Jane, Dean and Eleanor

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Jane, Dean and Eleanor




Asia » Philippines » Cebu » Moalboal September 26th 2016

A small hiccup with the booking meant that we were upgraded to a sea view deluxe room. We were quite excited by this, until I realised that we were moved from a bungalow to a motel style room. Hmmm. Does a glimpse of the sea trump a standalone, traditional style bungalow? No, but at least we had a room. If it was peak season, we'd probably find ourselves sleeping in the goat's quarter's next door. This place is known for its snorkelling and diving, so Dean and El went over to Pescador Island for a day trip. Upon returning, El declared she is never going in THAT water again. With jellyfish sting marks covering her legs, she wasn't a happy snorkeller. Dean had a more successful trip, seeing lots of fish but apparently they were very ... read more
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Asia » Philippines » Cebu » Cebu City September 24th 2016

Another hearty breakfast buffet selection containing such items as chicken ham and bread pudding filled us up ready to take the day on. Cesar picked us up in the posh Kadasig jeepney and took us to HQ where gifts of food and bracelets were immediately bestowed on us. A little awkward, considering they're the charity and we should be the ones giving. We did drop off a couple of bags of supplies donated by Dean's school but realised we'd left the bag of goodies we bought for the kinder at the hotel. We have never lost something on holiday before but we don't usually carry so much. Although we did leave two bags there, we gained what seemed like a week's worth of food. Mangoes, water, some lychee type of fruit, bananas and half a large ... read more

Asia » Philippines » Cebu » Cebu City September 24th 2016

Sunday. A day of rest. But not when you're on a tight travel schedule. After a brief pit stop at the breakfast buffet (the highlights being cucumber lemonade and pumpkin pasta), Dean had us outside amongst the sights and smells of the city to go to the English mass at a nearby church! A taxi driver told us that the church was a short walk away. So off we went, obediently following the directions: straight through the first traffic lights and a right turn at the second set of lights. That plan was a spectacular fail. Hot, sweaty and bedraggled we found ourselves back at the hotel after jumping out of a cab that wanted to drive us around the city for a day. Our third attempt at finding a driver to take us succeeded. I ... read more

Asia » Philippines » Cebu » Cebu City September 23rd 2016

A 12:10am flight from Tullamarine to KL began this year's adventure. The pilot did the usual greeting then says something about turbulence and four hours. Was that turbulence for four hours? Turbulence in four hours? Eleanor didn't care, she had already contorted herself into a somewhat awkward looking sleeping position. The comfort pack, entertainment pack and meal arrive within minutes of each other and the cabin crew have also left behind chilly Melbourne and its pesky heating needs and switched to tropical mode; adjusting the air conditioner to what feels like the same temperature I just left in the carpark! And then the lights go off and we're expected to sleep for the next six hours or so. I'm basically awake for the entire duration waiting for the turbulence. Just a few little bumps but it ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand September 28th 2015

Dean was waiting at the Port Terminal, having spent an interesting afternoon tackling the hills and one way streets of Wellington in the hire car. He wasn't particularly confident he could drive to the hotel without detouring via Napier but we eventually made it to the quiet suburb of Thorndon. Accommodation had been hard to find because it was the middle weekend of the NZ school holidays, the WOW exhibition was drawing in mega crowds and throw in a few conventions and a cruise ship - the place was buzzing! Allocated adjoining rooms on the ninth floor of a recently rebadged hotel, we had a brilliant view of Wellington. Adding to the girls' excitement was the little note in the room informing us of the trial of free wi-fi for all guests. I'm sure three days ... read more
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View from Botanical Gardens
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Picton September 28th 2015

It was still dark when Dean dropped us off. The girls were not showing the same enthusiasm I was for the trip to Picton. In hindsight, they should have joined Dean on the plane. But I loved it. Now I want to do the one that goes over the mountain. This one, however, hugs the coast for a fair while but also travels through scenic farm land, wine country and has the beautiful mountains to the west. Within the first hour, the girls had eaten the snacks which were supposed to last the train and ferry. Great. I left them to wallow in their misery and spent quite a bit of time out on the viewing carriage. Quite chilly but a wonderful way to see the countryside. Inside the squeaky carriage, the girls played on their ... read more
View from train Kaikoura
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View from train

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch September 28th 2015

Retracing our steps along the highway out of Kaikoura, we spent time admiring the scenery: an avenue of wattle trees, winding roads, little lambs running in paddocks and daffodils blooming - well, I did. Eleanor and Dayna were singing along to Justin Bieber (oblivious to anything), Dean was muttering about the slow drivers in front of us and I just enjoyed the beginning of another marvellous, sunny day on the south island. We had seen the weather report this morning and it was wet and horrible on the west coast, so we have been literally following the sun (or has it been following us??). Driving into Christchurch through the suburbs was just like driving into any other city. It wasn't until we walked around the city centre that we noticed the extent of the 2011 earthquake's ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Kaikoura September 28th 2015

After the long drive and with Dayna declaring that her eyeballs hurt because there was too much to look at, we decided that Dean could do the reconnaissance mission into town solo. The girls pounced on the wifi vouchers faster than it takes a dog to sniff out a kiwi and I took advantage of the guest laundry. Dean returned with tales of seals and their pups in close proximity, news of a fish and chip shop close by and holding a box of Kapiti icecreams. Good times! Our dinner from a nondescript fish shop was definitely a highlight - fresh fish (rig and groper) and crispy non-greasy chips while watching the sun set behind the Kaikoura mountains. On October 15, NZ has scheduled a national earthquake drill; 'Shakeout Day'. We decided to do a drill ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Hanmer Springs September 28th 2015

Heading north west, our first pit stop was a town that reminded me of Gundagai. Reefton was very quiet but the fluttering flags of the competing nations in the rugby World Cup indicated that somebody lived there. The tourist info centre contained the usual gifts/souvenirs/pamphlets and stuff about the region. We learned that the only indigenous land mammal in NZ is a long tailed bat and native to the area. Which explains why we haven't seen anything else other than sheep, cows and roadkill (stoats and possums). Oh, and a few birds. I don't understand how people have seen kiwis in the wild whilst driving along - they're nocturnal! I don't think we are going to see any bats either. Anyway, back in the blue corolla, we made our way to Hamner Springs along another ridiculously ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth September 28th 2015

Once we'd settled into our 1970s themed motel room (vintage, perhaps?), we dropped into the i centre and discovered two vital pieces of information: 1 - daylight savings was beginning the next day and 2 - a visit to the blowholes at Pancake Rocks has to coincide with high tide. Despite our best intentions, we are usually so unprepared but we were going to be ready this time. The joy! The lovely lady at the i centre told us we might be able to spot dolphins at the end of the pier but the only sights we saw there were Mt Cook, some brave surfers and shipwreck memorials. We picked up some supplies at the New World supermarket and I was pleasantly surprised to find bag packers. I didn't realise they still existed in this day ... read more
Greymouth birds
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