After my Fraser Island tour I was pretty eager to move on. The weather had turned again and Hervey Bay is just not that exciting of a place. I was thinking about making my way to Noosa to try a bit of surfing, but with only a week left in Oz and the winter weather rolling in I thought it would be better just to move on and make my way towards Sydney. Besides I need to leave a reason to come back to the beautiful Sunshine Coast again (in summer this time). So I boarded my Greyhound bus for the relatively short ride to Brisbane. I only stayed there for a couple of nights to break up the trip to Sydney. It seemed like a nice city, but I didn't really get to know it well in only two days. I stayed at a hostel called Chill Backpackers, which I dipped into to escape this creepy homeless guy who kept whispering profanities at me. It ended up being a really nice place, with clean, comfortable rooms, a friendly staff, a movie theater room, and a rooftop area with a pool table. There was a little bit of sun, but the crappy weather seemed to follow me, and by the time I was ready to board my overnight bus to Sydney it was pouring yet again.
In Sydney I met up with my cousin Angela and her family, who took me in for my short stop over. They were incredibly gracious, giving me my own room, taking me around to see the sights, feeding me home cooked, Irish-style meals, and not really letting me spend a dime while I was with them. Angela and her husband Brendan had backpacked around so I knew they understood how much that last part meant to me. It was great to catch up with them over wine and talk about our adventures. Even though it continued to pour the next day Angela and the kids, Tara and John, took me to see some sights around Sydney, including Bondi Beach, a Cliffs of Mohr-ish place called The Gap, and the Olympic stadium. The kids were such a handful, but complete adorable. I loved watching them play on Bondi Beach in the rain as if the sun was shining bright. The next day Brendan joined us for a trip to the harbor to see the famed Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. We even got a bit of sunshine and saw a spectacular rainbow over the opera house. Angela and I were trying to see an opera that night, but as luck would have it nothing was playing until the day after I left. Oh well, one more thing to add to the "why I should come back to Oz" list! On my last day in Sydney Angela, Tara and John took me on the ferry around Sydney harbor to the Sydney Zoo. It was a fantastic sunny day and the perfect way to round off my trip.
That evening I boarded my final overnight bus to Melbourne, where I would spend just one more day before flying to Rome. I had meant to be in Melbourne much longer, and visit with my friend Ess from Bali, but with an extra day here and there it just didn't work out. I did manage to take a ride on the tram around the beautiful little city of Melbourne, see some sights and check out a little bit of the night life scene, but I will need to come back and do Melbourne proper...in the summer.