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Sloggs' Travel Blog A journal of my travels in 2008 & beyond...

Sydney to Melbourne

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 5 April 2008 | Views [2024]

The Blue Lake in the Snowry Mountains after a nice 5km walk...

The Blue Lake in the Snowry Mountains after a nice 5km walk...

At stupid o'clock I was outside the hostel in Sydney waiting for the bus, and not really knowing what to expect from this trip. I was one of the last on the bus and so was sat near the rear, which didn't really matter as all of the seats have minimal leg room and turned out to be equally uncomfortable!

The driver on the trip was called Andy (a proper Aussie bloke) and as we drove out of the city with the full compliment of passengers, he suggested that we all stand up and introduce ourselves one at a time and tell each other where we're from and what we do... I of course volunteered to start the ball rolling, partly as I was at the back and partly to get it over with (plus I'm just noisy anyway!). The bus had mostly English people on it, with one young Danish girl, an older French couple and two Russian chaps (who turned out to be extremely entertaining during this trip).

Luckily I was sat with a pretty cool group of young people in the back of the bus and so the trip was a lot more fun than it could have been (and a lot less boring during the looooong bus rides). I met a smart young artist called Nick from Portsmouth (travelling Aus for 6 months looking for inspiration), the very sound and smooth-talking James and his lovely missus Laura from Norfolk, the zany and random Holly from England who has moved to Sydney to live and work after taking in some sights on this tour, and chatterbox Collet (who has a wicked laugh!) and super-chilled out (and sharp witted) hubby Tim. Kate T, a young Voodoo apprentice from down Brighton way was also on this bus, although I didn't really get to know her until late on the trip and into the next one. All of us were to spend the rest of the trip together, waffling about anything and everything and enjoying the sights along route.

The first day turned out to involve quite a lot of driving and our first stop was in the capital city of Canberra. We took in the old and new parliment buildings, including a look around inside the new one, where I saw to my amusement amongst the paintings of past presidents, one who looked the spitting image of Leslie Nielson of Naked Gun fame, lol!

In Canberra we picked up our last passenger, who was jumping on the bus to complete the trip to Melbourne after stopping over in Canberra for a few days on the last bus. This was the gorgeous Katie, a fitness centre manager from Manchester, who has been working in Exeter for a while running body combat classes amongst other things! The poor girl had been struggling with a full-on bout of bronchitis for 12 days when we picked her up and had gone through 2 courses of antibiotics already! Considering this she was still a wicked laugh and got stuck in to all the activities on route regardless! (Coughing sessions were required at intervals)

After some lunch in a stop off in town, we got back on the road and went through Cooma where we learned about Australia's great engineering feat , the Snowry Hydro-Electric Scheme. We got into Jindabyne in the afternoon, which was our first overnight stop on the trip. The accomodation was superb... extremely comfortable and spacious. We had a balcony, complete with large sofa and a stunning view over the lakes and hills behind. After getting cleaned up a bit and spending some more time chatting we went for our evening meal, which we had upgraded on route to replace the chicken schnizel with a big steak, which we had to cook ourselves on the indoor barbque! James being an ex-chef dealt with getting the steaks cooked right and we had a few pints of a half decent dark ale (aussie style, with bubbles!) from the bar and settled down to eat a great meal.

Later we bought some boxes of 'goon' (cheap and crap wine!) from the bottle shop and headed back to our big room to get stuck into that and talk nonsense expertly all night!

The second day started with a few dry mouths in our room from last nights festivities and we all filled up on the good standard buffet at the hostel before heading off again. We drove up into the Australian Alps, stopping to see a couple of view points on route, before getting to the spot we were going to walk. It was a 10km round walk, up and down the mountains and amazing over lots of snow! I personally wasn't expecting that, so it was quite a surprise when we saw the snow topped mountains coming into view as we drove through! The walk was pretty nice, with a superb river crossing part where plenty of people took off their shoes and got very cold crossing... once again my shoe's came into their own and kept me bone dry and warm toe'd all the way. We took some great shots on route and made it up to the Blue Lake and back in a couple of hours.

In the afternoon we stopped off to take a short walk in the bush and spotted lots of kangaroo's and one wombat, which became an instant celebrity, especially to the ever excitable 'Boris' who ran towards it screaming 'Wombat' at the top of his voice! This was after scaring off two Emu's not moments before... Lol! We searched for snakes with Andy the driver too, but failed to spot any here.

We arrived in our over night stop of Lakes Entrance, to a much different scene from last night. Firstly we arrived at our restaurant, which turned out to be a fish and chip shop, having mostly ordered the carbonara or pork dish from the menu on route today! Needless to say the two people who'd ordered the fish and chips had the best meal... We then arrived at our hostel accomodation, where the owner doesn't allow mixed sex rooms and any noise after 10pm! We still had some goon left from the night before, and so camped on an outdoor table next to the common room and resumed the conversation. Boris and his companion's evening activites were discussed in some depth (tongue in cheek, and distgusting) and Andy the driver came into his own with a display of Aussie bravado and bare faced cheek yet to be surpassed after he brazenly announced that he would shine the cheap and tacky, Thai purchased, nude model projecting torch onto the old man's back who was preparing his evening meal in the kitchen through the window from us... and he duly stepped inside the kitchen and did exactly that with the old mans wife looking on and all of us killing ourselves laughing outside! Loving the Aussies... ;-)

James and I polished off the rest of the goon stood outside our room after everyone else went to bed, which ensured a decent headache in the morning as we rose for a veggiemite on toast and cup of tea breakfast. We set off on our last day to Wilsons Promontory National Park where we walked through the cliffs down to Squeky beach, which actually squeaks under foot! The national park and beach provide some fantastic scenery, the only thing lacking was the great white shark attack on the beach which I booked through Andy. ;-)

From there we drove for hours to Melbourne and kept ourselves amused chatting on the bus and listening to music etc. After most of the drop off's Boris provided the few of us on the bus with a wonderful sight! He got off the stop before us, and as we pulled away and were stopped by some traffic lights, he walked alongside the bus and stopped to look at the map on the street next to us. With his backed turned to us, he stuck his right hand down the back of his trousers for a good old rummage around! Katie's face was a picture as she announced what the dirty git was doing "right in her face"! We all watched agast and how he didn't hear me shouting encouragement at him through the thin glass windows I will never know! As we pulled away he pulled his hand out, and to my disappointment didn't take a sniff... lol! It was yet more evidence to our painted picture of his life... ;-)

That evening after checking in we went for a walk and had a few beers in a bar nearby, picked up some bottles to take back to the hostel and grabbed a Subway for dinner... I'll definitely sleep well tonight!

Pictures over on Photobucket...

Tags: animals, mountains, on the road, sightseeing, the great outdoors, walking

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