A Travellerspoint blog

Milford Sound - Invercargill

overcast 9 °C
View Round the World on geranddebs's travel map.

We headed off at 10 that morning and Jess decided to join us for a bit as well...

The van was an automatic so it took a while for us to get used to it and have your clutch foot doing nothing, and because it was an automatic we soon found out that it was like driving a tank especially seeing the south island is very mountainous and hilly! so we maxed about 10mph going uphill....

The weather was freezing compared to what we have been used to - a mere 10-12 degrees..so sleeping in the van was going to be fun... Basically we got the van for about 17euro a day and in it you have your standard gas cooker, lights fridge, cupboard space for groceries and everything then doubles up as a dining room, living room, kitchen and bedroom... oh and it was tastefully done with purple sofa covers and red curtains!!

On our way down to Milford sound the roads were mostly through mountains all with snow on them and everywhere you looked was a postcard picture - the scenery was just beautiful.
One of the creeks we passed through was Monkey Creek, so yes Paula we had to take a picture for you...and we manager to find loos as well along the way!!

monkey_cre..d_sound.jpg

toilet_on_..d_sound.jpg

the roads to Milford sound were mad, basically up one side of the mountain to come down the other with a tunnel along the way aptly named "Homer Tunnel"..which did freak me out slightly as i was driving this part!

homer_tunnel.jpg

homer_tunn.._mirror.jpg

We arrived in Milford Sound and booked our tour for the following day on one of the smaller boats as apparently they get closer to the waterfalls! We checked into the only lodge up there and while Jess got her room we plugged ourselves in and got started cooking our dinner in the van, which was grand as it heats the place up nicely!

cooking_in..n_-_ger.jpg

It didnt stay that way though and that night was the coldest ever, we were both freezing and were glad when morning finally arrived. The trip out on the boat was fab and it had been a special day for Ger as he was missing his first dubs match in a long time so the jersey was worn as a mark of respect...

Ger_in_his..d_sound.jpg

they took us in and around the waterfalls and it was a great clear day so well worth with..

snow_cappe..d_sound.jpg

ger_and_de.._cruise.jpg

deb_and_je.._cruise.jpg

milford_so..ry_shot.jpg

water_fall..d_sound.jpg

We got on the road after our boat trip and were headed further south towards Invercargill via Te Anau to check out Burt Monroe's bike that apparently was being stored for display in a hardware store in Invercargill. Burt Monroe was the man upon which the movie "the fastest indian in the world" was based. Basically he had a passion for bikes and when he was about 80 he decided he wanted to race his indian bike in a famous race in the states and break the world record. The movie is great for anyone who hasnt seen it.. very funny as well and in the end he does what he set out to do, great true story and so becasue we were passing through we thought we would go visit it!

burt_monroe_bike.jpg

bike_shot_..aragill.jpg

We stayed the night at Invercargill then before setting off around the southern coast to drive through the famous Catlins....

Posted by geranddebs 02:25 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Queenstown - New Zealand

overcast 11 °C
View Round the World on geranddebs's travel map.

We arrived in NZ into Queenstown on the 30th May, flying into the country was class the scenery itself was stunning and to be honest we were looking forward to some cooler weather and seeing the snow everywhere was super..

queenstown_1.jpg

queenstown_2.jpg

bird_in_queenstown.jpg

ducks_in_queenstown.jpg

It was just like arriving into a snow resort for skiing, small class wee alpine villages full of people with warm clothes on and wooly hats and scarves..we booked into our hostel and headed straight out, the shops were cool and of course shopping was a must for hats and jumpers and long sleeved tops... Ger even bought a class kiwi bird thing in a designer shop!

There is loads to do from bungy jumps to skydives and rafting unfortunately though the weather was so wintery a lot of these activities had been postponed due to the visibility and bad weather - we thought it was class though..
We headed up the famous Queenstown Cable car to see if we could see anything anyhow but to no avail! So instead we bought the lord of the rings book to check out all the scene locations and made a decision to rent a campervan and drive around the 2 islands instead of getting the bus..

We booked an EZY CRUIZA campervan - basically a toyota hiace van with a raised ceiling and red curtains!! Class! it was $37.50 a day and we were well excited..

ezy_cruisa_-_deborah.jpg

On our last night in Queenstown we headed to a restaurant that the Lord of the rings cast used to go to called the Cow, fab place that does great pizza and beer and spent the meal chatting to a couple from Christchurch - Catherine and Neville, who invited us to come stay oin their house when we made it up there...we left tipsy and met our friend from Oz, Jess and headed to the irish Pog Mo thon bar and stayed there til 3 in the morning teaching irish dancing to the locals - Suzi, Tosh and the rest of the motor rally and angling members clubs that were out for a quiet drink.. and singing with Charlie the Maori entertainer!

So again with very sore heads we checked out the next morning to go and pickup our van and start our journey south - first stop Milford Sound...

on_the_roa..nowhere.jpg

Posted by geranddebs 00:44 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Sydney

sunny 20 °C
View Round the World on geranddebs's travel map.

Our flight got us into Sydney in the afternoon and we headed for the hostel called Nomads - Maze on Pitt street...it looked nice on the internet but hey its always hit and miss and this time was a definite miss! the place was like the hotel out of the Shining movie - just short of a freaked out kid riding a bicycle round the corridors and the room itself was like a prison cell - at least thats how i referred to it! So needless to say we went straight out the door and became hardened tourists - only returning when we had to!!

cell_in_sydney.jpg

cell_2.jpg

We headed down to the opera house and bridge that night and it was cool all lit up, so we did the photo thing and headed away for dinner.. the following morning up early and out to the rocks market - only on saturdays and sundays but the stalls are class ( if you like shopping that is!) and it was also the National Sorry Day for the Aboriginals so the place was packed out..they even had a great band on available for weddings!!

disco_time..harbour.jpg

rocks_market.jpg

sorry_day.jpg

harbour_shadow.jpg

We left the markets an hour later with an ornament for the house called a satellite of love! i couldnt resist it, but at this stage Ger is starting to worry that there wont be enough walls in the house for the amount of "ornaments" we have..you can also get a cuppa tea with scones cream and jam as well here - a right touch!

We headed out to Manly beach after shopping and booked ourselves into the revolving centrepoint tower for dinner later that night..We even seen Iron Maiden at manly Beach...

iron_maiden.jpg

The restaurant is well cool you get your table and dinner is buffet style so when you leave to get it you are told to remember your table number as it will have moved by the time you get back - so you get a lot of people walking about plates in hand looking for their table.. good craic though! You also get to try out different food - ger's plate was full of camel, emu and kangaroo meat... when in Rome and all that!

Our 3rd day we headed out to Bondi and Coogee - this excited me as this is where me and the girls used to live...nothing had changed at all we got the 372 bus to coogee and after brekkie headed for the coogee to Bondi walk around the coast, the weather was fab but as usual we had got it wrong and were dressed in jeans and jackets while folks past us in their speedos and bikinis..oh and seen a guy who had decided to build his house on the edge of the rocks and Ger tried to get his fitness going on the way!

ger_keepin..n_bondi.jpg

CBH.jpg

Got to bondi and met up with an old school friend Helen Thompson out there and her mate Marie Claire Henry, they have been living there for 4 years now, so unfortunately Ger had to sit and listen to us catch up after 10-15 years about the old school days..

me_helen_a.._claire.jpg

penguins_on_bondi.jpg

Girls just so you know our wee flat is still there and has even had a piant job and the Rino's are still in flying form!! lol

Rinos_pizza_and_flat_.jpg

We met up with a friend of ours then from our China trip - Donna at the CBH - Coogee Bay Hotel and had the traditional cook your own steak for dinner..

coogee_bay..cooking.jpg

She was taking us to her house for the night out in Blacktown as we were heading up to the blue mountains the following day with her so it was great - a night out of the cell in a proper house!! her mum and dad - josie and Joe were so nice and we had our own room and a great comfy proper bed and shower not to mention the great breakfast the following morning and their pool out their back garden! it was like heaven..

Donna_s_ho..ool_jpg.jpg

donnas_house.jpg

We headed up to the blue mountains that morning and it was a fab day and the weather was great and clear so we had super views of the mountains and the 3 sisters from the scenic railway vertically down into the valley and they the cable car back up again..

Cablecar_b..ainsjpg.jpg

More_camer..ts__jpg.jpg

Scenic_railway_jpg.jpg

Ger_and_Do..s___jpg.jpg

Ger even tried to touch for one of the sisters..haha

Ger_touchi..er__jpg.jpg

Echo_point..out_jpg.jpg

3_sisters___jpg.jpg

Dont_loose..ne__jpg.jpg

We said our goodbyes to Donna and headed back to sydney then for our last day..
We were up and about and climbed the bridge as it was a class day for photos, after we contacted Ger's sisters mates, James and Geraldine and they invited us out for dinner at their house so we headed out to them and yes you guessed it we were very wobbly coming home... great night though of craic and the wine was great! Mind you at 5am the next morning our heads didnt agree with us... our flight out to NZ was at 8 so we were up and away early doors...

james_and_gerladine.jpg

PJ we seen this for you and thought you might us to bring it back for you!! lol Tell Pat he got a good bargain last year...

paula_weather_vane.jpg

And finally if only there were more of these at 3am on a saturday night in Dublin!!

affordable_taxis_.jpg

Posted by geranddebs 01:23 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Brisbane

sunny 28 °C
View Round the World on geranddebs's travel map.

We had caught the bus to Brisbane and booked into a hostel and first things first we had to go look for a pub that was showing the Liverpool champions match...

Brisbane is fairly small so navigating it was pretty and soon enough as always we found an irish pub that advertised the match starting coverage at 3am in the morning and you had to be in before then as it was a lockin..so we headed home for a kip and set our alarms for 12am and then headed back to the bar and got there for 1am - very strange as that is normally when i start suffering from concrete head syndrome and need to go home... or dance more! When we arrived in the place was packed with liverpool supporters and i even met some belfast lads from the lisburn road at home!!
Half time was even better as they handed out bacon butties for all... so at about 8am in the morning we eventually made it back to our beds and the body clock was then thoroughly screwed up...

We only had 2 days in Brisbane but that afternoon instead of shopping or drinking we headed out to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to get up close and personal with some of Australia's wildlife...

The sanctuary was class and just the ticket for a hangover as you spent the day walking around amongst the kangaroos, crocs, koala's etc feeding them...
You got a bag of food for a dollar and away you went feeding whomeever you wanted to get near to..it was well cool and the animals were so tame.

IMG_1242.jpg

IMG_1268.jpg

We then got to have the photo opportunity with the koala - ours was called Crumpet and she was cool bit heavy though and needed to lay off the aul eucalyptus for a while mind!

IMG_1228.jpg

IMG_1231.jpg

We decided to round the day off with dinner and drinks in Brisbane's casino, but as soon as we got there we were told we couldnt get in! flip flops and shorts etc not allowed - i think it was just the backpacker thing and they probably thought we were going to steal the loo roll from their toilets! (not far wrong!!) haha
So we ended up at the trusty old golden arches!

The following morning we were headed for Syndey for 5 days and to meet up with some old pals...

Posted by geranddebs 02:15 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Hervey Bay & Fraser Island

sunny 30 °C
View Round the World on geranddebs's travel map.

We arrived to yet another day of beautiful sunshine in Hervey bay...and the place hasnt changed a bit in the 9 years since we have been before, it was usual check in go to bottle shop and get loaded up with your crates and boxes of wine for the next 3 days camping!

We were arranged into groups of 9 and 10 and assigned 3 drivers per van..the vans have been slightly updated and now look more like unwanted ice cream vans with the insides ripped out, but class all the same and good for taking batterings! Our group was made up of the 2 of us, a friend we had met jess form the Uk, 4 lads from the UK as well that looked like a wannabe boy band, a girl from Limerick and a girl from Holland...
And because most of the lads had either forgotten their licenses or couldnt drive the 3 named drivers were me, jess and Patrice from Limerick - the lads were all delighted as you can imagine getting 3 birds to drive them in a huge 4WD ice cream van...haha

4WD_For_fr.._one___.jpg

I had the pleasure of going first and had to first drive the thing onto the ferry and then work through the gears and 2WD and 4WD changes for getting onto the island... so as you can imagine it was only a matter of time before disaster broke! I hadnt really been listening when they told me how to maneouvre the gear changes so when i got it into 4WD and started in 2nd gear up a steep sandy hill with my foot to the floor, the clutch didnt appreciate it and smoke started billowing out of the van and it didnt smell good at all! lol It was hilarious as their were cars and vans behind me shitting themselves as the handbrake wasnt the best either...and all i could say was " Ger... help me, can you fix it!.."

After working out that 1st gear was needed for starting we were off... and for the next hour i drove us through the rainforest bit of the island up and down the sandy hills for about and hour and a half and the guys got tossed about like a wet lettuce in the back!
Once we reached the beach beer cans were opened and many cigarettes were smoked!

We made our way up the beach as the tide was coming in and we needed to beat it to get to the first campsite for the night, so drivers changed we made our way to Eli Creek - natural fresh water that you can wade up and down and is totally clear..and the Maheno ship wreck which is a huge boat sitting further up the beach that as we seen was housing a shark ray which was cool even though no one would be dared to touch it!

Eli_Creek.jpg

First night camping was cool all 4 vans that got the ferry together camped together so we had a huge floor carpet thing going on and all the tents were in a huge circle with all the camping stoves full of BBQ stuff at each corner with torches hanging from ropes as lights. Max was our chef and to us at that time he was defintely a match for Gordon Ramsay as we were all starvin and didnt care how much sand was in the sausages... it was just like electric picnic dec... you were missed!

Max_the_chef.jpg

Fraser_Crew.jpg

A long drop of course was the lads first duty which they perfected i have to say even though after a lot of drink it was rarely used!
The usual drinking games initiated and joke telling ensued, we actually had one guy from Israel - Rammy who was "Borat", so he was just hilarious to listen to whatever he said especially trying to get him to play the drinking name game..

The following morning we had to get up at 7am as the ride was due in at 9 and we had to get up the beach or be stranded at the bottom for day.. so havoc broke out and it was like the wacky races trying to get the van packed up with tents, food, cookers and people!

We made it up to Indian head for about 10 and the first thing our van did was to cook a fry up! and then we did the tourist thing and went walking and then over to the champagne pools, it was a class day and the pools were fab so we stayed there most of the day and when we werent in the water me and Ger had everyone playing sticks! (remember Kev's back garden BBQ..lol)

Indian_Head.jpg

Sticks.jpg

Champagne_pools.jpg

We had to leave here then to get back down the beach before the tide came in again, so off we went driving again and got a spot camping for the night so wasting no time time the food was out and the drinking started again!
A canopy had to be made as the rain had stared but it was class and none of us were allowed go to bed unless all the alocohol was finished, so after many drinking games including the famous - "can you eat 3 crackers in one minute without taking a drink" in our case Ryvita was used... we managed to polish off 20 litres of Gune/wine and 68 cans of tooheys new..
Got introduced to a new drinking game as well called horseracing which is fab so its one to bring home definitely... great night had by all though!

First_vict..allange.jpg

Van_rain_c..canopy_.jpg

ryvita_challenge_2.jpg

fraser_monkey_world.jpg

ryvita_challenge.jpg

all_fraser_lads.jpg

girls_on_fraser.jpg

Day 3 was hangover day as we got up and tried to head to Lake Wabby... after an hour scenic walking but cursing ourselves for not going the shorter route to aid the headaches, we arrived at the lake and were instantly cured when we dived into the water - it was lush...

lake_wabby.jpg

After walking back the short way over the amazing dunes - and i tried a sound of music rendition.. we all headed for the famous Lake mackenzie for some more lounging...

lake_mackenzie.jpg

Lunch was a fantastic few hours in the picnic area of Lake mackenzie where we basically cooked all the food we had left and eat everything in sight seeing it would have gone to waste - a huge lizard even came to join us!

The ferry from Kingfisher Bay back to Hervey was at 4 so once back to the hostel and van returned, the hostel organised a pizza and movie night for all of us - jst what we all needed, we were off th enext morning at 9 for another bus to Brisbane but Fraser had been fab and massive craic was had!!

Posted by geranddebs 02:10 Archived in Australia Comments (3)

(Entries 31 - 35 of 52) « Page .. 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10 11 »