4th November, 2008
My trip started here. I thought I’d prepared everything for tomorrow departure. I knew I had not got my insurance yet, in case anything happens…nauzubillah. I looked back at the itinerary posted to me earlier. Luckily I realized, it was going to be one way trip. So I had to get myself a place to stay once I reached Melbourne and to get a way back to Sydney. I googled for the affordable place to stay and booked a cheap air ticket back to Sydney. I had decided to stay in Melbourne for 2 nights…that would give me time to go around Melbourne at least for a day. The cheapest place to stay or air ticket here definitely is much more expensive than what’s the price offered in Malaysia. Don’t think you will get Air Asia price..don’t dream about it. So Malaysian, don’t complain so much…everything here I had to pay almost more than double than what I can get in Malaysia.
Thanks to this technology, I could still made an arrangement at last minute, provided my credit card was not reaching the credit limit yet. Thanks as well to this small Acer notebook I had bought just before I came to Sydney…it’s really useful and internet connection…of course I had to pay for it. Nothing in this world is free. I could bring it anywhere and would not cause shoulder pain to me, definitely it's easier for me to pack it. For this trip, surely I’ll bring it.
My next job is to find where the hell the Base Backpakers hostel is. I’d tried to make a survey last Sunday…but I could not find where the Kent Street was. This time I fail to read map properly. The tour agent had made an arrangement for me to stay a night in this hostel and the bus would come and picked me up in front of this hostel. After failed several attempt, at last I found it after got a direction and another map from of nearby hotel. Not bad… I survived this time. You have got to learn from the hard way. This hostel is located not far from Sydney Town Hall…hah..Now I knew how to come to Sydney Town Hall. Nothing great here …it's just looked like other historical English building with train subway located there and some shops.
The backpacker hostels…don’t dream it’ll be like 5 star hotel. It was a room with double-decker bed, a chair and a mirror. One of the walls is painted bright red with dark green curtain. It appeared ok when the light was on. Luckily I had asked for single upgrade. Sometimes you need to pay extra for your comfort. Here I had to use shared bathroom…I would expect the same for Melbourne accommodation. The accommodation offered through net…looked like better than this.I need to save some money, could not afford for 5 star hotel...botak kepala. I'd have few stops on the way and would have to sleep at different places.I'd bring this computer to help me to write what I’d experience along my journey.
Tomorrow I need to wake up early…the bus schedule at 6.45am and I need to be down there at least at 6.30am. Wish me luck!!
5th November, 2008
The bus waited just on time...The driver is Craig, he's the driver as well as the tourist guide. Very knowledgeable person and knew his stuff.I'd met a number of people from various countries and across the continent. 13 all together…: Grazia from Switzerland, David from USA, Laura from UK, Cathy from Canada, Alamara (don’t know whether I spell it correctly) from Spain, Jess and Charlotte from UK, Anlov (The spelling may be different) and her boyfriend from French ,Anita from Austria and Anne and her husband John (the eldest couple in the group) from Scotland. Of course, I'm from Malaysia…one of the weird among the rest. Craig made our tour interesting, rarely found one among the tour guide I'd met during previous tour especially those who accompany from Malaysia. He said to me “You are a real ‘Malaysian’ Malaysian”…and I told him “Yes, I’m. I'm a ‘Malay’ Malaysian”. I guess not many crazy malay Malaysian’s girl wearing tudung go around alone following a group of backpackers majority European for backpacking tour and obviously he never met one before.Chinese Malaysian...may be he had met. Anyway, I guess it would be interesting. The only thing, I had to consider myself as a vegetarian here. Difficult to explain what muslim diet is..they wouldn't understand, and I had to survive whatever chocolate left and may be some fruits.
It took about 2 hours from Sydney to Canberra. We stopped at one of the shop on the way to Canberra for breakfast. I just took doughnut and coffee. What I'd learnt from American or European going for tour they not really looking for luxurious food…not like Malaysian tour..good food is a must which I personally think it's a waste of money. Some of them had already spent few months visiting other countries with their big backpack. Of course my back pack is the smallest...proportionate to my small and thin body...my Malaysian Osteoporosis Society free bag. I wished I could do the same...but being a Muslim, that would be difficult. You need to think a lot of things..for short tour it is ok. I wished I would have a friend with same interest especially at this age.
Not much I would say about Canberra..it was more like administrative city for Australia (lebih kurang macam Putrajaya in Malaysia). We just passed the Parliament building and snapped some picture only from the bus. But as what the driver said..Canberra is famous with 5 Ps..Politician, Prestige, Pop, Porn and Prostitute. We went to National Museum after lunch. Just like other museum, but I guess Australian history is rather short since it was discovered later than most of the countries...in fact Malaysia had longer history.
We headed to Jindabyne, passed through Cooma (a small town). We went through highway and along which a lot of farms with cows, sheep and horses. It is interesting, there were reared in an open and large areas.
None you can see at the road side (like how cow were taken care in Malaysia). We reached Jindabyne nearly about 6pm and stayed in River Inn. Quite cold here...I had started to make friend with some...join more with Grazia and French couple. Nice people after you get to know them.
6th November, 2008
Craig had arranged for us to climb Mount Kosciuszko (the highest mountain in Ausralia). It would be cold up there, so everybody got prepared...weather forcast said it would be an okay day. We reached the foot of the mountain earlier than it supposed to be and took chair lift to go up half of the mountain.
It was considered a relatively easy climbed up with a track already there. However climbed up with the a strong wind blown against you, I think it is difficult especially hiking up. I was really breathless. May be due to lack of excercise as well.
I thought I was about to just stopped half way till the look out point. However, even Anne and John (the eldest among us ~ 60+) so energetic wanted to reach to the top, gave me the strength that I could also reached the top.
It was scenic and impressive. Some of the place were covered by snow..of course it definitely would be more in winter. We had to walk on the snow at some of the paths...and it was quite difficult especially when it was on a slope and windy. I was arfaid that I'd make an error and fell down on the side of the mountain. At the end of the hiking, I was among the last along with Jess and Charlotte.It took nearly 1 and half hours to reach up there. It was rewarding. Reaching the top was an exhilarating experience, it was the feeling of conquering and gave you the sense of confidence that you can do anything if you don't give up. All of us reached the top and we congratulate each others. Went down was much easier then since we had passed the first hurdle.
After lunch we headed to Australian Alpine track by bus. Craig told us about the bush fire which ocured in 2004 and destroyed most of the trees. Eucalyptus tress are like combuster and once it caught on fire the disaster might happen and this was what happened then.
It was not like rain forest like in Malaysia. It was interesting though and snapped some pictures of Blue River from far.We bought some food for preparation to bring for tomorrow lunch. We rested overnight at the coastal township of Lakes Entrance. Nice and spacious room with kitchen. Tomorrow we need to wake up early and start our journey at 7.00am.
7th November, 2008
This would be our last day journey..Craig drove us to the Wilson's Promontory National Park. It was predicted to be raining on and off today.
We hiked again this time, but this is nothing like yesterday...so it was easier. Smell of the natural fragrant from the wild flowers, it was such a great experience.
The scenery from up looking down at the beach and watched the southern ocean was spectacular.
I really enjoyed it. We went up to the top and then went down to the squeaky beach. It is called squeaky beach because when you walk on it, it gave a squeaky sound.
We had our lunch on the rock near the ocean, and because it was raining we had to hide under one of the rock.
After lunch we stopped to look for kangarroo in their own habitat.
We tried to see any wombat, but none was there. They are quite a shy type of animal and may be hiding in their hiding pit.
We drove then straight to Melbourne. Craig dropped David, Anita and I at the Victorian art cantre and I took a cab to City Centre Budget Hotel at Little Collin Street for 2 night stay here. The room is quite okay but I had to share bathroom again. There was a common bathroom and 2 bathrooms for female. Definitely not that comfortable but at least I survive..not that bad.
8th November, 2008
I was really hungry this morning. I really wish to get Halal Asian food today...really missed Nasi Lemak at this time. There are supposed to have few halal restaurant around this area...at least that was what I found on the net. But, I don't quite like the Indian or Labenese food. While trying to find for food, I just walked around the city centre to the Yarra river and Federation Square. Compared to Sydney, I would say Melbourne is nothing. Not much attractive places. They just had Melbourne cup last week. Apart from that it was just like other city..at some point it looked like Kuala Lumpur.
I had found one or two looked like Malaysian restaurant..."Sambal Kampung", but sadly to say it closed on Saturday and Sunday. People said it's easier to get Malaysian food in Melbourne...but it's not true in this city centre. I found at one corner, it was written there 'Little Malaysian"...again nothing there except for a chinese restaurant. For chinese, there's definitely no problem...they would always have chinese restaurant everywhere you go and even have China town. I just hope more Malays will open a restaurant here, so somebody like me will not suffer from hunger.Please those Malay businessmen or business women..take an opportunity to open a Malay restaurant here!!! So frustrated and it took me about 3 hours walked around and I've given up. I could choose any fish and chip restaurant...but today I have no appetite for such kind of food. At last I stopped at 7eleven and bought Maggie mee in cup. What a pathethic. I lost my way back to hotel and took right turn rather then left. It took me double the time that I should take if I took the left turn in which it was just around the corner from where I started.
I reached the hotel room with a feeling of disappointed, hungry and tired.I can be adventourous about journey but not food...I tend to be eat what suit me and sometime would stick to only one particular food if I like it. That's the reason why I still thin like this. I spent the rest of the day relaxing myself. Tomorrow will be back to Sydney andend my holiday.