A Travellerspoint blog

Australia

Christmas Down Under

Firstly a big Happy New Year to everyone, i hope all your celebrations went great over the festive season. Secondly, apologies for the delay in the blogging, my festive celebrations went a little too well in that I drank and ate my way through our time in Oz.

After the Gili Islands we headed to Bali to update the wardrobe a bit before heading to Oz. It was badly needed, I'm think our jungle attire would probably stand out just a little in the height of christmas celebrations! We spent two days in Bali running around shops, eating and just enjoying a taste of city life again. I cant really say much about the culture of Bali as we didn’t experience any during our time but we both knew that outside of the main super touristy shopping areas, a cultural feast awaits. Bali is meant to be brilliant once you go off the beaten track a bit. I guess we will have to return to find this out for ourselves!

Onward from Bali we headed to our first Australian destination of Perth. After a bit of a visa and flight panic in Bali i.e we had to buy new flights with a different airline, we were very relieved to land in Perth in time for the run up to christmas. We were met by Ger’s cousin and it was really great to see a familiar face again. The other great thing was just to be back in a country where we weren’t stared at or hassled. Don’t get me wrong we absolutely loved Asia but it can be a little tiring after months of travelling around it. As a result, I think our biggest ‘culture shock’ was the settling into life in Australia and it took a few days to adjust to the relaxed pace of living in Perth. Perth itself is a very interesting place at the moment as it is in the middle of a real economic boom as a result of a thriving mining industry. The downside is that it is very expensive so we were really grateful of having a bed to stay in with Ger cousin Eileen and her fiance Declan.

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Expensive though it might be, it’s a lovely city with lots of really brilliant outdoor facilities and is very close to a really nice wine region ‘Swan Valley’. We had a lovely afternoon on a wine tour sampling the delights of the local wineries. Needless to say we tried it all and left with a merry glow – just getting into the spirit of christmas. The strange thing for us about Perth at this time of year was the heat and seeing Santa in shorts. It didn’t really feel very christmassy but we didn’t mind so much. Heat in December was a nice novelty for us. It was also a really nice heat in that it wasnt humid. We hadn't realised until Australia just how humid it was in Indonesia. There is quite a lot to do in and around Perth and I would recommend the tour of Freemantle prison and a trip to little creatures brewery They also have great national parks near the city where you can spend several hours trekking about. We had a lovely week there and really enjoyed staying with Eileen and Declan - thanks again lads!!

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We left Perth on the 22nd and flew to Melbourne to spend christmas with my lifelong friend Niamh and her boyfriend Trent. I hadn’t really thought about christmas too much until we landed in Melbourne and then the festivities began. By festivities, I mean the traditional excessive drinking and eating but we embraced and loved every minute of it. While they live near the city center, they had booked a house in the countryside in Wilsons Prom for us all to celebrate days around christmas. After a very interesting christmas eve morning (see separate blog post) we left for the house. The house was meant to be a surprise for us and what a surprise it was!!! We arrived at a beautiful traditional country house complete with pool, jacuzzi and lots of kitchen space to cook up a yummy christmas dinner. We had an amazing time there and I think we were all sad leaving. Niamh and I both tooks lots of photos of the rooms just in case we ever win the lotto and can afford to replicate it back home :) Just close to the house is the nature reserve of Wilsons Prom which is an area with lots of trails, wildlife and stunning beaches. I managed to snap a pic of a wallaby on the way home.

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We returned to Melbourne on the 27th of December and Ger and I were excited to experience what Melbourne had to offer. We had always heard great things about Melbourne and it didn’t disappoint. It is probably the best city I have ever visited in terms of its amazing facilities. Its had lots of outdoor pitches, stadiums etc for people wanting to do outdoor activities and it has an unbelievable cycling infrastructure. We hired bikes for a week and just rode around the city on those. There are many bike tours you can do around the city and the cycling lanes are first class. The city itself is very trendy with lots of really cool cafes, shops, interesting museums etc. Like Perth it is quite expensive but the services are very good.

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The one thing about Australia that was particularly noticeable is the size of it. It is massive. We were only able to do the two cities and wish we could have done more but unfortunately moneywise, Australia is currently not the best place for backpackers. Its experiencing an economic boom which is great for residents but its a little pricey if your on a budget like us. That said, it is such a diverse country with amazing wildlife and a high standard of living that it is definitely worth visiting. I know I was really sad leaving - there were tears!!! It was probably just as well that we had a ticket booked to New Zealand or else we may have stayed!!!

Dodging Mosquito Status: Was too busy dodging spiders to notice!!!

Posted by ofenelon 14:24 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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