Page 3 of Travels with Cathy and Steve Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » Australia » Western Australia » Margaret River December 13th 2018

After the Lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin, I worked my way up the Southern half of Caves Road which is very scenic 120 kms drive in all, with amazingly varied landscapes and fauna. The vegetaion changes every few kms. Heathland here, massive trees trees creating sun dappled avenues there, and then the many vinyards. All delightful on a glorious sunny day as it was. But my main focus was on the caves. There are 120 in all along this coast but I managed two of the larger more popular examples. Jewel cave first with a series of the massive chambers, each with many marvellous calcite foramtions. I'll spare you a geology lesson, but the limestones is very young in geological terms (1.5 million years). That's still enough time for the caves to be created by water dissoving ... read more
Jewel cave
Many unusal calcite formations
Lake cave entrance

Oceania » Australia » Western Australia » Margaret River December 13th 2018

Tuesday started with an early brilliant breakfast in Freo.... Truffled eggs with bacon! Then I hit the grit and drove several hours with a cxouple of stops down to Margaret River. The later stages of that driveincluded a visit to Cape Naturaliste where I managed a 30 minute coastal walk around the heathland. Itwould have been a nice walk but the 5 million flies that constantly landed on my face, tried to crawl into my ears (and nose) and were a complete pain, drove me away. Not good. Then I drove down the "Caves Road" (more on caves in the next blog) and headed to Margaret River, past dozens of wineries, in rather disappointing weather- dull and cloudy. These looked very inviting but I pressed on and got to Margart River in the afternoon. Had look ... read more
Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse
The view from the top - along the West Coast
Steve at the top

Oceania » Australia » Western Australia » Rottnest Island December 11th 2018

Monday was all about Rottnest Island, a limestone and sand island about half an hour by ferry from Freo. No cars - most people bring or hire a bike. I took a pre booked tours, a ride on a wierd little tram thing and walked a bit. It's about 14 kms long so you need some form of transport. The weather was glorious, at least until it was time to go. Rottnest is so called because the Dutch "discoverers" found loads of what they took to be large rats - hence "Ratsnest". But they were not rats at all. They were Quokkas, a proper marcupial and basically a small kangeroo. The first one I encounters was carrying a " joey" in her pouch (sorry no good picture of that). There are about 10,000 of them on ... read more
Quokkas get everywhere
One of score of rocky coves
One of scores of sandy idyllic beaches

Oceania » Australia » Western Australia » Fremantle December 10th 2018

SC : I'm now on the solo leg of the trip heding out West ... Yesterday I was up and out early for my flight (flight number 8 of RTW4) from Sydney to Perth. Cathy got up early to take me to the local bus stop and from there I took public transport. I was not expecting much from my 5 hours, 4,500 km and three time zones flight to Perth in Western Australia but it turned out quite well. No issues except a particulalrly long wait for luggage. Then I drove my hire car down ot Fremantle (only 40 minutes and got settled into my decent city centre hotel around lunchtime. This left me time to explore downtown and the famous "Freo Market".... I should explain here the Aussie predilection for shortening names And words ... read more
Free beer at a launch party
Freo market
Insie the "Little Creatures" restaurant and bar

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Manly December 5th 2018

SC writes: Our last day in Christchurch was, unsurprisingly, damp. We went back to the museum to finish it of and toured the samll trams network, riding the vintage trams. All good fun. The last tram we rode was originally from Sydney, and somewhet ironically it contained two nice vintage adverts for the delights of Manly - our next destination of course. (See pix) Our Emirates flight to Sydney was fine. An A380 full of Chinease and Korean tourists, but lots of leg room and enough time to watch one movie on the gigantic seatback screens. We arrrived early, wizzed through immigration and customs in record time (depite having to declare various bit of wood - souvenirs) and therefore had time to make our way over to the express pick up area where Nik duly collected ... read more
The trip to Many never loses its charm
Manly ferry advert
Steve wrangling Xmas tree

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Greymouth December 2nd 2018

(Cj writes) The west coast of New Zealand: home of vertiginous mountains, snow-capped in the near distance; wild coastline littered with driftwood beaches; hand more midges than any sane person can possibly cope with. But not a lot else: the ‘townships’ appear to be little more than half a dozen houses spread over a moderately large area. Even the big tourist draws of the Fox and Franz Josep glaciers are little more than a collection of shops selling hiking and helicopter trips, plus a couple of cafes. I realise that I’m a dyed-in-the-wool townie, but how can anyone live a life where the local ‘bookshop’ (if there is one) has only two or three shelves of books plus the same of toys, stationery and a couple of other unrelated product lines?! Anyhoo... we left Haast in ... read more
Wild and rugged
Who can resist a proper steam engine
Sawmill at Shantytown

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Haast Pass November 30th 2018

SC writes: Our last day in Queenstown was pretty much rained off. We did drive out about 50 kms to Glenorchy with some great views of Lake Wakatipu and Arrowtown, a ridiculously picturesque village. Both very pleasant BUT we have encountered the infamous, the dreaded, NZ midge. These are tiny flies that bite (and I do mean bite..they draw blood). The bites then itch like fury for hours....very unpleasant indeed. We remembered why we had avoided some places on the west coast back in 1994... The midges! Today we drove northwards towards the west coast at Haast. Again the scenery was stunning and the weather was ok, sunny at times but also a few showers. We stopped at Wanaka on the way, delighful town on the banks of another large lake. A smaller, more chilled version ... read more
Amazing views at every turn on the way to Haast

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Queenstown November 28th 2018

SC writes: Queenstowbn is the most popular tourist destination in NZ and we have seen plenty of evidence of that. There are scores of things to including many white knuckle things such as hang gliding. It is a youngsters' town but yesterday we went for it and went jet boating up a mountain canyon. Even the 45 minute drive up int othe hills on unmade road was exciting enough. Stunning views and sheer drops. The boat itself is a high powered thing that only requires 8 inches draft and it wizzes up and down the canyon screaming past rocks and over waterfalls. A total adrenaline buzz - Amazing and all in glorious summer sunshine. The weather held today and we went for a more sedate cruise on the lake in the morning. In the pm we ... read more
Jet I could get
We jet boated up here

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Queenstown November 26th 2018

SC writes: Our last day in Christchurch was, again, cold and damp. We tramped around a bit but then retreated to: A) The botanic gardens conervatories...warmer and drier. Very good. B) The Christchurch Museum...again surprisingly good....excellent stuff on antarctic exploration C) The cinema. Fabulously luxurious cinema where we saw the latest JK Rowling offering. (The Crimes of Grindlewald). Hopeless - too many characters, too messy a plot, too much bonkers CGI...but it did pass a wet Sunday afternoon. Today we drove 7.5 hours to Queenstown, which we visited 25 years ago! What an amazing drive which we shared. A lot has happened in that time and a lot has changedin Queenstown. It is still a very attractive place with many tourists (including many from Japan). We got here in time for a poke around and's ... read more
Enjoying a pre-prandial drink in the evening sun
Sunset at Queenstown.

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch November 24th 2018

(Cj writes) We drove from Kaikoura (sleepy, nature-tourist-oriented, fish and chip restaurants) to Christchurch (‘ChCh’) today through the ridiculously green and vertiginous hills and narrow valleys of South Island. ChCh suffered a devastating earthquake in 2011, from which it is still recovering. (How severe? apparently South Island is now 5 metres closer to North Island!). We knew this, yet we were still taken aback by the sheer number of empty lots in the city centre. Now grassed over, or used as car parking, they remain a stark reminder of the human impact of the quake: about 80% of city centre buildings have been or are due for demolition. Many more buildings - some venerable, some much more recent - are propped up to a greater or lesser extent. The newer ones in particular may be destined ... read more
Very typical street scene
What remains of the old PwC building
The tram tracks run through our hotel building

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