When you realise you’re about to have two winters in a row…

I was never warned about the winter here in Australia. We aren’t as Brits, we just see the golden beaches, the clear waters and are pretty happy to go with that perception. And as I was finally getting back to my place last night, taking off my soaked jeans and dipping jacket, I decided to look through some pictures of the summer I have oh-so missed as I made my way down the east coast of Australia.

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Green Island- Cairns
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Whitsundays
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Cairns from Pullman Cairns International
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Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island
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Looking out to Gold Coast from the Q1 Tower
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A yellow taxi in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge

I have been pretty lucky to be fair. I arrived in the summer of 2017 and as winter was creeping up, decided to do my farmwork in far north Queensland. Despite the odd heavy thunderstorm the days were warm. The nights were cold, but nothing a heavy duvet and a couple of beers with a bunch of fellow international backpackers couldn’t fix.

And after August and the beginnings of summer I made my way to Brisbane. A more humid city than Sydney, but I will always remember the day Sydney hit 47c. January 8th 2018 was a pretty brutal day, the breeze was no relief and felt like a hairdryer to the face. Brisbane however was hot but I enjoyed the simpler life. T-shirt, shorts and flip flops on the way to work, that kind of thing. But from March 2019 and the beginning of winter my contract ended and there was one last city I needed to visit. Melbourne.

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Now Melbourne has had some nice weather since I have been here, such as the day I took this shot above. But it isn’t unusual for me to wear a scarf and two jackets walking through the city.

And as my last day in Australia will be August 27th, I will be heading to Europe at the back end of what seems like a great summer and again, preparing for winter.

Fantastic.

I mean I don’t mind a British winter at all, the Christmas Markets and mulled wine and all that, but after a heatwave to cool off from. I am going to have a winter shortly after a winter, whilst the UK (and seemingly everyone outside of Melbourne!) enjoys some glorious sunshine.

Winter is coming. Well it just won’t leave me.

What’s the weather like where you are, are you enjoying the heatwave yourself? Let me know and feel free to make me more jealous than I already am.

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

Sam

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Melbourne CBD from the Yarra River

If the weather is good, I want to make the most of it. And even though we’re in winter here in Melbourne it has been pretty nice the past couple days. Before work I decided to unwind by doing a slow lap of the river, and here are some shots looking at the skyline as the sun was going down. The city looks great underneath a blue sky.

Happy Monday everyone!

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

Sam

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Well that’s just a shame…

I thought I bagged a window seat, and I did. Just without the window.


Luckily there was noone behind so I could recline like there was no tomorrow. 


That’s the thing with short haul, budget airlines, I rely heavily on the view out the window. The lack of wifi gives me limited options however with something to gaze out to, the ride is that little bit better.

And back to Melbourne it is.

A different perspective 

Flinders Street Station is probably one of the best looking buildings in Melbourne, day or night. As I was walking by I had to take a snap of it looking a lot more lonesome without the crazy amount of people that use it every day.

 

Night gives a new perspective on a lot of things. As the light fades so does the sounds of civilization, in place the sounds of nocturnal wildlife and empty trams. I enjoy my walks from work as I see two different sides to Melbourne, or any city for that matter. I feel we all need to have differing perspectives on things to gain a better perspective altogether.

The little things in life

I was roaming Melbourne’s city centre when I found a barbers in the Royal Arcade, and was very surprised to see no one getting a trim. I needed one, so I decided to pop in. It was slightly more than the standard price I’ve been paying on my backpacking adventures, but the service was good. What surprised me was that they offered me a scotch as I was sitting there, which of course I accepted.

They then gave me a bag of pastries on the way out as apparently a local business gives them some from time to time. Instead of taking the all treats for themselves they were happy to put some in their branded bag below and off I went one scotch down and food in hand.

I got my moneys worth for sure. I thought I would just share this as sometimes service like that can put a smile on your face and make the day start off right.

Guys, if you’re needing a haircut and are located in the CBD, check them out!

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

Sam

At this crossroad you have to wait for the green lady

This is your ordinary city-centre crosswalk with a twist. As I was crossing these traffic lights a couple weeks back with a friend, he pointed up at the lights as we walked. He already knew why these lights were different and decided to enlighten me… I was pretty impressed.

It is little things like this that can break the cycle of a boring, dull, routine walk to work and actually help us escape the robotic commute and spend a moment thinking about something else.

I wasn’t aware of what the reason for this installment was at the time. But I went back a few days ago and captured a video as I crossed one of the modified pedestrian crossings.

It is a female! I wonder how many people look up and notice the difference? After all it is another red and green light with that woodpecker sound effect only slightly different from the rest. But that triangular skirt shaping the figure makes a big statement. I just needed to know what that statement was exactly…

The crossing can be found on the intersection between Swanston and Flinders Street, just before crossing the Princes Bridge.

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This ABC News article I found provides some information about the lights. It turns out that the government has backed the move to change some of the traffic lights in a 12 month trial period, aiming to narrow the gap between male and female symbols to 50/50 across the State of Victoria in a push for gender equality.

More information can be found on the link and on the internet in general. It will be interesting to see if this does spread through Melbourne and the wider state, there are currently ten of these in the areas I highlighted on the map above.


And as expected Twitter was mixed, with some people playing devils advocate and highlighting a couple of issues they had with the implementation. What makes the original symbol a man? Can a female not wear trousers and have short hair? Is assuming that girls wear skirts worse? What if the skirt is in fact a Scotsman in a kilt? Some were in favour of the ‘WALK’ and ‘DON’T WALK’ wording used in the USA and elsewhere to end the arguments altogether.

As always, the borderlines can be a little hazy.

I agree with changing the symbols to wording if people aren’t happy with the current figure, as adding a skirt and claiming it is a girl will no doubt add fuel to the fire, as you know, not every girl wears a skirt.

But I don’t want to look that deep into it. I see it like a piece of street art, designed to be noticed and get heads turning and people talking. I like it. Sometimes the world can go a little overboard with such statements and I don’t agree with every protest in the world, but this for me is a nice break from the norm.

What do you think? Do you like the addition of the girl symbol or would you simply prefer ‘WALK’ and ‘DON’T WALK’ and get rid of the symbols altogether? Are you happy with the current figure or is it too ‘man-like’? Let me know as it is for sure a talking point and I will have to see if I spot any more changes in the city.

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

8,000 followers: Thank you to my readers

Despite my absence from this platform for the past couple of weeks, I am getting back to regular blogging and I greatly appreciate your patience with regards to this. Today I received my 8,000th follower and I am surprised I managed to hit this new milestone despite blogging much less this month.

It shows that I have some amazing fellow bloggers that enjoy my site and are eager to read my posts, whether they are daily, weekly or monthly. Your support does not go unnoticed.

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It seems like these milestone posts are being uploaded at an ever increasing pace. But then again I feel every year goes by at a faster and faster pace, maybe it is just the illusion that comes with age. But if it is true (and I do hope so) that I am gaining followers at a faster and faster rate I want to thank each and every one of you that has helped my blog get to the stage that it is at. For those that have been there since day one and those that have followed me in the past hour, your contributions, large and small, and the time taken to engage with me has helped motivate me to get to this point. I couldn’t have got to this point without your continued words of support and without it I would have probably stopped a long time ago. I will keep going for as long as I can and I enjoy creating each post as much as I did on day one. The difference is I have a lot more people to write for today which helps get me out of bed each morning.

On another note, I have found that I am no good with setting routines. I aimed to cut down on blog posts and write maybe 3-4 times a week instead of everyday, and I have managed to write I think two posts in April. Not good enough. One day away turns into two, and then a week, and then it’s mid April. I am no good at planning, never was. So I may go back to daily blogging as setting myself daily schedules, with hospitality work, isn’t always easy to stick to. I was much more productive when blogging daily. But I have also been ill the past week, which didn’t help. But I have settled into Melbourne, I feel much better and that gap in blogging shouldn’t repeat. I have had many kind words from you asking when my next blog post will be and wondered where I went and for that I will ensure that you are not left in the dark again. In Brisbane I really got into the swing of things as I found a great routine and I feel I have finally found that routine here in Melbourne. I have a job, I have found great places for wifi, and I feel fully fit again. And I need to blog regularly as I have a backlog of photos and videos that need uploading and with an old iPhone like mine, I really need to upload them as my phone’s memory is shocking. I can’t take new ones if my current ones are taking up all the storage.

It is so nice to see that my blog is still being read despite my absence, and for that if you are here, I will make sure to be here too.

Again, thank you.

On another note, at this rate I should expect to hit 10,000 followers by June, around my 30th birthday. What perfect timing to hit the 10K, and I feel I need to do something for this. Maybe a giveaway, or a special kind of blog post, I don’t know. But maybe you have some ideas that could inspire me to do some kind of celebration post with this in mind. But it is a couple of months away still, and I am going to celebrate today knowing I have amazing readers helping me to carry on.

 

 

Thank you. I hope you are having a great week and will have a great weekend when it hits. Love you all!

Sam

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

The famous ‘Pink Lake’ in Melbourne

I met a German girl in my hostel room not too long ago. She wasn’t here for very long, and for this reason was eager to see as much as she could in the city. She asked if I would join her on a bike ride using the Melbourne Bike Share service in the city and for just $3, you can ride for 24 hours. A pretty good deal, the only thing is you have to park the bike within 45 minutes and use another one. I guess this guarantees bikes at every station, and as there were plenty in and around the city it wasn’t an issue.

But back to the beginning, I said yes to joining and off we went.

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Now this lake wasn’t too far from the CBD, roughly 7km and would take about 30 minutes to ride there. Much less in a car. It took us around 25 minutes from the bike station we used on the south side of the river and was pretty flat the whole way.

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Now to get here from the route we took meant going through an industrial part of the city. And for that I assumed that maybe the pink was the result of some kind of toxic chemical reaction from waste and things. But that isn’t the case.

After giving it a quick Google this ABC News article provides some info on this odd phenomenon, and funnily enough mentions that many people will also probably believe it is from a toxic spill.

Apparently the main cause is salt. When salt levels are higher than usual it changes colour, but a few other factors need to be in place.

The webpage states:

‘Although the lake already has lots of salt — it is a salt lake after all — it only turns pink when salt levels are higher than usual.

There are also a few other ingredients needed to turn the lake pink: high temperatures, lots of sunlight and a lack of rainfall.

It’s in these conditions that algae growing in the lake’s salt crust produce a red pigment, called beta carotene, as part of their photosynthesis process.

The result: a spectacular deep-pink lake.’

And it really is pink! It was funny to go through such an industrial area to find this tourist haven in the middle, busy with people taking selfies and updating their Instagram story. I was one of them of course as some of you that follow me there will have already seen. But I don’t blame anyone for doing so, as this is a surreal sight you would struggle to find anywhere else in the world. Australia is lucky however, it has a few of these dotted around the country.

No filters were used in these pictures, it really was as pink as it looks. I was worried that I may be left disappointed with a slightly pink scene that was overly edited when I looked at other peoples pictures… but I was pleasantly surprised.

We didn’t spend too long here as we needed to find a bike station, and got there with about two minutes to spare. It wasn’t much more of a charge for going over the time, but we tried to sick with the $3 deal and gave us more urgency to ride around and not stay in one place for too long.

Another interesting route we took was the F1 track that was recently used in the Melbourne Grand Prix. Although cars (not many though) were using it and it is accessible to the public, the fences and seating areas were still there. It was pretty cool to ride it and it was fun to imagine what it would be like for a car to take these tight bends at such high speeds.

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I really enjoyed this day, what was just going to be a day off work turned into a very productive day indeed. And more exercise than I have done in a long time, talk about killing two birds with one stone. This was one of the first ‘touristy’ things I did in the city, and I am glad I got to share it with you.

What do you think of the Pink Lake? Have you seen it or another one somewhere before? Let me know in the comments!


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

Sam

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Melbourne blogpost #3 Getting life back on track

I have been away from this for a long time. For me it has been a long time anyway, after blogging every day for so long 11 days or so seems like much longer. It has been a mix of moving, starting work and getting into the swing of things, meeting friends that I have in the city and simply exploring. But enough of the excuses already, I am back with a few posts to give you for the week ahead.

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This is my view from work. The 35th floor and from here the south of Melbourne and the ocean are clearly visible. You see the tallest tower dead ahead? That is the Eureka Tower and has a sky deck at the top. For $20 you can take the elevator up which I don’t think is a bad deal and I may have to do it soon. I haven’t even checked out the surrounding suburbs yet apart from St Kilda as I am currently living and working in the CBD. I managed to get a transfer so got straight back into work pretty quickly, but I have been spending the past week or so stretching my legs and getting out there.

I feel it is so much harder getting back into the groove the longer you leave it. But this post, although fairly short, is my slip road back onto the highway and heading for that fast lane again. I don’t like leaving my blog untouched although I have, it is always on my mind. A bit like not going to the gym for a while after having such a consistent and frequent schedule. I would imagine. It just doesn’t feel right and you know that it is having an effect on progress.

So hello again everyone, it is nice to be back. I have a few posts lined up (with draft title’s and photographs but nothing more as of yet), and I will have them typed up and posted in the next couple weeks. There are quite a few so I should easily stick to my plan of three or four posts a week for the foreseeable future.

It’s nice to be back and to see your beautiful faces again.

Sam

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

Sam

Travel Diary: Arriving in Melbourne

And it was almost a disastrous start. My flight was delayed, although I am fine with that. These things happen. However instead of getting into Melbourne at around 7.30pm Victoria time, it was closer to midnight. Melbourne looked good though and a little green in places for St Paddy’s.

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What I did not take into account was the Formula One that was taking place in Melbourne as I was arriving, and with this overnight accommodation was almost impossible to find. I arrived, stupidly without a room booked (like I did so much down the east coast as I found rates weren’t really affected) without considering the demand at all. Ironically this is the lack of planning I was talking about in my most recent post and almost went without a place to stay. The first place I looked was a hostel and I shit you not, they asked for $250 for the night. A hostel. But I found somewhere after a little searching and the team here are good fun.

Lesson learned. Get a room booked. Don’t be like me.

After a few trips outside of Brisbane whilst I was based there, it feels weird to step off the plane and not be going back. Six months is an interesting length of time to be based somewhere. As soon as you really get used to the place and a good circle of friends, you’re on the road again. Brisbane was amazing, and I am already really missing the city and the people I met there. It was a great size with just enough to do without the long and chaotic commuting times to get where I need to be. I will see how Melbourne is with this in mind.

The last days I was in Brisbane were pretty glorious. Looking at camera roll these are the last shots I have from there.

The first thought I had getting off the plane in Victoria was how cold it was. I can actually wear a jacket again and I am pretty excited about that. Bring on Autumn, the t-shirt/shorts/flip flop combo gets boring pretty fast although I am sure I will miss the Brisbane heat before too long. Not the humidity though. Days here are still hot but mornings and evening are cool and I am more than okay with that.

I have a lot of ‘doing’ to do. The past six months have flown by and there were things I didn’t manage to do in Brisbane that I regret. I don’t want to leave too much untouched in Melbourne as it is a much larger city with a lot to experience. But cutting my blogging down a little will free quite a bit of time with this in mind. And apologies for the delay in posting whilst I have been relocating.

And thank you to everyone that recommended me things to do in my last post. I have taken them on board and will look at each and every one again to try and find ways and times to fit them in. If I do them I will ensure to give you a shout out as a thanks and a reminder as to who recommended me what. I really appreciate it.

I have so far had two interviews for jobs within the same brand as I have been working in and hope to hear back later in the week. Another thing I have had to prioritise as I need an income, but my blog will go back to operating normally now I am here and settling in. I am for now just wandering around and soaking up the vibe and there is a good buzz around this city. Plenty of food and drink places to try, street art to stare at and trams to get knocked over by. And you will see it all here until September.

But for now thanks for being patient with me, see you in the comments!

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

Sam