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Whirlwind tour of the east coast.

sunny
View Study Abroad 2010 on bhuber's travel map.

This may turn out to be the longest entry yet, as it should be since I haven't posted in ages. My apologies!

Day 1: Dept Melbourne for Gold Coast/Surfers Paradise arrive Wednesday morning, March 31st
After having terrible luck with the Gold Coast's terrible public bus transportation system, and backtracking a bit we got off at a stop that seemed closest to the street our hostel was on. With luck, Chelsea and I managed to find our hostel. It was my first experience with a hostel, which turned out to be a great one. It's also where I caught the first symptoms of the travel bug. Our room had two French girls who were staying and working at the hostel. I'm not too sure how long they were there. There was also a girl from the UK who was a couple years older than us looking for a job in a salon so she could make money to travel for the next eight months. We explored all that Surfers Paradise had to offer - beaches, shopping, nightlife.

Day 2: Gold Coast/Surfers Paradise Thursday April 1st
Relaxing recovery day at the beach, until it rained! I also must share with you what our meals consisted of as backpackers don't tend to feast like kings. I bought just add water soup...3 for $3! Bargain shopper. Brekkie consisted of an apple and granola bar (being healthy of course!).

Day 3: Early morning departure to Byron Bay (south) Friday April 2nd
My favorite destination by far! This little beach town was absolutely wonderful. Words could not possibly do it justice, but I shall try my best. The hippie vibes emanated from the streets or rather the hippie campers (you know, VW vans?) and dreadlocks. Cute little shops line the streets that are full of locals and travelers alike. The blues festival brought huge crowds to Byron for Easter Weekend. It was a gorgeous day! We found out the hard way that Good Friday is massive in Australia. As in the place shuts down at ten. I kid you not, nothing was open! Luckily there were fabulous buskers (street performers) playing across from our hostel. Chelsea and I enjoyed their covers of hits both new and old. Then, bedtime, or as I remember it - the night we discovered we had an elephant in the room. Literally. Well, not so literally, but we did have a girl that snored louder than my iPod would play!

Day 4: BLUESFEST!!! Saturday April 3rd
Best DAY EVER!!! Wow. We had so much fun. We got there a little after noon to make sure that we got our money's worth. The musicians were absolutely amazing! Before we went I had done some research to figure out which acts we wanted to see most - when and where they were playing. The festival had 6 stages with each stage having about five performances a day! We saw so many, it was great! Some of my favorites: Galactic, Carney, Newton Faulkner, Buena Vista Social Club, and Jack Johnson. They were all great entertainers. Galactic was fantastic live! It was a very long, but fantastic day. AND apparently it always rains and we caught the most gorgeous day! Lucky streak!

Day 5: Happy Easter! Sunday April 4th
I slept in a bit and then woke up and made breakfast. Crumpets and nutella! Delicious. Chelsea surprised me with a chocolate egg for Easter! Then we walked to the market that only comes the first sunday of every month. There was heaps of cool stuff! More hippie gear, food, clothes, and all sorts of other miscellaneous items. I'll mention that there was Mexican hammocks in one tent and Native American moccasins in another. Hmmm...authentic? During this endeavor we experienced what would turn out to be the weather trend for the rest of the day: clouds and rain sprinkles followed by beaming sunshine and a drastic climb in the temperature. Sadly our afternoon sea kayaking tour was canceled because of the weather conditions. It was far too windy and we wouldn't have seen any wildlife. Yes, wildlife. I was supposed to snorkel with sea turtles and kayak with dolphins!!! Regardless, it was still a good day. We went out for a very traditional Easter dinner at a sushi restaurant with a sushi train...so cool (and yummy)!

Day 6: Monday April 5th
Woke up at 5:40 am for the sunrise which was well worth it...
Lighthouse sunrise

Lighthouse sunrise


We walked to this lighthouse which turned out to be a bit further away than previously anticipated. It was quite a hike, but a wonderful start to the day. We took the bus the Brisbane where we relaxed for the night as we had an early departure the following day.

Day 7: Tuesday April 6th Fraser Island
7:10 am bus dept from Brisbane to Fraser Island. It takes far too long to get to the island we soon discovered. We'll know for next time that a two day tour is not long enough! We had lunch on Rainbow Beach before taking a ferry to the world's largest sand island. We stopped at Eli Creek and walked downstream in the natural spring. It was beautiful! Then, I had my first dingo spotting! We also saw a shipwreck (the name escapes me), the Pinnacles (pretty rock face and peaks shore side). We drove as far as we could north to Indian Heads where I wish I had a panoramic lens for my gorgeous camera. The view from the top of this cliff was breathtaking! We saw vast sand dunes and the coast that we would unfortunately not be exploring. Oh! I forgot to mention that our bus was 4-wheel drive and we drove on the sand right next to the ocean! We were told to keep out of the ocean because of currents that can take you 15 km out to see. For those keeping score at home, that's about 9 miles. Yikes! Also there are these lovely stingers (jellyfish) in the water. We headed to our resort to get cleaned up for dinner. The title resort is a bit of a misnomer as it was a bit shady, but regardless it was a bed to sleep in! We met at 9:30 with our guide who took us to the beach (just outside the resort). We made sure we went through the gate and not across the car entrance which was equipped with an electric fence to keep out dingoes. Our guide showed us the fluorescent glow of plankton at the waters edge. When you scuffed up the sand with your foot, there would be these little illuminated specs. Jellyfish glow too! The highlight of the night, however, was the most amazing starry sky I have ever seen. Actually, it was THE most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I've never seen so many stars all over the sky, even almost as low as the horizon. I could have stared up into the universe all night, and I would have if it weren't for my simultaneous fear of being alone in the dark and being attacked by dingoes. Everyone had started walking back up, but I was absolutely mesmerized by the night sky. Just entranced. Oh, I'm safe don't worry! Dingoes don't attack usually, but they can be aggressive in large numbers. I wasn't taking my chances.

Day 8: Wednesday April 7th
Early start to a rainforest walk. So fascinating! Hopped back on the bus and went to a gorgeous freshwater, crystal clear lake. I wanted to stay there all day! It was gorgeous! But sadly we were on a schedule and had to head back to the mainland. (Sorry for getting brief, but it's getting late here and I have to return to uni in the morning!)

The remainder of the week wasn't too eventful. We were in Brisbane where we just relaxed before we had to head back to reality. Walked around the city a bit, went to a fake beach, and met up with friends. It was a wonderful holiday! Just crushed a 2000 words paper since I've been back which I'm a little surprised about. French midterm Wednesday too! Just thought I'd reassure you that I am in fact going to school!! :)

xox Brit

Posted by bhuber 06:07 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Milk and cookies shall never be the same

Yes, the title of this entry is regarding food. Are any of you surprised?!?! I just used a TimTam (delicious cookie) as a straw, which until recently was just a myth to me. You bite off both ends and there are holes in the biscuit that the milk goes right through! Then , the cookie gets soggy and delicious. Yum!

Sorry, it just wouldn't be me if I weren't talking about food! So Friday night I went to Bec's home in Bendigo. Her house was this gorgeous old home that has been all redone. It has high ceilings and it's just beautiful. I was feeling a bit homesick on Friday so it was nice to get the loving treatment from her parents. Her mom was excited to do my laundry even though I told her I was perfectly capable. All of her friends came over and then we went to dinner and had a delicious meal. I got her a fish for her birthday since we've been joking about getting one for awhile. She turns 18 on the 2nd of April. Her father is a photographer by hobby, and showed me a few tricks of the trade so I played with my "toy" in their garden and around the house. I'll post some of my favorites later. On a beautiful saturday I plan on going to Southbank with Chelsea and Bec if she wants to just play around with my camera and take fun, artsy photos.

I'm going to a rising comedian's show tonight with a friend from work. It's part of the Melbourne International comedy festival. Chelsea and I are getting very excited about our trip! We leave Wednesday morning which means I won't be posting for awhile, but I will have heaps to share when I return!

Hope that everyone had a nice weekend. Talk to you soon.

xox BRit

Posted by bhuber 00:10 Comments (0)

Sweet as...

82 °F

Nope that's it, just "sweet as". That's all you get! Down here in this upside-down world they like to tack on "as" to just about any adjective. Commonly, "hot as" is used. As in, "Oi mate it's hot as, d' you reckon?" There's your Aussie trivia for the week.

Uni has been going well. I'm really enjoying all of my courses. So weekly update: Eek, sorry I've taken do long. Hmmm...there's not much to write home about. Haha. Get it? I wish I were a billionaire so I could send you all out here on my private jet. It's amazing. Everyday is different than the previous day. Last thursday was Chelsea's birthday so we went out for Thai food. So yummy! In addition to working thursday, I worked sunday which was cool. It was busy and I met the owner, Michael senior. It's such a beautiful little place. I should really get a picture. All the tourists do it! I swear I'm that random person that everyone has in their travel pics. You know the people in the background or the ones who just get in the way of the photo? Yup, that's me, except I think I'm part of the photo. I tried to dodge it today, but I swear this photographer wanted an employee in the picture because he followed me to the other window it seemed. Anyway, last Sunday after work I met my mates at the Thai festival at Federation Square and we watched the final of a kick boxing tournament. DSC01127.jpg
Other than that the week has been pretty uneventful. I actually had to do real homework! I had a French assignment due yesterday. I worked today, we weren't too busy. I work again Sunday as well as Tuesday. We have a surf field trip for sport education in australian society, but I'm working instead on Tuesday because they needed me and I'll have more money for vacation! (and beyond!)

Tomorrow I'm going to Bendigo, which is country Victoria. Apparently my roommate has a gorgeous house, yayy for going to a home-like place :) . Her birthday is the 2nd of april which is over the Easter weekend, so she's having a party tomorrow night instead. It's going to be a lovely affair with a lovely dinner and I'll meet some more of her friends. Yay! Anyyyywhoooooo that's all I have for now. Nothing too awfully exciting. Talk to you soon.

xox,
Brit

Posted by bhuber 01:09 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sydney!

Chelsea and I left Melbourne last Wednesday night (March 10) on a delayed flight to Sydney. We made it and Rob met us at the bus stop in Randwick which is where he lives right next to the University of New South Whales. We had a relaxing evening in.

Thursday, Chelsea and I went to Bondi Junction where there is heaps of shopping and several vendors set up on the street. From there we took another bus to Bondi beach which was surrounded by beautiful houses in the hills. It was a sunny day which was a nice change from all of the rain, but way too windy to be sitting on the beach. We were getting pelted by sand! We headed back to Bondi Junction to walk around a bit more and check out the shops. Oh and apparently it's pronounced "bond - eye". That evening Chelsea met up with some friends at Bondi and Rob and I went to Taste of Sydney, a food and wine festival for high society (it was a bit pricey). However, they were giving away free chocolate so I was content :) We tried all kinds of food, wine, beer, and desserts! My favorite was probably the fish cakes on sprouts and definitely the chocolate souffle. Before we left that night we grabbed handfuls of Ferrero chocolates and put them in my bag.

Friday we all went to Coogee beach which is much closer than Bondi. It was a beautiful day! Then we had a night on the town and met up with some other fellow Rochester students. The city looked beautiful at night and it was my first view of the harbour and opera house. So pretty!

Saturday, Chelsea and I took the bus into the city which I forgot to mention takes close to 45 minutes. I really missed being able to walk to the city from my room at this point. We went along the harbor and looked at the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Opera House - landmarks that I had to see. From there we went to The Rocks which is the oldest part of Sydney I'm told. We walked among the vendors selling an assortment of items. We tried delicious tea, dried fruit, and bush honey that I really need to buy because it was delicious. From there we trekked off to Darling Harbor which reminds me of South Bank in Melbourne a bit with it's cafes and restaurants and shopping lining the water. It was a beautiful spot and one of my favorites. We got lunch there and sat outside for a bit enjoying the weather. Apparently the largest IMAX theatre is there or so I'm told. We went back to the city that night to the casino! AND as if it hadn't rained enough in Melbourne it poured on us! The previous day we tried to say that we got drenched coming home and he didn't believe us! He said it never really rains here, it just mists. Well this was no mist! We ran to escape it which was pointless because we would have been just as wet had we walked, but running was much more fun. We ran over this pedestrian bridge that went across Darling Harbor. By the time we got to the casino we looked like drowned rats. I didn't think they would let us in! But it was all great fun and we made it! Chelsea had never been and I took us right to the slots pretending I knew what I was doing (thanks Ma and Jer haha). We also came out ahead! Woo! Rob called us old ladies. Oh well! We had a blast and only played with $20 which kept us entertained for hours. Chelsea really wants to go to the one in Melbourne which is gorgeous inside. I only know because we ate there during Melbourne Welcome.

Sunday. Chelsea and I got up early and awoke to a gorgeous day which worked out well because we had big plans to go back to the beach! We missed the bus to Coogee, but then found out from a local that it's only a 20 minute walk. I fueled up on some coffee and we headed to the coast for the Eastern Coast Walk - it has a name and that may not be it. It's this walk that goes along the coast to Bondi beach. Very beautiful views! My new toy (i.e. the fabulous camera) took great pics that I will put up shortly but not tonight because I need to get to bed! It took us much longer than expected because we didn't know how far it was. From where we were staying, the journey to Bondi took less than two hours. We also did it barefoot because all the prior walking had taken a toll on our feet, blisters and whatnot. We finally reached Bondi and got to watch a surfing competition! The beach was way too hot so we headed back after about an hour of that. We got groceries to make Rob dinner for accommodating us and had a nice relaxing evening before we had to leave early the next morning.

I'm getting excited as we plan our final things for Easter holiday. We just found out and were made to feel a bit silly that there is a blues festival going on the same time that we'll be in Byron Bay. It's a pretty big deal and when the hostel told us they were booked because of the festival and we sounded shocked they couldn't believe it! Anyway I REALLY want to go to that. Busy week ahead of me! There's so much to do and so little time it seems. I have a running list of all the things I want to do. It's so exciting! I'll put up pictures soon.

Posted by bhuber 05:21 Comments (0)

New Job --> Shopping Spree...and first day of uni

Aahhh I'm so sorry that it has been so long! It's actually been so long that I don't remember what I wrote last. Eek!

First of all, I landed a wonderful job at one of the greatest places in Melbourne - The Victoria Market! I'm not working with the scary people that yell at you as you walk passed how much their bananas are. I am working in a long time family vendor/shop indoors selling chocolates, dried fruit and nuts, and breads of all shapes and sizes. Among our shop are cafes, poultry stands, cheeses, and so on. It is amazing! It's the most fun I've ever had at work (except maybe inventory)! The people I work with are a lot of fun. It's not too time consuming either. I work Thursdays 7-2 and whenever else they happen to need me. In addition to Thursday, I'm working Saturday as well. I get free bread and get to munch on whatever I please - dried mangoes, walnuts, you name it! They also grab everyone a little pick me up midday, so I get to enjoy a wonderful latte. I believe I've already raved about the expresso here!

Today was the first day of classes, woohoo!! Last night I couldn't believe it. You mean I'm not here to enjoy a 5 month vacation?!? No worries because I definitely need to get into a routine again. Not a boring routine, but at least having scheduled events will be nice. My first and only class today was at 9-11 which ends up being 9:05-10:55 with a nice 10 min break 5 minutes to 10. My lecturer was so great! She was fun, engaging, enthusiastic, and more! The bad news - the subject has a different lecturer each class, so I won't get to enjoy hearing her craziness :(. After that I went grocery shopping on Lygon St and went to the bank. I made lunch then went shopping with some friends for clothes because I seem to have only brought purple and black shirts - not conducive to the shining sun (which seems to have been hiding lately, sadly). I went on a little spending spree and got much needed clothes. For dinner, Chelsea and I made spinach artichoke dip on the stove and we tweaked the recipe a bit which ended up being delicious!!

I'm slowly getting organized. I'm still waiting on my fourth subject to be approved. I'm taking French again!!! (hopefully)
We are figuring out where I should be placed, and my faculty has to approve the course which apparently is quite a timely process (though it shouldn't be) and is causing much anxiety on my part. But as the aussies would say, no worries, it'll all work out. Sooo I'm trying not to panic, too much.

Becs and I just made a work out plan. We are doing a cardio/yoga regimen with each of us contributing our talents. She knows much more yoga than I, and I'm going to take her to where I run. I'm excited to begin because it is much needed after my seemingly constant intake of Tim Tams and boost bars. Both are amazing by the way. I've decided that before I leave I'm shipping myself a box of Australian food as a birthday present. Or any volunteers out there could definitely contribute! And I may just share! Ugh I don't even want to think about leaving. I love it here. I am finding a way to come back for graduate school or a job or something!!

I'm joining a couple groups on campus - fotoholics, food interest group (FIG), and chocolate lovers society! Fotoholics is a photography club, so hopefully I'll learn how to use my fancy, schmancy camera! The other two are self explanatory I do believe.

I have a busy month ahead of me. Next Wednesday, Chelsea and I are going to Sydney and we return Monday morning. Free accommodation with my dear friend, Rob. Should be great!! I'm super excited! Then, for Easter break we are doing a whirlwind tour of the east coast, but more of that later!

Tomorrow I don't have class until 5, so who knows what I'll do til then. I'm going to the market in the morning and then I'll run in the afternoon. Also one of the girls' sister is here so I think we are doing lunch together. Haha did I say I don't know what I'll be doing all day? I guess I do!! Oh yeah, I almost forgot, Becs and I are looking at doing this swing dancing class sometime soon. It was sort of on a whim, but I really want lessons and when in Rome...(or Australia). It's going to be so much fun!

xox Brit

Posted by bhuber 02:08 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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