Showing posts from March, 2011

Heathrow Airport Post. King's Canyon

Another VERY early morning on Saturday, this time with our bags packed. We checked out of the hotel and were on the coach by 4am. After a breakfast stop at a roadhouse somewhere (neither of us can actually remember this happening), we arrived at King’s Canyon around 8 o-clock. We had an inspection by the water police, AKA Richard, our guide for the day. We needed to be carrying 3 litres each, which seems a lot, but as Richard explained, in a hot, dry atmosphere you don’t realise how much moisture you are losing, and although you probably won’t need all that water if everything goes to plan, in such a remote area taking less is plain stupid.

From the coach we followed the track to here.
There are roughly 500 steps going up to the rim of the canyon, everyone in our group managed it, and despite sounding like a couple of leaky steam engines, we felt wide awake at the top and the view back to the car park was magnificent.
The geology behind the formation of the canyon is fascinating; there a…

Changi Airport Post. Kata Tjuta and Uluru.

Wednesday was a relaxed affair; we did a bit of souvenir shopping in Alice, had a picnic at the Telegraph Station, and then went back to Ann’s in the afternoon.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday on the other hand, were busy, busy, busy. Part of our planned itinerary from Trailfinders was a three day tour to Ayres Rock Resort, visiting Uluru (Ayres Rock), Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), and Kings Canyon.
The coach picked us up at 7.30 am in Alice Springs and set off south along the Stuart Highway.
It goes on a bit,
quite a bit.
We stopped for half an hour at a camel farm and had our first taste of camel burger, they also have some rescued wildlife there, convalescing prior to their release, including an emu, a dingo and some roos.
We stopped again at Mount Ebenezer Roadhouse and for another leg stretch at Mount Connor Lookout with amazing views over Lake Amadeus salt lake to the west
and Mount Connor to the east.
The sand was so hot it was hard to keep still. Mount Connor is called “Fooluru” by the to…

Hello Alice

Early on Saturday morning our taxi took us to the airport
and we took off into thick cloud. Bye-bye east coast. After a couple of hours the sky below us cleared and we had a look at Australia away from the coast.
Big isn’t it.
And beautiful.
We landed in Alice Springs where we were met by Dave’s Auntie Ann. We overloaded her poor little car with all our stuff and went back to her lovely flat for lunch. In the afternoon we went out to look at the original Alice Springs which was a tiny community that built up around a Telegraph Repeater Station near a water-hole that isn’t really a spring at all.
The town that is now called Alice was originally named Stuart; it was re-christened when the telegraph station closed in 1933. On the way back we drove up Anzac Hill and looked out over the town.

On Sunday we went for lunch with Ann’s sons, Damian & Jeremy, along with their respective families. There are a lot of them; we took up two tables in the restaurant. Ann also has three daughters; we’re…

Homeless again

Australia Zoo was fab.
We were there first thing in the morning and managed to see pretty much everything. They have a big emphasis on protecting endangered species and educating people about how to care for the wildlife around them. We watched a couple of shows in the big arenas; they spend a lot of time explaining animal behaviour so that when you come across a croc or a snake you know what to do in order that both parties might survive the encounter. Of course they also have the big dramatics when the 12’ long crocodile hurtles out of the water to grab the chicken being dangled in front of him,
and although you know they do it every day it’s still edge of your seat stuff.
The kangaroos and wallabies that roam about the park area are as tame as anything;
they’ll eat food out of your hand and put up with being patted by enthusiastic toddlers. We got to tick off a few of Australia’s more elusive creatures, such as Cassowaries & wombats.
Outside the zoo there is a wildlife hospital that…

Final days in the east.

We’ve only got 2 nights left in this little van. We’ve been quite impressed at how much we haven’t wanted to kill each other over the last 8 months. Before we stopped work, Dave was on nights and Ann-Marie was on days and we only saw each other at weekends. It was a major concern when we embarked on this trip that being together 24/7 was going to put too much strain on our relationship. We think we’ve done OK. We still love each other, and if we’ve learned anything, it’s been how to get over disagreements and move on. There really is no room for frosty silences when you’re living in something that’s smaller than your average bathroom. A 57’ long narrow-boat with 3 or 4 rooms is going to seem palatial compared to this. Heck, Ken is going to seem palatial compared to this!

We are seriously looking at boats on the web now. There are quite a few in our budget range that we’re interested in and we’ve made a few enquiries and asked to go and see a couple when we get back. We think that taki…

Finding Nemo. By Accident.

Our serendipitous life continues.

On Sunday, having abandoned our plans to go to Cairns and our hopes of snorkelling on the reef, changed our flights and travelled 650kms south to Gladstone, we went into the information centre and were greeted by a very enthusiastic lady who thrust lots of literature into our hands about the Town of 1770 and Agnes Water. We were especially interested in a trip out to Lady Musgrave Island, maybe we could get out to the reef after all. Ann-Marie’s family had given us some money for Christmas and spending it on a Great Barrier Reef trip had been something we’d been really looking forward to, so we phoned up and booked two seats for Monday morning.
We arrived in Agnes Water in the dark in the rain and were up and parked at the 1770 wharf by 7am. It was still raining with an on-shore 20 – 30 knot wind; we weren’t sure they were going to sail but the captain and crew didn’t look at all flustered and cheerfully welcomed us aboard.
The Spirit of 1770 is a ve…