A Travellerspoint blog

Australia Zoo and Noosa

"Crocs Rule!"

sunny 22 °C
View Round the World Trip on Tom and Jo's travel map.

On the way up the coast to Noosa, we stopped off for a day visit to the late Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo. We were like little kids when we entered the zoo, as we were so excited to see all the native animasl of Australia in such a hands-on environment. We went to the wonderfully cheesey Croc Show at the Crocotorium where brave handlers teased the huge crocodile with lumps of meat - CRIKEY! The highlight of the zoo however was the interaction with the animals. We fed elephants, kangaroos and even stroked the dozey koalas - "beeautiful!" But perhaps the most impressive part of the zoo was seeing the frighteningly hands-on handlers in the Tiger Presentation. On guy actively encouraged the tigers to hunt him, pounce on him and even bite his arms - all in a playful manner of course!

Picture_185.jpg

We spent a lovely day in Noosa, which is another sleepy town on the coast with lovely scenery and amazing surf. Here we took yet another long coastal walk that followed the cliffs around Noosa Heads (from Sunshine Beach to Noosa Beach). It was a beautiful day and so we took the walk at a fairly leisurely pace and enjoyed the scenery. Even the dolphins were enjoying the sun, and we saw lots of the playing in the sea below.

Posted by Tom and Jo 02:26 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

The Gold Coast

Byron Bay, Surfer's Paradise and Brisbane

sunny 21 °C
View Round the World Trip on Tom and Jo's travel map.

Our second overnight Greyhound bus took us to sunny Byron Bay. Byron Bay is usually a chilled out, seaside surfing town, but the weekend that we had chosen to visit coincided with a huge music festival. The festival bought with it thousands of Aussies and tourists, so the town was transformed into a hub of excitement. Unfortunately it also meant that finding accommodation was slightly tricky, so we ended up splashing out on a lovely beachside hotel.

Picture_240.jpg

We had such a lovely, relaxing time here, and the weather was just about warm enough for lying in the sun, and some tentative paddling in the sea. Our highlight was taking a coastal walk up to the most easterly point of Australia, where there was a quaint little lighthouse. From here were magnificent views and even some dolphins to spot in the water below.

We then spent two lazy days further up the coast in the aptly named Surfer's Paradise. This surf-obsessed party town was great fun and really lively at night. We spent both days chilling on the beach amd watching the surfers strut their funky stuff on the waves.

Next stop was Brisbane, which although was not quite as impressive a city as Melbourne or Sydney, had it's own unique character. Brissy is set ona river, with a lively cultural centre on it's southbank, where we spent three days exploring the galleries, museums and cinemas.

Along with this standard injection of culture, we visited the city's beautiful Botanic Gardens and the Farmer's Market where we took full advantagge of the free tasters of olives, pâtés, cheese and chocolates. However the highlight of our stay in brisbane was actually escaping the city for the day. We took the bus to the nearby Mt. Coot-tha National Park where we spent the day doing long walks through the bush. We ended up at the Brisbane Botanical Gardens where we wandered through rainforest, fern forest and Japanese Zen Gardens.

3Picture_018.jpg

Posted by Tom and Jo 01:50 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Sydney and beyond

sunny 18 °C
View Round the World Trip on Tom and Jo's travel map.

Stepping out into the sunny Circular Quay of Sydney Harbour and seeing the beautiful Opera House and Harbour Bridge was amazing but surreal. The view is so iconic and familiar, but seeing it with our own eyes was more impressive and fantastic than we were expecting. We immediately fell in love with Sydney, as it is such a vibrant and exciting place to explore. It probably also helped that it was considerably warmer than Melbourne!

The highlights of our jam-packed stay in Sydney included a free walking tour, where we learnt loads about the history of this relatively young city and about the European settlement of Australia. We also had an amazing time on a tour of the Sydney Opera House, and a lovely picnic lunch in the neighbouring Botanic Gardens. We couldn't resist splashing out on a contemporary version of Shakespeare's play Pericles at the Opera House, it was worth every cent!

We spent a couple of days exploring beyond the city centre, first with a day trip to the suburb of Manly. Here we ambitiously took on the 10km manly Scenic Walk. This traced the coastline from manly beach back towards Sydney and involved a lot of clambering up rocky pathways and through areas of bush. The views were great and we got to sneak a peak at the Manly way of life - gorgeous sea view houses, long walks and dog-walking.

Another great day trip was to the Blue Mountains where we had a guide to show us all the best parts. The dramatic valleys are completely filled with Eucalypts, which in late afternoon give off a eerie mist that appears blue when the sun filters through it.

Our final day was spent on the famous Bondi beach sunbathing and admiring the skill of the surfers. All in all we really enjoyed our stay in this cosmopolitan city and the surrounding beaches and areas. We also learnt so much about Australia's 240 year history, and are looking forward to discovering the rest of it's East Coast.

Posted by Tom and Jo 01:33 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Melbourne

First stop in Oz

semi-overcast 13 °C
View Round the World Trip on Tom and Jo's travel map.

Arriving in Melbourne was a bit of a shock to the system. Not only was the weather so much colder than we had got used to, but stepping back into Western civilisation after eight weeks in Asia was pretty strange too. After 30 hours without any sleep, our first day in the land of Oz went by in complete daze. But as we gradually got settled in, we realised what a cool place Melbourne is, and so ended up staying for six days.

The city is famed for its fancy food and shops, which unfortunately we were unable to sample. However after eating out three times a day for six weeks it was actually really nice to be cooking for ourselves in the hostel kitchens. We found lots to do in Melbourne that was within our budget, and some of our best days were spent exploring the town on foot and by the great free tram service. We loved finding little alleyways to wander down with quirky shops and little cafes serving great coffee.

We were lucky enough to have a local guide in our friend Nick (who we met at uni) for some of our time here. We went with him to see an Australian Football (AFL) game at the impressive 100,000 seater MCG stadium; without Nick explaining the rules we would have been a bit lost! He also gave us a handy tour of the city, pointing out the best markets and cultural sights.

Our nightlife options were limited but we had great fun at the Las Vegas-style Crown Casino Complex and Cinema. We also discovered the cheap box wine which the Aussie's call a goon. This discovery resulted in several drunken evenings throughout our stay here.

In general, Melbourne was a very cultural and sophisticated city, which we are sure would be even more beautiful in the Summer months. In the mean time we are looking forward to the weather getting much warmer as we head up the East Coast.

Posted by Tom and Jo 01:22 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Singapore

A Day of Indulgence

semi-overcast 28 °C
View Round the World Trip on Tom and Jo's travel map.

We had 24 hours in which to explore as much of Singapore as possible. So what better way to start our flying visit than to sip on a Singapore Sling at the iconic Raffles Hotel. It was very luxurious and we felt slightly out of place in our backpacker attire. But who cares?!

We ate a delicious curry in Little India, before walking round the famous Mustapha 24 hour shopping centre, a downmarket version of Harrods, where it seemed you could buy just about anything.

We spent the majority of our time in Singapore at the world-famous zoo, which had lots of exotic and unusual animals, all housed in a very open and lush setting. The best environment was the orangutan tree-tops, where the monkeys had loads of space to play and roam around. Even the pouring rain didn't deter them from putting on a show for us; many of them made special monkey umbrellas out of blankets and palm leaves.

We also explored Orchard Road, the shopping mecca of the eastern world. Imagine a huge street lined with about twenty Bluewaters, and you will be pretty close! It was great fun window shopping, although unfortunately most of the shops were more expensive than our tiny budget would allow.

Our time in Singapore was short, but definitely sweet. Bring on Australia!

Posted by Tom and Jo 19:53 Archived in Singapore Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 24) « Page 1 [2] 3 4 5 »