Location: Sydney, Australia
Met up with Darsh and Bav for beer last night. It was nice to see them. They were also exited to have an overseas visitor.
Today I was suppose to go to see dolphins. The trip wwas cancelled due to the bad weateher:-( They offered me some alternatives so I went to Canbera for the day. Or rather spent the day on a coach (7:30 AM to 9:30 PM) and a few rushed visits to museums etc.
It was a good day though.
We visited the Museum of Austrailia, Parliament house and the Australian war memorial museum.
Both the museums were very good but woulod have been nice to have more time in.
We stopped on the way back for food at some nice little town. They have a statue of a sheep there, it was huge must be at least the hight of 2 or 3 double deckers.
Location: Sydney, Australia
Today I had breakfast with a Koala.
That was the first stop on todays trip.
Then went around the zoo type place we were at and looked at the other native animals.
Stooped off for lunch in Mount Victoria then went onto the Blue Mountains.
There are a couple of cable cars that you get great views from.
I didn't go on them. I don't like them and I did all the scary high stuff in New Zealand.
However it was really foggy, so the peple that did go on the cable cars didn'e get to see the great views either.
I did go on the railway they have there, the steepest incline in the world they say. It runs at an average of 45 degrees and is 52 degrees at it's steepest point.
The guy driving said 'its OK it's not a rollercoaster as we got on. I think it bears a very large resemblance to the start of the black hole ride at alton towers, only it's slower.
Stopped off on the way back at a viewing point to see kangaroo's in the wild and have champagne, as you do.
Trying to get some more photo's on the web site, but need to find a computer quick enough. You may have to be patient, but they'll get there.
Location: Sydney - Hunter Valley, Australia
Todays trip was to the Hunter Valley region for wine tasting and a visit to the Hunter Valley gardens.
It started out wet and horrible, but once we were out of Sydney it brightened up for the rest of the day.
First stop was in a little village pub (at about 10:30 AM) to try DR Judes Jungle Juice. Very nice indeed:-)
Then we went on to the mount pleasant vinyards for a tour and talk on how they make the wine. Then onto Lunch and wine tasting. 4 types of wine with the meal to try and then you can go upto the bar & taste more and maybe even buy some.
The meal was lovely, the wine was OK. But they also do a really nice port:-)
For me then it was onto the Hunter valley gardens, great place even in the winter, it must be even better in the summer when there are more flowers in bloom. Only problem was I filled the memory card in the camera :-( I had some I could delete :-) But soon filled it up again..............
Then up to the shopping village to meet the coach, and have a look at the shops of couse.
Then a quick dash to find a suitable computer so I could copy some pics freom the camera onto a memory stick to make space for photo's from the rest of the week.
Location: Sydney, Australia
Well what a fun filled day.
Went to the information centre and got some trips booked for the week.
Then went for a walk around the Rocks area & through a market there, lots of lovely stuff.
The sun had come out, blue skys etc. lovely.
Then went and got on a ferry that visits various points around the harbour.
Got off at Watsons bay and went up to a walkway there.
You can see the sea on one side & the harbour the other. Got a great view with the clear skys.
Hopped back on the ferry & went for a tour around the opera house.
The tour was very interesting & the theatres were too, but no photo's aloud, so you'll have to come and see that for yourselves.
Back to the hotel for something to eat & sleep :-)
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Had a quiet couple of days in Christchurch.
Been to the Canterbury museum, the botanical gardens & Hagley park.
I also went to the Art Gallery. There was some art there but also a few pictures (probably about 3) that were taking the mick a bit.
Met up with Chris, Sue, Stephen & Rachael for dinner. It was a good evening.
Location: Akoroa, New Zealand
Went on another trip today. Got the bus over to Akoroa and then went out on a boat trip. The drive over was great, had a couple of photo stops. It was cold, but the sun was out and the sky was blue.
The boat trip was to go and see dolphins, but they stayed home coz' it was too cold and wet. A storm had started to make its was into the coast by now/
I did see a glimps of one as it dived in the water :-) but only very briefly.
Saw some of the birds around the bay and lots of rocks & stuff.
Lots of info about how the area was formed by the volcanos that were/are there.
Location: New Zealand
Went on another Lord of the Rings tour today.
I'm not lord of the rings mad, but it's a great way to get out and see some of the countryside.
We stoped off at Rakaia gorge & lake Clearwater on the way for photo's. then went to a place called mount sunday. It is the place where thay filmed Rohan, Edorous & the Golden Hall.
They took abut 8 months or somehting to build the set and only filmed there for 4 weeks or something daft.
The amount of effort they put into it all was amazing. As you vcan see from the films. We could also see the place they used for Helms deep form where we were.
We drove most of the way up mount Sunday, then wlked to the top carrying lunch, champagne a sword and an axe.
We had replica's from the films. We ate lunch and drank champagne on top of mount sunday, then carried all that was left back to the car.
It was a beautiful day, a bit chilly but a really sunny blue sky. The area we wnet to is often very windy, but we got it on a calm day. Couldn't have been better.
We did get a flat tyre on the way back, but there you go.
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Went to the Arts centre & market again today. There were alot more stalls & some great stuff to see.
Met up with Stephen, Chris & their families caught up on all the family stuff. Looked through photo's etc.
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Easy day to day.
Arranged some trips for next week. Nothing bad, another Lord of the Rings sight seeing tour and a boat trip to see dolphins.
Then caught the tram around Christchurch to see some of the sights and get a bit of history. Finaly managed to get some more pics from the camera onto the web site too.
Like I said, an easy day.
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Drove up from Rotorua yeasterday to Auckland.
Was a nice day, the country side looked great as always.
Today, I went to the Sky Tower. The tallest building in the Southern hemisphere, went up to one of the viewing decks, in a lift with a glass bottom, lovely. Its a nice day, so the views were prety good, spectacular even. They have glass foors in some areas of the viewing platform too. Fortunately not all of it, or I wouldn't have got very far. I did make it to the windows to take some pictures.
I don't think I will be doing anything that involves being high for the rest of my trip. Apart from flying of course.
Although I', on the 9th floor in my hotel at the moment. I have a great view of the harbour.
Location: The sky above Taupo, New Zealand
SKY DIVE DAY :-)
I was smiley really, at some points anyway.
I was last on the plane and first out, which was nice.
We jumped, and I decided I didn't like it much. I think you get about 40 to 60 seconds of free fall at 180 miles or KM per hour (can't remember which), it seemed like forever. Funily enough I didn't like the free fall bit:-(
Once the chute was opened and we had slowed down a bit, it was great, the view was amazing, It was a clear day and we were supose to be able to see both the east & west coast. That may have been during the free fall bit, when I had my eyes closed though. I had a good look around took it all in and got my breath back :-)
The landing was good, it was nice to be back on the ground.
I had a look around Taupo, it's a beautiful place. The lake is the biggest in the southern hemisphere.
Location: Waitamo, New Zealand
Today was cave day.
Went and got kitted out, overall, wellington boots (shows how hard the caving was) and my harness for the abseil.
We started with a 100M abseil down into the caves.
The abseil was great. Getting onto the ropes to start was scary, you have to stand, then sit on the edge of a platform 100M above a big hole.
The Abseil part, you are in an almost seated position, so you naturally look across rather than down or up. You let yourself down at a reasonable pace, taking in the surroundings. Which were pretty cool. We wern't allowed cameras so no pics, but I do have some postcards that show some of it.
Once down, you of course have to make your way, 100M back up...
Not too bad, a little bit of rock climbing, but nothing too difficult, remember we're all wearing wellies. But the bit where you get to the ladder, 30M vertical. You'd think it would be easy, if your young, fit maybe. I did manage it but it hurt a bit from all the hanging on. It was worth it, we got orange juice and chocolate at the top of the ladder. Everything from there on was pretty OK. We were attached to safety ropes all the time so there wasn't ever far to fall. no one did, by the way.
The most dangerous part, I thought was the walk to and from the caves. It was raining and we had to go up/down grassy hills to get there and back, the wellies didn't have much grip. There was the odd slip there. No major incidents, just a few bruises, my legs look like a 12 year old who's just come in from playing up the hills.
Location: Rotorua, New Zealand
HI, was suppose to go out on a trip today, but the weather is aufull so it has been postponed.
Went out to the Burried Village instead.
It is a site that used to be a tourist attration until 121 years ago the volcano errupted and desryoyed the surrounding villages and the hot pools the tourists were coming to visit.
They have excavated some of the area and found remains on the hotel, black smiths, locals houses etc. You can sea some of the areas they have uncovered and some of the items they recovered.
I also tried to put more pics on the site as they are a bit behind but am having diffiulty finding appropriate computers believe it or not.
The time slots are a bit little for uploading pictures, so half way through you get logged off and loose stuff.
I will be back in Aucland in a few days and I know a place I can go that works, so I'll sort it all out then.
Goint to Waitomo tomorrow to visit their caves and see some glow wroms.
Location: Rotorua, New Zealand
Went up to Matamata today to visit the Shire.
Visited the farm where they built the Hobbit's village for Lord of the Rings.
There are the remains of some of the Hobbit homes, but all the pretty stuff has been removed.
Got some good shots of the surrounding country side. Well the views looked good, hopefully the camera has captured it well.
I'll try to get up to date with loading some more pics on the web site.
Hopefully you may be able to recognise some of the pictures from scenes in the films.
Location: Rotorua - North Island, New Zealand
Drove down to Rotorua yeaterday. Took all day but got here eventually.
Got up late today then went to the local tourist info place and aranged a few trips for my stay here.
Went to visit the Kiwi Encounter this afternoon. They breed Kiwi's there to help increase the numbers as some varieties are nearly exstinct.
Not a lot of photo oportunities, but i did see a couple of Kiwi's.
Location: Pahia - North Island, New Zealand
Got up early again today to get on a boat trip of the Bay of Islands.
We visited a few of the islands and did the post run for them.
Then headed for Cape Bret and the hole in the rock. All will make sence when I get the pictures sorted.
Stopped off at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island for lunch.
Another day another beach.
Headed back to Paihia via Russel.
Got off the boat at Russel and had a look aroung. Visited Pompallier, a museum that shows the workings of a leather tannin & book binding business that were there many years ago. It was run by a French Catholic Preist.
The Guide was great, gave us demonstrations of all the equipment they had and gave us some more histry, not just that related to the place we where at. There were 5 people there, and I think what would normaly take 45 - 60 min tour ended up about 2 hours.
The gardens there were good too.
Location: Paihia - North Island, New Zealand
Had to get up early today :-(
Got picked up at 7:15 for a trip to Cape Reinga at the almost most northern part of the North Island.
We wer e driven along some realy nice mountain roads to get there, but it was worth it in the end.
* First stop was for a short walk and a brief talk about Kauri trees and their uses.
* Next stop for Coffee and to pick up lunch.
* Cape Reinga, the northern most accessible part of the north island. There is a light house, some tourists and a few birds. We left civilisation a long way back.
* Stopped for diner at a nice littl beach. When I can find out how to spell the name of the place I will.
* Next stop, some rather large sand dunes, for sand boarding kiwi style. We used boogie boards and layed on them, rather than standing. It was great fun and every one on the bus had a go. Only one though, as the climb to the top hurt. And it was only a short stop.
* Then we drove along 90 mile beach, looked for wild horses, no luck.
* Next stop, Ancient Kauri Kingdom. a SHOP FULL OF THINGS MADE FROM THE WOOD OF THE KAURI TREE. Turn caps lock off.
I know the folks at home would have loved most of the stuff in there, but unfortunately I though $35,000 for a tree stump was a bit much. And the guitar for $36000 US was not coming home Nigel, sorry...
* Next stop, fish & chips at Mangonui fish shop. We had blue nose, it was very nice. But you only get little bits, not quite UK style, but it was very good.
* Final tour stop, a guy at the road side selling fress fruit. Not quite sure what some of the fruit was that we tried, but it was nice anyhow.
Location: Paihia, New Zealand
Drove up to Paihia today. Great drive through some lovely country side, but no where to stop for taking pics.
Checked into my hotel, then went of to Waitangi to visit the treaty grounds where the English and Mauri Sortem them selves out to make New Zealand the way it is today. This time there were places to take tome great pics. Coming soon to a screen near you.
Had a meal at the hotel, they bring you your choice of meat on a heated granite slab and you use it to cook your meat yourself.
I had lamb, it was lovely.
Location: Aukland, New Zealand
Walked over to the Victoria street Market. Great place lots of good stuff. Walked past the Sky Tower but didn't go up. It was raining so I guessed the view would be pretty poor, I still have time to get there.
Visited the Maratime museum, lots of hand made boats, and a few modern ones too.
I ahd herd that the all blacks were paying but assumed it would be sold out, until I bought a top in one of the shops and the assistant asked me if I was going. I found out there were tickets still available so asked at the hotel about getting one. They rang an checked, then showed me how to get there, where to park for the game.
Got there, got my ticket, parked up for the match.
half way to the ground couldn't find the ticket.
Fortunately it had fell in the car so got that, went to the ground, got in and waiting 2 hours for the game to start.
Good game, the All Blacks beet France 42 - 11. Eventually got throught thr traffic and got back to the hotel.
Location: North Island - Aukland, New Zealand
Well, I arrived at 5:00 AM.
Picked up a car at the airport, then had to wait until 1:00 PM untill I could check into the hotel that was 20 mins away.
Went for a drive and visited a few beaches, Davenport, Kohimarama Beach.
Then I spotted a shpping centre on the map. So off I goes to St Hellier's shopping centre to buy some shoes/trainers that dont hurt.
It was like shopping in the village, not a shopping centre at all really. Did get some water and my Cadbury's fix. Although it tastes different here, still works though.
Then found Kelly Tarltons Antartic encounter and Underwater experieince. Cool place, they have recreatins of the base camp and living conditions of Scot etc for their travel adventures and a penguin colony.
Then there is an area with fish, sharks etc. They have a tunel you walk through with all the sharks etc swimming over you.
Then onto Mission Bay and food. Pumkin plus other stuff, lovely.
Eventually made it to the hotel. Showered, changed and into town to get trainers.
Laundrette, with no seats, can.t believe there was no seats, but I do have clean clothes so it's OK really.
It was very warm here today, excessively so. I thought it was supose to be winter.
Today didn't exist, just to let you know cos it was a bit strange a 12 hour flight taking 2 days. Leaving on Wednesday and ariving on Friday.
I just wanted to say, as this will be the only place this day exists for me............
Location: LA, USA
Airport day, Portland and Los Angeles.
I had a meal in the LA airport, and I was asked for ID when I asked for a beer. They have to check if you look under 26. Ths was not the first time in America so I decided I like it there as they all think I'm 25. Well, 3 of them do :-)
Location: Poetland - Oregon, USA
Went to Washingt Park in Portland.
Visited toe Rose Test Garden as saw a few roses, and a few more roses. Then went to the Zoo and saw a few animals, but it was really hot so alot of them were hiding in the shade.
Then onto the foresrty center for a local history & world wood history. Got to see the Wizard of Oz there too.
Location: Oregon, USA
Drive out to Multnomah Falls (photo's to follow shorly) and a visit to Vista House.
We walked all the way to the top of the water fall, zig zagging up the small winding paths, but got there eventually, no pics there as the camera batter had ran out. But it looked very nice.