Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Great Australian Bight.


After escaping a stinking hot Perth, we finally reached Adelaide - or as it is more fondly called, Radelaide. To be completely honest, I thought we were never going to get there because we were flying Jetstar, which for those of you who aren't Australian, are so unreliable that their plane defaulted during the safety demonstration. Eventually we did get there in one piece after a three-hour delay and were greeted first by the Lions and Mia's parents and secondly by the oh-so-charismatic mayor of the suburb.

The first full day in Adelaide was spent on a boat, feasting on seafood and swimming in Port Adelaide. The second day consisted of a trip over the Adelaide Hills to Victor Harbour, a cute little coastal town with lots to do. Apparently the area is renowned for its whale watchimg, thus the elaborate mosaics in the pictures. We then caught the horse-drawn tram over to Granite Island (the name says it all), which was quite a novelty. After scaling the rocks and looking out over the royal blue sea towards the South Pole, it was time to head back to the mainland for some fish and chips. Unfortunately, they didn't agree with Mia's stomach which made our time at Port Elliot quite interesting, though we were all amused at a man standing on his head on the beach for hours on end.


The Sunday for us was pretty quiet, after having a much-needed late start, we headed off to Adelaide Zoo. The dy was a scorcher so we didn't see many lively animals, save for a babboon trying to cool off by drifting his feet in the water and an overly inquisitive giraffe. Though Ishaa and I were tempted to buy a fluffy panda hat, we resised and went home to relax under the aircon.


My favourite day of all in South Australia was also unfortunately our last. Hahndorf, a small German village nestled amongst the Adelaide Hills, was our destination and so we spent hours lookin through all the touristy little shops there. We even came across a puppet shop with Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott puppets. Unfortuntely Julia wasn`t available because she`d already sold out!

That afternoon we visited the Lions Hearing Dog Centre in Verdun, where we met Babs, the friendly little pomeranian cross. It was really interesting learning how dogs can be helpful for the hearing-impaired too, rather than just the blind. That evening we were kindly hosted to a NAB reception in the CBD, where we discussed future plans and learnt a little about the finance industry. As a final goodbye, I went out for dinner to the Grange Hotel on Grange Beach with Mia on her family, where we ate ourselves silly on every type of fish, antipasto and dessert. To top the evening off, I even got to finally see the sun set over the ocean, seeing as we missed out in Western Australia!


Monday, 4 February 2013

Across the Nullarbor.


Perth is where my Youth of the Year tour journey began. For those of you who didn't know, back in May last year I went to nationals for the quest and had a ball - and thus, I won a tour around Australia after I finished the HSC. Sorry for my absence - I've been travelling for the most part of two months and have a HUUUUGE backlog of posts for you all!

Perth at the end of December is incredibly hot and balmy, and was quite a shock to the system after a very mild Christmas back home. I think the heat was intensified on our first night especially as Ishaa hosted us all at her place to have a true Indian food experience- chilli galore! We indulged ourselves with samosas, curry and these little 'spicy water balls', pictured below. They were great fun, because they have to be put in your mouth immediately, whole, and thus you really can't escape the burning sensation! It was a lovely evening, fantastic to catch up with everyone (after all, we hadn't seen each other for more than six months!) and experience a whole new realm of cuisine!


We headed down to Mandurah, about an hour south of Perth, for our first full day in WA. We headed out on some boats down the estuary and all had a go at being skipper, which was good fun (although I definitely can't drive smoothly at full speed, we almost all ended up overboard!) until we reached the ocean. We anchored there and jumped off the boats for a very refreshing swim before heading back- but not without a detour through the canals lined by multi-million dollar mansions. Each of these had the accompanying multi-million dollar boat to go with it- a result of the mining boom, no doubt. Hard to believe though that an entire few suburbs were so filthy rich - puts the North Shore in Sydney to shame!

After dinner we headed back down the canals to see the majestic Christmas light displays- turns out not only do they have extravagant houses and boats, but also power bills!


We kick-started the New Year's Eve with a reception at NAB HQ in the Perth CBD, which was slightly eerie simply because it was the same place we'd had the interviews for the nationals! Afterwards we were let free to roam Hay St Mall- which features the unique 'Ye Olde England' arcade. I love it, the Tudor architecture and the feeling of being transported to another time in the middle of a bustling city!

We then headed up to Kings Park for a BBQ, to which Molly remarked "Will there be air-conditioning?", which all made us chuckle. We walked around, however, not for long, as the heat was stifling! The war memorial and the tree-top walk were lovely, with panoramic views of the city!

Ishaa and I then left the others to go and celebrate the new year Indian style - we dressed up traditionally, ate lots of fabulous Indian food, watched a Bollywood movie and danced. It was so fun - a completely different way for me to start 2013!



We had a really cruisy New Year's Day, heading off to Adventure World (a water park). The day was filled with lots of adrenalin rushes, and a bleeding nose for me (I knocked myself out down the big slide trying to beat Nick, which I did, however I paid the price!).

That evening we had a fish and chips picnic on Cottesloe Beach, with the intention of seeing the sun set over the ocean (something we east coasters never get the privilege of experiencing!). However, the day we decided to do it was  the only day that it wasn't 40+ degrees and was overcast instead! Typical!


Our fifth and final day in Perth! We cruised along the Swan River and checked out all the super rich people's houses (think: Gina Rhinehart's dad's) and James Packer's yacht, which was meticulously being cleaned. I had the hide to yell out "You missed a spot!" which wasn't taken well by the cleaner, but it provided a few laughs. We then checked out the Perth Mint and saw a gold pouring demonstration and discovered the worth of our weight in gold- nearing $2.7 million!

After lunch, we visited the Lions' Eye Institute. The braver few of us dissected eyes (I was definitely not part of that cohort!), while Liz and I preferred to just look at stuff under the microscope. I accidentally touched an eye with my bare hand though, much to my disgust!

That evening we headed down to Fremantle to have a farewell dinner hosted by the Fremantle Lions, and we were joined by our nationals host families from the Claremont-Nedlands Club and Gill, 2011's YOTY national winner. Lovely to catch up with them all and a great way to end our stay in Perth! See you all again soon!

Stay tuned! Next up, Adelaide!