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Sarah's Around the World Travel Tales

Welcome to Sarah'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

Saturday, 15 July 2006

Location: Rarotonga, Cook Islands

3 hours after boarding a plane in Fiji we succesfully land (always a bonus!) in Roratonga the main island of the Cook collection. In fact this plane was special as it took us back in time!! We left on the 15th and arrived on the 14 so got to live Annes birthday twice. Ok as im sure some of you clever people realise it was a time machine we boarded but we in fact flew over the time line.

Anyway we arrive to a dorm up in the hillside and decide that after one night this is not good enough for us!!!! So the next day we hunt for a new home and find the perfect one. A villa on the beach! So in we move (we do try and be scabby backpackers but we enjoy our luxuries too much!!). And I am so glad we did. Every morning waking up and having my breakfast on the balcany looking out at the crashing waves on the beach was heaven.

There really is not alot i can tell you about the Cook Islands as we spent all our time on one, but it was beautiful. Unfortunately it did rain alot while we here (typical for us!) but we did have a nice time just lazing about.

Check out the photos....

Saturday, 08 July 2006

Location: Nadi, Fiji

After having an action packed 4 weeks in New Zealand it was time for a well deserved rest!!! SO off we flew to the beautiful Fiji Islands.

Our first stop was Nadi on the main Island. It was ok, nothing to write home about (even though i am!!). We were only here for one night before catching a little speed boat over to the island of Malola.

We arrived to a welcoming song and friendly smiles all round, giving us an impression that this was just the sort of place we could stay for weeks on end but that changed after a couple of hours!! The place was a whole if you were staying in the dorms and over run by little American teenagers who were allowed to get drunk so took full advantage.

Luckily we were only here for 3 nights before moving onto the next island... Beachcomber.

As soon as we arrived we noticed the difference. This island was tiny (it took approximately 7 mins to walk around the whole place!) but it was stunning! White sands with crystal water. We only had another 3 nights here but we loved every minute. Each night they had typical Fijian entertainment and we even tried Cava (a drink made out of plant roots that made your tongue go numb!) it tasted like muddy water!!!

Unfortunately the time came to move on but we were not too upset as the next stop was the Cook Islands. Rumour had it these were even more beautiful!

Saturday, 24 June 2006

Location: South Island, New Zealand


What can i say about the South Island..... breathtakingly beautiful would probably cover it! It is such a stunning place, and im so glad we went in winter to see all the mountains covered in snow.

We started our tour of the South in Abel Tasmin National Park. A beautiful place with such stunning coast line. We unfortunately didnt have long here so could only do half a days hike (or tramp as they call it in NZ). But we did get to see some beautiful sucluded beaches and were lucky that we had such a good day for it.

We then headed south stopping in a few random places on the way but basically heading for Franz Joseph home to one of the biggest glaciers in New Zealand. Here we bumped into a couple of familiar faces. Matt and Dan, who had followed us from Oz - obviously missed us too much! In Franz we visited the glacier and viewed it from a distance but it wasnt until we got to Fox Glacier (the other big one in NZ) that we got to do the exciting bit - hike across it! This was certainly an experience. Walking through cravases not much wider than myself and just generally feeling like I was on a gigantic ice cube! At one point our group were the only people on the glacier. It was so peaceful (except for Beckis constant singing!!)

Queenstown was next on the agenda and it was a refreshing change to feel like we were back in civilisation again. Kate and the guys did a bungy Jump and survived. Whilst me and Becki decided we had better things to do other than throwing ourselves off an extreme height with a bit of elastic tied to our ankles!

My favourite activity of the south Island and maybe of the whole time in NZ was here in Queenstown - Snow Boarding. I may not have been any good but i absolutely loved it! Im a bit of a snow baby. The day was brilliant other than a few accidents - becki managed to break a tendon in her thumb and Matt managed to fall over and make someone snowboard into his head! They were both ok, other than a little disappointed that they had to finish snow boarding early.

We also part took in a little jet boat ride down the famous Shot Over river. It makes it sound quite relaxing but it was far from that! I thought i was about to die about 10 times along the way as the driver sped through the canyon inches from the walls (either side that is). But fortunately we did survive to tell the tale!

After a few days enjoying ourselves in Queenstown it was time to move on. Our drive took us through more beautiful scenery. Up, down and even through mountains. We even had to drive through an Avalanche zone. Definitely a first for me! The destination Milford Sound. You may not have heard of it but it is probably one of the must photographed places in NZ. I dont think our photos do it justice but it was amazing.

These were the main things from the South. There were many other places that we visited but everything was so good I'd be here all day writing about them. Although Im sure you'd all love to hear about it (yeah right) my fingers are aching from typing!!!

So my friends, that was New Zealand. Next stop Fiji for some well deserved sunshine. x

Saturday, 10 June 2006

Location: North Island, New Zealand

NEW ZEALAND PART 1 - The North Island

Ok where do i start.....?

Well probably at the begining would be a good start!

It all began on a late Saturday afternoon. After boarding a plane in Sydney Airport, 3 hours and 15 mins later we arrive in Middle Earth. To those not fimiliar with Lord of the Rings it also known as NEW ZEALAND.

My first impression driving from the Airport as the rain drizzled down the window and everything seemed rather grey was that we had msitakenly been flown back to England.... Oh how my views changed!

Our first stop was Auckland. To be honest we didnt really see enough of Auckland for me to give a fair opinion, but from what i did see it was just another city. We stayed two nights before collecting our hire car who we appropriately named Graham, and heading North to the Bay of Islands.

A beautiful place if only the weather had been better. It pretty much rained the whole time we were here, but we did manage to brave the weather and go on a boat trip. Which was well worth it by the end as we saw a pod of Dolphins which would litterally swim up next to the boat. Unfortunately (or not as it was freezing!) we weren't allowed to swim with them as they had babies with the pod.

Headed back to Auckland again for one reason, and that was to be reunited with our lost friends Kimber and Annabelle who were coming to the end of there NZ trip. We hadnt seen them for a month so it was good to catch up. And also a little sad as we wouldnt see them again until we were all back in Bristol.

But trip must go on and our next adventure took us south and then a bit west to the Cormandle Peninsula. The reason we found ourselves here was to experience a very strange thing.... hot water on a beach in the middle of winter, at the appropriately named Hot Water Beach. You basically dig yourself a hole in the sand 2 hrs after low tide and the hole feels up with boiling hot water and i litterally mean boiling. I actually managed to burn my foot! Very strange.

Ok I feel I am going into far too much detail as I have only written about 4 days and i have another 10 to go so lets cut it down abit.

Over the next week or so we part took in quite a few different activities. These included...

Black Water Rafting. This is basically climbing down into caves with a rubber ring and floating around the underground rivers. There was one point where we had to jump off a waterfall backwards and we also saw glow worms.

Going to watch an All Blacks match. We watched them thrash Ireland which wasnt brilliant as we were supporting the visitors, plus it absolutely poured down with rain.

Visited the eggy smelling Rotoroa (due to so much sulphar in the air) were we had a mud spa and visited the famous giesers.

White Water Rafting. One of my favourite activities. The rapids were great fun and we even survived the highest commercial rafting drop in the world. A huge 7 metre drop. About the same height as my house!! Trust me it felt higher been at the top in a little rubber dingy with nothing to keep u in except for the strength of your own hands holding on!

Moari Feast. This was a traditional New Zealand feast with all food cooked in the typical way a tribe would usually cook it. Unfortunately there was a power cut so we didnt get to enjoy all the usual activites, but the entertainment was brilliant.

And that was basically it for the North Island, but lots more adventures to come in the south....

Saturday, 10 June 2006

Location: The East Coast, Australia

I can't believe it has finally arrived but this is my last and final update from the big island they call Australia.

My last 3 weeks have been spent mainly on a coach (well thats what it feels like!) with a few amazing stops in between...... so here goes expect this one to be a long one!

As you all know it started in Cairns. A small holiday town in the very north. Personally I didnt think much of Cairns as there really wasnt much to do as even though it was a seaside resort there was no beach and the lagoon (a man made lake to swim in) was closed. Luckily we were only here for a few days and then a coach journey to our next stop.....

Magnetic Island. Well it was certainly different to what I have been used to. After living in the hustle and bustle of Kings Cross this was a complete contrast! There was litterally no one around and our hostel was miles from anything else. We spent our first night in our hostel bar teaching locals how to play a few of our many drinking games we've picked up along the way!
The next day we hired a 'moke' - basically a little plastic car that we could only discribe as a barbie car! A dream car for both Kate and Becks as it was pink!! This was a wise investment as we travelled all around the island and seen the beautiful sights it had to offer. We even found a bit of civilisation - 2 resturants and a shop!!

After our relaxing 2 days here it was time to catch the ferry back to the main land and another coach journey to Airlie Beach.
Here we just had a night as the next day we stepped aboard the New Horizon. The boat that we were spending 3 days on cruising around the Whitsundays.
This trip was amazing! One i will not forget in a long while. The boat held 30 people so down below the cabins were quite cosy. We had 8 in ours!
We spent our days visiting the stunning beaches - the main one being Whitehaven Beach. This was breath taking. White sand with crystal clear water. And also snorkelling. One of the days we were so lucky as the visability was great and at one point even though Becki was right next to me i couldnt see her due to the amount of fish surrounding us both. There was even a fish near enough the sixe of us (named Elvis!) who was very scary at first sight but he was friendly so it was ok.
The evenings were spent up on deck eating the delicious food provided. Drinking cheap wine and playing drinking games underneath the stars. And the stars were amazing! One night we even had a dolphin just swimming around our boat for hours as he was attracted by the lights and music.

Unfortunately this cruise had to come to an end so it was back to Airlie Beach where we were getting our coach that night at midnight..... well that nearly happened. Unfortunately we made the mistake of going out with the people from our boat and consuming a little too much alcohol and managed to miss the coach!!!! Never fear luckily there was another one the following night. Only problem was we had to miss our next stop of 1770 and head straight to Hervey Bay.

We arrived in Hervey Bay and the taxi driver was nice enough to give us a little tour and show us the one night club and the two bars! So as you can imagine another small town but this again was only a stop over as the next day we were off the the infamous Fraser Island for a self drive camping break.

This certainly was an experience and a half. 9 strangers were chucked in a van given a map, camping gear and told what time to be back so we did not miss the ferry! Oh and also warned about the danger of Dingos - a wild dog that has been known to kill in the past. Our group consisted of 8 girls and one guy!

Again I had a fantastic time. We certainly had to rough it but i wouldnt want it any other way. Luckily our 4x4 didnt get stuck in the sand or flip and we only saw one dingo from a distance. But our second night as soon as we got in the tents we could hear things walking around the tent and shadows on our tent from the moonlight!! A bit scary! The next morning we got out our tent and there were paw prints circling our tents and car!
On this island we saw some stunning sights. The main one being lake MacKenzie which is surrounded by white sand and the water is again crystal clear. Something you just cant describe and the photos do not do it justice - something you just have to see for yourself!

This sadly had to come to an end, although i was greatful to get back into civilisation where i could have a proper shower and have food that didnt have the added crunch of sand!!

Next and final stop.... Byron Bay.

This we were all very excited about as we were reuniting with part of our travelling family. Matthew, Daniel and Linda.

My last two days in Australia could not have been better. Our last day we spent just hanging out together. Went to the beach and played in the sand, then we took a walk up to the lighthouse which is the most easterly point of Australia. Me and Becki didnt quite make it though as both our flip flops broke!!
In the evening we went out for a delicious Mexican and then to the famous Cheeky Monkeys! A very, very funny night thanks to the great Daniel Byrne!!

Yet again a very sad goodbye, but this time a little worse as it was time to leave Australia where we have spent the last 5 and half months of our life.

So here we are now in New Zealand, but I'll wait until next time to tell you all about that! x x x

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Recent Messages

From Some boy that misses
I think I can say with confidence that you've had the trip of a life time Miss Bates. I know I certainly have and I have you to thank for a large portion of that. Once again...Thank you.

See you very soon.

P.S. We still on for Park St?
Response: And thank you Some Boy!
Of course we're still on for Park Street. Looking forward to it. See you very soon x x x
From Mother Hen
Just read your latest updates about the fiji and cook islands sounded great and so went to check out the photos as you said....... duh ......... what photos??????????? Come on Sarah put some effort into this. Thought I would start to practice the nagging as you will be home in a week! Can't wait. Love and miss you loads. Mum xxxxxxxxxxxx
Response: SORRY MOTHER! Unfortunately I have more important things to do like have fun! Will put them on as soon as possible. So looking forward to the nagging - its probably the thing ive missed most about being away from home!!!!!!! Love you loads x x x x
From Lil' Bro
Looks like ur having fun! How long till ur home? Nick x
Response: Well Nick if you go back and read the email I just sent you may just find out!!! x
From Annabella Oz!
G'day Bruce! Oopss sorry I'm so use to calling people bruce here in western Australia... I mean Bates.
Home soon eh?! I'm thinking about staying here another year. Only joking, I'll be following shortly after you. My plans have changed again but I tell you that when I get the phone call that you promised!!! Still looks like mid-September though.
How's the dirty yanks? Fat? Annoying? Still thinking their country is the only one that matters? MEOW!!!!!
Miss you more than you miss me.

Lots of love Manifred Winning bottom the third. XX
Response: Hey you,
Sorry! I keep meaning to ring but the time difference is so annoying. I promise tomorrow (or maybe the next as we're travelling tomorrow) I'll set an alarm to call u.
You better not be staying for another year! You are need (to be my friend!) back in good ole Brissle.
Yep the Yanks are as annoying as ever but we've seen some cool sights. I'll tell you all about when i call tomorrow or the next day!
Miss you just the same x x x x
From Francesca
Well i think there is no need to email me back then if i am seeing you very soon! i broke up from school today and i miss al my friends already! oh well will see them in the summer. Nearly a year since i have seen you and it has gone so fast but as people say 'time goes fast when you are having fun' hehe!!!! anyway i will leave you to enjoy your last 2 weeks and i'm so excited to be seeing you its going to be like the best ever!!!! love you lots and lots xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Response: Thanks Francesca,
Im very excited to see you too. The year really has flown by.
See you very soon honey x x x x
From Francesca
Hello sarah!!! i haven't spoke to you in a long while?! I have wrote an Email to you but i think i better leave one on here.

I know that i have seen your pictures 100 times but i just keep on looking because i forget what you look like. So i see that you are hopefully coming back on the 3rd of August?
Your Mum and Dad and my mum are in France and i spoke last night and they seem to be enjoying them selves as mum keeps on telling me, i wish i went because i'm never going to get a sun tan.
I think me and oli are coming down to bristol in summer holidays so i will be able to see everyone and all of us are coming down in August as well.
well i think i better stop writing because otherwise it will take you a year to read all of this.
hopefully hear from you soon!!
Lots of love from your little sister xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Response: Hey Francesca,
Sorry I havent replied to your email but have been so busy the last month. It feels like I havent had a moment to stop.
Well soon there'll be no need to keep looking at my pics as I'll be back in sunny England.
I cant believe I have only got 2 weeks left!
Cant wait to see you in August.
Hope your ok and i promise to email you very soon. x x x x x
From Bee
Sounds like your having a fantastic time and probably won't want to come home. It's actually quite hot here at the moment which makes a change. Keep on enjoying yourselves I'm sooo jealous. Can't wait to catch up. xxx
Response: Hello you,

So good to hear from you. How are you?
Honesly Hayley I do not want to come home but unfortunately its creeping up on me way too fast!
Looking forward to seeing everyone again though as i have missed ll my friends and family.
We'll have to go out when im back, which should be about the 3rd August!! NOOOO!
Speak very soon x x x x x
From J+O Bates
Hi Sarahjane,
After reading and looking at all this, we know you are enjoying yourself, and it must be an experience that you will never forget.As you have moved on, will you be updating this ? Your Mum gave us the address. Super keepit up and kook forward to seeing you when you return.
Lots of Love Olga & John
Response: Hey Uncle John and Aunty Olga,
Lovely to hear from you. You would be right in assuming im having a good time - in fact I know am having the time of my life!
I will be trying to update everything on here but Ive been so busy lately i havent had a chance but should have time when i get to America which should be in the next week or so.
Hope you're both well.
Lots of love x x x x x
From Tommy Boom


Some things will never change!! youll always be a sucker for rugby!!!

Take care missy and say hello to the girls

Thomas xx
Response: Rugby is a good sport I'll have you know Thomas!!!
Good to hear from you. Hope your not working too hard. x x
From Kate (I cant be both
Hey there missy

You as cold as me right now?! Im think im gonna die of the cold!

Just wanted to say that i love you muchly. Sydney was just the best time ever and we will never forget it!! I miss our little family and i cant wait til we all meet up again in the UK. Its gonna be awesome!

Speak to you in a minute!!

Lots of love

Response: Hey there Miss Cant Be Bothered,
You are right it is pretty cold. Doesnt help that we've been stood out in the pouring rain for hours just to watch a rugby match! Although it was lots of fun.
Sydney was the best, but we have so many more memories to make and i cant wait! But we must stop having fun - time is going too quickly!
Love you x x x
From The Conways
Photos are amazing. I really think you should get into writing Sarah, how about 'a year in the life of................' or 'Sarah's Travel Guide.....' Enjoy your last moments of your fantastic journey, can't wait to see you. I can honestly say I think I've slept in your bedroom twice since you've been away & your mum certainly hasn't offered it to me on a permanent basis!!!!!!! yet!!!!!! Are there any more poems? Enjoyed seeing you on the webcam, we certainly had some fun that morning. Well its just about midnight & I'm all tired out. Take care & lots of love xxxx
Response: Thanks Angela, not sure my English teacher would agree though!!!
Cant wait to see you too. Can't believe its not long now.
Speak soon x x x x
P.s. I hope you're taking good care of my bed i'm missing it sooooo much!
From Adam (cuz!)
wow i looked at all your photos its great remembering all the places again. looks like your having an amazing time. im very jealouse! i'm sure we can share travelling stories when u get back some time! make the most of your remaining days. x x x
Response: Hey Adam,
Yep its been pretty amazing, cant believe I've finally left Oz! Yes will have lots of travelling tales to exchange when I get back. Which is not that far away now - nooooo!
Hope you're well. Say Hi to the family for me.
x x x
From francesca
heya sarah i think the pictures are really nice especially the ones of you and matt! hehe!! hope you are really enjoying ur self? It has been quite sunny here and i need a sun tan but the thing is i just can't be bothered to go out because there is nothing to do!hehe! i should be travelling around the world wwith you!!! hehe! so when do you think you will be arriving back home? speak to you very soon!
love you loadz n loadzz xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Response: Well hello Francesca,
Thanks for the message, I'll let Matt know that you like the pictures of him!!!!
I am still having an amazing time and really do not want it to end.
Well currently in NewZealand where there really is no chance of us getting a suntan - its freezing! But off to Fiji next so that will more than make up for it.
Looking forward to seeing you when I come home (which should be about mid August) and it was lovely seeing you on webcam the other day.
Lots of love
Your big Sis x x x
From Some Boy
Sarah J,

It's been a great 6 months and would never of been the same without you.
I hope the rest of your trip is everything you imagined.

I will see you very soon.
Your Matty J
Response: Thank you Matthew. Im sure it will be and don't you worry I'll keep you updated every step of the way. x x x
From Anne
I love you mate and i'll miss you heaps. XXXXXXXXXXX
Response: I love you and will miss you loads too!

Enjoy the rest of your travels and remember I'm only an email away! x x x x x
From You know who
you cheeky so and so I have just read the message below - it is natural blonde as I keep trying to tell you!! One bedroom to let any offers? xx
Response: Well hello Mother!

Natural Blonde eh!? So you were just dying your hair dark brown for the first 30 years of your life then!!

I actually feel quite honoured that you have kept my room for 6 months before offering it out. I thought there'd be some else in there with in a week of me leaving! x x x
From Angela,Francesca, Ol
Hi there just caught up with all your msgs & photos unfortunately I cannot get onto your site at work. Francesca had the power to find you.

Sounds like you're having a great time - when are you coming home. In July I am spending just over a week on my own with your mum & dad in Nice, really looking fwd to it all that sun, sand & sea not to mention the sightseeing.
Just tp bring you up to date on my love life I met a couple of PC Plodds. I've seen one of them again & you wouldn't believe it he lives in Gloucestershire. Oh well......... lets wait & see if I see him again. Dream on........
Well this was supposed to be only a short one but well lets move on.

Take care, look after yourself say hello to Sydney for me & enjoy the freedom.

Lots of love

The Conways.

PS I am now 53 yrs old.........can't believe it........ your mum is winding me up saying she is still in her 40's....... not for long....i'll make her suffer!!!!!!!!!!!!
Response: Hey guys,

Yes still having a brilliant time. Cant believe how fast the time is going. Leaving Sydney in just over 2 weeks which will be weird/v sad. Spending 3 weeks travelling up the East coast before heading over to New Zealand.

Think I will be back sometime in August if all goes to plan.

Men in uniform eh!? Sounds good to me! I cant believe your 53! You do not look it thats for sure. Dont worry if mum trys winding you up just ask whos got the more grey hairs!!!

Anyway lovely to hear from you as always.

Speak very soon x x x
From fi
Hey babes how goes? back in the uk at the mo but off to the med for the summer to sail!!! my tan will def rival urs.... fi x
Response: Hello stranger!

How was the ski season? It was like you disappeared of the face of the Earth! Hope it all went well. Email me soon because i want to hear all about it!
Oh and have fun in the Med you lucky thing!

Speak soon x x
From Nats
Hi Sarah,
Looks like you still having a great time.
We move into our new house today. Got the keys yesterday, but Col needed to work this morning & internet and tv not being connected until Saturday. It's taken 2 whole weeks to find the house, get a mortgage, insurance, bank account and complete on our house. How mad is that. I think your Mum & Dad are still waiting to get their flat.
Should be a little less stressful and we can relax and sort out the decor.
There is a separt basement flat with the house which will be great for guests. You and your mates are all welcome anytime.
Speak soon.
Response: Hey Nats,
Cant believe you move into your new house already - that is amazingly fast! Saw the pictures and it looks beautiful. I cant wait to come visit.
A new house for you to decorate you must be in heaven!
Say hi to the boys for me.
Take care and speak soon. x x
From Mr happy man
Steve monks is gay
From tomoz
more bikini shots please! (except Anne, keep wearing that dress Anne)
From tomoz
no way, Toadie, Stu and Carl!
From tomoz
no way, around the twist!
From No one in Particular

It looks like you are having a smashing time. I must say, those Men you have been hanging around with look really cool. You're so lucky!
Response: I dont know about that - you should try living with them!!
From Steve Monks
Hi Sez, Glad its going well. I enjoy receiving your updates. Love the web page. Enjoy your travels. And remeber....TAKE CARE. Steve x
Thanks Steve,
Hope everythings well with you?
Email me soon! x