A Travellerspoint blog

Hervey Bay

Queensland

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We picked up my brother from the airport and passed through Brisbane on the way up to Hervey Bay. It is Australia’s third largest city, and is also known for the high-rises and casinos. As we only passed through, we didn’t get to see too much and what we did seemed similar to what we’ve done already.

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Hervey Bay itself is either a very popular place for spotting migrating whales or a launching pad to get to Fraser Island. Although we used it for the latter, it still has some pretty spectacular beaches, which the local retirees came to see a long time ago and ended up staying for.

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Me getting 'roped into' work at the marina
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But to be honest we didn’t spend too much time on the beach during the one day we were here due to the fact we decided to stay in an apartment on the beach and make use of the tennis courts etc. that they had to offer. Well that was the plan but we spent most of the day on the balcony/garden enjoying the sun (and a few drinks). We booked our trip to Fraser for the following day.

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Posted by JimmyHill 02:16 Comments (0)

Surfers Paradise

Queensland

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Surfers stands at the centre of the Gold Coast and earns its name as a giant, tacky, tourist development area consisting of endless shopping malls, theme parks, high rise hotels and miles and miles of bars, having said that, Surfers has some excellent beaches and a few quieter areas.

And due to one reason or another, we managed to stay is one of these quieter areas outside Surfers for the first night, called Nerang. Bit of a hicksville, it gave my parents a look at the ‘real’ Australia, but by the end we were all looking forward to getting back to the other end of the scale and getting a bit of excitement.

Didn’t have too far to look as the next night we found ourselves in Jupiter’s Casino in the centre of town. Its easy to see why they say that the Aussies are one of the biggest gamblers in the world. This area has more ‘pokies’ than all of Las Vegas. Its by far the biggest place of this kind ive been in, multiple levels of pure gambling craziness. Needless to say, its good we don’t go in these things too often.

My mum and Servane looking thouroughly bored
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The beach had some excellent surfing breaks along with pure white sands, but of course you had to share this with about 200 other people.

Onto Hervey Bay.

Posted by JimmyHill 02:11 Comments (1)

Byron Bay

New South Wales

We travelled the 10 or so hours from Sydney to Byron Bay in the hope that the weather would improve the further north we went, we were wrong. Apart from this, Byron Bay has a really chilled out hippy vibe, has still got one of the best beaches we’ve been to and has a kicking bar and nightlife scene.

We met up and had a drink with friends we previously met in Coral Bay on the west coast, who were just recovering from the Splendour in the Grass music festival which we just missed. The remnants and leftovers from this do could still be seen with hundreds of young people still mooching about in the streets.

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We managed to pay a visit to Nimbin, the ‘alternative’ centre known for its hippies and marijuana. Also called the bush Amsterdam, it was quite funny to go if only to see all the crusties.

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A few days later we met up with my mum and dad, who had made the long journey over from England and the less long journey down from Brisbane to meet us. Unfortunately they didn’t bring the weather over from England with them (never thought Id be saying that) and it rained almost constantly whilst we were there, so as a consequence, we spent most of our time either in the van or in their cabin.

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Posted by JimmyHill 02:08 Comments (0)

Sydney

New South Wales

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As we moved up from Victoria, to New South Wales, we came to the place first set foot by Captain Cook in 1770, who decided to compare the area to Wales, hence the name. The UK then began to ship its convicts to Circular Quay in Sydney to establish the first European settlement in 1778. There, that’s the history lesson over.

We made it to our hotel with no dramas this time, probably due to the fact we took two toll roads to take us straight into the heart of the city and where we were staying, Kings Cross, another place renowned for its seedier side.

We made it to the most recognisable area of the city, the harbour which consists of the Oprah House, bridge, Circular Quays and The Rocks. After taking a few pictures, we had a guided tour of the Opera House. A place where 3000 performances ranging from ballet, opera, plays, concerts, even sumo and boxing on rare occasions. Not without its problems though, the building and designing of the place took 10 years longer than expected and 95 million over budget, the chief designer walked off the job and has never seen it completed. A worthwhile visit that looks pretty stunning close up.

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We spent my birthday in style, staying in a 5 star hotel and getting complimentary champagne and chocolates in our room. In retrospect probably a bit too posh for us, especially when we got the valet to park our big blue van behind the Mercs and Porches in the car park, highly amusing.

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We experienced some of the nightlife in Kings Cross and also went to Darling Harbour, the following day, which is basically a huge waterfront leisure park. On the day we were due to leave we spent the day at the Rocks, enjoying the weather and the attractions that the coffee festival brought.

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Botanical Gardens
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Darling Harbour
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Onto Byron Bay

Posted by JimmyHill 01:57 Comments (1)

Melbourne

Victoria

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Over half of the population of Melbourne has a parent who was born oversees. Waves of immigration have brought settlers and influences from Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

It is the biggest metropolis we’ve seen since Perth and as difficult to navigate and find anything, just like any city centre I suppose. We spent the first at least two hours looking for a hostel in the city centre only to be told that we would have to pay hundreds of dollars for parking and that’s if we could fit our van under the height restriction in the car park.

We ended up staying in an inner suburb of Melbourne called St Kilda. Known for its seedier side (we wouldn’t want it any other way), St Kilda was home to our Victorian-style hostel called Olembia Guesthouse, which was a really friendly and homely place and ended up being our home for the following two days.

Our time was spent mainly exploring the streets, laneways and arcades, which were easy to get to either by foot or the tram that sprawled the city. Visiting the National Gallery of Victoria, a collection of international art, followed by the Queen Victoria market which is supposed the be the biggest market in the southern hemisphere (which apparently used to be part of Melbournes first cemetery – an estimated 9000 bodies still remain under the carpark).

We never managed to see any of the clubs or much nightlife in Melbourne, purely for the fact it was almost zero degrees outside when we were there, and as we were staying a fair few miles out of the centre, where the action was, we decided to save it for Sydney.

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Posted by JimmyHill 01:53 Comments (0)

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