Experiencing life down under Australian Style: Brisbane, Gold & Sunshine Coasts, Sydney, Melbourne

Brisbane Travel Blog

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

9:32:02 AM


Hello from Australia,

Well this is my first time ever visiting this country and it is the 16th overall country


that I have visited in my life. I have a home stay with an Australian Italian family here in Brisbane and I will be here for 3 months. So far it has been a very relaxing peaceful trip. It is almost opposite of the experience I had in New Zealand because I only had 17 days in New Zealand so I was rushing to so many cities and locations in that time that I did not have much time to enjoy any one place completely.

I have no regrets but my style of traveling is to take time and get to know the local people and customs of a country.


The good thing about both New Zealand and Australia is that the main spoken language in both nations is English so I think I am ok besides the accent. I haven’t seen any Kangaroos, or Aboriginal People but I have been learning a lot of Australian Italian History, Cooking and lifestyle. My Italian is actually improving as my home is in an area known as New Farm which has been generally the Italian Community but these days many Italians have been moving from this area to the suburbs only to find that they want to return to New Farm but the real-estate is too expensive now and so they can’t afford the neighborhood anymore.


But the person I stay with is an older Italian woman who I call Nonna. Nonna means Grandmother in Italian and she makes the best home-cooking Italian food that I have ever had. We have eaten Biscuts/Pasteries, pasta, made our own cheese, baked apple pie and made our own homemade pasta as-well. It has been divine. This weekend I will be going to Sydney for close to a week to go see the sites there.


I hear that Sydney is beautiful but to be honest I think Brisbane is very beautiful as it is a city with a Harbor that has Ferries like buses that run through the city and during the night the city lights up like a Christmas tree including the Bridges.

It is like a Fairy Tale and truly reminds me of San Francisco.


Well I am going to continue my journal entries now and I hope that you enjoy them as they will give you insight of my travels and also my daily activities. This Journal Entries will be between the dates of July 30th to August 11th. Enjoy:



20050730: New Zealand: South Island: Kaikoura




This was an amazing day because I spent it going on a 3 hour whale Tour. First I stayed up all night because I was very excited about going on this trip and I also watched movies that they had for free viewing here at the Hostel that I stayed at called Adelphi Lodge.

The movies that I watched were Severn Years in Tibet, Legends of the Fall, Gladiator and I only began to watch Pearl Harbor. I only began to watch Pearl Harbor and I realized that it was 9AM and I must prepare to get ready to go on the Whale Watch Tour that I had planned to do today. I went upstairs to my room where I spoke with Chris and he agreed to drive me to the tour sight. The Whale watch tour was about $125.00 New Zealand currency which is about $80.00 US. And to be honest it was worth every penny.


My tour began at 11:20AM and it would be for about 3 hours. We spent the first hour watching a video and getting instructions from the tour guides about the trip. We then got on a bus and went to the area where we would board a Whale Watching Cruising Ship that had all of the state of the art technology of sonar, ultra sensitive underwater listening technology and communications technology to talk to other ships, airplanes and coastal agencies for any news that helps with the location of the whales.


We began to cruise in the Whale Watching Cruiser for about 20 to 25 minutes and the first Whale we saw was one that just began to submerge meaning that it showed its tale as it went into the depths of the ocean floor where they feed for about 45 minutes at a time and then they come up for air from anywhere from five minutes to 15 minutes.


All in all I ended up seeing 8 sperm whale sightings, 4 tails of whales diving deep into the water and one of the most special things that I saw during my whole trip in New Zealand was a whale eating a King Fish on the surface of the water which scientist says that these whales never do. The whales that we saw are called sperm whales. The reason why they were called sperm whales is because in the days of massive whaling or whale hunting the fishermen would slice the head area of a sperm whale and then a lot of white sperm like puss would come pouring out and in those days the whalers thought that it was sperm so they   called those particular whales Sperm whales and the name stuck. These sperm whales that we saw range between the ages of 3 to 15 years old. Once the Whales become of mature age and size they go to the cold waters of the artic regions where they mate and live with there female counter-parts. The area that we were able to see the whales is called Kaikoura Canyon.


In Kaikoura Canyon there are many species of wildlife:


1)                   Humpback Whales

2)                   Southern Right Whale

3)                   Orca (Killer Whales) just pass through this area

4)                   Bottlenose Dolphins just pass through this area.

5)                   Pilot Whales just pass through this area

6)                   Common Dolphins are seen in this area in the summer months

7)                   Hector’s Dolphin which is unique to New Zealand is found year round along the New Zealand Coast

8)                   Southern Right Whale Dolphins- Are only seen occasionally during the summer months

9)                   New Zealand Fur Seals are abundant along the rocky coral coasts around Kaikoura

10)               Fin Whales-Are also occasional visitors to the Kaikoura Canyon

11)               Dusky Dolphins

12)               Sperm Whales

13)               Seabirds (Including the Mighty Albatross which have the largest wing span of any bird in the world)

14)               Antarctic Fulmar

15)               Krill (Shrimp like creatures that whales love to eat)

16)               Kahawai (Fish)


l     The local native people describe Kaikoura with this following description in their native tongue:

l     Hopapa Rewa Whenua Miharo = a “natural wonderland” or “natural treasure”

To put it simply this whale watching experience of mine was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever watched in my life.

It was spectacular.


After the whale watching I went to lunch and across the street from my Hostel there was a restaurant that served these fantastic Steak Sandwiches that were all smothered in the inside and outside of the sandwich with an A-1 type of sauce. It reminded me very much of “Tortas Aguados” which is a sandwich that can be found in Mexico which is completely smothered inside and out two with a spicy tomatoes sauce base that is equally delicious.


After I returned to my Hostel and had a 2 to 3 hour nap and then I went into the spa for an hour and a half and then took a bath for one hour too. It was a great day. After I got washed up I rented 4 movies: Million Dollar Baby (Great Movie), and Lord of the Rings 1 through 3. I ended up watching Million Dollar Baby and only got through one and a half of the Lord of the Rings because they are so long.


The Naming of Kaikoura


The name Kai (food) Koura (Crayfish) has its origin in the story of Tamatea-Pokai-Whenua who in 1450 stopped off at the peninsula to cook a feed of crayfish on his way south to search for three of his wives who had fled.

Bent on recapturing the wayward women he perused them down the East Coast, through Foveaux Strait then north up the West Coast. All to no avail as he found one turned to greenstone Milford.


As he paused to ‘tangi’ (weep) over her, some of the tears fell on the stone which has carried the marks ever since. He came upon his other wives at Ahaura River where they, together with their canoe, had also been turned to greenstone. The names of Tamatea’s three wives are now used to specify the three principal kinds of greenstone Tangiwai, Kahurangi and Kawakawa.




20050731: New Zealand: South Islands: Kaikoura/Christchurch


This is the day that my traveling partner Chris and I decided to travel to Christchurch.

[I will give you a summary of him again: I decided to rent a van with a fellow American named Chris McDonald. He is an ex-Marine who served in the military for 4 and half years and he spent 2 years in Japan and 7 months in Iraq. He is truly an American hero who was in charge of 40 Marines in Iraq. His rank was Captain and he went into Iraq with 40 men and left Iraq with 40 men. Meaning that none of his men died and he led them on many missions with no deaths even though they had many gun fights with the Iraqi rebels. We decided to rent a bus which has Kiwi’s and Fruit and cakes painted all over it. It is like a 1960’s buses that were used in Berkeley, California in the old days in the USA. The only difference is that our bus didn’t have a peace sign on it. Chris is from Louisiana near New Orleans. He is a true country boy because he grew up in a log cabin in which he got all his water from a well from his land. He is a great American, great military hero and very humble. He is kind of like Forest Gump but a Captain. So Chris and I decided to rent a van for 10 days]


Now that you know who Chris is we decided to head up to Christchurch this day which is about 3 and half hours from Kaikoura. Before we left Kaikoura we went to the local Seal colony that is on the coast there. I got so close to seals I could literally touch them.

I took close-up pictures and videos and when I have a better internet connection I will send you some of my pictures.


We got into Christchurch about 5PM and then Chris went and ate at a Chinese Restaurant and then I went to a Korean Restaurant. I had a fabulous Korean Barbeque dinner that took two hours to eat. It was great eating. I cooked up my own food which was a mixture of Kalbi (Beef Rib-eyes), bolgogi (Sautéed Beef thin cut slices) and Pork.


Then we searched for a Hostel and found a really nice quant one called Vagabond Hostel. It was great. It had an endless supply of movies, had very cheap internetting and had a great kitchen that served freshly baked bread every morning that is served promptly at 8AM.


Before I went to bed I put on the movie called Breakfast Club. It is probably one of my favorite 10 movies of all time. With Emilio Estevez, Jud Nelson and Molly Ringwall. I fell asleep half way through the movie.


20050801 to 20050802: New Zealand: Christchurch at the Vagabond Hostel


Took these two days to rest and relax.

I was exhausted from traveling so much. I basically spent it internetting, watching a few movies like Whale Rider which is a movie about a little girl living within New Zealand’s Maury people who grows up wanting to become a Maury Chief. It is a great movie if you want to have some beginning understanding of the New Zealand Native people who originated from Hawaii.





20050803: New Zealand


This day I had planned to go visit some horses that the Vagabond Hostel Owners owned right outside of town. There were two horses. A prized jumping white horse called Max and a young brown color horse called Maverick who came from race horse family but one of its legs is not the same size as the other legs so he has a slight limp in his walk.


I fed them, groomed them and pet them.

It was a great experience. It was really funny because Maverick had a pet Sheep that followed him around and ate with him. It was really interesting how close they were. It was his buddy sort of speak.


Later on in the night I went out on the town in Auckland and walked through all the clubs and bars to just see the night life. It was a weekday so it was a much quit day out in the town. The city is only about 350,000 people so it is only really great night life Fridays and Saturdays. So I was only out for about one hour then I returned to the hostel to get ready to go back to Auckland to catch my flight to go to Australia.




20050804: New Zealand: Departed from Christchurch and flew to Auckland


I took a domestic flight from Christchurch to Auckland that took about one hour flight.

My flight was at 12:30 PM and arrived Auckland at 1:30Pm and by the time I got to my hostel in Auckland it was time to start to pack and get ready to fly to Australia. I was up until 2AM packing and I passed out sleeping at 2AM and got up at 4AM and got to my flight which was leaving Auckland at 6:30AM so I had to leave at 4AM to make my flight. I got into Australia at 8:30AM because there is a two hour time difference between New Zealand and Australia. My host family picked me up at the airport and took me to my new home for the next three months.  The house that I stay at is really nice and the grandmother who takes care of me makes great homemade Italian food. She is a great cook and great company. We get along great.



20050805 Departed from New Zealand Auckland at 6:45AM and arrived Australia, Brisbane at 8:30AM (Two hour time difference between Australia and New Zealand)


I was up for nearly 48 hours straight because I had just arrived back to Auckland 08-04 afternoon at around 2PM and then I went and checked back in the Central Backpackers




This day I went shopping with my host grandmother and we bought some food together.

We mostly bought foods that she cooks to make her dishes. The grocery store had a section where they had various types of olives. Here is to name a few:


1)                   Proscuitto Stuffed Olives

2)                   Australian Olives (Australian Kalamata)

3)                   Greek Blonde Olives

4)                   Green Stuffed

5)                   Marinated Stuffed Green Olives

6)                   Olives Kalamata Pitted

7)                   Marinated Kalamata Olives

8)                   Olives Chili Filled

9)                   Jumbo Black Olives

10)               Green Filled Pesto Olives

11)               Danish Stuffed Olives

12)               Mykonos Mix

13)               Olives Kalamata Pit

14)               Feta Stuffed Olives

15)               Sliced Black Olives

16)               Super Mammoth Green Olives

17)               Olives Black Pitted

18)               Marinated Black Olives

19)               Olives Green Colsal Pitted

*That was only about half of the olives that they had there in the Grocery store.

It is because the grocery store is in an Italian neighborhood that they had so many.


Once we got home she prepared vegetables, chicken and pasta dinner with meatballs all homemade.





The next day Nonna (grandmother in Italian) had an 8 year old grandson whose birthday it was and we went to the party and had steak, shrimp, cake, apple pie, biscuits, flan, salad and sausage or better known here within the Italian community as linguisa.




Today I met with a friend who was introduced to me from Japan who will become my Japanese conversation partner.

These days I am studying Japanese and will be learning my 5th language. I speak English, Korean and Spanish well and am intermediate in Sign Language and now beginner in Japanese and German. It is also possible I might take some courses in Japanese here in Brisbane.





Today I met a Korean Language partner who was also introduced to me by mutual friends who helped me translate my journals that I am writing now. I translated about 85% of the English to Korean and my conversation partner corrected the syntax and spelling. Later I will be translating all my journals to Korean and Spanish so that maybe one day I will possibly chronicle my travels to the various countries I travel to for family, friends and also maybe one day I will make my adventures into a book possibly called “The Chronicles of Noah.” Consider these emails a sneak preview of this possible book I look forward to publishing one day.





I met with my Japanese conversation partner again.

I had mention that I needed part-time work and was willing to teach English as a form to make money part-time and my Japanese conversation partner introduced me to a Korean girl who is studying out here in Brisbane who wants to study English. So three hours a week I will teach her. She is interested in learning how to improve her writing ability and conversational ability. She was a language student here in Brisbane and also worked in a Sushi Restaurant as a part-time job. She will be returning to Korea on October 29th and that means she will be my student for 3 months so it works out perfect because my visa expires November 5th. I have been very blessed to find this work as I needed it. I can thank my Japanese conversational partner for making the introduction to this student.




Today I have been writing in my journal all day and tonight I have a dinner birthday party. It is Nonna’s daughters 58th birthday and we will be going out to a local restaurant for dinner to celebrate her birthday. Today Nonna is playing bingo with her friends and later we will meet for the Birthday party. While I have been working on these journal entries I have been watching Blade I and I just started Blade II.


My experiences here in Australia have been at a much slower pace because I am looking to do part-time work while I stay here to help support my travels.

When I went to New Zealand I did a lot meaning I spent more than I should’ve but I have no regrets about my New Zealand trip because I made memories that will last me for a lifetime there in New Zealand. I hope that I will be so fortunate here in Australia as well. Tomorrow morning I will be traveling to Sydney so I should have some great stories to share for the coming week.


Thank you so much for your time to read my journal entries. I hope that I can give you an opportunity to experience my travels first hand. When I was a child I use to watch a channel called KQED and they had a show called “Reading Rainbow.” The show’s philosophy is that through reading one can travel anywhere in the world with their imagination. So no matter where you are, no matter what you do and no matter what hand life has dealt you your mind is free to take you anywhere you want to go. Always have faith that the mind can take you to the depths of the universes and back again. .


With Everlasting Loving Peace,



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