Page 5 of Jake and Leslie Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Darwin » City of Darwin September 1st 2008

We found the missing memory card with photos of our trip from Melbourne to Adelaide. Yay! it turns out they were in one of our bags. D'oh! This part of our trip seems like SO long ago. It actually rained back then, there were plants and trees and lots of people. Not like the Outback. We are still behind an entry and have a lot of cool photos to post of our Outback adventure, so we'll keep this short. The highlight of the Great Ocean Road turned out to be Mt. Gambier, a random town on the route that we stopped at last minute. There were several free activities there, including a spooky cave system that was full of wild possums that come out at night (and that seem to love the oranges we had with ... read more
Wanted: Must Have Mouth
The Great Ocean Road
Winter Surfers

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Alice Springs August 28th 2008

We're in Alice Springs, the largest town in the Outback. We've been camping for the last few days and haven't had a chance to update the blog, so we have LOTS of photos! Here are a few showing our trip from Adelaide (a city in South Australia where we launched our Outback trip) through our visit to Uluru Rock (formerly known as Ayer's Rock). Looks like we've lost (hopefully temporarily) our 2.0 gig memory card with our first 2,000 photos from our trip, so we'll have to post the missing photos later (we have some great kangaroo pics from Mt. Gambier natural preserve). It's getting late and we are almost out of time on our Internet session, so enjoy these-- more to come :)... read more
Kangaroos Crossing
The Star House Seafood Restaurant, Adelaide

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne August 18th 2008

We're still in Melbourne but planning to set out tomorrow for the Outback. We were planning to rent a campervan, but have had difficult booking one (seems they are not available until next week), so we are renting a car and will probably buy a tent and camp part of the time. We had a rough adjustment to Melbourne, mainly because our hostel was outside of the city center and it took a while to understand the tram system. (We realized it's actually very easy to get around, and they even have free trams that circle the city). Also, the YHA hostel put us in the worst room-- right next to the kitchen, main stairs, laundry and public phones. It was incredibly loud, especially when a large group of shreiking high school students came through. To ... read more
Leslie in Jail?!
Night out

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney » Kings Cross August 15th 2008

We were having so much fun in Sydney that we extended the trip 3 extra days, and moved to a hostel in the King's Cross neighborhood (where we did eventually see some haggard trannies, as well as a syringe exchange truck and a lot of scrubby junkies. Not too different than the East Village in 1996). Sydney Central Hostel was a lot smaller than the Maze hostel, but it was much improved (and cheaper). They even provided towels and a b&w TV in the room. Luxury! When the long-term Irish backpackers were watching really bad movies (e.g. American Pie 5) on the TV in the lounge, which was most of the time, we could hang out in the room and watch TV. We only got 2 channels but they included the Olympics (although somehow we only ... read more
Room in Kings Cross
 Bada Bing strip club
Harry's de Wheels

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney August 10th 2008

We've been in Sydney, Australia for 6 days and decided to extend our visit for 3 more. We're having a great time-- the city is like New York, but clean and more laid back. There are tons of restuarants and pubs and (most importantly) free activites. And the weather is a big improvement over Auckland-- it's about 62 degrees and sunny most of the time. We've been staying in Chinatown, which is very central and has a lot of cheap Japanese pastry shops. The Maze hostel itself isn't very nice, but we didn't have much choice. We decided at the spur of the moment to move our flight from Auckland to Sydney up a day, so we didn't have time do any research before on Sydney. We assumed since it is winter (low season), we could ... read more
The Maze
Maze Hostel
Fixing the open window in our freezing hostel

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney August 6th 2008

After a cold wet few days in Auckland, we were anxious to head to the "winterless north" where we were hoping to get some warmer weather. We drove about 3 hours north of Auckland to Whangerei, the largest town in the area (though still pretty tiny). The scenery on the way was very cool, with super green lush rolling hills. Whangerei is usually just a stopover for most people on the way to the Bay of Islands, but when we got there we ended up at a really nice and cheap hostel so we decided to make it our base for the next few days. The first afternoon we drove into town to check it out, but found that, strangely, most of the stores close at 2pm, including the internet cafes. Despite this, there were a ... read more
Whangerei Falls
Abandoned Gold Mining Cave
Abandoned Gold Mine

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland July 31st 2008

We drove to Christchurch-- the largest city in the South Island and known for its traditional English design-- under cloudy skies, and the rain persisted for our entire stay. Fortunately, it was a big enough city that we found (free or low cost) things to do in the rain. We checked out the Canterbury museum (free- aka "suggested donation"), bought suspiciously cheap pre-made sandwiches at the local "Pac n Save" supermarket (we now realize a "15% chicken" label is not a good sign, nor is "made on Pac n Save premises"), and even splurged by eating dinner at a Korean restaurant. We finally saw "Dark Knight"-- it came out a week late in NZ and we'd been waiting forever to see it. The theater had huge plush seats and double the leg room (and assigned seating, ... read more
Leslie Dining Out
Gin Rummy & Beer
The Dorm in Auckland

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch July 27th 2008

Right after we wrote our last blog entry while it rained, the weather cleared up a bit so we made our way up to the Franz Josef glacier. We got a late start, leaving for the hike around 4PM, and the sun sets at 5PM (since it is winter here), so we ended up being pretty rushed. There was a deceptively easy walking trail that ended abruptly before a mile long river bed covered in uneven boulders, which stood between us and the face of the glacier. We made it relatively close to the glacier before being forced back by dusk and a wide river. Fortunately, the next day the weather was perfect so we headed to Fox Glacier, another glacier about 30 mins to the south. This one was a little more accessible than Franz ... read more
Franz Josef Glacier
Fox Glacier
Fox Glacier

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Franz Josef July 22nd 2008

We just got to Franz Josef glacier and it's pouring outside. We've splurged on a private room at the YHA lodge so we don't have to sleep in the van. We have a lot to catch up on since we haven't had fast Internet access... this will be a long entry! After Jake's bungy jump in Taupo (see the video we uploaded today), we drove to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. The architecture of the waterfront area is impressive-- they built a wooden bridge/sculpture that looks like a cross between a futuristic shantytown and a boat. Not wanting to spend more money, we checked out the free museum, Te Papa. It had an interesting exhibit on Pacific Islanders and was a good time killer. We splurged on a "jug" (pitcher) of beer at the waterfront, ... read more
Leslie in the bridge
Exhibit at Te Papa Museum
Night at the Rowena Lodge

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Taupo July 17th 2008

We left Hamilton on Tuesday... sad to leave our friends Kate and Grant (and their generous hospitality!). Kate's parents invited us to dinner on our last night-- we felt really at home. By hanging out with real 'kiwis', we learned a lot about NZ-- that dinner is called "tea", the Tony Veitch scandal is the biggest news story and that every TV ad is a PSA for alcoholism, spousal abuse or cold medicine. Interesting! Also, it appears that must-see-tv in New Zealand is the annual Young Farmers Competition, which is like Jeopardy with animal husbandry questions thrown in. (Also we must be missing out on some major gossip back home, because we saw a tabloid article today about Madonna and A-rod. Really?!) While there we also drove throughout the areas surrounding Hamilton, to a huge long ... read more
Surfer at Raglan Beach
Raglan Beach
Raglan Beach

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