A Travellerspoint blog

Kangaroo Island to Alice Springs

sunny 22 °C

Australians drive on the same side of the road as the English, yet both Ben and Anna have managed to drive on the wrong side. So far it’s one all.

From Adelaide’s ferry terminal, we drove 5 and a half hours to Port Augusta. Theres not much to say about the journey as there wasn't much to see, the whole thing pretty much looked like this:

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When we arrived at our motel, we did a much needed laundry load. Whilst the laundry was washing and drying we decided to sit down and do some more Benanna admin. We even found the time to drive into the town to get a Chinese… the satnav took us to an abandoned building which contained no food of the sort and so we took our hungry selves back to the motel. Luckily the guy at reception was extremely helpful and gave us a map with exact directions to the best Chinese in town. It was a very tiny town and Chinese was the only option besides Macca’s and KFC. We didn’t wait long for our order and soon headed back to scoff it down in our motel room whilst watching Friday Night Lights. By then, the Laundry was done and so we sorted through it but Ben had managed to lose a sock and gain somebody else’s. He was very upset about this sock as it was one of his favourite Billabong ones and so he whipped open the door to go and find it. Alls Anna heard was ‘Oh Hello’ and there the sock was, waiting on the doorstep cold and lonely.

We had another 10am check out the next morning. We aren’t enjoying Australian check out times. In Asia is was always 12pm… perfect! We headed to Coles to stock up on GF food as its very lacking in the outback. We also got a full tank of fuel and a jerry can. We must of looked like idiots attempting to undo, fill and seal the can though, we even had to ask the lady for help twice. Anna is now down on Australian dollars and so is having to withdraw money from the savings she very stupidly left in her UK account. We had another 5 hour drive ahead of us, but this time we were well prepared. We even bought a crate of bottled water and checked we had a spare tyre and all the parts needed to change one. Can you believe that Anna can change a tyre but Ben can’t!

On our journey, we saw more dead kangaroos. Its very strange seeing so much road kill when you can never spot any live roos hopping along the outback! We did however see two huge emus crossing the road! We have also seen and nearly squished a lot of lizards. The birds have been pretty incredible too. Lots of birds of pray flying around looking for goodies to eat. So it is true what they say, there is just nothing for miles and miles and miles! There is however plenty of petrol stations and emergency phones, so don’t worry folks, we will survive the outback! We have stopped in some very Oz places, its really nice getting the feeling of originality and culture. We have been stopping for picnics too. We actually didn't notice that one day we were covered in ants as we were eating. Anna soon freaked out in the car once she realised. We saw the BIGGEST bird eating a dead kangaroo. We think the bird was actually bigger than the kangaroo.

We made it to Coober Pedy where we stayed in an underground motel!

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We enjoyed lovely GF pizzas for dinner and watched some more Friday Night Lights. We actually spent a few hours sorting out all of our stuff instead of blogging and video making. We seemed to have accumulated bags and bags of stuff which filled the car. Now it just fills the boot, apart from all the food we have sprawled across the back seats! This days journey was a big 7 and a half hours. We got plenty of fuel before we left and headed back onto the road. To our shock, about an hour in, we saw a man walking towards us in a bright green t-shirt pushing a trolly full of stuff. We concluded he must be walking from Darwin to Adelaide or something crazy like that. We still can’t get over it now. It’s so unusual to see as the only people we come across are at petrol stations or in towns. At this point in the blog post, Ben really want’s to hammer home the message of nothingness. There really is nothing out here, for hundreds of kilometres. NOTHING. We have had quite the nightmare finding somewhere to stay near Uluru. Its so expensive and we are on really tight budgets now. We have only just realised how much money we have spent in just over two weeks, and it is a shocking amount. Lets hope we get jobs pretty soonish before we start a fundraising page ‘help Benanna travel Oz!’

We are seeing a lot more aboriginal people now. In fact Anna didn't even know they existed before she arrived in Australia. She didn’t see any until we stayed in Coober Pedy. We crossed the Northern territory border which was exciting, we even did a little photoshoot with the sign:

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As you can see, the sun is out and the skies are blue… it’s got hot and we have packed away our coats, hats, scarves and gloves into the darkest corner of the car boot.

We haven’t had any phone signal since Adelaide. Internet is also a rarity, we get it once a night if we are lucky as most of it is limited by 500mb.

We arrived at Curtin Springs in the late afternoon and reached our accommodation for the next 2 nights. We couldn't work out how to get into the carpark or how to check in for that matter. We parked up in a random spot and headed to the general store that turned out to also be the reception and the bar! After a confusing check in Anna headed to the room while Ben ran back to the car before someone came out with a shotgun because we had parked in his way! We had booked a twin room as it was the only one left, which turned out to be a quad room, we had the choice of 4 single beds none of which were the comfiest. We ate our left over pizza and wedges cold while being as productive as possible without an internet connection. We had pushed 2 of the beds together at one end of the room, this is where we were sat carrying out our life admin duties when Anna looked up and noticed a ridiculous amount of bugs swarming around the light. She managed to find some bug spray and sprayed it so much she set off the smoke alarm. The bugs literally dropped like flies all over the floor and beds. We walked around as little as possible after that and when we had to go to the bathroom at the other end of the room it was like we were kids again, playing the floor is made of lava! It was an average night sleep which was better than we had expected considering the battle with the bugs, unfortunately though we were woken pretty early by our neighbours which was annoying as wed hoped for a bit of a lie in. It didn't matter too much though as we were excited to go and see the worlds biggest rock.

We drove another hour and 20 minutes to Uluru. Initially we didn't think to much of it until we got closer and closer and realised just how incredible it is. Our first stop was the cultural centre where we learned all about the Aboriginal people's cultures, traditions and way of life. We even got to see some of the aboriginal women painting. We bought a small hand weaved basket and a postcard showing them making a similar one, Ben even got Anna a little bracelet, Awwwwww. It was midday and we were both starving so we headed back to the car and drove round to a different car park. As we were having our picnic in the car we saw a ranger open a gate and take down some signs. We weren't really sure what he was doing until we saw people starting to climb! Once we had finished our food we had pumped ourselves up to climb the rock. When we got over to the open gate we read a sign saying that the climb was very dangerous and the Aboriginal people ask that you not climb it as it is a sacred place for them. We stood for a long time deliberating weather or not we should make the climb. We saw many people go ahead without taking any notice of the sign. It was a tough decision as we didn't want to offend anyone but at the same time it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. In the end we decided to go for it as we figured that if everybody didn't do things for fear of upsetting others nothing amazing would ever get done. It was an incredibly steep and difficult climb. It was very hot and very sweaty but the experience is something that will stay with us forever and the views from the top were awesome! The way back down was just as hard if not harder and we could see how so many people could have been hurt. When we were safely back on the ground we went back to the car and downed some water and blasted the air con. We still had some time to kill before the world famous sun set so we drove around the base, admiring it from every angle. Once we finished the lap we headed to a sunset viewing area where we sat on Sheila's roof, ate some snacks, set up the cameras and watched an Uluru change colour while the sun set behind us. The drive back to Curtin Springs was just as dark as on kangaroo island only we didn't see as single animal this time! As soon as we got back we headed straight to the "restaurant" (I use inverted commas here as restaurant is a bit of a stretch. Curtin Springs is a cattle station and the menu consisted of 6 things all of which were beef). The only gluten free option was steak. The food was nice though and well deserved. Back at the room we found a census waiting for us that was mandatory for every person in Australia. Not exactly how we had imagined spending our night but we filled them in as quickly as possible and handed them back to the census officer that was half cut at the bar. All in all it had been an incredible day, the only downside that Ben got a sun burt neck. At least the suns finally making an appearance though!

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The next morning we were up early packing our bags. We checked out and filled up the tank and were on the road again by 9:15 (yes AM!). We were headed to kings Canyon then on to Alice Springs. The drive to Kings Canyon was almost 2 hours so we stopped to fill the tank just before we arrived (we still had 3/4 of a tank but have been stopping at every petrol station we see in the outback an filling up just to be on the safe side). it was $2.08 a Litre here which is more than double what it was in Adelaide! We got to Kings Canyon at midday-ish and hiked up to the first viewpoint. We saw some incredible views but feel we might have been spoiled by Uluru. The climb up was no where near as difficult is the day before but we were still knackered and absolutely starving. Another picnic in the car and an unsuccessful attempt at connecting to the free wifi and we were back on our way again.

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We were gunning for Alice Springs although weren't sure if we would make it that far. The road soon turned to a track and that soon turned to dirt until we were fully off roading. It was incredibly difficult driving, we were lucky if we could make it to 40km an hour. occasionally a land rover or other purpose built 4X4 would fly past leaving us literally to eat their dust. Poor old sheila was taking a real beating, despite Annas incredible driving. The off road road is what they call the scenic route and when we could take a half second to take our eyes off the road we really could appreciate how amazing the Australian outback really is. No sign of humans as far as the eye could see in all directions apart from the dirt track. After 2 hours the driving started to take its toll on Anna so we found a safe place to pull over to switch seats. It took a little time for Ben to get used to the driving conditions but he managed. One thing we had been noticing while driving was huge piles of poo on either side of the road. It was far too big to be a kangaroo or any other native species and we were hundreds of kilometres from any farmland. We were baffled and slightly concerned that some prehistoric monster had been surviving out there unnoticed and forgotten by man, preying on the unfortunate travellers who decide to tackle dirt roads in old beat-up cars unworthy of the challenge, who break down and wonder out on foot in search of help only to meet a grizzly end, leaving behind a broken down car filled with backpacks and lonely planet books, to be engulfed by the flames of the next bush fire or washed away in the seasonal flooding. After passing a couple of shells of old burnt out estates and saloons adding to our worries we found the culprit that had been leaving such large piles of excrement. 3 wild horses galloped along in the bush by the car and one shot out in front of us only to turn on his heels and head back to his pack. There was no need for heavy breaking as at that particular point the pot holes were so bad we were literally crawling over them. We took some pictures and let them be. The sun was beginning to get lower in the sky and there was no sign of the dirt track coming to an end. Regardless of the burnt out and abandoned cars reminding us of what possible future we would face if we weren't careful and more 4X4's racing past us reminding us of how truly unfit Sheila was for this road we persevered. After 4 and a half hours or shaking and bumping and banging, swerving and skidding, gasping and swearing we eventually hit tarmac. We had never felt relief like it! Sheila had made it and once more sounded better than ever! It's funny, the things we take for granted but neither of us will ever criticise and poorly maintained road again.

The town we reached had a petrol station so we thought we would fill up again and stretch our legs. Unfortunately it was not to be, as the petrol station was closed. We realised we were in an aboriginal community and saw signs that alcohol was prohibited there. Apparently there are a lot of areas in Australia where it is prohibited to sell alcohol to Aboriginal people, It has caused a lot of problems within some communities so the governments and aboriginal elders decided to totally ban the sale of it. After our stressful drive we were reward with what is possibly the most incredible sunset either of us has ever seen! We arrived at Alice Springs in the dark and found ourselves a nice hotel. We headed out into civilisation for the first time in days to find some food. We found an Italian with gf pasta available and headed in. It appears we found the only Italian for thousands of kilometres as it was heaving. We waited 20 minutes for a table then half an hour for 2 tiny dishes. 50 minutes waiting for 50 seconds eating. Needless to say we were still ravenous and didn't fancy hanging around to order more. We found a dominoes, ordered a pizza and ate it in bed watching Friday Night Lights.

Posted by Benannatravels 20:01 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Adelaide and Kangaroo Island

sunny 15 °C

After a gruelling 7 hour drive we made it to our Comfort Inn in Glenelg, Adelaide. We had driven through miles of vineyards and unfortunately spotted our first wild Koala twisted in a heap on the side of the road.

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It was late when we arrived and we were eager to get to bed. The next morning we woke early-ish to book another night as we had decided we would explore what Adelaide had to offer. We weren't in too much of a rush however as booking a second night meant we didn't have to check out at 10 so we got back in bed and made the most of the rarest of commodities: a lie in! After the previous days encounters with the cereal spiller we didn't have many options by way of breakfast, we finished off the pitiful remnants of the crunchy nut in the mugs kindly provided by comfort inn and headed out. We found a tram stop and headed towards the city to find the central markets, one of the top attractions of Adelaide. When we arrived in the middle of what we expected to be a hustling bustling central business district we were somewhat disappointed. After spending time in Melbourne, Adelaide felt like a ghost town. In fact Adelaide felt like a ghost town regardless of where we had stayed previously. We actually felt the need to whisper in Victoria Square (the centre of the city) for fear of being heard by the few people that were actually around. We found ourselves some food in the central markets, which was nice but again was very quiet. Once we’d eaten our hotdogs served to us by a lovely lady that couldn't remember what she’d said 4 seconds ago, we headed over to a free bike rental place to see if there was a part of the city that we were missing. A secret place buzzing with hedonism where the hipsters hip and the socialites socialise. There wasn’t. Although, to be fair, we only had 45 minuets to explore as the bike place closed at 5 (along with everything else!) We did however manage to get some info at Sea Link on travelling to Kangaroo Island. It was almost 5 though and they obviously didn't want any customers so late in the day so we collected a load of leaflets and left rather taken a back that they didn't want our business. Another grand stop along our cycle tour was the oldest graveyard in Southern Australia! Sounds grand doesn't it? It wasn't really, as I'm sure you know Australia as we know it today hasn't been around for that long so most of the gravestones where still shiny enough for us to check how good we looked in our snazzy rental helmets.

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We returned our bikes and after escaping the clutches of the rental lady who seemed far more excited about offering us information on Kangaroo Island than the tour operators we thought we would treat ourselves to a massage as we were still hurting after our week on the slopes. Our walk through town continued to offer up very little of interest. We did however notice a rather large amount of Bogans. Bogans are australis version of layabouts, bums, rednecks, chavs, unemployed, benefit scrounger type people). Where Melbourne had a lot of down and out homeless people, Adelaide seemed to have a lot of Bogans who seemed to be enjoying themselves as the majority were pissed. Ben even considered where it was they were having so much fun, as maybe they held the key to Adelaide’s social hub. Needless to say he didn't bother and continued on thinking best not to mention the idea to Anna. We found the massage shop (parlour?) and booked ourselves in for a couple of half hour back and shoulder massages. Anna’s back sounded like a cement mixer and her masseuse found it so funny we considered asking for a refund as we’d provided so much entertainment. We decided it wasn't really worth hanging around in the city centre for dinner as there wasn't much going on so we caught the tram back to Glenelg where we hoped we would find a bit of liveliness. Maybe we visited Adelaide at the wrong time of year as we hear from a very reliable source that there are lovely beaches in summer but we felt it was severely lacking in soul or character. Maybe we’ve just been spoilt by living in Melbourne but one day was enough for us. We spent a little while trying to find somewhere to stay on Kangaroo Island and then went out for burgers. Once again we seemed to be the last customers of the day but the staff were lovely and the food was amazing so all was well.

We are that behind (Ben is super lazy and leaves Anna to be Benanna’s receptionist) on the blog writing that we have been writing it in the car on the way up to Darwin! It’s Ben’s turn to drive so your all stuck with my writing again. I have to read over Ben’s work and check for mistakes but I have to say, I find his incredibly funnier than mine!

So we woke up thinking we could get away with another cheeky lie in and then we thought we should probably google how far away the ferry terminal was from our hotel. We expected it to be about 30 min max. It turns out that it was an hour and a half away which meant we jumped out of bed and shoved all of our stuff in the boot of the car. Anna drove us to the ferry terminal whilst Ben took lots of videos out of the car window. His ears were flapping away like a little dog. The scenery was amazing as I am sure you will see on our video (coming soon). As Anna was driving, that meant Ben had to get out and walk onto the ferry with all the other passengers. We got there on time but Anna was nervous about driving Sheila onto the boat as she’s so bloody clumsy. But its ok… no fatal accidents occurred! The ferry was 45 mins and so we spent the whole time googling what exciting things were ahead. Our first stop after the ferry was the IGA, basically the only supermarket on the whole island. Getting to the IGA proved a lot more difficult than expected. They had a lot of road works going on and so we drove around in circles to find our way in. But we finally made it and stocked up on $70 worth of food (for just 2 1/2 days.. it was expensive). We drove on the only main road to our accommodation. We weren’t very excited about it as we picked the cheapest one they had. When we booked, we really struggled to find a deal as it was so expensive to get to. Apparently its the most expensive ferry in the world per kilometre. Also, the majority of the accommodation was all booked up. A lot of people must choose to go in the winter as its cheaper. We dread to think of the price of a trip in the summer. We arrived at the costal resort and were very pleasantly surprised. There were no other customers at all staying in any of the accommodation so we got a free upgrade to a snazzy little cabin. As soon as we had unpacked all of our things, we headed to the wildlife centre.

We had the most amazing 2 hours there even though it was a bit rushed as they were closing at 5.30pm. We fed and petted koalas, kangaroos and wallabies. Ben got lost in the reptile house snapping away with his camera. Anna didn’t spend a lot of time in that section and instead went to make noises by the cute little penguins enclosure. We also accidentally joined a private tour and ended up petting a wombat! We said ‘hello’ to a lot of parrots and got chased by a rather large peacock. It was a great taster as to what our time at Kangaroo Island would involve.

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When we got back to the cabin just before dark, it got very chilly and so we decided it would be a great idea to put the heating on… we just could not get it to turn on at all. We even went in to the next doors cabin to try their remote. We rang the manager and she said we might end up having to move cabins. Luckily she managed to fix it with a flick of a switch… literally. We soon got cooking and enjoyed a nice chicken risotto in more bearable temperatures. We then spent the next few hours blogging and video making before retiring for the evening.

We slept terribly. We are not sure wether it was because we were so excited or wether it was that our brains hadn’t rested from the blog and video overload. Anna got to rest in bed whilst Ben made chocolate chip pancakes MMMM! We set off on the road again over to seal bay. The island is huge and it took us around 45 min to get there. There is hardly anything on the way though, no petrol, no buildings, nothing! When we arrived at seal bay we had two options, a self guided boardwalk tour or a tour with a guide along the beach. We are being conscious of money and so are trying to save as much as we can so we don't run out but we decided this was a once in a life time opportunity and so we have to get the walk on the beach. And boy are we glad we spent the extra. We witnessed seals fighting, sleeping, surfing the waves and even little pups running along the beach towards us. It was amazing. After the tour we got to go onto the board walk anyway and witness even more. Anna’s amazing zoom camera captured some incredible moments. From the boardwalk we could also see bones of a beached whale. This whale had washed up on shore in 1984.

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After seal bay, we headed to a beach for a picnic lunch. We went down what can only be described as a dirt track. When we reached its end, it opened up onto an amazing crystal clear beach with a blue stormy sky. It was completely deserted and so we had a little photoshoot before diving into our lunch. Whilst we were eating our lunch Anna spotted something in the waves. ‘DOLPHINS’ she shouted. It was honestly like the scene of a movie. What a magical morning! After lunch, we headed to little Sahara. Little Sahara is a bunch of random sand dunes in the middle of kangaroo island. We rented a toboggan and headed out into the desert. Turns out the sand dunes were pretty big and we were tired after just walking up them for five minutes. We went down one at a time, together, and Ben even tried standing up but this lady killed our vibes by telling us we would break the toboggan. So we quickly walked away from her direction and took some awesome pictures. We decided it would be a good idea to go down the biggest hill together for our last go. What a mistake. We went flying and Anna actually face planted the sand. We don’t need to say much more about it as the pictures say plenty themselves:

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Our cameras got quite sandy after the fall and Anna’s has some trouble opening its lens but don’t worry guys, all is well.

On our way to our last destinations, we were amazed to see a wild koala crossing the road! We hadn’t seen one in the wild until this moment. And it was perfect, a real Aussie looking koala. We got a couple of photos of it walking away but after the car came screeching to a halt it quickly disappeared into the bush:

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We had to drop into the visitors centre in order to get to our final two stops. We didn’t know this until we saw warning signs along the road. Turns out you have to buy a pass to drive in the protected areas. Yet again, we just made it in time. The office closed at five and we ran through the door just a few minutes before. We were greeted by a very rude lady who said we would lose light and not be able to carry out our plan. We were very offended as we had purposely planned our trip to see the last two sights at sunset. She was kind of right in a way though as Ben really wanted to go to the Duck Bill Platypus waterholes which looked really close on the map but it turns out it was a three hour walk. It was ok though because we saw a dead one on the way! (He will kill me for mentioning it, he was very upset by the roadkill incident) We headed off in the car in the direction of the Remarkable Rocks. Honestly, we couldn’t have timed it better. The sunset was incredible, as were the rocks. Words just wont do it justice so here are the photos:

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We then in a huge hurry, sped over to the arch (we didn’t actually speed, wouldn’t want to hit any wildlife!). We arrived and parked under the rotating shine of the lighthouse. The sky was so dramatic and Ben got really carried away with giving the lighthouse a photoshoot. We were losing light fast and so Anna headed to the arch without Ben by her side as alls she wanted to see were the fur seals! There were so many all getting ready to go to sleep for the night. Once Ben had joined her, it was pretty dark so we didn’t manage to get all the way down to the arch to take any photos.

We then drove home in complete darkness. I say complete darkness because even when the high beams of the car are on, its like having no lights on at all. This slowed us down a lot. What also slowed us down was the 176317536752347623546 animals which decided to chill on the road. Anna read that animals go to the roadside at night as the tarmac is warm and the animals get quite cold in the winter. This combined with terrible lights made a very slow journey home. It took us about 2 and a half hours. We saw/slammed on for possums, echidnas, kangaroos, wallabies and at one point we swear we saw a lemur but maybe it was a sassy possum. We managed to speed up a bit at the end as the closer we got to civilisation, the less wildlife we saw. We made it back without killing a single thing. Shame not everyone else can say that as there is so much road kill which is devastating for an island which is all about conservation and natural wildlife. When we got back we were hungry and cold, so the heating was straight on and the sweet and sour chicken was frying away in the pan. We spent another few hours blogging and video making.

Our Kangaroo island video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwRe37zal7A&feature=youtu.be

The next morning we woke up after another rocky nights sleep. This time it was the cockerels. They were cock-a-doodle-doooooing all night long. We had to wake up nice and early to catch the ferry back so after peeling ourselves from the covers, we packed up our stuff and got on board the boat. We were told that there had been whale sightings the last few days so we should keep an eye out for any movement. We were that busy on our phones we wouldn’t of noticed anyway. We spent the journey googling where we could drive to to avoid spending any more of our time in Adelaide.

Posted by Benannatravels 19:57 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Great Ocean Road Travel Video

Our great ocean road travel video can be found on the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlgdEEclfgA&feature=youtu.be

Posted by Benannatravels 16:55 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Mt Buller & The Great Ocean Road

Attack of the cereal spiller...

sunny 14 °C

So its been a while but the blog has once again found its way into Ben’s hands. Surprisingly when there is much to write about! I am working from the notes we have written along our travels so I hope there are no gaps between this and the last post, but apologies if there are.

So as you probably know if you have been following our adventures we were kicked out of our house share by our psychotic landlord and had found ourselves living with an awesome couple on Brunswick Street. Katie’s house if Anna hasn’t already explained was pristine. I say was because it looked like hurricane Anna had hit after we left. Firstly she managed to melt one of our lunch boxes in the oven as she thought it was a microwave, she also spilt intense diffusers everywhere, TWICE! by flicking her hair round doing Beyonce impressions, or something like that. She also turned they’re lovely little kitchen into the Great Brunswick Bake Off, rustling up brownies and a classic Victoria sponge. Despite only being at Katie and Ale’s house for 10 days and with all the spilling and baking she still managed to find time to lose a few things, only small things mind. An earring. A water bottle. And something else which I can’t quite remember. Oh wait, I remember. Our Brand spanking new Canon 6D camera and 2 lenses that we invested in 4 days earlier for AB studio. Only a couple thousand dollars worth of equipment. Don’t worry though all is well. We had our 2nd shoot for AB Studio at Rye cafe where Anna had been doing some extra shifts. She had to get there for 6am so was pretty tired to start with. Ben had work as usual so it was up to Anna to get the job done. All went well and Ben received regular updates throughout the day saying how well the shoot was going and how much fun she was having. Then mid fundraising call, Ben received the txt: “Ben I think ive lost the camera”. Then, nothing!!! After a short while another txt came through: “I think they’re towing the car!” then, nothing!!! Eventually Ben managed to get through to a very panicky Anna who was frantically searching high and low with no success. She even went into a restaurant to watch their CCTV of the car which was parked outside as she was convinced someone must have stole it. It turns out that she had left the camera at the cafe and Susie was able to go and collect it for us. So all was well. Oh, and the car was ok, the guys with the tow truck took mercy on Anna given the situation and some puppy dog eyes!

Here is an example of the photos Anna did for Rye Cafe (I still need to edit them all):
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Our time at Katie and Ale’s wasn’t all stressful though, we were invited over to Ale’s work where we got some Burgers at mates rates (perfect timing after a long day of missing cameras!) and we had a lot of fun exploring Brunswick Street (with the cool kids). Despite the fun though our time in Melbourne was coming to an end and we were once again itching to hit the road. We did however have to work our notices. Unfortunately Anna’s day was incredibly boring and the owner actually dropped by not when she was cleaning, resizing, helping a customer, organising the stock room or making a sale but actually in the 3 minutes she was playing on her phone!!! She did make an extra $30 for the Rye shoot though! Ben’s day was much busier. He actually beat his personal best in the morning session and finished the day by raising $301 for charity, more than anyone has ever made for any charity in the history of Public Outreach. He was pretty pleased and earned himself the top spot on the wall of fame. That night we celebrated with some of Ben’s work mates. Ale dropped by the pub where we were settled for the night and had us in absolute fits with his language errors. For example ‘my friend was jerking me’. We still to this day don’t fully understand what he was talking about.

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The next day we decided to run a couple of errands before leaving Melbourne. Including getting a lockable case for all the camera equipment (preferably a bright multicoloured one with a garish pattern so Anna wouldn’t forget it again!) and we ended up leaving at around 4, only 2 hours later than planned.

We had booked an Airbnb in the Yarra Valley which was actually the converted servants quarters of a larger house. We got there pretty late as we left later than planned so ventured out in search of food. We found a chippy not far away just before closing time. we got ourselves some chips, a dim sim and spring roll. All of which we should have just left in the deep fat fryer. We went to bed hungry but excited for the adventures to come. We were so excited for the adventures in fact we lay in until 3pm! We thought we should make the most of the beautiful surroundings and went for a walk along the Yarra river where Ben played with his new camera some more. We decided that after the previous nights food failure we would cook for ourselves so we got some sausages (as they had no meatballs) and GF pasta. The next day we were headed for Mt Buller for some snowboarding! We were so excited we actually left on time!!! After a “weak ass shower” as Anna so eloquently put it. We stopped in a small town called Mansfield where we had an incredible lunch and rented some chains for the wheels. Then all that was left was to hope and pray that Sheila would make it up the mountain… she did. The scenery was incredible. Once we got to a certain height, we had to park in a car park and be taxied up the rest of the way. Our hotel was right in the middle of the village and we were greeted by the very friendly manager Ann, who showed us up to our “hostel” room. It was bunk beds which we were expecting as it was the cheapest possible deal and other than the terrible wi fi was very nice. After unpacking all our stuff we ventured out into the snow to collect our snow gear. Once we had our boards and snow clothes we put on our jackets and went out once again into the snow to build a snowman and snow angels. Then it was bed time as we needed an early night for the big day ahead!

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We had our first lesson at 11am and it was terrible. Anna managed ok as she had some prior experience on the slopes but Ben being an absolute novice suffered. Our instructor did very little instructing and preferred instead to “show” us how it should be done. This was not helpful and Ben along with getting some severe bruising on his coccyx really hurt his back and strained all the muscles in his arms. It was not a good start. It was so bad that Ben actually stayed in bed that afternoon while Anna hit the slopes once again. That night Ben managed to very slowly get out of bed and we went and played pool in the only place that was open after 8pm! Not what we were expecting at all and with the terrible wi fi signal made evenings pretty quiet.

Despite being bruised and battered Ben was determined not to let the mountain get the better of him. So after Anna exchanged her board for some Skis we had a practice before our next lesson. After a couple of times down the mountain we actually saw someone get stretchered off the slope which was a bit scary considering it was the beginnerest of beginner slopes. But our fears were in vain as Anna, it turns out, is a natural on skis and Ben had a much better instructor for snowboarding. 6 of the 8 people in Ben’s lesson actually gave up as they were too tired so him and another guy got some pretty close coaching which really helped! After our lessons we spent the rest of the day on the slopes, Ben was really starting to enjoy it and didn’t want to leave. The only time we left was to enquire about doing a sled dog ride but it was fully booked. We were having so much fun and spent so much time skiing and snowboarding we were a bit late heading out for lunch. As we’ve said, after 8pm everything closes which means when we got to the restaurant at 7:30 we were the last people eating! We got ourselves a couple of pizzas and finished up sharpish so as not to annoy the staff!

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Day 4 was soon upon us thus bringing the first case of the cereal spiller! We had decided to have a lie in and do a later lesson at the next level up. Coco pops out of mugs was on the menu and Anna was head chef. She prepared the feast and balanced the mugs on top of the fridge door. Then needing the milk to complete the magnificent meal opened the fridge door. Coco Pops went everywhere! After collecting all the pops we decided we might as well get up and head out into the snow. Annas second ski lesson was more advanced and she perfected her turns, pressure, and played ‘tennis’. I know that doesn’t make any sense but thats what she’s written and it was so long ago she can’t bloody remember either so you’ll just have to take our word for it that thats what she did. Ben on the other hand actually did some snowboarding and learned how to link his turns from heel side to toe side and practiced on a blue slope!!! The class was going so well we even went off piste (i think thats the right word?) through a little forrest!
After the lessons Ben headed to the statue outside the ski school halfway down the hill (the prearranged meeting place). He sat and waited in the cold for 20 minutes. Anna also sat and waited in the cold for 20 minutes at the bottom of the slope. It was only after she managed to warm up her phone and turn it back on we were able to find each other! Yes I know, I should have just gone to the bottom but we agreed to meet halfway! We went to get a hot chocolate and brownies to warm ourselves up. After we finally got our hot chocolates we ventured up to the very top of the slope to show each other our new skills. Visibility was so bad though that we took it easy and went pretty slowly. We skied and snowboarded until the last lift. On our way back to our room we stopped by the photography shop to see if they had any jobs going. We left our details and website and arranged to meet the owner the next morning. We decided to eat in, so headed to the supermarket and managed to get ourselves the last BBQ cooked chicken. We relaxed, ate chicken and watched Netflix buffer. Once we finished eating we packed our stuff ready for the morning and had a snowball fight in the room. The snow on the roof outside the window had increased by about a foot over the couple of days we had been there.

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Sadly our time on Mount Buller was almost up. We had some breakfast in the room and left our bags in the luggage storage for one last day of snowboarding. Anna decided to switch her skis back to a snowboard as its just way more fun (looks cooler too). We went to the board rental where there was a queue of 65 school kids! Luckily for us someone working there told us to go up to the ski school and they’d be able to help us out. After the agonising walk up the hill in all our gear we got there only to be told we had to go back down to the bottom to swap. After a bit of sweet talk (desperate pleading) we managed to persuade the guy to switch the skis for a board for us. We spent they day boarding and actually started to get pretty good. Ben is officially hooked, saying thats its actually “better than surfing!” (I know?!) and we would like to carry it on going hopefully every year. Although loving every minute of it, it is pretty tiring work. We had a few breaks and a packed lunch to keep us going. On the last day it was actually raining not snowing so we got incredibly wet. Anna gave up before Ben and went and got dry while Ben was determined to nail his turns. He made it down the slope twice without falling but on the third run went down hard and actually twisted the bindings on the board so had to walk halfway down. We felt this was a good time to call it a day. We got ourselves warm and dry and headed back to the hotel to collect our stuff and get a taxi back down to Sheila. We decided not to follow up the photography lead as the guy seemed uninterested and was pretty happy to give commission based work to anyone who had accomodation on the mountain which we didn’t! Our taxi driver gave us some tips for our travels and dropped us safely at carpark C1. Once Sheila was fully loaded we got in and tentatively turned the key. She had a bit of a splutter but started first time and with some gentle revving she warmed up quickly and we were soon on our way down. We soon found ourselves out of the clouds and back in the real world. We returned the chains back in Mansfield and got some pub grub. Which was amazing, we ate there on the way to Mt Buller and returned on the way back as the food was just incredible!!

You can watch our snowboarding trip on the link below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILpdOVvQfJg

The drive to our next destination was a hairy one, It was fully dark by the time we left the pub and the roads were very windy. Considering hanging out of the car windows shining our phone lights on the road would be more effective than our high beams we drove pretty slowly. But we arrived safe and sound and in one piece in a small town called Namgambi, creatively named after lake Namgambi that it coincidently happens to be next to.

The motel we booked was so nice we decided to stay another night to recover from all the bumps and bruises. There wasn’t much to do in Namgambi which suited us fine. We slept, rested, drew and worked on our go pro videos and even ordered a thai from over the road! It wasn’t all peacefulness and laziness though. Anna’s reckless streak continued, ripping her trousers, ruining her Uggs and losing a hat. But we won’t dwell on that, the great ocean road lay ahead and we couldn’t wait to set off again!

It was a 3 hour drive to Torquay (the start of the great ocean road) so we felt some fuel would be a good idea. KFC and Maccies (or macca’s as they call it here!) seemed like they would keep us going! We arrived at Torquay in good time, we even saw our first wild kangaroos on the way! We bored ourselves a little cabin in a holiday park in Australia’s surfing capital and soon headed out to the surf shops as the sea was flat as a pancake! It was flat but beautiful so we spent some time taking pictures. On the way back to our cabin we did a little shop finally getting our meatballs and some washing powder, everything we needed for a nutritionally balanced evening meal. We did a much needed clothes wash and managed to watch half an episode of Friday night lights before the wifi cut out. We had some left over chocolate chips from Annas baking so we thought we could melt them over some strawberries. It was an excellent idea but the chocolate turned hard again very quickly and we ended up with a big lump of strawberries stuck together with chocolate, not exactly how we imagined it so we just went to bed.

The next day brought the start of our great ocean road adventure. Although we didn’t see much ocean for about an hour and a half the scenery was incredible. We drove through rainforests and over grassy hills and when we eventually arrived at the ocean we got stuck at roadworks. Not the best start. Until we noticed a family abandoning their car. Anna wondered why of all places they chose next to a giant digger and upturned asphalt to get out and sight see until the dad motioned us to look too. There was a small group of Southern Wright whales playing about 100 metres off shore!!! We quickly got out too and once we spent a while admiring the whales the view of tractors tearing up concrete had kind of grown on us. Aaaah happy memories. After the whale sighting we were on high alert for any movement in the vast stillness of the pacific ocean and after only about 15 minutes we spotted a group of dolphins!!! Despite a drizzly day we were definately on to a winner. We stopped in a small town and found a bakery with a gluten free selection (one roll left, with Annas choice of fillings). Ben took the opportunity to feast on all the delectable pastries Anna so unfairly can no longer eat. He ordered a steak pie and sausage roll and as karma for eating the delicious baked goods in front of Anna, had to watch as the sausage roll make a run for it and rolled off the plate and on to the floor. He reacted with a, what in hindsight seems rather melodramatic, “Noooooooooo” incredibly loudly in front of everyone. Anna was rather embarrassed but as you can tell by the amount of space I’ve used in what is meant to be a short blog post on this seemingly insignificant moment, instead of taking the time to describe the majesty of whales and the incredible ability of the dolphins I’m still pretty shook up by the whole affair. After we had finished eating and Ben had recovered from what shall be referred to as “The incident” we were just leaving when the wind picked up and knocked the power out. We started to drive as the weather worsened. We made to the 12 apostles and braved the wind and rain to get that kodak moment. We didn’t get a kodak moment. We got wet and couldn’t feel our ears. As impressive as the 12 apostles were we decided to head for shelter. We found a cheap motel in the next town along which was really nice. We reheated some of our left over meals which we had kept in tupperware. Surprisingly after half a portion of pasta and meatballs and half a portion of sweet and sour chicken with egg fried rice we were still hungry so we went to see what food was available in Port Campbell. We were on the hunt for pretty much anything besides chips and lo and behold what was the only food available… bloody chips! We braved it after our last encounter with an Aussie chippy and we were pleasantly surprised. Our motel also had ok wifi so we got to watch the end of that Friday night lights episode (I know right, priorities!). The bed was amazingly comfy but for some reason Anna has not been sleeping well, Ben on the other hand has been doing some awesome impressions of comatose patients. In the morning the Cereal spiller was to strike again, not once but twice! Yes Anna managed to do almost exactly what she had done with coco pops with a fresh box of Kellogg’ss crunchy nut! TWICE! After picking up the crumbs, eating and then picking up the crumbs again, we got back in the car and finished off the great ocean road.

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We will post a link which shows our journey on the Great Ocean Road on a separate post (we have wifi issues!)

Posted by Benannatravels 05:52 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The last Melbourne blog post!

overcast 16 °C

We got the car serviced... and boy is there a list! The man nearly run out of paper!!! The good news is, the list was of lots of minor things so we are ok. It was things like how rusty the car is, how it feels like your always in neutral even when your in gear as the gear box is so floppy... all things we have gotten used to. There are some more urgent things like that theres oil leaking from somewhere but nothing worth panicking about apparently. It is running a lot better since it got some much needed attention too which is a bonus. Theres just one urgent thing which needs fixing which is something to do with the cooling pipes? No idea but we will do that in the next few days. So this situation will help our bank accounts a lot!
Anna had the pleasure of finding some carrier bags for work last week as the shop ran out. No where sells them. She went to about 5 different shops and finally persuaded a man in the local off licence to sell her half the box he ordered! Luckily she is leaving this week and got enough bags to last so that when they next run out it's someone else's problem! Anna made a whopping $1200 in the shop last week on a week day which is amazing. It was actually a busy day. If only all days could be like that! It turns out a few of them were as it was kids holidays and it was also raining.
Ben finally managed to get off evaluation which was a great relief because he could of been jobless for our last two weeks in Melbourne. He had a rough week of work as the trams were cancelled and so he had to get buses and trains and therefore was late a few times. His manager Chris wasn't too impressed...
And then what made us both really late one morning was finding a lost dog right outside the house as we ran to the car in a rush to work. It was too cute to ignore. It was very cold and scared. After bribing it with an apple and some chocolate, Ben managed to grab hold of it so we could call the number on its collar. We think we must have woken up the whole estate doing this as the dog wouldn't stop barking! We called the number and an Indian man with a very strong accent answered. For those of you who know Anna well, you will know how terrible she is at understanding accents! Ben managed (with a struggle) to agree a place to drop the dog off at so we could get on our way to work. His accent was that strong that we thought he was telling us to leave the dog in the street! We got in the car and took ZuZu around to his neighbours house. We rang the bell a few times before a crazy lady answered who was very excited to have a 'play date' with the dog....

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That morning we also discovered that Tyson had been locked outside all night! We could hear this dog barking and whining all night long which sounded like Tyson but it couldn't of been as he sleeps inside in Jason's room. Turns out it was him! We let him in before finding ZuZu and he was freezing and so happy to see us. Anna texted Jase to let him know (we thought he had accidentally been locked out) but it turns out he did it on purpose... pretty traumatising punishment for not wanting to come in after going out for a wee :(

We forgot to mention in our last blog post that we played a prank on Jason! Brad's idea of course. We found mannequin heads that belonged to his ex which she practised cutting hair on and so we stuck them in his bed with a few pillows:
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Jason thought we were sleeping in his bed he pood himself when he turned the light on!

Last Friday night after a long week of work, we went ski shopping...

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And this is why Anna has to buy a kids mask:
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We bought our essentials and then headed to a german restaurant for some food. The place was heaving it was very popular. It had such a good vibe and the food was amazing. It was right on the river where we could also watch the Docklands firework display. We then headed over to high point shopping centre to watch Tarzan, WHICH WAS AMAZING.

Anna had to work all weekend which sucked but it was ok as Ben had to finish editing the Haymes Paint Australia images. We ended up with around 50 photos which we sent off to the client. Creswick (who hired us) were very pleased with the images and might even use some of them in the video! We have only posted 4 of them to our website but take a look:
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On Sunday night it had been a long weekend for us both so what better way to end it than with a Dominoes Pizza! Too bad for Ben... they completely messed up his order. But he still ate it all anyway, washed down with a beer of course.

Last week Jason went on a photoshoot to the Gold Coast. He asked us if Anna wanted to go and photograph but we politely declined the offer and tried to explain that half naked girls on boats isn't really our line of work. We enjoyed having the house to ourselves for a while! Sol didn't move in until about a week or more after Brad moved out so we had peace and quiet.
Sol did move in just before Jason got back, at the same time Brad decided to hang around the house and watch TV as he had nothing else to do. It could of got a bit awkward but no one really spoke to each other!

We feel really sorry for Tyson, he just sits at home all day, goes on one short walk and eats a handful of raw mince. He has been emptying the bin and Anna has tried explaining it must be because he is hungry but Jase is having none of it. Tyson actually weed all over Sols bed as a housewarming present! But that just says it all really :(

So Ben was ill again last week too! He still has this reoccurring cold. Luckily he didn't lose is voice but he did have a day off as he felt so ill.
On Anna's day off the next day, we both went to visit Creswick Creative to drop off the images. Ben loved visiting the guys and looking around the offices. Hopefully they have some more work for us in the next year or so. After that, we went camera shopping! We didn't buy one as Anna couldn't decided what lenses to buy. Ben went back on his lunch break after Anna went home and did a lot of research. So now AB Studio is officially set up! We have equipment and a running website. Now we just need clients!
Here's Ben showing off the newly purchased Mac...

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Later on that afternoon, Anna went downstairs to put something in the kitchen and ended up in a huge row with Jason. We wont go into the details on the blog but he was completely out of order. We ended up moving out then and there after Ben came home from work early. It was quite upsetting leaving like that but looking back, we are so glad we did because we have just had the best time ever since leaving there. It was a complete drama finding somewhere else to stay on such short notice. We had ten nights left and we did not want to go into a hotel or hostel where we had to eat out all the time and where it would of been twice as much per night. We frantically messaged a lot of people on airbnb and were getting all negative replies. Finally we found someone who wanted us and we wanted them! The house looked so cute, it was on our favourite street and wasn't far from any of our places of work! We barley fitted all of our stuff in the car as we rammed it in very unorganised but we managed to get all the doors closed and drive off to our new home. We unpacked, met Alex who is a comical Italian and had dinner. The house is so nice thank god we found it. It is right near the city, theres free parking for the car and the tram for Ben is right outside. The car park is about 50 yards from the house and as Ben was driving towards it, Anna pointed out that he was in fact driving on the wrong side of the road! Poor Ben it was a stressful day.
The next morning Anna ended up being ten mins late for work as she has to now drive through the city to get there.... TRAFFIC!! She also noticed that there were chocolate raisins all over the back seats which were flying everywhere during her journey. She managed to clear them away although we still think there must be a few hiding around. They might come in handy if we ever break down ;)
Ben on the other hand was extra early... by about an hour! It was his lucky day though as he found $20 on the floor! He decided to go to work early and do some paperwork as he had to leave so early the day before. Luckily his work were really understanding about the whole situation and one of his team members even offered us a place to stay!
We had to go back to Jason's house the following night to collect the bond. He took $250 out of it as Anna accidentally broke the internet box. It was annoying but fair enough. When Ben went to the door to get it (Anna stayed in the car as she didn't want to face Jase) he got the cash and tried to have a reasonable conversation about Jason's actions but Anna ended up getting out the car and a full argument started again. So lets just say we are glad to have that all out the way now bond in hand. We have learnt a lot from living there, Jason is a very interesting character. It's time to move on!

We will miss Tyson though!!
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Delys, Anna's manager, has been away for around a month. This has made working in the retail job so much easier and less stressful. But this week she has returned and boy does Anna know about it. It is the end of the school holidays so its back to standing around and being bored. Luckily theres only 2 shifts left!!! She has one more shift at Rye which is a 5am start! But she will be doing some food photography for them which is exciting, another job for AB Studio. Ben has 4 days left and so he is concentrating on getting some bonus before we go! It is cold here early in the morning though...

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The new house is amazing and we met Katie this week. They are so welcoming and the house is the complete opposite of Jason's. We think Katie might have a bit of OCD as everything is perfect. But it is spotless and clean and dog hair free! They even leave notes for us on the fridge:

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This is the only thing Jason left near the fridge:

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On the downside, it is quite noisy as we are next to such a busy road. The window was actually rattling when cars were waiting at the lights outside. Luckily Ben managed to shove cardboard all around it and so it is a lot more quieter at night. Anna is being her usual self and being a complete ditz. She was drying her hair and managed to spill room diffuser all over the carpet. Now our room stinks of the stuff! She then put the diffuser bottle on the wooden desk... apparently your not meant to do that as oil stains wood... lets just say Ben managed to fix that too!

In other news, Anna has been busy cooking and also got a more bearable uniform in work - its that quiet she has time to take mirror selfies...

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This is Ben's only uniform:
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So as we were saying earlier, we have just had the best time in Melbourne since we left Jason's house. We have just had an amazing last weekend. In fact, the best weekend since we have been there! On Friday night, we made chicken fajita nachos and went to the drive in cinema to watch Mike and Dave's wedding dates which was hilarious. On Saturday we had a huge lie in, Ben made us pancakes, bacon and syrup. We finally got ready at 3am and walked down our street. We had a photography day as Anna's new camera arrived: (her old polaroid broke twice so they sent out a new one which works amazing)

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And we even found a rice paper scissors on our road!!! So of course we went in there! I think we have gone about 4-5 times now but honestly it is the best Asian EVER. We walked all the way down Brunswick street and then got the tram into town. Ben has some amazing photography on his birthday present camera! He hasn't got around to posting them yet but keep an eye on his blog: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bensingleton/
We then went to TGI Friday's and stuffed our faces some more. On Sunday Anna had a 7am-2pm shift at the cafe but Ben didn't mind as he spent that day drawing a picture of her taking a picture (coming soon):

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We then got ready all posh and smelling nice as we had a date for dinner on a tram! We were SO late though as we caught a tram there and it was running late. We ended up getting off the tram and pulling over a taxi - which was like the scene of a movie by the way it was crazy how it all happened! We told the driver how late we were and he stepped on it. We arrived just as the tram restaurants were pulling up which was so lucky! We threw $15 at the driver and piled our of the car. We were running across the grass when Anna realised we should probably be waiting with the huge crowd of people who weren't running towards that tram! After that embarrassing moment, we managed to check in and sit at out little booth. The food was incredible and it was all you can drink drinks!! Anna was on fizzy white whine, fizzy apple juice and tea to finish. Ben was on beer, port, scotch, gin and tonic and some of Anna's fizzy apple! We had an amazing meal and it was so worth the money.

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This week we both have work Mon-Fri (Anna had Tuesday off though) then on Saturday we are heading to Yarra Valley to a cute little outhouse before going skiing!
We are so excited for our upcoming adventures... watch this space!

P.s: Anna bought a new bottle as she shrank her old one in the wash:
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Posted by Benannatravels 20:48 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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