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Gold Coast livin’ part two

Kia ora all! Sorry for the delay between parts one and two of my Australian adventure – I’m in full book mode and have been devoting the time I have to writing that. Nonetheless, here is part two.

So Kylie’s birthday was on the Wednesday – October 1 – and as a present to herself she got her hair did. We managed to score a free bus ride both ways by acting all touristy (asking how much it was, which coins had what value) until the bus drivers gave up in frustration and just said “it’s fine.”

That night, Mikayla took us out for a steak dinner at a nearby restaurant – one that happened to have deals on all mains on Wednesdays. I had a giant steak, but I didn’t take a picture of it because that’s silly.

Okay, it’s two weeks later now and I can’t remember what we did on each specific day. However, I believe it was the Friday where we went to see the coveted glow worm caves – again, no pictures, this time because it was pitch black.

We drove for like three hours to get to this place where we walked for another hour, down a steep hill, in the pitch black, with scary forest on all sides. Somehow, we avoided the drop bears and killer spiders and arrived at the glow worm caves, where we were greeted by a blue-greenish glow, which turned out was the worms’ butts. Some lady was yelling at people for even using a flashlight to avoid falling into the turbulent river a few feet away, so I’ll approximate a drawing of what the scene looked like.


As you can tell, it was very exciting.

Saturday during the day we went to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, which was a total blast. It’s where we got to see basically every cliché you’d attribute to Australia.

We went with Mikayla and her brother, Noah, who showed us around.  Luckily, we arrived just in time for the feeding of a MASSIVE CROCODILE (possibly alligator?)!!!!!


Afterwards, the croc wardens said we could HOLD THE ALLIGATOR (crocodile?) and I was like SHIT YEAH! They overplayed it a bit.


The wildlife sanctuary was pretty sweet. It had a bunch of different habitats, so instead of me rambling, I’ll show you pictures and give the names of the animals, if I can remember them.


This owl, who looked high as.


This wombat, who is actually the size of a dog.


Some koalas, socializing over some leaves from that tree I can’t spell the name of.


A god-damn Tasmanian Devil (like from Bugs Bunny, sort of).

We arrived at a theatre of sorts, just in time for a birds of prey show. One of them got pretty close to me.


There was also a giant pelican.


Of COURSE there were others, but I was a bit busy watching them catch bits of dead rabbit out of the air to take pictures, okay?

Next, I fulfilled my lifelong dream of going in a giant enclosure filled with starving kangaroos, and paying four dollars to feed them. Kylie came too.

CamKangaroo 20141004_150834

Unfortunately, that was the end of my day pretty much, as shortly after I stumbled into a giant spider’s web and was swiftly mauled to death.


Just kidding! Who did you think was writing this? Anyways, to cap off our day (actually, this time), we had to do the cliché tourist take-a-photo-with-a-koala.


My head is lost in a halo of light – as it frequently is – but you can see Kylie and the little bear pretty well.

After that heartwarming moment, we tried to feed some birds but they didn’t show up, so Kylie held a giant snake instead.


I took a photo from the side because we weren’t supposed to take photos but there was no way in hell I was paying 20 bucks for that picture.

The fun wasn’t over for the day, though. That night, Kylie, Mikayla, her friend Andrew, and I all went to a club and danced the night away. We got in with no cover and were allowed five-dollar drinks all night, and Kylie got free drinks to her heart’s content. We dragged her unconscious body out of the club around 10 p.m.

I’m pretty sure it was Sunday where we went shopping at a giant outdoor mall. Mikayla had some sort of appointment and Kylie tried on all the clothes in one store, so I wandered around looking uncouth with a two-litre jug of chocolate milk. I probably looked like a bogan. That night (possibly) we went to an opera in the park, which was pretty neat, if that’s your thing (it isn’t mine) – the food was good though.

Monday was an exciting day, as we tried stand-up paddle boarding. Basically, you get this thing that looks like a surfboard, and then you stand on it and paddle in some water. It was extremely difficult to find my balance on it, and being tall didn’t help, as the wind was trying to knock me into the water. Luckily the water was warm, because I spent a lot of time in it. OBVIOUSLY I didn’t bring my camera because that would have been stupid, but trust me, it was sweet as.

And finally, on Tuesday, Kylie and I took a train to Brisbane and spent the majority of the day at a lovely market/mall. Around dinner time, we met up with an old friend of mine – Franny – and she was nice enough to treat us to a delicious meal.


And of course, Kylie and I got the glamour shot in front of the bridge.


Sadly, after that it was time to catch the train back to Gold Coast – which we did, barely. It was an early night, as we had to be up at the crack of dawn to make our plane – which we did, barely. We landed in Auckland about four hours later, and our journey to Australia was complete.

Stay tuned! Posts coming up include our drive from Auckland to Christchurch (1,079km), our visit to the Shire, and a few questions for the creative ones among you reading this.

Thanks for reading, and give me a follow, won’t ya?

Twitter: @CamMParkes 
Instagram: cam_parkes



Categories: Australia, Blog, Early Saturday, Gold Coast, Holiday, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No shoes, no problem

Hey all! Happy Easter! It’s been a week since my last post.  That’s mostly because a) how do you follow a post about the royals, and b) Christchurch got with the program and started having really nice weather, so I’ve been outside. Way to go, Christchurch!

In the last week, Kylie finished up her schooling for the holidays – they get a two week holiday for some reason, but hey, we’re not complaining – we explored the city a bit, saw another movie, and bought lots of discounted chocolate. We also found an XBOX One and tried it out.


I also received a nice little package from home. We had to let it thaw out, as it was still frozen from its time in Canada (HA!). Some of the people here had never even seen a FedEx box before!


So yeah, that’s weird. Another weird thing I learned this week about New Zealand – they don’t care if you wear shoes. And with the recent good weather, I’ve been toughening up my soles.


Okay, yes, admittedly that is me standing in some grass. But I swear, you’re allowed to go shoeless anywhere. We even saw a few guys in the mall in bare feet, and one went into Domino’s (yes they have that here!) naked below the ankle.

Not too much else is going on at the moment. By night, Kylie and I have been catching up on The Walking Dead – finally all caught up, and WOW – and by day, this is what I get to enjoy.


I’ve been spending some time writing, and the beginnings of my project are starting to take form. It’s exciting to see something that has been just an idea for so long take shape. I even bought paper and pencils to sketch out maps and stuff.

Other than that, we’re just planning for our week-long trip to Queenstown. From what I can gather, it’s quite the touristy town, so there will definitely be some sweet blog posts and pictures in the next little while. Follow me on Twitter so you don’t miss anything!





Categories: Blog, Holiday, New Zealand, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Journey to Christchurch

I’m currently sitting in the kitchen area of Kylie’s residence, and while the weather outside is slightly gray and overcast, it’s about 19 degrees. So I will begrudgingly accept it.

While yes, I am currently in Christchurch, New Zealand, this post will detail how I got here. It was a total journey that, from doorstep to doorstep, took about 36 hours.

My first flight was from Toronto to Vancouver, departing at 2 p.m. on April 2, Toronto time. Now, the recommendation by the airport is to arrive 90 minutes prior to your flight, in order to get through security and to your gate, etc. we wanted to arrive a bit earlier than that, just to ensure I got on my flight, so we left my driveway at 9:30 a.m. We figured this would get me to my gate waiting area by no later than noon.

Well, there was zero traffic, and apparently not a lot of people fly on Wednesday morning/afternoons, because I was seated at my gate waiting at 10:30.

Toronto Airport

Still, I have the mindset of ‘better early than late’ when it comes to things like this, so I bought a book and settled in to wait. It passed relatively quickly, and I boarded no problem.

The flight to Vancouver went pretty quickly. I had a nice aisle seat – thanks to my mom, who booked all my tickets – and alternated between reading and watching Pacific Rim – which wasn’t too terrible. The plane touched down five hours later, and at 4:30 Vancouver time, I found myself sitting at the International Food Court, enjoying my first BC experience. On the way, I saw this sweet aquarium. In the airport.


Oh, and I managed to find someone I haven’t seen in almost a year.

Cam and Nicole

We caught up, and Nicole showed me some mountains out the window. It was quite the experience, I guess. Then, after chugging down my last Tim Hortons coffee for the foreseeable future, it was back through security and down to my gate, just in time to check in and board the plane to Auckland.

Auckland Flight

Now, this was the long-ass flight I was sort of dreading. Fourteen hours in seats that typically aren’t designed for people who are 6 foot 4. However, it seemed fortune was on my side. Mrs. Parkes had managed to secure me a desirable seat – in fact, some lady complained to me that she always tried to get it and never could – at the very back of the airplane. What made this seat so desirable was that it was one of just two in the aisle, as opposed to the normal three. This mean I had two seats to spread my long, dancer legs out – or it would have. However, the person beside me missed their flight, so I actually had three seats to myself! This came in quite handy when I passed out from exhaustion. Ten hours of sleep, mixed with some Elite Beat Agents on my Nintendo 2DS, and two movies – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Frozen – the flight actually went by quite quickly. They also served a pretty good dinner, and a scrumptious breakfast.

Upon landing, I had to pick up my luggage to take it over to domestic flights. There was a free shuttle to the domestic terminal, but I decided to stretch my legs and take the 10 minute walk.

Big mistake.

By the time I made it to my gate I was utterly exhausted, drenched in sweat, and aching in my shoulders and back. I with a brief stop at a little café – making my first NZ purchase a Powerade and double-chocolate muffin – I took up a seat and sat there for essentially the next six hours. Yes, we got in at 6 a.m. on April 5 Auckland time – 1 p.m. April 4 Toronto time – and my flight to Christchurch wasn’t until 11:15 a.m.

CHCH Flight

I wiled away the time alternating between playing EBA, staring at people, and soaking in the NZ accent. I believe I also slept sitting up with my arms crossed on a few occasions.

And finally, at about 11:30, we were called to board. The last leg of my 36+ hour trip went smoothly, with a cookie snack and me passing the hour-and-a-half flight playing euchre on my phone (on flight mode, obviously).

When we landed and filed through into the Christchurch airport, I was met by Kylie’s flatmate Susie, who had generously agreed to pick me up from the airport since Kylie was teaching. I later learned she only did so to get an opportunity to make fun of my “Canadian accent,” whatever that might be. We got back, her driving on the wrong side of the road the whole way, and I gladly collapsed onto the bed, throwing my bags to the floor.

Kylie had left me a delightful little “welcome to NZ” package.

Welcome shit

It included a lot of coffee stuff – thank god – as well as some miso soup mix, chocolates, and a few other items. I really wanted to nap, but instead I took a quick shower to be presentable when Kylie got home.

She arrived at 3 p.m. Christchurch time. I was trying to plan what to say, but she saved me from it by bursting into tears as soon as she walked in. Then we took selfies.

Cam and Kylie

At this point, I was starving, so Kylie and I took a walk to a nearby mall in Upper Riccarton, and then went to a concert some of her students were in at Papanui High School. I know nothing about music, but it sounded good, and everyone said it was good, so it must have been good!

Shortly after returning we went to bed. At 10:30. I guess all that traveling caught up with me. It’s now Saturday afternoon here, and soon we’re going to go exploring. My next post will be a nice little list for those of you who may get stuck in super-long layovers. Follow me on twitter to keep up with the adventure!




Categories: Blog, New Zealand, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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