A Travellerspoint blog

NYE 2005-6

The Lawn with a View

sunny 44 °C

Well, all we can say really is that you had to be there. A reserved , ticketed area in the Botanical Gardens, infront of the Opera House for 4 million bucks worth of fireworks and no rugby scrummage!

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44 Degrees !!

Well there was never really any doubt that we were always going to remember the final day and night of 2005, but blimey did 2006 ever get off to a hot start. After a deserved lay in there was nowt for it but to get off to Manly beach and try and keep cool. We decided to hire some Boogieboards and get into the water. The surf and swell was pretty scary at times but we just about managed to not look totally incompetent.

The ferry ride back to Circular Quay was a sight to behold and with one last day planned around the shops and then finally a stop at the Aquarium the sun was setting on our month long trip away and fanastic as it was, we were both ready to get back to our own place and just do nothing for a few days !

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Posted by j140870 08:16 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

G'day mate

Sydney, Australia.

sunny 32 °C

A first for us both. Neither Tracey or I had ever been to Australia before. The first thing that struck me ( well it actually dawned on me whilst we were in NZ ) was that OZ and NZ , despite their proximity do not have the same climate. Austrlalia is significantly hotter.

Arriving at about 1800, to a usually pleasant 30 degrees or so we emerged from Kings Cross station and encoutered the foreward cab driver attitude ( they don't know where anything is !! ). Luckily for us once I'd shown the cabbie a map he pointed us donw the street and a brief but sweaty hike later we were in our lovely temporary home at Simpson's Hotel in Potts Point.

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Welcomed by Keith and shown to our room on the top floor we chilled out for an hour or so, showered and then decided to head off for a first real look at the city from Mrs Macquaries Chair. Hiking ( or Tramping as they say in NZ ) out there in the pitch black with they wild life making all kinds of tropical sounds and the sight of huge bat silouettes against the evening sky was an experience to be had, but the view was well, well worth it.

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After an early night and then an early start we thought we'd take a walk through the Botanical Gardens

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to the Opera House ( we'd had to collect our tickets for NYE) and then spend the rest of the day getting familiar with the city, exploring Circular Quay and Darling Harbour and getting used to the ferry and metro system around town.

The next few days we took in Manly and the beach, Taronga Zoo ( which was hideously disappointing, alot of the exhibits actually upsetting as the animals have little room to roam, even if they do have a great view of the city) and souvenir shopping !

Posted by j140870 07:24 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Xmas in Chrischurch

sunny 23 °C

After a full 2 weeks on the go it was nice for us to get back to Christchurch for a week off from rushing around with "only" shopping and Xmas to get through. With the kind use of Tracey's mother's car we toured the sights of ChCh, catching up with Tracey's friends when we could. Christmas day was spent at Tracey's aunt with family and a nice time was had by all. Before we knew it the 28th had come round and we had to leave for Sydney ! Such a shame as they was soo much more that we could have seen and done , and to be honest it really felt like we'd begun our journey back home, which was a bit upsetting.

New Brighton

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Christchurch Cathedral

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Posted by j140870 07:15 Archived in New Zealand Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Shotover and out

Would you Adam and Eve it!

sunny 26 °C

Of all the things you'd want to do in Queenstown the jetboat ride through Shotover canyon would be just about top of the list, so I was told. We got up late for us and met for breakfast at 9am, all of looking forward to the ride as we'd decided to cancel any attmpt to white water raft due to my ongoing ailments and decidedly dodgy neck. Following scrambled egg and toast for me it was off downtown to get ourselves booked on a hair raising trip through the gorge, hurtling at rocks at top wack , only to veer away at the last second.

"I'm sorry Sir, but the boats aren't running this morning cam ethe response when Peter tried to book us the trip. There's a technical problem with one of the boats ( probably the steering no doubt !)."

Hrmphhh...We were advised that more would be known at midday and to call back in then to see if they would run in the afternoon. So we decided to head up the mountain on the Queenstown Gondola to check out the views and the Luge. As with most of the tourist attractions, yet another way of making money is to take photos of you and then try to flog them to you. Ofcourse I decided that I'd make my own raspberry protest and try and stop us from falling into the trap. However it was a nice picture of us ( except for me ), so I apologise all. Luckily the Skyline complex keep an online archive for a while so here you go >>>

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Following Luging ( what a scream , although early came a cropper on the fast one ) we descended down the hill only to find out that the Shotover Jet was out of commission for the whole day. Not wanting to miss out on Jet boating we decided to take the longer , but not nearly as exciting trip on the Kawarau boat instead.

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60 minutes later, alot of fun, a missing Hard Rock Cafe cap from Rome and an altogether even sorer neck than I started with later we were back on dry land. A fun trip , but I would have like to have done the Shotover!

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A couple of hours rest at the hotel after some retail therapy and it was off to dine at the Lonestar Cafe, Queenstown ( well stuffed ) and then an hour or so on the pokies at the Casino before a sleep and the 6 hour drive back to CHCH and a couple of days well deserved rest before Xmas.

Posted by j140870 21:04 Archived in New Zealand Tagged family_travel Comments (2)

Doubtful Sound

"awe your so lucky having the rain today !"

all seasons in one day 24 °C

Another short nights sleep ( but a good Steak dinner later ! ) and we were picked up from our hotel at just before 0630 for our trip out to Doubtful Sound. Those of you in the know ofcourse realise that is not actually a Sound at all but a Fjord ( ooh hark at him !). The difference being ( as they explained on the trip that a Sound is a flooded river valley and Fjord's are carved by glaciation activity ). This would probably explain why we found ourselves in the Fiordland National Park.

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Not the most accesible of places and a good 12-13 hour round-trip from Queenstown and involves 2hours of coaching to and from Lake Manapouri and then coaching the short journey to the Sounds, stopping on the way back at the underground power station ( hydroelectric ) set up to provide power for the local aluminium indusrty , 15% of the power generated routed to the NZ power grid.

Our guide Paul was great because his commentary on the bus ride there managed to send me to sleep in our ten minutes falt and I managed to get back some of that I'd been missing since we'd left the UK. The persistent rain was apparently a great thing, and to be honest it turned out to be so as this meant the temporary waterfalls surrounding the sounds were in full flow creating some spectacular views. Having cruised out to the edge of the Sound and viewed seal colony ( a bit disappointing because we were so far away and they were just busy sleeping ) we turned ( and so too did the weather ) back into the Sound and then up the Crooked Arm, the largest inlet in the fjord. As we rounded the elbow we came upon what I think we all hoped for which were Dolphin. Pausingly briefly we observed their antics until their behave exhibited signals of stress ( the tour operators have strict guidlines over their conduct around wildlife ). After moving on further into the inlet we paused for a few minutes, with engines stopped and just sat in the water in silence. This was just amazing as the place was sooo quiet save for the chirpings of a few birds, just amazing.

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The return journey to Queenstown involved a stop a the Power station which is of interest , but not for those who are not good with small spaces. The coach has to crawl down a tunnel some 300m down or so and then turn around ( a 11m coach in a 6m wide tunnel ). Another boat trip across Lake Manapouri ( where the sun dared to come out ) and then a skiped dinner for me as my cold was by now in full swing, coupled with a stiff sore neck, I was not feeling at all flash.

Posted by j140870 13:16 Archived in New Zealand Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

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