Road trip to the Great Ocean road

For the third & final time while in Australia, we “hired a car”. Hols and I planned a 2 day road trip down the great ocean road. So on Saturday we picked it up at 10:00 and headed west for the great ocean road. It took us about 2 hours before we got on the southern touring route and when we finally got there it instantly reminded me of Hwy 1 in California. You literally drive on the edge of a cliff overlooking the coast.

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Made several stops along the way to check out the views

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One of our stops was in this really pretty town called Lorne. We stopped for some “chips” (french fries) and then were forced to share with some pretty birds

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Back on the road to our next destination we ran across a wild koala

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We made it halfway on the Great Ocean Road before it started to get dark. We stopped in Apollo Bay for the night and luckily for us a music festival was going on so we had something to do for the night. We couldn’t get a good view of the sunset but i did get to see a very interesting sky. Couldn’t figure out how it was lit up so strangely. The sun was all the way west and the photos I took were taken from the east. I could see the sun setting all the way on the opposite side of the sky, but somehow the clouds were still lit up.

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The next morning we got up early and by early I mean 10:00 got breakfast and explored the rest of the Great Ocean Road. We checked out these super touristy rocks called the 12 Apostles and after drove through the country to get back to Melbourne.

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On some very positive news, we returned the car, without any problems. Guess 3rd time was the charm!! On some less exciting news, tomorrow is my last day is Australia 😦

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Melbourne, White Night welcoming party.

Today was my last day with Erika 😦 As you can see below, our moods are less than elated;
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My flight from Sydney to Melbourne was super quick, a little over an hour. When I arrived, I to took the bus to Southern Cross Station and was reunited with my favorite English turned Aussie ex-roommate. Our reunion would have been worthy of a Hallmark card.
20140227-191930.jpgWhen we got back to the apartment I found Tom bummin it on the couch due to his casted foot 😦  You can note him in the background of Holly’s impeccable decorating.  20140227-191948.jpg

One disappointing thing about Melbourne (Melbin, frigging aussies are to lazy to pronounce letters correctly) is that the weather isn’t constantly 35 degrees (80 degrees fahrenheit) The people of Melbourne say you can have 4 seasons in 1 day, which is inconvenient because you always have to have a jacket on you. &&& my stupid ass didn’t pack a single long sleeve item or a pair or pants because I assumed it was hot and sunny every day in this country. So holly had to drag me to a cheap clothing store equivalent to Forever 21 called Cotton On to get some suitable clothing. After, I got to take my first proper shower in 2 weeks. Yes, I know it’s gross, but tis is the backpackers lifestyle.    20140227-192150.jpgI guess the people of Melbourne know I was coming because they threw this huge event called White Night, which over 300,000 people attended. It’s an artist festival where they shut down the streets and have artistic displays of music, lights, dance and large scale installations on display for the city to enjoy. The building light displays were so beautiful, they projected images on the buildings which were constantly moving and changing images, && the details were so amazing.

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We stopped into this bar off the street for some drinks and saw an opportunity; an empty dance fool & an eccentric DJ. We stormed the dance floor & were dancing like the loons that we are for 10 minutes before the this crazy asian man wanted a dance off. With the dance floor still to ourselves + the crazy asian, everyone in the bar was watching, half in awe, half hysterically laughing at our dance battle, after a couple minutes everyone wanted in & before we knew it the floor was packed.20140227-193432.jpg

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20140227-193526.jpgIf you were wondering, he kindof kicked our asses.

The Whitsunday’s & Sydney in 48 hours with 4 hours of sleep.

So as I said in my last post, the place we parked up and slept at wasn’t the most glamorous. It was filled with bugs and cockatiels who were murdering each other at 7:00am so we had no chance of sleeping past that.

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We packed up the van one last time & drove to the center of town to figure out where/when our tours left from. La tres amigos were going on a 3 day 2 night party boat called the Clipper that I wish we could have gone on & Erika and I were doing a day boat called the Fury. We go to the center of town and tried to figure out what we needed to do, and as we were talking to some bitchy receptionist girl at info center, me and Erika missed our bus. We started panicking because no one was being helpful and we were going to miss our tour that we had just driven 11+ hours for. We finally got to talk to someone who knew what the hell they were talking about and we drove down to the marina and started running around like crazy people trying to figure out where to go. && just to make things that much more interesting it started to down pour. Luckily we made it just in time and boarded our boat.

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We arrived back at the marina at 16:30 & headed into town to walk around a bit. We bought some souvenirs, ran into our favorite Irish/English friends, Damien & Pierce, then headed back on the road. We left around 19:00 and had to drive 8 hours to Cairns, drop off the van & make it to the airport for our 6:45 flight. We hit a couple of bumps in the road on the way there, which I cannot elaborate on, and made it to Cairns at 4:30. First stop was to go wake up Colin and say our goodbyes/ thanks for saving our lives several times. Then we returned the van and cabbed it to the airport. 3 hours & a cat nap later, we said GOODBYE to the tropical wet weather of Cairns and said hello to the metropolitan of Sydney! Checked ourselves into YHA central backpackers and headed off to explore.

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Mine & Erika’s favorite spot in Sydney was Bondi Beach. Reminded me a lot of Venice Beach in LA, just with way better views.

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&&& then this happened. Sorry mom.

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On a funnier note; it’s been interesting being here during the Winter Olympics. To native Australians, it’s kind of a big joke. All the news and commentary is very comical as they just make fun of how shitty they’re Olympians place.

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After a really long day, we went back to the hostel & attempted to get ready to go out. With no shampoo conditioner or body wash, it proved to be slightly difficult but we gave ourselves a Mexican shower and attempted to go out. We tried to have a nice dinner but we were too broke for anything nice. Which ended up with my face in a pizza, literally as I fell asleep on my date at the table. So we just went back and crashed. Tomorrow Erika leaves :(((((((( & I head to Melbourne (Melbin)

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Fraser’s pt3; last day :(

6:00am, no joke, we were awoken by Brett blaring this song in his truck:

Thanks buddy. We had to get up so we’d be able to make it to Lake Wabby before the tides came in. Me & team E packed up camp, since we’d never be returning and headed out one last time.

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Lake Wabby is a 3.5 mile hike through the forest & is located directly adjacent to a sand blow. Clearly it was a struggle for me & Erika.

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Jenny, Erika & I forgot our sleds so we instead rolled down into the lake.

After our entrance Erika and I made another sandman and then climbed on top of tres Mexicans.

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We trucked it back through the jungle and then headed toward the ferry to take us away from Frasers 😦

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20140223-130751.jpgWas not a fun trip back; beacuse A. we were leaving fraser’s and all our new friends we met & B. I almost fell off the ferry.

When got back to Rainbow beach, we were planning on heading on down to Sydney & stopping at Surfers Paradise. Butttt since every single person we talked to said we had to go see the Whitsunday’s we reconsidered. Since the tres amigos were going up there as well the following day, we decided to join forces && drive up together. So basically we are doing a huge circle and back tracking but whats ever, thats the luxury of not making reservations in advance.

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Alejandro got worn out from doing his Mexican duties. 20140223-132422.jpg

20140223-132504.jpgThe Whitsunday’s are a 12 hour drive from Rainbow Beach so we stopped half way in the town of Seventeen Seventy which was a 4 hour drive. We found this awesome little parking lot at the top of the peninsula, parked and passed out.

Oh, I forgot to mention that as I was backing out of the parking lot to leave rainbow, I backed into a fence, denting the side of the car & breaking the taillight. I’ve lost count of the Caitlin – Aussie standings, but I’ll call this one a draw since we have full insurance and won’t have to pay for it !! Oh and then as we were driving up to 1770, Erika hit a bird smashing the front headlight. Go us!!!!!

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Off to play with some dingos.

Woke up to a banging on the car door. It was the police inquiring as to why we were camping in a restricted lot. Being young American girls has it’s perks because everyone else in the world assumes we’re idiots so I played it to my advantage, which helped us avoided a 500$ fine.
Caitlin 6 – Aussie 6
After out escape, had a very nice relaxing day at the Noosa doggie beach. The weather was more than ideal, and we just hung in the back lagoon and played with the doggies all day.

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Yes, most of the men here wear speedos, regardless of their weight.

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We had to pack up and shower earlier, because we had to be in Rainbow Beach for our Fraser Island briefing by 4:30 which was an hour north of Noosa. We showered && grabbed some food. For the first time since we’ve gotten here we ate food we actually enjoyed. FYI: the food in this country suckkkks. Had some delicious pizZzzza here tho.

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Followed by THE BEST ICE CREAM I’VE EVER EATEN IN MY WHOLE LIFE. Not to sound cocky or anything, but I’m kind of an ice cream connoisseur. I know it’s pretty impressive. And this my friends, is the best ice cream on earth. It’s made with liquid nitrogen so it’s the freshest ice cream you can eat. They mix the ingredients in the mixer (eggs, cream && some other ingredients depending on the flavor you picked) and pour liquid nitrogen into the mixer so it immediately turns to ice cream!!! It’s seriously so smooth in your mouth it feels like butter. Don’t be too jealous guys, I plan on opening up a franchise when I get back to the states so you can all try it 🙂

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I got the salty carmely popcorn:

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&& Erika got Honeycomb cream Alaska

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After that life changing experience, we headed to Rainbow beach for our briefing. Ya so we signed up for this trip, didn’t really know what we we’re doing, but everyone we talked to told us we had to check it out so now we’re here. Apparently we are going to the worlds largest sand island for 3 days that has no electricity, wild dingos that can eat you, && we’re sleeping on the beach. We get to take these 4×4 trucks and drive on the beach around the island during the day, and at night apparently it’s just a huge party with 150 other backpackers and we all sleep on the beach. When we got to Rainbow, they talked to is about all the things that could kill you, then immediately after insisted on us drinking. We’ll be on this remote island for 3 days, without being able to contact anyone so I’ll see you guys in 3 days, possibly 🙂 Byeeeeeeeee

It’s not a mini van, it’s a camper..

Last day in Cairns, didn’t really do much. Went back and met with the rental car company to see if we could work something out with the key. No dice; they wanted 550$ for the key unfortunately. After that disappointment, we just chilled at the lagoon until our 16:30 flight. We met up with our Cairns BFF Colin. He hooked me up with some antibiotic drops for my ear, unfortunately he only had literally 2 drops left. I used them last night and now my ear feels so much better. He also hooked us up big time with a car and a trip to Fraser Island, lots of discounts included.
Caitlin 3 – Australia 4

I have also transitioned into a professional backpacker by transforming my duffle bag into a backpack:

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We arrived in Brisbane (Brisbin) & headed to a hostel. Brisbane City Backpackers, it was pretty sweet. This reminded me of living on campus in college, except way better. They had a pool, a cool roof top deck with a view of the city, an awesome kitchen that you could cook and keep your food, and of course a bar. For 26$ a night, we shared a 6 person room, with AC.

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The next day we walked around the city in route to pick up our new whip.

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I have my own University here; CQ University.

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&&& here is our new ride. The Jucy Sleeper, equip with bed, sink, cooler, & a mini cook top. I know, it’s really awesome. For about 70$ a day, your completely covered if anything happens to the van, even if you hit a kangaroo with it.

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While waiting to load up our camper, some guys gave us a box of stuff including a buncha free beer. Caitlin 4 – Australia 4

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We got our stuff and were on our way to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Seriously best zoo in Aussie. Pretty cheap and you can actually interact/ have contact with the animals. I got to frolic in a field of docile kangaroos, what could be better than that?

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& here is a million pictures of me with the kangaroos.

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After our wonderful day with the Roos we got back in the camper and drove down the Gold Coast to Byron Bay. We were suggested to stay at this place called the Arts Factory, but by the time we got to all the hostels all the camper spots were taken. Soooo we had to drive around until 2:00am looking for a spot, couldn’t find one so we just made up a spot for ourselves in the Arts Factory. We were told by the staff that if we were caught, we’d get fined but we didn’t have any options sooo fingers crossed 🙂

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Second attempt at exploring the rainforest

This time we decided on taking a tour of the rainforest instead of leaving it to us to fck something up. We boarded the Barefoot tour bus at 7:30am & were not returning back into Cairns until 20:30. Ear update: It is now extremely painful & I can barely hear out of it. I have also adjusted the standings to Caitlin 2 – Australia 2 because I did get to see nemo and swim with a sea turtle.

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Our first stop was at Lake Eacham that was made by a volcano some thousands of years ago. They served us some local fruit which was awesomeee

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Super tasty. Except I’m an idiot and ate the delicious fruit and then rubbed my sugary fingers on my legs and it was like I was putting extra juices on a medium rare filet mignon for the mosquitos to enjoy.

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Caitlin 2 – Australia 3
Luckily a girl on our tour had some antibiotic cream she got at the medical center because she too was attacked by the bugs

Our next stop was rock hole named “the crater” named because of its depth if 80 meters (262 feet)

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So on the tour they let one person throw a rock into the crater, throwing away their bad energy. Naturally everyone on the tour suggested Erika & I, after hearing our Aussie experiences thus far. So we got to throw our bad vibes into an endless crater

After that, we made our way to the waterfalls.

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Next we stopped at this tea farm where they have this trust system at their store; they leave a jar of money and tea on the side of the road and if you buy tea you just leave it in the jar. Clearly that would never fly in the States.

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Next we played in the waterfall that the Herbal Essence commercial was filmed at; Millaa Millaa Falls.

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Ear update: had an ear plug to protect it, but didn’t have it the first time we went into the falls. Hearing after swimming is now nonexistent in left ear. We returned to Cairns and had some dranks then went to bed. The next day we fly to Brisbane.

Actually finding nemo

8:00am We boarded the boat to go scuba diving for the day on the Great Barrier Reef. We toured on the Deep Sea Divers Den, was a fun tour, got to see nemo & a sea turtle. It was really sad to see how much of the reef was dead. But besides that it was really amazing. The wildlife was awesome and the water was so clear. I did however fck myself when diving; didn’t equalize correctly so I got water in my ear &&& now I can’t hear out of it.
Current standings: Caitlin 0 – Australia 2.

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Hanging with a sea cucumber.

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If you dislike me & get enjoyment out of my demise, you’ll enjoy reading this:

So in Australia is extremely easy to rent a car. With 40$ and a drivers license you can rent a car for the day. We got a hideous red compact Hyundai and were off to drive on the wrong side of the road.

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Here’s a fun fact: Australia is home to the oldest rainforest in the world. So that’s where we decided to drive to. About 2 hours north of Cairns (cans) is the Daintree at Cape Tribulation. It’s also the only place in the world where the rainforest butts right up to the beach.

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Sucks for us, but it’s currently the wet season here so naturally the road flooded out so we couldn’t make it all the way up the coast.

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We instead went to Mossmans (Musmons) Gorge (1.25 hours above cairns) and went to check out the rapids that are in the forest.

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A very nice couple who unintentionally fcked us, suggested we leave our trainers behind since the dirt path was flooded. So we took their advice and wanted to murder them for it. A 1.5 mile hike into the rainforest without shoes left us with no other option but to tie leaves to our frigging feet in an attempt to spare us some pain.

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We finally made it to the gorge bridge (which was awesome despite the constant torrential downpour) && stopped for some pics. & that’s when I really fcked up.

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I managed to allow our rental car key to slip through my fingers. It fell perfectly into the bridge hole & down into the deadly rapids.

I sat in the crouched fetal position for about 2 minutes in disbelief while all Erika could do was hysterically laugh. I too started to become hysterical and we trucked back through the down pouring rainforest, still barefoot. On our decent down to the visitors building panic started setting in. In Australia, everything closes on Saturdays pretty early. It currently was 13:00 and there was a chance the rental shop would be closing. Alone, in an Australian rainforest, no car, no money, no passports, no way to get anywhere, we ran to the visitors building hoping to god the car rental hadn’t closed yet. The Aboriginals at the visitors center were so kind and took pity on two stupid Americas. They let us use the phone and helped us find the rental agency’s number. By the grace of god it was open and they had a spare key. Unfortunately they had no way of getting it to us. Again, no money, no way of getting anywhere. We meet this really nice guy in Cairns who we booked our scuba trip with, and remembered he gave us his cell number incase we needed anything. We’ll Colin, our hero, managed to find a bus company who was coming up, to drive us the key. 3 hours later, we got the key. We were saved. Made for a great story and a lot of laughs, but it cost me 400$, since that is the cost of replacing the key. Could have been 10x worse so I’m starting to cope with that financial blow. Day 2 in Australia, I’d say successful.