A Travellerspoint blog

Lions and Tigers and... wait we're in Oz

A day of Australian wonders

Today was a fabulous day of experiencing Australian tourist traps first hand. It all started with Liam's mum driving us and Jonas (a German backpacker, pronounced 'Y'onas, also staying with Liam's family) to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

At the 'sanctuary', really just a fancy name for a zoo, we saw loads of Koala's, Kangaroos and a few wombats. The wombat really is a fascinating animal; it was my first experience with the creature and the bear/pig/koala looking animal is absolutely brilliant.

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Apparently they can be quite fiesty animals however, and the workers steer clear of there cages when they are awake. Along with looking at the different animals we were able to watch birds of prey fly around, Brooke actually had the barn owl land on her arm, touch a huge python snake, hold a koala and feed kangaroos.

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Holding the Koala was fabulous. It has a very soft coat, and was not as all cranky as I had heard it would be, more lazy really (an animal after my own heart eh?). And for those who think we are having to much fun being away from school, do not be concerned as we enjoyed a very informative lesson on Koala's and the eucalyptus they eat.

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A koala doing what it does best.

Indeed the eucalyptus is not a narcotic that causes the koala's to sleep, but has very little nutritional energy value as it is mostly water and fiber, forcing the Koala's to sleep most of the day to conserve energy (sounds like a rough life).

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After learning heaps about Koala's and eucalyptus and then holding a Koala we headed off to buy rabbit pellets to feed the Kangaroos. The kangaroos were quite friendly and very accustomed to people and came right up to you to eat the scrumptious rabbit pellets right out of our hands.

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We even saw a kangaroo with a cute little Joey in her pouch. The Joey was so small and never came out more than poking his head out for a bit, and mostly hung his foot out, apparently it was the most comfortable position.

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An interesting point to be made were the fabulous outback animal modeling pictures we were able to get while at the sanctuary. Here this Kangaroo posed very nicely,
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Along with this Koala,
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Who knew we would fing such photgenic animals eh?

Once we had finished at the Koala Sanctuary we decided to find a grocery store. After unsuccessful attempts to hitch a ride we managed to procure a seat for ourselves on the city bus, without paying a fare (so we in fact hitched the bus). An interesting point about Australia: there are very few free standing grocery stores. If you are looking for a supermarket, head towards any mall and it will most likely be in the middle, next to the other clothing and department stores. An interesting concept really.

After spending much to much on food (food, and everything really, is expensive in Australia, slightly depressing when coming from Fiji where things were fairly inexpensive and we had a better exchange rate) we took our bags to the malls food court where we commenced in eating our spoils. My personal favorite was watching Brooke attempt to eat an entire 1/4 watermelon with only a small plastic fork.

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After eating we got back on the bus (not free this time, as it was rush hour and we were had a very cranky driver) and went to visit Lindsey at her house in the center of the city. Lindsey introduced us to the Flying Fox, a bat which inhabits the skies at dusk in Brisbane and to the various geckos within her apartment that she is training to defend her against the numerous cockroach attackers she has in her house.

After an evening with Lindsey and Johnny in Chocolat, we caught the last bus back to Liam's where we fulfilled everyone's impression on Americans as being loud and annoying as we serenaded the bus with country hits from the 90's...

Posted by court_7 06:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

We're not in Kansas anymore...

Adventures in Oz

Our first day in Oz was one filled mostly with transit. Because we did not have a direct flight from Fiji, we spent most of the day en route and in airports. All in all we traveled in 3 countries in one day. On a side note, Air New Zealand is crazy when it comes to meals on flights. We were fed full meals on both of our 3 hour flights. And people think Americans eat to much. I for one have not had much experience with airplane food as American airline companies are to cheap to hand out free headphones let alone any sort of food and while the food on our flights was not 5 star, it was still food and free, so we choked down our meat pies and lamb sandwhiches without too much aignst.

Upon arrival in Australia we again went through customs. From the wisdom gained with the food incident in Fiji I was prepared and had no questionable items. Brooke did however manage to smuggle in a can of peanuts, sunflower seeds and saltene crackers from Fiji (good thing too as she would hae been fined 220$$AUS if caught as she forgot to declare the food items on her entrance card) talk about a rebel.

Once through customs we called our ride and after a bit of struggle manuvering through the Brisbane airport were picked up by Miriam, Liam's mum, in her bright yellow bug (which by the way all of our bags fit in the trunk, not bad eh?). As soon as we got to their home we immediately left for dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant where we 'enjoyed'/tried crab, fish (which was cooked whole, he was staring at me the entire night... yuck) and rice paper wraps. It was really good, both food and company and by the end of the night we were very tired but excited for our adventures yet to be had in Oz.

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Posted by court_7 05:46 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Like Robinson Crusoe...

...it's as primitive as can be

8 am Sunday morning. On a whim, we decide to pack our day bags (very light mind you) and head out to Robinson Crusoe island.

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This is all the bags we brought between the 3 of us for 4 days! (Also, included here is 3 sleeping bags and pillows!)

The beautiful yacht on the brochure initially sold us, but when we arrived to a muddy river with a tin boat that should probably only hold 10 people, and saw that 20 of us were going to squish into it, we started to get a bit concerned. A 20 minute ride through the lovely brown river brought us to our new home for the next 3 nights. To say we were unimpressed would be the overstatement of the century. Not only was it overcast and kind of cold, but a short trek around the island brought an even better view of a lovely marsh/swamp/mosquito infested nastiness.

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The lovely mud river that led to the island

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What a beautiful view from the back of our island

The only shining point for the first day was the obscene amount of food we consumed in one meal. We each easily ate 4 servings (no wonder Americans are fat, which, our friend Herman the Austrian constantly reminded us ... also how horrible we and our political system is, as though we have say or part in it right?).

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Can you see the anticipation in our eyes? Talk about a feast.

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Check the teeth on that fish!

Now a bit about the accommodation's, this was no Motel 6. We're talking primitive island running on a generator that shuts off at 12 midnight. No lights, no electricity, no flushing toilets. But don't worry if you want to take a shower at 1 am, it's ok, as you just fill the bucket and pour freezing cold water on yourself, through the semi clogged spout.

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Shower bucket you fill and pour into a shower bucket.

The one plus to having the generator turn off at 12 was the fact that the "Pirate Night Club" (read: stage with skull and cross bones painted on side wall, with surprisingly loud sound system) shut down as well, and we were no longer force serenaded with such ditties as "In the Jungle" and 5 year old rap and hip hop that was not even good the first time around.

Top all of this off with the fact that we wanted to pack light so we didn't bring hardly any clothes (one shirt, one pair of pants... 3 nights, 4 days, one word...dirty). The best part for the first night though was definitely the mozzie (mosquito) nets the put around our bunks. A fabulous netting hung in the air, 2 inches above your face, hope you're not claustrophobic eh?

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Top bunks with the mosquito nets super close to your face

Even with all the crappiness on the first night (and I am not even going to get started about the VERY drunk Swede who was talking to himself, loudly, in the bunk below us for very near an hour), the next morning Brooke and I decided to tough it out and stay one more night. Bree on the other hand was over it. She tried to get a boat off the island, but as no one was coming ... or going until the next day she was stranded with the rest of us. Luckily the remainder of our stay at Robinson Crusoe was great. The weather fortunately took a turn for the better and all was well. All in all we saw fire dancing, knife throwing/dancing, bon fires, kayaking, snorkeling, handline fishing, good food, good company, ... everything turned out to be a good time. I however prove to still have the sweetest blood ever, as I was harvested by the mosquitoes. See the album for more pics...

Tomorrow Australia...

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Look at Brooke blow fire, she got REALLY tan!

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... it can be pretty

More pictures from Fiji!

Posted by court_7 19:56 Archived in Fiji Comments (2)

Fiji

Bula, Bula Fiji...

So after a fabulous 13 hour flight from LA, we finally arrived in Nadi, Fiji. First things first, customs, where I was rudely forced to give up my beef jerky (tear*) ... something about it being forbidden in Fiji or something.

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Jerky confiscation

Once vegified, we found our driver and rode out to our hostel. Once we dropped our things we immediately set out to explore the beach around our hostel. We found a great peir with tons of little crabs and jumping fish, and were informed by a local that if we return tomorrow we can see the large crab he is going to catch this evening.

After bumming a ride into Nadi town (pronounced NaNdi, apparently there is an N pronounced before every D in Fijian) we spent most of the afternoon walking around Nadi, parousing shops, and mostly acclamating to Fiji. Nadi is a pretty dirty city, sort of like China Town in NYC, everyone has something to sell. After wandering around town, and escaping with only a towel and food purchases, we began the trek home to our hostel as the buses were obviously not running because it was a national holiday (Youth day apparently). On our walk we met some Fijian kids, rope swinging into the beautiful brown, eel infested Nadi river.

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Proud display of the afternoon catch

These seemingly harmless children, were showing us how they were killing the eels by squeezing them, and also beating them against the rocks. Supposedly they were taking the eels home for dinner... we were a bit skeptical, but this is Fiji right?

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Kids playing in the mud river at Nadi

After playing with the kids, we began the long and hot trek back to our hostel (of course we were too cheap to get a taxi, and really what else were we going to do). Let me tell you, walking in Fiji is a boost to self esteem as everyone, men, women, children are so friendly and call out 'Bula!', fijian for hello.

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Bree and I trekking home from Nadi town

So far, Fiji is fabulous, hot and humid, and we are planning on getting very burnt during the next few days! more later, until then...

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Reading at sunset... I DO read.

Posted by court_7 21:54 Archived in Fiji Comments (2)

It begins

The time is here...

After months of anticipiation and angst on the part of my mother, the time has finally come for my sojourn about the South Pacific... To say I am excited would be the understatement of the century.

Here I will list some of my adventures and mainly post photos as proof that I am still alive and well. For all of you who doubt my ability to live from a backpack for a month and a half (myself included) this blog will serve as documented proof. Our trip consists of 3 countries in 5 weeks, Fiji, Australia and New Zealand. Tomorrow Fiji...

Posted by court_7 07:41 Tagged preparation Comments (0)

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