Australia! - part 1
August 28, '04

(click on the first picture to get started; captions are at the bottom of each picture page)

We began our journey by taking the bus to Christchurch, which we were flying out from.  The bus took a rest stop in Oamaru, where we hung with the "Soul Sistas". We also walked out to the rocky shoreline and watched the fantastic waves crashing against the rocks.  This is Hilary, who is on exchange from U of British Columbia.  I met her here in NZ; she agreed to head to Australia with me.  After buying our plane tickets, we had exactly one "planning meeting" before we left, which consisted of the decision not to plan.  It was a short meeting.
Bri hails from Macalester College and coincidentally enough was also going to Australia.  She had plans of her own to travel once there, but our flights were both out of Christchurch early the next morning, so the three of us hung out and explored the city that night.  And by the three of us, I do not mean the polypro-clad soldier mannequin, who Bri is imitating while Robin says "that's just wrong". Shakily playing pool in Christchurch... interestingly, this was not to be the last pool game of the night.
An attempt to use high tech visual illusions to "lick" the fountain :) Not so awake in the airport, we waited to fly to Melbourne, and half watched Olympics on TV (4am in NZ was a good time to watch live Athens action).  The person on the right is from Sweden, I think... she was travelling with Bri.  Oh, in case it isn't clear, I know these people because we're all studying at U Otago.  Right.  They're not just random people who come from Sweden.  Just semi-random.  moving on...
Flying over NZ's Southern Alps! When we arrived in Melbourne we met up with Sara who had flown all the way from NY to travel with us!!!  We got a shuttle to our hostel and after a lengthy nap, we walked around the big park that was across the street from our hostel.  I couldn't help remarking again and again how warm it was, at least compared to NZ!  I think it was around... 70.
 We also walked down nearby Brunswick Street.  It's full of funky shops, cafes, ice cream :), large flower sculptures, and whatnot. A selection of images from the hostel we stayed at, called The Nunnery...
We set off to explore downtown Melbourne Sitting on a giant changepurse... I know, it doesn't make sense (ha ha)
Aw, we rode the awesome Melbourne trams to St. Kilda beach. Melbourne at sunset, viewed from St. Kilda
The Troup standing in front of the old Parliament building, our second day in Melbourne.  Take a good look because it turns out this is the only photo we got with all three of us in it! Yo, we're here in Australia!
We walked to the Sunday market which was absolutely vast!  You name it, it was there - food, clothing, accessories, souvenirs, furniture...  this is a very small part of the produce area, where we shopped for food to cook dinner with. Musicians at the market.  They were so cool that I ended up buying their CD.  I also recorded this background audio.  There was also this awesome little baby standing next to us who was dancing up a storm!  It was one of the cutest, funniest things I have ever seen.
The Melbourne Museum was right across the street from our hostel.  We spent a whole afternoon there; this is the forest exhibit, which focused on Australian ecosystems.  They even had... Stick insects!!
Here I am freaking out in front of the oldest functioning electronic computer anywhere in the world!!  It's called the CSIAC, and was one of the first five electronic computers ever built. For any programmers out there: this is what they used to mean by a "library of functions"...
Hilary, meet wombat.  Wombat, meet camera.  Thus begins our bus tour of Australian wildlife... Looka the cute koala... and as a side note (quite literally!), the word "me" just happens to be positioned right next to me in this photo!  How convenient.
the koala surveys the land If you look very closely, you can see the "joey" wallaby sticking his head out of the pouch and eating grass along with "mum".
Can you believe it??  We got to feed kangaroos!! It was a standoff: the girls vs. the 'roos.  After several tense moments, the 'roos decided that they would... resume eating our food.
Just so *cute* that I can't bear not to include it in the gallery The bus tour took us to Phillips Is., about an hour drive from Melbourne.  We stopped at a beach and checked out the surfers.
After eating an awesome lunch at a hostel on Phillips Is., we went to this amazing koala park.  They had built walkways all around so that we were closer to "koala height" and could see them more easily.  They sleep 20 hours a day and only switch trees at night, so you can take your time watching them. :) The koala all snuggled up.  It makes ya feel all cozy. :)
Robin photographs Geology on the beach The tip of the island.  The low rocks far out to the left apparently house a colony of seals.
A very dramatic coastline, I think you'll agree Finally, we went to the Little Blue Penguin colony at dusk, which is when the penguins come in from the ocean to sleep in their burrows in the hillside.  It was a ginormous tourist thing and they had all these walkways and viewing areas... we were not allowed to take photos, so this funny (but serious!) sign will have to do for now!  No penguins were harmed in the making of this slideshow.
We met some really awesome people in the hostels we stayed at.  Most of them were on trips at least several months long.  Here is one new friend from London peacing out with Hilary at The Nunnery. What a picture - the girls, a statue, a eucalyptus tree, *and* a cathedral!
On our last day in Melbourne we walked down the Yarra river, which runs right through Melbourne.  The river was lovely and there were joggers everywhere. After (posing and) crossing the river, we found a "music bowl" concert venue.  It was sunny and we just lay down in the grass for a while soaking it up.
We ate a LOT of cake, and then headed to the museum of contemporary art.  We visited the Centre for the Moving Image and checked out some very cool artsy videos, as well as a crazy exhibit where rat neurons analyzed a digital photograph and directed a robot arm to draw a picture on actual paper with four colored pens...!  Did ya catch that? We even found an Apple store!  What more can you ask?

Australia! - part 2 -->