Matt: I have a degree in photography which i'll further into an MA in Photography and Urban Cultures at Goldsmiths after 7.5 months travel.
Leanne: I work in banking and am going travelling for 7.5 months to see the world.
Together we leave England on January 19th 2007 to see Hong Kong, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Back across Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Bali, NE Australia, New Zealnd, Fiji and Hawaii before returning to sunny England on 27th August 2007.
July 2nd 2007
Sun 1st July: We left Te Kuiti and got to Waitomo and the Caves, and got ready to do the 'Tumu Tumu Toobing' Blackwater rafting that we had booked in Auckland. Unfortunately it was too flooded with the incessant rain to go tubing, so they upgraded us for free to the 'Haggas’ Honking Holes' package. We abseiled down 3 waterfalls inside the caves, did some rock climbing and fitted through some very tight spaces to see some glowworms close up. When you see glowworms (Arachnacampa Luminosa) they look like tiny tiny green/blue L.E.D lights on the cave ceiling. Bioluminescant light glowing everywhere from the Oxyluceferin in their waste (pooh). When we got out of the caves we were very tired, and didn't fancy a long drive. So we just followed another load of people and ... read more
June 29th 2007
Fri 29th: Left Taihape figured we’d head back up north ‘Brown signing’ it. Brown signs denote things worth seeing; waterfalls, monuments etc. After looking hard for anything worth stopping for, we were nearly at Waitomo (200km from the start), and being a bit early (3 days early) we decided to stop at the next decent sized town. Te Kuiti - The sheep shearing capital of the world. So, just for the comedy aspect of it we stopped there, got a campsite with a council estate feel to it and headed straight to Warehouse (equivalent of Matalan) and got a 3 DVD set for NZ$20. Got all set up and ready, ate, got in bed, plugged in heater - on lowest setting with the thermostat at the lowest - and set up the DVD player, it ... read more
June 27th 2007
Wed 27th: Left Whakapapa and saw a foreign object. Ice. On the floor. We’re used to Gecko Lizzards, Monitor lizards, palm trees. Tropical stuff. What the hell is ice doing on the floor. No. Just No. So we left Mordor and got some great pics as we left. Also saw a Kea, which is like a giant big Hawk/Eagle thing, but looks different. You see loads of Mountain Hawk things here or Falcons, they just sit in the middle of a road staring you down and then fly off just before you get to them. One had this big mouse or small rat thing and picked it up with one foot and just flew off. They are big. Anyway, this one looked different. Next we got to Okahune, a small town anf carried on through ... read more
June 26th 2007
Tue 26th: Turned out where we stayed the night before wasn’t all that far from Rotorua, so it didn’t take long to get there. We whizzed through the town and went straight to Wai-O-Topu Thermal Wonderland which is basically a park based around Geo-Thermal activity. We got there a bit early, so had a cup of tea, and then went in to see Lady Knox Geyser which erupts at 10.15am everyday. But only because Craig the park dude puts soap down the hole to break the surface tension. It was quite impressive to see except for this really really ugly Ginger kid making all this noise. The kind of kid that even the mother has to admit - yeah he’s not the most handsome kid on the playground. He didn’t look quite bad enough for ... read more
June 25th 2007
Thurs 21st: Spoke to the German couple in the older campervan for a while. They are in New Zealand for a year and like all the National Parks and walks. Then we drove off to see the Kauri trees, which are basically these giant trees that are 2000 years old and more. About Jesus age. A tree decided to throw a big branch at Matt as we were leaving. Luckily it missed Then we headed down South for a bit. Found a Motor Rest area in Waiwera and camped up there for the night. Nipped into a bottleshop and got ourselves some beer and we were set for the night. Fri 22nd: Left Waiwera and continued heading south, stopped briefly at McD’s (the lure of the Golden arches) and then went on the motorway straight ... read more
June 19th 2007
Auckland : Sun 17th: So we get to Cairns airport and it’s the spookiest thing you’ve ever seen. An absolutely empty airport. Screens, lights. Escalators - everything is still on. But not one person in sight. So we sat around and eventually fell asleep. About 4.30am we picked up our bags and got on the plane. Landed at Brisbane and changed planes. Matt had a minor sulk because the security lady wouldn’t let the sniffer dog sniff his bag, or let him pet the dog. In the afternoon we arrived in Auckland. It was quite strange to feel a slight nip in the air (10 Degrees Centigrade) for the first time in 4 months, but refreshing. We were a bit lost as to where to start when we first got there so got a bus and ... read more
June 15th 2007
Fri 15th: Palm Cove - Day at Cairns Zoo Up early and we went straight to Cairns Tropical Zoo. Saw a few animals, especially the walk through aviary and fed the kangaroos first and then went to see the Snake show where we learned what to do if you get bitten (it differs from continent to continent), and saw a snake-eating snake. Leanne touched one, but Matt remembered what the Cobra in Thailand felt like - cold clammy rubber is how a snake feels. The next stop was the Bird show which showed Cuckatoo’s, eagles and a few others. Followed by a Koala show. Koala’s are boring and rubbish, and they smell, and they are ugly, and they are on Matt’s ‘Should be extinct’ list. The babies are jellybean sized and stick on the mum’s ... read more
June 12th 2007
Tue 12th: Mission beach Woke up right on the beach, had a cup of tea and saw sunrise. It was nice, although still overcast. We decided to go for a snorkel as it’s not stinger season here. The water was far too cold, and so is the land and the air. So we showered and got dressed very quickly. Being a bit bored we went for a walk up to the lookout point and along the way saw about 6 million different types of bad spiders. In Australia there are 2 poisonous ones - The Redback and the Funnel Web, unfortunately neither of us know what one looks like. Matt did spot a great big thing though called a Golden Orb Spider, which is about 5 inches long. The male is a tiny 1 inch ... read more
June 9th 2007
Sat 9th: Cairns, Kurunda and Mareeba Got up early and flew - well drove really fast anyway, down to Cairns. Picked up a nice shiny new Nikon D80 with a 18-135mm DX Lens, not as good as the 18-70mm they did to start with (cheaper lens with a wider range to get the price down) but still, Matt is very happy. On the way we stopped at the lookouts again as the sun was shining this time. So off to McDonald’s we went, did the tinterweb for a bit and then went to Coles. Coles was amazing. Supermarkets are amazing. Seriously, go traveling for 4 months with bamboo huts for shops, and a serious lack of options and then go to a supermarket. They have everything. Everything. So we did the food shopping, stocked up ... read more
June 6th 2007
Wed 6th: Cairns to Daintree National Park (Noah's beach) Checked out of Dorms. They were not a place for couples at all. And got our free transfer to the Maui/Hertz office and picked our cool campervan. Yes Campervans are cool, really. We managed to clock up 1129 Kilometres (705 miles) in 11 days in one. And possibly filled it up with the wrong type of fuel before returning it. Spec: Toyota Hi-Ace EFI 2.4 2wd (0.5 Mp/G, 50 BHP, 0-60 10 minutes.) Mods: Fully fitted kitchen, Double and Single Bed, Fridge, Cooker and sink. So we went to the QWPS and booked a campsite for the night. Deciding to head north first we went up to Noah’s beach, in Daintree national park up in Cape Tribulation. Just because we wanted to see where the rainforest meets ... read more