August 6th 2016 – Sydney & Melbourne

Today I woke up at 6:00am, which means it only took two days to get my circadian rhythm back on track. I had a lazy morning working on my blog and packing my bags for my travel to Melbourne later today.

I left my hotel at 10:30am and walked to Kings Cross station where I took a train to Town Hall station, switching trains and arriving at Circular Quay station. I people watched and watched boat traffic come in for a while, but then it started to rain so I went and sought some shelter. I walked to the same mall that I had the Vietnamese food in two days ago, and to my surprise the mall was completely empty; a complete ghost town! I remember there being some comfy leather seats on the second of three floors so I went there to relax for about an hour, while catching up on all my social media and news.
It was time to head to the airport. I walked to Wynard station, where I purchased a black coffee from McDonald’s. The cost was $3, which makes it $1 more expensive than back home, but it’s actually better than the coffee back at home. I hopped on the express airport train, which only took twenty minutes to get to the domestic terminal.
The airport terminal was beautiful and had an open airy concept, substantially better than my experience at the International terminal. I was flying on JetStar flight 607 to Melbourne. This was my first experience with a European style airline in the last decade. They charge extra for every little thing. I tried to get away with doing carry on only, even though I knew they had a 7kg weight limit, but our local airlines at home have 11kg weight limits which I regularly exceed so I thought it wouldn’t be a problem. Well I was wrong. I had to put my bags on a scale and it came up to 16.5kg (36.3 pounds). I should have paid $50 but… I did a bit of persuading, and possibly flirted a bit with the woman, to get my way. Success, I didn’t have to pay! I boarded the plane and sat down in seat 12C, which was in an exit row. The doors closed and the flight attendant came over to me and actually went through every step of opening the door, which I’ve never seen an airline do before. The airline then had multiple other safety announcements, which seemed a bit over the top, but further digging concluded why. The airline is under scrutiny from the ATSB (similar to our FAA) for a variety of factors including safety, and overloading aircraft.
Continuing on with the flight they started serving food and beverages for purchase, which I wasn’t actually made aware of until I said I would take a coffee. She poured it and gave it to me and then said “that’ll be $4”. I was baffled and a bit annoyed as it was not mentioned before hand, nor in a placard in front of me. I reluctantly paid and enjoyed my overpriced bitter coffee. Overall this is the worst airline I’ve ever flown, and wouldn’t recommend them to anyone else, even if it is a cheaper airline to travel on. The saying goes “you get what you pay for”. In my case $60 doesn’t get you much except annoyance.
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The flight arrived 25 minutes ahead of schedule at Melbourne Avalon airport. I then boarded the Avalon Airport Transfers bus for a fifty minute ride into central Melbourne. The cost was $22, which was pretty reasonable. The bus ride was fantastic with a comfortable seating, and a beautiful sunset to watch.
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I arrived in central Melbourne at 6:00pm. Kirsty had given me a Miki transit card to use while in Melbourne, which I loaded with $24 for use over the next 3 days. Melbourne is significantly cheaper than Sydney to travel around, but the trains don’t run as frequently, even though Melbourne and Sydney are roughly the same size.
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I boarded my train, which took me roughly fourty minutes to get to my hotel, called BreakFree Preston. BreakFree is a chic boutique hotel at a reasonable price (I only paid $70 CDN per night, which was only $20 more than a hostel but I get my own personal space). The room is small but reasonable.
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I settled in for a few minutes before heading to Woolsworth to purchase some beer and groceries for the next few days. It was approaching 10:00pm so I decided to call it a night since I was tired. Tomorrow I will be exploring the city centre of Melbourne. Check back shortly to follow my next adventure!
If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

August 5th 2016 – Blue Mountains, Sydney, and Koop Kooper

I started out today by heading to the Blue Mountains. I left my hotel at 3:30am and walked fourty minutes to Central Station, because the other stations don’t open until around 4:00am. It was raining lightly on my walk to the train station so I didn’t wear a rain jacket. I did have a slip and fall on the way because of the markers that are placed at crosswalks for blind people. I scraped a few knuckles on my right hand but rinsed it off with water and some toilet paper, which I had handy in my backpack. I made it to Central Station with ten minutes to spare and boarded the 4:20am train to Katoomba.
The Train ride to Katoomba, where the Blue Mountains are, took about two hours. The train was comfortable, smooth, fairly quick, and even had a plum interior to boot! When I arrived in Katoomba I noticed that the temperature was way cooler, around 2 degrees Celsius. I put on my rain jacket, as that is all I brought with me, and headed up the stairs of Katoomba station. There was a cute little coffee kiosk there, where I grabbed a Tall black coffee. I was talking with the Barista a bit, and she was saying that this was unusual weather for this time of the season.
I walked about half an hour from Katoomba station to Echo Point, a lookout from which you can see The Three Sisters and miles upon miles of beautiful dense rainforest. I was the only person there since it was barely 7:00am. I even caught the last few minutes of sunrise! When I was leaving Echo Point to walk towards a scenic lookout of Katoomba Falls. The view was spectacular. There was a 3000 step decent towards the bottom of the falls, but due to it raining so much and my slip and fall earlier I opted out.
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I then walked to Scenic World, which was not open for the day yet, and took some photos. They have one the worlds steepest Cable Way down to the bottom, the world’s steepest train (you can even adjust your seating position to lay flat if the angle is too much for you), and a very tall 360 degree glass Cable Car that spans across Katoomba Falls.
After taking photos at Scenic World I headed back towards the train station, but stopped at Aldi’s (one of Australia’s grocery chains) for a banana and Subway for a ham sub. I boarded the 9:10 am train back towards Sydney. The train arrived in Sydney at 11:20 am, and I then boarded the T4 line towards Kings Cross, where I walked back to my hotel. I downloaded my photo’s, relaxed for a bit, and talked with my friend Barry about a very old mall in Sydney called the Queen Victoria Building. I Naturally I had to go see it, so I packed up my gear and started walking towards it, while getting very distracted by other architecture along the way. I came across another old mall called The Strand, which was built in 1891. In a way I preferred The Strand over the Queen Victoria Building, because I felt it had more character.
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After visiting both buildings I walked towards Darling Habour, where I walked around for a bit, as well as got told off by an official for being too close to the water (even though I was definitely more than a meter away…). The sun was going to set soon, so I walked quickly to Sydney Harbour area so I could catch the sunset. I took some photos of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge while the sun was setting, as well as after the sun had set. This city has quite the impressive night life and really seems to come to life when the sun goes down.
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After taking in all the beauty of the Harbour I had to head back to my hotel room so that I could get ready to meet a gentleman named Koop Kooper. I’ve been listening to his Podcast called the Cocktail Nation for the past four or five years (I actually need to look back and see how long it’s been, but that’s a rough guess). I was always fascinated by his Podcast and the work that he does, so when I knew I was heading to Australia about a month ago I reached out to him and told him I was coming. He said that was great and that we should meet up for coffee. I was thrilled so I said yes.
I head down to my hotel lobby at around 7:50pm to wait for Koop. I got talking with an older lady from Melbourne, who was dressed up very nicely in furs, and jewelry. She came right up to me and just started talking with me, telling me about her younger years, air travel, living in the states, and what she used to do for work. This goes hand in hand with the era Koop and I like, which is the mid 20th century, so of course I was quite fascinated with the conversation.
Koop showed up so I had to say bye to the elderly lady. Koop was dressed in his vintage wear and had his hair slicked back, living the mid 20th century lifestyle like he does every day. We went in search of a coffee shop, which was actually rather difficult to find. The area my hotel is located in is more of a party area, with a darker past. Koop was telling me that this area is way nicer than it used to be, and was more of a red light district back in its days. Eventually we found a place that served coffee called Pie Face. I ordered a tall back coffee, and Koop ordered a tall latte. We continued walking through the area, talked about a variety of subjects such as his career, politics, and cars. His career is fascinating; progressing from tennis to eventually radio. He started out at a small radio station in western Australia, working his way up to voice overs all over Australia, as well as his Podcast. He has travelled the world and experienced such a variety of different experiences. He’s owned quite a few beautiful vintage cars in his years as well, my favorite being his 1965 Chrysler Valiant Signet. Classic Cars sometimes have a few quirks, such as the Chrysler, which ended up needing two engine rebuilds in less than a two year period. We spent about an hour together, before Koop had to go, and I was ready for bed, so we said bye. Koop gave me a signed book that he wrote called Koop Kooper’s Cocktail Nation: The Interviews 2. I’m going to read this book when I get some downtime on my trip. We didn’t end up taking a photo together unfortunately, but here’s a picture of Koop in his typical attire.
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If you like Jazz and Lounge Exotica music, then I highly recommend the Cocktail Nation Podcast. You can visit Koop’s website at https://cocktailnation.net/.
It was around 10:00pm when my eyes could not stay open any longer, so I went to bed. Tomorrow I’ll be travelling to Melbourne. Check back tomorrow for my latest blog!
If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

August 4th 2016 – First Day In Sydney

After arriving at Sydney I was greeted by a very long customs lineup. It took about an hour to get through and then you have to wait in another lineup after the baggage collection area, even if you only have carry on like I did. This lineup was to check randomly to see if you are bringing anything into the country you shouldn’t be, such as food.
After that I went to purchase an OPAL card and boarded a train to Sydney Central Station. The train was nice, clean, and looked fairly new. When I got off the train at Central Station it had started to rain a bit so I put on my rain jacket. I had some time to kill before I could check into my hotel, so I went and walked through Hyde Park, to the Quay area, and The Rocks District. I saw the Sidney Opera House, the Harbor Bridge, tons of beautiful buildings, and lots of beautiful art.
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At 10:30am I was getting fairly hungry so I walked to a mall near the Quay. I was in search of a sandwich, but the first place that caught my eye was of course Vietnamese, which is my favorite food. The Pho soup was okay, but far from my favorite. At $7.50 AUD it was a good deal considering how expensive it is in Australia.
After lunch I went and walked on the Harbor bridge and took a beautiful photo of the Opera House. This was such a spectacular view.
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After walking across the bridge I decided I would start making my way towards my hotel and see if my room was ready. During my walk it started to downpour. An off duty bus pulled up next to me and a woman named Jenny asked where I was going. I told her I was going to the Devere Hotel in Potts Point. She said “come on in. I’ll take you”. The bus ride was a short ten minute ride. She told me all about the harbor area, and where I was staying. I learned a bit about her and her family and how expensive housing here is. She dropped me right off at the front door to my hotel. I couldn’t thank her enough!
It was noon but my room was ready. I settled in and had a shower and relaxed for a bit. In a matter of only fourty minutes the weather cleared up and the sun was shining again. I decided I wanted to go to Bondi Beach. I walked to Kings Cross station and took the train two stops to Bondi station, where I caught the 333 bus right to the beach. This is a very beautiful and long beach that stretches in a nice arc around a little bay.
I took some photos and then started to do the Bondi Beach Pathway but a lot of the pathway was destroyed a few weeks earlier due to a pretty substantial storm. There was a detour through a posh neighbourhood. 8 caught a glimpse of some very nice multi million dollar flats before being returned to the pathway. The views from the pathway were spectacular.
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I took the 333 bus back to Bondi station, and then took the train back to Kings Cross Station. Outside of Kings Cross station there is a liquor store where I picked up a half dozen Australian beers to try. I walked back to my hotel, and began to write my blog, while enjoying two of the beers. I had a Victoria Bitters (bold and a bit bitter) and XXXX Gold (similar to Kokanee gold).
I was feeling a bit tired and was fighting a cold I’ve had for the past few days so I decided to have a nap. I set an alarm for 5:00pm so I could do a night walk tour, but I shut it off. I woke up at 1:00am. I guess I needed some sleep…
I checked my Apple Watch and noticed I had walked more than 25km and 240 minutes today! I went and grabbed some McDonalds because I was starving. The Big Mac’s here don’t taste as good as home. There really is a difference when it comes to Alberta beef. Nothing really compares in my opinion.
My next adventure is the Blue Mountains, but you’ll have to check back for the next blog post for that one.
If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.

August 3rd 2016 – Flying To Australia

When I booked my flight I went out of my way to try and find a flight on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner because I’ve always been fascinated by airplanes since I was a child, and this is only one of two jetliners by Boeing and Airbus that I have not flown yet. The Dreamliner is leaps and bounds better than the typical airplanes that cart us around to our destinations for a huge list of reasons, but a few of the reasons are because there is actually humidity in the cabin due to the fact the cabin is made from carbon fibre, which can’t corrode unlike aluminum would in a conventional aircraft. Another reason is the main cabin is also kept at a lower altitude than conventional aircraft. Conventional aircraft are kept at around 8000 feet above sea level inside the main cabin, but the Dreamliner is kept at around 6000 feet above sea level. A few other reasons the Dreamliner is superior is because the cabin is wider, more open concept, has interior mood lighting that changes colour depending on the time of day, touch screen dimming windows that are larger, and better seats in both economy and business class.

The flight took me 15 hours. I usually struggle with sleeping on flights but I was welcomed by a rediculous amount of room; and a comfortable seat. The flight took off at 11:45pm on August 2nd, which was about a 45 minute delay due to “operational” issues… Whatever that means.


I stayed away for about an hour and a half. I was treated do a delicious dinner with chicken, rice, salad, and some noodles. I had two beers with my dinner; one was an IPA from Goose Island, and the other was a Miller light lager. After dinner I was served delicious vanilla bean ice cream made from real cream. It was so thick that it took me about 20 minutes to eat it because I had to let it melt a bit.

After settling in for the night I slept about eight hours, which I was actually hoping for. When I woke up there was only 4.5 hours left before we landed. I used this time to charge my equipment, blog, and watch Zoolander 2, which is just as silly as the first one.

Breakfast was served about an hour and a half before landing. For breakfast I had scrambled eggs with veggies and potatoes, yoghurt, and coffee. The flight landed around 6:40am, which was the time it was supposed to original land, despite the initial 45 minute delay.

I’m off to go exploring around Sydney. Check back soon for my next blog about exploring around Sydney!

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.