Thursday, September 3, 2009

The end is near

Well, it is our final night in the wild land of Australia and this will be our last blog entry. We survived the rest of our road trip in the spaceship and are now safely back in Brisbane. When we brought our spaceship van back to star command, we noticed that we had driven a total of 4,500 kilometers, which is roughly 2800 miles. We were fortunate not to have any accidents or hit any kangaroos while driving on the left side of the road. We are so used to driving on the left side of the road now, that it may be an adjustment to drive in the states again.
For those who have been wai
ting in suspense on what the answer is to question about Nate's eye in the last blog, watch this video. You can also get a little feel of that Australian alarm clock that we had previously mentioned. On our way back to Brissie we saw a sign off of the highway that sh
owed these good looking dolphins. The sign stated "Hand feed Dolphins for free at Tin Can Bay." We still had almost two days left of our drive so we did a little jog off course to Tin Can Bay. It was just about sun down when we pulled into town and the feeding wasn't until 8 am... so we just parked the van on the road and crashed out till morning. Thinking we were going to go feed some good looking dolphins, we were a li
ttle surprised at what we got to feed. If anyone is familiar with Brian Regan and his bit about Flipper and having a bad dolphin named Zipper...
I think we met him. We come walking down to the water front and here is this pail grey dolphin with scars all over it. Chunks had been bitten out of it dorsal fin and nearly one whole side of his tail had been cut off. Probably an accident from when he was out moving safety buoy's. The picture really doesn't do it justice. It looked more like a wood carving that had come to life.
Crikey's, we even took a drive down Steve Irwin Way and got a snap shot with the crocodile hunter himself out from of his zoo.
Since back in Brisbane, we were able to hook up with local YSA members here and made some pretty awesome gourmet pizzas. We think it's just because they really like out American accents though. Just for kicks, we cruised around downtown one last time on the long boards and did some last minute gift shopping. Last night we landded a sweet invite for today. Our day was spent relaxing at the Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise.
Our last day in beautiful Australia was spent sitting on the beach and body surfing in the waves. Nate wanted to steal some sand from the surfers paradise beach but we didn't have a container on hand... so he filled his kite bag with sand till we got back to town. The weather this whole trip has been absolutely perfect. We must have picked the best 5 weeks of the entire year to come over. You couldn't have asked for anything better. Although every thing is a bit more expensive in Australia, the people have been great. Everyone is super helpful and quick to help you with directions or point you in the direction of fun stuff to do. Normally when a trip comes to an end it feels as if it has flown past. Honestly, it feels as if we have been here for a lot longer than 5 weeks. We have done tons, seen a lot but are ready to come back home. Thanks to everyone for following our blog. We literally have a few thousand pictures so we'll be posting more on facebook in the weeks to come. Also, after nearly 7 weeks of growing the beards, just like that they are gone. We didn't want people to think that we were complete bums so off they came for the last two days.
So a few people that have followed this didn't get shout outs. So, to be fare, we will go back through our photos and find some shout out pictures for a few people.
First up is Jerad... here's what a Sheila looks like.

Next is Heather.... This is a video shout out, a rare animal in Australia.
For those of you that we missed, G'day from Down Under!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Crocs, cane, and coconuts... and the Barrier Reef

The last two weeks have flown by and we are now in our last 6 days. The trip north has been really great. Deb made it about 2/3 of the way north with us before falling in love with some dude at a bar and deciding to stay in Airlie Beach. Turns out the the guy was actually a loser and she left there a day later. Laura was a trooper and came all the way up to Cairns and parted ways with us last Tuesday. A few of the places we stopped off at on our journey up north was Magnetic Island and the table lands above Cairns. Magnetic Island is just off the coast of Townsville (400 km south of Cairns) and takes about 40 minutes by ferry to get there. On the island there are walking trails where you can see Koala in the wild. We saw a few of them while we were out there. It was day time so they were just slumped over sleeping in the trees. The beaches were all super nice with not many people on them. In the table lands above Cairns we swam in an extinct volcano and also saw about three other falls on our way to Cairns. It isn't the rainy season so most of the falls are more streams than rivers right now. Since we were at the best part of the Barrier Reef in Cairns, we treated ourselves to a nice day on the reef snorkeling and sailing. Since neither of us had an underwater camera we hired one out and ended up with about three hundred more pictures for the day. We make sure and get our moneys worth. We got to see all kinds of stuff out on the reef including giant clams and also some sea turtles plus millions of other fish. Plus there was even sightings of a great white (Matt without his shirt on). Since then we took our travels even more north up to Cape Tribulation. Up there we saw some crocs in the wild. They don’t allow people to camp up there so we ended up pulling off the road and finding this sweet nook that landed us pretty well in the middle of the jungle. The mosquito’s were super bad so we closed the van doors and popped on a DVD. About half way through the movie we were still getting eaten alive by mosquito’s so we turned on the light to see what window was left open. Turns out, a GIANT spider made its way into the van and was just chillin on the ceiling above us. Talk about a quick evacuation. Matt took care of him with an empty water bottle… after taking pictures of course. No one messes with Matt and his water bottle. Traveling south we have been hitting up all kinds of national parks. We have found some of the coolest waterfalls and swimming holes. I think we even tracked down a few of the places that Dustin and I swam as kids. We’ll be posting a lot of these pictures on facebook when we get back so these are just a taste of what is to come. Other then that the weather couldn’t be better. Sunny and warm every day and not overbearing. Honestly we couldn't have planned a better trip than we have had. Most everything has been played by ear but has fallen perfectly into place as if it were planned. We have been driving through Sugar Cane and Coconut country so we have been living it up with fresh sugar cane and coconuts during our trip. Matt is working on making himself a Coconut bra with the empty shells. It has been simply paradise… in fact just this morning we swam in a water hole called paradise…. Imagine that!!
Now we are g
oing to try and play a little game for those that do log into our blog and give us comments.
The game is called…
“What happened to Nathans Eyelid?”
Was it…

A) He found out the hard way not to cut chili peppers and then rub his eye?
B) A random spider bit him on the eyelid during the night?
C) Matt was jealous of Nates tan body and punched him in the face?
D) Got Sugar Cane juice in my eye and had an allergic reaction.?
E) Awaking to take a pee in the dark, he hit his face on the rear hatch of the mini van?

A couple of quick shout outs. First up, JC has waited a long time for a shout out. Here you go buddy, Enjoy that!

Next is Maralyn, diggin the Pink Floyd tribute van…

Leave us Heterosexual Comments!! Good luck coming up with something non gay Dustin. And for the record, we have our own hammocks!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Roadtrip in our Spaceship

Brisbane has been a blast. We spent 6 days total in Brisbane with our good Aussie friends, Andrew, Matt and Rohan. They showed us around and we did some fun stuff. Matt even made it on the 5 O'clock news in Brisbane. We were down by the water front laying on the beach with the rest of the people when the news van pulled up. It happened to be one of the hottest winter days they had seen in years so they were interviewing people about it. He was sporting his red beard and sweet farmers tan. We hired a van to come up north and found it would be cheaper than flying to just keep it for an extra week and make the drive round trip. So here we are sitting out front of McDonalds in the middle of our road trip. The van that we hired is called a "spaceship" van. It's got everything from a double bed to stoves and a fridge. We hooked up with two other girls (see attached picture) that were wanting to make the trip north so we figured it would save some money by vanpooling. We have been on the road 4 days now and have made it at least 2/3 of the way to Cairns. The one girl, Laura, is from Germany. She is out for about 4 months on her vacation. The other girl is only out for a month from the UK. Her name is Deb. There is some differences when it comes to us vs. them. We'll touch on some of them later on. The trip has been super fun and interesting at the same time. We have been sleeping in our hammocks every night. I must say, this outback comes alive after the sun goes down. You will be sleeping and get woken up by some random animal running under you. Or if you are Matt, it could be a giant bug crawling on your face durning the night. My favorite is being woken up by something and then shinning the light in to the tree next to me and having a possum staring you in the face about 8 feet away, then crawling down the tree and up the to foot of my hammock. We have been using the Aussie alarm clock to get up in the morning. This consists of about 50 different species of birds all screaming at the same time for about an hour straight. We have been through the towns of Noosa, Bundaberg, Mackay, Rockhampton and have landed here in Airlie Beach at the Whitsundays. The Whitsundays are probably some of the most famous and beautiful sets of Aussie Islands. There are 72 different islands that make up the Whitsundays. They want a small fortune to do day trips out to them so we are saving ourselves for the Great Barrier Reef when we get up north. If you ask Matts belly, it would tell you that today the weather was pretty warm. It's only pink though and hasn't made it to the being in pain stage. It has been a nice stay here and we will be heading north again tomorrow. We will try our best to upload photos when we get the chance. The net is a bit slow when McDonalds offers free wifi. It did get us to purchase some ice creams so I guess it's good work to them in the sales department. We also love to see comments so hook us up.. The three pics that we did get to work are just random animals we have seen along the way...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Newcastle and the north

Hey everyone, we made it to Brisbane!! It has been quite a trek getting up here. Lots has happened. We first spent a day in Sydney and stayed over night again with Aaron and his wife Fiona. They have been super great to help us out with a place to stay. Aaron also treated us to some Stir Crazy... best Thai food ever!! Thanks Aaron. After getting a ride to the Central Station, we hopped a train north to Newcastle. It is supposedly Australia's 6 or 7th larges city but you would never guess it. This was the start of our first couch surfing experience. We stayed with a lady named Jacinta and two of her three kids, Josh and Lochlan. She was a great host and showed us all kinds of stuff (except the moon, but that's another story). Her youngest was an 8 year old, Lochy. This kid kept us plenty busy when he wasn't in school. He had more energy than you could imagine. We stayed with them four nights. In that time we did some sight seeing along the coast, pet and fed Koala's, fed Emu's, saw Wombats (I even learned how they mate), had a fire on the beach, went 4 wheelin on the beach, watch a crazy Aussie movie (the Castle), ate wheetbix (cereal in loaf form that comes to life when milk is added), made a poor attempt at the sport of Crickett, hit seagulls with my kite on the beach.... They even took Matt to Red head Beach. It was a great stay. Matt found us some cheap airfare up to Brisbane so we caught ourselves a plane on Wednesday up to here. They one uped us on their planes though, they have pin-up girls on the front of theirs. Now I will say this, not all couch surfing experiences are everything you expect. So the tale goes... We set up a place to stay in Brisbane for the first few days. It was with a guy named Michael and a few of his mates. We show up to Brisbane and it is raining and hailing. After about 2 hours we finally get to the house we are supposed to be staying at. From the front it is the darkest house on the street. After entering, this place isn't your common home. They called it "the Forest." Forests seem a little safer than this though. There is writing all over everything, walls, ceiling, cupboards, doors, floors, you name it. Nothing in particular, just random crap that people would want to write. There were about 4 couches and 3 random mattresses with peoples crap everywhere. You would think there were probably about 15 people staying there.. that's cause there was. It turns out that anyone that asks to crash at their house, they just say 'yes' every time. If that doesn't seem nuts, everyone that is there is crammed out on to the back porch area where they are getting high and drunk with music blasting. Not really what we had in mind. I guess that's all part of the adventure though. After hanging out for about an hour and a half I figured we needed to set up something else, some other living environment. We made a contact in Sydney with a couple that were from Brisbane. They gave me the number of their son Andrew and said if were were in Brisbane we should give him a call. After a quick walk to the payphone, Andrew was on his way to hook us up. You have to love being a member of the church. Him and his roommates took us right in and got us fixed up with some bedding. At this point we are planning on heading north on Monday. We will hire (rent) a car and meet up with one other girl we found to save on the rental cost. We still have three weeks to go so there will be lots more to see between now and then.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Katoomba: A walk to remember

Well, we just got back from our latest adventure in the Blue Mountains...and yes, they really are blue. Apparently the Eucalyptus trees put off some sort of gas or something of that nature which makes the mountains look blue. We arrived in Katoomba Sunday night and after a bit of walking around, found a small little Hostel called No. 14. Mandy was the owner and she was super helpful in telling us how to get to all the great places in the Blue Mountains and even loaned us a book to guide us. Our first hike, or "walk" as they call it, was to Wentworth Falls. Instead of trails, they call them "tracks" here. It was a great hike, I mean walk, with some cool waterfalls and subtropical rain forest. The next day we decided we would wake up early and start on the 6 foot Track, a 45 kilometer walk through rain forest and eucalyptus forest to the Jenolan Caves. It's supposedly a 3 day walk but we did 35 kilometers in the first day and after a sleepless night freezing our butts off on the cold ground, finished the last 10k in the morning. Some of you stateside might not know the conversion from kilometers to miles but it works out to be about a 28 mile hike. But since we are both top shape athletes, this was a piece of cake... okay honestly it kicked our trash and left us completely exhausted but it was well worth it and we even got to feed some wild kangaroos along the way which was awesome. Some of them don't want anything to do with you, but others want to see if you have more than just shortbread cookies in your bag. They would get right up in our face and even eat crackers out of our mouth. Both of the ones we fed had little Joey's chillin with their heads sticking out of the pouch. After a quick photo shoot with them we descended down to Jenolan. Although they were a bit on the pricey side, we figured our long walk had to pay off so we took a tour through one of the caves there called the Lucas cave which had a lot of cool limestone formations. (Matt is averaging about a hundred photos a day so as you can imagine we got 5 pictures of everything) We didn't feel like hiking back to Katoomba so after a futile attempt at hitchhiking (all three cars that passed in a half hour), we found a ride with a charter bus headed back that way. He was way cool and said we could hitch a ride with him. The bonus to this was, the other shuttle driver that was full wanted to charge us 25 bucks a piece. But not Greg, he hooked us up for free. After arriving back in Katoomba we bought some hot chocolate and good food and recovered from our hike at the hostel. This land is filled with crazy amounts of birds and even during our hike we came across a wild fox. He was in a pretty deep sleep however so we just let him rest. We also had our first meat pies while in Katoomba which were pretty good. That is one of those things... when you come here, you eat a meat pie. Everyone sells them so you have to at least try one. More or less like a Stoffers Chicken Pot Pie. We are now back in Sydney and stopped by China Town today and ate some interesting food. No offence to the chinese people but that wasn't meat, I'm pretty sure of that. Since we were close by and had some time to kill, we headed to the park to feed the Cockatoos and Lorikeets one last time. You would think we were at a petting zoo of some kind and not at the local Botanical Gardens. There were times you would have 6 of these birds landing on you. We head north to New Castle on Sunday for a few days and then head farther north from there! Now for the shout outs... First up is our rug salesman friend Chad up in Cody WY. He will appreciate a good Persian rug sale. Next up is Dustin, they do have Jackaroos here.. They just aren't the ones from the Outback Steak House. And no, we haven't seen any of those here either.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hey everyone. This will be a quick short entry since we are about to catch a train to our next spot. We are on our way to Katoomba. It is about a two hour train ride. We might be setting up camp in the dark or finding a Hostel tonight. These last few days have been pretty sweet. There are a few things we found out you can't do here in Sydney. One, you can't ride your longboards in the Botanical Gardens. Even though on the gate is has the little picture with the bike x-ed out and the rollerblades and rollerskates x-ed out there is nothing stating you can't ride a skateboard.. but if you get stopped, they will tell you that you are riding your rollerskates in the park. Don't know how that all works but whatever. If it has four wheels and it goes under your feet it is classified as rollerskates I guess. Second thing is, you aren't allowed to fly your kite of the front steps of the Opera house. Even if the wind is perfect, don't do it. My guess is, you would only have the kite in the air about 4 minutes until security shows up. Other then that, we have been playing with the Cockatoo's in the park. They are all wild but you wouldn't guess it. If you have food they will mob you until you give it up. The one picture you can kind of see the bats. About sundown they start coming out in the thousands flyinging throught the city. We have been having a blast walking around and seeing the water fronts. We checked out Chinatown and most of the local stuff. We'll keep you up to date on everything the best we can... Cheers! Oh, and just for you Raquel, here's a little shout out...