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Tina and Paul's Great Get Away Down Under

Welcome to jamespaul's Travel Page. Here is where I will be keeping a record of my travels for all of you to read. Please feel free to leave a comment for me. If I have time in between discovering new places and meeting new people I will reply to them!

Diary Entries

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Location: Bay Of Islands, New Zealand

16 Jan Excellent drive from Hamilton to Bay of Islans, taking in some lovely scenery. Auckland looked good to visit, but no time to do this visit. Homestay BB magnificent - certainly saved the best to last - wonderful views across bay from house!. Relaxed on patio and followed this by lovely meal aqt LIPS at Paihia. Paul enjoyed wine tasting with host for a bedtime tipple!

17 Jan Can you believe it - this is our last day! Spent morning on a crusie of Bay of Islans - wonderful trip in glorious sunshine - what a place!. The dolphins did not want to come out to play, but saw losts of birds and wonderful islands. Stopped off at Russel for lunch, and then on to Paihia. We then did a 4km round walk to waitrangi island - where the treatyt was signed between the Maoris and the Brits in 1840 - a wonderful site -recommended visit. Returned to BB and relaxed in hot -tub on deck, with views over the bay - wonderful. We emerged as new people ready for our last fish meal in Opuia. The end of a great holiday - just hope the trip to Auckland tomorrow is good.

Thank you for reading our journal - we hope we have made you envious. Will produce BB report for future NZ travellers.
See you soon
Love Tina & Paul

Monday, 15 January 2007

Location: hamilton, New Zealand

12/1 Glad we found internet access to complete previous update as it is raining. Left Taupo and stopped off to visitor atractions, having decided a day on the lake was best missed.What a day we had ! We visited a Honey Farm observing the bees at work thro glass hives, this was followed by honey and mead tastings. We both decided we preferred the wine. This was followed by a visit to a prawn farm situated alogside the lovely Huka River. We lunched here on prawns, of course. The next stop was Craters of the Moon a volcanic area with lots of hot springs, lava etc. it was amazing. Our B&b in NGONGOTHA near Rotorua had lake frontage. Unfortunately we could see little because of the rain. We finished the day with an exquisite meal at a newly opened restaurant in a former electric sub station. { Don - the venison was something to die for }

13/1 Spent the morning and early pm walking the Waimangu Volcanic Valley - excellent 3 hour walk with wonderful views. This was followed by a cruise on Lake Rotmana, an extinct volcano. This was followed by a visit to the Polynesean Spa to take the waters. Even Tina, who likes her baths hot did not cope with the 42deg C pool. Finished the day with an evening at Mitai a traditional Maori Village. The enactments of their canoe and other rituals were excellent. This was follwed by a Hangi, a traditional Maori meal which is cooked underground in mud.

14/1 Good weather enabled us to see all the lake environs. We drove to Hamilton, where we spent the afternoon and evening with Tanya, Mark and their family who now live here and her sister Sohie also working in NZ. Tanya is our god daughter and it was lovely to see them all. After a magnificent fish BBQ and a few beers Tina managed to drive us home safely.

15/1 Began the day with an early morning swim and hot tub at BB. Toured the delightful gardens and grounds of our hosts. Then moved on to Hamilton Gardens - a magnificent array of different garden settings. Finished the day with another BBQ at Tanya"s.

Friday, 12 January 2007

Location: Taupo, New Zealand

5/1 Easy drive from Te Anau to Queenstown. Light lunch preceeded rafting on the Kawara River - grade 4 rapids. Fantastic past Lord of the Rings sites and bungy jumping. Tina went rock jumping intom the river and survived. Took early evening trip up the Gondola for wonderful panaramic views, end of a good hot sunny day
6/1 scenic drive to Glenorchy stopping off for a walk at Bob's Bay. Discovered it was Glenorchy Race Day to raise money for the community. It appeared anyone with a horse turned up at the golf course, painted a number on its side and raced!. pm Dart river safari trip. BBQ was followed by off road trip, Forest trek and a 49K jet boat ride at 70km an hour. Breathtaking passed many more LOTR sites. Rain set in but this made waterfalls fantastic- river rose 3ft in 30 mins. Hot chocolate with brandy needed on return.
7/1 Drive to Geraldene hot sunny day picturesque trip ex. views of Mount Cooke range - still snow on pistes. Lake Tekapo was an azure blue green - hope the photos do it justice. BB wasa period 1900 board house. Geraldine a quaint slow town.

8/1 Drive to Kiakoura via Christchurch - lovely sunny day again. City tour- tram trip and Botanical Grds - very pleasant. Continued drive over twisty mountain road with exceptional views - wonderful.

9/1 am explored local area and winery - only one in NZ by the sea, good local wines and lunch. pm Whale watching trip - saw 3 sperm whales, 3 blue sharks, giant albatros, northern giant petrel and penguins- a fantastic experience with amazing photos.

10/1 Drove to Picton along Pacific coast line, along side railway track- possible future option. Visited 2 Marlborough Vineyards on the way. Good ferry crossing to North Island with exceptional views, intersting drive to Palmerston North for our BB homestay- exceptional. Evening meal, breakfast and House all superb.

11/1 Drive to Lake Taupo driving through gorges and following river.S1 highway thro Tanarino National Park and the three volcanoes - all part of Maori Legend and LOTR. Beautiful drive. Lake Taupo beautiful in sunshine. Visited Huka Falls and then went up stream for the opening of the dam waters to flood the gorge - an amazing site. Very pleasant BB.

Thursday, 04 January 2007

Location: teAnau, New Zealand

04/01/2007 Not too early a start for a change! Picked up coach for drive to Milford Sound, calling in at various excellent landmarks en-route ( cascades, viewing points etc). Boat trip down the fiord was all that everyone said it would be - and more. Totallying awe inspiring on a clear, bright sunny day. Return trip over the sound and alps by 4 seater cesenna plane. Un believable views, although a little bumby on take off - would recommend this to anybody.

Wednesday, 03 January 2007

Location: te anau, New Zealand

31/12 Leisurely drive to Werribe Manson and park for new years eve - surprise Xmas present. Drove throiugh Melbourne taking in st Kilda, the quays and Williamstown - where we lunched. Following check -in at mansin, we walked the sculpure trail, endingup at the winery for VIP tasting nad tour! An excellent evening followed, srating with canapes and champagne inthe bar. Dinner was superb ( menue available). The wine - considered to be one of Australias top ten - another gift is well worth a try ( Cullen - Margearet River-Diana Mandeline - Cabernet Survignon merlot 2004). We danced the new year in - and saw the new year in with more campagne - compliment of the house. If you want a pamper ( which we didn't do or a rest - this is the place)
HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our readers.

1/1/2007 After leisurely brekfast, toured the mansion and gardens, before a visit to the open -range zoo, which was fascinating, with animals really close. Finished the day off with more drinks by the Yarra river.

2/1/2007 Early start for flight to Christchurch and NZ. We have enjoyed every minute od our time - and hospitality in Australia - we will return. Ex flight gave us views over Tasmania, Franz Jospeph Glacier and Mt Cook. Scenic flight fron Christchurch to Queenstown provided even more splendid viewd of Mt Cook, the NZ alps and lakes. Finished the day with a walk aroungd Queesns town.

3/1/2007 am drove to Te Anau, passes through wonderful scenery and 'hillbilly' homesteads - like a step back in time., Locals very welcoming however, and coffee good! Pm lake cruise to golw work and limestone caves - magnificent. Sun shone all day. Shattered and in need of an early night!

Saturday, 30 December 2006

Location: Melborne, Australia

29/12 We are warming up nicely. Day out at Healsville Sanctuary. Pleasant mid morning drive to Healsville Sanctuary - home of Australian Wildlife. Absolutely magnificent to see all Australias indigenous animals and bird life. Tina even hand fed the wallabies. Spent 5 hours but well, well worth it. Then onto the Yarra Valley for Wine Tasting. As it was late only managed two Wineriesb but managed to taste ten wines before making purchases to replenish the stocks already consumed. Finished the day with an excellent Chinese Meal.

30/12 Weather absolutely magnificent 35 plus degrees. Off to the Boat Club at Mordiallac to take the yatch into the bay . Sailed for about two hours around the bay. Able to hoist the spinnaker so seemed to really motor along - wonderful very very pleasant. Came home for lunch then downloaded all the photos onto cd's - what a wealth of memories. About to go for a swim only 30 yards away !!!!! from the house. Party time tonight should be good.

Good news from Kate - Chloe progressing nicely, at home but has to have regular checks for a while - but everybody is extremely happy with events. MANY THANKS FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT.

Thursday, 28 December 2006

Location: Melbourne, Australia

28/12 Full day out with the family in the Dandenongs a range of mountains to the west of Melbourne. An interesting drive to Belgrave where we caught the Puffing Billy steam loco for a trip to Lakeside. BBQed on the public provided BBQs excellent, walked a short trail before coming back on the train. Avery pleasant day, weather improving. Sat down to plan the rest of our stay - more to follow. ps good news from Kate re Chloe is out next two days crucial to whether she can stay out- blood tests again Friday keeping our fingers crossed - then Christmas can start for them.

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Location: Melbourne, Australia

27/12 What a fantastic day spent at the Test Match in Melbourne. There all day saw 5 wickets two 15o plus innings by the aussies but saw Shane Wane come into bat. The stadium is something to see by-past all my expectations. A must if you are in the area over Christmas in the future only 78,000 plus spectators today.

Monday, 25 December 2006

Location: Melbourne, Australia

19/12 Again a relaxing day by the beach and pool. Ate the rest of sea food platter for lunch - still magnificent ! King prawns thicker than your thumb the size of sausages. Went to the view point to catch the sunset and take photos - weather fantastic clear blue skies and hot 30s.
20/12 Flight to Sydney Arrived for lunch time change. pm walked to the Opera House thro the Rocks and Circular Quay able to booke for their Christmas at the House production a modern day carols type concert.

21/12 am Bridge Walk absolutely amazing views all over Sydney. Ver safe to do but a must if you are ever here!
pm city bus tour very good and interesting. Evening at the Opera House - what a fantastic structure. Concert in the main hall interesting but ver good glad we were able to get in. Dinner afterwards on the quay at a chinese.

22/12 am Bondi Beach bus tour not what we expected a x between Torquay and Fistral beach in cornwall - good surf.
pm. caught ferry to Manly a seaside resort. Spent afternoon at Ocean Beach and walked to Shelley Beach. Ocean Beach was more impressive than Bondi. The ferry is excellent value the views of the whole harbour/bay excellent.

23/12 Flight to Melbourne - caught an earlier flight the airport heaving. Met by Nephew and family [ Grant, Kim and Alanah [ what a wonderful surprise not seengrant for 30 years. What a welcome Pete and Cheryl arrived to collect luggage. Called in shopping mall bigger than trafford completed christmas shopping.

24/12 Day out at Sovereign Hill/ Ballarat for gold mining tour round an authentic gold town well worth a visit. Panned for gold both successful in finding some slithers. Can recommend aussie pies for lunch and the local ale from the saloon. Finished day off with an excellent Vietnamese Meal.

ps.Through out our time in Sydney ahve been on tenderhooks because Chloe has been struck down with a very rare blood virus, which has now been identified and is being treated in hospital over christmas. We are relived that her condition appears to have stabilised and treatment can proceed.

25/12 MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OUR READERS from a very wet and windy Melbourne - wht happened to the BBQ 10degrees at 10am.

Monday, 18 December 2006

Location: Hamilton Island, Australia

13/12 Day spent with Quicksilver on the Barrier Reef - amazing to see the coral and the fish so close up. Paul spent am with Marine Biologist whilst Tina snorkelled from the pontoon where she managed to befriend a turtle. Buffet sea food lunch was followed by more snokelling and a trip by tina in a submersible to see wider reef. arrived back to base shattered. Fabulous evening meal ( fish again ) at On The Inlet Restaurant over-looking the guess what - THE INLET.

14/12 Safari Trip to the Daintree Rain Forest, River and Cape Tribulation including Mossman Gorge. Excellent Guide full of amazing information who also provided lunch and refreshments incredible sights of trees, insects, birds and flowers. Day finished with a cruise on the Daintree - crocodile spotting was glad to be in a boat rather than the water. Back to On The Inlet for dinner.

15/12 Train journey up the gorge to Kuranda - many spectacular views as you clibled up through the rain forest - waterfalls etc. Kuranda village interesting but just a shopping outlet up the mountain. Skytrain down provided a different perspective of the forest where you could see its immence size. Then onto Tjapukai - aboriginal village for original dancing, demonstrations of boomerang throwing - they do come back even when we throw them.

16/12 Up at 3.45am for a 4.15 departure for Cairns and flight to Hamilton Island. Prop jet flight gave us our first spectacular views of the WhitSunday Islands. Morning walk into resort centre reminded us it was only 9.30 am and we thought it was lunch time.
Colours of the waters are amazing. Booked a Yachting trip for next Day, spent rest of day relaxing on beach and pool area.

17/12 Banjo Patterson Yacht Cruise. What a wonderful experience spending the day criusing between the Islands drinking Champagne, with a cloudless sky and crystal clear water ! Other guests provided good company excellent buffet lunch. Spent morning at Whitehaven Bay ( just voted the worlds best beach ) pure white silicon sand. Crossed the bay to Chalkies Beach for snorkelling on the reef. Sea life different to earlier but amazing, with multi coloured corals.

18/12 Relaxing day in resort sunny warm but windy. Trying Island fish restuarant tonight - highly recommended.

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Location: Port Douglas, Australia

Sorry Folk's time has been too precious to find a vacant computer- here we are now.
8/12 D Day at last left home at 6am offered a fantastic deal as flight over booked but said no ! Excellent flight with Singapore airlines what beautiful Hostesssssss they have. Arrived at Marina Mandarin Hotel which was superb. Now 9/12 walked to Raffles to book High Tea for Sun. On to the quays - lunch THai Style and a boat trip.a short sleep before Night time Safari - a memorable experienc you definately need your camera the animals are next to you no fences. To bed Knackerd !!
10/12 Warm and sunny city tour witj several interesting stops but Botanical Gdns and Orchids the highlight. Kept Tina busy with the camera. pm High tea at Raffles a meal in itself plus a Singapore Sling, followed by another in the Long Bar amidst the peanut shells.Evening entertainment was a walk down Orcchard Road to see the Xmas lights- amazing, never seen so many shoppers or designer shops.
11/12 Departure date for OZ later. Morning visit to china town found us seing so many different sites - temples food supermarkets and chinese food halls an experience in itself- lunch for two less than two pounds. pm visit ti Changi War Museum and prison - very moving. Left for Brisbane overnight.
12/12 arrived in OZ flight onwards to Cairns took us all overe thr Coast and Barrier Reef. Arrived in a short lived but interesting tropical storm. Tree tops resort resembles a rain forest setting. Relaxed by pool, followed by a sea food buffet special - have you eaten morton bay bugs ? - we have and they are delicious.
13/12 just returned from an amazing day on the Barrier reef. Snorkelling xllent - myriads of fish and coral of all shapes and sizes no sharks. Sun shone all day .Dead on our feet but a truly unforgetable experience. Will speak to you soon - if you think xmas at home starts too soon try Singapore it starts in October.

Friday, 24 November 2006

Location: Aughton, UK

Just discovered this excellent web site. We are now in the final throws of planning those last minute things. We have been able to download local maps showing where our B&Bs are located in New Zealand so that should make life easyer as we are travelling about. The final itinerary came yesterday and all is in order so we are getting quite excited looking foreward to the sendoff party on the 2ndDecember, well done the girls for the planning and organisation.

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Recent Messages

From Don & Jo
Keep enjoying it to the end! Have a smooth journey home. We are starting to pack for the trip to Hawaii and will be gone unfortunately by the time you land. Look forward to hearing all about it when we get home on 15 Feb
Love Don and Jo
Response: Have a brilliant holiday - can you confirm on our hime E-mail the hotel we will be staying at in Obergurgle?
Sorry to remind you that your holiday of a lifetime is coming to an end.
See you Manchester Airport
Terminal 2 at 6 05am ?? 19th Jan.
Will check flight details on the Internet before leaving home
Mobile no if required
Enjoy the last few days
Regards John and Hilda
Response: Happy New Year many thanks for your message- will continue to enjoy our last week love T&P
From Jo G
Enough of this Oz and NZ stuff - are you ready for Ski-ing?!! Love to you both. See you soon xx
Response: Having seen the ski fields here I am raring to go- just need to get my ski legs fit love T&P
From Jane
Feel tired just reading about all your adventures. What a super time you are having. New Zealand sounds lovely and you are obviously travelling using some interesting airlines. Easyjet can't manage to land at Bristol at present because the new tarmac is too slippy in wet conditions! Think we should have made your travel programme into a TV documentary as it would be far more entertaining than what is on the TV at present. Strictly come travelling and sampling, springs to mind as a good title.
Response: Happy New Year- might need to make a TV prog to cover expenses for next trip, as pension may not go that far Love T&P
From segs and mand
friday just off to J and H for a meal good news about chloe when we saw kate in ormskirk. we are so envious of all especially all the wildlife, I cant wait for us to go and do birding. it looks like we will only go to queensland, sydney and adelaide, it will do !!!
eat and drink and be merry happy new year xxx
Response: Happy New Year - u will love it all, plenty of eating ang good wine drinking here love T&P
From jo & Don
Happy New Year!! Judging by the quality of the typing for new year's eve you did enjoy the wine and were still under the influence! We get quite exhausted ourselves just reading about your escapades. Pleased to hear the good news about Chloe
Best wishes, Don and Jo
Good news about Chloe, Hilda met Kate, Paul and Chloe on Friday in Ormskirk
All the best for the New Year in about 20 minutes
Hilda and John
From jane
At last, managed to get your web page as the address you gave at the party was not correct!. Luckily super phil, managed to sort it out. He has also made my laptop wireless!.
You are having a great time from all accounts. Am listening to radio 5 who are broadcasting from Sidney and talking to Terry Butcher who is managing a team out there. I felt for you both when the cricket was on! Getting ready for New Year at present. Weather is fine but gales are forecast. Has Chloe been poorly? Will write soon after reading your update.
Needles wilting on the Christmas tree!
Response: Happy New year to all, moving onto NZ today. Will catch up later
From Mandy and Segs
Lovely to read the blog.
so sorry to hear about Chloe, hope all is ok, keep us posted.
With love
Response: thanks for message, keeping fingers crossed re chloe - kate has update.
From Lisa et al
All is well back in blighty, Kate and Paul are playing with their christmas presents (handsfree kits) the girls are asleep so I thought that i'd drop you a line or 2. Chloe has been allowed home again today, back in for 1500 but should be released tomorrow morning for good. Then it's fingers crossed for the blood test results. Nan and pops are well had a lovely day yesterday, spoke to Maureen and Cyril yesterday too.

I'm off tomorrow on my travels then start work again on the 30th, no peace for the wicked!!!

Big hugs and kisses, I'll trya nd send a photo of xmas dinner with everyone on,

Love K,P,L,J,C,L X
Response: Thanks for message, glad to hear things are a bit brighter, thinking of you all
From Alex
Merry Xmas Tina & Paul!

I thought i'd leave you with a top tip for Queenstown after living there for 2 months....the Mecure Hotel in Fernhill where I worked has one of the best restaurants in QT and one of the best views! If you go tell the staff hello from Alex & Matt!
PS looking forward to skiing in Austria...what a surprise!
Happy Travels!
Response: thanks alex will check that out. Looking forward to skiing love to all
From Hilda& John
Tina & Paul
We are delighted that you are enjoying your holiday so much.
Have a very happy Christmas - we'll be thinking of you in all that lovely sunshine.

Much love

Hilda & John
Response: not much sunshine in Melbourne but much warmer than uk. Thanks for message
From don and jo
Sounds wonderful. Good to hear the restaurant on the inlet is still serving up super food. We are off to Heathrow in the morning to meet Alex off the plane with Vicky. Pity about the cricket!! Everton could easily have beaten Chelsea on Sunday but for 2 amazing goals one from 25 yds and the other from 35 yds but they played very well.
Best wishes jo and don
Response: just picked up messages all ok. Hope france went well, love tina and paul