I woke up on my first day in melbourne to a glorious, sunny, buzzy city! I stayed in a hostel right in the centre of town, about 3minutes from where the commonwealth games set-up was - big screens, bars etc. I spent almost a week in melbourne, just hanging out, wandering the city, doing shopping and having drinks at the Taxi bar on the riverfront. On my first night out I met a lovely couple, Lina and Kim (swedish/australian) and so for the rest of my time in the city I hung out with Lina as she lived there but wasn't working. I went to watch the Athletics at the games on the wednesday night which was a great experience, I'd always wanted to go to some "games" so it was quite a thrill. The weather was absolutely gorgeous the whole week - Lina and I spent quite a bit of time lying on st kilda beach soaking up the sunshine. I finally managed to de-prune my skin after the 10days or so in the soaking wet weather!
On Monday, 27th March 1996 I turned 36. I decided that I had to do something memorable so head off on a 2 day trip along the great ocean road. There were about 10 of us on a little "tour" with a aussie guy, Todd who ran his own little company doing this trip. As luck would have it, the heavens opened on the my birthday so it was not quite the sunny beautiful road trip expected but it was still great. I'd bought a chocolate cake to celebrate at dinner (as we stayed in a gorgeous little hostel along the route) and Todd arranged for a little surprise - he's sneaked my cake off and got candles and arranged for an impromptu Happy Birthday when we got back from a rain-drenched sight of the 12 Apostles. It was very sweet of them and all in all I had a great birthday - especially because most of the people on the trip guessed my age as between 28 and 30 - go ME :-)) !!
On the second day of the trip the sun came out again and a huge highlight was doing a little helicopter flip over the 12 apostles. I've decided I'm definitely an adrenalin junkie!! We worked our way back along the coast, stopping at really beautiful places - it was in a way like being along the cape coast at times....felt like home.
I spent one more day in Melbourne (just hanging out with Lina) before flying to new zealand. I'd decided to skip my trip back up to brisbane and fly directly to new zealand from there.
I can't write anything exciting about my last week in Australia but it was a very pleasant, quality filled relaxation time which I really needed. All in all I guess I have to say that although Australia provided me with some amazing memories and experiences - the highlight being my diving trip - it was a very weird feeling when I left. It was good.....but I thought that there was a bit of a vacuum in me .... like there should have been more to come....maybe new zealand is that!