Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Great Ocean Road

After lots of driving we're back in Melbourne, but only until tomorrow night when we leave for New Zealand. The Great Ocean Road was so much fun and although I'm a little tired from driving and a bit sunburned it was great. We left about 10 a.m. on Saturday and it takes about an hour to get to the start of the road so we were well on our way around noon. We were doing the whole road in that day, from end to end, and staying the night and then coming back on Sunday. The weather was absolutely perfect both days and it was beautiful to drive along and have gorgeous views of the ocean and blue sky.

One of the lookouts on the road

The first place we stopped was Apollo Bay, which is a beach town along the road. We had some lunch and wandered a bit and went on our way. Apollo Bay is the first "main attraction" to see and it's close-ish to the beginning of the road, but unfortunately after that the road goes inland for quite a while, where there's really nothing to look at. Although, there was a really nice view of Apollo Bay shortly after we went inland.


There's quite a long stretch at this point with not a lot to see other than a pleasant road, most of the sites are towards the other end. The first big one is the Twelve Apostles and it was insanely busy (no surprise) and by far the most crowded site we saw. I was kind of disappointed though because by the time we got there it was about 4 p.m. and it was so bright you could barely see it.


It was nice, but it was hard to make out much because the sun was so harsh and right by them. We came back the next day, but I'll get to that later. After we saw the Twelve Apostles we got back on the road and really wanted to see the Bay of Islands before the sun set so while there were a lot of sites in between we ended up only stopping at two of them (another reason why we came back on Sunday). At this point we were driving into the sun and it was so bright and hazy that I was really struggling to see any of the road. It was fine, thankfully, but I've never been so blinded by sun and haze before, it was quite bizarre.

One of the other sites we stopped at is this rock arch called London Bridge. It used to be connected to the mainland but in 1990 the connecting rock fell into the ocean. Luckily no one was hurt, but two people were stranded on the new island and had to be rescued by a helicopter hours later.


London Bridge was a lot bigger than I thought it was. From pictures, mine included, it doesn't look huge, but it really was!

The other one we stopped at was the Bay of Martyrs, and this one I thought was awesome because with the sun setting and the mist of the water, it looked totally amazing.

Probably one of my favorite photos from the trip

We made it to the Bay of Islands as the sun was setting and it was gorgeous. We ended up going to the viewing point that's not very popular so we were the only ones there for most of the time we were there and only shared the viewing deck briefly with some Chinese who came, took some photos pointing at it, and then left.


Sun setting

We were staying in Warnambool, which was about another 40 minutes from the Bay of Islands, so we set off and got to the hotel, checked in, and then went and had some Chinese food. Warnambool is a small regional town and we didn't get a chance to explore it a ton, but it looked quite nice.

Although it took us the whole day to do the Great Ocean Road, Warnambool isn't actually all that far from Melbourne-- just a few hours on the highway. It's just because the Great Ocean Road isn't as direct and far windier, so you can't go nearly as fast. We decided on Sunday we we would drive back to the Twelve Apostles (about an hour from Warnambool) see it again and then come back, stopping at all of the places we missed the day before. I'm so glad we did because there were some pretty awesome things.

The Twelve Apostles was fantastic to see when the sun wasn't so harsh, so I was really glad we went back.




The first stop after that was something called Loch Ard Gorge. It's called that because in the 1800s a ship called Loch Ard crashed there.


Nearby there was a cave called Thunder Cave, and it was massive and incredibly impressive.

Thunder cave, it was very dark so it's hard to see

After that we stopped somewhere called the Arch (really imaginative name, I know), but it was really cool. And when you have a backdrop of an ocean that blue anything looks nice.


After that was probably one of my favorites, called the Grotto. It was this huge arch-like rock with some pools of water that then opened into the ocean. You had to go down a ton of stairs to reach it, but it was really cool.



All of the sites were really awesome and we had a great time. Unfortunately we were outside a bit more than we intended so we burnt a fair bit, but I'm much less lobster colored today. We were going to take the highway almost all the way back to Melbourne, but then saw on the map there were all of these really huge lakes marked on the map if we went a slightly country-road-ish way. We chose that only to discover almost all of the lakes were dried up. They covered massive distances and would have been spectacular... if there was any water.

It was a nice enough road though and didn't take too much longer. We arrived home a little before 8 p.m. and returned the car this morning. It was so much fun and I'm glad we did it before we leave. Here are some bonus photos.

Bay of Martyrs on Sunday during the day

I believe this was called Broken Head

Bay of Islands on Sunday during the day

A view/lookout just before the GOR started

An ocean view in Warnambool

We're finally mostly booked for New Zealand now. We leave tomorrow night and arrive Wednesday morning and we'll be in Christchurch until Friday when we take the train up the coast and the ferry across the channel to Wellington. We're in Wellington just Friday night/Saturday and then we're renting a car and making our way up to Auckland. We're staying two nights at a town called Taupo, which is on a lake and has a volcano and looks awesome, and then one night in another town called Rotorua, which also is very "wild" and pretty. Then we'll have Tuesday and part of Wednesday in Auckland before flying out that evening. I'm really looking forward to it and I'll be sure to post photos as we go.

Until then!

Friday, September 25, 2015

New iPhone Cases and Great Ocean Road

I ordered some new iPhone cases about 2 months ago, but since I'd ordered them from a website that sends them directly from China I unfortunately had to wait ages to get them. But yesterday they finally arrived and I could not be more happy with them. I totally love then and I agonized over which to use first, but in the end I chose the typewriter one. I'm so glad I got both and I'm glad they finally arrived. I was beginning to think they might not ever come.


I'm super excited because we're going to do the Great Ocean Road this weekend. It has some amazing and gorgeous sites and we've been wanting to do it for a while now, but just never got around to it. It looks like we'll probably have decent weather too (knock on wood) so I'm super excited. I'm getting an early night tonight though because lots of driving tomorrow! Then on Tuesday we leave for New Zealand and we've planned out a little more of it. 

We're planning on staying in Taupo for two nights, which is halfway between Wellington and Auckland, around a lake and by a volcano. It's going to be a ton of fun and I can't wait. 

I've been working all week so it's nice to now have so many things to look forward to. It's sort of like our last hurray before we leave. I'll be sure to post she we get back from the GOR and before we leave for NZ! 


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Expensive Room

I kept meaning to write a post after the op shop on Saturday but I kept forgetting, so sorry this is so late. In the past few weeks the room that used to be the staff room has now been converted into a room for all of our mint condition really expensive items. Some of the things in there were brand new Armani boots, a barely used Coach bag and some D&G clothes. There was a lot more, but since (as you well know) we get a fair bit of attempted (and sometimes successful) theft the room is only open when someone can sit in there and watch guard.

Sitting in the expensive room is what I spent most of Saturday doing. I have to say, it was kind of relaxing, but since we only opened the room a few days ago a lot of people weren't sure if they were allowed in. I think the funniest thing though was when a woman who has stolen from us before came in and then asked me if I "had to be there" and if I "could leave." It took everything I had to not laugh in her face. Would you like to be more subtle? I told my boss later after she left and she burst out laughing because it was so absurd.

It was a good time and it's cool that we have enough stuff to make a whole room of expensive things in great condition because it just means more money for the organization.

I've been at work Monday and today and will work the rest of the week too. I'm super excited for New Zealand, which we leave for next Tuesday. We still need to plan parts of the trip (we've been procrastinating) but we'll get it done probably later tonight or tomorrow.

I've ordered some awesome stuff for Michael's birthday at the beginning of October. Obviously I can't say anything now because then it wouldn't be a surprise, but I'm pretty pleased with it all.

The weather here has been extremely bipolar recently. This morning when I woke up it was clear blue sky. When I was in the shower it went incredibly dark and poured. Then when I left for work it was clear blue sky again. This is Melbourne at it's extreme and I can't say I love it. It was feeling like spring for a few days, with sunny warm days, but recently it's just been cold and rainy so I hope the warm weather comes back so we can enjoy it for as long as possible before going back to winter.

I've been reading all of these posts from people about pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin donuts and fall-related things and even though it means I'm going back to winter number 2, I really can't wait for some of that myself. One month from today, on October 22, we'll be leaving. Very sad, so I'm trying not to think about it at the moment. I'll let you know how that goes when we need to start selling things.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Rocksy The Raccoon

Not a lot to report today except that Michael received his new iPad mini in the mail today so we've both got new ones and it's very exciting.

I did also find this hilarious video today about this raccoon named Rocksy (the person filming named her that) who steals cat food from the back porch and then gets a rock and knocks on the door until it gets refilled. I literally could not stop laughing, I thought it was so funny. So here's your amusement for the day!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sold the iPad

Today I finally sold my old iPad and Smart Cover. It was a little less than what I was hoping to get but in the end it's more than what I may have paid for it so overall I'm pretty happy. The woman was nice and came to get it this morning so now I don't need to think about it anymore.

I'm still totally loving my new one more than I even thought I would. It's obviously amazing and I knew I would, but I think just the difference between my old one and this one is so great I appreciate everything about it. It's also cool to have double the space/storage I had before. Getting this new one was definitely a fantastic choice. 

Nothing really exciting here is happening but today I tried my hand at making soft pretzels. I've never made them before and it was surprisingly easy. Though I have to say I was exhausted after kneading the dough but it was totally worth it. They weren't as delicious (and bad for you) as mall pretzels but they were extremely tasty and I'm certainly going to be making them again. I didn't have any cinnamon to make cinnamon sugar ones so I settled for salt this time. I struggled to roll them out long enough to make big pretzels, the dough was very elastic and kept springing back, plus I didn't have enough counter space to make a long "rope" so instead I just made some mini ones. In a way I think I prefer them that way because they're more snack sized.


Next week I'm working all week and then the week after we're in New Zealand and I can't wait. I'm getting more and more excited as the days go by to finally go there so it'll be a good last big trip before we leave Australia. 

Finally, don't forget to vote for a new domain name! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

See Ya Tony Abbott

As many of you know Tony Abbott was ousted after everyone decided they'd have enough and we now have a new PM-- Malcolm Turnbull. People are overjoyed to say the least and it's been a pretty amusing day. While walking in the city today we saw phrases written all over about stuff about Tony Abbott such as, "Tony Abbott who?" and my personal favorite: "Abbott's wall of tears" in front of a wall fountain. Here are just a few examples.




It's quite funny to see the reactions people have had and how happy they are that he's gone, I knew people didn't like him but I didn't quite expect this.

In other news we finally saw Man From U.N.C.L.E today and I really enjoyed it. It was a little silly at times, but it was funny and enjoyable so I'm really glad that we went. I didn't realize how comical it was supposed to be, but I think I almost preferred it that way. I can see how some critics might not like it because it is a little bit nonsense-y, but we enjoyed ourselves and the clothes from the 60s era were totally awesome.

Today my new iPad smart cover also arrived, so it's been a pretty exciting day.



I'm close to selling my old iPad so hopefully it'll be gone in a couple of days. I've had someone interested and we've agreed on a price but they're being annoying about setting a time to come get it, but I have other people interested too so hopefully it works out soon.

That's about all for today, but don't forget to vote for a domain name on the side!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Actual New Domain Name

I know in my last post I said I wasn't going to renew this domain name and just let it go back to it's blogspot URL but I've decided I'm going to change the domain name to something a little more relevant after we leave Australia so I can continue blogging. Just because we won't be in Australia doesn't mean you won't be interested (or at that's what I tell myself). I've looked up probably a hundred different domain names and came up with a few I think are my favorites. They're listed in a poll on the sidebar next to this post so please select which one you like best! Fair warning, whichever one gets the most votes doesn't necessarily mean I'll choose that one-- no offense! Sometimes it just takes being told something else for me to realize what it is I actually want. I know, I'm weird. But I still want everyone's opinion! This won't be immediate and I'll be sure to let you know when I'm about to change it so no one will be caught off guard. Besides, once you all know what I choose if this one doesn't work just go there!

I was at the op shop yesterday and it was incredibly busy. The weather the past few days has been incredibly warm and sunny so it's no surprise. Today I even wore a dress! Surprisingly nothing all that exciting happened at the op shop but afterwards Michael and I went along to a bar we like on the river and had some drinks while it was still really warm out. I'm loving this warm weather and it looks like it's going to be staying pretty mild now. The next few days won't be nearly as warm but I'm totally ok with that.

I've got work on Wednesday and then all of next week and I'm in the op shop next Saturday so I'm looking forward to that. Then we're off to New Zealand for a week!

We're flying into Christchurch and then a few days later we're taking the train along the coast and then taking a ferry across Cook Strait to Wellington. We're then staying in Wellington for a night or two and then getting a rental car to drive up to Auckland. The drive straight up is about 8 hours so we'll probably stay somewhere in the middle for a night, but we haven't decided where yet. I've narrowed it to Napier, Rotorua, or Taupo. They're all about halfway there so we'll make a decision soon and book a hotel. Then the remainder of the time will be spent in Auckland and then we're flying out of there back to Melbourne.

It will be a lot of fun and we'll see a ton of New Zealand. I did look up how much it was to do a tour of The Lord of the Rings set-- it was an absurd amount so we won't be doing that! New Zealand is pretty expensive, even more so than Australia, so that's why we're only going there for a week, but still I think it's enough time to do everything we want to. Although I'm so glad we decided to do our Asia trip way back when instead of New Zealand I'm excited to finally go!

I'm not sure what if anything we'll be doing when we get back from New Zealand since we'll be getting ready to start getting everything together to leave. (Now is when I insert a sad face emoji.) It's sad for it to be so near, but still it's exciting in a way and we've got some really fun things planned for when we're in the US.

A couple of weeks ago we were looking at random flights from DC to places just to see if there were any good deals and we came across an amazing deal from DC to Cancun with a free stopover. One of the places that it allowed a stopover was Dallas, which was great because Leah, my roommate from Brussels, lives near there and I'd really wanted to see her. These Cancun flights were cheaper than a roundtrip to Dallas alone-- so the deal was amazing. We decided to book it right then and there. Perhaps a little crazy, but the deal was disappearing as we spoke and I really wanted to so we just did it and I'm so glad we did. Now we're going to have a few days in Dallas to see my friend and explore a bit and then about 5 days in Cancun. While we're in Cancun we're planning to go to Chichen Itza and Ik Kil, the well known cenote near Chichen Itza. (The following photos are just taken off of Google.)

Chichen Itza, the ruins of the Mayan city

Ik Kil

I'm so incredibly excited for that and the price we got for it was incredible and we basically get two trips in one. Plus it'll be nice to have some hot weather in between our two winters.

In addition to that we found flights to Ohio for an insanely cheap price (the price for both of us was half what I used to pay back from school) so I can visit Miami and my friends who are still in that area. I'm so pleased with all of the prices we got for everything and it's nice having some fun plans for while we're there.

I think this post has gone on long enough so I'll leave it here, but please don't forget to vote for your favorite domain name! Thanks and I will post again tomorrow (promise!).

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Blog Name Change

When I started this blog almost a year ago now I bought the domain name to go with it, but since we'll be leaving soon I'm not going to renew my domain name. You will still be able to access the blog at www.hangingwiththekoalas.blogspot.com. I'm not sure exactly when it will expire, but if this one doesn't work go there!

Things have been good here, I am absolutely loving my new iPad but not having a ton of luck selling the other one yet. I did list it at a higher price than I thought I could get so I'll probably need to reduce it to sell it. I'll probably do that tomorrow and hopefully then I'll get a bit of luck.

Tomorrow I'm at the op shop and the week after next we leave for New Zealand and I'm really looking forward to it. We're flying into Christchurch and out of Auckland and making out way up through a combination of trains, ferries and a rental car. I'll post a more detailed description before we go.

I'm sure I'll have more stories tomorrow after the op shop!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Loving The New iPad

My new iPad arrived this morning and I am so in love with it. I definitely mare the right decision with color, even though I was a little worried I hadn't. Seeing it in stores you know it's awesome but comparing it side by side with my old one it's astounding how much lighter, smaller, faster and clearer it is. Although I love my other one and have an attachment to it this one is awesome.

Gold back


Size compared to the old one

I struggled pulling myself away from it today. I had a smart case before but obviously that that case doesn't fit this iPad so I ordered a new one (in blue again) and now I'm trying to sell the old one. I've had a few people interested in buying the old iPad but nothing concrete yet. I'm hoping to sell it by the end of the weekend, along with the smart cover. 

Unfortunately we didn't make it to the movie yesterday due to some poor timing on our part and today I struggled to pull myself away from my iPad early enough to make the showing. I do really want to see it though so we'll certainly be going at some point.

Although we didn't make the movie we went into the city, walked around a bit, and then got Chinese from one of our favorite restaurants. 

I have work tomorrow and then I'm at the op shop again on Sunday and I'm looking forward to that. Now I have to go and play with my iPad some more.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

It's Been Too Long

I apologize for not having written in ages, I just didn't have a whole lot to say so I thought it would be best I didn't bore you with the details of every day life. I do however now have a few things to say so it won't be a totally boring post!

I've been at the op shop a few days this week and it's been a lot of fun. Every one is sad I'll be leaving at the end of October, as am I, but I'll just try to go as much as I can before we leave. I bought a nice cardigan from there the other day and I know we don't need more stuff but it was really cozy and soft and fit perfectly. I figured it would be good for traveling, at least that's how I justified it. It was only $3 though, so I was pretty pleased.

Of course we had the usual people trying to steal stuff, as always happens, but nothing that major. We did have a family of five in the other day and they were so chaotic and the children were so rambunctious that I think it really drove some people out. In the end they purchased a ridiculous amount of stuff so I guess we can't complain too much.

In other news I finally bought a new iPad and I'm so excited. I've had the iPad 2 for years and although it's still in good shape and everything it's pretty outdated. Plus it is beginning to slow a little compared to the newer ones. I agonized for ages over the color of my new one. Really, it was such a big decision. I've had the black iPad for years and that's what I'm used to, plus I have a black iPhone, but I just loved the look of the gold/white air 2. I kept worrying that if I got white I might not actually like it, but in the end I kept going back to that one so I felt like if I didn't get it I'd regret it. It's been a few days since I ordered it and I think I made the right choice. I hope.

It should arrive tomorrow and I can't wait. I guess I'll finally know the truth of whether it was the right decision! I think even if it is weird at first I'll get used to it eventually and within a month or so it probably won't be an issue even if it was in the first place. It's also exciting because this one is 64GB and my old one is only 32GB so I basically can double my space, which is great. (Loading more TV shows and movies? Yes.)

Now I need to try and sell my old one. I don't think it'll be too hard it's just a matter of trying to get as much as possible for it. I'll have an update later on both the new one and how I do on selling the old one.

Today we're going to see this movie called Man From U.N.C.L.E., based on the TV show of the same name in the 60s. It's about some CIA agents during the 60s and looks really good so I'm excited. We're seeing it this afternoon so I'll have an update tomorrow on the movie and the new iPad!

I know I've been horrible at writing recently, but it's much better to have fun stuff to read than "I went for a walk today" isn't it? I agree.

Until then!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Boots, Jeans and Luggage

Today was a bit of a shopping day for us. We didn't intend it to be, but we spent most of the day in and out of stores-- pretty much all for good reasons though!

One of the credit cards we have has a current offer of $20 off your purchase from a variety of stores and Michael really needed new jeans seeing as his other ones were in pretty bad shape (notwithstanding the curry stain that I only managed to partially get rid of) so he really needed to get some new ones. We've looked around at some places before but none of them had a leg length that fit right, but today we went into one of the stores on the credit card offer and he managed to find two that fit really well. We'd been in one of those stores before but only in the outlets and they tend to have a different, and slightly limited, range and sizes so in the actual store he fared much better. Success number one!

After that we actually went to the outlet store because we wanted to look at luggage. When we came over to Australia we had four checked bags of varying sizes. We had two large ones, one medium sized one and (a bad idea looking back on it) my expandable over-the-shoulder holdall. While that might not seem like a bad idea it was because the bag expanded is too large to carry on your shoulder, it has no wheels and with three other decently-sized, bordering large, bags it was too much to handle. On top of that the medium sized bag was in awful shape since it was quite old and was almost falling apart. We were actually concerned it might break apart in the plane on the way over. It didn't, thankfully, but because of all of this we decided the best course of action when we left was to replace the medium sized one and take another large one instead of my carry on (which I'll probably pack since it's a Longchamp and becomes very small). This should give us both a lot more space and a lot less worry over exploding suitcases.

So we went to look at luggage today just to see what the prices were and get a handle on how much we might spend. We didn't buy any today because we're still looking around and we still have a couple of months, but we found some really nice ones that have four wheels (none of ours do) and are the really light ones as well for reasonable prices, so we were pretty excited about that. I think this new plan will work out much better and will be a lot less stressful, plus we'll have these new bags to use in the future so it's not like we're spending money on something for this one-time use.

After that we were walking around the outlet shopping center and I came across this shoe store I love having a sale. I struggle turning away from sales, especially when they're about shoes. I saw this pair of boots I really loved that were $30, originally $80. Although it was 2 for $50, I only saw the one that I really liked so I just bought them for $30. I don't have any boots like these and since today is the first day of spring these winter things are going on sale, and since we'll be heading into another winter I think it's totally reasonable to buy another pair of boots. At least that's what I tell myself.



I think they're really nice and I'm excited to have a style of boot that I've not had before. After I bought my shoes we looked at some other stores, didn't buy anything, and left.

Overall it's been a successful day and with our new suitcase plan I'm not totally dreading packing everything up again in October.