It's been a a while hasn't it? unbelievably for me nearly a whole six months has passed since I sat down and wrote on this blog. Nearly all of my time in the six months was spent in Melbourne, with two trips to Sydney added in to make sure I didn't get too restless in one place. I left Australia on Monday and am in Wellington staying with friends.
A sad note to start, on one of my last days in Melbourne my camera was stolen in the hostel I've been staying at. I've had the best luck there and for the rest of my trip so far but i was unfortunate enough to take my eyes off my bag for a couple of minutes and it disappeared. Due to the amount of people staying for a long time the hostel it was normally very good for these kind of things and I certainly think no less of it because of this incident. I have lost a few of my Australian pictures that I hadn't backed up however, and have now bought a new camera to replace it.
I mentioned last time that I had returned from my trip up the East Coast with the bank account running on empty so I had to restart my savings again. I initially worked one shift on reception in order to cover my rent for the week but this gradually increased, working up to 5 in one week; with some day shifts and some night shifts (I was paid for any more than one shift).
As well as the hostel, I had contacts from when I was last in Melbourne allowing me to get plenty of work doing house removals and also working for a designer rug company unpacking shipments and working in the showroom. All these jobs gave me anything from 50-70 hours per week in total and got the savings started very quickly.
When on my Whitsundays sailing trip myself and paul made friends with two great girls working in Sydney. They came to see Melbourne in September and I returned the favour by visiting them in Syndey in October. This was a fun trip living in their house just 50m up the road from Bondi Beach. I got to the city to see the Opera House and Harbour too, but knew I'd probably be back for New Years so didn't venture too far!
I spent Christmas in Melbourne with a huge group of friend from the hostel. We had a secret santa with presents for all, a fantastic roast cooked by some of the girls and spent some of the day on St Kilda beach. Although it was 24 degrees, the wind was strong so we eventually gave into our stubboness relocated indoors to carry on partying. Christmas is a really special time when travelling, as I found last year everyone makes that little extra effort and everyone is very friendly.
After Christmas, a group of us had plans to go to Sydney for New Years to watch the fireworks around the harbour, we completed the 900km drive in a day and arrived on the 29th. The fireworks were fantastic from what I remember! I also spent a couple of days about 2 hours north of Sydney staying with a family that a friend knew. This was beautiful.
In late November I had a decision to make as my budget would only allow for a few more weeks travel in Australia or a few weeks in New Zealand before two months in South East Asia. When talking to other travellers and looking at pictures of the places there was no contest, New Zealand just looks too beautiful to leave out; particularly at this time of the year.
So, on Monday I repacked my rucksack, threw out a lot of old clothes to get my pack back to its optimum 13kg weight and boarded a flight to Wellington. Here, after a lot of questioning by immigration officals, I was met by Barry and Cheryl- a fantastic couple that were on my overland trip when I first left home some 15 months ago (yes, it has been that long!). Cheryl is Kiwi and Barry South African and they moved over here about 3 months ago into a new place. Its really big as there are hopes of filling it with a family soon, so perfect for me to stay. I didn't realise how much I'd missed a double bed and a good soft towel! I didn't make many plans for Wellington as I knew they'd have it all planned out for me, they whisked me off the plane and straight into a driving tour of the city. Its really beautiful if a little windy! They've given me some great places to visit in the local area and I'm staying an extra couple of days as tommorrow is Barry's birthday and he has a BBQ planned for Saturday.
On Sunday I will leave Wellington in a cheap backpackers hire car to meet up with Gar, an Irish friend that had been in Melbourne for longer than me! We're going to spend the next three weeks travelling together, with a few days to see some of North Island before moving to the South Island. We're hoping to get to a lot of the national parks and really experience what New Zealand is famous for, its natural beauty. I'll keep the blog up to date though this. On the 28th Jan I fly to Kuala Lumpa and spend two months in South East Asia before flying home on the 6th April..
Someone said to me before leaving Melbourne that everywhere in New Zealand looks like a postcard picture. Wellington might be my first stop, but I think they might be right. I love it already and can't wait for the next 3 weeks!