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A train up-to Cooroy and family

Well after a few more days of staying in Brisbane with my wonderful hostess Amanda, it was time to move on and visit my Aunty and Uncle who were staying in a sleepy little town called Cooroy.

Welcome to Cooroy

First impressions endure and my first and last memory was arriving at Cooroy train “Station” which could only be described and a shed next to the main line. ‘Where the hell have they brought me to?’ I thought.

cooroy train station

This is a streetview screenshot of cooroy train station

Greeted with a hug and a “this is it?” expression I was more than underwhelmed but all that was quickly dashed with the smiles and greetings of familiar faces.
The first few days were spent chilling out and getting to know my aunty and uncle as an adult, because the last time I was here was twenty years ago!
A few days pasted and we visited the “big smoke” which was Cooroy town (an IGA, a few banks and some *ahem* local shops for local people. All very league of gentleman-esk) and boy did it rain. Four days of rain, I was beginning to think that it was following me up the coast after the week of it I had in Sydney!
I didn’t realise that Noosaheads (Noosa) was near by, I’d read about this place in my Lonely Planet travel book. Young vibrant town, affluent residence, and beaches that are

craig ward on noosa beach

At the beach

amazing…well it didn’t disappoint and how could it, it was my first beach that I’d been to since coming here that I couldĀ relax and sunbathe and it was great! Just what the doctor ordered. An extortionate hot chocolate later and we headed back.

A week or so went by and I was planning my next move, but I was told that they’d be going back to stay with some people in Brisbane that I knew from when I was a kid. So, with my plans gladly on hold we made arrangements for me to stay in Cleveland.
Before then though, we met up with my uncles brother and his family, who had moved out to Australia some 4 years previous. We met them at a small amusement park called Aussie World (the Pleasure Beach would have nothing to worry about with this place) but I was more than happy with a few goes on the giant slide, log flume and a ride called ‘Red Back’ whilst my Aunty and a Uncle were preoccupied with their two nieces.

One of the last trips whilst I was there was probably my most anticipated outing, Australia Zoo. I’ve been wanting to go there for years and Steve Irwin was one person that I would’ve loved to have met. The zoo itself was very clean and extremely well run. The main show in the “Crocoseum” was spectacular and I was fortunate enough to see the rest of the Irwin family performing, all were in the main arena when the crocodiles where out! I remember thinking that Bindi (the daughter) reminded me a lot of her fathers TV personality and her genuine passion and enthusiasm for wildlife and conservation.
After a great day out, we made our way back to Brisbane.

Northbound to Brissy

The worst decision I was to make so far would soon be realised…a coach trip from Sydney to Brisbane. Some fifteen hours sat in this migrating tin can. It didn’t start well, all sat in my seat comfy and ready to go this young Chinese girls boarded and for the first few hours just wouldn’t shut up, this wasn’t too bad but the food they brought on board smelt foul. I was convinced that at I’d need to pick up a hazmat suit at the next stop!
I later found out that I could’ve flown up in a tenth of the time for nearly the same price.
I made it to Brisbane without incident, tbh I tried to sleep for most of it.
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I met up with Raine and dropped my bags off at her office and explored the city. Brisbane seems like a relatively young city, the name Bris-Vegas does not seem deserved in the slightest. If I could use any adjective it would probably be “nice”, it’s not ostentatious or bombastic (certainly not what I’m used to with Blackpool) but its pleasant, unassuming…Nice.
I’ll let you decided whether or not thats a good thing (hint: it isn’t).
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That night I went back to Raines’ house who she shared with two girlfriends.
The night was great, the city was hosting a winter in July themed area complete with log cabin styled stalls selling donuts, wurst and drinks a large tent selling alcohol, mulled mine and irish coffee & hot chocolate and to top it off an Ice rink šŸ˜€
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Another day another walk around another City. Armed with my camera I decided to get some street-photography done, got a few shots but nothing great and still getting used to people’s reactions over here (still need to check on the legalities of that…)
I’d been told earlier that morning to expect a night out so I ironed a shirt and got my shoes ready. So after a day I walking I assumed that I’d be able to get back and get changed before my night out on the town…but no!
Got a call to say that I’ll be meeting them with what I have on which was a Superdry tshirt, jeans and Vans trainers. First club I tried to get into I knew that it’d be difficult so I just tried to breeze past them with all the confidence and bravado I could muster. To which I heard “no shoes, no shirt…you ain’t getting in here”
Bugger!
So we hit a few bars and waited for some more people to arrive. Eventually there were about eight of us and we moved on again to another bar where we got the best starter platter. The drinks flowed and I thought I was time for the tourist to step up.
“Eight shots of Sambuca please!” I wandered back to the table with my eight shots of drunken delight. There were one or two stunned looks of “WTF!” around the table but if I was going to have a night out in the city i was making sure that it was going to be a good one.

My first week in Australia…The Rocks, Sydney

So the first two weeks in Sydney have done something very strange, they’ve felt like I’ve been here months and I’ve gotten to know the place really well, but now that I’m sat in Brisbane I can’t help but think that they’ve flown by.

The first few days were spent doing all the boring but important things:
getting my bank account sorted
Tax file number
mobile phone plan
data plan for my iPad (I did say MY important things, lol)
Oh and it’s “da-ta” like the yanks not “day-ta” I just keep thinking, nice people with strange accents šŸ™‚
I walked the city in any and all directions, hung around the hostel making idle chit chat to anyone who was about. People were mostly quiet but anyone you engaged in conversation had a story to tell. In the TV room on my first night I met a group who were already into the swing of the evening. One lad I only know as “Portsmouth” (very Zombieland I know) was celebrating his birthday and the Jack and Coke was flowing. There were two girls and a guy from Canada, and another lad from Watford. I was instantly known as “Blackpool” and Portsmouth began educating our great white northern brethren about our very own Las Vegas. Try as he might it didn’t sound very appealing to them. One last strange coincidence of the evening was that one of the girls was celebrating her birthday the next day. To which I said I’d celebrated the day before on my flight, making it a 4th, 5th & 6th. Well, more drinks flowed. So after being completely jet lagged and slightly tipsy I called it a night.

View from the Sydney Harbour YHA @ The Rocks

So after a few days of getting used to my surroundings I became mates with a guy called Kristen we clicked which was nice. He was a Toyota mechanic from WA (Western Australia) he looked like a hippy but after speaking to him for a bit you could tell he was a petrol-head. He was only in his early/mid twenties but he was well travelled, which was just what I needed. After the first week it was great just having someone to get around with a see the sites with and actually have a conversation.
I went round the Vivid light/art exhibition, some great installations and of course my camera was never far away.


My first weekend in Oz felt like it took forever to arrive but what a weekend! It started by having a walk around the harbour with my friend, having a coffee, chatting and catching up as I hadn’t seen her since January in a rainy Manchester.
Then it was off to Manly for what can only be described as “how the other half do a night out”…night out!
After meeting up with a sibling of a friend, Tom. It was on to a quick meal with drinks, then was met half way through by a female friend of his from Manchester no less. It was nice to hear another fellow Northerner. So after chatting for a bit and a few more drinks, first bar, Jack and Sambuca, met some of Toms work colleagues there. Next bar, more shots, another bar (I’m starting to sway now) more Jack Daniels, at this stage I had to get a few glasses of water, lol. Last bar (for me anyway) I made my excuses and left. Now to get home, I didn’t mention that I had to get a ferry to Manly did I?

Well I’m seriously drunk and I had to get a ferry home. I’ll let you imagine that portion of the night.

I’m leaving for Australia…about bloody time!

Oddly enough, this wasn’t the scariest thing I’ve ever done. As a matter of fact I was strangely calm about the whole experience.

Craig Ward arriving at Manchester Airport Terminal 3

The truth is I love to fly and I haven’t done as much of it in my live as I’d have liked and as I arrived at Manchester Airports Terminal 3 IĀ was gripped with excitement. Parked and headed inside for a coffee before checkin and came across my first hurdle. Getting on both my back packs fully loaded and unaided.

Check in was an easy affair, I did want to opt out of the “naked body scanner” (millimeter wave scanner)Ā but there is no option to do that in England and I really wanted to get on that flight šŸ™‚

Craig Ward boarding the flight to Australia

Waiting for my flight in Manchester was a bit of a none event. Looking back at it I realise that I was only getting my connecting Flight to London so it didn’t bother me at all because I was still in England.

The seating wasn’t too bad, at only 170cm it was positively spacious, lol. As the plane taxi’d to the runway I felt that feeling I’m sure everyone gets before take-off,Ā apprehension, excitement and a good dose of adrenaline thrown in there for good luck. As those 4 Rolls Royce engines roared into life and thrust the plane forwards down the runway I had the biggest smile on my face knowing that I was on my way.

Craig Ward and Eunice Chow flying to London taken with GoPro

It wasn’t a long flight down to London and I was feeling chatting (and probably a littleĀ nervous) and I got talking to the girl I was sat next to. Eunice was a Uni student travelling back to Hong Kong to see family for the holidays. We went our separate ways in London and my 6 hour wait for my connecting flight began.

The wait at Heathrow was tedious. A wander around the shops, eat, sleep (lightly), and repeat – at least twice! Eventually my flight was called and it was timed to board. Singapore here I come, then…

Australia

Category: England, Travel  2 Comments