A Travellerspoint blog

Australia

Lets go outside!

After a week of trawling the job sites we both needed to make the most of the weekend and get out of the apartment and lucky for us it was a gloriously sunny Saturday so we decided to head to Kings Domain and the Botanical Gardens that are practically on our doorstep!

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This is the Walker Fountain which was donated to the city in 1981 by former Mayor of Melbourne Ron Walker. It looks really cool at night lit up by coloured lights, although when ran past it yesterday someone had put washing up liquid or something like that in it and it was a huge mass of bubbles!

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The King George V Memorial is an imposing site at the end of one of the paths leading into the park and on the other side is the image of Britannia with symbols of love and peace.

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The Sidney Myer Music Bowel looks like an awesome venue so hopefully we ll get to see some gigs here in the summer.

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and its named after this gent...

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We re still trying to get our heads around it being winter in June but loved seeing the change of the seasons as we walked through the gardens.

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I spotted a heron taking a nap in a tree.

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And a bunch of bees

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It was a gorgeous way to spend the morning

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An added bonus of tea and scones by the lake made it even better!!

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We decided to head from the park and catch the free city circle tram that circles the CBD. Its a great way to get familiar with the city and the quirky conductor points out landmarks along the way and stories about the cities history. The one we had seemed to focus on pointing out pubs to drink in, and loves to tell the joke to EVERY new person that "the seats are free of everyone as long as you leave them on the tram when you leave", it got a vague smile to begin with but after hearing it about 20 times got a bit grating.

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We stopped off near the Victoria Gardens and walked towards Brunswick Street. This is another great thing about Melbourne is that it is small enough to get around easily and be somewhere completely different just outside the CBD in minutes.

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Full of quirky shops, cafes and bars this definitely is a great place to wonder around window shopping and people watching. Imagine a mix of North Lanes in Brighton and Northcote in Clapham with buildings reminiscent of a western and you start to get the picture. We definitely would be back to explore more.

As the sun began to set we decided just to sit on the circle tram back to Flinders Street watching the city go by...

If you keep an eye out you might spot a cow up a tree!

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Sxx

Posted by doyledan 04:48 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

This is Melbourne...

...and its so random! I love it!

There's something different around every corner and the architecture is a mishmash of old and new...

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Trams are still a novelty...

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And I have no idea what this is meant to be...

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Most of our time is spent indoors staring at job websites so we ve barely scratched the surface.

Broomy's apartment is located in Southbank which means we can be in the heart of the CBD in a matter of minutes by crossing one of the numerous bridges over the Yarra river. One of these is Sandrige Bridge, otherwise known as Travellers Bridge. This was the first steel bridge built across the Yarra river and brought trains from the Port Melbourne into the city. Immigrants coming off the ships were transported to this very spot and in memory of this a series of sculptures have been built on the bridge to represent the different groups of immigrants that made the journey to find a new home.

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As you walk across the bridge you can keep an eye out for the country you are from and find out some facts about the immigrants from your country that came here.

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Apparently in 2001 there were over 6 million Australians who had English ancestry.

This is the impressive Flinders Street Station which was the first station in Melbourne.

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Next door to this is another iconic landmark, Federation Square.

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We had arrived during the Jazz Festival and every lunchtime during that week there was a free jazz concert in the square, just pull up a deck chair and enjoy

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Or keep walking if the improvisational jazz sounds more like someone trying to make music out of the contents of the kitchen sink, whilst another person wails like a cat thats just had its tail trodden on... well its not for everyone!

There are lots of theatres and galleries in the city and the Arts Centre is just one of them. With its huge spire its hard to miss, particularly when lit up with multicoloured lights at night.

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And of course all the sport venues... some of which we can see from the flat but we ll let ya know more on these when we go to our first Aussie Football game!

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So that's just a snap shot of this new city we are now calling home, what more will we discover...

Sxxx

Posted by doyledan 06:36 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Talent spotting

Australia's Got Talent, Melbourne auditions.

sunny 12 °C

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We had heard amazing things from Broomy about a cafe called Proud Mary's and he generously took us there for breakfast on Sunday.

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This place is so popular that people are willing to stand outside and wait for over an hour to get their mits on some yummy grub. Our visit was no exception so we ordered some teas and coffees and stood in the Autumn sunshine as we waited for a table.

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Finally our name was called...and we were in!

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It was pretty much lunchtime when we got inside and so totally acceptable to order the pork belly sandwich! I was too hungry to stop and take a photo of it but here's some tea instead. Love the cute milk bottle.

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We didn't mind waiting as it was definitely worth it, and we had the bonus of getting to know a couple of Broomy's mates Tanya and Wally who had joined us.

Tanya is the founder of a charity called Hearts4heart. Through her own experiences with heart disease she found that support for young adults was lacking in Australia and so she has tried to change that by setting up the charity to help young adults with heart disease and to raise awareness of this condition. Its an inspiring story.

"Heart disease is cross cultural, multi-racial, non- denominational and has no preferences. Heart disease knows no age. It is my hope that Hearts4heart will raise awareness of heart disease, provide direct support for all of those who are impacted by cardiac illness, whilst encouraging members to live a positive and fulfilled life. I hope to connect cardiac patients to each other, as well as link families, friends, carers and supporters, to give you a safe place to learn, to share your stories, and to share and support each other through the highs and the lows with people who understand." Tanya Hall, Hearts4Heart.

You can find out more, donate or get involved by visiting their website here

Broomy had somehow managed to get us tickets to Australia's Got Talent Auditions that evening and after hearing about Tanya's charity we were more than happy to wear some Hearts4hearts t-shirts to help raise awareness if we got on the telly!

And we had the added bonus of meeting Charlie when we picked them up. What a sweetie!

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Later on we headed out for some cheap dumplings in China Town before heading to Her Majesty's Theatre about 15 minutes before the doors opened. Not really knowing much about how it was going to work and that the tickets weren't seated we had a bit of a surprise when we came round the corner and saw 100s of people queuing outside. Were these people waiting to audition? Were they people without tickets hoping to get lucky? No it was just the queue for everyone.

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Somehow Broomy managed to work some magic with a security guy and we soon found ourselves waiting at the front entrance. A bit unsure whether this guy would come through for us and also getting a few evil looks from some teenage girls that probably had been queuing since 2pm we were relieved when we were ushered in when the doors opened. We were some of the first people in and found ourselves about 5 rows from the front almost inline with the judges seats!! Result!!

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This had been such a last minute thing we didn't even have a clue who the judges would be and as we sat taking in the bright lights of the set, I noticed that one of the names was Dawn.... Could it be Dawn French?? Another was Geri, were we going to be in the presence of a Spice Girl? The anticipation was building and we were all giggling with excitement about how random it was we were here.

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Before the show got started they had to get all the crowd shots. We prepared and got our best acting faces on as the host shouted out "Pllllaaacccceeess" in his most theatrical voice. As cameras swooped over the crowd we had to clap, cheer, boo, look shocked, do OMG faces, seated ovations and standing ovations.

Then it was time for the judges to strut their stuff to their seats. As the music started everyone was on their feet, clapping in time and having a bit of a boogie when the first judge was announced.....DAWN FRENCH! The crowd went wild and, we love Dawn! The Vicar of Dibley, what a legend! Then it was a guy called Timomatic and none of us had a clue who he was and looked blankly at each other but all the teenage girls were going crazy for him. We had to google him afterwards and turns out he had been on talent shows and is a singer/dancer, we re so out of touch with the kids! Then Ginger Spice, Geri Halliwell came tottering down the aisle. She is tiny and no one can deny looking hot at 40 in a sparkly skin tight mini dress. As she sat on her chair and swivelled round to wave at her fans, she was blissfully unaware that we all had a clear view of her pants! Its not everyday you get flashed by a Spice Girl! The last judge was an Australian DJ called Kyle Sandiland, again Dan and I were a bit stumped having only been in the country for a week, with no idea who he was.

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It was time for the show to begin!

Now I don't want to ruin the show for anyone as it doesn't get aired until Aug/Sept time but I ll just say we saw quite a variety of 'talent' from dance acts and performing dogs to opera singers and magicians. One girl stunned us all not only with her incredible voice but by the fact she was only 12! We all thought she was at least 18!

Also a warning to all Brits you will be embarrassed by some of the things that are said by Geri, seriously at some moments it was painful. Thanks for Dawn for pulling it back together!

It was interesting to see how a show like this is put together. There is a lot of time in between acts for the stage to be reset and for Geri to have her hair and make up done. Literally a whole can of hairspray was used in between each act just for her. It was also during these gaps that the teenage girls sitting in front of us (the same ones that gave us evils outside) would try to get the attention of Timomatic, screaming out and blowing kisses, one managed to pass him a note. A bit embarrassing to watch! At one point Geri was dancing around on the platform when Dawn spotted that her dress was riding up and tried to pull it back down, only to have shouts from the crowd "don't worry Dawn we've already seen her pants!"

It was a long process and we were there for about 4 hours. Towards the end most of the people in the top of the theatre had left to go home, and people were moved around to fill empty seats. We held out to the end though.

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After the show the guys managed to get a photo with Ruben, who is one to watch I think, a singer/songwriter who will melt some hearts. Mums will love him!

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Given the luck we had had so far we decided why not see if we could meet anyone at the stage door.

Don't think they are that bothered about health and safety here!

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This is Julia Morris the presenter of the show

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We also got to see all the judges as they were whisked out by security into their cars.

It was such a funny and random night :)

Sxx

Just a note so we don't forget...Potato Girl!

Posted by doyledan 18:41 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

WELCOME TO STRALYA!

Heading down under to Melbourne and reuniting with our mate Broomy!

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When we started planning this trip one of the first things we said was that we would head to Melbourne. Knowing that Broomy (Dan Broomfield for those of you who don't know him) would still be working there, made it even more of a dead sure destination as we had not seen him since he left the UK 18 months ago!.

Flying from Singapore to Melbourne can be a little expensive but I managed to find two flights with Jetstar and Air Asia which meant it would cost £140 each which is pretty damn good (saving us over 100 quid each!).

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However what it meant was that we needed to transit at Kuala Lumpur before taking the Air Asia flight. So in my mind it was a simple process of collecting bags and then re-checking in at the same airport. This prior thought was flawed as the flight we would need to take to Melbourne was flying from a different airport which AirAsia solely occupy meaning we needed to transfer from the International Airport to catch it. Obviously I was a little annoyed with myself for forgetting this important fact, especially when we had flown from this airport before. (Dont worry , I didn't go full HULK) but it was not all lost because we had plenty of time between flights and it was simply just a case of catching a bus or taxi.

This is where KL international airport is complete crap and didn't do me any favours because tqhe taxi's at departure level are all luxury ones so they charge way over what was recommended from the helpdesk. So we headed for the bus stop down at the lower levels but that was pretty useless as there was just guys you had to ask who ran the buses and they said when it would turn up but that wasn't a guarantee so we opted for the other taxi rank on the lower levels. We started to queue and fortunately the lady organising the taxi's offered us to go ahead of the line if we were happy to pay 55 ringgit to the taxi driver. This was only 10 more than what I was expecting so I said "hell yes" and chucked our bags in and we made it with plenty of time to spare. Lesson learnt.....I hope.

The flight to Oz was easy enough and being overnight both Sarah and I slept for most of it. As we started to descend the scenary of Victoria began to show it self and it was cool to see more colours as the autumn season working its way across the state. Looking at the centre of Melbourne from a distance it sticks up like a sore thumb above a vast flat land that harbours the suburbs, this was going to be our base for the next 6 months and we were dead excited about it!

We had arranged with Broomy to meet him at the airport as he had graciously offered to pick us up but it dawned on me I had no way of contacting him which didn't help when we were held on the plane after landing for almost an hour due to congestion at the gates. We bought some Vodka on the way out knowing that booze was expensive and queued for immigration. We had heard that the laws of Australia had made immigration a bit of a bitch especially if you have come in as a traveller because of the quarentine that is required. So we came prepared wearing our boots and made sure we had sent all wooden souvenirs home.

It turned out that the immigration and quarantine part of our arrival was the shortest part and we walked out to the halls to find Broomy waiting like a taxi driver with a sign. But this was like no other sign in that it was made from a pizza box and had the words.....

WELCOME TO STRALYA!!

We were well chuffed with the effort and after explaining and apologising for the delay we caught up on the way to the car and it was like we hadn't been on the other side of the world from each other for all those months.

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Driving into the city was great and Broomy told us about some of the things he would like to show us whilst we were here and also how central his flat was. We were very lucky to have this contact as it made the transition so much easier.

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Being a weekday Broomy had to head into the office but not before taking us to a cool cafe called St Ali for breakfast. He told us that Melbourne tends to have these little gems of cafes or bars tucked away in areas or on roads you wouldn't expect to find them and a lot of the time the business comes from word of mouth. So if you haven't got some in-the-know friends you might end up missing some of these pleasures.

The breakfast was immense! and the quirkiness of the place we really enjoyed. Outside there was some good graffiti which Melbounre is famous for.

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The cafe had these little signs which made us giggle.

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Before Broomy left us at his flat I pulled out some mail that I had kept since he left the UK which had come to our old flat that we had shared. It had travelled with me all through Asia..needless to say it went down well.

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As Broomy tied up some loose ends at work, Sarah and I went to work ourselves getting prepared for working life in Melbourne by setting up a bank account, getting tax file numbers sorted and getting mobile phones. It was very productive morning and we got to see a little bit of the Southbank area by the river and the central business district or CBD. It was like walking out into the kind of autumn weather we have in September only its May! Seeing golden leaves on trees we got pretty excited and even had a play...it was a little chilly though, especially coming from 30 degrees in Asia.

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Later that day we continued catching up with Broomy and met his housemate Paul known as Pauly from NZ and we chowed down with some Kangeroo on the Bar-B... I could get use to this.

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The next 4 days in the day time Sarah and I got C.Vs in order and started applying to jobs and recruitment agencies as we felt we had to hit the ground running. It meant that in the evenings we felt fine with enjoying ourselves.

One of the nights we went to go see the third and final instalment of The Hangover and it was very funny, after the cinema we went for a walk around the Crown casino which is an adult playground that hugs the riverbank and is owned by one of Australia's millionaires. It mixes high end shopping with entertainment and food as well as a hotel and we took on one of the black jack and roulette tables, but unfortunately the house won.

Outside the Casino there are 8 towers along the riverfront that release huge fireballs every hour, with some of the fireballs going up 7ms! The sound and the heat that comes off of them is intense and its quite a spectacle to see. What even more immense is how much it must cost to put this on every day! Literally burning cash!

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Another one of our nights out was to go visit the trendy area of Brunswick street and have drinks at a bar called Naked for Satan, whichnhad interesting decor. We met up with one Sarah's friends from work in the UK who was living in Melbourne now too and coincidentally some of Broomy's mates were at the same bar and so we all chatted together over a few drinks.

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Sarah's friend Ria invited us to join her at a house party later that night which was a good laugh despite having one of Melbourne's stormiest nights in history where lighting and torrential rain made the journey to the house a little bit tricky. Turns out we had arrived during the wettest June in Melbourne in the last 150 years!

The party was in full swing and we all were chatting away when we heard the fire alarm going off due to smokers on the porch leaving the door open. It went on and on and several people tried to shut it up. There is a joke that goes something like How many people does it take to change a light bulb, and this was kind of like that but with a smoke alarm as one girl was lifted up to try and push the off switch. But maybe due to being a bit drunk her common sense was off somewhere else and she started using the brush end of the broom which did absolutely nothing except pick up the excess dust on the ceiling. Cue someone shouting 'use the other end you dumb bitch!', it was hilarious.

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After that episode it was party time...

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and some of us partied a little harder than others......guess who.....

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The next morning we found out Sarah had paid the penalty for having a good time and hugged the toilet during the night. Our plan for the day was to go to the South Melbourne Market and take a look around and we decided on route that a Sunday roast would cure any ailments from the night before.

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The market was cool with so much yummy food everywhere. We made the most of the free samples including some amazing cheeses and looked forward to coming back to get some for ourselves. It wasnt just food there and I managed to find a new men's wallet to replace my Velcro 15 year old wallet and I managed to get a pretty good bargain.

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Dan introduced us to sampling oysters for 2 bucks and Sarah bought brownie that she had been looking forward to all day only to be disappointed when it was like a stale brick! She wasn't happy but a twirl chocolate bar soon put a smile back on her face :)

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The meal that Sarah cooked later that night was sublime and definitely cured any hangovers, she even handmade the yorkshire puds!!

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One for the family album :)

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We had done so much in the first few days we took much needed rest, but we still had plenty to look forward to including tickets to auditions for Australia's got talent which Broomy had miraculously managed to get at the last minute. More on that to come.

Beautiful!

Stay tuned for more tales

Dan

Posted by doyledan 03:32 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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