A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Jess_F

Christmas & New Years in Sydney

26 °C

Well we have been told it has been awhile since we last updated the blog, and seeing as our last entry was when we first moved to Melbourne we have to agree! Unfortunately we can't upload all our pics in one hit as we have a monthly upload limit so we've put some on for now and we will add more next month :(

Quick and brief update prior to the festive season:

I got a job at the NAB head office as a PA to the General Manager in Group Strategic Business Services & Risk Asset Review. Quite a mouthful I know! I started before Christmas and have only worked there for 3 days (due to pre-booked holidays) but it seems like a really good job and they only need me until May which works out perfect coz i will be heading back to Brisbane early June. Plus it's the next street over and 2 blocks up so it's close by too.

Brian has been out working at the Yu Yangs for the pacific production, plus filming around town. They filmed a bar scene close by to the city which I was able to go and watch, plus they had a few days filming at a local football ground. They've filmed about 3 or 4 episodes already, so this year should be pretty easy for them in getting everything wrapped by June.

Ok, now on to Sydney.

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Brian and I headed to Sydney to spend time with his family at his brothers place in Homebush. We were there for 10 days and spent our time drinking, bowling, sight seeing, bridge climbing (brian, warwick and their dad), taking photos of the boys doing the bridge climb (just me), going to Bondi Beach, playing with our Christmas presents and of course celebrating the New Year. It was the first Christmas I had spent away from my family and the first Christmas I can remember spending with a jumper on! Luckily the weather picked up for Boxing Day and it was warm sunny weather from there on.

Brian and I bought his dad a ticket to walk over the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Boxing Day, and he and Warwick joined him on the climb. I wasn't doing the climb with them ( I was a little chicken plus couldn't afford it) but decided to take photos of them from different points around the bridge. I was able to get a free pass up to the Bridge Pylon where I could take photos of them climbing the arch. The boys started their adventure around midday where they had a safety brief and were told what to expect. Then they started their climb. The climb starts off with an easy walk along the structure while the guide is telling the group (through their microphones & head pieces) about the history and surroundings of the bridge. A few facts told were how many men died making the bridge - 16, and about a guy who was buried alive in the pylon due to falling into the cement mix while it was being built. The walk then takes you straight towards the pylon and out to the water where you climb up stairs which leads up to the road and then up again to the arch. The Sydney to Hobart Yacht race was on while they were climbing so there were lots of boats in the harbour that day which made for good viewing and a nice background in their photos. Once you get to the top the guide takes photos of the group reaching the top and then the decent down begins. The boys said it was very enjoyable and an easy climb. The group constantly stops for breaks while the guide talks history and lets you take in the view. The whole climb took 3 and a half hours with no toilet breaks (as Rove points out in his signed photo!) After that we all went for a beer and a pizza in a nice pub at the Rocks. I don't know about them but I was pretty exhausted from running all around Sydney taking photos of them!

A few days after that my parents arrived in Sydney. Dad was working on the cricket test so mum decided to fly down with him to have a bit of a holiday plus see me for Xmas. I spent 2 nights with them and we ate out, sailed around the harbour, went to Taronga Park Zoo and did lots of shopping. The zoo was a great day and we had fantastic weather which made the view from around the park spectacular. I have never been to a zoo before with an outlook like this one! Unfortunately we went to see most of the animals around midday so naturally they were all in the shade having a snooze but we still got to see the bird show and gorilla feeding which was great. It was good to catch up with my parents again and they're coming to Melbourne for the Australian Open in a week or so, so I can see them again then.

For New Years Warwick had a friend who had an office/apartment just past Darling Harbour which looked out to the bridge and across to Luna Park. It was a great view and we were able to watch both fireworks shows whilst eating, drinking, and playing card games. It was a great night but a long trip home, as most New Years celebrations turn out to be. Brian and I have some great photos and videos of the fireworks and we are in the process of making a video on his new Mac computer he got for Christmas.

Well we are back in Melbourne now without too many hiccups. There was a baggage strike going on at the Sydney airport when we were leaving which delayed our flight by 50 minutes. They were going to fly us back with no luggage at all but we were told the problem was fixed and we were on our way. Unfortunately 20 bags did not make the flight, one of them being mine, so we had to go through the whole process of lost baggage and I finally received my suitcase at 10pm that night - hey it could have been worse i guess...

Brian and I both start back at work on Monday which we are both looking forward to in a way because work means money! Yay. Our New Years Resolution - to update the blog more often this year! We'll see how that goes hahah. Take care and we hope everyone had a great Christmas and an even better New Years!

Brian and Jess

Posted by Jess_F 00:02 Comments (0)

Melbourne - we have arrived!

sunny 15 °C

Well as most of you already know, Brian and I have arrived in Melbourne safe and sound. We've been here a week now and are completely bewildered with this city! Apart from the horrible cold weather, Melbourne can be quite confusing! It's a great city, don't get me wrong, but it has taken us awhile to get use to the tram system, where everything is and where to go etc. I'm sure we'll settle in great though. We have gotten to know the Casino very well though :)

This past week we've been house hunting like crazy. It has been so incredibly hard trying to get real estate agents to show us through properties! We have had some luck yesterday with 3 agents who did actually want to do their job, and we find out tomorrow if we are able to move into this great 2 bedroom apartment in the city right next to Docklands, so fingers crossed. We are able to move in straight away and because it is fully furnished we are pretty set to go! I'll let you know how it goes and post some piccies up if we get it.

Today is Melbourne Cup Day and Brian and I had plans to go with one of his friends to the Country Races but that fell through due to the bad weather Melbourne has been having and the track was deemed unsafe. Instead, we caught up with Shaw and Tori (from the movie), put some bets in at the TAB and went to a local pub for lunch and a few drinks. Brian has a bit of luck on the race before the Melbourne Cup and won $5. I got lucky too and put $3 on Purple Moon for a place so I ended up winning $5 too. All my 4 horses came in the top 10 which I was happy with (I normally pick losers), but I really wanted Dolphin Jo to win. What happened to Master O'Reilly being the favourite ey?

Brian starts work tomorrow and has a 6am call time. He will be working everyday for the rest of the week so that leaves me to lug all our belongings across town to wherever we move to. Hopefully Tori or Jane can help me out with moving it all coz I definately can't carry 2 suitcases, 2 backpacks and more hand luggage on my own! Tomorrow I will be harrassing more recruitment agencies in search of a temp job until I get more time to sort out what I really want to do. Hopefully Melbourne will have snapped out of their Melbourne Cup long weekend trance and actually do some work!

Ok, that's enough from me for tonight! We will keep you posted on the house/job hunting situation!

Posted by Jess_F 00:02 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sailing with Jennifer Hawkins

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Fraser the Sales Rep for Quicksilver (who reckons he is practically the Mayor of Port Douglas) came to see me while I was working on the boat Monday morning asking if I had any plans for my day off on Wednesday. Of course I didn’t… its Port Douglas. What else is there to do except go to the beach, shop or try and get 3 people on a windsurfer board in a swimming pool?

Anyway, what Fraser was getting at was that Doug one of the Yacht owners in Port Douglas (who every Wednesday afternoon takes a handful of guests out sailing around Port), had somehow got The Great Outdoors to come up and do a story on his Wednesday arvo sailing trips. Fraser being mates with Doug was asked to come aboard and find some people to join him on the boat while the production filmed Jennifer Hawkins doing her story. Our main job was to look like guests on board laughing, drinking and having fun.

When Jen and the camera crew turned up we were briefed on what was going to happen and away we went. They filmed us walking down the jetty at the marina and getting on the yacht. I sat next to Jen on the way out of the marina while another boat with the camera crew circled around filming us. She was really nice and seemed happy to talk to everyone and was asking me what I do for a job in Port Douglas, how long I’ve been here for etc. We then headed back into the Marina and the camera crew jumped on board the yacht to film her interviewing Doug. Us guests weren’t needed in any of these shots so we all sat at the back with our drinks and used this opportunity to take some photos.

After that little segment they filmed us all chatting to each other at the yacht club and that was pretty much a wrap. I think the whole thing took about 2 and a half hours but Jen and the crew stayed for awhile after and had a few drinks with us. She was really friendly, down to earth and seemed quite happy to sit with us and just chill out. Fraser and I got our photos taken with her and then off they went.

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After the crew left we all jumped back on Doug’s yacht and sailed out towards Low Isles to see the sun set. He let us all take turns steering the boat and gave us all free drinks and cranked up the music. We got back in to the marina around 7pm and after that I headed to Four Mile Beach for a beach party between the Quickie crew celebrating Dave’s birthday and Toni’s hens night.

This Tuesday is my last day at work and then I’ll have a few days in Port to see some sights, do some packing and figure stuff out for when we arrive in Melbourne. I found out it is actually cheaper for me to fly from Cairns to Brisbane, then Brisbane to Melbourne so I will leave Cairns on the 30th, go back home for the night to change some clothes and stuff over and then reach Melbourne on the 31st. The Pacific crew have their own flights booked so Brian will be heading straight from Cairns to Melbourne on the 31st and we will meet up that night. The boys have a week in Melbourne to get everything sorted before filming starts up again so Brian and I have booked a hotel for that week and will go out during the day looking at places to rent up until June. There seems to be a few furnished apartments close to the studio in Docklands so fingers crossed they’ll all be available when we get there. I’m sure we’ll be right! :)

  • More photos of Jennifer Hawkins and Snorkeling at Agincourt Reef will be gradually added. There was a way to upload the photos in bulk but now it has to be done individually so it might take awhile. Sorry!

Posted by Jess_F 02:48 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Diving

sunny 29 °C

Thursday on my day off I went to the doctors to get my cv vaccination (which really really hurt by the way!) and also to get my ‘supposed’ asthma tested so I was able to go diving. I went to go diving AGES ago but I ticked that box to say that I had asthma (coz that it was the Dr told me 6 years ago) so the divers legally couldn’t take me out unless I got it all re-checked. To cut a long story short, I don’t have asthma and I went for my first dive last Friday during my lunch break.

I had to sit down and watch a video first and Matty ran through what to do if your reg gets knocked out of your mouth, you run out of air, and how to equalize your ears. I had Jules as my dive instructor (she’s cool) and once we suited up and got in the water she went through again what to do if your reg falls out and how to clear your mask if it fills up underwater.

After equalizing and slowly heading to the base below us, we all stopped and got to touch ‘Jake’ the Maori Wrasse. He is so awesome and feels really cool. He loves the divers and swims with them everyday, so of course he swam with us for most of our dive. I was in a group of about 5 and the majority of them were rude pushy Americans. Just after patting Jake we were headed to the sea floor but on my way down one of the divers pushed past and knocked the reg out of my mouth. Because we had run through it all on the video, on the boat and in the water on what to do if this happens, I didn’t panic too much coz I knew what I was doing. Jules and Gareth (crew diver who was filming us) grabbed me and helped me put my reg back in. I didn’t realise it was such a serious thing until I saw Jules’ face and how they immediately stopped everything and swam straight to me. I also found out that the dive master got in a fair bit of trouble for it.

Other than that my first dive was pretty cool. I got to touch a sea anemone and see lots if little Nemo’s swimming in it. The anemone feels cool and has quite a dry texture even though it is underwater. I also got to touch a giant clam and a giant sea cucumber which I wasn’t thrilled about doing. I find sea creatures a little too unusual to go around touching. It was still lots of fun and a very good memory to have.

Posted by Jess_F 16:47 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Palm Cove

sunny 28 °C

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Yesterday was my ‘Saturday’ and also another day off for Brian, so we got to spend another ‘non-weekend’ day together. Brian’s friend Shaw (who is on the movie and is also a Kiwi) has his girlfriend Tori staying with him now so the 4 of us decided to head to Palm Cove and spend the day there. Tori only arrived on Sunday and Shaw had never been to Palm Cove so it was good to take them there on such a beautiful day.

Brian “borrowed” a sheet off the house keeping trolley on the way to the car to use as a giant towel for the both of us to lie on once we got to the beach. Our towels aren’t very big and it was quite nice lying there without worrying about sand getting everywhere. We also bought some snacks and drinks to occupy us with whilst we lay there soaking up the sun.

The boys hired a Catamaran for an hour and seemed to have a bit of fun trying to get it to sail. It took them a little while which was funny to watch but once they got the hang of it they cruised up and down the beach quite easily. I then went on the Catamaran with Brian for a little bit and got to hold the rope to the sail. Yeah, it’s not a very important job…especially when I did it lying down, but it was still lots of fun. It’s a nice view looking back at Palm Cove from the water. If only I could have taken my camera out with me.

After that we had some lunch (quite a late lunch actually) at a little café on the main street. Brian had the “Giant Hamburger” which wasn’t as giant as I had hoped it to be, and I ate some delicious Garlic Prawns and chips. After lunch we decided to head home to Port Douglas.

Today I decided to do a bit of wandering around the place and thought I would take some photos and show you all what Port Douglas actually looks like. We are blessed with yet another warm and sunny day and fingers crossed it stays like this! Warm sunny days usually means less wind, therefore are calmer trip out to the reef for me when I’m working on the boats! Lately it’s been around 10-15 knots, which is pretty smooth. I don’t have to take any travelcalm on days like that, unless I’m working on the sailing boat. 10-15 knots is still a smooth day for Wavedancer but it rolls differently to the bigger boats.

I went to the hair dresser this morning and got some highlights put in my hair. It’s been long and brown for so long I felt like a bit of a change. I only got caramel coloured streaks put in so it’s nothing too drastic. I guess I’ll find out whether it stands out or not when Brian gets home. It’s always good to test “change” on boys coz if they notice straight away then you know it may have been a little too extreme!

After that I went and had some garlic panini at one of the local pubs, and then walked down to the park and took some photos of boats and trees and things. I also had a nice walk on the beach before deciding to head home and see if housekeeping is done with cleaning the room. Oh yeah, I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned before but we get our room cleaned every Thursday, which a lot of the boys on set bitch about because they want it cleaned everyday. I always clean the room before the cleaner comes in so she doesn’t think we’re messy so I definitely don’t have time to do that EVERY morning before work. I’m happy with the once a week clean!

Ok well I’m off to do some grocery shopping now. Brian has to work Saturday but he has Sunday off so he might update the blog then. Go the Cowboys!!

Posted by Jess_F 23:18 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Day at Hartley's Crocodile Farm

sunny 24 °C

Monday started with the usual 7:15am alarm ringing, forcing me to wake up, get out of bed and get ready for work. Brian got to have a sleep-in that morning as he didn’t have to go to work that day… long weekend for him! I only had the Thursday prior off work as they are changing my roster around to make my 2 days off to be a permanent Wednesday & Thursday.

Lately we haven’t had as many passengers on the boats as we do in peak season so every employee will be rostered on that day but some will have to “stand-down” (go home) if they aren’t needed. I would have been working 6 days this week so putting my name down for a stand-down wasn’t a problem with me. I was however on Wavedancer (the sailing boat) that day which had 73 passengers on board – 2 people too many to send me home. Kristy the senior on Quickie VIII said that if their boat doesn’t get up to 250 passengers than they will send their ‘stand-down’ employee across to Wavedancer so I can stand-down for them. At 3 minutes to 10am, Bex showed up on Wavedancer and I was able to go home. Yay!

Brian and I had been talking about going out one day and seeing some crocodiles so we decided for the remainder of Monday to go to Hartley’s Crocodile Farm which is about half an hour away from Port Douglas.

We got there at 11am, just in time for a crocodile feeding show. Neither of us have been to Australia Zoo, so I’m not sure how this Croc Farm compares to Steve Irwin’s but we were both impressed with the amount of crocs they have, what their habitats look like and also how close you can get to a crocodile. Pretty much when you walk in the gate you walk straight past a 4.7m crocodile in a gated enclosure that leaves you half a metre away from it. I am fairly certain that if some kid wanted to stick their arm through the fence they could have touched it…and also gotten their arm ripped off!

The croc feeding show was very informative and pretty cool. It was no ‘Steve Irwin jump inside their enclosure and have them chase you for food’ but it was still exciting to see the male crocs fight each other to guard their territory and eat the food intended for them.
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After that we hopped on the river cruise which showed us more crocs in their natural habitat which gave us a better opportunity to take pics of the crocs jumping for food and swimming after the boat.

They have a ‘croc farming tour’ which starts off with a very interesting spiel on how back in the 50s and 60s it was legal to shoot crocodiles and once one couple killed up to 10,000 crocs in this time. Crocodiles are now, however, a protected species and it is therefore illegal to shoot them…but not at Hartley’s.

The tour takes you to the other side of the park where they tell you about how they take crocodiles eggs, incubate the eggs and determine the sex of the crocs they want to breed. Once the eggs have hatched they put the babies into large tanks with no sunlight as crocs grow quicker without the stress of seeing their surroundings. Once they have reached a certain size they are then placed into outdoor pens and fed a lot so they continue to grow bigger. Once they reach the ultimate size, a keeper will go into their enclosure and stun a few of the crocs with a stun-gun and check to see whether their skin is in good condition. Once a croc gets the “ok” on size and skin condition it is then shot and sent off to a company that skins it for leather and also packages the meat. It was really really sad looking at the amount of crocs in the pens and knowing that one day they would be turned into a purse or handbag. We got to touch a little baby croc which was cool, but for the purpose of feeling how soft the skin was which was not so cool.
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It was pretty unbelievable going to a park where on one side they educate you and show you how cool crocs are and what great environments they have these animals living in, to then walk to the other side where they show you how they breed these animals to be shot and sold for their skin and meat. Did I mention that you can also buy crocodile meat to have in your burger at the restaurant? One family turned up to a crocodile show actually eating crocodile meat!

We left the ‘farming tour’ early to go and see the snake show and then the Croc attack show. The guy in the croc attack show is mad! He’s a south African guy who is very educational of course, but definitely not scared to hand feed a 4.3m croc and splash about in the water with it. He showed us how easy it is for a croc to disguise itself in the water and then attack its prey so quickly. It was very cool to watch!
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After the show Brian and I left the park and headed to Cairns (another half hour away) to go and see ‘Bourne Ultimatum.’ It was a great movie and a great way to end the day that we usually would have spent at work!

Posted by Jess_F 23:15 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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