Basirk in Australia

The continuing adventures of Chris Bassett

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2003-09-26 20:36:11 I've been taking it really easy the last few days. The caravan park I'm staying at is in a suburb called Ramsgate, which naturally has a beach. So I've been perfecting my tan by reading on said beach. Quite nice :)

On one of my Sydney CBD wanderings I visited the old Sydney Observatory near the Harbour Bridge. It was quite interesting, and you got to look through their big Meade telescope (LX200 16" Schmidt-Cassegrain, I think). This was about 4 o'clock in the afternoon (still broad daylight) and you could still view the stars! We looked at Antares in the Scorpius constellation. We also tried to find Alpha Centauri (closest star to the the sun at 4.4light years) but either someone had moved it or the tracking system was playing up because we couldn't find it. I've booked myself on a night viewing this evening and hope to see Mars before it drifts away from Earth again. Typical though, it's just started clouding over...

I phoned up Canon Research who have offices in north Sydney and happen to have some interesting jobs going. They definately won't take on W.H. Visa holders as they say the paper work to sponsor (upgrade) this type of visa holder is quite extensive, and they can find people with full working visas without too much trouble. I think this is the story for most IT employers. The job market here has shrunk in a similar way to the UK so there are more people looking for the jobs than there are jobs available. The only way I'm going to get an IT job here is by leaving Aus and applying for a Working Visa/Residency. Even then employers seem to be asking for people with a very broad range of skills and only 4 years experience. Yeah right!
2003-09-24 04:33:52 Going to New Zealand!

Yep, I've booked the flights. Leave on the 5th and come back to Oz on the 15th flying with Emirates. Now that is something to look forward to. It's like a holiday from the holiday. How long do you do a holiday before it becomes everyday life? I'll be meeting Rachel in Aukland where upon we shall pootle around North Island for 10 days in a kind of circular fasion (she's doing South Island at the moment).

Also thinking about jumping out of a plane again, this time over Sydney (yes, with a parachute). Not sure about that yet. Also still toying with the idea of coming home early. If I could find a job doing something useful to my career then I'd stay, but out of 50 jobs listed on only one was open to W.H. Visa holders (and that one was completely unsuitable). From what I hear the job market back in Blighty isn't too great either. Ahhh, decisions.

I suppose the real reason I want to go back is because being out here on ya tod just isn't as much fun as being out here with someone. Maybe if I just find any old job for 6 months then that will be ok. I'll need to find something soon though because that caravan park is costing 100 quid a week. In cotrast, staying in national parks oop north cost 1.50 pounds a day, although they didn't have showers! Positive thinking - I will find a job. I will find a job. Will I find a job?

But hey! I'm going to NZ! Whoo-hooo! A change is as good as a holiday, and this is both. So it must be good.
2003-09-22 23:34:58 I've spent the last 10 minutes reading through some of my old logs. It's interesting comparing what I wrote at the time with how I remember it now. It's also amazing the number of typos (surely I jumped from 10,000ft, not metres!) I'm quite amazed that you all stuck with it :)

I'm not having a vast amount of luck finding a job or digs. There's an area near the city centre called Glebe which is very studenty (read 'cheap'), and I've been wondering around there all morning. There's lots of places that look quite nice, but then you come to the one for rent and it's a shed. I might start looking further afield to see if I can get something that ressembles a house. There's an area called Brighton Le Sands (hmmm) that seems to be quite an international kind of area (certainly a few Brits there). Could be worth a look.

The caravan park is costing 35 dollars a day (245 p/w) and most of the houses I've been looking at have been less than that! They are, however, 6 month leases which you can't easily get out of once you've signed. This will only be a problem if I get a flat before I get a job.
2003-09-21 23:52:09 - Sydney (here for the near future)

I've just upgraded the weblog code. Any log entries that you haven't read yet should appear in green from now on. I should be looking for a job, and instead I'm messing about with my website. Sheesh!
2003-09-20 21:55:24 - Sydney
- Manly Beach

Rachel caught her flight out this morning without any problems. The place we were staying at was only 20 mins drive away from the airport, and Sydney is pretty dead on a Sunday morning!

Decided to go and see some of the Northern Beaches (and practice my Sydney centre driving) so pootled up George Street and across Harbour Bridge, then up to Manly Beach. It's quite nice here, just a shame it's overcast, not particulary warm and it has just started to rain. The beach is one of the better ones, but the town is quite tacky and touristy. I'm surprised at how busy it is, but then what else do you do if you live in Sydney and there's some good beaches to go and see at the weekends?

Driving around Sydney is quite an experience. In true Ozy style, the road layouts are confusing as heck. There are between 2 and 4 lanes down George Street - one of the main streets that runs the length of the Sydney city centre. The inside lane randomly appears, peels off to the left, becomes a bus lane or merges with the next lane in. The outside lane isn't much better. You can't just stay in one lane - you have to keep changing lanes, which is frustrating and made very difficult by the numerous busses and taxis who know that the centre actually belongs to them. Oh yeah, and the road names are often cunningly placed behind trees and other road signs. It's no wonder that I went through at least one red light trying to figure out where the hell I was going. And this was on a quiet Sunday morning. I could probably manage a week day, but couldn't guarantee ending up at the right place!

Not sure where I'll be staying for the next few days. There's a place called Lane Cove N.P. just north of Sydney, but there isn't any public transport into the city centre from there. There's a caravan park south of Sydney that has public transport links, but it's quite expensive and looks very compact (it's near the airport so I took a shufty at it this morning). Don't like those sorts of caravna parks. I much prefere the ones where you get a field for unpowered sites and you can park anywhere.

Sorry, waffling.

New Zealand: Still not sure if I'm going over there or not. If I do then it will be for about 10 days starting 5th October, and touring around Auckland (North Island).
2003-09-20 07:28:38 - Sydney

Spent all of today doing the tourist thang around Sydney. Really enjoyed it! Got the bus into the city centre, then walked to Circular Quay and onto the Harbour Bridge. The Pylon Tower attraction has just been re-done and has new exhibits that weren't there just 5 months earlier. You really get a great view from the Bridge tower as it looks out over the Harbour, the Rocks (old Sydney), the Opera House, Darling Harbour and all with the impressive highrise backdrop. Had a tasty kangeroo pizza for lunch in The Rocks. Yum.

We then walked around to the Opera House and on along the Harbour wall to the south of the Botanic Gardens which gives a good photo opportunity for both the Bridge and the Opera House. Then, through the Gardens, through Hyde Park, across to Darling Harbour and up to China Town.

We did a loop on the Monorail, a trip on the train, then back to the Harbour for a night time view. It's about teatime now. So... back to China Town for some roast duck :) Knackered. Early start tomorrow so Rachel can catch her flight to NZ. All jolly exciting.
2003-09-19 05:11:23 - Giraween N.P.
- New England N.P.
- Wollomombi Gorge
- Dorrigo N.P.
- Ebor Falls
- Nambucca Heads
- Katoomba (Blue Mountains)
- Sydney

Nor bad eh?

Rachel and I arrived in Giraween late on the 13th and spent the following day doing some of the bush walks. Giraween is a bit dry with a fair amount of euculiptus (sp?) trees and lots of very large granite rocks. It was quite hot, but there was a strong breeze that helped to cool things down a bit. The evenings became very cool and a camp fire was in order :) Nice. We also saw a Tiger Quoll (considered rare) and a Lyre Bird which is meant to be common to the area but I didn't get to see one last time.

On the 15th we headed to New England N.P., stopping off at Wollomombi Gorge on the way. New England N.P. was quite a contrast to Giraween, as the place is covered with trees and it's quite cool (more camp fires - yay). We did some of the bush walks on the 16th and headed out late on the 17th.

So then we went as far as we could back to the east coast and down towards Sydney, stopping off at Ebor Falls and Dorrigo N.P. (rainforest walk) on the way. We got as far as Nambucca Heads before the sun set quite spectacularly behind the bush fire smoke. I hadn't been to Nambucca before and it was tres picturesque. The path that runs next to the sea is protected by big boulders. There is a tradition that visitors paint the rocks, and Rachel was most chuffed to see a Pompy rock painted just 2 days earlier! It looked a lot better than a Man City and QPR rock that we also spied. But I digress.

On the 18th we did a marathon run down the east coast to the Blue Mountains and Katoomba. The trip meter read 601km, and Freda used up nearly a litre of oil (she was running at around 110kmh for a lot of the journey, poor thing). We shared the driving which helped.

That brings us up to the 19th, today. This morning we were wandering around some really great bush walks in the mountains. Often there wouldn't be a sign of any other soul. We went up the scenirailway, a train type thing that runs up the cliff face at 52 degs. This is quite scary as there isn't a great deal to stop you falling out of the thing! It was such good fun that we went back down on it, sitting in the front this time. Rachel gets virtigo. Her reaction was quite amusing :) Wish I'd thought to take a photo!

We left at about 2 and booked a room in a nice little guest house/backpackers in Sydney. We'll be checking out the Sydney sights tomorrow, and the day after Rachel will be flying out to New Zealand. At which point I need to get myself organised and find a place to stay and a job. Fun fun fun.
2003-09-11 23:48:04 - Brisbane

Friend arrived safely. Leaving Brisbane soon - seems like I've been hanging around here forever!
2003-09-11 00:27:36 - Brisbane

Just thought I'd mention that the weather here is great at the moment. 30 degrees and above during the day, cooling off a bit in the evening. Hope it stays that way!

Friend arriving tomorrow morning, so won't be hanging around Brisy for much longer. Log entries may become a bit infrequent for the next week or so.
2003-09-09 23:02:27 - Thanks!
- Pimpama (WRX Experience)
- Brisbane

Just like to say a big "thank you" to everyone who contacted me after me last few log entries. I'm thinking a lot more positively now about being here, and chances are that by the time I get down to Sydney I'll have planned out the rest of my time here (probably centered around getting work). I'm also considering over to New Zealand. But that's a little way off yet.

The WRX Experience was great fun. There were 5 of us there sharing two cars (2001 and 2002 models). It was more difficult than I though changing to a 4-wheel drive style of driving. I'm used to a rear wheel drive car (as are most people in Aus) and it took a while to get out of habits that just don't work with the Scoobies. There was loads of slipping and sliding, and I admit I left a cone or two in need of immediate medical attention.

The day was split into 3 sessions. The first lasted 6 laps, during which time the instructor showed you where to put the car on the track in order to get the most speed. The second session also lasted 6 laps, but this time the instructor urged you to go faster, but maintain the lines learnt from session 1. The final session consisted of a warm-up lap, a timed lap and a warm-down lap. A prize would be given to the person with the fastest lap, and also to the driver of the day. I didn't get either! I was, however, only 4 hundreths of a second (0.04s) slower than the fastest guy on the timed lap - a fluffed gear change on the straight cost me dear. The day ended at 12:30, at which time I got back in the van (cringed) and headed back to Brisbane.

There's some more photos here, going all the way back to Cape Tribulation - the most northerly point of my little adventure.

Cape Tribulation
- Panoramic from the top of Mt. Sorrow
- One of the many beaches along the coast

Hinchinbrook Island
- A day-trip whilst staying at Cardwell

Auburn River N.P.
- Deserted but picturesque National Park

Glasshouse Mts.
- View from the top of Mt.Tibrogargan
We also climbed Mt. Beerwah (left of pic) and Mt. Ngungun (right of pic). The centre stick of rock is Mt. Coonowrin.
- Me climbing Mt.Tibrogargan
Mt. Beerwah is in the distance.

- Moon and Mars
Mars is the small, pink blob below and to the right of the Moon.

Main Range N.P.
- View from the top of the Mountain at Cunninghams Gap
The road is the main route through Main Range (Highway 1)
- Same mountain, looking along the ridge top
- Myself at the top of the mountain
- Stu at the top of the mountain

That's ya lot folks.
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