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Blog 162 HOLIDAY 2007-8 ✅USE MENU✅Pacific Islands, NZ, Oz, Singapore & Hong Kong recreated 21

Updated: Jan 26, 2023

By keef and annie hellinger, Dec 1 2021 08.21 am

This is a retrospective Blog, we were away from 26th October 2007 to 18th September 2008, visiting Fiji Islands ,Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, not quite a year but we have called it our GAP YEAR, didn't do it when we were younger as most do so did it as we retired 😉

See the Original Site Migrated HOLIDAY2007-8 in its themed Green and Yellow by clicking HERE

Take a look at the overall travel blog route map here


Go to

As Moonfruit died on 7th December 2021 my previous HOLIDAY2007-8 site which contained our Gap year down under in 2007-8 was migrated by Yell to WIX. I have decided to incorporate it here into my motorhome-travels blog uk site as an insurance against Yell increasing site charges quite substantially once a year is up, it will then be easy to remove the migrated site if I chose to.

Note this is intrinsically linked to Blog 97, see the 3 associated blogs at end of post, thanks for looking


On the 31st July 2007 I had the opportunity to take early retirement and a redundancy package from my then employer, which afforded us the opportunity to travel and realise a life long dream of returning to Australia the place of both our youths. Whilst planning that opportunity and packing up our property (we let it through an agency to Polish railway workers, which helped provide additional funding for our adventures) we decided to also cover my cousin in California, New Zealand, Hong Kong and a few of the Pacific islands, namely Fifi, Western Samoa and Tonga (inspired initially by my love of Rugby, esp. the Fijian 7s rugby). Annie took early retirement as well, leaving her employ a couple of months after me during which time I had done most of the planning, bookings, hiring and packing, both house and travel stuff. So come the 26th October 2007 it was time for the off. What an adventure, what an opportunity to spend so much time together and the added bonus of the boys and Phoenix coming out to join us for Xmas in New Zealand. Use this website to read the diaries, see something of the planning that went into a gap year, study the timeline and most of all feast your eyes on all the supporting pictures, slideshows and videos with commentary.

Note now redundant (Dec21) I have kept the original website pages created on return from the gap year but by implication technology-wise they look and feel a bit old and clunky but you can get to them if you wish through the "go to oldschool" buttons where appropriate, many thanks for looking, maybe it will give you inspiration to undertake your own gap year, we reflect upon our fab times often even now!

UPDATE Jan 2022 Put a lot of effort into making the HOLIDAY 2007-8 site work so now reestablished

our gap year 2007-8 with very original intro image
our gap year 2007-8 with very original intro image

Headline images for each place visited

summary of our gap year in pictures and words
summary of our gap year in pictures and words

this is what our old Moonfruit HOLIDAY2007-8 website looked like pre dec21, old HOME page image
this is what our old Moonfruit HOLIDAY2007-8 website looked like pre dec21

GAP YEAR TRANSPORTATION : Below is the detailed summary of our round the world travels in 2007-8, where we travelled on trains, boats and planes and a whole lot more for 10½ months through America, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore & Hong Kong - starting and ending at Heathrow interestingly our Round The World (RTW) ticket said we started and arrived at Heathrow Terminal 1,but by the time we returned Heathrow had been reorganised and we came back to the now infamous Terminal 3 (T3 Tears as it is known in our family)

gap year transportation image
gap year transportation image

Recap Videos of 2007-8 HOLIDAY

Postcards & Letters Home

Pre Travel

These words from 2007/8 were written before we left when we constructed the old photo website, which we used on our travels to let people back home know what we were doing or possibly more importantly that we were still alive. A few pictures and details were added pre-travel to show what we expected and had planned to do. The reality as always was probably slightly different but the big picture in the plan we fundamentally achieved and we are very proud of that fact! (Note our original words written on our travels are in ITALICS ;) ) You will see them at the start of each page. They were culled from our old Graphicorp website. NOTE: it was Polish railway workers who rented our house, we paid A$31 each for a 6 month Australian Visa and that Samoa has since swapped to the other side of the international date line, which makes travelling from Fiji to Samoa to Tonga, which we did a whole lot easier. “where did we lose that day?”

We leave on the 26/10/2007!!!! A few things as we prepare for our GREAT ADVENTURE. It has been interesting packing, getting lodgers (we now have a bunch of Austrian engineers) and generally booking the trip. In between we have been visiting / saying our goodbyes to various friends and relatives (you may be in the rogues gallery here!!!) we will miss you all but remember a year isn't that long and technology (one of Keef's favourite words) will keep us in touch. It just ain't like Vasco De Gama's day these days....Bon Voyage, and hopefully enjoy the site All overall feedback on this site should be directed to keef.hellinger@ntlworld.com Note: You can leave ratings against any photo, we would love to see them UPDATE 2020 You can no longer do this

Pre travel we had both a time difference chart and currency converters

USA - California, Los Angeles & San Jose / Morgan Hills

NOTE all words in ITALICS were either written on the trip or before we left (labelled HISTORY) Cali-Forn-I-A here we come UPDATE 31/10/2007 Now left U S of A Arrived safely in Morgan Hill, CA. It's ace!!! Comms: both phones don't work but eMail OK Visited Monterey, Carmel & Big Sur with S&T along the fabulous Californian Highway 1, now one of our New Wonders of the modern world Went for a walk in the Santa Monica County Park and ate really, really well... Went up to the Henry Coe State Park on the back of Morgan Hill (wow, xclent)..Alas have to leave 31st Flight back to LAX, then on AirNZ to Fiji 2350 HIGHLIGHTS Seeing Sherree and Trung again, Monteray & Big Sur LOWLIGHTS None HISTORY Things are starting to shape up. We are staying with my Cousin Sherree and her husband Trung for 4 days and gonna see the Beach Boys coast. Big Sur, Monterey etc. Flight Delta Airlines 7772 LAX to SJC We will be staying in Morgan Hill at the bottom end of Santa Clara County 27/10-31/10 .... "Whatever"...."Awesome"!!! California is a lovely place and the coast along highway 1 truly spectacular. Some of those views will live in the memory forever and images of fields of pumkins, wow! Summary: USA 7 days , Day 1-7, 26/10/2007 - 1/11/2007 TIMELINE See Los Angeles and San Jose for diary write ups, thanks EXTRA INFORMATION From our travels, our Holidays, The Gap Year,USA 26 Oct-1 Nov 2007 - California, Los Angeles & San Jose, with family, video now broken into 2 parts in nov2020 ,morgan hills, Monterey, highway 1, carmel, san fransisco images, Californian state parks, santa clara county, leroy anderson lake, reservoir, fishing, quicksilver mercury mine, walks, snakes, henry w coe state park, outside loos, eagles, bald headed, kingfishers, birds & plants, candlestick park, cannery row, steinbeck, clam chowder, rocky creek bridge, sunsets, the big sur, sister hazel, pacific ocean, humming birds, Harley d’s, spindrift inn, jacuzzi’s, gazebos, Travelodge , lax, airports, bush fires, pelicans, bush turkeys, sunset restaurants, compulsory tips, cousins, pumpkins, Halloween, seals, sea otters, harbours, whale watching trips, marinas, arts and crafts market, museums, sardines, garden centres, wild life, town squares, panorama, tranquil, sheep, Japanese food, grits, brekkie out, wharfs, fun times catching up, sherree & trung’s hospitality, big tick

NOTE Diary days 1-7

out for a day trip with sherree & trung, nice times, californian coast
out for a day trip with sherree & trung, nice times

the talkies appears under both usa and fiji

INTRODUCTION to the wonderful Pacific Islands.

From our travels, Pacific Islands Overall, 1 Nov-10 Dec 2007,featuring Fiji, Western Samoa, Tonga, such fun, travel to many parts on numerous islands,including 250 images being a summary of the much larger individual islands video now broken into 5 parts in nov2020, , covering plus a whole lot more the following,Savaii, aggie grey, apia, savusavu, atata island, alofaaga blowholes, my tongan driving license issued by the king (smile), captain james cook, sewaka platform, airports, harbours, town, tropical flowers, markets, music, outriggers hotel, insel fehrman hotel, vatu the dog, buses, ferries, auala harbour, salealonga, bougainvillea, boxing, fishing, breadfruit, pelehake, tongatapu main tongan island, nadi, cocktails, coconuts, cruise ships, cyclone daman, earthquakes, Richter scale 8.2, fale shook, nuku’alofa, traditional dancing, museums, cannibalism, hibiscus, local beers, water salination stations, festivals, carnivals, hot springs, Houma, tonga 5th most corrupt nation on earth signs, international dateline hotel, jean-michel cousteaux resort,kaati-ni, vunu road, kava, halafuolafa beach, upolu, seabreezes resort,banyan trees, 3 sisters café, labasa, sugar cane, lorries, conflicts, rocks, princess tui (yuk!), vailima, Robert Louis Stevenson, lovo meals, taro, kings palaces, lava rocks, garlands, vanua levu, miss pacific islands competition, maota, mapu'a 'a vaea blowholes, mongoose, urata, sopu, ports, orchids, pinapples, mangoes, guava, banana bread, samosas (best in the world), paradise cove, cross island road, outriggers boats & hotel, motootua, Savaii lagoon beach resort, pigs, restaurants, Roy & Lisa, music, black rose, roseiloa, peter the keyboard player, royal sunset island resort, rugby, leper colonies (sad!),strelitzia, bird of paradise,princesses & kings 7 palaces,traditional dress, straw skirting, viaola,waterfalls, xmas greetings 2007, coral quays, reefs


NOTE all words in ITALICS were either written on the trip or before


Bula, Bula

UPDATE 13/11/2007 Now left the lovely Vanua Levu

We took the bi-plane Sun Pacific flight FJ105/106 from the main island (Vito Levu) to Savusavu on the southern coast of the second island (Vanua Levu) where we stayed in Sekawa Beach Cottages for 12 days (2/11-13/11/2007) Excellent local Fijian beer and we had 2 sessions on the grog, 'mind expanding' local Kava.... Juicy in the Sky with Diamonds..with Roy & Lisa (our hosts)...comes from a pepper plant root which is poundered to a powder which is rinsed in a muslin bag with water into a trad wooden bowl with 3 legs . Although 'ceremony' is common to all South Pacific Islands the bowls are different Contact phone was 011-679-822-0460 and Anne's mobile worked only for Text 2 Wifi Internet cafes in Savasavu Hired car for 3 days Went to Labasa (capital....Very Indian) , Jean Michel Cousteau (JMC) Dive resort and part of the Hibiscus highway. Rained a fair bit but managed 3 swims.

HIGHLIGHTS Roy & Lisa's company, Biplane flight (absolutely the best views ever), Tropical fruit, Trip to Vanda & Tukai's children's schools, Savusavu bay , Sugarcane Express, Banana cake and samosas at Nadi Airport

LOWLIGHTS None although JMC a little overated even if it is in the 1000 places to see before you die

My most vivid memories are of those clear blue skies, humidity, the rattle of thunder, greenery, fresh fruit delivered daily by Roy & Lisa, Fijian music especially Black Rose (Rosiloa) who we still listen to today and the lovely view from our balcony.

Summary: FIJI 12 days , Day 8-19, 2/11/2007-13/11/2007

keef near our Sewaka Beach Cottage, Near Savusavu, Venua Levu, Fiji, mountains, sea and tropical plants
keef near our Sewaka Beach Cottage, Near Savusavu, Venua Levu, Fiji

Days 8-19 of the diary for Fiji stay

flight views from from nadi, vitu levu to savusavu, venua levu, fiji
from nadi, vitu levu to savusavu, venua levu, fiji

map of vaua levu, 2nd island where most of our stay was on Fiji
map of vaua levu, 2nd island where most of our stay was on Fiji

image of fijian trad meal, lovo, special night out in savusavu, had to try it, cooked underground
special night out in savusavu, had to try it, cooked underground


Day 19 to 34 in the diary

NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip.

Talofa Lava Folks!

Western Samoa not American Samoa for us.......

UPDATE 28/11/2007 Now left Samoa Alas!!!

Final pictures for Samoa posted We are sad to leave but 15 days of this heat 90+ at night and humid, boy humid...is taking its toll We stayed 1 night on Upolu in the 1848 (that old?) Princess Tui Inn in Apai (13th) We had booked 2 but it was bad so stayed 2nd day in Insel Fehrman hotel (note previous big German influence in people and architecture) where we had lunch (if only) with the Ms South Pacific pageant, then we hired a car for 15 days and went by ferry to Savaii where we stay in the Savaii Lagoon Resort, Beach fale (idyllic). This was a beachfront cottage with its own private beach lagoon with snorkelling on the doorstep plus swimming with turtles 15mins away. 10 nights in paradise and a chance to tick off two of the top1000 things to do before you die! (RLStevenson House on Upolu, (ace) , Hotel Safua Savaii (crap). Take a look at Savaii Lagoon resort via your web browser to get an idea (2021 I unlinked it as the site is still not secure)....Then we came back to the main Island of Upolu to the Outrigger hotel for another few days and saw the whole of that island. The hire car enabled us to travel around all of Savaii & Upolu, we have seen more of it than most Samoans now (alas...they can't afford to travel) Because of the international dateline on our travels we have had no 1/11, 2 13/11's and only a smidgen of the 28/11. Our 16.5 hour epic at Falealo International Airport (45 mins from the capital Apia pronounced 'R-PEA-A') was a delight in how to get no sleep The Samoans sure know how to treat a family members arrival at the airport as a party...

HIGHLIGHTS Savaii Beach, Lava flow and blow holes, Ms Samoa, Villages and their gardens (fine if not immaculate) and Robert Louis Stevensons House

LOWLIGHTS Long wait at Apia airport in the heat & humidity for a 1hr flight to Tonga

Walking outside our beach fale for a private dip in the sea lives on as well as the pineapples growing there and the short hop to the restuarant next door for freshly caught fish with chips, yummy! oh and the taxi driver who ripped us off, git! can i say that, guess i just have, trying to drive us to the other side of the island to a hotel when insel fehrman apia was just down the road, oh and hot being able to close the window in our red jeep, luckily no tropical downpour at that time.

Summary: SAMOA 16 days , Day 19-34, 13/11/2007-28/11/2007

beauty contest at the insel fermanah hotel
beauty contest at the insel fermanah hotel

map of western samoa, american samoa we did not visit
map of western samoa, american samoa we did not visit

trad costume, on the way to work, samoan lady , broom, brolly, wrap
trad costume, on the way to work, samoa

TONGA - Tongatapu Island & Atata Island

NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip.

The Friendly Isles - Malo e lelei

UPDATE 10/12/2007 We have now left Tonga. Grim last day with cyclone and quake, plus we saw on the news from NZ some sort of coup/riot, we are investigating. Anyhow even though we enjoyed it pleased to have got out. Last day at 8.45pm house, tables and everything shook. seems to have been a quake nearby, deep underground , no tsunami warning, storms raging. Cyclone Daman. But apart from that things we did were,visted Atata , idyllic desert island, hired a car on the mainland (Tongatapu) for 3 days and leisurely went round everything over 2 days (i guess you could do it in a 1/2 day) and on the 3rd day went to the Cultural centre. Saw trad outrigger boat, Houma Blowholes (ace), National Holiday procession for King Tupou 1st on 4/12, village traditional dancing and a cultural dance eve at the International Dateline Hotel. Tonga is slightly different from Fiji and Samoa....All the ladies wear what appear to be mats over their skirts, and sometimes the chaps as well. Plus visible signs of protest against goverment in the streets. Great inequality , see some of our pictures! In Nuku'alofa town we saw the Kings Palace, had lunch in the 2 Sisters (often, its ace!) and Robinas Express cafe. She is half tongan/ quarter japanese and a quarter german and is gr8 (forceful business lady with 'high' connections) generally the town is not that inspiring but the market excellent

HIGHLIGHTS Atata Island, Blowholes, 2 Sisters restaurant and village dancing

LOWLIGHTS cockroach, rat, tongan tummy, dead sea krate (the worlds deadliest snake) on atata beach, cyclone daman & earthquake

HISTORY Boy most of the reviews we have read of Tonga denegrade its infrastructure and believe it or not their people...bad stuff...we keep an open mind and are really looking forward to it....We will be staying at Nukuma'anu cottages, Vuna Road Sopu (check it out on Google Maps below, near the Black Pearl appartments, it may well be closed 2020 but there is still an internet listing stating " Malo e lelei and welcome to Nukuma’anu Cottages. Ideal for a holiday getaway or business trip, Nukuma’anu provides four self contained cottages, just minutes from downtown Nuku’alofa. Children are welcome. Fully air-conditioned, oceanfront views and free parking, all surrounded by the privacy of a beautiful lush tropical garden and with our friendly & helpful staff, Nukuma’anu is perfect for the discerning traveller" ) on Tongatapu (the main southernmost group of islands) in the Executive fale cos guess what they have 24*7 internet....no water (joke)....now thats not bad for reports of a decaying infrastructure...more when we arrive. We are there 11 nights 29/11 to 10/12 ...have just found Nov is close of parliament and last year at this time there was civil unrest, fires and looting....Oh dear, let's hope no repeat this year....

Remember the Fale, Robina, Nuku'alofa market - coconut drinks, Black Rose (Rosiloa) album bought in market, New Eagles album downloaded, outsized washing,tonga's stonehenge,Captain Cook monument, cockroaches, earthquake & cyclone and getting out alive.

Summary: TONGA 11 days , Day 35-45, 29/11/2007 - 10/12/2007

blowholes on the western side of tongatapu, the main island
blowholes on the western side of tongatapu, the main island

map of tonga to help you find places mentioned
map of tonga to help you find places mentioned


NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip.

New Zealand

HISTORY Arrive 10/12/2007 for 4 months including Xmas & New Year on the beach initially staying in the Greenlane Motel 7 nights 10/12/2007 onwards whilst we select a camper van. The best we have seen so far is a 4 berth Maui with a buy-back option on it....either you sell it privately or they take it back at a reduced price when we arrive in Christchurch

North Island

HIGHLIGHTS Too many but if we are forced to limit them Having the Boys and Phoenix over, Tongarira National Park, Akatarawa rd, Coromandel Peninsular, East Cape oh and trip on Vince & Greg's boat in Auckland Harbour with Phoenix

LOWLIGHTS hardly any but 2 days rain in nearly 2 months, oh and the latest Nick Cage movie

South Island

HIGHLIGHTS Again too many but Milford Sound, Mt Cook Nat Park, Queenstown, Stewart Island, Queen Charlotte Drive, Southern Alps & Glaciers, Our 30th Wedding Anniversary, Dunedin, the Weather (best summer / autumn for 10 years), Paul Henry (journalist) & oh the Poms beating the Blackcaps at Test Cricket

LOWLIGHTS Having to leave and some Kiwi drivers

CONTACT Our Kiwi mobile number was +642102226963

Most remember being with Doug,Craig & Phoenix, Boysenberry, wine, Sav Blanc,Mount Ruepehi,Havelock North, Te Mata, lovely Kiwi people, sunshine,warmth,bubbling hot spings, huka falls jet and a generally great time which meant we just had to go back in 2013. Reviewing the history we didn't buy a motorhome, far to expensive @ £76k and risky re selling it on at the end. We hired cars and bought camping gear instead which we sold onto an english couple at the end of the holiday. They lived just outside Christchurch. The nick cage movie was National Treasure. Best summer exceeded when we returned in 2013. Kiwi drivers are not that bad, no probs in 2013. We love the place even more now having been back for a second time, and now a third in 2017.

Summary: NEW ZEALAND 118 days , Day 46-163, 10/12/2007 - 5/4/2008

image of blenheim gardens, south island, nz
beautiful sunshine on south island, so love blenheim


Including Auckland, Coromandel Peninsular, Hawkes Bay - Wairoa/Napier/Gisborne, Tongariro Nat. Park, Raglan & the East Cape

NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip.

North Island

UPDATE 5/2/2008 We have now left North island. Te Ika-a-Maui (North Island): Weather quite choppy as we left via the Interislander for Picton. Before that we had travelled complete length of Wellington Harbour, Eastbourne to Lyle Bay (by airport) , ace views, read for hours in sunshine. Went to Parliament buildings and art gallery plus saw National Treasure Nick Cage movie (DON'T). Saw start of IRB Rugby Sevens in Wellington Camped 5 nights at Seaview, Wellington. Went to Te Papa Museum and 7's concert Stayed o/night in Greytown, went across 42k single track mountain pass (Akatarawa rd), oh what views! plus car stuck in sand on beach(oops) Camped in Levin and visiting local beaches, went to Uni & Rugby museum Palmerston North!!! Gr8. Stayed at Havelock North, Hawkes Bay wine region outside Hastings for 3 days. Was 32c & humid. Camped at Wairoa and went to Lake Waikaremoana (ace). Travelled down East Cape in drizzle from Hicks bay to Gisborne, some interesting stuff including longest wharf in NZ. Stayed in motel overlooking Hick's bay on the East Cape having travelled from Coromandel down the splendid Pacific Coast highway (mountainous, rugged and remote). Spent 3 days camping on the Coromandel peninsular, ace weather (28c) and scenery, Driving Creek Bush railway a must!!! Chillin day spent mostly doing 'retail therapy' at Slyvia Park Mall. Went out on the harbour on Greg & Vaughan's boat and did some seafishing....gr8 fun. plus we saw World Champs Windsurfing and played crazy golf on sea front! went up the sky tower and to the ice bar (Lenin's downtown) in eve and had sushi/ sashimi. Sad day (11/1), Sir Edmund Hillary (born Orewa NZ, resided Remuera just down the road) died (we have seen his statue and tributes!). been surfing at Raglan and seen Kiwi's (live) at Otorahanga as well as glowworms at Waitomo. Also New Plymouth (west coast) - ideal for Doug & Phoenix who went to Plymouth Uni...surfing, eating and chillin. Spent 7 days camping between Rotarua & Lake Taupo then onto the Tongariro Dual World Heritage National Park (Beyond ace!) Plus spent new year in Finn McCoulls' Irish Bar in Taupo with Boys & Phoenix. Seen and done loads, boys & P did sky diving. We all went on Hukafalls Jet boat (360deg spins - ahhhh!) Nice Xmas day initially on beach surfing the waves, then rain so Xmas dinner inside. Completed working our way around Northlands, via Twin Coasts discovery route ending in Orewa. Swimming with Dolphins, Whangarai Falls , amazingly after the boys arrived they stayed up and we all visited beaches & aquarium. Doug searched in City of Angels for having a UK passport and being born in Wellington (shropshire not NZ ,LAPD!!!!), booked campsites including 'swimming with dolphins' Visited Piha and Karekare beaches (site of Jane Campion's the Piano) on Tasman coast, W.Auckland, Previously Chatted online to Doug on his B'day,plus spent day on St Helier's beach. Harbour cruise, Auckland Botanic Gardens, Orewa, Warksworth and coast from Martin's bay to Sandspit. We have just booked ourselves in for Xmas & Boxing day on the beach in Orewa with Craig, Doug and Phoenix. Take a look at The Waves Website to get an idea....Currently based in Remuera, 5 mins from downtown Auckland Its good to be back in civilisation.

We love the place even more now having been back for a second time in 2013 which was spent in the top half of North island. We remember Remuera, travelling with the boys and Phoenix, under canvas for 55 nights, experts in putting up and taking down a family tent, our Toyota estate, Tongariro, shark poo, boysenberry wine, sheep shearing, Came gates and Old for New Plymouth. We also returned again in 2017.

Summary: NORTH ISLAND 58 days , Day 46-103, 10/12/2007 - 5/2/2008


From our travels, our Holidays, North Island New Zealand, Gap Year 2007-8, 10 Dec-31 Jan, with family, summary of the much larger video now broken into 5 parts in nov2020 , auckland, family visiting, xmas, coromandel, wellington, rotorua, lake taupo, fishing, sky dive, sky tower, fishing with wayne & greg, remuera, the piano, camping, driving creek railway, Dargaville, baileys beach, mangonui, botanic gardens Auckland, marina, harbour, skytower, Papamoa beach, te papa, orwea, ohope, coalville, discos and thai birthday meal,are te uri, bottle nose dolphins, new Plymouth, sheep shearing, boysenberry wine, icecream, taupo, marina, aquarium, waves motel,the mad butcher, te kuiti, sheep, karekare, huraru falls, golden springs, waiwere, whangarai falls,raglan, surfing, hi di hi, matakohe, kauri museum, puhoi, Palliser bay, sky diving, tree lookouts, hastings, greenlane motel, waihi beach, hastings, hobbits, wairoa, strange bbqs,interisland ferry, northlands, kiwi fruit, gorges, shark poo, missing brulee, tairua, mount paka, manawatu gorge, paihai, Waitangi treaty, blue lakes, Tongariro, whakapapa village, mount doom, lower tama lakes, skydiving, napier, Gisborne, Opotiki, Wanganui, pohutakawa trees and blossom, piha,te marua, te mata, tuhirangi rugby, lake onoke, akatarawa road views & smells, wai-o-tapu geothermal wonderland, waipu cove, chicken and hen islands, waitekeri ranges, Westpac stadium wellington

North Island, The Talkies i.e with speech

Message home to Mum from North Island NZ, postcards via that link in the Menu


Including Christchurch (Before the Quake), Akaroa, Milford & Doubtful Sounds, Mount Cook & Queen Charlotte Sound via Interisland Ferry

NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip. South Island UPDATE 5/4/2008 We have now left the 'Shaky Isles' Finished with 4 days in Christchurch. This included Hagley Park, Botanic gardens, City Centre Art gallery, Cathederal, beaches and Gondola. Sold campgear via Trade Me to Andy & Family, Rangiora. Asburton, visited Peel Forest / Mt Hutt and the Big Tree Timaru for 3 days, nice motel / restuarant..Aspen on Kings! Went to the SUPERB Mt Cook Nat Park Camped at Lake Benmore for 3 days (with own en-suite ....'bloody luxury' Camped in Oamaru (home of the penguins) for 4 days Dunedin (Celtic for Edinburgh, and yes it does have a Princes St & a Fringe) for 3 days Gr8 City Take a look at our baby royal albatross @ the Webcam Website Stayed o/night in Balclutha. Drove thru a v hot Central Otago (32c) upto Alexandra and back out. Visited the Catlins Awesome!! 4 days in Invercargill and 2 on Stewart Island We really liked SI Went to Bluff Visited gr8 museum with Henry the Tuatara@ Invercargill. Went to Milford Sound (best yet!) wet in morning/ sun in afternoon, best way to see it. We took 350 pictures, shows it was ACE!!! Camped in Te Anau (Fjordland Nat Park), for 4 days. Visited Doubtful Sound Camped in Queenstown (Shotover gorge) for 4 nights. Went on a 4WD offroad LOTRs tour (ace!) Visited Arrowtown, the great road to Glenorchy and went up gondola to the home of tandem parscending, luge, heli bike and bungy (Wow we did none of these dangerous sports!)Travelled thru the Haast pass and thru glorious Glacier Lakes in Mt Aspiring Nat Park. Stayed in Haast overnight having seen the wonderful Glaciers & Lake Matheson. Travelled thru a very wet Arthurs Pass (ace with imagination!) and spent 2 days in Hokitika on West Coast. Camped for 4 days at Akaroa, on Bank's peninsular. 30th Wedding Anniversary, really enjoyed the Tranzalpine train & our drunken meal in the eve!!! sightseeing in Christchurch (best city in NZ for me!). 5th ODI Blackcaps Vs England in Christchurch , we would have won if rain and Duckworth Lewis didnt intervene! Visited Oxford via scenic highway 72, stayed in Kaiapoa. Went from St Arnaud to Lake Rotarua (ace) and then via SH67 down to Springs Junction and across Lewis pass (again) to Amberley. Visited Marlborough wine region, Blenheim stayed in St Arnaud (ski area) near the oh-so-lovely Lake Roto-Iti. We were in a log cabin which Annie loved. Spent 3 days camping in Kaikoura . Went whale watching and saw sperm whale, hector dolphin (rare), albatross and NZ furry seals Saw Atonement in 1930's hall (with Intermission), thought film had broken! Went to Reefton Rodeo, ace! Then on thru Lewis pass to Hamner Springs. It has been wet, wet , wet spent night in 'electric light' motel in Reefton. Plus 2nd night (so far) in car after mega electrical storm. Camped in Greymouth. Saw Pancake rocks and SH6 to Greymouth - better in our opinion than 12 Apostles and gr8 ocean rd. Plus stayed o/night in Westport and then drove to Kamerea, fun area. Very wet day and night again, such bad electrical storm we had to sleep in car for 2 hrs at Pakawua. Drove to Westport via Buller river gorge (wet but superb!) 2.5 in of rain overnight in Pakewua, needed - Went on Farewell Spit Eco Tour, 6.5 hrs across sand to farest north on South Island west coast. Camping at Pawawau beach for 3 days. Caught 2 salmon on Anatoki river and ate them Visited the Abel Tasman national Park via a 5&1/2 hr boat trip in hot sunshine, spectacular Arrived via ferry, choppy in Cook Straights but gr8 views in Queen Charlotte Sound. Nelson (which we both liked) where we saw WOW (World of Wearable Art & Classic Cars) Amazingly different and classy!!! Take a look yourself @ The WOW Website to get an idea....Anne has the 2006 official programme which we will bring back with us but it has IPR so we cannot reproduce here There was also a spin off exhibition in Christchurch based on wearable flowers The Jenny Gillies Website I haven't yet made reference to the wonderful Dunedin which we both really liked and the lovely little penguins, a magical moment. Summary: SOUTH ISLAND 58 days , Day 103-163, 5/2/2008 - 5/4/2008, incl 2 on Stewart Island

image of rainbow, waterfall, milford sound, south island, new zealand
definitely a wonder of the world


From our travels, our Holidays, South Island New Zealand, Gap Year 2007-8, 1 Feb – 5 Apr, such fun, travel all over,including 434 images plus a summary of the much larger video now broken into 8 parts in nov2020, covering plus a whole lot more the following, picton, queen charlotte sound, cricket in Christchurch for my birthday, 5th ODI Blackcaps vs England, Collingwood, Prior, Pieterson, queenstown, trans alpine railway, 30th wedding anniversary, akaroa, greymouth, holitika, abel tasman national park, Dunedin, albatross, queenstown, pancake rocks, milford & doubtful sound, anatoki, salmon fishing, banks peninsular, lake roto-iti, lake Rotorua, Kaikoura, bungee, lake matheson, mount cook, sir Edmund Hillary, penguins, Blenheim, trams, omaru, barry bay, knights point,te anua, farewell spit, blowholes,bluff, the caitlins, fox & franz josef glaciers, Invercargill, ashburton, glenorchy,hamner springs, honer tunnel, keas, weka, kawa, kaiteriteri, Cromwell,kekeno, cape foulwind, lake benmoe,moeraki boulders,Littleton harbour, Marlborough, Westport,karamea, Palliser bay, punakaiki, sir joseph ward, shotover gorge, pukawau,Amberley, reefton, rodeo,st arnaud, tew ae wae, cable cars, seals, sealions,mauhinapau walkway,waikuru beach,nelson, wow museum, Timaru, haast, takiroa, sheep street, the steepest, niagara falls nz, boot hill, cadburys Dunedin, Christchurch cathedral & city before the 2011 earthquake, ross, festival of flowers, split apple rock, whales fluking, lord of the rings @ WOW, botanic gardens Christchurch, interisland ferry

South Island, the Talkies videos

Video home to Mum from South Island, postcards under that on the menu


Diary Stewart Island HIGHLIGHTS Kaka bird on our balcony, hire car trip, Oban, Walk in the national Park LOWLIGHTS None A really nice place, one of the comments I remember was a plaque in the National Park saying "is there a mainland?" Day 142 - Saturday 15th March 2008,Stewart island Up early, parked up car in Bluff Then took catamaran ferry across Bit choppy but not 2 bad Took 1 hr Collected by Isaac and stayed in Kaka cottages Liked SI walked around Oban a bit and spent some time in the South Sea Island Hotel (the only pub) Then had meal Excellent in the Hotel Nice day,we met Isaacs (host at Kaka cottages) Remember the roaring 40s wind England doing well against the blackcaps as seen on TV screen in pub in Oban, which is where most travellers seem to congregate. See SI piccies mixed in with the Catlins Day 143 - Sunday 16th March 2008,Stewart Island back to Invercargill Hired a Ford Ka for 4hrs on the island There are only 27km worth of roads (most of which are gravel) even though it is the size of Singapore 98 % is forest and the Rakiura National Park Returned on 6.30 boat after time in pub (again) and then A drove back to Invercargill Evergreen motel, visited Lee Bay, Rakiura track, Braggs Bay, Butterfield beach (which we walked) Thule Bay (which we walked to) indeed all we could drive to.cost $60NZD for ½ a day, for a manual tin box which is twice what we were paying a day for the Toyota Camry but hey it was worth it Stewart island is lovely watched last king of Scotland on TV in Invercargill, spoke to Isaac our host at kaka cottages at least 3 times and a Kaka who landed on our balcony whilst we had breakfast.Shame a lovely 2 days on Stewart Island had to end. Summary: STEWART ISLAND 2 days , Day 142-143, 15/03/2008 - 16/03/2008

map of stewart island, we visited the national park
map of stewart island, we visited the national park


all States & Territories except ACT Covers both Eastern, Central & Western Australian States in Motorhomes from motorhome-travels blog

NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip. HISTORY Oz Overall Australia 10 England 12 ...no no...thats just not fair to our antipodean brethren: Arrive 5/4/08 in Sydney from Christchurch Flight NZ0783 for 5.5 months Again we will get a campervan here. We are heading first down to Tasmania to visit / stay with my 1st cousin once removed Diana & John who live there. Really looking forward to seeing Tassie (I have been there once about 45 years ago) and taking their advice on what to see CONTACT Our Ozzie Mobile No is +61406837909 but after 23/5/08 +61417186533 NSW HIGHLIGHTS Sydney and everything about it, still best city in the world, Silverton, Wentworth, the Sapphire Coast esp. Tathra, Hyams Beach, Botany Bay, the WONDERFUL Blue Mts, Jenolan Caves, the superb Palm Beach, the Entrance/Norah head, Port Stephens peninsula, Port Macquarie (incl Billabong Wildlife Park), Fredo's pies, Cresent Head LOWLIGHTS Agressive driving skills(?) of some Sydneysiders Tasmania HIGHLIGHTS Bruny Island, Stanley, Great Western Tier, Mt Wellington, East Coast, Port Arthur, Freycinet Nat park and seeing Diana & John again after 7+years (We think it was that long but its a guess ?) LOWLIGHTS None really except Strahan Motel wasn't good value for money, £150+ as car rally was on Western Australia HIGHLIGHTS Wave Rock,Kalgoorlie, Esperance, Ocean Beach-Denmark, Valley of the Giants Canopy Walk, Perth, Margaret River, Freo, Rottnest island, Broome, the magnificent Cable beach & the even more magnificent Kimberley/Geikie Gorge LOWLIGHTS Great White attacking guy at Middleton Beach, not as much natural wildlife in Kimberley as we would have thought Northern Territory HIGHLIGHTS Mindil beach sunset market, Darwin, The wonderful Ghan (new & old), Alice Springs, Uluru / the Olgas, Andrew Langford Didge playing, oh and the nice meals in the Red Ochre Grill LOWLIGHTS Hardly any apart from maybe the very obvious divide between white and black, but despite being dry most towns had v drunk local aboriginals, sad! South Australia HIGHLIGHTS Adelaide North, Barossa Valley, Flinders Ranges and wild life, Renmark, McLaren Vale (home of Shiraz,Hic!), Fleurieu Peninsula, Kangaroo island-especially the Koalas, Victor Harbor & horse drawn tram to Granite island, Mac's Fish &Chips @ Robe, Mt Gambier LOWLIGHTS Fish & Chips in the Ozone Hotel Kingscote, KI Victoria HIGHLIGHTS Mildura, PS Melbourne, the Grampians, Ararat, port Fairy, Warrnambool & the GREAT Ocean road (one of the most scenerific places in the world in our humble opinion), the eerie Hanging Rock, Mitchelton Vineyard (Nagambie), Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula, 90Mile Beach, Lakes Entrance, Snowy River, the Wonderful Mallacoota & Gipsy Point. LOWLIGHTS Only that we had more days of rain , wind and colder temperatures than we would like but hey who's complaining , we had a gr8 time! Queensland HIGHLIGHTS Surfers Paradise, Catching up with Peter Birtles, Brisbane, Australia Zoo, Glass House Mtns, Buderim, Noosa Heads, Maryborough, Bundaberg & the Coral Coast, Rockhampton, Mackay's beaches, the SUPERB Daydream island(for our 30th honeymoon), Bowen, Picnic Bay-Magnetic Island, Townsville, Rollingstone, Dunk island, Fishery Falls, Cairns esp Hogs Breathe Cafe, Kuranda, Lake Morris, Clifton Beach, Port Douglas (esp Brit winning swimming gold!), Cape Trib, Daintree River, Cooktown, Charters Towers (esp the Hospital for Annies big toe!!! Thx to them), Gem field area (Emerald, Sapphire, Rubyvale & Willows), Roma, Surat (Cobb & Co museum), Emu eggs at St George LOWLIGHTS Humidity on odd occasions, but hey we ain’t complaining We visited every state i.e New South Wales (NSW), Victoria(Vic), Tasmania(Tas), Western Australia (WA),Northern Territories (NT),South Australia(SA).We remember so much of this fabulous trip, read on but motorhome hires & camels and sunset at Broome beach is right up there with the best of it. See our 1995 trip here and we just had to go back for our 4th , but hopefully not final time in 2013.No question Annie & I love Oz both as children & adults FACT! Annie and I both love Australia from our experiences as kids & adults FACT! Summary: AUSTRALIA 169 days , Day 163-326, 5/4/2008 - 15/9/2008


Including Sydney, Animals - Koalas & Roos,Port MacQuarie, Coffs Harbour, Up & Down the Coast, Katoomba & Outback NSW

NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip

UPDATE 15/9/2008 We have now left the “first state” and Oz Stayed in the Holiday Inn Sydney Airport on the last night, sad to leave but also keen to return and see folk back in the UK. A superb holiday!!!Spent last 5 nights in Sydney party-ing Stayed 4 nights at Narabeen. Had a gr8 last day in central Sydney (11/9) Walked the beach and dunes of Narabeen for a last paddle (12/9) and watched the beach volleyball in Manly (13/9). 29c Hot, Hot, Hot! Previously - camped in Diamond Beach for 2 nights...you could hear the waves! Just down the road from Forster-Tuncurry. Camped again at our favourite campsite Darlington Beach above Coffs Harbour for 3 days. V sunny for 2 days, got sunburnt. the day b4 weather was BAD. rain and floods galore on 5/9 similar to UK Camped in Armidale after an “interesting” day Koala spotting NOT! Camped in Gunnedah, Koala capital of the world, New England, NSW Camped in Dubbo o/night Before that in Bourke (you don’t know Oz until you have been to Back o’Bourke) Went on a 4WD tour of Lightening Ridge, one of the weirdest places we have ever been, nomad/hippies/miners and then did some successful fossicking in the afternoon. Rained hard all day temp dropped from 33c to 16c overnight! Crossed back over into NSW (from Queensland) for the 4th and final time near Hebel, Outback QLD. Camped at Lightening Ridge, home of the Black Opal for 2 nights

UPDATE 24/7/2008 Now left NSW for the 3rd time, having moved up to the Gold Coast in Queensland, but we WILL BE BACK!!! Camped in Tweed Heads, 1k from Coolangatta in QLD Travelled here via Lennox Head, Byron Bay, Brunswick Heads, Hastings Point,Pottsville Kingscliff. Camped in Ballina. Drove there via Grafton, Casino & Lismore. Spent 4 days at Lake Darlington Beach campsite, 25 mins above Coffs Harbour, sub tropical luxury (2 pools & 2 hot tubs)! Beach / Pool or Pool/ Beach...decisions/ decisions! Our friendly roo couple and Joey visited our campervan 3 nights running Came here from Nambucca Heads. The weather is so good and the beaches so nice we are lingering in this area. Its a hard life but someone has gotta do it. Travelled to Nambucca Heads via TR 12 & 14 from South West Rocks where we stayed for 2 days. Temps again 23c Previously spent time on Crescent Head beach.

UPDATE 15/7/2008 Current - camping in South West Rocks for 2 days. It was very hot 2day, 23c and we spent a lot of it on the beach. Travelled here on tourist route 12 from Kempsey. Previously - Drove up from Port Macquarie to Kempsey after gr8 day at Billabong Wildlife park (see the piccies) and lunch in pancake house in Town Camped in Port Macquarie (PM) for 2 days, we love the place. "Life's a beach then you die" PM has 11 beaches, we saw 3 oh and temps of 22c and sun help! Also saw the Koala hospital. Take a look at The Koala Hospital website to get an idea, read some copies of Gum Tips.... Drove to PM having visited Port Stephens area where we camped at Anna bay o/night. Immense sanddunes (highest & longest in Southern hemisphere. Stretch to Newcastle. Visited the wonderful Palm beach then drove up Pacifc Hwy (Nat1) past Lake Macquarie and the Entrances area (sea lakes) Camped at Narabeen lakes, Sydney North Shore Visited Annie old school and house and place of work Snow in OZ 4 Us 9/7/2008 on way back from Jenolan Caves, bad news! Camped at Lithgow. Saw Blue Mts at Blackheath from Evans & Govetts lookouts (ace) and the overwhelming Jenolan Caves Staying in Katoomba having seen the Wonderful Blue Mts and Botany Bay . Sneaked a 2nd view of BMts on morning of 9/7 as v sunny. Beforehand we stayed overnight in a motel (luxury) in the Sutherland/ Cronulla suburbs of south Sydney as no campsites and late! Travelled all the way up the new Grand Pacific Drive (NSW answer to Vic's GOR, maybe!) from Shoalhaven Heads to the Royal Nat Park via Kiama, Shellharbour, Wollongong and Sea Cliff Bridge to mention a few sights. Stayed at Shoalhaven TT site. Travelled from Batemans Bay thru Basin view, St Georges basin, Sanctuary Point, Jervis Bay Nat Park V sunny 20c+, best day weatherwise for a while From Tathra to Batemans Bay, where we stayed. Met 2 very nice ladies whilst we watched the Dolphins off Tathra Head, chatted for an hour. Sunny & warm, 18c Returned to NSW for the 3rd time on 4/7 from Victoria Drove thru Eden, the Sapphire Coast Hwy into Tathra where we camped on the beach front. V sunny day

UPDATE 9/6/2008 Left NSW for the 2nd time Drove from a very wet Outback NSW down the Silver City Highway across the border into Victoria & Mildura via Wentworth. before that we visited Silverton Ghost town (scene of Mad Max) and Broken Hill. Rained all day so went to see the new Indy movie! Arrived in NSW on 7/6 from Peterborough, SA via the rather desolate Barrier Highway, Emu count 4, Wild Goat count and Road Trains huge! Camped in Broken Hill for 2 days

UPDATE 12/4/2008 Left NSW for 1st time Sydney: Gr8 days - Visited Victoria gallerys, China town & Gardens, Rozelle Bay and Paddy's market Taronga Zoo & saw Swan Lake ballet @ Opera House Plus visited Watson bay, Manly & Paramatta river via Sydney Ferries. Monorail (all stops), Endeavour and the Maritime Museum, Darling harbour & Imax Also spent the day doing the tourist stuff, open topped bus round city centre, plus to Bondi, Rose Bay and Double P(B)ay, ace weather Arrived Sydney 5/4/2008. Going to see Swan Lake ballet @ Opera House 10/4 Arrive 5/4 staying in Travelodge Wentworth, just down from Hyde Park for 7 days

We visited the Opera House and saw swan lake, Palm beach we loved, Port Macquarie & the Koala hospital, Lightening Ridge quirky bottle houses and opal. See our 1995 trip here and we just had to go back for our 4th , but hopefully not final time in 2013. It wasn't we also returned in 2017.

Summary: NSW 46 days , Stay 1 Day 163-170, 5/4-12/4/2008,Stay 2 Day 226-228, 7-9/6/2008, Stay 3 Day 253-273,4/7-24/7/2008,Final Stay Day 310-326,30/8-15/9/2008

what an interesting and quirky place lightening ridge is, true mining town
what an interesting and quirky place lightening ridge is, true mining town

ALSO THE 1st 6 Slidesshow reference this detail

summary tuned by Men at Work #classic

and now the Talkies video

New South Wales – Australia 3 visits, 46 days in total Part1 of 6, during the period 5 Apr-15 Sep 2017

From our travels, gap year, New South Wales – Australia 3 visits, 46 days in total, during the period 5 Apr-15 Sep 2017, in 6 parts reconstructed Nov2020, including 297 images being a summary of the much larger collection, covering plus a whole lot more the following,Darlington beach, arrawarra, Sydney, corindi beach, gunnedah, luna park, opera house, harbour bridge, ferrys, manly, watsons bay, doyles, scotia, broken hill, Ballarat, bendigo,brewarrina, bush melons, turtles, Byron bay, cadmans cottage, camel rocks, sandunes, port stephens, diamond beach, big 4 campsites, motorhome travels,charlotte arch, jenolean caves, lightening ridge, opals, circular quay, Chinese gardens, harbourside, coffs harbour, big banana, naff ozzie icons, crocodile Dundee, outback, botany bay, darling river, bourke, pandanas, beaches to die for, tropical birds, classy ads, dingoes, ice cube restaurant,emus, billabong park, port Macquarie, woolongong, Pittwater bay,Flynn beach, pelicans,roos, lennox point, fishing, galahs, fredo’s pies, Kempsey,fruit bats, botanical gardens, gilbert st, manly, where annie lived, Gosford, govetts leap, bridal veil falls, grose river, govetts creek, the Liverpool plain, hastings point, hat head, Nambucca head, national parks, hebel, wurrumbungle NP, snakes, jubilee caves, caves house, floods, Bellinger river, imperial cave, black head lagoon, narabeen, wattle, hyams beach, squeaky sand, mrs macquaries chair, mystery bay, seacliff bridge,surfing, south west rocks, kiama, blowholes, kookaburra, ku-ring-ai chase, leura,lifeguards, bore holes, hot sulphur springs, nyngan, cobb and co, bellambi beach, Lithgow, trangie, mad max, silverton, beach volleyball,Mitchell highway,myall lakes, joeys, monorail, norah heads,north haven, camp cove, pitch d6 darlington, bbqs,cresent head,tuggerah lakes, crocs maybe?,palm beach, woy woy,possums, whitegum lookout, quoll, banksia, tahra, wapango creek, sea food platter, shark nets, shell harbour, Sherman, Sherrard falls, dorrigo, split rock, st George, sturt, tamworth, country music, terigal, ocean drive, the orphan, blue mountains, katoomba,smoky cape lighthouse, dubbo, thunderbolt kid, urella, tilba, sapphire coast,top tourist campsites, trial bay, bondi beach, reids point, lookouts galore, copacobanna beach, wicked vans, woolgoolga


Including Huon Valley, Visiting Rellies, 2 weeks exploring , Queenstown, Strahan, Freycinet & Lake Clair Nat Park, Cradle Mountain & Launceston

NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip

UPDATE 30/4/2008 Now left Tassie, the Holiday Isle Had a nice meal with Diana & John at Mures and said goodbye at the airport, they were both so kind! Visited Port Arthur 'penal colony' site 2day, staying last night in Sandy Bay We were in Taranna in lovely Summer Cottage for 2 days. Swansea overlooking the rookery of penguins. Had a gr8 day coming down the East coast and seeing the WONDERFUL Freycinet Nat park. St Helens. Walked to St Columba waterfall & visited Derby!. Plus stayed in Launceston for 2 days. Drove from Burnie to Launceston via Gr8 Western Tiers. Smithton out to West point, back via Stanley & the Nut to Burnie, alas Dismal Swamp closed!!! Tullah to Smithton via the wonderful Crandle Mountain- Lake Clair Nat park. Gr8 day and saw lots of 'regeneration' burns. Still xclent weather for Autumn, 21c+. Queenstown to Tullah via Strahan / Zeehan & Rosebury. Huon valley to Strahan / Queenstown. The Targa Tassie rally is on between Strahan/Zeehan & Queenstown. Previously - Visited Salamanca/Museum (Hobart) plus 7 mile beach & Opossum Bay. Bruny Island Tasman Peninsular (ace) plus finally sorted i/net in oz although Vodaphone ain't off the hook yet! Visited Mt Wellington, Mt Nelson & Hobart Pleasant days in Ranelagh/ Huonville with D&J, who have been absolutely wonderful hosts and looked after us amazingly well. Arrived Hobart 12/4/08 from Sydney (Quantas) for 2.5 weeks leaving Tassie 30/4/08 for Perth, 9.5 hrs via Melbourne (Jetstar & Quantas)

We remember Huon Valley, Mures, Strahan, builders walking past our bedroom window, the lovely Bruny Island and the views from the neck and adventure bay sands, and mostly seeing John & Diana. See also our 1995 trip Blog 163 and we just had to go back for our 4th but hopefully not final time in 2013. It wasn't we also returned in 2017. You can see those blogs here 167 & 168 respectively.

Summary: TASMANIA 18 days , Day 170-188, 12/4/2008 - 30/4/2008

Now the specialist wood carving we went to see outback Tassie

and now the Tassie talkies video


Including Perth, Rottnest, Quokkas, Norseman thru Kalgoolie, Esperance, Albany, Margaret River, Busselton, then fly to Broome & Cable beach, Camels & Sunsets

NOTE all words in ITALICS were either written on the trip or before we left (labelled HISTORY).

UPDATE 21/5/2008 We have now left Western Australia Flew via Kunnunarra into Darwin (NT) past Lake Argyle Previously - Did superb 16hr trip into the Kimberley thru Fitzroy Crossing to Geikie Gorge and to cap it all they played the Shawshank Redemption on the screen in the 4WD on the way back, bliss! Before that we went into Broome town (35c 2day) and town beach plus lovely meal at Som Thai in eve Spent 2nd day chillin by the pool, ace, 33c again, then caught bus (with other 100 people) to Cable beach and watched the sunset, beyond words, you gotta do it. Flew into Broome, hot 33c @ 8pm after handing back the campervan in Perth @ 1pm, sorted campervan for our Adelaide to Sydney incl Queensland trip Went to Rottnest (Rotto) Island, lovely day. In Freo (Fremantle) for 2 days. Travelled up from Bunbury via Mands (Mandurah) and all the beaches of the City of Rockingham. Stayed in Bunbury. Visited Margs, Prevelly, Yallingup and Busso Margaret River (wine region) after travelling from Northcliffe via Pemberton, Augusta and Leeuwin point where the Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. In Northcliffe stayed at an Eco Caravan Park, where we had our own friendly roos. Plus walked the lovely Valley of the Giants canopy walk. Breathtaking piccies don't do it justice Previously - Albany on the coast, before that Jerramungup (26c), travelled over 300k along SH1 in the south thru 'world famous' (supposedly) Fitzgerald River Nat Park Hmmm! Our campsite has a tame roo called Priscilla. Day+ in Esperance (28c) , what a change of colours after red plains we found deep blue oceans and supposedly the whitest sands in the world!. Stayed in Norseman (33c), start of the Eyre Highway across the Nullarbor, alas we aren't doing it! Maybe in another lifetime! Stayed in Kalgoorlie for 2 days (31c but our campervan claimed 38c), Gold mining capital of the outback. We loved K-B, gr8 place! Visited Narembeen Town, then drove 71km straight single tar/dirt track to Great Eastern Highway then 350Kms thru to Coolgardie, where we camped. Hot , tired but enjoyed changing landscape 26c Visited Wave Rock (28c wow!) nr Hyden, camped in Narembeen. Picked up campervan, drove thru the Shire of York to Quairading where we camped, 22c Nice warm days in Perth (24c+) 2nd tram ride out to Burswood etc We like Perth, it has a nice feel Arrived at Hotel (not the best) after long journey, hot and tired. Slept in and then had a gr8 day in Perth , boattrip to Freemantle and Tram trip around town

HISTORY Arrive from Hobart via Melbourne in 9.5hr journey on Jetstar/ Quantas 30/4, staying in the Mountway Apartments, Central City Perth Leaving Perth after 3 days city/ 14 days Campervan (Britz Elite) then on 16/5 to fly to Broome. Staying Broome until 21/5 in Ocean Lodge Hotel Cable Beach and have a organised bush trip thru Aboriginal Community North to Geikie Gorge and a Darngku Aboriginal Heritage Cruise Then flying via North Airlines to Darwin touching down at Kununurra

We remember the Geikie Gorge trip, Wave rock at Hyden, the wonderful Broome, Fitzroy crossing, beaches at Esperance and seeing the start of the Nullarbor at Norseman.

In 2013 we actually crossed the Nullarbor Plain (no trees) see blog 167 for details

image of boat and sunset on cable beach, western australia at sunset
top of WA, fab evenings, lved listening to CSN by the pool

Summary: WESTERN AUSTRALIA 22 days , Day 188-209, 30/4/2008 - 21/5/2008

and now the WA talkies video, such lovely voices 😉 🌠


Including Darwin, Mindil Beach, a Fab Trip (Red Class) on the Ghan #railway to Alice Springs via Katherine & Tennant Creek, Buying a Didge, Uluru, the Olgas & Sunset Heaven

NOTE all words in ITALICS were either written on the trip or before we left (labelled HISTORY).

UPDATE 29/5/2008 We have now left the Outback State Loved NT. Nice, remote and relaxed. Flew out over the various deserts, gr8 views. Bought a Didge from Andrew made by aboriginal who lives between Katherine & Ddarwin, Top end. Also visited Old Ghan Museum, train spotters that we are! Plus had a Didge lesson and went to the marvellous Andrew Langford's Sounds in Starlight Theatre for a contemporary Didge show and joined in. Plus 19hr round trip from Alice to see Uluru & The Olgas, immense! Wildlife count to Uluru and back was 3 camels, 20+roos, 4 dingos, numerous birds and bats. Spent the day in and around Alice by Explorer bus. Arrived on the Ghan (Gr8 fun) in Alice Springs (cooler at 27c) from Darwin via Katherine (4hrs), Tennant Creek (5hrs but night) after 27hr journey, not for the faint hearted! Average 33c in Darwin. Went to Art & History Museum Darwin (we liked Darwin) Plus Gr8 day in Darwin, visited the town, did the tourist bus (tour tub), chilled by the infinity pool and went to the sunset market at Mindil beach, spectacular Arrived and met the v helpful Lorraine at our apartment in Darwin

HISTORY Arrive in Darwin via air from Broome 21/5/2008 and then catching Ghan on Sat 24/5 @ 9am thru to Alice Springs stopping off at Katherine for 4 hours. (We will see the gorge + town) In Darwin we will be staying in a Central Motel (Unit 1 @ 4 Barossa Street, Larrakeyah) and taking trips out and about in NT for a few days. In Alice we are staying at the Aurora Alice Springs for 4 nights and taking a 17hr trip to Uluru & the Olgas in Red Rock country on the 27th, looking fwd to it!

Darwin is a fabulous place and was my top city after Sydney. The Ghan journey we will remember for the rest of our lives and the school of the air in Katherine as well as visiting the magical Uluru (and not being allowed to take pictures, its a sacred place) and staying in Alice, seeing the Starlight theatre performance and having Andrew Langford try out our Didge before we bought it. See our 1995 trip blog 163 and we just had to go back for our 4th and 5th trips in 2013 & 2017 respectively. We visited Alice again in 2017. We travelled in 2 motorhomes in our 10½ months away, the one on the eastern side being our home for 105 days. If you want to learn more about motorhomes, click here. No question Annie & I love Oz both as children & adults FACT! Note our reenactment of the £10 POMs in 2017 western australia at Freemantle (Freo)

Summary: NORTHERN TERRITORY 9 days , Day 209-217, 21/5/2008 - 29/5/2008

Day 209 shared with Western Australia and Day 218 shared with Southern Australia.


From our travels, gap year, Northern Territory Australia,9 days in total, during the period 21-29 May 2008, Ghan, Alice & Uluru, in 3 parts reconstructed Nov2020, including 159 images being a summary of the much larger collection, covering plus a whole lot more the following,Darwin, stations, tenants creek, sunset, mindil sunset market, museums, poems, artist, infinity pools, Katherine, Devonshire teas, didge, Andrew Lansford, aurora hotel, Unit 1, 4 Barossa st, Larrakeyah, Darwin, nice land lady , food, drive to ghan station, cyclone tracy 1974,museums, salt lakes, tropical flowers, Gibson and simpson deserts, aborigines, mount connor, albert Namatjira, artist, graveyard alice, telegraph & signals stations and museums, the old ghan, camels, the tub tour, stolen generation, river Katherine, sounds of starlight theatre, spray can art,the olgas, early morning coach trip, sunset picnic at uluru, cave art,school of the air, walking around the base of ayres rock (old name), red class travel, world hepatitis day, sleeping rough, red ochre café, camel steaks, roo steaks, telegraph camel men, history, traversing a very hostile terrain , baobab trees, frank gorton poetry, tea towels, ballooons, jim's place road house, singing dingoes, rock paintings and images of the past, lasseter highway, past kings canyon - coach swapping point

image of didgeridoo theatre, alice springs, australia
starlight theatre writeup, now disbanded (2017) Andrew sold me my didge

sounds of starlight theatre write up
andrew gave me lessons, i'm still no good at circular breathing

NOTE this one is shared with South Australia

plus the NT talkies video


Including Adelaide, Mt. Gambier, Milang, Princes & Southport Highways, Victor Harbor, Flinders Range Nat Park & Koalas on Kangaroo Island

NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip

UPDATE 21/6/2008 We have now left SA, the Festival (or Wine) State Good look around the Crater lakes at Mt Gambier on our last day in SA. Very sunny and about 15c. Before that a big day driving, 450+k to Mt Gambier along Princes & Southport Hwys. Annie 270+k, Keef 180+k Camped in Milang on Lake Alexandrina, the mouth of the Murray River Visited Victor Harbor (on the best side of the Fleurieu Peninsula) Stayed on Kangaroo island for 3.5 days Ace place We saw 10 koalas in the wild and had one (Cuddles) who was in a tree outside our campervan for most of the day before that we camped in Cape Jervis on the wonderful Fleurieu Peninsula Annie has put up piccies of the boys in the campervan Camped at Aldinga Beach having travelled thru Adelaide Hills/ Mt Barker, Hahndorf, the lovely McLaren Vale (Shiraz hic!) Returned to SA for the 2nd time on 12/6 arriving in Murraybridge where we stay 1 night at the Long Island Marina park from Mildura (Vic) via Yamba, Paringa, Renmark, Berri, Karoonda.

UPDATE 7/6/2008 We have now left SA for the 1st time crossing over into NSW Drove from Peterborough along Barrier Hwy to Broken Hill We had previously camped in Peterborough, steamtown. Had a great day in the Flinders Ranges Nat Park. Emu count 20+, Roos 50+ and birds galore plus spectacular scenery. Previously - Spent the night in Hawker (hub of the ranges), didnt get far today thru semi arid desert because of torrential downpour Before we had camped in Quorn (capital of the Flinders Ranges) having driven up from Clare Valley thru Mt Remarkables Nat Park, across the Goyder's line into the semi arid area of SA. Camped in Clare Valley (famous for Riesling) after 2 wonderful days in the gorgeious Barossa valley, Hic (the Shiraz is immense)! Also spent 2 days including the 1st day of winter by the rooftop pool in 23c and v sunny, even managed the odd swim in between naps Strolled thru town in the eve. Plus 2 meals in new Indian opposite Hotel (ace) Went on tourist bus around Adelaide and out to seaside at Glenelg. Staying at Rockford Hotel, v central. Warm & sunny 21c

We remember Cuddles & Kangaroo Island, Adelaide, the wine regions of Barossa, Clare & McLaren Vale and especially Chapel Hill port, D'arrendburg Magpie & all the famous vineyards or wineries as the Aussies call them. See our 1995 trip here Blog 163 and we just had to go back for our 4th in 2013 , and 5th with our dear pals Chris & Allyson in 2017. See blogs 167 & 168.

Summary: SOUTH AUSTRALIA 19 days , Stay 1 Day 217-226, 29/5 - 7/6/2008, Stay 2 Day 231-240,12/6-21/6/2008

EXTRA INFO From our travels, gap year, South Australia, 2 stays,19 days, during the period 29 May-21 Jun 2008, Kangaroo Island, Victor Harbor, in 3 parts reconstructed Nov2020, including 156 images being a summary of the much larger collection, covering plus a whole lot more the following, Kangaroo Island, Victor Harbor,pichi richi railway, the original ghan, tropical bird, Glenelg, milang, aldinga beach, cape jervis, ferry, sheep, difficult time reversing onto ferry, smells of animals, wine, mclaren vale, clare valley, Barossa valley, Jacobs creek, hahndorf, tanundra, buying a light, remarkable rocks, silverton, mad max, flinders range national park, emus, roos, koalas, cuddles, botanic gardens,Adelaide oval cricket ground,king William street, hop on hop off bus, metro, American river, penneshaw, flinders chase NP, sturt highway, film crew on our ferry, gramps wine, penfold wines, harbor tram, horses, chapel hill wines & ports, boardwalk, Peterborough, adventure before dementia, lake patawalonga, reeves point, mount connor, mount gambier, the mighty murray river, many naff ozzie icons in towns, lighthouses, weird terrains, tropical flowers, beer, waterfalls, mount remarkable NP, beerenburg, eagles, banksia, echidnas, wellington, ferries, wild and interesting birds, pelicans, pines, quondong pie, paranga, bread fruit, bush melons, old stuart railway station, causeway, western kangaroo island , woolshed flats, Wilpena pound, wombat poo, wolf blass wines, and the man himself, handshake, never washing again, Richmond grove wines, clair, quorn, laura, c j dennis, the sentimental bloke, orrock views, jacksons quality breads, corrugated iron shower blocks, railways, ss buffalo restaurant, col. William light

plus the SA talkies video


Including Grampians, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Mount Macedon, Mallacoota, Melbourne (revisit Keef's homes), Great Ocean Road, Nagambie Lakes, 12 Apostles, Mitchelton Wines (Preece, Yummy)

NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip

UPDATE 4/7/2008 We have now left the 'Garden' or 'Place to Be/ On the Move' state] Spent our last day in Victoria at the wonderful Mallacoota & Gipsy Point before x-ing the border back into NSW. We camped at Mallacoota in Croajingolong Nat park, drove 320+k to get there from Sale where we camped. Drove from Mornington down the Gippy Hwy (Oz short for South Gippsland Highway) along 90 mile beach. Mixed weather, wet windy & sunny. Saw 2 huge sea eagles, one of which alas had a baby lamb in its grasp! Camped on the Mornington Peninsular @ Mornington. Stressful day driving thru Melbourne City, not easy! Visited where Keef lived as a boy at Elwood. Gr8 day in Melbourne centre plus visited Lalor where Keef also lived as a boy (as well as caulfield, now posh suburb)! Before that camped in Nagambie lakes by the Mitchelton Vineyard (home of Preece). Visited Hanging Rock (Mt Diomedes). Camped in Macedon in the Gr8 Divide ranges. Travelled up from the GOR via Geelong (past Karianda park, come on you Cats) Camped at Kennett River (Gr8 for wildlife spotting) in Otway Nat park, GOR (Koala count 9 over 2 days) Revisited Loch Ard Gorge & 12 Apostles after severe weather warning overnight and boy did we feel it The van 'rocked' ! We stayed in Port Campbell on the GOR (Great Ocean Rd) saw most of the 'world class' GOR The pictures just cannot do it justice Beforehand we had travelled from Port Fairy to Warrnambool (camped 1 night in each) where we whale watched at Logans Beach and saw the Flagstaff Hill nightime Sight & Sound show Beforehand that we toured the wonderful Grampians, oh what views! Spent day in Ararat doing the touristy things, J Ward & Gum San plus the wonderful views from One Tree Hill. Back in Victoria for the 3rd and final time. Camped at Ararat in the Grampians region for 2 days having travelled thru Casterton, Hamilton and a whole stack more familiar Scots named-towns

UPDATE 12/6/2008 Left Victoria for the 2nd time, we will BE BACK! Left for SA on the Sturt Highway (A20), v sunny and warm 18c. We liked Mildura a lot, walked around the town, had great icecream sundae (MT Kosioskos) Went on the PS (Paddlesteamer) Melbourne down the Murray River Arrived in Mildura (wonderful place) on 9/6/08 (2nd stop in Vic) via Silver City Highway, 300k. Camped here for 3 days. Nice site (Apex Park, Riverbeach) by river.

UPDATE 30/4/2008 First touch down for 4 hours at Tullamarine Airport on route from Hobart to Perth, rang Mum

We remember the Grampians, Picnic @ Hanging rock in Macedon, Mallacoota and the fabulous great ocean road and especially getting a pic of the old car as it went under the sign.

Summary: VICTORIA 18 days , Day 188 (for 4 hours) then Stay 2 , Day 228-231, 9/6-12/6/2008, Stay 3, Day 240-253, 21/6-4/7/2008


From our travels, gap year, Victoria, Australia, 3 stays, 18 days,during the period 30 Apr- 4 Jul 2008, the 1st only 4 hours at Melbourne airport en route from Hobart to Perth, a long flight, rang Mum from there, in 4 parts reconstructed Nov2020, including 223 images being a summary of the much larger collection, covering plus a whole lot more the following,Melbourne, lalor, mornington peninsular, sale, great ocean road, old cars, sale, malacoota, mount macedon, nagambie lakes, picnic at hanging rock, long climb up, painful legs, bendigo, maits rest, roos, murray steamers, mitchelton winery, preece, art work on labels, apollo bay, shipwrecks, torquay beach, surfers, kennett river, best place for koalas, lyre bird mile, London bridge – is fallen down, mornington, beach huts, picnics, 12 apostles – now only 7, visitors platform, family parks, Mildura, bay of islands, black swans, the grampians, Chinese miners, avoca, bay of martyrs, huge grey roo, mount defiance lookout, derrick street, lalor & pine ave, elwood (where I lived as a child), Ararat, federation square, flagstaff hill, Griffiths island, port fairy, gypsy point, mt Diomedes, lake entrance, tower hill reserve, emus, 90 mile beach, koala cove café, kookaburras, aireys inley, marine parade wood carvings, loch ard gorge, lock 11, logans beach, whales, warrnambool, mckenzie falls, Melbourne cricket ground, flinders street station, trams, miller falls, halls gap, mount victory, pelicans, maccabah restaurant, the ps Melbourne, seaspray, reed lookout, swampgully campsite, rosella, sale harbour, telstradome, the arch, rabbit island, stratford upon avon (ozzie version), emigration museum, tsindos Greek restaurant,william buckley, white cockatoo, woodend, the murky yarra, yorkeys knob

plus the victoria state talkies video


Including Daydream Island, Airlie Beach, St. George, Atherton Tablelands, Daintree, Port Douglas, Cape Trib, Emerald Gem Fields, Cairns, Kuranda & Salties, Cooktown

NOTE all words in ITALICS were written on the trip

UPDATE 30/8/2008 We have now left the “Sunshine/ Smart/ Tropical/ Outback” state Crossed over the border back into NSW near Hebel. Camped in St George, 170k from QLD/NSW outback border. Previously - camped in Roma overnight and before that Emerald and Willows Gem fields for 3 days. Went fossicking 2 days running and found 13 (lucky for us though) sapphires. 1st day easy, 2nd real diggings (hard work in blistering sun 27c, wow not sure how they did this years ago) Drove to the gem field area over 500k driven down Gregory Developmental road Camped in Charters Towers for 2 days. Slowly making our way back to Sydney via Outback QLD &NSW Got to Charters Towers via a marathon 550k drive down 2 developmental roads (gravel with central single tar track) Interesting Camped in Atherton, got there via Mareeba and 350kms Before that camped in Cooktown for 3 days. Cooktown is as far north as we can get and its developmental road only opened as a sealed road in 2006. Cape York & Weipa are strictly 4WD and mostly closed in the wet season. Visited Daintree & Cape Tribulation (ace) from Port Douglas (PD). Camped in Port Douglas for 4 days. Drove to PD via Cairns North Beaches which are v good. Had a gr8 day in PD before returning for a well earned swim in the pool Hot&Humid here , 28c with humidity 48% Camped in Cairns for 3 days. Much has changed since we were last here 13 years ago, now a big cosmopolitan city! Went back to Kuranda for the day, ace place and into the rainforest to Lake Morris (amazingly steep climb) Also camped in Fishery Falls below Cairns for 1 night. We camped here with the boys 13 years ago. It has changed a lot including removing the cowboy swing doors from the local pub! Camped in Rollingstone (yes Mr Jagger it really is a place!) gr8 pool beach front location 10/8 yahoo GB gets 1st gold for cycling to rival ozzie bragging about 1st swimming gold Camped in Townsville (Woodlands) for 2 nights. Went to Magnetic Island for the day. Arrived in Townsville from Airlie beach via Shute Harbour & Bowen. Spent one of the best days ever on Daydream Island in the Whitsundays.Camped at Airlie Beach , Whitsundayshire for 3 days. V nice weather! 26-28c Even went for a numerous swims in both sea and pools plus numerous beach paddles. 19c at night whilst 20c in day in Nottingham, can’t be bad! Above the Tropic of Capricorn in Mackay and its getting hotter by the day 28c Went via Rockhampton (gr8 place) Stayed in Benaraby just below Gladstone. Travelled there from Bundaberg on Coral Coast via Agnes waters & 1770. Note this is the southern end of the Gr8 Barrier Reef. Camped in Bundaberg after travelling from Maryborough (ace place!) via Hervey Bay Travelled from Caloundra to Maryborough (home of the author of Mary Poppins) via Buderim & Noosa. Getting much hotter as we move towards the tropics, 23c to 27c Camped in Caloundra (busy, only got into 4th site) on Sunshine Coast for 2 days. Had an ace day in the best zoo in the world, Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo in Beerwah oh and saw Glass House Mountains at the end of the day. Spent a gr8 day in Brisbane. Camped in Aspley a northern “suburb” of Brisbane for 2 days. Went to visit Peter & Lorraine Birtles & family at their home in Warner for a lovely BBQ Peter is an old colleague & friend from Boots in Nottingham and it was lovely to see them. They looked after us extremely well, thx. Went to see the wonderful Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, with Miami City & the Isle of Capri!!! Arrived in QLD across the border from NSW on 24/7/2008 camped in Biggera Waters Nr Labrador on a v v wet Gold Coast

We visited every state i.e New South Wales (NSW),Victoria(Vic),Tasmania(Tas),Western Australia (WA),Northern Territories (NT),South Australia(SA).We remember so much of this fabulous trip, read on but motorhome hires & camels and sunset at Broome beach is right up there with the best of it.

Summary: QUEENSLAND 37 days , Day 273-310, 24/7/2008 - 30/8/2008


From our travels, gap year, Queensland, Australia, 37 days,during the period 24 Jul – 30 Aug 2008, all the way up the coast to Cooktown, in 7 parts reconstructed Nov2020, including 223 images being a summary of the much larger collection, covering plus a whole lot more the following,woombye, naff ozzie icons, Rockhampton, mackay, bundaberg, tropic of Capricorn, bernaraby, Caloundra, maryborough, mary poppins, pamela lyndon travers, pl travers author, 1770, captain james cook, surfers, surfers paradise, venice, miami, Daintree, cape tribulation, crocodiles, salties, yandina, cannonball trees, port douglas, cairns, magnetic island, airlie beach, airlie cove, daydream island, the whitsundays, scarface the croc, snakes, big 4 campsites, noosa, noosa heads, Russell crowe, bush turkey, national parks, cairns, the sunshine coast, the big pineapple, nutworks, macadamias, avos, ettamoga pubs, buderim ginger, ice creams, Atherton, tablelands, sharks, rays, sea cucumbers, starfish, daydream swimming, mermaids, sunshine galore, sugar canes, fishery falls, rollingstone, billy tea, fishery falls, cooktown, endeavour river, death by salty, yorkies knob, monitor lizard pets, breaking hired chairs, abel point marina, agnes water, strelitzia, kuranda, railway to cairns, palm cove, willow gem fields, outback, charters towers, hospitals, annies bad toe, weird cowboy with terrets, cattle markets, emerald, kent street, mission beach, flagstaff hill, elephants, watching beccy addlington win gold, mission beach, mount coot-tha, Brisbane, bougainvillea, fake sea, a j hackett bungee cairns,car stickers, tropical flowers, multi monuments, cassowary, crystal cascade campsite, Australia zoo, cardwell, hard rock café, gordonvale, surprise creek, barron falls, waterfalls, murdering point, winery, port, wonga beach, koalas, butterflies, lorrikeets, saunders beach, fish dinners, jade buddha restaurant, lake morris, isley hills, nelly bay, eagle street pier, paddlesteamer restaurant, palm cove, pine islet lighthouse, riga sister city to cairns, bowen, baz lurmahn, Australia the movie, rod laver tennis hero, suncorp stadium, rednault bar, stubbies, melons, sir Thomas brisbane, saunders beach, stingers, jelly fish, 7 mile beach, the giant mango, biggera waters, gold coast, strangler fig trees, wombats, past hartleys crocodile farm – now sadly closed, the old bruce highway, historical museum re highway, clancy, marine turtles, saphhires, banged the van, oops, childers where annie went in the 60s, promenade pool @ cairns, the meating place – tee hee, the lost $20 refund

and now the queensland talkies video

SINGAPORE 2008, a very short stop

Just passing thru, touchdown at Changi Airport for refueling and change of plane We had about 1½ hours here

Maybe you can argue we were doing a reccie for Doug & Phoenix in advance. Really we were just passing through both on the way out in 1995 and the way back here in 2007-08. We remember the slick fast transit monorail from one terminal to another, not eating gum and in 1995 being woken up for my 7th meal in under 7 hours. Back for 2 weeks to really see it in 2013 with the lovely Mr & Mrs Hellinger (Mr Douglas as our son became to be known by 2013) .Plus again in 2014, 2018 and 2019. Just click on the Singapore TAG to see all the associated Blogs

good ol' changi airport, how often have we been here, note changi was a prison
good ol' changi airport, how often have we been here, note changi was a prison


Day 326 - Monday 15th September 2008, Sydney 2 Hong Kong via Singapore

Long day flying, watched lots and lots of movies on the flight Up about 4.45am , flew at 8.05am although it was 15mins late going Good airplane, Air Singapore had to swap at Changi and use posh fast shuttle train to our next gate The luggage got transferred automatically for us from one plane to the other Taxi at HK was a hoot Service guy wrote down the hotel in Chinese for the driver who we had fun communicating with by hand signals Kowloon a long way Over lovely bridge and under tunnel 45 mins drive Went to wrong hotel then had to go to New SD all fine £75 a night stayed 3 nights Hot 35c and 100% humidity, what we saw today,Airports and movies, who we met, Shuttle guy @ Holiday Inn Sydney who was annoyed we had loaded on our own bags. Jobsworth! Getting on the plane went very quickly when one considers it, taxi driving thru market to San Diego (wrong hotel) was amusing, took 1 picture of Changi airport only! Plus remembering my Dad with love, who died on this day 6 years earlier.

Summary: SINGAPORE 1½ hours , Day 326, 15/9/2008

HONG KONG Kowloon Island

NOTE all words in ITALICS were either written on the trip or before we left (labelled HISTORY)

Hong Kong

UPDATE 18/9/2008 We have now left Hong Kong and after a long flight and many movies & meals via Air NZ39's hospitality we are back in the UK. Greeted at T3 Heathrow on England's green and pleasant lands by Craig with the traditional taxi airport card held up saying "AGEING HIPPIES", We rest our case Great times, we will miss them but also glad to be back!!!

UPDATE 14/9/2008 We are now likely to be out of online contact until after we arrive back in the UK....Intend some intensive retail therapy whilst in Hong Kong Staying at New San Diego Hotel in Mau Lam St,Jordan, Kowloon (thx D&P for suggestion). Peak Train, Hong Kong, Amazingly steep. This travels up to the top of Mt Victoria Alas as 36c and 100% humidity the views of the harbour were very obscured. Computer nerdsville or Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong, Poor annie had to suffer many hours of Keef in 7th heaven.... PS Geek status achieved. V cheap for current technology, Lunch at Bubba Gumps Shrimp House was a real highlight. Noted Wok shaped sky terrace Mt Victoria Peak and HK in World Monopoly game , and quite right too!!! It is a fascinating place. Bird Market, Prince Edward, HK with lovely original wooden cages and oh so colourful birds. Took fab picture of Light &Sound Show, Waters Edge, with science museum in background. V pleased with this shot.We saw the show at Tsim Sha Tsui (TST)

HISTORY - Spending 3 nights here.....more when we get there

We remember the taxi driver instructions in chinese and him trying to drop us at wrong hotel, humidity, Macdonalds for breakfast (bad news), Nathan Road, Star ferry, Metro, Bakeries,fenicular railway, smog, humidity again... nice place , birthday meal @ top of mountain

a temple in downtown kowloon
a temple in downtown kowloon


Day 327 - Tuesday 16th September 2008,Hong Kong

Breakfasted at McDonalds Nathan Road, Jordan Then got Urban Day pass for the MTR (Metro) ($50HK-£4) Went to TST and walked to star ferry Crossed to Central ($8HK-63p) Walked across bridge up into IFC mall Had juice and muffin then back on Star Ferry Went to Hard rock Café for drink and t-shirt then onto Sham Shui Po for Computer bits Knackered as hot and humid (36c/ 100%+) back to hotel to flake Went to sleep and only had bits and pieces from Bakery on MTR for Tea. Met loads of very nice folk who helped us whenever we looked at a map even though we weren’t lost. Celebrated Keef’s 54th B’day spent in Hard Rock Cafe (TST) and Computer Nerdsville , Sham Shui Po, plus lunch up Mt Victoria via Peak Train & saw a Wedding on Star Ferry. Probably for a magazine.

Day 328 - Wednesday 17th September 2008, Hong Kong

Breakfasted at McDonalds Nathan Road, Jordan Then got Urban Day pass for the MTR ($50HK) Then went up to Central and walked thru business district to the Peak Train went up to the top, alas very humid and unclear views but had great birfday lunch at Pappa Gumps Shrimps etc Then back to TST for light and sound show (spectacular) then back to hotel for a rest Had bits from bakery for t plus 2 bowls of fruit the hotel left. met loads of folk esp American gi (retired) and Chinese girlfriend from Schezhan.Enjoyed Tram ride, night lights and music show, retail therapy.

Day 329 - Thursday 18th September 2008,Hong Kong 2 England and Home!!!!

Very little sleep and alas Keef was sick overnight so jaded when we caught taxi back to airport K put poor guy off by giving him misleading airport terminal info Finally got to T1 gate 3 for Air NZ, long flight 12hrs 20mins which went quickly Craig collected us at Heathrow glad to be back Had fish and chips from Sandiacre fish bar at Craig’s then managed to stay up to 10pm then flopped No real jet lag at all..can’t wait for the next hols!!! THE END for now, watched 4 movies the best of which was a Kiwi movie called 2nd hand wedding, met a Nice girl from Guangzhou who was studying at Bristol (2nd year) reminded us of Phoenix. Loved Arriving at t1 not t3 Heathrow. Craig’s sign saying AGEING HIPPIES

Summary:HONG KONG 3 days , Day 327-329, 16/9/2008 - 18/9/2008