03 May 2009

Where in the world is Peter???

Hi all,

You have probably all given up any hope of hearing from me again.

Well, I have finally gotten my A into G and uploaded some pictures from the last 9 months!!!

I also promise that I will write something to each album in the next few days, I am just glad that I have found a way to do this all a bit quicker!

So here we are, entering the last quarter of 2009, I can tell you all that I am still having a wonderful time in Australia. I have been in Melbourne since February! After travelling the east coast for nearly a year I decided it was time to settle a bit and get to know some locals... who you don't get to meet travelling!

Melbourne is AMAZING (I am not sure if the fotos do it justice). Rather than having a natural beauty it is jammed with culture, atmosphere, restaurants, cafes, live music, pubs and open air events.

Of course you are all envited to come and visit!!! I have moved from very humble beginnings in "Hotel Footscray" to a beautiful house in the northern suburbs....and we have a spare bedroom!

I hope you enjoy the fotos and that you are all doing as well as I am!

I would love to hear from you all again!

Pete :)

PS. I hope it isn't too much at once!!! ENJOY!!

Sydney --> Melbourne (January 2009)

As I said, these foto's are ancient...

After leaving Brisbane I spent a few days travelling down the coast to Sydney in a luxury campervan which I picked up at the exorbitant rate of A$1/day, plus they threw in A$100 for petrol. If you ever need to get from city to city in Australia look at vehicle relocation as a really good mode of travel!!

After a couple of days in Sydney I bussed towards Melbourne stopping at Ulladulla and Merimbula. The south coast of New South Wales isn't nearly as developed as its northern counterpart, but is equally beautiful. I will definitely make a point of exploring this region again...

Ulladulla is a sleepy town with a nice beach and excellent surf, as a result I spent most of my days here in the water. I did manage to take a walk along a coastal track, which I had all to myself.

Almost at the border between NSW and Victoria, Merimbula is a small oasis! Situated on a lagoon (or two) it is idyllic. A beautiful boardwalk takes you along one side of the estuary, but a brilliant alternative to explore is by kayaking past oyster farms. I met some great people in the hostel (Emma, Sophie and Juan) with whom I did some of the exploring!

Then on the bus again... all the way to Melbourne....

Melbourne and surroundings......

I'm not going to say much about Melbourne, except that you should all come and visit!!! You will love it here!!

I have settled into a position as a biochemist in a small start up company called MycroLab Diagnostic (www.mycrolab.com). We are in the process of developing a minaturised analyser and test card for clinical and industrial point-of-care testing. As with the position I had in Germany, I arrived at a very exciting time (viz. no money, little time, lots of pressure). The work is great and the potential enormous.... please keep your fingers crossed that we get out of the starting blocks successfully!

Sarah and Beer's Wedding (Fraser Island, March 2009)

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! Two beautiful people, I couldn't be happier for you!!!

It was great being back in Queensland, and Fraser Island is probably one of the most amazing places EVER!!!
(NOTE: Australian's love stressing points by adding "ever" into a sentence e.g. it was the hottest day in February, after a full moon, before a thunderstorm, at 7 o'clock EVER) :-)

It was great seeing old friends from South Africa again, as well as making some new ones. The wedding was spectacular, the weather prefect and I know I wasn't the only one to shed a tear!

Easter 2009 (Lake Eildon, Little Desert and Grampians National Parks)

Easter's camping holiday with the usual suspects (Paul and Catherine Bajada (Malta) and Denise Desmond (Ireland)). These are good friends who I met in Bundaberg whilst fruit picking. Since Paul and Catherine were leaving shortly after easter we decided to go on one more big trip..... you will have to look up the locations on a map yourselves.

From Melbourne we travelled north east to Lake Eildon which is nestled in the foothills of the Australian Alps. I is amazing to see a water resevoir at only 20% capacity, to be at the waters edge and have a tree line 30 meters above you where the water should normally be. It is spectacular and at the same time makes you aware of just how bad the drought is in Victoria.

After two nights in Eildon we travelled roughly west to the Little Desert National Park. Passing Bendigo on the way we decided to go into the beautiful cathedral, which fitted well since it was Easter Sunday. Little Desert NP gave me my first taste of the Australian flies, which up to this point I had believed were a myth, turns out they are a real pain in the butt!!!

Just a short stay in the desert and then we headed back to Melbourne via the Grampians National Park, almost got bounced on by one of Australia's traffic hazards.... a massive kangaroo! But they views from the top were worth it! You decide....

Winter Holiday 2009 (Cairns --> Airlie Beach)

Met up with Wilhelm Eger (Germany), a friend of mine from Jena, who currently has a post doc position in Brisbane.

We accessed the Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas for a day of diving. Brilliant!!! Will definitely be diving again!!! Saw my first shark EVER, a moray eel, a sting ray and a multitude of brilliantly coloured fish in all shapes and sizes. Picked up my first sunburn for the holiday too!!! Some things never change :)

North to Cape Tribulation and then south again into the Atherton Tablelands. This high lying plateau is part of the Great Dividing Range which runs along the east coast of Australia. We spent a night at the Granite Gorge as a result of a spur of the moment decision.
... definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. The following day we completed the Millaa-Millaa waterfall circuit, including crater lakes and swamps (highlight: the crater at Mt. Hypipamee National Park). After a very full day we were desperate for campsite....

Paronella Park is where we found a place to pitch our tent, before we knew it we were booked onto the evening tour..... OF WHAT??? Imagine our surprise to be standing in front of a castle!!! YES, Australia has a castle!! A spaniard built the castles in the 1920s and 1930s. Whatever his motivation was, it was quite impressive to see!

We also stumbled across Australia's highest waterfall -268meters- which goes to show that planning a holiday isn't always the best way to go!

WOW, there are so many highlights it is difficult to get them all down! So, I will stop my rambling and let you enjoy the fotos!!

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