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Australia

Curious what backpackers do in Australia? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Thursday morning I drove the last few hours over to Melbourne and picked up the keys to my airbnb for the long weekend, after a bit of driving around I managed to find a cute little 1 bedroom apartment in the North Melbourne area and started making plans to catch up with Wayne (for those of you that don’t know Wayne is an old work friend from GE… and Wayne if you’re reading this I know u totally just got all excited about me calling you a friend ;-) ) . For some reason, possibly because I was talking to an English friend I made the decision to wear jeans instead of shorts when we headed out for a beer at around 5pm… what a numpty, a sweaty sweaty numpty. I met up with Wayne outside his place just opposite the Queen Victoria market after a bit of walking in the heat and an unconditioned Tram ride and Wayne being delightfully honest and forthright as I remembered made sure that one of his first comments was “JESUS you are sweaty! That's disgusting!” aww missed you too bud. The Queen Victoria market, for those of you that don’t know is a major landmark, the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the many many places I didn’t end up going to in what turned out to be a bit of a long weekend piss up…. oops

    After a couple of beers and a catch up at Wayne’s we headed out and walked down Elizabeth street towards the waterfront in search of a cold beer and a good catch up spot. We would have made it about 3/4 blocks in 30 degree heat with me wearing jeans when I decided to indulge one of my favourite new city past times and visit a “British” pub ( Charles Dickens Tavern for anyone that's interested), compared to Canada’s attempt this was pretty spot on, dodgy décor, sport on TV’s, Grumpy old Cojers sitting around moaning, I even got a relatively decent pint of London pride… The spell was only broken briefly when in a super thick Aussie accent some woman stated to her family “Look at this: bangers, mash and Gravy… that sounds disgusting”… silly people. Also side note, I did not enjoy the graffitied picture of Chris Robshaw when on the same poster Rooney’s ugly mug was staring at me…

    After a couple in the air conditioned little pub we decided we should find something a bit more Aussie and continued our walk down to the waterfront. We found a cool bar (Arbory Bar and Eatery) with a nice water view and tanqueray as a house gin…Ideal. A good few rounds and a decent amount of catching up later Wayne was remembering why he didn’t used to try and keep up with me when drinking and I was getting tired after a few days of driving at the such like and we decided to part ways for the night with an agreement that we would have a much bigger night on the Friday when Rachel got into town.

    After a bit of a lay in and despite a forecast of rain I decided I would make the 30 minute walk up to the Melbourne Zoo. As many of you know, and even more of you mock me for, despite my 6’3”, 30 year old bald guy exterior, when it comes to a few things I am a giant child, nothing more so than Animals and Melbourne zoo did not disappoint. Melbourne zoo felt spacious, the enclosures seemed large and well kept, it didn’t feel like they were constantly trying to sell you food, drinks and souvenirs (I’m looking at you London Zoo) and there were loads of animals. Check out my video here : https://www.dropbox.com/s/86ewh7zeowfqngz/melb zoo.mp4?dl=0 .I spent a good few hours there until my camera battery ran down, the drizzle turned into rain and I got peckish.
    Friday night saw the arrival of Rachel (I’m trying to train myself not to refer to her as Rach as it turns out she genuinely hates that) into Melbourne, I picked her up from the airport and after a couple of warm up beers in the flat we decided to head out for a night on the town with Wayne. We decided we would start with a place that had been recommended by both Aiden & Craig called Cookie (they claim its Thai food and cocktails)… we however could find no sign of the place despite standing right next to where google maps claimed it was! We instead wondered around the corner to the Exford Arms ( a place that would basically become our new local for the duration of the trip after we discovered reasonable drinks prices, free pool and free video jukebox (mostly 80’s power ballads) ooh and it was open until 4am! I wont bore you with the details but it was Wayne, Rachel, Wayne's friend Aimeree and me, pints, shorts, spritzers, shots and bombs, followed by a hungry jacks (its just burger king Australia, why u being silly with the name).

    After a well deserved lay in Saturday started ( I say started it was about mid-day) with a trip over to the Casino for some lunch, drinks and a bit of gambling. Lunch was good, drinks were expensive and the blackjack was going well until the following happened (if you don’t know blackjack skip to the next paragraph). I was down to $80 remaining and felt a good vibe so went for a $40 hand, I got 11 and the dealer was showing a 3! as a fine Australian gentleman I’ve known for a long time says “winner winner chicken dinner”, the only decision left… to double or not to double… he’s got a 3… its doubling time… it went downhill quickly, $80 on the table and my next and final card… a 2…dealer… draws to 18… time to go home… god I hate gambling, mainly cos I suck! To quote a little kiwi friend “I’m not saying Stewart’s unlucky but if he fell in a barrel full of tits he’d come up sucking his own thumb”

    After a consolatory pint and cigarette in the casino “beer garden” we decided to go for a walk down the south bank and to meet up with Wayne at our new local, maybe stopping for 1/2 on the way…. Again I wont bore you with details, I’ll just say Arbory Bar and Eatery, Young and Jackson Pub, The Carlton Club and the Exford! We er’d on the side of caution after that and picked up a take-out from china town which was very authentic and quite tasty.

    I have to say Melbourne is a beautiful city with lovely people and a great vibe and I would definitely visit again some time. It definitely has a bit of a hipster vibe… which explains soooooo much about Aiden! And was at its most evident at the place me and Rach stopped for lunch on my way to drop her to the airport where my pulled pork sandwich was not held together with a toothpick, but a needle-less syringe full of sauce…
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  • Woke up in Port Arthur. Hit the Tassie Devil zoo at 10am. Really awesome especially when 3 devils fought over the same piece of wallaby! Great kangaroo feeding too. And quolls!
    Drove 1.5 hours north to Ross. A river town with the 3rd oldest bridge in Australia.
    On the way Jesse and I jumped an electric fence and (illegally) harvested some wheat!
    We are going fishing in the river again tonight. No luck this arvo. Apparently there are platypus here too.
    Having Tassie red wine on the river banks now.
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  • Woke up in Ross. 5 mins after waking we all played aerobie. Yay!!!!
    Drove up the back roads, with lots of wild flowers, poppy fields, sheep and cows.
    Very bleak up on the plateau.
    Arrived at Great Lake - apparently one of THE BEST trout fishing spots in Tas.
    Ate a pizza and played darts at the pub. We are staying at the back of the Great Lake Hotel. It has a lovely, enormous, gravel car park. Amy is particularly fond of the view because she's not into fishing so much.
    Spent $50 on tackle, worms and lures. Zach lost $30 worth of tackle, Jesse lost $20 worth.
    Caught ZERO fish!!!!!!
    Noooooooooo!!!!!!!
    Luckily we are going to wake up at 5 am and go fishing again in the morning!!!!
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  • Drove from the bleak highlands to beautiful Deloraine on the Meander river. Very artsy-crafty town. Spent a lazy day on the river bank swimming, fishing, frisbying, drinking wine, eating cheese, listening to music and having a great lunch at a local cafe.
    Saw lots of baby ducks who ate bread from our hands.
    Also saw an echidna and a platypus (and a thylacine) on the same day!

  • Spent a great night catching up with friends and their families. Pretty quiet couple of days otherwise in Melbourne restocking the van and enjoying some down time at Uncle Ians house. On Tuesday evening we boarded the overnight cruise on the Spirit of Tasmania to Devonport

  • Cradle Mountain is an amazing world heritage site. We explored around Dove Lake and the famous boathouse, walked up to Wombat Pool and then walked about 3km to Ronny Creek. Such beautiful scenery of Cradle Mountain and we even saw a wombat! After a literally freezing night in the caravan it was a beautiful day for walking...

  • Left Abel Point Marina bright and early on a sailing ship called Siska. Had cool crew captain called Tess who was just stood fag in hand in her bikini driving the boat, and a deck hand called Jamie who was exactly like the turtle from Finding Nemo. Sailed into the Whitsundays 74 islands and put the sails up, have never been on a boat like that before with the boat tilting so much. The boat Siska used to be a racing boat and apparently had Prince Charles on before!

    Went to Whitehaven Beach first, voted number one beach in the world. It was absolutely stunning, silicon sand that is finest in world. Apparently was used to make glass for Hubble telescope! Had stinger suits and went paddling in the water. Had met some people on board, Emilia from Sweden and a group of boys from Oxford called Sam, Owen (ecologist) and Thomas (lawyer). Walked up to observatory post and saw how beautiful it was from up high. Amazing.

    Then went to Tongue Bay for first snorkel, saw lots of tiny fish but caught my foot on some coral so got a scabby foot injury! 🙈

    Moored for the night in Hook Passage which was calm area between two islands. The stars were INSANE. Never seen quite so many. Laid in a hammock that had been strung up on the front of the boat and stared up for ages. Could see Orion's Belt and so many others. Played cards with the boys and Emilia and watched the moon physically moving up and over the island with its reflection on the water. It was amazing.

    Food was good all day, had quiche for lunch, nachos for snacks, and bolognaise for dinner.

    Sleeping wasn't so much fun, it was SO HOT in the cabin and really uncomfortable and noisy. Dozed for a few hours and then we were all up early.....
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  • So by now I am a little bit sunburnt 😬

    We stopped in Mackerel Bay and Maureen's Cove (Maureen was apparently an island nurse and liked to swim in the cove herself) for snorkelling but I decided not to because of sunburn levels 🙈

    The first snorkel I rode in dingy boat with Jamie and saw a turtle pop up right in front of me! And went quite fast in the dingy which was fun and I felt braver than normal 😂

    Second snorkel I stayed on deck, as did a lot of people but by now it was sooooooo hot. Was a furnace by the time I got back to land. Walked to hotel with Emilia with plans to meet them all later for drinks but ended up with a bit of heatstroke so couldn't go out 😬

    All in all an amazing trip and would recommend the Explore Whitsundays trip to anyone! It was just sooooo hot.
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  • Finally saw the cousins yay!!!! Great to see Sandy, Brad, Alyssa and Jasmine! It was COLD AND WINDY. Sandy drove me to Cradle mtn, and we saw a WOMBAT on the way. I walked for 30 mins with Sandy to the Wombat Poo, then I hiked up to the summit of Cradle Mtn ((1543m) solo great weather and great views. I wasn't going to take any food or water with me, but then Sandy gave me a nagging look and I took an apple and a water bottle.
    Sooooooo cooold that night.
    But a good fire in the camp kitchen.
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  • Went on a big 3 hour walk around Dove Lake with the 2 families. Great views and weather. We were all pretty exhausted at the end.
    Wine and cards that night in front of the fire in the camp kitchen.
    Cousins playing very well together.
    Zach fell over and grazed his elbow. OOOOWWWWW!!

You might also know this place by the following names:

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