A Travellerspoint blog

Alice Springs to Darwin

Red Centre?

sunny 28 °C
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Happy to leave Alice Springs behind we continued on our journey North passing the Tropic of Capricorn we're now oficially in the Tropics but you wouldn't know it since it was bloody freezing out there, it was about 7am though! We stop for lunch at the UFO Capital of Australia, Wycliffe Well, a very strange place full of alien models and accounts of UFO sightings. As dessert one of the girls, Anna, ate a moth grub from a bush coconut, it looked disgusting but is supposed to be full of goodness, no thanks! After lunch we headed to the Devils Marbles, these are big round granite boulders formed from magma and have been uncovered from the earth by the errosion of the softer sandstone surrounding them. Tonight we camped at Banka Banka cattle station managed by a bloke from Cheshire :)

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Today we set off to Daly Waters, the town airfield was a centre for the London to Sydney air race of 1926, a refuelling stop for early Qantas flights to Singapore and a World War II Airforce base but is now more famous for the outback roadhouse which is decorated throughout with banknotes and other memorabilia left by visitors from every corner of the globe. It's also home the the only outback traffic light which is always on red to fool the tourists. Here we had lunch and the first part of our team challenge, downing a schooner race, our team lost due to the fact that the person that went first took longer to drink theirs then the whole of the other team took to finish all of their 4 drinks. IT mattered not though as we would later beat them in the trivial quiz and the dry wheatbix (weetabix) eating comp!

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Our first stop of the day was at Katherine Gorge, a deep gorge carved through ancient sandstone by the Katherine River, is the central attraction of the park. Katherine Gorge is made up of thirteen gorges, with rapids and falls, and follow the Katherine River. Lunch was had at a beautiful swimming spot called Edith Falls, the water was amazing and the view the same. Though half way across the 150 meter swim to the falls I did start to think about Crocs. There is only supposed to be fresh water crocs here though not the man eating Saltwater variety! It's the nicest swiming spot ever.

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Posted by ride165 21:38 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Adelaide to Alice Springs

The Red Center

sunny 24 °C
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So after a few days off in Adelaide it was a shakey start as we headed off towards the red center. Our guide, Erin, nearlt took off a wing mirror and got slightly lost as we made our way to the Flinders Range. This is South Australia's largest mountain range and named after the European explorer Matthew Flinders who mapped the coastline of Australia. After seeing some of the range and viewing some Aborigional rock art we stayed at Parachilna which consists of a pub and not much else, they do serve the best puddings ever though! I also sampled the local home brew and Kangeroo, Emu and Camel were on the menu tonight.

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Next we headed to Wilpena Pound which is a natural amphitheatre of mountains which was used as place to graze cattle as there was only one way in and out of the place it meant it acted as a natural barrier. Here we climbed Mt Ohlssen-Bagge for amazing views of the range. Tonight we stayed at a sheep station and watched the sunset over the mountains.

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On the way to our next destiantion we stopped at an amazing salt lake (Lake Hart) which used to be part of an inland sea millions of years ago. This sea is also what created the Opals found at Coober Pedy the town is known as the opal capital of the world because of the quantity of precious opals that are mined there. The name 'Coober Pedy' comes from the local Aboriginal term kupa-piti, which means 'white man underground'. The minors used to live in the holes they had dug when looking for opals and because it was so cool and remaind a fairly constant temp the idea took off and now everyone lives like this. Temperatures often exceed 40 degrees Celsius outside where as underground it is between 24 and 27 degrees.

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Today we had a whopping 700km to cover in order to reach the destiantion of the day, Uluru (Ayers Rock) so a very early start of 4:30am which meant we saw the sunrise which was really cool. On the way up we collected firewood some of which had termites inside. WHen we threw down the wood they all fell out and were promptly butchered by the hundreds of ants that were running around, it was a very interesting sight! We alse left South Australia and crossed into the Northern Territory (NT). We arrived at Uluru to watch the sunset which was amazing. Tomorrow we will walk around it! That evening we stayed in camp and slept in an Aussie Swag which is a waterproof canvas bag in effect with a foam mattress inside it. Quite cosy and warm once you've got a sleeping bag and a warm hoodie on!

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Today we visited Uluru up close, it's a mighty rock and you can't quite grasp it's size until you get right up to it. It's 9.6km around but the size of the Rock is even more incredible when you consider that an estimated two thirds of it lies beneath the surface. Around much of the rock the sites are sacred to the Aborigional people and you are requested not to photograph these areas. It is also 'requested' that you do not climb the rock although it is not forbidden to do so. I decided not to climb it. After our 2hr stroll around Uluru we headed over to Kata Tjuta also known as the Olgas which are a group of large domed rock formations. The Pitjantjajara name Kata Tjuta means 'many heads'. The site is as sacred to the Indigenous people as Uluru. That evening we camped at Kings Canyon and had an awesome meal cooked on the campfire which included some beer bread make on the fire.

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An early start saw some Dingos hanging around our camp before we headed up to the very impressive Kings Canyon for the 3 hr rim walk, this is a really cool place with spectacular views of the gorge below and of the surrounding landscape. About half way during the walk, a detour descends to Garden of Eden, a permanent waterhole surrounded by lush plant life. Towards the end of the walk sees views of the Lost City so called because the rocks look like a city in the distance. The rest of the day saw us head into Alice Springs where we headed to Bo's Saloon for a few beers and some tasty tucker, I had Camel and Ale pie, very tasy!

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Posted by ride165 18:09 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Melbourne to Adelaide

The Great Ocean Rd

semi-overcast 15 °C
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So it's 8 months since the last entry, wow that's gone fast, I've been working hard(ish) in Sydney to save up for my trip round Australia. First port of call is Melbourne.....

This place is like England with a hint of the USA, a very slight hint though! It was very very cold here and rained quite a lot so it was just like being back home. It has a nice feel to it though, feels more open than Sydney and lots more going after 5pm unlike Sydney that seems to shut down. I enjoyed the few days spent there exploring the city the buildings are very Victorian and is a better looking city than Sydney.

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On Saturday morning we left on our trip to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road our first stop Torquay! We stop for breakfast at the home of Quiksilver & Rip Curl now of course they are owned by big US firms so the stores don't offer any savings. Next stop was the famous Bells beach to watch some of the surfers, the waves were really good so there were lots of people out with their boards, I didn't envy them though as it was bloody freezing!

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Continuing our way along the stunning Great Ocean Rd on our way to Otway National Park we see Koalas, all asleep of course along with lots of crazy birds that would sit on your hand and eat seeds. The Otway is a temparate rainforest, here we did a tree top walk which was pretty cool. The rest of the day is spent making our way further along the Ocean Rd to arrive at the twelve apostles for what should have been a stunning sunset but turned out to be a horrible rain obscured view of the mighty rocks.

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The morning brought better weather and we visited the various inlets and views of the apostles and the famous London Bridge, myself and two others decided to take the Helicopter flight that was on offer which gave spectacular views of the Apostles, money well spent.

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Next we headed to the Grampians National Park which is a series of sandstone mountain ranges. The ranges were named in 1836 by Surveyor General of New South Wales Sir Thomas Mitchell after the Grampian Mountains in his native Scotland. When we arrived here the weather had a treat in store, it snowed, it's pretty rare to see snow here and the tour guide, Dave, was really excited and started playing in the snow.

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Next we headed off to to go Roo spotting in the National Park, we found some of course, they are an amusing animal. Aparrently Kangaroo means 'I don't understand' in Aboriginal, when the early explorers were asking the Aboriginals what the animal was called they were trying to describe it but they didn't know what they were going on about so just kept saying Kangaroo, Kangaroo - I don't understand but the name stuck and that's what they are called.

Our stay in that night was in a really nice hostel with a roaring fire which was great after another day of freezing! Anyone that tells you Australia is always hot is wrong. In the morning we woke up to the sound of Kookaburras it was 5:30am another early start and still bloody freezing, today we hike up Hollow Mountain and I learned where the Aussie's get their green and gold colours from. There is a plant called the Wattle which flowers in the winter and it's a vivid yellow flower.

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In the afternoon we made our way to Adelaide which is known by many Australians as the arse hole of the Country due to it's geographical location. I though it was a very pleasant city to visit and spent a relaxing two days there. Each side of the city is covered in parkland. The city was designed by Colonel William Light, one of Adelaide's founding fathers, he chose its location close to the River Torrens and surounded it with parkland as a protection from possible enemies. I think he did a good job of the layout.

Posted by ride165 13:22 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The End.....

....for now!

sunny 30 °C
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So I’m now in Sydney and have enjoyed and alternative Christmas of BBQ’s and Arab food and New Years was spent watching the Sydney Harbour fireworks which were amazing. For those of you that don’t know already I applied for a working holiday visa while I was away and will spend the next 12 months working here in Australia with a view to traveling around OZ on a tourist visa after that.

Hope everyone is well and Happy New Year to you all, don’t forget I’m only an email away and if you want to get in touch Skype me.

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Me at Bondi Beach

Posted by ride165 22:59 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Fiji

Hot, Hot, Hot

sunny 34 °C
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After leaving NZ I flew to Sydney for 1 night to then fly straight to Fiji for 18 days of glorious hot sunshine, beautiful islands and clear blue warm ocean. I decided at the last minute in NZ to go to Fiji with 8 others from the Kiwi bus who were headed there at the same time. I’m so glad that I did the Islands are beautiful, we visited the Mamanuca and Yasawa group of islands North of the mainland. After a night on the mainland we left on a 5 hr boat trip up through the islands to Coral View our first stop, from there we’d work our way down back towards the mainland.

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The Fijians are very welcoming people and we were greeted by a welcoming party complete with guitars, after lunch we checked out the island and what was on offer. The beach was nice and there was plenty of hammocks to lazy around in, great I’m going to enjoy these 18 days! The following day myself, MC, Noelle, Lars and Nicoli want to the blue lagoon to snorkel. I have never been snorkeling and the others couldn’t believe it, I loved it there was so much coral and so many fish, you only had to swim out 10 meters to see amazing sights. We saw the clown fish from finding Nemo they are so funny, if you go near the anemone where they live they swim at you to try and scare you away as they are defending their young, pretty ballsy fish considering you’re about 100 times their size! Also saw Angel fish, sea cucumbers, blue star fish, tiger fish and rainbow fish to name a few. After that I couldn’t believe I’d left it so long to have discovered snorkeling! I think I may have been spoiled by the sights though as I understand it is one of the best places in the world to snorkel and dive. The next day was spent lazing on the beach attempting to make my pasty white skin go brown, factor 30 all the way, damn it’s hot!

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Next stop was the Wanataki, a cruise boat that anchors up in bays around the islands. Myself and Lars decided to take out one of the free Kayaks, we headed for the island but it looked boring so decided to kayak into the oncoming waves which was great fun, then we surfed them onto the beach which was fun but they weren’t very big. We spotted some other much bigger waves that were breaking further out on the coral so we headed for them. This was much better and we were having a ball until we got flipped over, it’s a good job life jackets are mandatory because we were laughing so much we struggled to climb back into the kayak and had to float there for about 5 minutes before we could manage to get back in. The evening was spent with the boat crew drinking a local brew called Kava which is mixed up in special Kava bowls, Kava is made up from ground tree roots mixed with water, it tastes a bit like licorice and makes your mouth go numb, not that nice really but it was good to sample some local culture.

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Next stop was supposed to be White Sandy Beach but upon arrival we were advised that there was a big cyclone headed towards us, that explains the stunning sunset we were treated to last night. They told us we may be stuck here for 3 days as all the boat operations would be shut down, anyone with a flight in the next 48hrs was being advised to head back to the mainland. We had a look around and decided that the place wasn’t very nice and since we would be here for 3 days we decided to move to another island called Waya Lai Lai and sit it out there. This was a much nicer place and despite the warning of the biggest cyclone to hit Fiji in 10 years the weather was awesome all day every day with it being windy and rainy in the evenings, perfect! After 3 days the cyclone eventually hit further north so we didn’t get to see it which is good as I understand it did quite a lot of damage with winds reaching 250k/ph.

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South Sea island was our final stop it is the smallest island in the Yasaways and takes under a minute to walk across this is also where the group would begin to split up, the Danish boys had to leave the following day with the Danish girls leaving the day after and then I said my goodbyes to MC and Noelle. I had another 4 nights left and decided to put them to good use by learning to dive and becoming a certified diver. The dive instructor was a good lad called Joe from Plymouth and we got on well so I managed to get 7 dives in where as normally you’d only get 4. No pool work was done either we were straight out into the Ocean it was great. They have a shipwreck and a place called fish village to be explored at South Sea. The snorkeling is also fantastic around there and I spent 2 hours one day swimming right around the island looking at all the fish and coral. The place had a really good feel to it and I really enjoyed my time there. I felt like part of the furniture by the end, all the staff knew my name and Joe and I went to a Kava party with the local Fijians who work and live on the island.

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Fiji is definitely a place to visit if you ever get the chance you should do it!

Posted by ride165 06:28 Archived in Fiji Comments (0)

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