I'm a Melbourne-based Australian secondary school teacher. I took some LSL in 2007 & travelled a bit of Asia & taught a term of 2008 at an outback WA school & in late 2009 & then again in 2010 I managed to be part of a school group excursion to Southern India. I've also managed some other smaller, but no less exciting, travel along the way.
This blog has provided a means for me to maintain a written & visual record of some of this travel; to write of my experiences, thoughts & feelings. The writings are mine, based on first-hand experience, but supplemented from readings of brochures, info boards & travel books. But be warned, it is essentially a record for myself, containing my observations, my impressions & my humour. No offence or insult is intended to anyone.
However, it may prove interesting to some others at some time - so, you're welcome to it. Just be cautious, any factual information you think is challengeable, probably is! I have tried to keep it real.
Hope you enjoy. Larry.
January 14th 2013
Marg & I decided pre-Christmas we’d get away for a little while- Blue Mountains Road Trip (BMRT). We’d whip up to the Blue Mountains, by car, swing by Sydney to see Trisha’s Travelcafe & then return home. So, Mon 07/Jan/13, BMRT Day 1, at around 10.00am we set off. We had planned a leisurely trip up, stopping at Goulburn the first night & then onto the Jenolan Caves, via Oberon, on Tuesday. The Hume Highway/Freeway is a great road and the 7hr trip to Goulburn was pretty easy in an air-conditioned Mazda 3, beating the heat of the day (~40oC). The only time we passed through a township was at Holbrook, NSW, but road works are in progress to bypass here as well in the very near future. Interestingly, a submarine (the decommissioned HMAS ... read more
April 15th 2012
Back in, maybe, Nov 2011, I suggested to Amy & Bridget that we should holiday together at one of the more iconic Australian travel spots. Uluru got the ‘thumbs up’ pretty much straight away. I got the plane tickets and accommodation booked in early Dec 2011. As a Christmas present for the girls I purchased us each a helicopter flight over Uluru & Kata Tjuta. Finally the time to travel arrived! An Easter Monday (09/Apr/12) 6.00am pick-up from the girls place. Quiet roads, easy drive, to Parking Port in Tullamarine ($29 Cudo voucher for the 4 days). We stop next to the shuttle bus, sign papers waiting on desk, move bags from boot to boot and we’re off. Qantas drop off a little while later, self check in kiosk, self bag drop, personal security screening – ... read more
April 20th 2011
Marg & I had decided we’d drive over to the Fleurieu Peninsula, in South Australia, to wile away a week or so of the school holidays. So, early on Tue 12/Apr/11, after a night of torrential rain across suburban Melbourne, we hit the road. With nothing booked & very little planned we were looking forward to some interesting times. It was not yet the SA school holidays so we didn’t expect too many problems picking up accommodation as we toured around. We took the Western Highway, being the more direct route and were soon through the wet weather still plaguing Melbourne. The drive took the best part of 10 hours with the odd stop here & there. We had thought we might spend our first night in Langhorne Creek, the centre of the local wine precinct, ... read more
January 11th 2011
My second 'tour of duty' & this time I was team leader - hope last year's apprenticeship pays off! Maybe I should have paid a little more attention to detail. I knew there was not too much to worry about as Peppe had put in place all the details, leaving me very little chance to muck things up. Watty & Kate were the other two teachers, the new apprentices, but underlings only in age (my age being pretty much the aggregate of theirs!), being most willing & quite able to take control of the bunch whenever needed. The ‘bunch’, by the way, were 11 students - Michael B, Tom G, Giacomo G, Tim H, Alex M, Leo M, Mitchell S, Daniel S (Stav), Eugene T, Matthew T & Jean-Rene V (Junior). Last year, 2009, we had ... read more
December 10th 2009
A few years back my school began what they called the Coolies. An opportunity for graduating year 12 students to undertake a character enriching experience; a bit of a contrast to many of their classmates who will indulge in the less edifying “Schoolies”. Coolies, of course, are unskilled Indian labourers, and this is what these young men are to become, at least for a little while. They travel to Southern India and participate in some sort of construction project. They pay their own fares and raise at least $1000 for the program. This year 17 boys took up the challenge and set out to two different sites for a four week work project and were to then regroup for a further two weeks of touring before returning home. The six week period runs from immediately after ... read more
October 3rd 2009
Amy, Bridget & I headed up to Surfers Paradise on Queensland's Gold Coast on Wed 23/Sep/09. We were flying Tiger Airlines but word was already about that dust storms around Sydney were playing havoc with all flights up & down the east coast. Our 10.45am flight left at 2.00pm, having taken on extra fuel so as to provide extra 'waiting time' or 'extra distance' if needed. We made an abortive attempt to land at Coolangatta before flying on to Brisbane. I was able to adjust our East Coast car booking, whilst on the plane at Brisbane, so we could collect it from here. This was quite fortunate as Tiger was unable to assist passengers to get back to Coolangatta. We drove our GPS guided (brought my new toy with me) hire car from Brisbane airport and ... read more
August 10th 2009
An opportunity came up at my school for me to accompany a small group of students to the Dampier Peninsula. It was a ‘cultural exchange’ type thing where four of our year 9 boys & four of another schools year 9 girls were to visit a remote aboriginal school. The offer came from a teacher, Paul, at Djarindjin-Lombadina who was anxious for his indigenous students to be exposed to similarly aged white kids. A couple of months of planning and tweaking of the itinerary finally saw the Melbourne contingent of ten heading to north-west WA. The boys were; myself, Nick, Matt, Damien & James. So on Fri 31/Jul/09 we met the girls, Molly, Polly, Caitlin, Hannah and their teacher, Anna, for the first time at the airport. We had an early flight out of Melb; first ... read more
July 19th 2009
Thrifty Car Hire Marg had organised our car hire through Thrifty, when she discovered a ‘good rate’ could be got, by mentioning her employer. On collecting the small size car we found we had a 2007 Mitsubishi Colt, 1.5L, 2-door convertible, in fluorescent bronze - it even had Marg’s initials. We hadn’t immediately realised it was a convertible until we found an instruction leaflet on how to activate the ‘conversion’. I immediately felt compelled to get to some busy people spot & flick the switch. It did feel pretty bloody special driving around with it’s top down - quite decadent really. When Marg collected me from Jabiru airstrip after my Ranger Mine tour, I caught sight of her driving past the café I was at &, by golly, she looked even hotter than usual, like some ... read more
July 18th 2009
We arrived in Darwin on Sun 28/Jun/09 after a 3½-hour, Jetstar direct lunchtime flight from Melbourne. The airport is only about 10km from the CBD, so we were soon shuttle bussed ($12 each) to the Mediterranean on Cavenagh St. With a population of about 120,000, Darwin feels like one of the larger Victorian country towns. The city precinct would only be (~ 1.5 x 2.0 =) 3km2 with the CBD perhaps (~ 1 x 1 =) 1 km2, so very walkable. Indeed, Marg and I walked most of this central grid of streets &/or harbour side beaches, repeatedly, being ~ 5 blocks by 7 blocks. This was probably the best time of year to visit, with no noticeable humidity, and temperatures stuck at 31oC by day & 16oC overnight. As a result of the wartime air ... read more
April 19th 2009
On Thu 09/Apr/09 I whipped up to Alice Springs to spend time with my partner Marg. Nice flight - especially as I scored a business class upgrade! I did the airline a favour in agreeing to shift seats, for the comfort of another passenger, & got led up to the pointy end of the plane. Margaret went up to Alice mid-January 2009 in her capacity as a social worker, to help deliver the Centrelink component of the government’s Aboriginal Intervention strategy. She was here for 3 months, based in Alice, but spending most weeks out at the various Aboriginal communities. I had managed a rushed visit on the Melbourne Labour Day long weekend but had come up at Easter to spend a week or so of my term break here and then return home with Marg. ... read more