Australia!!!!!!!!!!

Trip Start Feb 03, 2009
1
8
9
Trip End Aug 05, 2009


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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Thursday, June 11, 2009

... edge of seat stuff eh? what have they been up to?
 
well here it is people, the June edition of the Mike & Donna ROUND THE WORLD TOUR!!!
 
since we last posted, a LOT has happened, we have been here there and everywhere,
 
so without further delay let's see what happened to our heroes next:
 
after the Formula 1 day out in Sepang, Malaysia we bummed around in Kuala Lumpur then went down to Melaka to explore colonial architecture and old ruins.
 
then we headed over to Pulau Tioman for a taste of paradise in the South China Sea, but there were big monitor lizards, and not much beach, so we remedied this with a trip up to Pulau Perenthian Kecil, where we spent the best part of a week swimming with giant sea turtles, reef sharks (it tickles when they nibble your leg - kidding, just kidding mum) and hung out with some friends we met on Tioman. the water was crystal clear and you could see the seabed way before getting to shore. amazing.
 
after this island we wanted to lay low and not spend too much money so we headed to Pulau Kapas, an island that hardly anyone goes to. it turned out to be a hidden gem , think long deserted beaches, no-one else around, chilling with books and snorkelling out on your own with puffer-fish, reef sharks and plenty of stuff! we stayed with a Malaysian 'family' which consisted of the 'Captain'  a top bloke and his pirate henchman and they were all top blokes who made amazing food and we ate together each night. made some friends there and had to drag ourselves away, but not before having a day with the captain on the mainland where he took us to the most amazing little indian place where you eat everything off a massive banana leaf. eat as much as you can. ummmmmm.......
 
anyways, we bussed it all the way down the east coast of the Malaysian peninsula to Johor Bharu, and then on to Singapore!!!

interesting fact:
 
when you arrive in Singapore transit bus terminal coming from Malaysia you will see posters everywhere about 'suspicious characters' in subways etc and which number to dial in the event that you see them.
 
however.
 
i would like to point out a fundmental flaw in the marketing of this message.
 
the picture of the 'suspicious' character is that of a fox.
 
a fox. in a bowler hat.
 
either Basil Brush has been very, VERY naughty in Singapore and has made the most wanted list... OR the guy that put the advert together was on crack.
 
you decide people, it's a tough one.
 
if you like eating, shopping, cinemas, and all things asian then Singapore is world class and often taken for granted nowadays by people travelling, as they don't appreciate how clean and diverse the city is.
 
you can get the best of indian, chinese, malay cuisine here, the best satay in the world can be grabbed off the hot coals in the street, it's makes your mouth water just writing about it. (there is drool over my keyboard)

the zoo in Singapore was cool, very big. Mike ate jellyfish amongst other things.
 
we went to Raffles and tried the Singapore Sling (the yummiest cocktail ever) - the world famous cocktail that was born here obviously, but in the hotel of British colonial entrepreneur Sir Stemford Raffles. it was a very classy treat for two sweaty backpackers we can tell you!
 
as we left the city, the rain soaked us to the bone, and we got some duty free chocs and got onboard our plane for .... AUSTRALIA!!!!
 
touched down in Brisbane, and then we caught our connecting flight the next day to legendary Sydney.
 
yes it was cool, we tried pie from the famous pie stall along the port-side, as well as hit Sydney Fish Market to eat Octopus and fresh calamari. barramundi heaven.
 
we went to Manly and had a lovely meal as the sun went down, fresh fish accompanied by a bottle of chilled white wine (just realised how amazing that sounds and crying a river on the inside as i realise i have beans out the can for dinner tonight)
 
we went to the opera house of course! donna sang and melted the hearts (and ears) of all passing asian tourists and we made a few bob in the process.
 
went to bondi, it was kinda like bognor at night, so just go down there and squint after reading this and you'll get the idea guys.
 
manly was way lovelier. and then we picked up our van!!!

we got ourselves some groceries and then headed out in our little campervan to the Blue Mountains which were awesome.
 
lots of aboriginal history surrounding the rock formations; as a people they are inherently connected to the land and we were fascinated by the stories about how the landscapes were shaped by mighty animals, serpents, etc. saw a chap playing the didgereedoo to boot.
 
from here we drove in the rough direction of Newcastle, hometown of Aussie-rockers 'Silverchair.'
 
we caught some pics of guys surfing Nobby's Point (oo-err) and chilled here for the day, nice beach.
 
from here we kinda trailed up the east coast of Australia, passing through Port McQuarie, Coffs Harbour and countless other places where there are so many nice beaches it's beyond a joke! the pics of us on what look like Mars or the Sahara are an amazing shifting set of sand dunes at Stockton Bight - no other tourists as you can only get there by van. IT WAS WKD. we watched the sun go down at which point we froze!
 
we took a couple of days out to explore the Hunter Valley Wine Region - not bad at all, you drive around and get rushed with free booze all day, as well as cheese and choc. hard bloody work i can tell you. for future ref if you go here get a taxi to wheel you around. you'd LOVE it.
 
after the heavens opened for like 3 days non stop we finally came out the rain to head to Brisbane!! we stayed with Mike's mate Linda, fairly central to the city and explored here for a few days. really really cool city, upcoming music scene, a beach in the centre albeit man-made, great food if you can afford it, and it's close to the Gold Coast! yeah we hit Surfers Paradise, but the place would kick even more arse in summer!!!
 
we got our haircuts done and we looked human again which was nice, then we went to the park with Lin and her aussie fella Chris to play with possums. they are really friendly creatures.
 
i know i have forgotten to write about a whole tonne of other stuff as i write, but we'll catch up soon enough to tell more!!
 
anyways, on to the Glass House Mountains and then the one and only Australia Zoo!!!!!!

Australia Zoo is amazing. it's doen't cram every animal under the sun in there so you start yawning after an hour, it's really fun and interactive plus most of the animals are from Australia. they have got in asian elephants now and some tigers and it's great. they do some cool shows here and when you go see the kangaroos you can sit and chill with them before the hop off and leave you.
 
we got to hold koalas too!! they areally docile and soft and cuddly and so so adorable you wanna steal them but you shouldn't (have)

and we fed elephants!
 
the next stretch after the zoo was about surfing!!
 
we had lessons down in Noosa and picked it up pretty quickly (the board not the skills - donz sucked, bless)
 
we then went up to Rainbow Beach and then Agnes Water for more surfing. truly addictive, so Cornwall is on the cards when we get home some time! (for Mike only - Donz really did suck)
 
after that we headed up north passing Hervey Bay and Fraser Island as the weather were sketch and the purse strings were tight.
 
we drove for thousands of kilometres it seemed, through Bundy, Rockhampton, Mackay and up to Airlie Beach, stopping at whatever national park was around - which reminds me - we went inland to Eungella National Park and trekked through tropical rainforest for the day (as the sun went down), stopping to watch Platypuses swimming in the river. by the time we got back to the van just in time as the sun was going down, something horrible had happened......
 
i could feel my feet were not itching, but felt like it had syringes pricking all over them. i took off my shoes. and like the fully grown warrior man that i am - i wanted to cry.
 
our feet were covered in bloodsucking leeches that (ohmygodtheyarealloverme) we had to burn off with Mike's last cigarettes (god bless Singapore Changi Airport duty-free bulk buys). not only did we have run around freaking with our feet bleeding, we had to do it naked as the bastards had infiltrated our clothes! so alas, sitting naked and bloody in the front seat, accidentally burning our feet with cigarettes as the leaches resisted, we ended that day on a bit of a downer! but hey it's all experience and it's kind of a rite of passage moment - you haven't really done the tropical rainforest unless you have been half eaten by it in the process. that's what we tell ourselves anyway!

ANYWAY..... we are now residing up in Cairns, heading up to Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation to do a dive trip to the Great Barrier Reef! As we are now qualified divers how can we pass up on this! Lots of tins of beans and noodles for us for the next week!

.... hope you enjoyed our latest blog, lots of love everyone xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

oh and photos only go up to Brisbane as we are waiting to get the rest backed up onto CD, so more next time!
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