Page 11 of swanningaround Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Darwin June 5th 2011

Geo: -12.4613, 130.842This is just a few final pictures of Australia in order to log a stop in Darwin otherwise the blog would draw a line straight from Alice Springs to Bali. ... read more
not much in between
On the road

Geo: -23.7004, 133.881 Tuesday 10th May we flew to Alice Springs to start our short visit to the Northern Territory. The plan was to go south west from Alice to visit Uluru and King's Canyon for a couple of days, then return through Alice Springs to take the Stuart Highway north to Darwin. There is only one surfaced road which is why it is necessary to retrace back the same way. What can I say about Alice? The only way I can describe it is as small Frontier settlement meets totalitarian Council New Town. Jim said he thinks of it as the modern equivalent of the Foreign Legion i.e. somewhere you go when your options to stay elsewhere have all disappeared! I can see what he means.As we were late arriving we spent the first night ... read more
Old saloon in Alice
Mount Conner, near Uluru
Uluru in the distance

Oceania » Australia » Western Australia » Perth May 10th 2011

Geo: -32.1617, 116.054 After 2 weeks at Yardie Homestead we started our return journey to Perth. First we returned to Coral Bay and stayed 3 nights so we would have plenty of time to snorkel off the beach on the reef. We did go out on a boat snorkelling excursion which was good. The morning snorkel was very pleasant with good coral and lots of turtles. After a sausage sizzle lunch, ( a little disappointing, one sausage in a bread roll ), we moored on the outer reef and could snorkel as close to where the breakers came over the edge of the reef as we were able. The skipper warned us that the currents didn't make sense as the wind was strong, and the high tide was coming in over the reef in the opposite ... read more
Kalbarri Coast
Fashion forgotten?
they get everywhere

Oceania » Australia » Western Australia » Exmouth April 30th 2011

Geo: -21.9277, 114.126Monday morning we set off on our next adventure, to the north. Although everyone warned us of the distances involved, it is one thing to look at the map and note mileage, it is something else to experience driving for hours seeing nothing but the road and scrub vegetation. There are names on the map, for example Overlander Homestead, which is a few hours drive from the previous stop, so finally you arrive to find a petrol station, then it's back in the camper and the journey continues for another few hours with again nothing but the road and vegetation. We found it necessary to change drivers regularly to overcome the monotony. The first stop out of Perth for a cup of tea, (on our own gas burner of course), was a small place ... read more
Church at New Norcia
A little bigger than our van
Locusts met their end on our grill

Oceania » Australia » Western Australia April 30th 2011

Geo: -32.1141, 116.016Firstly, apologies for the sideways pictures in the last blog. I had one minute 10 seconds left on the wifi connection so did not want to risk being timed out and having to start again. Getting online is more problematic than we expected it to be in Australia but I should bring you up to date on other matters first. Anyone who doesn't want to hear banking sagas can miss out the next page or so.At the end of the last blog we hoped we had enough cash to hire the camper. We just made it despite Santander blocking our debit cards that day! We had withdrawn so much money over that week that they decided it must be someone else using our cards. So we were then minus credit card and two debit ... read more
Typical scrub scenery
Time for tea
The beautiful WA pelicans

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cairns April 11th 2011

Geo: -16.9167, 145.767 From Gold Coast to Cairns in QueenslandIt was a shock to arrive at Brisbane Airport and then take the train down to Broadbeach on the Gold Coast because after 2 weeks in South Island we were not used to people. Suddenly we were in the midst of this huge conurbation (Gold Coast City) which runs south from Brisbane along the coast almost to the New South Wales border, some 100 + kilometres. Admittedly most of it is low rise, low density developments with lots of green space and reserves, expensive housing and numerous golf courses. We stayed at the Radisson Gold Coast Resort which is our last touch of luxury this trip and there are 5 golf courses within walking distance and 8 within a five mile radius. Pity we don't play golf!For ... read more
Crocodile warnings
Strangler fig tree
Strangler enclosing tree

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Kaikoura March 11th 2011

Geo: -42.4023, 173.681From Glacier Land we continued our tour round South Island, crossing over through Wanaka and Cromwell to the east coast. In Cromwell we stopped off to visit an old gold mining site, look at the equipment used and the miners homes, and try our hand at gold panning. I was surprised to hear that many of the early miners were Chinese. Our guide made the point that few of the miners made any money as the large companies and business men of the time tied everything up so that miners had to pay them high rates for food, water, hire of equipment etc. and by the time they had paid all these charges and visited the bars they rarely had money left over. Gold mining, even panning, requires a lot of water. The panning ... read more
The old gold workings
Success! Look closely
Moeraki Boulders

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Central Otago » Wanaka March 1st 2011

Geo: -44.6987, 169.133Where do I start this blog? First of all apologies for not posting anything recently. As we moved to South Island we soon realised that wifi was difficult to access and expensive when it is available. We arrived in Wellington on the Sunday evening, 20th February and ran into difficulty. We have come to trust the GPS in the car but she (it is a woman's voice) let us down dramatically. We asked her to find motels which she usually manages without turning a hair but for some reason she kept taking us to addresses which were obviously not hotels or motels, one was an office block, one a building site and the third in the middle of a roundabout. After 3 tries and lots of cursing we switched her off totally in disgust ... read more
View from the ferry leaving Wellington
A koru
The weka in the kitchen

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » East Coast » Napier March 1st 2011

Geo: -39.4917, 176.916Napier has a special Art Deco Weekend in February which we attended. Richard had the onerous task of booking accommodation for us at a late date when nothing was left in Napier itself. However, he managed to find a room in Havelock North, only a fifteen minute drive from the town. The only concern was that the room accommodates ten so we were not sure if we had to share, which would probably have required us to purchase 8 sets of ear plugs for ohers to deaden our snores. Luckily the room was all ours, (complete with ten bunks if we wished) and as we left most bunks folded away, we had lots of space. The campsite itself was reminiscent of the holiday camps at home in the 50's, with crazy golf, an indoor ... read more
Napier Seafront
Napier Seafront - the other direction
Poster advertising the Weekend

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Waikato » Hamilton February 10th 2011

Geo: -37.7871, 175.283From Puerto Vallarta we flew to Los Angeles with Alaska Air to take the Air New Zealand flight to Auckland. We only had one full day in LA and so we wandered down to the nearest beach, Redondo Beach and Marina. As it is out of season everything was very quiet but we had a tasty fish and chip lunch on the pier. We realised that in LA without a car and phone (ours doesn't work in the US) it was difficult to function. The bus took us to the beach and back with one change each way but they were infrequent, although very cheap. Nearly everyone using the buses was black or hispanic, so it seems that only poorer people use them. The boardwalk by the marina is interesting with huge numbers of ... read more
Off to catch the wild ducks

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