Today we would travel back in time arriving in Santiago 5 hrs before even leaving from New Zealand. Having arrived at the airport 2 hrs before check in, this meant a lot of waiting around, however, once checked in and gone through to the departure lounge we discover the flight had been delayed for 5 hrs, so yet more waiting around was to be done and a second consecutive burger king to be had! Eventually we boarded th plane at 10pm and took our seats (not together tho) i was next to some random South Americans. We then arrived in Santiago at around 6pm the same day and made our way to our hostel. We then went on the hunt for some food, and surprise surprise we ended up at burger king yet again. Not onky that, but we were apparently in quite an unsafe area.
We got the mightly pullman bus to Valpariso, which was seemed an ok place.
Today we took and 8 hr bus journey from Valpariso to Mendoza in Argentina. First impressions was that it was a very nice place. That evening we went out for dinner to a high class restaurant aand had a meal and a litre of beer for around 30 pesos which is 5 pounds! Not only that, but because it was only 18.30, we had the whole restaurant to ourslves as the spanish do not eat until around 9pm. After we just went back to a bar / resaurant near our hostel and had a few more beers.
Me and Oli went into Mendoza to sort a few things out. The main thing was Oli trying to get a sim card, and asking questions about sim cards and trying to get answers was very hard seeing non of the sales assisstents spoke english and we spoke very little spanish. In the end we found this guy in a phone / internet cafe who helped us and Oli decided to repay the uy for all his hard work with a handful of sweets and chocolate bars....random, but i guess it was a nice gesture.
We then went out for dinner, yet again to another high class restaurant, which was very relaxing , however Oli had to be at a tango class with in 20 mins of arriving at the restaurant, so obviously he wasnt going to make it on time!
We were to catch a bus from Mendoza to Salta however when we turned up to the bus station at 12pm there were no seats until 8pm!! So effectively we were delayed by 8 hrs. The afternoon consisted on the internet mainly, as this is why im doing this bog now.
Today i was doing my sky dive! Was met by 2 guys at Dingos and filled in some paper work incase anything happened to me. I then got taken to a field, where me and MajaGot into the tiny plane which would take us up to 14,000 feet! Having been in the plane for 30 mins, everything seemed fine, then Phil (the guy in was attached to) opened the door. This is when it really hit me (and it hit me hard!) that i was about to jump out of a plane. Having landed onto the beach and the fact i was still alive i was feeling exilerated. The dive was not as bad as i had thought, and would probably do one again.
Got the bus down to Noosa, and surprise surprise, Nick was on the bus. So we headed down to Noosa and both checked into Koalas. We then went up to the look out point, where you could look out over the whole of Noosa. In the eveing we took advantage of happy hour at the hostel and got on the 8 dollar jugs of beer. Having sunk a few jugs we went to the main street in Noosa and went to rolling rock.
Today we went to Australia Zoo! A good day, but think the zoo was slightly over rated. However, the 5 year plan is for the zoo to reach 500 acres in size and the 10 year plan is to expand to 1000 acres with Beerwa train station running through the zoo and to have its own hotel and safari park!
Got the greyhound to Surfers, where is was picked up from the bus stop in a limo and taken to the sleeping inn. Laying on my bed and then a girl walks into my dorm. Turns out its Maja who i did the sky dive with! That eveing the hostel was holding an all you can eat pizza fest for 5 dollars! Ate so much pizza, felt so sick after. We all then walked into town to shooters, where we got free entry and drink. Drinks were 4.50 until midnight, which was good. Then Maja and me went to a bar called Melbas. Was at the bar and got speaking to these 2 guys. Turned out One of them had his own internet site and the other guy worked for him as a male gigalo! Thought they were winding me up, but then i remembered seeing the guy from a dating advert on tv! Really random. Then we headed up stairs and got some vip treatment and a free round of drinks! which was cool, as James and Zak were buying me and Maja drinks anyway.
Still drunk, had to check out and then got the bus to wet n' wild. Spent the day there which was cool. Then got the bus in the evening to Byron
This morning i made my way up to the lighthouse where you had great views of Byron Bay. Got back to the hostel where i met a new dorm mate, Corry. That eveing we went out in Byron tanked up on passion pop! Nasty cheap sparkling wine, but affective!
Hung around Byron during the day and then got my 6pm bus down to Sydney which got in a 7am the next day!
Location: 1770 / Rainbow / Fraser, Australia
This morning i arrived in 1770 in tow with Nick and Pip. Having hardly slept all night and the fact it was raining wasnt the greatest. Turned out, Racheal and Anna were in the same room as me and Nick which was cool. Did little this day
Me and Nick stupidly decided to walk from Agnus Waters to 1770 which took us over an hour, was raining and got constantly attacked by fly's!!! In the afternoon we we set to do the choppers, but it was called off as it was still raining! This meant that i did nothing in the 2 days i spent in 1770. However, in evening we went to some random germans house as there was an organised bbq. Turned out the whole of our hostel was there and was pretty cool.
Today i got the bus down to rainow beach, where surprise surprise, i bumped into Davies again! In the afternoon we had our breifing for the Fraser trip and got put in our groups.
This was the first day of Fraser. At 7.45am we were round the back of Dingos having our final breifing from Merv. Then we set off to catch the ferry across to Fraser. First stop was lake Mckenzie - awesome! Then we set off to find our campsite. Once set up it was time to cook our first group meal (stir fry) which went without a hitch. After eating we went next door where some of the other groups were to party.
Went to see the ship wreck and Indian Head. Both were really good
Went to Lake Wappy. This was probably the highlight of Fraser. It was like being in the desert and amazing views. After this it was time to get the ferry back to rainbow beach. That eveing we all went out for dinner.
Location: Magnetic Island / Airlie Beach
Travelled to Townsville where i had to catch the ferry across to Magentic Island. Once on the island i arrived at Base, which was a really good hostel. Then spent the evening with Pip, Rachael and Keely, who i had met randomly in the internet room. The 4 of us managed to plough our way through a 4 litre goon!
Me and Pip went and hired a barbie mobile, funny as hell, then just spent the day going around the island. In the evening, Nick had made it to the island, so we went to the magners bar to play some pool.
This was a cool day and was also my birthday. Me and Nick went to the koala village, were we got to hold a bably crocodile, carpet python and of corse a koala! Then the evening brought lots of fun and games. Having said i was not going to dress up, the girls in my room completely ignored my comment and turned me in to a car accident victim. Glad they did in the end, as the night would not have been nearly as good!
With fairly big hangover i had to catch they greyhound down to Airlie Beach. Checked into Magnums and then went to check in for my Whitsundays where i found out that you actually leave Friday evening, not Friday morning. After cooking for ourselves we headed to morrocos bar and then the beaches where we met up with the girls from the koala village on magnetic.
Fri / Sat / Sun / Mon
Friday was just spent chilling by the lagoon, walking around Airlie and visiting the port. Then around 6.30pm i was dropped off at the port to board my boat (the Anaconda). This was an awesome 3 days. Having woken up Saturday morning to the ocean, we across to White Haven Beach, which is the 3rd most beautiful / natural beach in the world! The rest of the morning was spent practicing diving. The afternoon was spent snokling an area of the reef. Sunday was to be the best day...we went to Bait Reef to do snorkeling in the morning which was so good and then some of the others dived in the afternoon. Then in the evening time we headed for Peal Bay where we watched the best sun set i have ever seen. The eveing was spent having a few beers and having dinner, before heading to bed for another early night. Our last day (Monday) saw us move to another location to go snorkelling as the previous location had reports of a 2 metre crocodile being sighted! Which by all accounts was a very rare thing for that part of the coast. Having gone for another snorkelling jaunt, we had lunch and headed back to Airlie with the sails in action to top off the trip!!
Location: Cairns / Mission Beach, Australia
Of on my travels again, we were up at 4am to catch a 7.15am flight from Sydney to Cairns. On arrival in Cairns we were met by the green Cairns Beach House mini bus, which took us to the hostel. One thing that immediatly Struck me was the fact that there are mountains everywhere! Mid afternoon saw the arrival of Olly and Jenny. For dinner we went to the Rhino bar as we got free food, however there was an obvious reason why the food was free! We then headed to the Woolshed where the jugs of beer became empty in little time as it was buy one get one free, so this meant 2 jugs for 10 dollars.
Today i was going off on my trip to Cape Tribulation. Even though the bus was 30 mins late we still arrived on time as the driver was a nutter! First, was the Daintree River cruise which was alright, but nothing special. I then arrived at PK's Jungle Village, where i would be staying and met Marcus, Sebastion, Hannah, Yanna, Fran and Jess who were all in my room. The afternoon was spent on Cape Tribulation beach and the evening in PK's bar where they had a trivia night.
The morning was spent on the beach, before i was picked up around lunch time to head for the Mossman George. After this, we headed to Port Douglas, stopping on the was at Alexander Point Look out (where Steve Irwin died). Port Douglas was very nice and very small. We only had 1 hour to look around, but this was enough time to get a feel for the small resort. The evening was just spent relaxing at the Cairns Beach House bar, as Olly, Olly, Jenny and Joel were doing their day trip to the Great Barrier reef the follwing day.
I had a day off, so just spent the day looking around the lagoon and port. Upon Joel, Olly, Olly and Jenny's retern we obviously headed to the Rhino bar for our free food and then went onto Gilligans.
This had to be a day to remember. Departing Cairns harbout at 8am, me and the other 15 people (12 girls!) headed 1.5 hrs out to the Great Barrier Reef aboard Ocean Freedom. First we went snorkling, followed by a dive, which was amazing! We then had lunch which was really good - all you could eat. The afternoon was spent doing a snorkal tour, where lots of interesting things such as sea cucumbers and star fish were pointed out by the dive instructor. After this it was time to head back to the port of Cairns. And to top off a brilliant day, i was allowed to drive the boat!
Saturday and Sunday
Saturday morning, it was time to head down to Mission Beach. First impressions was that there was nothing there, literally. One petrol station ans a tiny supermarket. Nothing much happened over the 2 days, just relaxed, went to a bar called Coco's and met Nick.
Location: Duffy's Forest, Australia
With only 2 days to go to find somewhere to live, it was time to view some places. However, a game of tennis obviously had to be played first. We then headed into Sydney to the furnished property group, who told us that the next available apartment wouldnt be until th 24th April. However we still went and looked at an apartment to get an idea of the standard of property. The guy who showed us round turned out to be from Norwich! Chedgrave to be more exact, right next to Langley! Apparently he came to Australia 5 years ago for a year but stayed longer than a year and got banned from the country for 3 years so he went to a few other places including New Zealand. Now he is back in Australia as he is being sponsered to work in the country.
After viewing one of the properties which seemed quite good, we had 3 hrs to kill before meeting a chineese woman who was to show us another apartment. So we went to see where these Meriton apartments were that we had heard about, then had dinner at the YHA.
It was now time to meet the chineese woman, but after waiting 20 mins we started to wonder if she would ever turn up! Oli then phoned her up to see where she was.....she said she was stuck in traffic and for some reason wanted to double check how many of us there was even though the apartment was for 4 people!?
By this point, Oli was convinced she was going to turn up with 4 meatheads, do us over and take all our money. So he put his bank card in his shoe, ha ha! She eventually turned up 45 mins late (on her own i may add). Turned out the apartment was no good as she wanted all 4 of us to stay in one tiny room to 2 bunk beds. We told her this was no good, so she said there was another place available just down the road where it would be 2 people per room. With this we were told to walk 5 mins down the road to meet some guy on the corner of a road (sounded well dodgy). We met the guy who then showed us around the apartment...it was ok, but smelt quite bad and had seen better days.
Location: Duffy's Forest, Australia
Having woken up 3 hrs later than planned (1pm) there was nothing else left to do but play a good old doubles game of tennis. However, like on Saturday my play started poor, although after a while my serves started to make up for this. After the game we drove to Madavale to get food supplies from Woolies, which inevitably led to us buying more BBQ food. After the BBQ we played some card games and ad some drinks. Then we decided to try and find the local pub - Terrey Hills Tavern. We found it alright, but it was shut!
Location: Duffy's forest, Australia
Having got to bed at 6am this morning we got up about 2.30pm. With only 4 or so hrs of daylight left, Stuart took us to see some sights in the nearby area. One of which was Palm Beach where Home and Away is filmed. By now it was evening time so having got back to Stuarts we got started on the BBQ. After this, Stuart, Ashley, Joel and Oli decided to play a drinking game that involed GOON! This is dirt cheap white wine mixed with cranberry juice and orange juice....and it gets you drunk! Towards the end of the game, Ashley pulled out the last king, which meant he had to down a pint of beer, mixed with some white wine and a few shots of that nasty Thai drink he had bought. Having already drunk a lot of goon, he decided to take the challenge outside so he wouldnt have to clear up any mess........surprisingly there wasnt any!
Location: Duffy's Forest, Australia
Tonight we were going out in Sydney. First it was off to Liz's house to meet up with her and some of Stuarts other friends. We then caught the bus which would take us into Sydney. However, i was never going to make it, having had one beer! About 10 mins away from Sydney i had to bale out at one of the stops to relieve myself then catch a taxi in the rest of the way. However, this proved to be a bit of an error.........the others had gone onto a club called the tank, and little did i know at the time, but 9 times out of 10 you have to be with a group (primarily girls) to be let in. After being turned away twice and feeling the full force of Sydney's arrogance (Sydney has the most arrogant people in Australia - fact!) i managed to get in on my third attempt - god knows how!
Location: Sydney / Duffy's forest, Australia
Today we left the Delux hostel, which was far from 'delux'. First we went to pick up our hire car, which was a brand new Yaris. Joel took it upon himself to be the first to drive and took us to Surry Hills, where we then went to all the estate agents along Crown Road trying to find out if any of them had any 4 bed apartments / houses. We couldnt have been any more unsuccessful.
Anyway, we then set off to Duffy's Forest, which is where we would be staying for the next week. Half an hour later we arrived only to be greeted by a massive alsation! Not knowing if we had the right house we all got out of the yaris and followed it round the back of the house. Indeed we had come to the right house and were greeted by Judy. She then gave us a tour of the place, showing us the tennis court, pool, and the hens...which we would have to let out and put to bed every day while they were away.
It was now dinner time and we all sat down to eat the roast Judy had done for us. This also gave us a chance to break the ice with Stuart, Chris (Stuarts dad) and Steph (Stuarts sister). Having finished dinner, Stuart had offered to take us out to a club in Manavale, as he was meeting some friends there. He took us to a place he usually goes on a Thursday and the queue was huage! After 30 mins we got in and turned out to be a good night. We also met Stuarts friend Liz, who was possibly the smallest girl i had seem so far in Australia! Dont know her height, but she was small and she was wearing heels!