them a lift. It made the trip. First of all, this crew was so excited that everything was working out, it was such a good feel to start with. Then, we had a chance to drive the end of the GOR and see a couple of sites they had seen like the 12 apostles – which missing is like going to Deadwood and not seeing the No.1o Saloon – unheard of… – We also had tons of time to talk and I learned tons about growing up in China; school, family, politics, … – it was very cool! And a beautiful drive to boot!!
WOW!!! – That is about all I can say about Cairns, Port Douglas and the Great Barrier Reef. – It was recommended by a guy I met on a boat trip in HaLong Bay, Vietnam, who said it was a must see… – and the GBR was a great place to dive. – He was obviously so right. – I did three dives in five days, had tons of great sea food, local beer, I went to mass at the historic St Mary’s on the Sea, saw tons or sunsets and sunrises and overall had a an amazing great time! – Again – WOW is all I can say!!