To those of us from the northern hemisphere April signifies a time of new life and the beginning of spring. Halfway around the world, we are experiencing falling leaves, cool mornings and nights and advertisements marketing ways to “stay warm this winter.” It’s hard to believe that a week and a half ago we were watching the cherry blossoms bloom in Seoul and here we are in Australia experiencing autumn.
We landed in Melbourne on April 18th and our dear friend, Lesley, picked us up from the airport. We met Lesley through CouchSurfing a couple of years ago. We hosted her in Denver and remained friends throughout the years. Now she is hosting us in Australia (Melbourne and Cairns). We are so fortunate to have such an amazing friend! It took us a few days to get over the shock that we were actually hanging out with each other again.
We took the first day to catch up on sleep, laundry, groceries, etc. The next day we took the train from Diamond Creek to Melbourne. It took an hour by train but the beautiful scenery helped to pass the time. Our mission in the city was to book our Greyhound tickets up the east coast to Cairns. That’s right people we are riding Greyhound!
We explored the city and kept saying to each other “Can you believe we are in Australia?” We were on the quest for a “G’day Mate” and received a “G’day” from one of Lesley’s neighbors whilst (Australian version of while) walking back from the store. (We bet you just read G’day with an Australian accent). Yes!
Lesley planned a big night out on the town for us on Friday night for the International Comedy Festival. Josh was excited that drinking was on the agenda for the night and this time he had a drinking buddy, Lesley’s brother, Ross! The night started out with a very interesting ride on the train to the city. (Check out our photo tab for pictures)
We laughed our butts off while watching Lawrence Leung! Lesley translated the inside Australian jokes during the show.
Australian vs. American Vocabulary
Heaps = A lot (This is used a lot/heaps)
Thongs = Flip-Flops
G-String = Thong
Reckon = I Guess
Car Park = Parking Lot
Footpath = Sidewalk
Budgie Smugglers = Man’s Speedo (Banana Hammock)
Singlet = Tank Top
How are you going? = How are you doing?
Rubbish = Trash
Chewy = Gum
Rubbish = Trash
Chewy = Gum
The next morning we met up with Ross and Kathryn (Kat) and headed to Kat’s parents’ lake house in Bonnie Doon. Lesley asked to borrow Kat’s thongs and thank goodness we already knew this meant her flip-flops! The drive to Bonnie Doon was so picturesque. We were in awe the entire 2½-hour drive. The landscape was like nothing we had ever seen before and is truly one of a kind.
We ate BBQ including kangaroo:
We had a wonderful time hanging with our new friends playing ping-pong , dancing and enjoying each other’s company. We felt like we were with old friends as we ate and drank throughout the night. We had heaps of fun!!!
The next morning we made another beautiful drive to Healesville Sanctuary.
Healesville Sanctuary has exhibits with only Australian animals!
Josh with wallaby = calm and lovable
Leanne with wallaby = bite your finger
Of course, the only way to follow a visit to the zoo is with cold local beers!
Josh was longing for a ride on one of these antique beauties.
What a memorable weekend with our great friends!
We spent the next day preparing for our 12-hour Greyhound trip to Sydney that night. While we were excited to explore a new place we were sad to leave our friends. Lesley and her family and friends are as close to a family that we can get while on the road.
We arrived in Sydney the morning of Tuesday, April 24th. Leanne is attempting to write the date in this blog and it keeps trying to auto-fill with the previous day since we are 16 hours ahead of Denver time.
Walking the Wharf
Famous Sydney Opera House
There is such captivating beauty to Sydney. Our mode of transportation changed from subway riding to catching the ferry.
We were fortunate enough to be in Australia during Anzac Day. This is similar to Memorial Day and Veterans Day wrapped up into one. There were marches throughout Australia paying tribute to veterans. There was a parade all day and it was very touching.
We took a trip on the ferry to Manly beach. Everything was really manly there, even our traveling bear!
Australia has recently tackled the microbrew scene. We pat Australian brewers on the back for their efforts but our taste still prefers Colorado microbrews.
We noticed something swimming in the ocean and tried to take a picture. We thought it was a platypus but a local woman said they only swim in fresh water. We did some research and this is not true. They swim in both fresh and salt water.
Leave us a comment as to what animal you think this is. It is definitely not a duck.
We packed as much as we could in our two days in Sydney but before we knew it the Greyhound was calling us again.
We rode through the night and were dropped off in the middle of nowhere in Coffs Harbour at 5:30 am. At first we were a little worried about what we would do with our bags for our 10-hour visit. We walked 3 kms (seemed like forever) and found a nice hostel that let us store our bags and use the facilities for the day. This was the start of a great day.
We hiked and spent the day on the beach. We even saw a school of dolphins and a man wearing budgie smugglers (NOT pictured).
The 10 hours we had to spend in Coffs Harbour went by so fast. We hopped a bus and rode 4 hours to our current location in Byron Bay.
We are about to head out on a walkabout to the lighthouse. We look forward to catching up with you next time!
Thanks for following.
Leanne & Josh