Saturday, September 12, 2009

Off to the land down under…from the other land down under

***Quick Note: The Internets tube to the land down under is not a very big pipe so uploading all of our pics to Flickr has been a problem (ie. not happening @ 2.1kb/s) so we will add to flickr once we got a better connection, but until then enjoy our limited pics here on the blog.***

9/6/09 - A quick 3 hour plane ride on Air New Zealand and we were in Sydney and ready for some warmer weather! We quickly found a place to stay for one night within walking distance of the CBD (side note: CBD or Central Business District is a common acronym down here in Australia and New Zealand that I’m not used to hearing in the states) and it was off to find a cell phone/SIM card. We shopped around (3, Telestra, Vodafone, Virgin Mobile) and found Vodafone to be the best deal (only AUD 2 for a SIM card). Also at Dick Smith Electronics they had unlocked Nokia phone for AUD 89 (my blackberry is nice, but just too large for traveling with) so we were set (Swiss already had a GSM phone.) A stroll up George St, around the Circular Quay and over to the Sydney Opera House and we’d done our sight seeing for the day. A quick stop for a roasted chicken and some potatoes for dinner (and a nicely seasoned roasted chicken, I might add!) and it was off to bed early for a 5.30am shuttle back to the Sydney airport to catch our flight up to Cairns.
We spent Sunday strolling around Cairns and getting a feel for the place (also looking forward to spending more than 1-2 days in a place) and also on a hunt for ads for cars for sale. We gathered some different ads and have calls out to quite a few people…waiting to hear back and about to start researching online also. We grabbed a free dinner downtown at “The Woolshed”, a hostel perk of sorts, although the free meals suck.  They offer meal upgrades for $5, $7, and $8 which actually get you semi-decent food, a lesson to be applied to later meals. After the crummy dinner, we split a “goon” which in Australia is slang for a box of wine. Let’s just say that their idea of a “dry red wine” is pretty sweet in my book.
The Deal of the Century
On Monday the search was on for a car…and relaxing on the beach. After making a few phone calls about cars, with no immediate responses, we started walking around to get quotes on a car rental. One place pointed us to a website, which turned out to be a great blessing. We found (hold on to your seats, get ready) a Ford camper van for 4 days @ $1/day plus they pay for all of our fuel and pay us $100 upon delivering the car to Brisbane!! That’s right, we’re getting paid to drive the car to Brisbane and they’re paying for all of our fuel! So it’s a rental car that they need to get back to Brisbane…and now we’re their drivers to get it back down there…a great way to travel (we get the flexibility of driving ourselves) and a great way to save money! The downside is you have to do it in 4 days, but given our limited time in OZ it actually helps us move along.
We’re definitely excited to have found this deal and hope we can find a similar deal for going from Brisbane to Sydney, cross your fingers!!
Now we came back home to book a day snorkel/diving tour of the reef and they’re regular boat was full on Tuesday so we got a free upgrade to a nicer boat/nicer part of the reef. Choice.


Chris said...

Pretty cool! Enjoy the Great Barrier Reef!

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