From AUS to NZ

Well I know it’s been a while since I have wrote on my blog but I thought a change of location warrants an entry.
So since the last time I wrote on here I have pretty much living normal life in Melbourne. I had moved into a new apartment with Michael (bf) and the old gal Jaxx and we were loving life drinking and eating great food and generally being a bit boring by going to work coming home and chilling in the apartment.
Myself, Michael, Jaxx and Bazza (Barry) spent Christmas Day on the beach, eating melting cheese, swimming and getting burnt. Over the Christmas holidays we went hiking up the Dandenong ranges, climbed 1000 steps, went to beaches and generally ate and drank too much – but had a bloody good time. Once the holidays were over it started dawning on us that we would all soon be leaving Melbourne and Australia all together.
Me and Michael sorted our working holiday visas out for New Zealand, Jaxx sorted out her plan for travelling around Asia and Barry organised his travelling around Australia, Asia and New Zealand. We had all planned to have a trip to Darwin and Sydney after our visas ended, before we all parted ways as a sort of holiday, but due to the amount that Australia wanted us to pay ($1000) to extend our visas for two weeks we thought it wasn’t worth it and so that plan went down the drain.
As it came closer to the date we were leaving we started say goodbye to the great people we had met in Melbourne. Some were going off to do their farm work, some were great Aussies we had met and some very close friends that had been able to get sponsored in Melbourne and so were staying out there. Everyone said that they would come out and visit us in NZ so they were bittersweet goodbyes. The person Michael found it hardest saying goodbye to was Quinn and the person I found it hardest to say goodbye to was Jaxx. We had both been with these people from the beginning of our Australia trips and were going to find it strange not being able to see them whenever we wanted.
On January 17th we flew from Melbourne to Sydney and then Sydney to Auckland. Once we landed and threw our stuff into the hostel we headed to Auckland’s harbour and of course had something to eat in an Irish bar – that’s what you get for having an Irish fella. Over the next couple of days we went on a walking tour of the city, drinks lots of cheap beer, opened our bank accounts, applied for our tax numbers and started to get things going here.
Unfortunately our time here in Auckland has been overshadowed by devastation and grief with the loss of our amazing friend Niall Quinn. After hearing of his tragic death we were both completely taken over with grief and found it very hard to cope with days in general. Not only was I devastated for my own loss of a great friend, who helped keep us laughing through farm work and through my time in Melbourne, who always had a great story to tell and was always up for a drink, but also for Michael who lost one of his best friends. They both completely adored each other and even though towards the end of last year they didn’t see each other as much (as they weren’t living together) whenever they did you could tell they were the greatest of friends. I cannot imagine what Michael or Quinn’s family are going through if my grief is anything to go by but my thoughts are with them at this hard time.
I am writing this as I am in a new hostel, with Michael flying back to Ireland in order to say goodbye to Quinn at his funeral, on behalf of both of us. I think i can say on behalf of both of us that we are completely grateful for all the support and thoughts we have received over the past week and that both of our lives, as with anyone else who had the privilege of meeting Quinn, will not be the same without him in it! He would have wanted us to give NZ a good go and have the Craic and we are gonna bloody try!

 

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From America back to Melbourne

Well it’s been a while, sorry. It’s been about six months since I last wrote on here and a lot has happened. I met mom, dad and Adele in LA and we had the best 2 week holiday. I was so happy to see them and we had such a laugh I wouldn’t have wished it any other way. We hired a camper-van and drove down to San Diego, then up to Las Vegas and did a helicopter ride around the Grand Canyon, which was amazing. We then drove through Yosemite park, where dad got a bit too close to the edges of some of the roads but the views were magic. Then we arrived at San Francisco. We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, went to the pier and visited the house from Mrs Doubtfire. The final part of our holiday was driving down the west coast from San Francisco to Malibu where we saw some amazing views and even saw whales just off the coast.

When I was travelling the east coast before mom, dad and Adele arrived I decided that once they were going home that I was going to go back to Australia. I knew that I was wasting my Australian visa and a great opportunity so I booked my flight back to Melbourne.

Leaving my family in LAX was even worse then when I left them in Heathrow because we don’t know how long it will be before we see each other again, but I know they support me, which I am very thankful for.

Coming back to Melbourne was without a doubt the best decision I have ever made, I have had so much fun and have met some incredible people. I have spent many a day on the many beaches of Victoria, done the Great Ocean Road with fantastic people, been on a couple of boat trips including one trip where a pod of wild dolphins followed our boat all the way back to the harbour, they were so close we could almost touch them. We also went to a Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition which was actually incredible, had some crazy Friday nights in our hostel lock ins and visited the circus.

Christmas and New Year here was very different than any I’ve had before but it was crazy! We kicked off Christmas Day on the beach in 30 degree heat which some sparkling wine. Then it was down to our sister hostel for Christmas lunch and many a drink.
The dinner was not good but the actual day was incredible! We drank and chatted and sung – all in all a great day was had by all.
I had about a week and a half off from work over Christmas and spent it well, by being on the beach and taking a couple of days out with the crew.

I spent New Year’s Eve in the city centre on a friends balcony watching the fireworks and then afterwards in another friends converted warehouse (pure lush) and another great night was had.

Since the new year began me and a friend have been looking for an apartment, working and loving life really. Am hoping to go on a little holiday to New Zealand in a few months which will be good.

A family friend also came to visit me in Melbourne, it was only a very short visit but it was so nice to see her and to see a familiar face from back home. She brought me some goodies from family at home and also a video that my family and family friends had made, which was hilarious but it made me very homesick. Thank you to everyone in it, including my nan and grandad who did a magic bit of swaying it the video.

I’m writing this as I am waiting to go on a camping trip to the Dandedong ranges and it is absolutely chucking it down, so this will be another experience.

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and that you all have a happy new year! I won’t leave it so long before I post again

Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver

Well I’ve been in America three weeks now and it’s flown by. I left Melbourne and flew to Sydney for a few days before I flew out to LA. I had a great time being a tourist in Sydney, especially doing the Sydney harbour bridge climb, which was one of the most unforgettable moments of my life and so I will eternally grateful to my sister for getting me it as a present!
I landed in Los Angeles on the Saturday and headed to Santa Monica which is where I would be staying for the next week. The hostel I stayed is was great, only a two minute walk to the beach and Santa Monica pier and they offered sweet free tours. After checking into the hostel I made it straight to the beach and got sunburnt even though the sun only came out for about five minutes. I was so exhausted that Saturday night after what felt like the longest day ever, having been up since 7am in Australia, having no sleep on a thirteen hour plane ride and staying awake until about 9pm on that night. It was not a day I would like to repeat. On the Sunday I was very LA and went for a hike, one of the free tours offered by the hostel, then went to a sweet farmers market and then spent the rest of the afternoon tanning myself on the beach and I actually went in the sea, to swim, I have to say I’ve surprised myself again thinking that I would never swim in shark invested water! For the rest of my time in LA I did some touristy things including going to Hollywood boulevard, going on the walk of fame, going to Rodeo drive, Beverly Hills and doing some shopping on Melrose avenue. I also met up with a friend from university who has moved out to LA and we went out for the most delicious burger ever in the arts district and we went to West Hollywood to sample the delights of some great gay bars. I also went down to Venice boardwalk which in itself is one reason why everyone should go to LA at least once, it was definitely a feast for the eyes! The rest of the time I spent topping up my tan on the beach. All in all LA was definitely an experience I will never forget!
Then it was onto Seattle. I flew from LAX to Seattle with Virgin America who has the most I boring and unbelievable safety video ever! If you get a change definitely fly with them just to witness it with your own eyes. I was staying in a suburb of Seattle called Fremont, which is a great place! It was full of art and cool places to eat and drink, I really loved it there. The hostel I stayed in there was immense, it had a 1930’s vibe to it, with old features like old chandeliers and an old 1930’s phone, which actually worked. And the bathrooms were to die for! They had showers that could literally fit about fifteen people in them and the whole size of the bathroom could have fit about forty people in, which was a nice change when most of the bathrooms in other hostels could just about fit you in. I spent the first day exploring Fremont and the many pieces of public art that are around the area, including a massive troll eating a car underneath the Washington bridge (as seen in 10 things I hate about you), trees shaped like dinosaurs and a wall made up of tiles that had been designed and painted by children at the local primary school. I also found a great park which had a great view of Union lake and of the Seattle skyline. While in Seattle I went on two free tours with a company called Free Walking Tours, with the leader called Jake and they were so good, a definite recommendation for anyone going to Seattle. He does one called Seattle 101 and he does another one of the Pike Public Market (on which I was chosen to catch a wet, gross fish at one of the world famous fish counters there, and luckily I caught it!), both of which are well worth it. I visited some great parks in and around the city and again saw some great art. I also sampled some of the pubs in Fremont including a British pub to do a pub quiz, a very strange Irish pub with questionable karaoke and a place that would be barely be considered a pub, because it was so small.
Then it was onto Vancouver. I got the greyhound to Vancouver from Seattle and it was quite short, cheap and actually really comfortable, probably because the bus hardly had anyone on it, the only problem was that I couldn’t figure out how to turn the air con off but I survived albeit a little bit cold on the journey. I stayed in Granville which is the city centre of Vancouver. The hostel was good, had a cheap bar underneath it and I met some really cool people there. When I got there on Friday I had a walk around the waterfront which is surrounded by some amazing mountains and then I ventured in a little bit of Stanley park which was beautiful. On the Saturday I went on an organised trip to Granville island, with the hostel, which is the second biggest tourist attraction in Canada, after Niagara Falls (cheeky little fact for you). I ate some great Mexican food, drank some Granville island brewed beer and gin. I met a great group of people on this trip and we needed up going for a drink afterwards and then going to a local beach to watch some fireworks. And by some fireworks I mean the most amazing fireworks I have EVER seen! It was a firework competition that Vancouver has ever year and it’s between three countries (different every year) and the one we saw was for Japan. Words cannot describe this 30 minutes! My eyes actually hurt afterwards because it was so much to take in, especially the finale.
He next day was Vancouver gay pride parade and that was also a spectacle for the eyes. It was a three hour long parade that didn’t fail to enthral! I saw a man riding round on roller blades with a giant sparkly gold strap on rolling down the parade, lots of drag queens, some dominatrixes and the queen (well a drag version of the queen), it literally was the most incredible day. The next day I decided to rent a bike on go around he massive Stanley park. Now I hadn’t been on a bike in probably about 10 years so at the beginning I was a bit rusty and nearly fell off a couple of times but I managed to stay on and it was an incredible bike ride! I did however bash my head off a wasps nest on a low hanging branch and got stung twice (luckily). On my last day I went on another great free walking tour with a company called tour guys. It was another great experience walking round an unfamiliar city and the tour guy defo knew his shizz. Again if in Vancouver I would definitely recommend it.
So now I am waiting in Vancouver airport waiting for my flight back to LA to meet the Hancox’s as they get off their flight from England. I am so excited I can barely contain myself, I know this is gonna be an amazing two weeks and great memories will be made (some extra cheesy cheese for you there). So I will give you a round up of the next two weeks in about two weeks. Laters 🙂

Regional and Melbourne

Well that’s my regional work done. It’s been over four months now since I left Perth to go to a place I knew nothing about and it’s not turned out too bad. When I first left Perth, me and five of the friends that I had met in Perth, flew to Adelaide and stayed there over night. The next day, slightly worse for wear, we all got on a seven hour coach journey, where we drove mostly through the outback, and we eventually arrived in Robinvale, Victoria. There isn’t much there. There’s one supermarket, one pub, a couple of ‘pound-like’ shops but there were two charity shops which I did enjoy.

The house I stayed in was nice, and it was luxury compared to some of the accommodation that was provided for grape pickers on the farms. It was right on the bank of the Murray river and there were some amazing sunsets. I was taking off the covers from the vines as work there and it was pretty good. We got to visit different farms and see a bit more of the surrounding areas. We spent most of our time after work chatting, playing cards or frustration and eating, so we had a very simple life there but it was an experience I will never forget and will never have again!

We came to Melbourne about two weeks ago and completely fell in love with it. We were a bit shocked when we first got here because there was so many people and so many cars, and when you’ve being living in a place, for nearly four months, where you see the same people pretty much everyday and there are no traffic lights, it takes you aback when you first get here. We stayed in North Melbourne at first which was good because it was in walking distance to the city centre and all the bars etc but then we moved to a hostel in St Kilda, which is a suburb about ten minutes away from Melbourne CBD (central business district), and I love it here. It’s right by the beach which automatically makes me very happy and the bars and cafés here are all unique and have something extra about them which I love. It’s only a ten minute tram ride into the city and there is a massive charity shop about five minutes down the road which again is a massive bonus!

The city centre here is massive. There are roads upon roads of shops and cafés and bars. There are the usual chain shops and restaurants, including a million Nandos and the worlds biggest H&M, but there also some cool one off shops including a basement book shop which is filled with books in every space they have in that shop, there were literally books everywhere. We also found this absolute gem of a vintage shop in Fitzroy (a 2 minute tram ride from CBD). I could have literally spent all of my savings in this shop but I managed to not buy anything which I take as a REAL achievement! We have also had some great meals, especially in Chinatown which is definitely a spectacle for the eyes and well worth a visit if your ever here.

I’ve also partook in some tourist activities including going to the immigration museum (which makes you hate the fact that your English) and we also went up to the Sky Deck which is in the tallest building in Australia. We went up at night and it was amazing with all the lights of the roads etc and it shows you how massive the city is. We also went to the aquarium which was really good, except for the sharks. There was a massive salty crocodile there and there was a school tour going on so we got to listen in to the facts about the croc, and I touched a starfish there.

I’ve just brought my flights and accommodation to Sydney and it’s now becoming very real that I’m leaving Australia in just over two weeks and starting the next part of my travelling in America. I’m going to miss the people I’ve met here so much and I’ve had the experience of a lifetime with them! So to you guys thank you so much for putting up with me all the way from Perth to Melbourne, it’s been amazing, especially to you Caesar 😉

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Goodbye Perth

So this is my last blog from Perth, I’m moving on from the hostel and am going to work on a farm for a couple of months. First things first, a recap of my life for the last couple of weeks. I found myself a job with a local phone company out here, but it wasn’t for me so I quit, not really a great start to working life in Oz but oh well. We have been to a nighttime beach party with people from my hostel, I’ve been to a rooftop party in the city centre which was completely amazing and just generally going out or drinking by the pool. I saw my first kangaroos which was cool but they look really angry and scary so I didn’t get too close. We also went to the local leisure centre which has an outdoor Olympic sized swimming pool, which was immense, and a sauna, steam room and a jacuzzi, so it was a day of pampering after a hard couple of days lying in the sun. So now me and a couple of the people that I’ve met here have been offered our regional work in a vineyard by Adelaide so we have booked our flights and we are off on Wednesday. I’m going to pick grapes and should be able to earn some good money and it will mean that I can apply for my second year visa and possibly come back next year. So this will be it for a bit, hope your all good. Laters.

Australia part 2

So since I posted last I have mostly been sitting by the pool at my hostel because it’s lush. I have also been exploring Perth’s nightlife including a club that played some seriously cheesy music and some of the dance moves being thrown on the dance floor left a lot to be desired. On Sunday it was Australia Day which was amazing, everyone at my hostel was drinking by the pool and then we went to watch the fireworks on the Swan River, which was incredible. I also participated in my first barbecue in Australia, and by participated I mean watch while someone else cooks it and I wash up. I have also ate some immense food but have had to pay for the pleasure of seeing the doctor already because of a mosquito bite that went bad, however all in all I have met some top people and am having the time of my life (to be cheesy). Hope everyone is ok and I’ll post again soon.

So here is my first blog. I am writing it from my balcony in 38 degrees and blazing sunshine. My flights were good and I met some really nice people on them. When I got to Perth airport it was HOT and luckily I didn’t have to declare anything so unfortunately you won’t be seeing me on ‘Nothing to Declare’ anytime soon. I managed to navigate myself to a taxi which took me to my hostel. I met some cool people from Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Holland on my first day but crashed due to the jet lag. Today I have made it into Perth City centre which is big! I resisted the temptation to properly shop and just brought a hat. In the main square there is the cutest water fountain, which all the little kids play in, one boy was even rocking a pair of goggles. I’ve done a bit of sunbathing and swam in the pool for a bit. Which brings me here, on my balcony (see picture).

imageHello everybody this is my blog! So here is my first blog. I am writing it from my balcony in 38 degrees and blazing sunshine. My flights were good and I met some really nice people on them. When I got to Perth airport it was HOT and luckily I didn’t have to declare anything so unfortunately you won’t be seeing me on ‘Nothing to Declare’ anytime soon. I managed to navigate myself to a taxi which took me to my hostel. I met some cool people from Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Holland on my first day but crashed due to the jet lag. Today I have made it into Perth City centre which is big! I resisted the temptation to properly shop and just brought a hat. In the main square there is the cutest water fountain, which all the little kids play in, one boy was even rocking a pair of goggles. I’ve done a bit of sunbathing and swam in the pool for a bit. Which brings me here, on my balcony (see picture). image Will do an update soon. Xx