Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Back to the real world...

So we've arrived in Sydney which marks the end to the latest bout of travelling. After 5 months living out of a backpack we're both fairly happy to get here.

Ciaran started work on Thursday, which was a bit of a struggle for him to switch the brain back on after months where the only decision to be made was which beach to go to! The first couple of days have gone well though, he reckons the work will be tough enough but the people are nice & not too nerdy so that's the main thing!

I've spent the past week househunting which is a serious business in Sydney at this time of the year as everyone else we meet is househunting too so competition for a decent place is fierce!
We've found somewhere we love & have put a deposit down so fingers crossed our application will be approved, in which case we'll be moving in on Thursday.

Apart from that we've met tonnes of people already and had a few really great nights out so it looks like it's going to be a fun summer!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains were our final stop before Sydney. They're only about an hours drive from the centre of the city but felt like a million miles when you're surrounded by the sound of cockatoos, lizards, all the other creatures and miles and miles of trees and bush...

The first night we stayed at Katoomba and took a walk down to Katoomba falls and the Three Sisters (3 rocks) then spent a lovely evening at the campsite with Ciaran playing guitar while I read. The next day we visited Echo Point, with it's stunning views over the mountains, Evans lookout, Govets leap & Bridal falls. Everything we saw was really beautiful and the weather was amazing. The last place we stopped at we could see kangaroo's munching on grass, very cute!

The Blue Mountains themselves were fantastic. They're not as big as anything we saw in New Zealand but once you drive up them and get to the lookouts, there are these huge drops that look like the Grand Canyon. Such a beautiful place. I think we'll definitely be coming up here for weekends while we're living in Sydney.

The weather while we were there and especially on our last day was just unbelievable. The day we were driving back to Sydney was 38 degrees and the and the air-conditioning in the van stopped working, we were melting by the time we got to the hostel.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Coffs, Port Macquarie & Toronto

We spent the next few days travelling south (this country is Huge!), stopping at Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie & Newcastle. The towns were cute little sea-side places but not very exciting for us so we weren't really interested in staying long at them.

We did manage to get completely lost, in the dark and ended up in a random town called Toronto. It was quite exciting to drive around in the pitch black hoping that a kangaroo didn't jump in front of the van! although all Ciaran was concerned about was how hungry he was!

Ciaran starts work on the 19th October so we better get our skates on...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Byron Bay & Nimbin

Byron Bay was our next stop. It's a really cool little town, the complete opposite to Surfers Paradise. It's beside a great beach and there's lots of people there, it's full of hippy types and alternative shops.

We stayed here for 4 nights because it was so relaxing. Met lots of fun people including a group of crazy Aussie guys who we're staying at our campsite and ended up at a bonfire on the beach with them and a heap of other people we'd never seen before. Also met up with the Martina, Mariella & a few others from the Whitsundays.

We went to the lighthouse to watch the sunset but we're too late & it was nearly dark by the time we got there but still really nice! We also spent some time at Watego's surf beach which was so much fun on our body boards.

We spent a day at Nimbin which is a crazy little town a couple of hours away from Byron. Very 'alternative'! Loads of people there still think it's the 70's!, very funny to see the way they dressed with old men still sporting dreadlocks and flares... here's a photo from inside Nimbin Museum might give you an idea of what the town was like if this is there museum!

Didn't want to leave Byron but time is ticking on & we need to get to Sydney...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Surfers Paradise

We arrived in Surfers around mid-day and we're shocked to see how commercial it was. Full of high-rise buildings, neon lights and so crowded! The beach was beautiful though and the surf huge but it was a really windy day so we decided not to go for a dip.

Spent the afternoon exploring the town (shops, shops & more shops!) then drove onto the town of Coolangatta for the night 'cause there was nowhere to stay in Surfers. Driving past a beach on the way to Coolangatta we spotted about 4 whales swimming south. We jumped out of the van and ran over to the edge of the water to watch them go by. This was so great that we decided we'd like to do a proper 'whale watching' trip. It's whale migration season at the moment and we've seen tonnes of whales breaching and tail slapping at loads of different points along the coast so it will be great to see them up close.

The next morning we headed back to Surfers and booked a tour with Whales in Paradise. We spotted about 12 whales in total which was really brilliant. Unfortunately they didn't come very close to the boat though but it was still fantastic to see them. They we're absoloutely huge, the guide told us that they normally grow up to about 17 metres - wouldn't fancy falling overboard when they're swimming by!

Monday, October 02, 2006


It was time to leave Noosa and we were all lucky enough to escape hangovers so we piled the dutchies into the van and hit the road.

Our first stop for the day was Coolum Beach. We headed straight to the sea with our boogie boards again and all had some fun. It was the dutchies first time on them so it was funny for us to watch them falling off!

We then drove on a little more and had a picnic lunch in Maroochydore beside a river with pelicans swimming by. Its crazy how accustomed we have gotten to all these birds and animals we would never see at home. Seeing lorikeets, cockatoos, parrots, fruitbats and dolphins is almost becoming a daily occurrance!

After lunch we headed on to another surf beach at Mooloolaba for the rest of the afternoon. We got to Brisbane just as the sun was setting , dropped the dutchies off at their hostel and headed to our campsite - where we bumped into Chris & Karen, Sarah & Owen and Ellen & Graeme again! We just had an early night then because tomorrow there's the Rugby League Grand Final and that could be another big day!

Spent the next day sight seeing around Brisbane. It's a really nice city with a relaxed atmosphere, lots of cafe's etc. Then it was off to meet up with the gang to watch the NRL final, Brisbane Bronco's v Melbourne in Tin Billy's. Turned into a great night with major hangovers the next day! Had a lazy day and then went for a fab Mexican meal with Graham & Ellen.