Monday, April 27, 2009

NW tassie!!

Well I decided that seeing as my days are getting shorter here, I better head out and see more of Tasmania. I had seen the NE, the N, the W and figured I better go see the NW. So I rented a car, this time from Budget which I must say was a better experience then Hertz, and spent the day, well, driving. I put close to 600km's on the car and was gone for nearly 12 hours, and would have to say I thoroughly enjoyed my time!

I decided to drive the furthest in the morning, then make stops along the way home. I left at about 9:45 and arrived at my first destination at 1300, the Allendale Gardens and Rainforest. The gardens were on 6 acres and the rainforest on a vast 65 acres. The couple that owned the property have had it for years and they have done an amazing job with the gardens. Now I don't have a green-thumb, but I do have a 'shutter finger', so I was in my glory snapping photos!! The rainforest walk was a relaxing 30 minute walk through, well, the rainforest!! It was a nice calm day, and it was eerliy quite walking through the forest, you could hear the trees creaking and the leaves rumbling in the light breeze. I didn't see much wildlife, apart from a few birds and a couple fairies, but I did walk through my fair share of spider webs, ugh! And yes, I did say fairies, there was one section that had fairies hanging from the trees. It was in memory of a little girl at the age of 5 who said she saw a fairy on one of the trees! It was kinda cute.
After spending an hour walking through the gardens and rainforest, I headed north to Stanley. Now instead of taking the highway that I arrived on, I took a side road to Stanley, where I got to see more of the countryside, which I love!! Lots of rolling hills, green grass, windy roads, and the ocean not too far away! Stanley, the 'tidiest town of tasmania' - and also home of the 'Nut' - which is a large 152m high volcanic formation approximately 13 million years old. The town of Stanely was very picturesque with some of the town at the base of the Nut (no worries, no allergic reaction for me!) For ten dollars I took a 5-minute chairlift to the top of the Nut. It was cloudy and windy, and I of course was wearing a skirt, but I still went for the 35 minute walk on the top of the Nut. Well I did it in 20 minutes as I was freakin' cold!! I took the lift back down - which was strange as I normally ski down a hill once I take a chairlift up!! At this point it was close to 4pm, and I knew I was going to be losing the sun soon. I headed out of Stanley and made my way to Boat Harbour Beach - a small isolated beach, white sand and crystal clear water. The water was calm and the sun was close to be setting, very romantic, however I was by myself, so I just snapped some photos and was off to the next beach, sister's beach. Sister's beach is a bit bigger, but very similar. Soft white sand, calm clear waters, but this beach was miles longer, and no one in sight! It was starting to cool off even more and the sun was getting closer to setting, so I canceled a hike to some caves that I was going to do and decided to head home. I stopped in Wynyrd for some petrol, and some McDonalds :), and proceeded to the town of Penguin. And guess what? The town was named after the 'little penguins' (can no longer be called fairy penguins as it was an insult to the homosexuals.....whatever) that arrive every summer to mate, wouldn't ya know?!! They even have a 'large penguin' on main street to commemorate the discover and naming of the town. The garbage cans on main street are also covered with penguins...whatelse would you expect going to a town called Penguin? After Penguin, there was not much else to see and do, plus it was after 1900, so I headed on home, along the main highway - no side road at this time of night. Now I was a little nervous driving on the highway at night for a few reasons. This is when the wallaby's and other wildlife come out and are most likely to be hit by on-coming traffic, as well as a majority of the highway is only two lanes, and I am nervous enough driving on it in the daylight, let alone at night. To my surprise, I didn't hit any wildlife, well nothing that wasn't already dead, and there was very little traffic at this time of day that it wasn't really that bad!!
I strolled on home just after 2100 with 570km's on the little Nissan! Now let's hope I didn't unknowingly speed through any speed traps....Keri - I don't SPEED!!! Haha

Now I have 5 more days/shifts left here in Launceston, and next Sunday I return to Budget to rent a car again for a few days as I am driving down the East coast and to Hobart before I fly out May 8th. I can't believe how quickly time has gone by!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Melbourne - take 2

Yup, I decided to go back to Melbourne as the first time was not enough. I drank too much last time and didn't do any of the 'tourist' stuff! I met up with a friend from Brisbane, who had not been to Melbourne at all.....funny, an aussie that has never been and I had! We spend a total of 5 days in Melbourne, and had a few events planned as it was the international comedy festival - who doesn't like to laugh??!!
Thursday night we had two shows booked and ended up seeing three! The first one, Dave Hughes, an Australian, was a great start, funny man that harrassed the late- comers and asked a 17 year old in front of his mother if he shaved.....I guess you had to be there! Funny how they always seem to be funnier when you've been drinking! Our next show was a total of 7 comedians, all British - the show was called the Best of British - not original at all :) It was entertaining....some where good, others not so good, however it was a small venue - maybe 50 people, and what can I say, I was drunk so I laughed at almost everything! We then stayed for another show called Ferris Buellers day off....this comedian MC'd the Best of British, and in his show he showed clips of the movie and related it to real life, in a very humorous way. Plus we got a pin at the end of the show that said "What would Ferris do?" is currently on my purse :)

Both of us had an early flight that day so after the third show we where exhausted and headed back to the hotel, which by the way had a men's club on one side and a liquor store on the other :) Not in the best end of town, but hey, it was cheap....

The next day was spent with his cousin who he hadn't seen in years. Lunch, chat, and a a brief tour of south Melbourne - we got to drive on some of the formula 1 track....very cool! That evening we had tickets for Cheech and Chong.....awesome. Thats all I have to say....awesome! They did a skit from their movie, Up in Smoke, a great start to the show. And the rest of the show was their own skits as well as Chong doing some stand-up - mostly talking about his time in jail. How cool was it to see them live. And when we left, they had the drug bus outside the parking lot......ummmm, I wonder why??? Oh yeah, and I got a pin that said "Dave's not here man" is also on my purse!! haha

Saturday was, well, a drunk day. I met up with a friend (Leah) from home that was in town. We had planned to meet for lunch, and that turned into walking around downtown Melbourne looking for a pub (which surprisingly was difficult), ended up in a bowling alley, had a few drinks, bowled a couple games, Leah had to get up for a tour the next day, so Shannon and I went to another pub and continued drinking....ahh what fun we had!

Sunday was footy day - Melbourne Demons vs Richmond Tigers - both teams who have yet to win a game :) It actually turned out to be a pretty good game and the team I cheered for (Melbourne) won :) The stadium was HUGE, a turn out of 70,000 and the stadium wasn't even full! We also had great seats which was even more awesome!! (A great view of their ass, I mean....) After the game we went to the top of Eureka Skydeck - 88 floors up, full 360 degree observation deck of Melbourne and is the highest view point in the southern hemisphere. It also has a glass bottom lookout out, called the Edge, where you get in an opaque box, it slids you out above the city, once fully out, the glass suddenly goes clear! This was a 45 minute wait, and another $20 - for like a minute on the thanks. But very cool none-the-less!

Monday was a very 'fishy' orientated day! We started off at the aquarium where we got to see the cute little penguins(not fish, but they where my favorite!!) We also got to see them being fed, kinda sad, but cool at the same time. They came right up to the glass so you can get right up close and personal with them, without being able to touch them of course. The aquarium was pretty cool and we saw some very neat creatures - seahorses, sting rays, jelly fish and of course sharks. The largest aquarium which hosts the sharks as well as 35 other species of fish holds 2.2 million liters of water!!! CRAZY!! After over two hours at the aquarium (we liked the penguins, ok!!) we headed up to a jail (or gaol as they spell it here) that housed some of the famous prisoners in Melbourne, for a very real tour of the holding cells. We where given cards of fake names/charges ect. and had an officer that took us through as if we where being held. Wasn't quite expecting it and the officer was very real, maybe too real!!! All in all though, very interesting. (K, i guess the jail wasn't very 'fish' orientated, but it was on the way to the Imax...) Next we went to the Imax to see what was playing....and wouldn't you know, Under the Sea narrated by Jim Carrey was playing! I wanted to see Monsters vs. Aliens, but we didn't have enough time as we had a flight to catch. Under the Sea was in 3D , which was very cool - apart from the snakes swimming under water that looked like they where about to bite your head off!

After the Imax theater, we ended up at a pub for a game of pool and a last drink before heading to the airport to head home! My flight was an hour delayed and I didn't get home till after 11pm.....but I had a great time in Melbourne and was glad I went back to do all the things I missed!

I only have 8 more work shifts left and am started to plan my next Western Australia!! Can't WAIT!!

Me and the cute penguines!!

Trying to be cool with my 3D shades on :)

Leah and I with our balls!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I don't speed....honestly!

I just recently found out that Tasmania does indeed have photo radar!

Recall back in the middle of March when I rented a car and drove out to George Town and Beauty Point?  It was the first time I rented a car here and drove on the wrong side of the road....  And remember how I said I was so careful when driving,  well I guess not carefull enough as I was caught under photo radar speeding :)  I thought I had been SO cautious with my speed, not cause I didn't want to get a ticket, but more or less trying to be careful of where I was going, enjoy the sights as I drove, and make sure I didn't miss a turn off!  Obviously I missed a small section of the highway as it drops from 100 to 80 and they tagged me going 99 in an 80!  I'm pretty damn sure that it was still 100!!
The funny thing is it happened just before 10:00 am - and I drove away from the rental shop at 9:30am!  I hadn't even been driving for an hour! LOL.  I'm not sure exactly where it was when I got caught, but I can guarantee that I did not see the sign, and that I was going the pace of the rest of the traffic.  
I was a little shocked when my dad told me I got the ticket and almost didn't believe him.  Then I realized that the car rental had my Calgary DL info and so the ticket was mailed home.  The fine was for $110 - nothing too bad, but 3 demerits.... I don't know how that works because the city of Calgary doesn't know I got a ticket?  Anyways, the ticket is paid, and the next time I rent a car, I will be EXTRA cautious of suspicious cars on the side of the road.....oh yeah, and the speed limit!! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What a day!!

The first day I arrived on the ward, I met John, one of the nurses, who is into bush-walking and cycling. We had decided that we would pick a day and he would take me out for a day hike, to one of the lesser known hikes around Tassie. Both of us work full time, and it was kinda difficult to get a day off together where we didn't have anything planned, but alas, yesterday, was a success! He picked me up at 8:30 and we drove about an hour out of Launceston, to a place called Quamby, and we hiked up Quamby bluff. (I have discovered that bluff basically means hill!) It was estimated to be a 5hr return hike, but said he had done it in 2 and a half. Great. Or so I thought!!! It was a pretty steep hike the whole way up, involving some climbing up and over rocks and big boulders!! John is very fit and before leaving he told me that has been referred to as a mountain goat...and that he is!! haha! The trail we where on was not a very popular one and thank goodness for markers on the trees as I'm sure we would have gotten lost! Even with markers on the trail we had to turn back a few times cause we had gotten off the trail! We got to the summit and it was definatly worth the hard work up, cause the view was amazing.  The weather couldn't have been any better as well.  It had been slightly cool the last couple of days, but luck was on our side yesterday as there was no wind and not a cloud in the sky!  Even at the summit, at 1,228M  it was beautiful and warm!  We had lunch at the top and then proceeded to make our way down - which was harder then going up!!! My quads are feeling the pain today and I can't imagine what tomorrow is going to be like!! In total we took just over three hours to do the hike - mostly cause I was a bit slow going up :) I'm sure John could have done it in two!  
After the hike, I came home, had a nice mini nap (how I love my naps!!!) and got ready to go out for a few beers in Launceston with some friends from work. Well, a few beers turned into a night out on the town and we had a BLAST!!! I got good and drunk, and only had a small hangover this morning -nothing a little motrin and water didn't cure. We went to a total of three bars and ended up running into another girl we work with at the last one. GT's.....GT's!!
Now I have 7 shifts in a row...but then I'm off to Melbourne for 5 days!! Woot woot!!

Quamby Bluff

One section of the 'trail'!

Almost at the top!

The summit!  

An Australian inukshuk!!

The gang from work, Lindsey, Jess, myself and Darren