The Great Ocean Road – Port Campbell-Warrnambool

Day Three:

We saw the Twelve Apostles yesterday but we just wanted to see them again and go quite early to spend a bit longer and enjoy the sunrise peeking over the rock formations. We were so tired that we just missed sunrise but we still got a beautiful view of the Sun pointing west towards the Apostles which saw shadows of the cliffs loom over them and made for some nice photographs.

We had decided the night before we would have to back track towards Cape Otway to check out the Otway Fly Treetop Adventures as it was too late to go when originally planned – no thanks to Jucy. We drove towards the park looking forward to doing some zip line activities as well as the treetops walk and since we had Merlin annual passes it would cost us nothing….wrongo!! We got there and found out it was free for us to do the treetop walk & nature trail but it was around $100 to do the zip line although maybe 25% off, still very pricey so we gave that a miss. The nature trail was ok, a lot of ferns and trees but a few dinosaurs in between, all very old and in need of repair (the raptors had legs missing). We joined the treetops walk which wasn’t amazing but I liked making it move – the older generation did not. Overall we are glad we didn’t have to pay but it we enjoyed being outdoors taking in the natural beauty.

We found a national park close to Otway Fly Treetop Adventures which has a waterfall – Triplet Falls, named apply for its gradient fall. We had a slight incline to walk but we had fun, especially being rewarded with a picturesque view of the waterfall. Some people had took an unofficial detour to get the bottom of the water to have a swim maybe, Sean tried but felt it was a bit steep for me to be comfortable with. However we had some great views from the three levels, it took us about an hour return and was not too strenuous.

We headed forward on the Great Ocean Road, stopping off at a few more monuments near the Twelve Apostles. The coastline between Cape Otway and Port Fairy is a notoriously dangerous stretch of water. In the days of sailing ships more than 80 vessels came to grief on this 120km stretch in just 40 years. The most famous wreck was that of Loch Ard, hence the lookout name; Loch Ard Gorge. This was our favourite lookout on the GOR, it had a beautiful but small beach which was like a cove surrounded by two huge cliffs. These cliffs created some monstrous waves and you could see why people are not allowed to swim these waters, It did not stop some silly women frolicking around like a beached whale though – a local however pulled her out un-amused. I could have stayed here all day but as the tide came in and started washing people’s belongings out to sea (someone lost there iPhone here) we decide to make hast and drive onwards to some more lookout points.

We saw many more along the way, Including Thunder Cave – a name referred to by the noise made by the waves crashing inside the cave, London Bridge – a famous rock formation named recently due to two tourists in the 90s being stranded when rocks collapsed separating the stack to the mainland.  Bay of Islands and Bay of Martyrs were pretty amazing too with a vast sight into the distance of yet more rock stacks. We realised that in years to come the very spot we were standing would one day be another apostle, this was a crazy thought.

As the sun started to decent beyond sight we got back in our van and drove to Warrnambool, the last destination on the Great Ocean Road. We found a campsite to stay overnight which was quite small and Sean thought, very Bogeny (Aussie term for redneck). We cooked some camel burgers, which just tasted like beef, and enjoyed the starry skies.

We loved the GOR and would miss the beauty of the coastal drive especially the fun windy roads and the lookout after lookout, but we were only a quarter of the way into our roadtrip as we had plenty more to see towards Port Lincoln and then inland towards Sydney. For now though we had to catch some zzz’s after a long adventure filled day. Night John boy.

St Kilda beach, The Nunnery, Fitzroy

Sadly Space Hotel was fully booked so we had to hunt down new accommodation. We booked some nights at The Nunnery, it was a bit further out than Space but only a 15 minute walk to CBD. It was a nice little hostel, we stayed in a 6 bed dorm ($34 each) but unfortunately apart from an American girl the other guys sharing the room were very annoying. Sleep was a blessing, as two nights in a row we were woken up numerous times. One of the guys from our dorm was a bit of a party animal and would come and wake us up in the middle of the night. “Come out!” He’d say “We’ve got goon! Come get some goon!” Another guy loved to walk in the room and turn all the lights on and then walk out leaving all the doors open. What a douche! Everyone was very clicky at the hostel so it was very hard to interact with them. At a free BBQ at the hostel we did manage to speak to a friendly guy from Argentina called Francisco.

That day we had a house to view not far from Carlton Park. We knocked on the door and Jess greeted us and let us in. My first impressions weren’t great, the room we walked into was her bedroom, mattress on the floor and clutter everywhere. She was a nice girl, a bit hippy looking wearing an oversized jumper and she had dreadlocks. Her friend was sporting a little pencil tash and to be honest seemed a bit high. His eyes were red and he spoke very scatty. The house overall was very cluttered, the bathroom had vines growing from outside, into the window and down the inside of the bathroom wall which did look cool but neither of us fancied sharing a shower with a load of spiders. After looking around the house we returned to Jess’s bedroom to find that tash-guy had the munchies. He found a bag of nuts amongst the clutter and began to munch away as Jess reminded him that he had a nut allergy. We sat there asking a few more questions and talking about Melbourne in general. Tash-guy stopped eating his nuts as he was feeling sick, which was our cue to leave.

During our stay at The Nunnery and in between the rain we had a nice day were it was 28°C so we went to St Kilda beach. It wasn’t the best of beaches but it was nice to be by the sea. Near the beach was Luna Park with a massive face as the entrance. We checked out some of the markets, walked in the sea and relaxed on the beach.

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We managed to book more nights in the much loved Space Hotel. For our last night at The Nunnery we avoided the noise and the two of us headed to Fitzroy. It was similar to Northbridge in Perth, plenty of quirky shops and bars and a few good graffiti spots. We found a Little Creatures bar which we had missed since leaving Fremantle, we chilled out with a few bottles of pale ale discussing our plans and future trips.

Settling into Melbourne life

So now we were in Melbourne it was time to try getting a job until we were ready to move on to Sydney. We were finding lots of jobs were going and lots were looking for casual Christmas staff so it was just a case of printing a tonne of resumes out and scattering them throughout the city like mad men.

Printing isn’t really that cheap but we found the library in Melbourne to be an easy place to do it and 15¢ wasn’t too bad but later we found a cheaper alternative was office works at 8¢ a page. We planned out where we were going to hand our resumes, like a strategic plan of attack. We tried the obvious shopping centers due to amount of stores they have inside. Westfield is a good one and Melbourne central, a glass dome building built in the 90s which has encased an old shot tower from the 1800s we got a few great pictures of this unique contrast in construction (to be added). Check out Melbourne central

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With our resumes we stuck to retail areas but I did try a few cafes and bars due to my experience in hospitality but a lot of the time they want minimum experience of 2-3 years and if the company sells alcohol or has any gambling machines then you need an RSA/RCG (responsible service of alcohol/responsible conduct of gambling) license and for this you have to have it within the state you work so if you had an RSA in WA you would need to get a new license in NSW and they vary in price but aren’t cheap being around the $80-100+ mark.

A lot of employer’s seemed ok with working holiday visa travellers but you should ways check before handing your CV in as it’s just a waste, we did bend the truth slightly to help us get more of a chance by saying we were staying for the 6 months but we really needed work for 2 months and then it’s Sydney for Christmas and New Year. This isn’t great and it probably does effect travellers reputations when looking for work as they are more likely to not hire but we were in need of work.

Enough of the job stress we took a break and headed over to Carlton Park where we went to Melbourne museum, they had outdoor rain forest area which was cool but very humid and a Skeleton of a blue whale – standing next to that made me realise just how small we are and especially me. I got in free for concession which was great as it wasn’t really worth the money Sean paid ($10) however they do have exhibitions on regular and I think they are (or have done by the time I write this) having a James Bond exhibition. Check out Melbourne museum.

After a long depressing day of job hunting we packed it in and snapped back in to holiday mode, we booked another 3 nights at space hotel since it was so good and we didn’t want to be moving just yet. We checked out the blue moon bar connected and they had a good vibe, cheap drinks and good food so we chilled out watching surfing on the big screen to further our taste for Australian life before heading back upstairs to our dorm to enjoy a great nights sleep..zzzzzzz

Hello Melbourne

Above our heads the seatbelt light was flashing, everyone buckled up and shortly after that it was touchdown. We had arrived in Melbourne! Due to it being a domestic flight everything went pretty quickly in the airport we were reunited with our luggage and jumped straight onto a shuttle bus which dropped us outside our accommodation.

For the next two nights me and Ash were staying at Space Hotel. This is the best hostel style accommodation we have stayed in to date. It was $85 a night for a double room, very clean and modern. The toilet and shower facilities were shared but very clean and there was plenty of them. The shared kitchen was very spacious with plenty of cooking utensils and cooker hobs. There was also an outdoor balcony and indoor dining tables. Within the building there was also a nice little gym and movie lounge. To top it of there was a nice area on the rooftop for kicking back and enjoying the city view as well as a jacuzzi. We dumped our luggage in our room then went out to explore Melbourne.

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Hosier Lane was a short walk from Space and enticed us with its graffiti covered walls. It’s become a very popular tourist spot due to the ever changing artwork covering the walls. It would be a great place for a fashion shoot, everywhere you look there is colour. Some of the graffiti had been freshly done and the smell of spray paint was still lingering. Our first  impressions of Melbourne was “cool” it was certainly a quirky, hip place to be. We already had an idea of the size difference compared to Perth, it is a much bigger city. Bigger buildings and bold statements everywhere, some of the architecture was awesome. There’s a mix of old and new such as the abstract shapes of buildings surrounding Federation Square and the older buildings such as Flinders Station.
We chilled out in Fed Square and watched the sunset behind Flinders Station. The sky had a beautiful pink and orange hue to it.

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Perth and WA is always going to be special to me. I’m glad we spent nearly 5 months there as we experienced so much and met some great people. We have so much more yet to see and have not regretted anything.

Goodbye Perth, it’s been awesome!

So here we are, an end to our adventures in WA. This post was one we were sad to make. We had enjoyed our time spent here in WA and have some treasured memories that we will not forget. Here’s how it ended.

Our last weekend in Perth and we had planned to have a goodbye meal with Sean’s relatives. Marie and Drew had put on a nice spread for us. It was good to catch up and see everyone but sad to leave not knowing when we would see each other again. We want to thank them for all their help, advise, visits and will stay in touch. Same goes for our housemates Kylee and Ian, good friends couldn’t have expected any better. We had leaving drinks in town, going from a chilled out bar and ending up in a few clubs. It was nice to let our hair down after a jam packed week. We must have danced all night cause I was aching all over the next morning.
Early start too at 7am we had a trip planned to York, about an hour away from Perth. There wasn’t much to see and do especially since it was a Sunday but we made our own fun. Stopping off at a cafe to soak up the alcohol and regain human life, I opted for spaghetti on toast, which tickled kylee and Ian.

Soon after we left and checked out a few shops, found a sweet shop as Ian wanted some ice cream. We all had a selection including bubble gums with a tattoo just for old times sake. The shop keeper kinda freaked us out a bit with her hairy top lip and boggled eyes, I think it was time to get out of there. We then found a cool vantage point up in the hills where we sat over looking the town, a graveyard and vast amounts of nothing but it was a sight none the less.
Later we paid a visit to Ian’s family home where he showed us around, checked out his family photos, his figurine Dragon and even saw our first wild snake out in the garden – not sure what snake it was, Brown with yellow stripe along its side but it was a fast one.

Perth has been a great city to start our trip, we have adjusted to the weather easily, it was not over run with backpackers during our stay in winter, beaches are beautiful and there are plenty of them to choose from, lots of events going on but at the same time if you just want to relax, surf or enjoy the scenery it’s a nice laid back city. Employment was an issue and only I managed to find work and that was a telemarketing job but I can see summer being a better time for work as the tourism industry will probably pick up.
We have bumped into a lot of people that seem to have chosen not to go to WA and many just stay in one state for the majority of their stay in Australia, we can’t understand why you wouldn’t want to explore and see what the rest of the country has to offer. From our 4.5 months in WA we have truly lived as Australians, staying with family, getting a paid job, living with a couple of down to earth Aussies that have become friends and exploring both sides of the state – from the dry lands of the out back up north, city life and the beautiful wine region down south.

Sadly we didn’t get to do everything during our stay. We missed out on visiting Rottsnest Island due to winter weather we were told its much better to visit in summer, it’s a must see place to spend the whole day or even a weekend in the accommodation provided on the island and I’m sure it’s amazing this time of year now since Perth has temperatures of 30°+.

Penguin island in Rockingham was another we didn’t get to visit although we got close, viewing it from the beach.
Exmouth and the Ningaloo Reef was one place we were gutted not to see as it has some of Australia’s beautiful coral reefs attracting a lot of sea life. The cost was a bit too much and we want to see the great barrier reef in Queensland most of all.

With our flight booked to Melbourne (pre paid through STA) we had a 3.5 hour journey, flying with quantas. The flight was long enough for us to watch a film but Sean did have technical issues with his headphones so after speaking to 2 flight attendants who frankly didn’t seem to know what to do, we had to make the lady in front of us switch seats which was very embarrassing but we finally could watch something. I watched the hilarious animation The Croods, a great family film about a family of Neanderthals in the stone age and Sean watched a film starring Sam Rockwell. After a few mediocre bites to eat and refreshments we had finally landed in Melbourne and on to our next adventure…

If there are any questions you would like to ask us, maybe about Perth or maybe just about travelling in general then leave us a comment : ) We are sorry for lack of photos, Sean will be uploading a load so if you haven’t subscribed to our blog already then do so now to receive our updates.

X x

Perth to Monkey Mia: Day 1- Pinnacles, Jurien Bay, Kalbarri

First off we just want to apologise for the lack of posts if you have been following us, we are still alive and we are still travelling. We have had such a hectic month of planning and stress that we have accumulated a backlog of post updates. Be aware you will be receiving a few posts in a big chunk so that we can get on track.

On with the post….

4 day Monkey Mia Tour

With only a matter of a few weeks left, Sean and I booked a tour through backpackers world travel with a company called Aussie Wanderers. The lady was full of information and helped us decide on the best package for us in terms of cost, time and locations. She was even nice enough to check accommodation in Sydney over New year.

We had originally wanted to go from Perth all the way up to Exmouth for 7days, as we really wanted to do snorkelling in Ningaloo Reef (known for its sea life and beautiful coral reef) but due to the expense at $1000 it was a bit out of our range and since we were planning on doing the Great Barrier Reef we wanted to save for that. Instead we booked a 4 day tour from Perth to Monkey Mia at $575 which is still quite a trip and the itinerary was packed full of things to see and do. The tour included food and accommodation.

On the morning we had to get up pretty early, meeting at arranged pick up. We stopped for a quick coffee to wake up, luckily a little coffee shop called Willys was open and they serve good coffee. All buzzed up we waited for the bus. We met a girl called Josie from Germany, who was on the same tour as us, she was lovely and spoke to her for a while until our bus finally decided to show up (was about half hour late).

We jumped on and found seats together in the back next to Antoine from France. He was quite easy going and once Josiefine joined us, our group was complete. There was 13 of us in total, at the front an older lady called Lainey, a Kiwi house sitting in Australia taking in the sights.
4.5fTRohet, an Israeli lady who became an Australian citizen and was seeing WA. Freya,Robert & Harry, three Chinese Engineer students. Larissa,Jess & Katja three German girls travelling separately. Lindsey, an American girl studying in Perth wanting to see WA and then the 4 of us in the back row. Our driver was called Kelly and she was full of information about wildlife, plants and history.

The bus journey was long and you soon realise how big Australia is. Was glad Sean and I had made friends so quickly otherwise it would have made the journey even longer. We saw a few kangaroos on the way, some unfortunately were dead and pushed off the road but fact is there are more kangaroos in Australia then people.

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First stop on the tour was at Numberg National Park, home to the natural wonders – The Pinnacles. We all squeezed out of the boiling hot bus into the sweltering heat of desert land, phew was it hot and boy were those flys annoying, following us around like a bad smell.

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The pinnacles were a sight to be seen, standing tall in the desert these spires of limestone, formed naturally, cover a vast amount of space and it was quite mesmerizing seeing them all and then Sean goes and gets a picture with a rather phallic looking pinnacle. He would. You would only spend an hour there max as there isn’t much to see after but I’m glad we saw them as not many people can say they have.

Jurien Bay is where we were heading next for lunch so it was back on the hot tin bus. We stopped at a picnic sight with BBQs, it was a really nice place to be, but little did we know that the most gorgeous beach I’ve seen yet was around the corner. Sand, pure white and Sea, so still it could have been mistaken for the sky and not a single person was around, it was as if we had been washed up on an island in the middle of nowhere, I was hoping to get the chance to see this beach again but unfortunately that is one place I will only see again in my dreams.

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After lunch and a bonding session in the park we boarded the bus again. A quick stop for drinks and supplies in Geraldton we passed a lake known for its pink waters, due to the algae (same algea used in the world’s skin creams). Kelly decided she would try and get us to the red cliffs of Kalbarri called red bluff, to get some photos of the sunset. We didn’t quite make sunset but the sight was still photo worthy and we even got a jumping photo on the cliffs which was fun.

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Our final destination of day one was a kalbarri farm stay, I can not remember the name but it was ok, not amazing but the horses and peacocks roaming the farm were nice to see. Facilities were useable but all we cared about right then was to eat and sleep after our long day. Me, Sean, Antoine and Josie all shared a dorm and at lights out I don’t think any of us could be awakened.

To be continued on next post……

Hostel reviews

Brittania William Street – Perth
Twin Room
perthbritannia.com

Room/Room Size: Pretty tiny for 2 people but beings as we are a couple it didn’t bother us too much. Only had 1 small side cupboard for storage so you pretty much will be living from your suitcase, the 2 beds were ok, comfy enough, only 1 small window with a piece of cloth covering.

Cleanliness: Room needed cleaning Aggy & Kym style, very dark and dingy, beds had slight stains – don’t think i want to know what of. Fan in room was broken and windows were dirty, no view at all and when I tried shutting the window it nearly took my hand off – so safety not great.Showers/toilets were quite clean though.

Showers/Toilets: Toilets mostly blocked but showers were good, water was slightly hot at one point so my hair went through a tough time but apart from that ok and the shower head is adjustable but mine seemed to be very loose and kept falling. Mens toilets were bit odd though as when public walk past they can literally watch you using the urinals which put Sean off a bit.

Kitchen/Dining: Kitchens were OK, bit cramped as people seem to want to cook at same time. Only got a quick peek as we didn’t really use them for our one night but kitchen storage seemed none existent with only having a little shelf for food, pretty sure your food would be gone by the next morning.

Social area: Not great, TV area was abandoned with just a couple in there, Sean tried saying hey with the result being a few mindless stares. Room looked unappealing to spend more than a few minutes in let alone a whole film/show worth. Dining areas were pretty empty too, didn’t seem to be anyone wanting to socialise in this hostel. Outdoor area but looked shabby and was raining so no one was using it at the time.

Extras: Internet room downstairs in the entrance area, $3 1hr net and pay for print outs. They do tours and car hires and say they beat any other deals which sounds good. Campervan hire $25 a day. At the time they had an advert in hostel for staff which is good if you need a job or paid accommodation while your travelling. Not sure about laundry rooms. BBQ facilities.

Price: $68 a night for a twin room if booking a week in advance it works out at $61 a night. Same for bunk bed room. Extra for a double bedroom and if your sharing up to 12 in a dorm its a cheap $24 a night. We had to leave a key deposit of $20 which we got back.

Location: Brilliant location, right in Northbridge and close to bars, restaurants, train, shops etc. Liked the idea of being right in the centre of things. Great for when we just fancied popping out to go perth or go museum etc.

Overall: I would only give 2 out of 5 only because location and price. Everything else was a let down but for cheapness you shouldn’t expect a lot and it’s just a room at the end of the day and I’m sure if you’re not fussed about the details it is fine for most.

The Old Swan Barracks Hostel – Perth
Double Room
theoldswanbarracks.com

Sean in the Old Barracks Hostel

Room/Room Size: Good size, desk, wardrobe and fridge in room plus room to move around. Flat screen TV that has Foxtell. Female only dorms available.

Cleanliness: Pretty clean apart from the dead spider left on our desk – thanks. Nice and light room with 2 big windows, view of street below. Rooms cleaned daily as well as toilets.

Showers/toilets: Decent enough, clean although girls had make up everywhere. Shower head not adjustable but ok size for me, Sean struggled. Toilets working.

Extras: Managed to get upgraded to deluxe room which came with fridge and TV not bad. Internet same at $3 1hr. DVD hire at reception. Lots of leaflets on tours/guides plus a wall in communal hall selling cars & jobs etc. Laundry out back $4/5 a wash and purchase own powder. Tours available and taxi to airport available for $15 too. Full size lockers & secure storage for bags. Free breakfast but bit poor, few bits of cheap bread, cereal, condiments.

Kitchen: 2 kitchens which is great. Pretty clean and tidy, spacious, not busy and people seemed nice. Storage seemed better here as you get a fridge section for cold stuff, use of a fridge and personal cupboards too. You can put a $10 deposit down for cutlery and plate too.

Social areas: 2 TV rooms. Spacious and tidy, TV pretty small but people here were really nice and found them easy to socialise with. Main hall was great, pool tables, ping pong, internet area, bar and general chill out zone. Great for socialising if staying for longer. Fun events planned.

Events: During our stay we had burger & chips $3 with any drink. Pool tournaments and think they have bands playing some nights too. They do seem to be eager to keep travellers entertained, this is a big plus especially when you can’t afford the night life outside the Barracks walls.

Price: $88 a night for deluxe double room – try to barter them down as they just want to get the rooms filled. We got it for $80. 12 dorm is $26 a night and for own double would be $82. Key deposit of $20 each key but you get that back on departure.

Location: Great location again right opposite the gallery of perth, walking distance to the shops, trains and bars/restaurants.

Overall: I would give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars due to the impressive social scene, upgrade, location and cleanliness of the place. There is a reason it is one of WAs best hostels. At least check it out once while your here.

Exclusive Backpackers, Hay St – Perth

www.exclusivebackpackers.com/index.html

Didn’t stay here but had a brief look and shown one of the rooms. Seemed a very quant hostel. First impressions very clean and quiet. The double room I was shown was very clean and bright with storage and a TV (all private rooms have TV). Probably the cleanest hostel room I have seen in Perth. Didn’t seem like there was much in the way of social activities. Has a balcony overlooking the front with seating. Would have stayed here only reason we didn’t was the location although good in CBD was a bit of a walk from train station and didn’t fancy dragging suitcase that far. $85 a night for d/r.

Hay Street Backpackers & Motel – Perth

www.haystbackpackers.com

Had a quick tour. Not the best of rooms. Had to walk outside at rear to get to room and felt a bit cold and damp. Private rooms do have en suite shower and sink which is handy. Shared toilet facilitates. Outdoor pool area although looks like hasn’t been used for years. Pricey at $90 a night for double en suite.

Old Firestation – Fremantle

www.oldfirestation.com.au

This place we only had a quick look around and wow the shared dorms were a mess and stank of boy haha not nice. Rooms were spacious though but think i would have to have my own room no sharing. Social aspect looked good, had party nights and looked like a few people were enjoying a film while we were there so would be an ok place to meet other travellers. Kitchen space good and they take on workers for accommodation. At the time of looking the place seemed pricey at $75 a night but looking at it now it comes with a lot of free usage of lockers, job hunting, play stations, videos etc so wasn’t too bad.