A Travellerspoint blog

Gold Coast

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Kangaroos in Newcastle

Kangaroos in Newcastle

Newcastle as the name suggests seemed just like an English seaside town only with massive waves. Stayed at the YHA here for 3 nights. We are finding the YHA's are getting dearer as we head up the east coast & we were told that they will only more so, therefore we are looking for cheaper alternatives now. Camping seems to be our best option so far a;though there are some YHA deals that we need to look into more. Just had a couple of days beach time to top our tans as they looked like they were fading & felt we were not blending in enough.
25th March. Left Newcastle on the Greyhound. The coaches are so luxuriuos, they have reclining seats, aircon, curtains, toilets and even a bar on board but it was a 9.30am pick up so not much call for a drink! Two hour journey to Forster, we had only booked our coach journey to Forster this time which we knew was going to drop us off at an info centre so we gambled there was going to be some accomodation for us. Luckily a camp site was only minutes away so we hired our 7'x6' plot of land to accommodate our tent. Surrounded by huge camper vans, cabins and tents that are an extention of a 4x4 we felt envious although we only paid 8 quid each to pitch the tent so we were happy. Its good for us to camp and be at one with nature in oz, there are birds that gently sing in the morning but unfortunatly there are more of the parrots that squalk and shreak at 5 and 6 oclock in the morning that really make it a bit of a nightmare. One nice thing is that the owners of the big campers and tents seem to take pity of us and are always offering us their facilities of which tea, coffee and over night bag storage are the most popular.
Spent 3 nights in Forster, went canoeing and saw some dolphins and then the usual beach time.
Sorry cant get anywhere to download photos at the moment!

Posted by alineal 18:51 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Catch up!

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5 nights in Port Elliot where we waited for the weather to improve. From the day we arrived in Oz the weather had been unusually cold and damp but after a couple of days in Port Elliot things got better and alot hotter. Port Elliot was a bit limited on public transport for us to continue on our journey so after a chat to a few people we decided we had to go back to Adelaide for one night on the 12th March where we could collect a relocation vehicle and drive the 1200km to Melbourne. We found this company on the web who charge $1 a day to relocate a vehicle from one place to another and luckily there was a campervan that needed to go from Adelaide to Melbourne the next day. Although it was obviously very cheap travel for us the downside was we only had 3 days to get the campervan there. So we set off on the 13th March in the camper and headed for Mount Gambier to see the Blue Lake which was a crater filled with the most amazing coloured fresh water you could wish to see. The water was supposed to feed the entire town and was purely there to pump its water to the towns people.
Found a spot to park up on the side of the road for the night which was a little odd to draw the curtains in the camper and sleep the night there as you always seem to hear the faintest sound and wander if someone is peaking in your camper. Back on the road the next day and drove, drove, drove. It was the famous Ocean Road with the 12 Appostles and various other fantastic viewing spots. Busy, winding and hilly raods that drained our petrol quickly and it got to a point where we had to free wheel to conserve petrol. We just made it to a petrol station and parked up for the night, this time at a secluded spot which a nice lady in a local shop told us about. We watched Kangaroo's going about there business that night along with many moscuitos as we were parked by a river.
Arrived in Melbourne on Monday 15th, dropping the campervan off and blagging a lift in the city. Stayed at the YHA central which had fantastic views on its roof terrace of Melbourne City. Both really liked Melbourne, loads of variety, friendly people and easy to get around. Done the touristy things in Melbourne, Immigration Centre, Docklands, City Bus Tour and the Rememberance Memorial. However it started to hit our pockets so we signed up to another reloction vehicle deal after 3 nights.
Left Melbourne early Thursday 18th morning to collect a Station Wagon this time to get to Sydney. Only 3 days again to get to Sydney but its saving so much money in accommodation we couldnt turn it down. We had a bit of a fuss this time as the car we were given was covered in dirt and muck and the wipers and screen wash didnt work. We told them the car was not road worthy and after a bit of a debate they changed the vehicle.
Its very easy to drive here and there is always a spectacular view around the next corner which makes you want to keep stopping every five minutes but we had to resist otherwise we would not get to Sydney on time. We followed the Princes Highway and parked up at Lakes Entrance on the evening of the 18th. Beautiful spot on the river and although it feels like its wrong to just park and sleep anywhere there is so many other people who do it that it just seems normal. Was up early Friday morning due to a very uncomfortable nights sleep in the back of the wagon. I am having problems keeping it up (the mattress that is!!). I seem to have a small hole (ouch!) and after a couple of hours ive lost all my wind (Phew!!). Anyway was a good excuse to get on the road early and we drove over 600km that day and parked up just outside a town called Wollongong. Slightly better nights kip and set off for Sydney to meet Ali's uncle Cyril & Diana.
Saturday 20th March. We were a little worried about driving into Sydney, a big city with lots of traffic and too many road signs to read at once. We had made many wrong turns on our dashes from Adelaide to Melbourne then to Sydney, which always ended up in arguments of course, so we were not that confident about Sydney. How wrong we were it was a breeze. Found the car rental place easy and Ali's uncle very kindly came to pick us up so it cut out any worries of us trying to get through Sydney to reach there home. Cyril & Diana also gave a pre tour round the Sydney hotspots to wet our appetite. Had a lovely fewdays with them at their beautiful home with the idea of returning to them a week before we go to Thailand to really see Sydney and suroundings much more in depth and perhaps squeeze a game of golf in as well!
Left Sydney by Greyhound coach on Monday 22nd. We both wanted a different view of the country from the comfort of a coach rather than driving. Arrived in Newcastle a few hours later and began our trip up the Gold Coast to Cairns.

Posted by alineal 18:16 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

Goodbye SA hello Oz

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IMG_0467_1_.pjpegSo apart from Cape Town we didnt spend any time in other SA cities such as Durban, PE & Johannasburg. The smaller towns seem more apealing then the noisy and busy cities. No favourite place to speak of overall, many places had varied attraction to us. Hostels were generally good, trips and activities were expensive, people were friendly and helpful.
Therefore we really loved our SA trip learning about cultures, languages and people not just of SA but Africa as a whole. There is still so much to see and do in SA, apart from just SA, but that would be left for another trip!
A lengthy flight to Sydney then a conection to Adelaide left us tired but excited about Australia. We arrived on Friday 5th at around 6pm with no Aussie dollars but had a few rand left from SA. We exchanged this at the airport and ended up being the exact amount we needed to get from the airport to our hostel by public transport. By 10pm on Friday 5th March we had stayed awake for as long as we could and just had to sleep. It did not help that on the flight to Oz there were all the latest movies available to watch which meant neither of us managed any sleep.
Our first hostell in Adelaide was ok but a little noisy so nothing new there. A tram ride to Glenelg in the south of the city on saturday, and then we made our way by public transport to a YHA hostel in Port Elliot on Sunday 7th. It really is a small world because in 2 days of being in Adelaide we met 3 people who lived near us in Addlestone.

Posted by alineal 18:36 Archived in Australia Tagged air_travel Comments (3)

Last blog from South Africa

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IMG_0393_1_.jpg
Arrived in Umtentweni on the 23rd Feb, an 8 hour Baz Bus ride from East London. It was our longest ride on the bus yet as there were not many appealing stops on the route. However we managed to find a great hostel from which we could just step out the back gate to another wonderfull sandy beach. This hostel was called The Spot Backpackers and we are finding the hostels are getting a little more expensive now as we head towards Durban & J'burg, albeit only another R10-R15 (1-1.50p per per per night), but when your on a tight budget like us every penny counts on a daily basis!!!
Only 2 nights in Umtentweni (M1020) but a late evening pick up on the Baz Bus meant we could do a trip to a place called Oribi Gorge. Amazing scenery & the widest & deepest gorge we both had ever seen it took our breath away.
Took a horse ride as well for 1 hour which was plenty enough for my backside to put up with although Ali has had a liitle more experince on the nags before. We rode amongst Giraffe, Buffalo and Buck and got some cool photos.
Stopped at Durban overnight on the 25th Feb in a massive hostel called the Happy Hippo!!. Not too much to say as it was 10pm when we arrived and 7.30am when we got picked up in the morning to continue our travels.
So left the S.A coast for the final time and headed for the Nothern Drakensberg on the 26th Feb, which we had been told was a real treat for walking & hiking. Arrived at the great named Amphitheatre Travellers Lodge, surrounded by mountains on all sides & in the middle of nowhere. We did a hiking trip which took 2 hours to get to by bus, 4 hours to walk up a mountain that was covered in mist, saw the supposedly 2nd highest waterfall in the world that was only trickling with water, walked back down for another 2 hours mostly in mist & then a 2 hour ride back in a packed bus. Ali hated it from start to finish and we paid R480 per person (40 quid each) for the pain in our legs the next day. I dont think we will be doing any more of that hiking stuff in the mountains!! Stayed 4 nights here and after the hike we just put our feet up and did nowt.
Last stop Purple Palm in Johannesburg for 2 nights on the 2nd March. Here we just wanted to refresh everything, catch up on internet stuff & look at our many options in Australia where we leave for on the 4th March.

Posted by alineal 23:01 Archived in South Africa Comments (5)

11 days in East London

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IMG_0314_2_.jpgArrived in East London on the 12th and noticed of course some familier road names such as Oxford Street & Camden Road. Amanda & Mel kindly picked us up from our drop off on the Baz Bus, they both dont look too much different although Mel has bulked out a bit, i think he has been spending a lot of time in the gym!
Think we have met most of the family, Shane and his girlfriend Chantel, Lorna and Philip, Mels parents, brothers and their wives and lots of other friends, too many to mention, and everyone is always so welcoming and helpful. We have both felt so comfortable here which makes it so hard for us to leave but we must go back to our travels as we have to be in J'burg on the 2nd March. We have been fed so well and tasted lots of the home cooked SA food such as the traditional Braai, and the unusual Monkey Gland Sauce!! all very nice but we had to draw the line at Tripe!! We cooked the family an english roast beef dinner with some very dodgy yorkshire puddings!! all the food was fresh from a local butcher and grocer with not a Tescos in sight.
We enjoyed a night out which involved a movie(avatar), food(nandos),ice cream & R30 (3 quid) free at the casino all for only R60 (6 quid) each. Now thats what we call value!!
We then had a weekend at a lovely spot called Whispering Waves. We loaded up the cars until they were bursting, i think it was more food than anything else, and headed about an hour to the chalets. The weekend was so hot again i dont think anyone got away without getting to burnt, luckily we were right next to a pool and were able to cool off.
Time to leave now and head to Umtentweni which i can spell it but cant say which has been a familier theme here as we been ribbed alot about the way we say things although i will say we will try to get them them right JUST NOW!!

Thanks all for a great time in East London

Posted by alineal 09:34 Archived in South Africa Comments (8)

Where have we been!!

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Sorry we are not keeping up to date as much as we would like to but it gets a bit expensive to do it too often, and the days seem to pass us by so quickly. we find it difficult to keep up with the days. we will try harder in future.
So we arrived in Mossel Bay on the 27th Jan. Our accomodation was a refurbished train that was still sitting on the same track as it was when it arrived for its final time. The other unusual fact was that it was right on the beach and you could almost jump out of your cabin window onto the beach. A great and unique stay although a little noisy at times. We managed 3 nights in Mossel Bay with good weather and the hugest portions of food you have ever seen.
Oudtshoorn was next on 30th Jan. A fantastic journey to get there through the mountains ans steaming hot. Did a nights camping where we were awoken by a little black kitten jumping on the tent (chasing our shadows we assume). We managed to squeeze in some caving and ostrich riding before we left which have both been caught on camera for some laughs when we get home.
Arrived at Storms River on 31st Jan to what was our most favourite hostel and town so far. The staff were so laid back we could not see how anything ever got done which got a bit fraustrating at times when we needed something sorting out. Black water tubing and waterfall zip lining were a couple of activities we did here, both great fun if not a little expensive.
Cape st Frances next on the 4th Feb. Not a lot to do here but a lovely hostel with a thatched roof and a fantastic looking beach, however was far too windy to sit on so a near by pool was our next option. Was the hottest since we have been here and was told it would reach 40c in the next couple of days.
9th feb (alis birthday) we arrived in Jeffreys Bay, a surfers paradise but not for us unfortunetly!!! Temp did get up to 40c we were told and this became pretty unbearable for Neal which meant we could not really do anything for a couple of days. Swealtering at night too which meant sleeping became a bit of a problem.
11th feb was a late drop off on the Baz bus at Port Elizabeth. This was just a nights sleep at this hostel for an early 7am pick up the next morning. Then on to East London on the 12th to stay with Mel and Amanda. IMG_0288_1_.jpg

Posted by alineal 14:25 Archived in South Africa Comments (3)

Hermanus to Mossel Bay

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IMG_0121.jpgWell that week flew by!!!!!!!
Making our way east we left Hermanus which was more like a sleepy English town the complete opposite to the bustling, noisy and energetic Cape Town. We both felt the force of the South African sun whilst in Hermanus, leaving the beach looking like two juicy lobsters and suffering then for the next couple of days. Will we never learn??!!!
We arrived in Swellendam and had our first attempt at some camping. Our two man tent was easy to erect but was not easy to sleep in with back packs as well. Swellendam was a quiet town as well and we tried to find things to do that did not involve forking out on expensive trips. So drinking seems to be a good way to pass the day and at just over a pound a pint in most places it seems to be the most sensible thing to do sometimes. Even Ali gets her double Malibu and diet coke for half of what she would pay in the UK.
Hopped back on the Baz bus, which reminds us of the bus the characters from Scooby Doo travelled in, and headed towards Mossel Bay. A two hour trip that goes so quickly because there always seems to be so much to see, ie. continuous stretch of mountains, incredibly coloured houses and you are never too far away from a sandy beech.

Posted by alineal 01:06 Archived in South Africa Comments (11)

Moving on

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Today we have moved out of Cape Town. Glad to be rid of all the beeping from the taxi drivers and the people wanting our money. Arrived in a much quieter town called Hermanus. Looking to have a few quiet days on what seems to be a massive beech to try and save some money, badly over spending!! However today is overcast but the future looks bright. Malibu is cheap so Ali is a happy girl.

Posted by alineal 18:57 Archived in South Africa Comments (2)

We did make it!

sunny 27 °C
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Alineal_002.jpgHi all
Arrived Sunday with all our flights etc running smoothly although the transfer we booked to go to hostel never turned up. (not that surprised really!) Just got a taxi and bargained a tenner off the price. Both of us didnt get any sleep on the flights, to noisy, to cramped and to uncomfortable from food. Did a tour around Cape Town yesterday on open bus (very touristy i know!) was a good way see town as we could hop on and off when we liked. Going up Table Mountain today although weather is a bit grey at the moment.

Posted by alineal 09:03 Archived in South Africa Comments (5)

We're off!

rain

IMG_0003.jpgTime to go, leaving Heathrow destination Johanasburg then connecting to sunny Cape Town. We will endevour to keep this blog updated so you can keep track of our progress, although we are expecting to be on the move constantly so it all depends what facilities we come across so perhaps expect a few gaps. We cant wait to get to S.A now, although a little apprehensive about what to expect we're sure things will fall into place nicely. See most of you in 6 months or so and to the rest of you we are sure we will be in contact when we return to the UK.

Posted by alineal 03:54 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (3)

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