A Travellerspoint blog

Queenstown

sunny
View New Zealand & Australia on Purdy's travel map.

We flew from a cloudy Christchurch today to Queenstown. The flight was good though - over Mount Cook and the glacier lakes - really good to look down at!

Flying into Queenstown was one of the best flights we did - it was such a pretty setting for the airport in the middle of the Remarkables.

It was great to drive in Queenstown such a lovely setting along the lake side. The hostel (Discovery Lodge) was fine decent room - not the quietest hoste but decent location to everywhere.

We went for a wander down to the lakeside - such an amazing view of Mountains and lakes.

It was pizza for dinner and a few drinks before bed.

queenstown.jpg

17th Jan

Had breakfast at Naff Cafe around the corner from the hoste - really good strawberrry milkshake l may add! We then booked our Milford Sound trip for Thursday and then booked a jetboat and funyaks trip on Dart River in Glenorchy for Friday.

We went up on the Gondola Ride up the mountainside to view Queenstown from a height - l couldnt believe the Gondola was so steep. Which l found a bit scary! There were great views from the top of the mountain side. We went for a walk up to the top to watch the kids big and small on the luge and then watch the paragliders.

Paraglidin..enstown.jpg

It was still really lovely and sunny so we went down to the lakeside to read and lie in the sun. Dinner was at Pog Mahones Irish bar - for stonegrill prawns & scallops.

18th Jan

Really early start today 6.50am to catch the bus to Milford Sound.

We were haded to Milford Sound for a cruise and a stop off at Te Anau. The driver offered additional trips - one being a helicopter trip for NZ$250 - £90 - too good an opportunity to miss so we signed up for it!

A few photostops later myself, Paul & another man from Australia were aboard the helicopter - my first time! We flew over the snow capped peaks in and out of clouds toward the mountain peaks - it was simply specatular - l am usually never stuck for worlds but l could not speak - truely amazing. We landed on a glacier - in thongs - our feet were freezing! It was phenomenal - the ice blue of the glacier snow and the views simply were mind blowing.

Mirror_Lak..d_Sound.jpg
Mountain_t..d_Sound.jpg
On_the_Glacier.jpg

After meeting up with the coach again and covering everyone in dust we had another stop before arriving in Milford Sound to get on our ferry. We had made a pack lunch to eat on board. I was dosed up on sea sickness tablets which luckily worked this time!

We cruised up to the Tasman sea - past Mitre Peak and seal rock it was a nice journey but after the helicopter ride it was a bit under whelming to be honest!

Milford_Sound.jpg

The bus journey back was a long 4 hours and l napped for most of the way!

We went out for Italian food - Fatz Catz that night. We gorged on the rest of the champange chocolate from Marlbourough whilst watching a moving on the telly!

19th Jan

Another early start this morning. We went up to the bakery for food - a big cream bun! Then to the funyak place on the main street all by 7.50am

We were bused to Gelnorchy and into wetsuits for the first hour or so jet boating. The dart river was another spectacular setting and lots of the views can be seen in LOTR. The guides were amazing blokes really funny and helpful. We got soaked a few times!

We then had to hop out and pump up our kayaks. It was then out on to the river. I think a fair assessment of our abilities on the river in the Kayaks would be DIRE! We were awful - even the american pensioners who could barely walk were better than us!

We went the opposite way which we were supposed to - causing Fletch our guide to have to run after us before we were swept away by the current! Then trying to get back enroute we capsized then Paul fell on top of me - soaked and my sunnies disappeared into the deep! It was glacier water too - looked beautiful and blue but by god it was freezing.

So in light of our crappness - l insisted we were clipped on to Fletchs kayak for the rest of the journey!

After lunch we floated down into the chasm - a wee area of the main river which was beautifully serene!

The_Chasm_..rchy_NZ.jpg

When we got back to Queenstown (shattered after our adventures) we packed for another flight back to Auckland and the start of our long flight home!

It was an Indian for dinner - quite nice!

Posted by Purdy 19.02.2007 12:16 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Christchurch

sunny
View New Zealand on Purdy's travel map.

We woke to a gorgeous sunny day - although it did turn cloudy in the afternoon and at night it was quite nippy definately need jumpers!

After breakfast we wandered down to Catherdral Square and jumped on the hop on/off tram. We headed down to Botanic Gardens to book for a punt on the Avon. I really enjoyed it - really relaxing - lots of baby ducks - so cute!

After another wander and grabbing some postcards, we went to lie by the river in the Botanic Gardens to write the postcards and watch the world go by! We even made a new friend - a little duck who became very attached to Paul!

We then took the tram back into town that night to have some Mexican food @ Flying Burrito Brothers - it was brilliant - and the raspberry margarittas were delicious!

After a few drinks it was bed time ready to pack again and catch our flight to Queenstown.

Posted by Purdy 19.02.2007 12:07 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Christchurch

sunny
View New Zealand on Purdy's travel map.

14th January 07

Back on the road again, and today it was me behind the wheel! Pretty uneventful drive - stopped off outside Christchurch for a coffee and then on into the city!

We did drive through Belfast - looks a bit different from the Belfast l know!

We went out to Sumner for a nice long beach walk down to the cave and a lush ice cream!

It was then into the city to drop the car off and our Thomas Hotel. After a bit of an afternoons seista we went out for dinner

Posted by Purdy 19.02.2007 12:02 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Hamner Springs

semi-overcast
View New Zealand on Purdy's travel map.

13th January 2007

We had a bit of a lie on this morning (the bed in Donegal House was extremely comfy and huge!) and then we drove to Hamner Springs.

Hamner Springs is known for its geothermal hot spa pools of varying temperatures.

The drive took for ever (so it seemed) probably about 3 hours or so over twisty windy roads that you really had to concentrate on! To be honest l napped most of the way which was really bad and left Paul to get on with the driving!

On the way into Hamner we passed over this deep river with a bridge over it - apparently where people bungy from - didnt see any bungy action but simply looking at it made quake!

Outside_Ha..Springs.jpg

In Hamner we spent around 2 hours in the thermal springs - there were around 9 pools in total. They were full of various minerals, and were of varying temperatures - 33c - 40c.

There was also a sulphur pool which really did stink! But we went in anyway - havent a clue what the benefits of it are supposed to be! Hamner must be spectacular in the winter months - an alpine setting - you really are looking out at mountains and trees - imagine sitting in the hot pools with these same mountains and trees all snow capped!

After lunch we treated ourselves to a lush ice cream - which was huge (just like everything in NZ). It was then the drive back to Donegal House and we had a really lazy evening watching a TV movie and had a few beers! We then had to pack up AGAIN ready for the drive to Christchurch tomorrow!

Posted by Purdy 11.02.2007 13:50 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

The drive to Kaikoura

overcast
View New Zealand on Purdy's travel map.

11th January 2007

At last - some blue skies!! We checked out of the Villa but not before l went shopping in the little gift store l saw the amazing ceramics and souviners in! I ran off leaving Paul to talk to that Scottish bloke who l decided was in love with the sound of his own voice and his own opinions!!

So our first plan was to visit a couple more wineries (yay for me l wasnt driving today!) so we went on the look out for Mudhouse - after driving about for 15 minutes we stopped at a place that seemed like it was right but there was no mention of Mudhouse on signage or on the shelves.

The lady inside informed us that they had moved down to Cantabury - bugger! So we stayed and had a tasting any way (it would be rude to leave!) we bought a bottle of wine and the lovely lovely lady told us of where to stop for coffee and where to see fur seals too!

We then headed up to St Clair Winery - this was lovely - a lovely out door garden to sit and have a meal and drink our wine! The St Clair wines - gold medal winners were delicious! We grabbed a bottle of the Pinot to bring home and a bottle of the SB to drink later :)

Then we made a final stop in the Marlbourough region at a chocolate factory - l gotta recommend the Macademia Crunch - mmmmmmmmm!

So it was now time to hit the road to Kaikoura which took around 3 hours to do. It was pretty uneventful but we did stop off at a road side cafe - which had a beach view over the Eastern Pacific Ocean!

As we drove closer to Kaikoura we found some NZ fur seals relaxing on the rocks - pretty cool to get up close and personal with these wild animals!

Our home for another few nights was the Donegal House B&B - which was a kitsch Irish Themed B&B! Very twee - lots of stereotypical Irish artifacts plastered everywhere! There was a bar & restaurant attached too - with ANNOYING accordian music playing constantly!

So after dinner we retired to our room to drink a bottle of champange and gorge on the Macadamia Nut Crunch - HEAVEN!

12th January 2007

We had our whale watching tour booked today! Now l was both dreading and looking forward to this trip equally! I suffer horrendous sea sickness and this was an open ocean trip!

We woke to misty fogginess - were we even going to get on the trip? Visability was dire! Luckily we got out - but a lot of the trips after us were cancelled!

So l was loaded up with homeopathic seasickness tablets, ginger to suck on, water & the travel bands! THEY DIDNT WORK! I felt awful - it was horrendous! I didnt throw up but l wish l had maybe l would've felt better!

So it looked as though we were not going to see a whale at all- the staff were tracking one for ages but it looked as though he was not going to surface. We were actually on our retreat back to shore when there was a roar - the male Sperm whale surfaced!

I got some cool shots of him diving again - it nearly maded the seasickness worth it!

Whale_fluke_Kaioura.jpg

I was glad to get back to shore believe me! After seasickness it takes me AGES to come around even when l am back on dry land - and usually l need to eat sat to help get over the nausea! So we had fish n chips for lunch - delicious & they even had vinager!

In the afternoon we went down to the seal colony for a wander - we walked for around an hour taking photos and wandering over the rocks looking in the rock pools! We had to leave cos the tide was coming in!

We had dinner in Kaikoura tonight for dinner at a restaurant called Aroma and then for a beer in Strawberry Tree!

Posted by Purdy 11.02.2007 13:19 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Nelson, Abel Tasman & around Marlbourough Sounds

The day we lost Abel Tasman....

overcast

10th January 07

We woke up to a down power of rain - the cloud was practically touching the pavement - it didnt bode well for lifting all day.

Still it was car hire day -so after the Omega girl lifted us we got our car and hit the road. We decided to head toward Nelson and see what we could see! Which was really not alot to be honest! We drove on toward the start of the Abel Tasman - which is supposedly one of the most spectacular areas in the south island - well l will have to take their word for it cos all we could see was a cloud! But like troopers we kept thinking positive thoughts - didnt work!

So we got a couple of postcard showing the area in its true sun shiny splendor - the water looked lovely in the post cards - we couldve went for a little swim if the weather conditions had been better!

So l took over the driving from Nelson heading back toward Blenhiem - this was my first time behind the wheel of an automatic car! Still l got the hang of it! It was hairy in parts - some of the roads were total S bends and needed total concentration, cos there was sheer drops on the other side of the road - not good for me and my fear of heights!

So we went to Blenhiem and found a Thai restaurant which was quite good! After finding a supermarket in Blenhiem we picked up food for breakfast and some beer (Macs low carb beer) l wasnt carded again (boo hoo!)

It was back to the Villa to pack up our gear and then sit and chill with a bottle of beer and write up my journal!

We ran into a Scottish guy (a BIG guy) who had cycled the length of the North Island and was now onto the South Island to see various Lord of the Rings sites! He went on a bit mind you (although lm sure his mother loves him!)

Oh and then l was attacked by the biggest most ugly flying cochroach in the world - that send me to bed quick smart!

Posted by Purdy 11.02.2007 11:26 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Marlbourough Wine Region

rain 18 °C

We had booked a trip with the Marlbourough Sounds Wine tours which was collecting us a 10.30am - quite a late start for a day trip in comparison to all our other day trips to date! So we were able to get a bit of a lie on!

There was a bakery next door to the hostel (very handy!) so we just popped in there to get something to eat - l had the most nutrious cream finger with a blob of jam & a latte! So much for weight watchers now!

We were picked up and on our way - 2 Japanese girls, a german girl, a Dannish Couple and an American Couple!

We did 6 wineries in total - 3 before lunch and 3 after.

STOP 1

- Cloudy Bay - very well known winery - lm not a fan of CB - l think its overrated and l think compared to some Sauv Blancs from Marlbourough the SB is bland - and this is what l thought during the tasting too! The view from the cellar door was excellent and as it was a cloudy rainy day the hills were covered in low lying cloud - exactly like the labels on the bottles of wine!

STOP 2

- Cellar de Brun - this winery has changed hands quite a few times but its know for specialising in methode traditional - basically a champange style sparkling wine but obviousl cos we were in NZ not France it cannot be called champange! They had a few wines to taste also and we picked up a bottle of SB - to do us at the hostel that night!

STOP 3

- Wairau River - this was our lunch stop - it was very busy with tastings and lunch and to be honest the lady behind the counter could not wait to get us out of there - she really didnt want to be doing a tasting with a load of free loaders not interested in bulk buying wine - just my opinion! What was good was their pinot noir so we ordered a large glass each and had it with our lunch which was very tasty!

STOP 4

- Villa Maria - one of the first SB from Marlbourough l had ever tasted - and it didnt disappoint! So much so we went daft and ordered a case to get delivered home! The cost of shipping included customs fees and what we found out was you can simply go on line and order wines from the cellar door! For future reference!

STOP 5

- Matu Wines - the girls behind the counter were excellent though lm not a huge fan of the bog standard SB (its readily available in Tescos & Asda!) Bought some hibbiscus flowers which you pop into champers and they float to the top - yes l know a gimmick! But it will be for our first dinner party when we move house!

STOP 6

- Highfield Estates - this is a larger winery and not the same attention to detail really - there was a coffee shop in the winery also. The wines were decent enough but they didnt stop me in my tracks!

Enjoyed our day - as we knew we would! We are getting our hire car tomorrow and intend getting around a few more wineries before we head toward Kaikoura!

Dinner was in Picton and then we went back to the hostel - cracked open a bottle of SB (of course!) and wrote our postcards & read - rock n roll lifestyle or what!

Posted by Purdy 11.02.2007 01:44 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

A quick visit to Wellington

semi-overcast 18 °C
View New Zealand on Purdy's travel map.

7th January 2007

We got checked out of Aspen House and drove the hire car back to Auckland Airport - all very straight forward! Just like our flight no hitches flew straight into Wellington got the public airport shuttle which dropped us about a block away from our hostel.

We stayed in Downtown Backpackers - and old building that has somewhat faded from its former glory - considering HRH Queen Elizabeth supposedly stayed here in its heyday! Still you could see the granduer in that there was a candleliabra hanging in the main foyer!

The room was basic - the most basic we had stayed in to date! Not my favourite place but it wasnt so awful that l can actually complain about it! It cost us £25 to stay the night so we can hardly complain!

So after dumping our bags we had pretty much decided we would go to Te Papa Musuem. So we headed out into the bright but windy day with the first thought to be finding some food - EVERYWHERE was closed! I know it was a Sunday but still we eventually came across a little cafe and were able to grab some food!

Te Papa Musuem - the national museum of New Zealand - not very old and full interactive exhibitions for visitors to become immersed in. I must admit if you were visiting Wellington with kids l would thoroughly recommend it! I liked the volcanic exhibitions on which you got to see exactly was going on below the ground under New Zealand! You can go into the earthquake house and live through a minor quake, see Maroi exhibitions and about the immigrants who have come too New Zealand.

There are decent facilities, entrance is free and its huge!

So after going back for a freshen up we decided we would go for an Indian tonight and went looking for Cuba Street - we got there eventually. Whilst the food was good l have this thing - never trust or eat in an Indian restaurant that serves beef - surely this is forbidden and a sacred animal to the Hindu Indians? Or have l got it wrong again!

8th Jan 2007

Up early - which was a blessed relief - the room we were in was SO noisy - not from rowdy backpackers no we were kept awake by noisy plumbing and a rushing water sound!

We had a few hours to spare until we got our 2pm sailing to Picton so we thought we would get the Wellington Cable Car up to the Botanica Gardens and go for a wander around.

It started off quite cloudy but the clouds started to disapate and we were able to get a good view over Wellington City from the gardens. Wellington whilst windy it is very pretty and it must be the quitest capital city l have ever been in!

Wellington..ic_Gdns.jpg

Wellington..ot_Gdns.jpg

Wellington_Cable_Car.jpg

Beehive.jpg

We were able to get the free interislander shuttle bus from the train station to the ferry terminal. The Ferry took 3 hours to get across the Cook Strait - due to the navigation around the Marlbourough Sounds. This journey felt like nothing - the views sailing into the Marlbourough Sounds were amazing again! There are some houses out here that you can only access by boat - how cool cut off from society unless a boat comes by!

So we were staying for 3 nights in Picton at the Villa Backpackers. It was great to see that the Villa came in their minibus thingy and picked us up! Saved having to pull the suitcases around (even though it really wasnt that far away!).

This was a lovely wee backpackers - a nice crowd in a converted bungalow, plenty of outside area and a hot tub if you felt the urge! It was a good mixed age group too so we didnt feel too ancient!

Had a wander around Picton and although there's not much to the place it has a nice seaside village feel to it. I found some really nice and different gift shops with wonderful cermaics which l definately intend getting back to!

For a change tonight we went mad and decided to cook a chilli and rice - makes a change from eating out everynight which we had done for the last 15 nights! But when we were up at the supermarket getting the ingredients and beer - I WAS ASKED FOR ID FOR BUYING ALCOHOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How good is that - made my day let me tell you!

After dinner we just sat outside in the garden drank a few beers and chilled out - the weather is due to take a turn for the worst over the next few days apparently!

Posted by Purdy 11.02.2007 01:03 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Leaving Australia - Hello New Zealand

Part two

sunny 23 °C
View New Zealand on Purdy's travel map.

4th January

So we left behind a wet rainy Sydney to head to the airport and fly to Auckland - we had an hour delay but that was nothing major.

We flew into a sunshiny Auckland which was nice considering the rain over the past few days in Sydney!

We grabbed a Skybus who took us on a back streets tour of Aucklands suburbs due to road works on the motorway! Still he was great and dropped us at the door of the hostel - Aspen House - Emily Place. This was a nice clean friendly budget hotel. We were able to get checked in and for NZ$9 we were able to leave in a huge bag of laundry which was back and dry for us by 8am the next morning.

We went for a wander around the extremely quite streets of Auckland - WHERE WAS EVERYONE?? Apparently it was summer holiday period and everyone clears out of the city! Found a Red Lion pub with a happy hour on - so had a pint of Speights - which l wasnt that impressed with it a bit bland for me!

Anyway we headed to Viaduct Harbour and Princesses Quay - where we were had dinner in Loaded Hog - for 2 steak dinners and drinks - it cost the equivalent of £20! Great!

We then went to an Irish Pub and found a bottle of Esk Valley Sauvigion Blanc, Hawkes Bay - this was actually the first NZ SB wine l had ever had so we thought it appropriate for our first night in New Zealand!

So we were due to go to Rotarua for the day tomorrow but decided as Auckland was so quite we would skip a city day and extend our car hire and get a room in Rotarua for the night.

5th January

Up early with an overnight bag and got our car from Hertz. It was no problem to extend our car hire and we were able to drop it off at the airport on 7th Jan.

We hit the road and headed toward Waitamo Caves. Now we got our first lesson in driving in New Zealand - although the distance didnt perhap seem THAT far but you simply cannot take you eyes off the road they are so windy, plus you simply have to take it slowly so you dont miss a second of the scenery!

Got to Waitamo around lunchtime and booked on a glow worm cave tour. This was pretty cool although we couldnt take any photos inside the caves. The main chamber of the cave was pretty amazing and fantastic acoustics too - apparently they hold concerts and Christmas carols there which must be cool to witness.

It was then a short boat ride out of the cave to see the glow worm larva glowing on and get bitten a few hundred times by the mozzies!

After lunch in the sun it was back on the road to head toward Rotarua. This was a fabulous drive the countryside was fantastic to see - it was like the West of Ireland coupled with the highlands of Scotland multipied by 100!

We got to Rotarua for around 4.30pm and we went to the tourist information to try and get a room - this was no problem we got a hotel sudima rignt on the rather smelly lake Rotarua! Would have loved to have time to visit Lake Taupo but unfortunately not!

It was a huge big room! We also booked the Maori Hangi show that night - we thought it would be rather cheesy but thought what the heck it will be fun for the night!

So we were met in the lobby by 2 Maori men who invited us into the show! This was fun - they went through the traditional greeting and Kaiora - and touching noses.

We then had a buffet which was rather good - lots of food and then desert!

The Maori concert - was excellent - l was surprised how good it was - lots of audience participation. We were both up on the stage at one point! Oh and of course there was the famous Hakka too - Paul gave it a go - not very well though!!

Maraoi_Rotarua.jpg

We went for a wander around the city - which again was very quite - it was only 10pm! Still we found a pub and had some beers!

6th January

Another sunny day which was good - so after a lie in - Paul was shattered from all the driving - we had breakfast at a great place in Rotarua called Fat Dog.

We headed down the geo-thermal highway to Wai-O-Tapuo Geo Thermal Park to see the bubbling mud pools and specatular coloured pools created by all the geo-thermal activity.

At this point l must point out the smell was totally of sulphur though you got used to it after a while! It was spectacular to look at! Amazing to think this is something created by mother nature herself!

Champange_..Rotarua.jpg

Bubbling_Mud_Rotarua.jpg

Mud_Pools_Rotarua.jpg

Wai-O-Tapo.jpg

It was then the long drive back to Auckland that evening - we had a fantastic Thai meal that night which again was a great price! So it was bed for another early flight to Wellington in the morning!

Posted by Purdy 28.01.2007 05:40 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Sydney

sunny 22 °C
View New Zealand on Purdy's travel map.

30th Dec

We leave Melbourne really early in the morning but one good thing was l was able to see the most fantastic view - as the sun was rising there was a wonderful profile of about 5 hotair balloons floating along the city's profile - it looked amazing - l wish we could've taken a picture but we were in a taxi on a motorway!

We arrived in Sydney nice and early and after a bit of flapping about to get checked in we did - Macquaire Hotel on Wentworth Ave - it was fine - bit rough around the edges but great! Staff are brilliant!

We decided we would go for a walk - we wandered through Hyde Park, down the Botanic Gardens

Flowers_Bo.._Sydney.jpg

and low and behold there was the Sydney Opera House and the Coat hanger on display - how cool!Opera_House.jpg

In a moment of spontanous madness we decided to pay AU$450 for a prime harbour side view of the fire works for NYE - right beside the Opera House and facing the Harbour Bridge! It did include a seafood banquet and all drinks too!

We went for Thai food that evening - which conviently enough was located in our hotel! Very reasonable price and the wine list was good and again compared to the UK - very cheap!

We took a wander to Darling Harbour that evening and over and ice cream we watched the world go by!

31st Dec 2006 - NYE

As we had our spots on Circular Quay sorted and passes into the area - we were free to explore more of the city today. So we decided to get a bus to Cogee Beach and after an hour or so lazing on the beach we did the walk to Bondi.

This was a lovely walk - although l had a little freak out attack when Paul decided to take me along a cliff edge with a sheer drop onto rocks and the ocean!

We eventually got to Bondi after passing the cemetry.

It was straight back to the hotel and then down to Circular Quay to our restaurant to watch the evenings festivities!

The wine we received was nice but not amazing and the sparkling wine was not champange as it was sold to us! Still the oysters and lobster were good!

The fireworks were fabulous - l loved all the boats out in the harbour all lit up and we were able to capture the entire evening on video also!Fireworks_NYE_Sydney.jpg

1st Jan 07

New Years Day - after a long lie in we got up to have breakie and then headed down to the rocks.

Paul was booked to do the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb this afternoon so after l left him at the departure point l went for a wander around circular quay. It was a lovely sunny day so l had a coffee and read for a while nice and relaxed!

We had dinner in the Rocks - we found a BBQ your own steak place - called Phillips Foot - it was very good!

We headed back to bed for an early night - early start in the morning!

2nd Jan 07

Wonderbus tours arrived early in the pouring rain for our day trip to Blue Mountains! We had a tour guide called Tish - who was very good and very bubbly!

First stop was Featherdale Wildlife Park were you could feed Kanagroos and stroke Koalas! We enjoyed this - spent an hour here!

Feeding_Kanga.jpg

We had lunch in Leaura - a quaint tourist village before heading ff to Echo Point to see the Blue Mountains. We got a good view and because of all the rain the mountains were definately giving off a good blue haze.

3_sisters.jpg

We then headed to Scenic World and we did the 3 rides - cable car over a gorge with a glass bottom floor, another gondola type ride which was rather disorinating and then back up to the top on the steep railway - WOW it was definately steep!

We then stopped for a wine tasting at Tissara Winery outside Sydney.

Penultimate visit was to the Olympic Park outside Sydney (which was rather pointless to be honest!) before a river cruise up Prattamara River to Circular Quay - where l got sea sick! Typical me!

We went to the same place for dinner again - the BBQ place - Sydney Cut steak - delicious!

Our last day in Sydney and Australia tomorrow!

3rd January 2007

After a lie in and breakfast it was down to Circular Quay again to catch the ferry to Manley - thinking we would spend some time on the beach!

Yeah we did spend some time on the beach - whilst it intermittently rained on us! Didnt stop us and lots of other too!

I then popped into Roxy and bought some more clothes - just couldnt resist!

After a wait on the ferry we rushed back to our hotel to get changed and walk to Darling Harbour to meet Hun and her hubby Micheal (more people from Pauls work!) for dinner. Dinner was lovely - more Kanga - and Hun and Micheal were lovely!

They dropped us back to our hotel - where it was packing time for an early start for our flight to Auckland.

So this ended our 10 day visit in Australia - and l loved the country - definately want to explore it some more! The kindness and friendliness of the Aussies was unbelievable. I can really see why people want to emigrate to the country. Although Sydney didnt appeal as much as Melbourne it was a great city too.

Posted by Purdy 27.01.2007 10:12 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Back to Melbourne

- boo hoo our last night

sunny 20 °C
View Australia on Purdy's travel map.

Our last full day in Melbourne - which was a real pity - Melbourne had really gotten under our skin - such a chilled relaxed city - somewhere we could imagine ourselves living to be honest. AND - the best coffee in the world is to be had in Melbourne - in my honest opinion!

We were up and about by around 9am (our latest lie in to date!) and we headed into the CBD again and caught the circle line tram (the free one!) around the city for a whirl wind city tour!

We were then meeting Fiona at Melbourne zoo with her daughter Milly. The weather had definately improved which was brilliant - we even were slapping on the suncream today as there was flesh exposed!

Melbourne Zoo was a good zoo but after you have visited Sinapore Zoo all others pale into insignifiance to be honest!

That evening we went out to St Kilda to meet up with Gill et al again for dinner on the beach side (Beachcombers) - this is where l had my first experience of Kangaroo steak - nice!

Luna_Park_..lda_Mel.jpg

Really liked St Kilda - another reason we wished we were not leaving Melbourne already - would have loved to explore more and spend a day in the sunshine chilling out on the beach!

Sun_Settin..t_Kilda.jpg

We headed into the city again to have a few drinks (well we had about 4 bottles of champange to be honest!) before l said goodbye to Gillian who l hadnt seen in a year and it would probably be another year before l see her again - better stop now lm getting tearful!

Loved Melbourne fantastic city - I WILL BE BACK!

Posted by Purdy 27.01.2007 04:46 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Great Ocean Road

semi-overcast 18 °C
View Australia on Purdy's travel map.

Still the weather was up and down - but by all accounts this was Melbourne for you! Today was our overnight trip down Great Ocean Road.

We headed off to grab our hire car and started the trip - the sun was shining at this point - and we were stuck in a traffic jam due to road works trying to get out of Melbourne!

On an aside l really must say driving around Australia and finding where you need to go was so EASY - everywhere was really well sign posted - you really couldnt get lost!

So we drove toward Torquay - where l found a huge big outlet centre - where l forced Paul to stop! I was able to get Rip Curl Hoodie & top! There were so many cool wee dresses but l tried to stay sensible - l mean l was only travelling for a month and l was heading back to a northern hemisphere winter - not much call for wee dresses now really!!

Our next stop was at Bells Beach where Point Break was filmed - maybe cos it was overcast and trying to rain on us but l wasnt really that impressed with the beach to be honest! There were a few guys out in the water surfing (or trying to!)

We drove on out the road via Angelessa where we stopped for lunch, via Lorne and toward Apollo Bay.

The route was beautiful and the road was windy! I think the highlight for us had to be though find wild Koalas munching on eucalyptus leaves along the road side! And they werent adverse to getting their photographs taken either - quite enjoyed it l think!

Koloa_Gt_Ocean_Rd.jpg

Our final stop for the day was in Apollo Bay where we had booked a B&B for the evening (Hayley Reef Views - run by a lovely mad Dutch lady called Nellie!) - we had a fantastic comfy double bed and there was a huge spa bath too - bliss!

So l made reservations for dinner that night as we had been advised to, then we lay down and promptly fell asleep and missing dinner reservations!

We headed into the town around 10pm - everywhere was closing - we were lucky to find somewhere to feed us pasta!
So an extremely quite evening with lots of sleep!

Jet lag catching up on us!

28th December 2006

We were pushed for time today as we had to be back in Melbourne to return the hire car by 5pm so we were up and on the road by 8.30am. It looked as the weather was on the up - there was sunshine and not so many clouds on the horizon.

We made it down to the 12 Apostles and spent around half an hour taking photos and enjoying the rock formations. I dont actually think there are 12 of them any more but even still the do look pretty amazing!

12_Apostles.jpg

We stopped by Thunder Cave and then to Loch Ard Gorge before making our way to see London Bridge (which has slightly fallen down!)

London_Bridge.jpg

We drove on past the Bay of Martyrs toward Warnabool where we grabbed some fish and chips - which was pretty good but the Ozzies havent found the pleasure of vinegar soaking your chips or brown sauce! It was then back to Melbourne via the in-land route.

We found an amazing pizza place up the street from the hostel that night - BYO wine with NO corkage charge, and for garlic bread, a pizza each, and 2 beers it cost £20 - how good is that!!

Posted by Purdy 27.01.2007 04:43 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Melbourne

- whats with the dang weather????????

overcast 16 °C
View Australia on Purdy's travel map.

My chum Gillian lifted us from our hostel (THE BEACH, 97 Beaconsfield Parade Melbourne - great no complaints, clean and friendly) and we headed to her house to start our Christmas celebrations, she had the Christmas food in and l was to help prepare it.

So all was good - well nearly all was good - the weather - what had happened to the weather????????????

Where was the Christmas on the beach - the BBQ turkey, the prawns on the barbie - that Australia was famed for??? It was blowing a gale and the weather was freezing - so much so l had to change out of my short pants and go to the bottom of my suitcase to find my jeans and a jumper which l had thought l would not need until l arrived in New Zealand! Apparently some the mountains around Melbourne had a snow fall!!! The Ozzies said they were grateful as it put out the bush fires and the temps the week before had been hitting 40 c - YEAH WELL THIS DIDNT HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!! It was apparently the coldest Christmas in Melbourne since 1935!

Typical l should have known - when in Thailand a few years ago the rainy season arrived early and we were drenched every day!! We are bad weather jinx's!

So Gill had turkey and all the trimmings arranged and a big pavalova for afters - we provided the booze!

Mid afternoon Paul and l started to feel the effects of long haul travel and went for a 4 hour kip - we got up had another drink and headed out into wet & windy Melbourne for a session!

Due to the Ashes being held on boxing day the pub was full of the Barmy Army (or as l like to say the entire population of Manchester and surrounding areas - honestly everyone we spoke to were from this area!) l dont think there was an Australian in the pub to be honest!

So the night ended with Bundy & Coke and us combatting jet lag with alcohol! Worked a treat - slept right through the night like babies!

26th Dec 06

We woke around 7am and got up - headed up the street and found a great place for breakfast - and a fabulous berry smoothie! The weather had not improved - still cold and rain showers!

The tram stopped right outside the front door of the hostel so we were able to jump on one and head into the CBD.

We decided to visit Old Melbourne Gaol first - famed for being the last home of that outlaw Ned Kelly. It was a nice way to pass an hour or so and quite interesting to wander through.

Heather_Ne.._Armour.jpg

We then wandered around Melbourne which was in the throes of the Boxing Day sales! Took a few snaps of the city then arranged to head out and visit Fiona - an old work colleague of Pauls.

Sunken_Library.jpg

It was on the tram ride out to Fionas place in West Preston we encounter the most amazing kindness and friendliness - we got out at the wrong stop basically and we had stopped a lady to ask for directions. Turned out we were around 10minutes from where we should have been! No worries - we would just hop on another tram (we had day passes after all!) and head out to where we should be! NO she wouldnt hear of it insisted we jump into her car and she drove us there - totally out of her way - l was gobsmacked - you would encounter such kindness like this at home everyday! So to that random lady in Miller Street, Fitzroy Melbourne THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

After our visit with Fiona and Dave and baby Ameilia we headed back into town to the Casino complex to meet up with Gill. Her mum and sister (whom we know!) had arrived over from Northern Ireland too so we all met up for dinner and wine! I was however starting to flag and feel very tired! Still l managed to stay up until around midnight!

Posted by Purdy 27.01.2007 12:37 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The journey begins.......

From the evening before, from Belfast to Melbourne

all seasons in one day 14 °C
View Australia on Purdy's travel map.

Leaving Northern Ireland via London via Frankfurt via Singapore and at last MELBOURNE! Happy Christmas everyone!

The night before the journey starts and its a bit tense in our household - running around trying to get packing finished - lm trying to do the housework and leave home in a decent state, Paul hasnt really started packing so has just dropped off the travel money, taken a bag of tolitries plus camera tripod and lonely planet guided that he has to pack into his luggage!

Of course we are slightly stressed about the fact that domestic flights into Heathrow are hit by this fog we are experiencing! We have 3 hours to before our next connection to Frankfurt at 17hours and then another 3 hours before our Singapore flight!

On top of this we have a friends Christmas party to go to tonight and trying to get through to my mates l do not want to get blitzed before flying tomorrow just aint getting through!

I suppose l had better stop putting off the things l have to do and get on with it!

Thats it for now!

Heather

Saturday 23rd Dec - Monday 25th Dec

So our first flight of the day was not until lunchtime from Belfast - so we thought why not treat ourselves with a good breakfast that l dont have to cook and clean up from!

So we headed out to grab food which was lovely BUT when we got home l wasnt able to park outside my house!!!!!!!!

I was NOT amused - theres a football ground near my house - and as it was the last Saturday before Christmas there was a big match. So fans were parking EVERYWHERE - including outside my house! We didnt have time to wait obviously - luckily my friend Janine came to the rescue and moved the car for me later that day!

The flight to London was uneventful - although it looked like we were in for QUITE a queue in terminal 2 in LHR due to the back log from the previous days of fog but thankfully our frequent fliers cards helped us out and we were able to get through and jump the queues!!!!!

Otherwise it would be scary cos there were aimless queues seemingly pointing to nowhere in particular and there was NO ONE about to give advice - there were only staff on the main terminal doors barring entry!

London - Frankfurt - Singapore uneventful - slept a bit watched Little Miss Sunshine thats it.

Once in Changi we bobbed around the shops picking up some booze, perfume and SD cards for the camera. I then went into the Singapore Airlines Lounge and decided to have a shower. This was great l felt refreshed ready for my next long haul flight - getting ready l opened a drawer and saw a hairdryer - went to use it and didnt notice loose wires hanging out (l had no contacts in and no specs on - l was blind!) - yes you guessed it ZAP - an electric shock! Nothing too serious but wow it could of been! When l told staff they reacted to remove the hairdryer but l am still waiting for one to ask me if l am ok or do l need medical assistance! Note to self - write letter to SIA ref this issue!

Anyway - the flight to Melbourne pretty uneventful arrived in 6.5 hours which was cool, grabbed some bottles of champers on arrival and made our way to our transfers.

Posted by Purdy 27.01.2007 12:28 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Whooo Hoooo

- just counted the days........

Just counted the days until the Great Down Under Trip - only 40 days to go - just over a MONTH!!!!!!!!!

God where did the time go to!

UPDATE.............. A week & a half - good grief - l really need to think about packing l guess!!!!!!

Posted by Purdy 14:11 Archived in Northern Ireland Tagged preparation Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 15 of 30) Page [1] 2 »