A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about oceania

a sad goodbye


View New Zealand - 2014 on Ils1976's travel map.

Our last day here in Sydney was another early one, which obviously wasn’t that big of a surprise. We still wanted to go for one last morning run and since we were leaving late in the afternoon, it was better to get up early and enjoy the magnificent views of the early sunshine at the harbour for one last time and still have lots of time to do other stuff.

Although we left the hotel for a run at the same hour as a few days ago, there were more people up and about, but I guess that had something to do with the beginning of the week, after all, it was already tuesday. Some peole still needed to go to work!

When on holiday, you easily forget which day it is, so sometimes it is lucky that we have a bit of media with us that can tell us the exact date and day, otherwise I would be completely clueless about everything.

Once again we had a nice run and while I was waiting for Tania to come back, I suddenly realized that I loved Sydney so much that I wouldn’t mind one bit staying here for the rest of my life. Of course, when you visit a country during a holiday you can see only the beauty but still, even with daily hassle, I wouldn’t mind living here, so maybe I should apply for a green card, wouldn’t that be a nice idea!?

Wishful thinking I suppose and as soon as I met up with Tania after her run, we walked into "the Rocks" to have some breakfast at a cool looking bakery which sells whole meal scones and together with a self-made lemon ice tea, it is a nice enough start of the day. Bring it on I would say, but not without a shower first!

Being here in Sydney, we had a goal of all the things we wanted to do during our 4 days stay and the last one on the list was visiting the Imax theatre. Although they predicted rain and thunderstorms, it was still a very hot morning and it is actually a bit of a shame to spend time inside a theatre with such lovely weather outside, but if we wanted to see it, this was as good as time ever.

The movie which was on display at that particular moment was called „the hidden universe" and although it was interesting to learn more about stars and planets, I must admit that by the end of the 45 minutes during movie, I almost fell asleep. This had nothing to do with it being a bad movie, I guess I suddenly got so tired of doing so many exciting things over the last couple of days that my body just needed some more rest, either that or the fact of being in a dark room had something to do with it!

By the time we got outside again it was really hot and since we’ve got one ice cream free when you buy one, we decided to go and get one, we love freebies, or almost freebies that is!!!

After one last walk through Darling Harbour and China Town, we slowly made our way back to our hotel, making sure we passed along many shopping streets and souvenir shops to spend our last foreign currency and with tears in our eyes, about a few hours later we had to say goodbye to our beloved Sydney and were on our way towards the airport for our flight towards Melbourne.

Checking-in and getting through customs was really a breeze as was boarding the plane, but than again, it was only a 1 hour 35 minutes flight. Before you knew it, we were already landing again. Somehow I wish that all the flights were like this one, but I guess that would be just too easy.

As we arrived in Melbourne we still had lots of time on our hands and the first thing we did was grabbing something to eat. After walking for a while that seemed harder than we initially thought because due to our late arrival into the airport and in the end we just went for a small margarita pizza close to our gate.

We still had a couple of hours to kill, but since the shops were all closing or already closed, the only thing we could do was updating our blog a litlle as well as walking through the same gate a couple of times. Back and forth, back and forth ... till we got tired of it!

Since that wasn’t so appealing coz I guess we looked a bit like a few caged animals in a zoo, we went for the next best thing, which were basically the massage seats near our gate.

With still some small change in our pockets, we gave it a go and to my surprise it was really good as well. Too good maybe because after sitting there for a while I suddenly got so tired that I just fell asleep. I was just so damn tired but then again, it was already after midnight and we still had a few hours to go before our flight to Kuala Lumpur.

Posted by Ils1976 05:43 Archived in Australia Tagged airport city friends plane movies oceania Comments (2)

animal day

Another early rise and shine in sunny Sydney awaited us and today was a day I was really looking forward to coz we were going to the zoo. Not that I love zoo’s in particular, I prefer to see an animal in it’s natural habitat, but if there isn’t any other option, a zoo will have to do. Throughout the many places I have travelled, I saw a few zoological gardens and many of them aren’t that well maintained. I am afraid to say that even in my home country we could sometimes do better, but I know that this one is one of the „better” zoo’s or so they say. I will have to find that out for myself of course!

54167135-0FA7-4BDD-A555-C35BA0F02C4D_Fotor.jpg

The walk to the circular quay isn’t that far, only about 10 minutes and I am amazed to notice how well located our hotel is. We don’t even have to use the train, everything is within walking distance and that is just the way we like it.

Upon our arrival, we just walked to the ferry boats and booked a ticket through Captain Cook cruises, since they do a deal with a crossing, the cable car and the entrance for the zoo and before we even realize it, we are on the boat and on our way to spot some Australian natives.

The crossing didn’t take that long and when we arrived at the other side about 15 minutes later, we even had to wait because the cable car was still closed. Normally it should have been open but although they didn’t mention of any problems, I guess someone must have overslept. Something like this can happen of course and by the time we took a few scenery pictures we could go up the mountain and had a beautiful view overlooking the zoo from above.

Although it was a hot morning, there were already lots of people up and about, it looked like we weren’t going to be alone and when we went through the gate and saw the map of the zoo, we immediately noticed that we have to hurry if we wanted to see everything.

370C4877-6F51-43D5-ADBE-E79664CE7FD6_Fotor.jpg

Since we were mainly interested in the native animals, that was going to be our main objective of the day and about 3 minutes walking into the park the most cute animal of them all awaited us, the koala. It was still early in the morning and they were sleeping, but still, looking at that cute little fury animal, it made my day!

The funny thing about it is, that although very crowded there was one dad saying to his 3 year old child : „look honey, that’s a koala, the same like the one we have in our back yard!”. It was just so crazy hearing these words, it was like they were talking about a cat or a dog, but I guess when you live here in such a big country where those animals or so common, it feels like a cat or dog to Australians.

After waving goodbye to his cutie, we visited the night life creatures and next on were the African ones, but since there were some road works, we had to go back almost to the beginning and from there we tried the Orang Utang forest walk, which to our surprise, only houses plants. There wasn’t an animal to be seen. This was quite a pity since this is my favorite animal of the whole wide world, but hey, hopefully in a few years time I will be able to see them in their natural habitat and that would be more than amazing as well.

Leaving the jungle, it was already time to have some lunch and than we went on our way to see the rest of the Australians, but like most of the animals they were either not to be seen or sleeping (probably because of the extremely hot weather).

0305C6E7-6087-46E8-8A91-548FE06C5880_Fotor.jpg

We tried to spot a wombat and searched for it, for almost half an hour, but he was no were to be found. Last time when we were in Australia we only saw a sleeping wombat, but now he was just totally gone, he knows how to hide himself, that’s for sure. On the other hand, we saw lots and lots of Echidna’s and they are so funny to watch, they really look like oversized drunken hedgehogs. I just love the way they move!

Time is flying when you are trying to find all the natives and like most animals they also love to sleep or hide in the shade, I guess that a warm day isn’t exactly the right moment to visit a zoo, but we had a bit of a time issue, so there wasn’t any way around it.

At 2 PM we were near the seals and watched a show, which was quite entertaining and informative at the same time. I must say that they really know how to handle there native talks and shows coz an hour later we also went for the bird show and this one in particularly is very interesting. There are just so many birds and to be honest, so many different species I wasn’t really aware of and it made me look at birds in a totally different way.

Sadly enough we had to go after the show was over coz we needed to get the 3.45 PM hop on hop off ferry back to the city centre coz this evening we had a dinner date with Ewa, a girl who we met a few years back on our trip through Oz and kept in touch with ever since.

CCE5049F-FC51-45D9-8FC0-CC33A60EB1B3_Fotor.jpg

By the time that we arrived back at the hotel, got a quick shower and another change of clothes, she was already awaiting us in the lobby waiting to get a few friendly hugs from 2 crazy Belgians.

It was so nice seeing her again and it felt like it was only yesterday that we were on the same trip together. I guess when you have that feeling, it means that they are true friends coz it doesn’t happen that very often. I myself, only have this feeling with a handful of people and I guess that they know who they are when they should happen to read this blog.

Ewa took the both of us to Darling Harbour to have dinner at the waterfront and she choose a very nice place where we had some yummy kangaroo steak with kumara mash and some greens. All in all a good choice and afterwards, we even closed the perfect dinner with a vanilla crème brûlée. Even late at night it was still nice and warm for a nice walk back to the hotel and although it was short, I enjoyed every minute of it and I sincerely hope to see my dear friend again within the next couple of years, as long as there is hope, there is life … isn’t it!?

When we arrived back in our room again about 10 PM the dreadful task awaited us of repacking all of our stuff. We had been neglecting it over the past couple of days, but since we are leaving this beautiful country early in the afternoon, there just isn’t escaping it anymore, so before I closed my eyes I made sure that everything was packed and I didn’t forget nothing.

C834A7FB-0528-45A6-90FB-07E877FD793C_Fotor.jpg

Posted by Ils1976 05:29 Archived in Australia Tagged skylines people birds boats walk city friends sights reptiles mammals oceania Comments (2)

a day filled with extremes


View New Zealand - 2014 on Ils1976's travel map.

It was freaking early when our alarm clock went of, but there was just no way around it. We still needed to go for our start to run lesson and since our day was already filled with lots and lots of things to do, the only option left for us was an early rise and shine!

1669B3CB-7657-4735-8586-1494EF76D29E_Fotor.jpg

The sun was already shining when we left our hotel and it seemed that by the time we arrived at Circular Quay, we weren’t the only once out there. Although it was relatively quite, still a few people were up and about doing the same thing like us, running or in my case jogging. I guess, the locals love their morning run as well, but can you blame them, the view is just too amazing.

Filled with lots of energy, we quickly showered and had a bite to eat and than it was off for another thrilling adventure!

Yesterday evening, quite pretty late actually, we booked the bridge climb. We were amazed to notice that there were still places available but now that there was an opportunity, we grabbed it with both hands. Our climb was going to be at 9.05, but we needed to be a bit earlier and so by the time it was a quarter to 8, we stepped through the front door. Are we good or are we good.

914C4B75-74DC-4CE1-B3A3-93ECEF478827_Fotor.jpg

I must admit that I was a bit nervous because of my fear of heights, but during this trip I already had done so many crazy things, that I am starting to get used to it. I am amazed actually of all the things that I have done so far and although I am still terrified of standing on a roof terrace of a tall building, it was really strange that bungee jumping was so much fun, so secretly I hoped that I would get the same feeling again.

After we’ve got some safety instructions and got into our gear, we walked to another room where we could practice the stairs of the bridge and so far so good. My fear wasn't that high, but we were still in the building, so I hoped it would stay in the building as well.

Our guide for the next 3.5 hours is Shannon and although she only works in the weekends, she is loads of fun and seems really interested in the wellbeing of our entire group, As we walked to the first pylon, the real deal was going to happen anytime soon and to be honest, I got more nervous as well, but by the time we actually left the pylon and where just underneath the bridge, it all went away. When I had a look at the scenery around me, I was really surprised to be in such a beautiful surrounding. I tried not to look down because than I probably wanted to go back, but as long as I looked on eye level, all was well.

5108EE20-4A9E-4828-90C2-9890E46FB7FA_Fotor.jpg

We got so much detailed information of the bridge itself from Shannon and although we walked very slow and had lots of stops on the way, it never felt boring for one minute. On every stop you had an amazing view, so what was not to like.

Exact 3.5. hours later we were back on ground level again and after choosing some of the pictures we had on the bridge, we walked out, ready for another fun thing to do here in this crazy city.

While we were up on the bridge, we saw a few people waving at us from the first pylon and we wondered how the view would be from up there, so as soon as we were back on the ground, we hurried back to the first pylon and had a look ourselves. By the time we arrived there, I must admit that the view wasn’t that bad, but the one on the bridge was way better and I am just so glad we got to do this, even if it was very expensive.

D99E1EF8-6C25-4763-A577-59CED1554EC9_Fotor.jpg

Back on the ground from the first pylon, we hurried back to our hotel to drop off our goodies from the bridge climb and than it was off to Darling Harbour and more in particular Paddy’s market. We still needed to buy some souvenirs for the home front and although we set a time limit of roughly 2 hours, it was way later when we finally came out again but with our bags filled with souvenirs.

As we walked out of the market, dark clouds were hovering over the city and in a way we were glad to have bought a souvenir umbrella coz by the looks of it, it could seem that we were going to need it any minute.

Not that we were looking forward to it coz we also wanted to go for another 4 kilometer walk towards an ice cream parlor which according to the Belgian newspaper from a few months back supposedly has the best ice cream of the entire world.Now that we were in the city, we couldn’t pass up an opportunity like that, now can we!?

6963CE16-FB1A-475A-AF90-00509CC2FEED_Fotor.jpg

The walk wasn’t all that hard, but finding the place was a bit more difficult coz we didn’t really got a precise map, only a street address, but that is all we needed thanks to google and a bit of smart thinking.

We arrived at the scene in the rain almost an hour later. Rain or no rain, we were going to have our ice cream and it seemed that we weren’t the only once. There was just a tiny table left in the back, but that is all we needed and as soon as we got settled, it was time for choosing the flavors. I must admit that this was the harsh part, coz there were just so many yummy looking flavors and in the end I went for lime (my all-time favorite), black currant and passion fruit. It was just to die for, the ice cream was more than yummy and by the time we finished ours, me and Tania looked at each other and thought just the same thing, we wanted to have seconds. I know it is a bit over the top, but we walked for 4 kilometers and had not eaten much today so, another ice cream it is!

Another round, another flavor and besides lime, this time I went for the bloodorange. Yummy as always, but after finishing this one, I was really stuffed so round 3 had to wait for another time. Maybe in the near future, you’ll never know!

9C970C19-CEEE-4272-BCB2-B300BA362FC6_Fotor.jpg

With eating all this ice cream, I was surprised we could even walk so far, but we did and a little over an hour or even less, we were back in the centre of Sydney again. I know it is more logic to have dinner first and than dessert, but the both of us really wanted to do something crazy so instead we just had our dessert first and now that we were back in the city the search was on for some dinner, which we easily found at a small Thai place. Instead of going for the noodles all the time I wanted to do something crazy and went for the curry instead but that was my biggest mistake ever. My god, this was just sooooooo unbelievable spicy that I almost drank 2 liters of water and still my mouth was on fire. Serves me right for not choosing noodles I guess???

By the time we were back in our hotel, it was yet again pretty late and needless to say we weren’t going to sleep before midnight but a little after we did. I was completely knackered after such an exciting day and tomorrow another one awaited us.

Posted by Ils1976 04:54 Archived in Australia Tagged landscapes bridges buildings skylines people sky adventure walk city friends sightseeing adrenaline oceania viewpoint fear_of_heights Comments (2)

soaking up the sun


View New Zealand - 2014 on Ils1976's travel map.

A good night’s sleep is actually the only thing a person really needs and I was happy to have just that. Due to the fact that our room wasn’t available anymore last night, we got a complimentary breakfast. Okay, I have to admit, we had to ask for it, but on the other hand, they could have declined it, luckily they didn’t, so this meant that this morning we were going to have a luxurious breakfast.

0F42C9E3-3916-4936-BD9D-35F5CB7BC9C9_Fotor.jpg

There were just so many choices of hot and cold dishes, that it was difficult to decide what to eat first but since we had a long day ahead of us, we made sure we had enough food into our system. It was already after 10 AM when we left our hotel and went to the waterfront to have a look at the famous bridge and of course that other major sight in Sydney, the infamous Opera house. It is not the first time of course that we have seen these buildings, but seeing them is believing and when we gazed upon them, we knew we were back in our beloved Sydney.

Since the weather was so nice, we just walked for a while into the botanical gardens and than it was time to really soak up the sun and what better way to do that than at the beach, Bondi here we come!

Getting there was a totally different story. There were some major track works so instead of taking the subway train all the way to Bondi Junction, we had to get off at an earlier station, where we had to catch a bus. Luckily the walk towards the bus wasn’t that far and we even had a bit of time to spare before we could jump on the express bus towards Bondi Junction. Not that we were complaining, this only meant that we could soak up some more sun. It really is amazing that after almost 3 weeks of mostly bad weather, a bit of sunshine made all the difference.

As we arrived in Bondi Junction, we had to transfer on to another bus and although we didn’t had to wait long, by the time it arrived, it was already fully packed. It seemed that we weren’t the only once wanting to go to the beach and who can blame us all, the weather was just simply put … amazing!

D9342F74-972E-4594-9E19-B7D83FDB6610_Fotor.jpg

The ride from Junction to the beach wasn’t that far and as soon as we got off, we were a bit distracted by the many shops just like a couple of years ago when we visited this place, but as soon as we were finished shopping and had a bite to eat, we could go and find ourselves a nice spot on the beach, which knowing us, didn’t take that long. It was an absolute bliss lying there in the sand and since it was so hot, it was nice that there was a cool wind blowing as well. I quickly closed my eyes and enjoyed this little moment of pure bliss. I’ve said it already a couple of times, but life really can be beautiful sometimes, especially when you are on holiday and don’t need to worry about anything but yourself. Is this selfish I wonder, but on the other hand I don’t care that much coz in the back of my mind I am saying to myself that I deserve this after so many months of hard working.

It was almost 6 PM when we called it a „day” coz the wind was blowing more stronger now and since most of the people were leaving, it was as good as time ever to do the same. In a way it was the right moment as well because just next to us there was a group of young English guys who got hassled by 2 girls from I don’t know where.

Although they seemed to have a strong accent, I guess they were locals, but they were just so waisted and did just about anything to score a drink from these guys. And I literally mean evertything!!! At a certain point one of them was completely naked and some people around us started to get really offended and who can blame them, that’s just not normal behavior on a family beach. Sitting so close to them, I could even hear one of the girls telling that they would do anything and they wouldn’t have to pay, so I was starting to think that I got a clue what their actual job was. When one of the two actually showed the moves, I was sure of it, well, if you come to think about it, it is never boring when you are at Bondi beach!!

EB349E32-98D5-4C50-841C-BF2013C0A070_Fotor.jpg

On our way back to the bus stop, we decided to go for a quick dinner as well. It was going to take a while to get back to the centre of Sydney with all the track works, so by the time that we were going to arrive, it was going to be pretty late.

Like most of all our dinners, we wanted something really quick and not to greasy so once again this meant one thing and one thing alone … noodles! It seemed that this dish besides the Indian cuisine is really our favorite on this trip coz we were eating it on a daily basis. Maybe we should think about going to Asia or India on our next adventure!

As we were almost back into the centre, we got off in the neighborhood of Martins place and although it was already late, we still wanted to check out Darling Harbour. On our previous trip, we never went there during the evening, so we didn’t really see it with all the lights, but when we arrived at the spot, we were surprised to see lots and lots of people. What the heck was going on here???

Walking further and further towards the Imax theatre, I just had to ask, it was just too crazy seeing all these people sitting on the ground and waiting for something to happen and only 5 minutes later we got our answer. There was going to be a christmas fireworks at 9 PM. How sweet was that! Once again we were in luck, we only had to wait less than half an hour and of course we waited to see what that was all about.

8D8C6385-9A59-4216-A26D-E8E0D9B6C489_Fotor.jpg

In Belgium they don’t have such fireworks for Christmas, so this was a totally new experience for us, but seeing all the typical colors of christmas in the sky together with some christmas music, it really came to my mind to have a little chat with our mayor. Maybe they could do something like this as well. The fireworks were really nice and the atmosphere was amazing. With a big smile on our faces and singing the song of Rudolph the red nose reindeer, we slowly walked back to our hotel, where we still needed to get the key of our new room.

By the time we were back in our room and finally went for sleep it was already after midnight and it was as good as time ever coz tomorrow another adventurous activity awaited us.

Posted by Ils1976 02:53 Archived in Australia Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches bridges buildings skylines water walk city friends sightseeing oceania viewpoint Comments (2)

it really does feel liking coming home!


View New Zealand - 2014 on Ils1976's travel map.

Since we started this trip we didn’t had too many days that we could sleep in, but now that we didn’t had a program to follow, that is just what we did, we slept in and it was great. By the time that we finally came out of bed, it was almost 9 AM. I know that some people don’t exactly call that sleeping in, but for the two of us, it was a bliss.

However, when we opened the curtains, we noticed that the weather wasn’t all that good. Dark clouds were hovering around us and since we didn’t had enough time yesterday evening to have a more decent look inside the botanical gardens, we were planning of doing that later this afternoon, but now with the threat of rain, we weren’t that sure anymore. We were contemplating about it and in the end we just wanted to go for it, after all, we had some rain jackets, which we knew by now where more than rainproof.

023CA095-5490-4C12-BB6C-47E8B79C6DF8_Fotor.jpg

After checking out, we walked all the way back to the centre of the city, to be more precise, New Regent Street. This place looked so nice with the Spanish style houses and yesterday evening, we also noticed a few small bakeries which to us seemed like the perfect place to have breakfast.

Dark clouds were still hanging above us and by the time that we were almost near the cathedral, it started to rain as well. It seemed that our last day here in New Zealand was going to be a wet one, I so hoped it could be the other way around, but unfortunately the weather gods aren’t agreeing with us.

As we reached our eatery, we had our eye on yesterday, it was already raining heavily but once inside this didn’t matter too much and together with a chai latte and a bagel with cream cheese the world looked a little bit better. Unfortunately it was but for a short time, so we needed a cookie of Mrs. Higgens as well, just to lift up our spirit. I don’t really know that it helped much, but the cookie itself was more than delicious.

Still raining cats and dogs, we decided to go and have a look at the shopping mall build out of containers. Now that the weather was still shitty, there was no way we were going to walk through it and this meant that the gardens just had to wait till later today.

Upon our arrival at the mall, most shops were open, so we just went from one to another to kill time. Had we known that it was going to be like this half a year ago, we probably had booked an earlier flight to Australia, but those are the downsides of traveling coz you don’t really have control of the weather. After walking in and out the containers for a while, it started to look a bit better and suddenly we had hope again that we could visit the gardens.

It was almost lunch time as well and now that we were in the mall, we wanted to try out the Greek food stall which according to our guide Helen was more than yummy. Despite the weather, it was one of the few food thingies opened, so we gave the chicken souvlaki a try and although there was not much to say about the food, the weather however changed on us again and we had to take shelter closely near the entrance of one of the containers. I am not really a big fan of eating while I am standing, but doing this in the rain, that’s even worse! Unfortunately we had to go with the flow and since none of the benches were dry, this was the only way to go.

As soon as we finished our souvlaki, it was time to go back to the hotel. It was still raining and although not really in the mood, there wasn't even time anymore for a quick visit the gardens. We just wanted to go back to the hotel and await our shuttle bus to the airport, but at the moment we wanted to leave, it started to rain even harder. The one thing we could do is to wait it out, but unfortunately it didn’t stop raining, so we had to take our chances.

With only our rain jackets on, we ran out in the rain but it came down on us so fast that by the time that we were back at the hotel we were just soaking wet. I had never been so wet and the worse part about it all was the fact that we couldn’t change into another pair of clothes, there wasn’t any time left so instead we just went into the ladies bathroom and pulled a Mr. Bean (for the once who saw the movie). Not that it helped much, but at least our shoes and jackets were a bit drier and by now we definitely know there is a limit on how much rain a jacket can handle.

Our shuttle bus to the airport was a bit early, so with wet pants and feeling cold as hell, we left towards the airport and waved New Zealand goodbye. It really is a lovely country with beautiful nature, but sadly enough the only thing I am never going to forget is how much rain we had to endure, no matter how many beautiful days we had.

I don’t know if there is ever going to be a possibility that I am visiting this country again. Maybe I will, maybe I won't, the only thing holding me back is the weather to be honest, it is just so fickle. Call me old fashioned, but I like to know what is coming and the surprises we had on this trip weren’t all that memorable, but I can't complain all the time of course and I do have to remember the good days, the fun we had and of course all the exciting things we experienced.

The one thing that was on my mind when we arrived at the airport was saying goodbye. It was a nice trip but for now it was G’bye NZ and G’day Oz, but by the time we arrived in Sydney it was already pretty late. Due to some problems on the runway we had to circle into the air for almost an hour so by the time that we landed, got through customs, got our bag, found our hotel and got into our room, it was almost midnight.

Needless to say, the only thing that I did was taking a long hot bath and jumped into my roller bed with a smile on my face. I was completely knackered, but somehow I was glad to be back in Sydney again. I really missed this city and from the moment I set foot in this country I felt like I was home again. It is a strange feeling actually, but to me it felt a bit like coming home and I don’t often get this feeling. I can only hope that it will last for a very long time.

Posted by Ils1976 02:02 Archived in New Zealand Tagged buildings airport city friends sightseeing oceania Comments (3)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 25) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 » Next