Page 4 of WorldWideWanderers Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne February 15th 2015

Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria, was our next destination. A pleasant walkable city with many trams rattling down the centre of the larger streets. Developed originally as a planned city, resulted in a grid layout and wide streets with plane and eucalyptus trees. Many of the streets are lined by older buildings from the 19th century with wrought iron balustrades and a modern high rise central business district. The Yarra River runs through the centre of the city and there is re-development of the south bank with high rise towers, restaurants and cafes to while away a few minutes with a splendid coffee - Melbourne is apparently the coffee capital of Australia!! The "Laneways" are an area of closely packed narrow streets thronged with people shopping at the many small boutiques or enjoying ... read more
Along the Yarra River in Melbourne
Along the Yarra River in Melbourne
Flinders Street Station

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cairns February 9th 2015

Flying from the small Uluru airport transported us further across the outback and looking down from the aircraft revealed a dramatic change from the red sand and featureless landscape into the verdant green sward of the tropical rainforest of Queensland. A dramatic change in weather was also apparent with hot and humid conditions and occasional torrential tropical thunderstorms!! A 90 minute catamaran trip took us out to the Great Barrier Reef. WanderingAlison & Jackie had an amazing experience with a short helicopter flight over the reef seeing the turquoise colours of the Coral Sea. Now kitted out in latex stinger suits and lifejackets we all enjoyed a fantastic snorkelling experience seeing the brightly coloured corals in shades of blue, purple, yellow and red together with a myriad of small and large reef fish swimming in and ... read more
Reef Magic boat
Helipad over the reef
Colourful reef from the helicopter

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Alice Springs February 6th 2015

We arrived in Alice Springs, the geographical centre of Australia, in the late afternoon and stepping off the plane was like being placed into a fan-assisted oven - the heat was so intense!! We walked into town over a bridge across the dry Todd River bed. Numerous Red River Gum trees lined the river with surrounding sand channels - the river only flows a couple of times a year after heavy rain storms and then dries up again after several days or weeks. The town was fairly small, compact and dusty with groups of Aborigines sitting in the shade of eucalyptus trees - a typical outback scene. Next day we went on informative visits to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air - both supply amazing services to the people living in ... read more
Uluru at dawn
The 'Red Centre' from 30,000ft
Flying into Alice Springs

Oceania » Australia » Western Australia January 31st 2015

We are in the land "Down Under" which, as our 18 hrs of flying testified, is a long, long way from home - as far as the other side of the world! For the first section of our tour we have been joined by WanderingAlison's sister, Jackie. We arrived into Perth in Western Australia in the early evening. Having checked-in to our hotel we head straight out, down to the Swan Riverside, to watch a spectacular firework display to celebrate Australia Day. The following day we wandered around Perth, visiting the Perth Mint, an excellent tour through the old mint, hearing stories of gold prospectors, large gold nuggets, seeing molten gold being poured to form an ingot and the world's largest gold coin weighing in at 1000kg - too heavy to slip into the back pocket ... read more
WanderingPeter and the Boomerangs - Fremantle Market
Perth Skyline
Perth after a thunderstorm from King's Park

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Franschhoek November 18th 2014

We headed away from Cape Town in an easterly direction through the Western Cape Province towards the Garden Route. We passed through mountainous terrain and then out on to flat 'fynbos' plains covered wirh low scrubby vegetation and into arid semi-desert land. We arrived in Oudtshoorn, a small town famous for ostrich farming. Our first visit is, naturally, to an ostrich farm - we now know all there is to know about ostrich farming and our evening meal is of course - ostrich steak - very tasty! Next day we set off up the Swartberg Pass - a gravel road which took seven years to build by convict gangs in the 1880's - which ascends between high mountain peaks to an altitude of 1640m. The weather was perfect with clear blue skies allowing expansive views into ... read more
Gravel road up Swartberg Pass
The long and winding road up Swartberg Pass
Protea on Swartberg Pass

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Cape Town November 12th 2014

After a two hour flight from Johannesburg we arrived in Cape Town late at night and it was only the following morning that we appreciated what a wonderful city we were in. A curving harbour and bay on one side of the compact city and looking in the opposite direction Table Mountain, recently voted as one of the new seven wonders of the natural world. Our first views of Table Mountain showed it to be partly covered by 'the tablecloth' - a layer of cloud covering the top!! We were, however, unable to take the aerial cable car to the top due to high winds - a big disappointment but we still had three further opportunities. A walk through Kirstenbosch botanical gardens was wonderful with colourful Protea flowers, the symbol of South Africa, providing a splash ... read more
Table Mountain - from the harbour in Cape Town
Kirstenbosch Gardens
Protea Flowers - Kirstenbosch Gardens

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Dundee November 10th 2014

The next section of our tour of South Africa found us centred on the now peaceful rolling grassland hills of KwaZulu-Natal in and around Dundee to follow the 'Battlefield Tour'. Initially we had a fairly long drive to Ladysmith to find out about the siege of the town, when 12000 British troops were besieged for 118 days by the Boers in 1899. The small museum was informative and presented the history very well. We travelled on to Spioenkop, a 4810ft high hill, covered with tussocky grass and large boulders, where the British forces suffered a decisive defeat to the Boers. We could easily see how the British soldiers had dug poorly positioned trenches in the dreadful terrain, which partly led to their downfall. Many monuments and graves were scattered over the summit as a grim reminder. ... read more
Boer war medal collection at the Siege Museum
Siege Museum at Ladysmith

Africa » Swaziland » Manzini November 8th 2014

Our journey continued south to the border with Swaziland. Leaving South Africa, for one day and night, involved passing through border control, walking through 200m of no-mans land, and then having our passports stamped with no great formality, at the Matsamo border control, allowing us to enter the Kingdom of Swaziland. A cultural dance show was performed for visitors followed by a traditional lunch. We drove south through farmland growing sugar cane, wheat & vegetables together with numerous cattle farms. The flat-lying farmland was set off by a backdrop of high mountains - leading some to use the term 'little Switzerland'. Cattle are held in high regard in Swazi culture, and can still be bartered and a gift of enough cattle can result in obtaining a wife or even secure an audience with the King!! Overnight ... read more
Swaziland Flag at the Border
Traditonal Swazi Village
Countryside Views

Africa » South Africa » Mpumalanga » Kruger National Park November 5th 2014

Our first night was spent in the South African capital, Pretoria. It was certainly living up to its other name of 'Jacaranda City'. The city was ablaze with brightly coloured blue/purple flowering Jacaranda trees lining the streets and parks - what a spectacular sight. A short city tour took in the Voortrekkers Monument and Museum - a large rectangular brown stone edifice. The interesting story of the 'Great Trek' of the Boar Pioneers in the 1830's was depicted in tapestries, stone relief carvings and original artefacts including a Boer Ox-wagon. A giant statue of Nelson Mandela was found in front of the Government Union Building overlooking the city. Colonial-style buildings were also seen in the city centre, in Church Square, along with a silver-coloured statue of former President Paul Kruger. A long trip across flat and ... read more
Relief carving of Boer Ox-Wagons
Original Boer Ox-wagon
Nelson Mandela Statue - Pretoria

Asia » India » Sikkim March 19th 2014

The road to Sikkim sees us driving up and down steep mountain roads with more pot holes than road and many long stretches of dirt and loose stones where the original metalled surface has been washed away by previous monsoon rains. The roads are narrow with just enough space for two vehicles, steep hillside on one side of the car and sheer drops on the other - incredibly challenging driving but fortunately we have an excellent driver!! We are travelling up through ancient forests of giant bamboos, massive ferns, small and large trees of numerous varieties - including figs, laurels, pines, oak, chestnut, maple, birch, silver fir, magnolias many of which are in flower - together with immense rhododendron bushes with dark red flowers - all of which cover the incredibly steep mountain sides. Looking back ... read more
Kangchenjunga Mountain Range through the prayer flags of Pemayangtse Monastery
Monks blowing conch shells at Pemayangtse Monastery
Spinning prayer wheels at the Do Drul Chorten Stupa - Gangtok Sikkim

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