Page 12 of swanningaround Travel Blog Posts

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 We had withdrawn so much money over that week that they decided it must be someone else using our cards.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

North America » Mexico January 24th 2011

Geo: 20.6509, -105.215Our time in Puerta Vallarta is coming to an end. We have been able to visit most of the sites and interesting towns within a days travel, and have walked almost every street of the town (at least once). After leaving Los Tules and moving into Posada Iris we quickly learned the rhythms of life here. We are awoken between 7.45 and 8am every morning by the man who drives a truck up and down each street delivering replacement gas cylinders (no mains gas supply). He announces his presence by playing a continuous message interspersed with the refrain that I am sure you are familiar with. Do you remember the old cowboy films when they are surrounded by indians and about to be overrun? Then you hear the cavalry charging to the rescue? That ... read more
Very comfortable seats!
We were serenaded at lunch
More birds on the feeder

North America » Mexico January 14th 2011

Geo: 20.6509, -105.215Monday 3 January we took a 40 minute boat ride to the village of Yelapa. There is a road but it is very poor, takes hours, and is used mainly to transport building materials when they are needed. En route we saw more whales. Yelapa is a traditional village stretching up the hill from the beach, with stone walled and thatched roof palapas. In addition to the original buildings there are a few newer structures providing accommodation to the hippy community. There are not many but they look as if they have been here since the sixties and Jim felt out of place with his short hair and (relatively) clean shaven chin, although of course we are the right age. Jim carried 2 bags up the hill for a lady returning from 4 days ... read more
The docile bull
The woodpecker

North America » Mexico January 4th 2011

Geo: 20.6509, -105.215Happy New Year to you allWe hope you all enjoyed the holidays and survived the bad weather without burst pipes or other winter problems.Los Tules, in Puerto Vallarta, provided our holiday hideout as we took advantage of the comfortable accommodation (complete with hot showers at any time of the day or night!), pools, beach and super-sized terrace. The first room they gave us was very dark with a tiny balcony which was permanently in the shade, and we overlooked the very noisy high rise neighbouring hotel. It took a a few days but eventually they moved us to a much nicer apartment in the middle of the complex, surrounded by the gardens, and as we were at the top of the building it was as if we were living in the palm trees. Most ... read more
The hotel beach
The crew
Whales preparing to dive

North America » Mexico December 20th 2010

Geo: 20.6509, -105.215Mexico City competes with Cairo for title of largest city in the world and is also one of the highest capitals at 2,300 metres. We were not looking forward to coming here as we both dislike cities, but in order to cross from the gulf coast to the Pacific by bus we had to come through MC. In fact, it has been a fascinating few days.The climate here is different from our previous experience in Mexico because during the day the temperature rises to a maximum of 27 degrees C, but it is a short day. As soon as the sun drops around 5pm the temperature falls as low as 7 degrees C. and fleeces and jackets are needed until between 9 and 10am the next morning. Our hostel provides breakfast and an evening ... read more
Fun for the kids
Serious business of making snowmen
Dizz heights

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