Posts

Showing posts from February, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake

Image
We’ve seen the news report of the terrible tragedy in Christchurch. We had such a wonderful time there - to see pictures of it in ruins is heart-breaking. It’s saddening to know there are so many people dead and thousands more homeless in a country that’s usually so full of life and spirit. Christchurch will recover, the 2011 earthquake will become another event in the history of New Zealand’s violent geology, but right now Kiwis around the world are in mourning and our thoughts are with them.

Animal Magic.

Image
Monday was definitely another strange and exotic animal day. First we went to a beautiful little spot called Gypsy Point for breakfast
and saw a Goanna hanging about in a tree,
plus a family of ‘Roos in a garden.
Next we stopped at Quarantine Bay and were just in time to see a fishing boat crew cleaning their catch. They were throwing all the scraps into the sea where the local pelicans, shags and fur seals were eagerly waiting.
Further up the road we came across the Pambula Nature Reserve, and this little chap.
From Pambula we turned onto Scenic Drive 11 which follows the coast, and drove up to Tathra. While our washing wash going round in circles in the laundrette, we walked down to the Historic Wharf, then while it was drying we tried out our new snorkelling gear at the end of the beach near the rocks. It was a bit hard to see due to all the seaweed, but it all worked ok and we saw some fish.
We carried on following Scenic Drive 9 with the roadside verges full of white lilies,
past the …

NSW

Image
Before we left the UK for Europe last year, we bought a very useful gadget for charging electronic devices from a cigarette lighter socket. It steps up 12v DC to whatever you set it to up to 22v, without having to go through a 240v AC inverter. Small, light and doesn’t take much juice; ideal for netbooks, phones etc. We used it in Ken all around France, Spain and Portugal. 2 weeks into NZ the little plug that goes into both our netbooks snapped. Not so much of a problem, as we could still charge them up in libraries and most McDonalds. New Zealand is very wifi friendly, there’s a library in every little town, they all have a laptop area and most have plenty of sockets. In Oz the situation is a bit different; libraries are independent and don’t always do wifi, most McDonalds don’t have sockets anywhere and their wifi is 11mbs rather than 54, so everything takes longer and you don’t have power.

So, as we were in Geelong, which is a fairly big city, we had a look on line and found an ele…

Peterborough to Anglesea, OZ style

Image
We finally got to Warnambool and turned onto The Great Ocean Road. The first 35km from Allansford to Peterborough isn’t very exciting, or very oceany, but after we got to the Bay of Islands it got a whole lot better.
There are big, impressive limestone stacks, caves and arches along this coast and they all have names and viewing platforms with car parks signed off the road. You do feel a bit “Off the bus – Click – back on the bus” kind of thing, but it has to be like that or people would either damage themselves or what they came to look at. This is London Bridge.
There used to be another arch joining it to the mainland but it collapsed on the 15th Jan 1990, stranding two people who had to be lifted off by helicopter. Rumour has it that they were very embarrassed as they were having an affair at the time.

This is The Arch.
We spent the night in Port Campbell.

We were up early, the milk had gone off overnight, (there’s something wrong with our fridge, when we get to Melbourne we’ll get Ma…

A short time in a big country

Image
We’ve been in Australia over a week now and the time has just flown by. Our poor reader must be wondering what we’ve been up to.

Well…

After leaving Adelaide we came across this little township,
so we stopped and had a cup of tea in honour of our mate Keith. Further on there was the Mount Monster Conservation park where we climbed to the top of a granite peak and had a look out over South Australia and the way we’d come.
Of course we knew Australia was big before we came, but you can only imagine so much beyond your own experience. Only now we’re here are we getting an idea of just how big. It’s funny that although, just like everywhere else, you can only see to the horizon, it feels like a big country. Maybe it’s the wide straight roads to infinity or something about the sky over an endless landscape, or even the attitude of the people, whatever, there’s something different.

Ann-Marie had a go at driving the van (which is called Victoria, ‘cos that’s what it says on the number plate) …

The Wonder of Oz.

Image
15.02.2011

We’re not going to blog every day in Australia like we did in New Zealand, mainly because it’s so spread out and we’ve got a lot of miles to cover, but also because it’s a lot for our poor reader to have to slog through, and we take his welfare seriously.

We’ve just had an amazing weekend with Dave’s Uncle Michael, and his Adelaide Cousins and their families. In 1960 Michael joined his sister Ann and two of his brothers, John and David, by buying a ticket and joining the ranks of £10 Poms; a subsidised mass migration program to the other side of the world to help populate Australia. They, and their offspring, have spread far and wide in this land of opportunity and are now everywhere from Adelaide in the south to Darwin in the north to Alice Springs in the middle. And Tasmania. Our main reason for coming to Oz is to visit as many of them as we can, as well as seeing as much of the country as possible. Julie and Ian made us feel perfectly at home and very welcome, first in t…

Auckland to Adelaide

Image
Thursday 10.02.2011
Like a well-oiled machine, today went perfectly to plan. Maui took their van back with friendly efficiency and returned our security deposit. Would we recommend them? Certainly. We took Kiwi Ken on a 7500km trek up mountains, down gorges, along gravel roads in the middle of nowhere, stopping wherever we felt like it for tea, food, a look at the view or the night, and he behaved impeccably. The staff couldn’t have been more helpful and even though we had the smallest van in their range he was quite big enough for the two of us. After handing the keys back we were once again homeless with all our worldly possesions on a trolley.
The flights were almost un-eventful; there was a bit of a drama when the cabin crew called for anyone with medical training, but happily it was nothing serious, although for a while we were in a scene from the film “Airplane” with a line of people almost falling over each other in their eagerness to offer assistance. “Surely there’s something…

Auckland to Manukau (which is just another bit of Auckland, really.)

Image
Wednesday 09.02.2011

We’re not going to fill up this space with too many words, the pictures tell the story. This is Auckland’s Sky Tower from the bottom.
And the top.
And through the floor.
The bridge and marina.
Some more bits of the city.
Tonight we’re in a proper camp-site and we’ve managed to pack up all our stuff again. Tomorrow morning we hand Kiwi Ken back to Maui and fly to Adelaide via Melbourne. We’re going to miss New Zealand like crazy, we’ve loved this beautiful, friendly, easy country from the day we set foot in it. We could’ve spent a week exploring everywhere we’ve been for a day, plus all the places in-between. Five weeks was never going to be enough, but a lifetime wouldn’t have been either. We’ve seen and done more than we ever imagined we could, and that’ll do.

Sweet as.