Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A day at the races

Yup, I went to the races yesterday and had an interesting day! (and I didn't have an allergic reaction to the horses!)

It was a pubic holiday yesterday for the 'Launceston Cup' and I figured I better head down and check it out. A girl from work, Suzi was talking about it and how she spent $100 on a hat just for the event! I though, wow, this must be quite the event. I was just going to wear shorts and tank......but decided to put on a skirt and a nice top instead....and am I glad I did! I would have been the most underdressed person there! The girls all wore their best dress, and most of them had a hat on and the men (most of them anyways) had suits on! I got there pretty early as I had no idea when things got going, and I ended up getting there a bit too early. So, I walked around, and walked some more.....the first race was at 1205, watched it, but didn't bet. All the races where about 30 minutes apart, and I was getting pretty bored, plus I had lost on 2 races.....very badly. It was gettin to be around 2:30 and I decided that I was going to walk around, then head home. Not that the races where boring, it was just getting lonely sitting for 25 bloody minutes waiting for the next one!! Well, then I ran into Suzi!! I met a few of the other people that I will be working with....most of them where on holidays, as well as a couple other canadian girls that knew my co-workers. One, even from Calgary!!! It was so nice to talk to a fellow canadian! haha. I stayed and watched the remainder of the races, and proceeded to get drunk with my 'new' friends! After the races we headed into town and went to a local 'pub/bar' that ended up being about 3 blocks from my house. We had a great time, met some more people, and continued to it was fun time! We where all getting pretty tired and decided to pack her in around 9, I grabbed some pizza and stumbled on home.....never thought i'd say this, but I'm glad it was up-hill!!! Haha......K, well, I was that drunk that I was stumbling, but I was definitely not feeling any pain!!

Now, I'm back to work for 6 shifts, and then I think I'm going to head to St. Helen's and see the bay of fires which I hear is an amazing beach!! Man I miss the beach! haha

Monday, February 23, 2009

First day off!

Well I've been in Tassie for over a week now, and finally had a day to go and explore this beautiful town!! I had a bunch of errands to do and figured I'd get it all done plus make my way to go visit the gorge. The cataract gorge is on the west end of town, about a 20 minute walk from my place, and you can walk up either side of the cliffs to the gorge. I decided to talk the easier way as I was not in the 'mood' for a hike and only had flip flops on! It took about 20 minutes to get to the gorge, and there are many walks you take when you get there. Too be completely honest, everyone was like, you have to go the gorge, it's beautiful....blah blah blah, and well, I think I had too many high hopes, cause I didn't think it was anything spectacular. Yes the walk was pretty, the tiny waterfalls are pretty, there are amazing houses up in the hills of the gorge, but I didn't find anything extra special about it!! I will definitely go back, and am glad I went. I want and go on some more of the hikes around the gorge, as well as make my way up in the early evening as they have flood lights around the gorge, but overall, I'd have to say it was just so-so!!
After visiting the gorge and hanging out their for a while, I headed back into town, spent some $$$$ - bought a hair straightener as I am going crazing with doing my hair curly all the time!! I then made the long uphill trek back home.....well, k, it wasn't that long, but the hill is freakin' steep and I hate it!!! Oh well...I just think of all the exercise I'm getting :)
Tomorrow is the Launceston cup, an annual horse-race that is held in town, everyone dresses up, and it is a province wide holiday!! Also a good excuse to drink beer :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

KI continued...

Day Two: Kangaroo Island:
So, wake up at 7:30, our lovely Emma woke us up and we had brekky, loaded up the bus, and off we went. It was a bit overcast and quite windy that day. But that didn't stop us from having fun. Our first stop was little Sahara, where you can guess, was a mini version of the sands dunes of the Sahara desert. Well, the sand dunes where a decent size, there was just only a couple of them! This is where we went sand boarding. Oh my what fun, and freakin' hard to do, we had! We had to hike a ways to get to the sand dune, then we had to climb it, no chair lefts there!! We waxed the boards, then attempted to slid down the hill, I opted for the toboggan style, others tried to stand like a snowboard. I didn't do great the first time, and the second time I did ok, then wiped out big time half way down the hill!! LOL! I'm sure it was quite entertaining for those watching! haha. It was definitely a lot of work climbing for a 5 second slid down! I only did twice, plus it was starting to get crazy windy and we where all getting sand blasted!! After we all had enough sandboarding, we heading to seal bay where, you guessed it, we saw a whole bunch of seals! They where so cute!! We saw a baby seal who was about 7 days old, as well as some seal sex!! chicka chicka yeah!! LOL!! We only saw a few minutes total, but I guess they normally go for 45 minutes...non stop....all missionary style....I think that's more information that you want to know, but, oh well! Now you know!! After taking 50 photos of the seals, watching some lazy seals sleep on the beach, a baby play in the water, and some seal sex, we left seal bay and headed to Kelly Hill conservation park for some lunch, some caving and a 9 km hike! The caves where found in the early 1900's, and there's some story about a guy and his horse who fell in, and he walked around pitch darkness for three days looking for a way out. They where all right, but I've seen better! After the caves 4 of us went on a 9 km hike, one way to Vivonne bay. The two german girls weren't up for the hike, so they stayed wtih Em and went to the end of the hike where we where picked up. It was a much nicer hike then the one in the Grampians for a number of reasons. There where trees to provide shade, not many steep parts and it wasn't 38 degrees!!! Emma walked up and met us about 3/4 of the way, we where hoping to find some echidna's, but no such luck. In fact, we didn't see ANY wildlife! Once we hit Vivonne beach, it was overcast, windy and not the warmest of days, so we didn't go in the water, although on a nice day it looked as though it coulda been as nice as Stokes beach. We then made way to a conservation park for Koala's. They where completely wild, not fed or contained, they could come and go as they wanted. Em gave us a goal of finding 12 koala's......not so much luck that day! I saw more wallabies then I saw koala's! I think we saw 4, maybe 5 koala's, and I found 6 wallabies in about half the time I spent looking for koala's. We all packed into the bus and headed to the hostel where we were spending our last night on KI. It was on a farm and we were going to sharing the hostel with another tour group. We had barbeque that night - burgers, sausages, chicken squewers, and kangaroo!!!! Paddy also stopped by, brought some beer and his digeredoo and had supper with us. I was very excited to try roo and it was SOOO good!! It is best cooked a little on the rare side. I think Em cooked them for about 3 or 4 minutes, just pink in the was so tender and yummy! I had to go back for seconds. I think I enjoyed it the most, Collette was not a huge fan of it, but I wasn't complaining, more for me!!! haha. We had some beers, played some tunes, played the digeredoo - well, attempted to play it - Paddy was awesome at it, started a small campfire and got drunk!! The second tour group showed up around 10 - we should them how to dance the 'heel and toe' which Em and Paddy showed us how to do! We met some other people that where on our great ocean road tour as well as our room mate from the first night in Glenelg....just a small world! Em went to bed early, and the tour guide from the other group started a drinking game!! His group had 16 people so we had quite the time around the fire as you can imagine! I went to bed at about 3ish, somethin' like that, and was not feelin so great when I got up the next day!! Oh well, lots of water and some food and I was fine!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A game of footy anyone?

So I was able to attend my second sporting event here in Australia....a game of australian football. There are a couple different types of footy as they call it here. One is the AFL, australian football league, which is a fast pace rugby type game, originated in Victoria state and is most popular in the southern/eastern part of the country. The other is the NRL, which to be completely honest, I don't know much about!! From what I understand there are more rules, and not as fun as the AFL, AKA aussie rules.
Launceston does not have a team with the AFL, but they have an agreement with the Hawthorn Hawks that they will play a certain percentage of their games at the Launceston Aurora stadium. It was the first game for both teams of the season, in a pre-season NAB cup tourny. I had to work a day shift at the hospital and was lucky enough to get off a bit early - 1500, and also got a ride home from work (saves me from climbing a REALLY steep hill to get to my place!). I quickly changed, got ready and headed out to the game. It was about 2-3km's from my place, so I of course walked. My seats where located right behind the goal posts and was in the heart of the crowd!! The fans really get into the game, some a bit too much, but all in all I had a blast. I had read up on the game and the rules, so for most of the game I was concentrating on how it was played strategies......oh, ok, I was staring at all cute bums running around on the field....and those short shorts....can't get enough of those short shorts!!! LOL
The game ended up being really close, and the Hawthorn Hawks came back in the fourth quarter to beat the Melbourne Demons by 3 points! Most of the crowd was cheering for the Hawks so it was exciting to see them win!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

One shift down....

Yup, first shift at the hospital, done! And man is it different. I was expecting it to be different, but it seems completely backwards! Things I wouldn't normally even think to get double checked, they do, and other things that I would be cautious doing, they do on their own!
I was paired up with a very nice nurse - Kristie who showed me the ropes. It was a bit of a gong show of an evening as one of the patients of the unit passed away while in radiology, and we had another pt crash on us at around 1800 which meant the charge nurse had to take over her care, and Kristie took over charge! I was kinda left on my own a bit but managed fine and got help from other nurses on the floor. The staff is a fairly young vibrant group and I look forward to working with them.
So, things that are different:
-EVERYTHING that has to do with an IV - even priming a line, the solution has to be checked.
-Any IV medication that is mixed - which most of their antibiotics need to be mixed (how annoying!) or any med that is given through the IV, is checked - and I mean checked. ( I accidentally through out the gent amps that I was withdrawing, and Kristie made me do it all over again...oops)
-Some medications are giving IV push - which I have never done. The only med that I know of is ampicillian....didn't have a chance to ask what other drugs are given, and I will laugh if lasix isn't one of them.
-Everything is done on paper. The only thing we check on the computer is lab work. Hell, even their x-rays are old school. If you ask me its a lot of unnecessary running around trying to find their charts ect when needing to chart.
-Oh yeah, the only charting on the pt's is done on the 'early' shift. (early, late and nights is what they are called here) The only charting I did on the late shift yesterday was when I administered meds.
-And of course we don't start IV's - which is going to drive me crazy 'cause as most of my nursing friends now, I LOVE to start IV's - and I'd say I'm pretty good at it. Yesterday we had an IV that was no good - and of course we had to give 3 antibiotics, so we had to call the attending up. It took an hour, then some time for her to get it in, she missed the first one and I know I coulda got an 18 gauge in there (haha), and by the time she finished I only got one antibiotic in, and had to leave the others for nights. If we could do them, I could have gotten all three in and not have left unnecessary work for nights.
-Narcotics are double locked, benzo's are only a single lock, and count is only done once a day - so weird.
-Oh yeah, the worst, they have a 'pan room', where yup, you guessed it, all bed pans, urinals, cylinders are all plastic, and we wash them......eeewwwww! They have a dishwasher that cleans them, and when we have no 'orderlies' AKA nursing attendants, around, we get to do it. No plastic/disposable cylinders for emptying foley's - we have to walk down the hallway with theses things full of pee, and empty it in the pan room, then leave it in the sink to be put in the dishwasher. That, I would say, was the worst part!!!!!

Anyways, that's all for now! Have to shower and get ready for my next late shift. Hopefully its not as much of a gong show :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

oh boo....roommates!! and day one of KI....

Yup, just as I expected, I have a roommate!! The place I'm staying in is a bit bigger then it looks from the outside, which is a good thing! The bedrooms are downstairs...which are very steep and it worries me if I come home drunk one night :) and there is a fairly big living/dining area with a nice size kitchen. However, they could have splurged and got a bigger fridge, but they do have a dishwasher....yeah!! I have a beautiful view of south launceston, which I will post later, with a teeny patio to sit on and take in some rays! I have my first shift today...a little nervous, little excited and a wee but scared!!! The evening shift runs from 1345 to 2215, which means I get to walk home in the dark, but I'm not concerned. Everyone that I have met so far has been super nice!
Alright now for Kangaroo Island, Day one, Feb 9th:
Day One:

Another early day, this time our pick up was 6:45 and they picked us up from our hotel. I thought getting up at 6:15 would be enough time, and it was, but barely! I walked out of the hostel just as the bus pulled up! Phew!! Our tour guide was completely different then Brian. Her name was Emily, or as she liked to be called Em, she was young - around 28 I'd say, and very outgoing! This tour was also substantially smaller then the great ocean road, with only 6 people and Em. Two german girls who where on the GOR tour with us where also on the Kangaroo Island tour with us which was pretty cool. We had about an hour and half drive to Cape Jervis where the SeaLink ferry departed for a 45 minute ride to Kangaroo Island - which I will call KI from now on! There is only one ferry that runs to KI and they take advantage of this. A round trip ride with a car is $190 plus $60 each way per person!! It is the most expensive ferry in the world for the distance it goes, a meager 11 kilometers! It was a beautiful day so we spent the entire time on the top deck, hoping to see some dolphins, but no luck. Once we arrived to KI, we loaded up the bus - we left the original bus behind and the company keeps buses on the other side, and went to Penneshaw to pick up some food. This is where I found out that I was pretty sure I was going to have a blast - our tour guide asked us all what our plans where for liquor and drinking! She was a drinker - although she was trying to quit smoking, as well there was a french guy, Marc, that was all for drinking! SWEET, what a time we are going to have!! haha. Marc and I decided to split a 24 pack of beer, and the others got wine. We stopped for lunch in Penneshaw where we started our drinking!! Once we filled our empty bellies, we headed to the beach, what a great day it is going to be! We stopped at a place called Prospect Hill before beaching ourselves where we climbed 511 stairs to get to the top of this 'hill'. In actuality, the stairs hardly had an incline and they probably could have gotten away with half, but now I can say I climbed 511 stairs!! Haha So at the top of Prospect Hill we got a nice view of the island and also learnt that this is where a brit and a french dude met, and despite their countries being at war, they became friends and mapped the majority of Southern Australia. After climbing back down the stairs, we headed to an amazing beach, Stokes beach, which I was stoked to see!! haha....I crack myself up :) Our tour guide told us, although I couldn't find any proof of it online, that people used dynamite to get to the beach as you climb through these rocks that are almost cave like in order to get to the beach. I couldn't see any proof of dynamite and they looked pretty natural...either way, it was a cool way to get to an amazing beach. The water was crystal clear and white sand beach. This beach is up there with the beaches I saw in Zanzibar Tanzania, definitely in the top three. We only got to spend an hour and bit at Stokes beach as we had to make our way to a wine tasting and marron tasting. The winery also raised commercial marron, and to be honest, I enjoyed the marron more then the wine - not to say I didn't try the wines!! It was probably one of the worst wine tastings I've been on - the guy hardly talked about the wine and he was kinda boring. BUT, no complaining from me as I got to try some amazing marron and drink free wine :) After the wine/marron tasting we had a chance to go on a quad ride. This was 'extra', so we had to fork out $60, but it was quading, so I HAD to do it!! All of us where up for it, some needed some persuasion, but we had a blast. The guy that took us around, Jayson, AKA, Paddy, was a friend of Em's and he was a blast....he ended up partying with us the second night we where there which I will get into later. The quads where different sizes, Yahmaha's I believe, there where 2 250's, 1 125 and 3 90's. Marc and I where the only people that had quaded before so we got the 250's - YEAH!!! Collette took the 125, and the other three girls took the 90's. We had this practice track to go on...blah blah blah, then we where off. We stopped a few times, to learn about some of the plant life on KI, see some inch ants, which are literally an inch long and if they sting you can send someone into anaphylactic shock and some european bees of the island which are the most lazy and tame bees ever. When we where checking out the inch ants we where lucky enough to see the queen inch ant come out, she had wings and can obviously fly, Paddy had never even seen one before! We 'quaded' for an hour, if you can really call it quading!! haha, nothing like quading in the north and getting stuck in mud up to your waist. Although we did get nice and After quading, we went to our cabin where we were going to spending the night. While preparing for super, a bunch of the girls saw a baby koala run across the open field!! Of course I was in the shower and missed it, but I did see him eating away in the eucalupyptus tree and almost fall out! Later after dinner I did see the mom run across the field and go into the tree beside the baby. The most action I think I'll see a koala do! We had burritoes for supper, as well as some beer (of course!) and headed out at dusk to see if we could see some fairy called little penguins. (FYI-the name was changed as gay activists made a fuss about the penguins being called fairy, and so the name was changed to little.....anyways.......) Unfortunately we saw none but I was not too upset as I'm pretty sure I will be seeing some on Tasmania. We almost hit a kangaroo going back to the cottage....they like to run at the headlights of the vehicle, but Em was prepared and half expecting it, so we where able to stop in time. At the cabin, which was owned by groovy grape, we slept in 'swags' outside. A swag is kinda like a heavy duty sleeping bag, that you put your sleeping bag in. It's made of military type material, it zips up on the sides, and has a small mattress inside that you sleep on. I was so excited to sleep outside, and stared at the sky for about 20 minutes before falling asleep. It was a bit cloudy so I couldn't see much, but just laying in the outdoors was my favorite part! Don't worry, I asked about snakes, I believe there is only one, the tiger snake, and they sleep during the night so there was NO chance of me waking up next to one :) Thank goodness! There was a chance though of wallabies or kangaroos coming up to us, but not that I was aware of. I woke up and saw a possum about 10 feet away, but I could care less about a possum! They are a pain in the ass and get into everything! When we came back from the non-existent penguins, there was a possum family scavanging around the patio of the cabin. They are just like raccoons and will try and get into everything!! I had a great night sleep and was up at 7:30 for a busy day planned on KI!

safe and sound in Launceston

Alright, a bit of break of my GOR and KI stories, now for a real up to date story of my adventures!!

I have arrived in Launceston Tasmania after an eventful/uneventful day! The morning started of great, wasn't running late, everything was working out wonderfully, my flight to Melbourne was good - finished my second book of my holidays which if any of you know me that is amazing!! Had a brief lay over in Melbourne where I bought another book, and a watch, had a beer and spent some time on-line :) I arrived on time in Launceston, a bit overcast, and caught a cab into town. I arrived at the hospital to pick up my key for my new accommodation - and this is where it becomes eventful - the key was no where to be found!! You know when you have gut instincts, I had this all day!! SOOO, after some phones calls, and meeting the night manager of the hospital, they set me up in an 'emergency' accommodation in the hospital residencies a block from the hospital. I was saddened that I wasn't able to get settled, but these things happen and I guess it will just have to wait! I got a wee bit lost trying to find res, and ended up walking up this BIG incline with my shit (I let the cabbie go cause I didn't know how long it was going to take) and had to ask some strangers where to go. I ended up having to go back down and back the way I came....I eventually found and of course my room at the be ALL the way at the back!! I decided to head to the grocery store and get some chow....sweet chilly tuna, sweet chili cream cheese and sweet chili and sour cream chips!! I was craving sweet chili, k?!!! haha, oh yeah, I also grabbed a couple beers at the nearby bottle shop!! :)
Had supper in my tiny room, but no complaints as I have some privacy and I just may sleep naked tonight!! haha
I decided after supper to go for a walk and see if I can find where I think my accommodation is. I was e-mailed the address of it a couple months ago, and google earthed it. I should first say that Launceston is a beautiful town of about 65 000 people, with lots of hills, and I mean lots, like San Francisco lots. SO, I headed out in search of my new place, I went to far the first time and went up this hill that was un-necessary :-) oh well. I eventually did end up finding the address, and if it is where I am staying, it is going to be pretty sweet. It is a 4 split house and it looks as if I will have my own mini flat! Not sure though as I was told I was going to be with 2 other people - if that's the case, it could be pretty tight! I'm going to stay optimistic and hope for the best :)
So tomorrow once I get my lazy ass out of bed, I will make it down to the hospital and figure out my accommodation situation, then I start my first shift @ 1300. I'm thinking I will buy all my groceries, then get a cab with all my stuff and groceries to my new place - that's the cheap part of me!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

day three of GOR - and CURRENTLY almost in tassie...

Alrighty, final day of the great ocean road, not too exciting, but fun nonetheless. I'm almost in tasmania, in the adeladie airport as I write I love this wireless USB internet thingy!!......and start work tomorrow. I'm hoping I can upload pictures at work, if not, I'll have to find a place like the library that has wireless so I can upload photos. It drains my wireless internet account to upload photo's - especially if they where taken with my SLR camera. Anyways....enjoy! Kangaroo island blog will be up next!!

Day three
At 6am, the alarm clock went off, and I got my lazy ass out of bed - but I was excited because I got to go take pictures of kangaroo's!!!! We had a quick bite to eat, and went out to the park 20 feet away where about 20 kangaroo's where grazing in the field. We followed them to a bigger park where there where about 40 kangaroos. I was lucky enough to have a joey come about 10 feet from me, but he didn't see what he liked so he ran away!! He doesn't know what he was missing!!! LOL! It was definitely a highlight of the tour!
Once we all got our shit together, we took off - a wee bit late - closer to 7:50 this day, we headed to some lookout out point for some more views of the Grampians. Can't remember the name, but it was pretty. It was about a 30 minute 'walk' - no hiking this time, to the point. It was a nice leisure walk with a nice view. Nothing too exciting really. We then headed to McKenzie Falls - and you guessed it, named after a dude named something McKenzie who found them!! They are the largest falls of the Grampians and it is a steep hill down to the falls, but they had stairs for us to take. I haven't seen many waterfalls in Australia so I found them interesting...Collette on the other hand has seen many in Tasmania, so she didn't find them as interesting as I. Again, I was one of the last to leave :) (as for the stairs to the waterfalls, Australia enjoys using stairs for any fairly steep parts in a hike, there were many on the 'death' hike as well!)
After this we headed to Adelaide. Now Adelaide is about a 5-6 hour drive from the Grampians, so we drove to some town that I can't remember the name of, had lunch, a bit of break, then headed to Adelaide. We stopped for another 20 minutes break along the Murray river, and back on the bus arriving in Adelaide around 7pm. Collette and I where lucky enough to be dropped off first, as we are staying just outside of Adelaide in a suburb called Glenelg. Our hostel is a block from the beach :)
Next I will tell you all about Kangaroo Island.....and guess what.... saw lots of kangaroos!!!! LOL!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day two - great ocean road

So I'm currently in Glenelg, and have been for a week. Glenelg is just on the outskirts of Adelaide. Beautiful city I must say! I leave tomorrow for Launceston Tasmania where I start work on Tuesday. I'm definitely not looking forward to it, but I think once I get settled and started, it won't be that bad.
Anyways, here is how day two of the great ocean road went:

We had an early morning start - departed at 7:30am.....and you all know how much of a morning person I am .....*insert sarcasm here*. But I was excited for the day so it wasn't that bad :)
We headed out to Loch Ard Gorge, famous for its shipwrecks due to heavy fog and its many hidden reefs. The reefs stretch 120 km's and more then 80 vessels crashed in just 40 years. Of course there is one famous wreck in 1878 in which 55 people where aboard and only 2 survived. One girl was washed into the 'gorge' and an other guy rescued her - they waited in a cave until they where rescued. I like to add that they had a little hanky panky while they waited - and so did the press, but story has it that nothing happened and the girl returned to ireland and they never saw each other. I know, boring.....but now you know! The next stop was london bridge, and guess what? the bridge has fallen down!! It used to be a double arch platform linked to the mainland, however one of the arches collapsed in 1990, and sadly soon the other arch will collapse, and it will look like one of the apostles! I could have taken a helicopter tour the apostles, the gorge and the arch and the rest of the coast line, but it was like $70 for 5 minutes. No thanks! The cool thing about taking a guided tour - apart from waking up earlier then I would want and being on a strict time line - is that you get to see things that you couldn't find in the lonely planet - such as the Bay of Martyr's, or Bay of Massacre's. It happened ages ago when the Europeans came over and massacred all the aboriginals, driving the men off the cliffs, and killing the women and children in a nearby swamp. Not a great story - but some history for ya! It was a beautiful long beach - about a kilometer long, nice white sand, and more apostle like things in the water!! I will add a link at the end so you can see the pictures. After some nice relaxing beach time, we headed up Grampians National Park. A beautiful park with lots of bush walking opportunities and waterfalls! So we headed up to a spot where we hiked to the 'pinnacle'. And as Collette describes it, the death hike. We happened to be doing this walk/hike/climb whatever you want to call it, on one of the hottest days. I'd say it was about 38 degrees, freakin hot anyways. Brian said a fit person could hike it in 35 minutes, with the average person reaching the summit in an hour. It was a fairly steep hike, lots of rocks to hike over, a bunch of stairs to climb, and a lot of open areas which allows the heat to reflect off and make us even more tired/hot/thirsty ect.!! I of course brought my camera, and took tons of photos, probably taking closer to an hour and half to reach the top. I also started chatting with Blake, the guy who slept in the first day and missed the bus, who was also and avid photographer, so we took our time exploring and enjoying the view. The pinnacle was pretty spectacular, beautiful views of the Grampians and steep cliffs. We where also the last ones to leave, of course, and caught up with the other 'stragglers', taking about an hour to reach the bottom. After an exhausting hike, running out of water on the way down, I was not feeling so great. Dehydration kicked it, I had a headache when I reached the bus. Drank a bunch of water, had an orange, but my headache stuck around for a few hours. Our hostel that night was close just at the base of the Grampian 'mountains' - if you can call them that, so we started supper right away. Our chef cooked us supper - chicken, lamb, hamburgers, sausage, salad - all yummy foods! The kangaroos came out from hiding from the extreme heat and Blake and I took some more photos. The came right out into a field across from the hostel and loved being in the wilderness with these cool animals! I could watch them for hours hoping around! The sun was going down when they came out and none of our pictures came out great, so we decided to get up at 6 the next morning to get some more photos before taking off for our last day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Great Ocean Road

Day One:

So, it's been over a week since I left for the great ocean road, and I really hope i can remember what I did!! I'll have to browse through my photos in order to recall the order of things!! It was a very busy and fun-filled 3 day tour. Collette and I got picked up about a kilometer from our hostel....we took a cab - I know its sounds bad, but with a VERY heavy bag (we took everything with is as we ended up in Adelaide, not back in Melbourne) and a pick-up time of 7:30, we didn't feel like walking. Plus, it ended up only being $7....some of the best 7 dollars spent! We were the last people to be picked up, and the tour was fully booked minus 2. We had about an hour and half drive to our first stop which was Bells beach in Torquay. Bell's beach was one of the first big surfing beaches and world championship surfing competitions are held here every year. The surf was pretty small when we where there....but I did do some shopping! All the major surfing brands (quicksilver, roxy, ripcurl, ect) have their head offices at Bells beach, so I got some outlet priced clothes :)
Next was Apollo Bay for lunch along the famous Great Ocean Road which takes you from Torquay to Warrnambool. A little history on the great ocean road - it was built by soldiers once they came back from the war. It was a way for them to work and to make some extra cash. They build an overhead sign at the start to commemorate their hard work. (it burnt down from a forest fire, AKA, bush-fire and was re-built in the 1990's if I remember correctly) We made a couple stops along the way to take in the scenery of the coast line, as well as to see some wild koala's in their natural state. We all got excited when we saw one of them move their arms! Oh what a life to be a and sleep for 20 hours a day! Oh, I should also mention the flies. Not as mad as the mosquitoes in the north, but f*#@%^ annoying!! They all liked to congregate around me, so when I got on the bus I had tons buzzing around me - we eventually just started killing them all - I now, very mean, but we had to! We had a nice fly graveyard on our window :)
We then drove to Ngatanwarr to the Melba gully rainforest where we 'hiked' AKA bush walked to the 'big tree'. They have the most simplest names for things, its so funny. You summit to the "pinnacle', or bush walk to the 'triplet' waterfalls where, you guessed it, there are three waterfalls!! The rainforest was beautiful and I was of course the last one to reach the top 'cause I had to stop and take pictures!! Our tour guide, Brian, didn't seem to mind much. We weren't pushed for time and he was very accommodating for everyone so all got out of it what we wanted. I'd say Brian was in his 50's and he's been a guide since 1992 - and he nows his shit. You could ask him any question and he knew the answer, either that or he BS'd his way through it! The first day of the great ocean road was a nice day - very warm, but it was prefect. If any of you know me, I love the heat (why I spend 2 1.2 years in the arctic still baffles me) so I enjoyed every moment of the warm sun!
After the rainforest we headed up to Port Campbell National Park to take in the beauty of the Twelve Apostles, well, I guess you could say 6 apostles as the other 6 have eroded away sadly. The chunks of rock have broken away from the mainland and are sitting in the ocean just off the coast line. They are very spectacular and each one is unique. We where lucky enough to he staying in Port Campbell that evening and after supper went back to the apostles for the breathtaking sunset. Once we returned to the hostel, another passenger met up with us, Blake. It's kind of a funny story as he slept in that morning, took a bus to Lorne, and then hitchhiked to Port Campbell where he caught up with us - what a way to travel! So jealous!
That night we slept in a hostel right across from a tiny bay along the Southern Ocean. Before supper and the sunset we got to go for a refreshing dip in the ocean as well as take in same rays - after applying sunscreen of course! No need to get burnt now! We were lucky enough to only have 2 showers and 3 toilets between 21 of! Our tour included all meals and Brian was a pretty good cook, plus we had a chef on our tour so he helped with the meals that turned out to be pretty damn good.....all of the meals which I could eat as well, bonus!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Alright, starting to catch up here!! Entry from Jan 27th:

Partied out?!!

Well, it has been the most interesting couple of days. I went out for the first time a couple days ago with Angela. Departing @ 7, turned into a 2 hour delay, so we missed out on cheap beer before hitting downtown Melbourne. Ah well, we made up for it by drinking at the hostel. I met a bunch of people through Angela. Angela's friend Frank, AKA, Chum, Gethin and Brid from the UK, Ricky from the States, and Mark and Joe from Ireland. We had a blast! We started off at a pub called Jackson and Young, right downtown Melbourne where we payed $8 for a pint. Needless to say we only had a couple. We then heading to a bar called Bubbles. Yes, Bubbles! We got a free beer and champagne upon entry so we didn't really care what it was called!! After getting more drunk and dancing up a storm @ Bubbles, we decided it wasn't quite our cup of tea, so we conga-lined it out of the bar - literally! This ended us back at Jackson and Young where a live band was playing. Met some more random peeps, danced and took tons of crazy pictures! And of course after a fun and ridiculous night of drinking and dancing, we had to go to the near-by McDonald's for some chow. Man was it good chow!! At this point we had lost Chum and Angela, and so attempted to get back to the hostel. Boy, was that fun! After speaking to a couple of police officers for assistance, we eventually found the right bus, which took us home, and at 0415 I crawled into bed.
The next day was a bit more low key. It was a gorgeous day so I hit the beach with Angela and Frank. I went into the wonderfully refreshing water for the first time, and had some cold ones on the beach. We ordered some pizza through the hostel, and after a poker tournament - which I won, and brief walk to the beach and back, I hit the sac at a relatively early time of 0115! Monday was another awesome day outside and so Gethin, Brid and Ricky came to the beach this time with Angela, Frank and I. While Angela and I enjoyed beachin' it, the rest went out to the pier and collected muscles. They brought back a total of about 4 pounds of muscles!! This was also Australia day and not much happened at the beach, however the hostel was providing free BBQ sausages. Anytime I can get something free, you know I'm in! We cleaned and cooked the Muscles after eating our free food, also made corn on the cob & fresh baked buns. Chum made an awesome white wine sauce for the muscles, and all 8 of us chowed down on some awesome, almost free, food! We had so many muscles we didn't even cook them all. Breakfast tomorrow?? Now with it being Australia day, we had to go out and celebrate! We headed to a local club - ESPY where a DJ was mixing the most awesome of awesome songs! Again, I danced the night away!! haha -well, till about 2.
Today I decided it was time to head to Melbourne park and take in some tennis. I was lucky enough to see the Williams sisters play, and win, as well as other women's doubles game. It was bloody hot out - within 20 minutes of watching, my legs started to burn - and this was after applying sunscreen 3 times. I had a white sweater with me, but was using it for my back as it was also slightly red and the sun was at my back. I figured this was a good enough excuse to go buy a shirt. This helped tons and I don't think I burnt - I guess I'll find out when I hit the shower! In total I spent about 5 hours in the hot sun - it was supposed to hit 38 today, and I am beat. After the two games I bought some more Open gear, and decided I had had enough of the heat and headed back to the hostel. Now to shower, maybe have a nap, eat - and probably head out for some cheap beers with Gethin and Brid!
FYI - forcast for tomorrow - high of 41. :)
Cheers for now,