A Travellerspoint blog

Africa – the last continent of our trip :)

sunny 30 °C

Travelling to South Africa from New Zealand was one of the journeys I was least looking forward to, given we were going to be spending 18hrs airborne, on two flights. Lee must have just had a guilty look about him as he was scanned thoroughly in Auckland and Sydney! Once we had boarded our second flight, we were taxi’ing to the runway, only to be told by the Pilot that we had not been given clearance to leave due to a security breach by one of the passengers on our flight, just what we wanted to hear! Once security were satisfied after trawling through CCTV footage, our flight was given the go ahead to depart. After our plane rattling and shaking like it was about to fall to bits during take-off (even alarming Lee who is the most confident flyer I know), we then found out that our in-flight entertainment systems were not working, it was looking like it was going to be a long 14hr flight ahead! After me managing to throw my pen at the sleeping man across the aisle from me, and waking him up, we ended up moving seat for most of the flight so we could watch some films. An hour or so before we were due to land, a lady decided it would be a good idea to fall over and knock herself out, it was an eventful flight to say the least! On arrival in Johannesburg, our organised collection person decided it would be a good idea to wait in the ‘Departures’ section, clearly that made a whole lot of sense as we were in the ‘Arrivals’ section… kinda where you’d expect incoming flights to be, is it not!? After about half an hour of faffing about and borrowing a very kind mans phone, and Lee running over my foot with our trolley stacked with about 50kgs of backpacks, we found our idiot of a pick-up person. The drive to our hostel was a bit hairy, we were both feeling a little nervous due to the reputation of Jo’burg. Our hostel was like fort Knox, with two security gates and perimeter fences to go through. We’d missed the start of our pre-tour meeting, and so had to join late. Once we’d checked in, we were looking forward to a nice meal and bed after being up for over 24hrs. That’s when the receptionist informed us they had run out of food. So, that mixed with the fact that we had no South African currency, or a will to leave our compound meant that we were left tired, hungry and a bit grumpy to say the least. We headed down to the bar, and managed to get ourselves a packet of crisps each, a bar of chocolate between us and two beers, and pay the very kind barman in USD. We thought we would have a game of pool, but had no money for the table :( So, after spraying most of our wardrobe of clothing with pesticides to stop the malaria infested mossies we are expecting to meet soon, we went to bed.

After a pretty crap nights sleep, we got up around 5.30am to prepare for our early tour start. On the bus we got and had the chance to see some of Jo’burg in the light. Once we’d seen fence, after perimeter fence, after electric fence, after cctv security sytems… we’d seen enough! Lee was shocked at the extent of the security required there, I wasn’t at all surprised being Mrs Pessimistic :)

We made it to our campsite for the next couple of nights and set up camp. Lee managed to pick us the dodgy tent… the poles were the wrong ones, then we didn’t have a rain cover, then our zip didn’t want to work! Our guides then helped us put the rubbish one down again and get a new one, with poles that fit, and a rain cover, and working zips – we were good to go :) We had a nice group dinner, not very South African though… Spaghetti Bolognese, followed by a cultural show by some locals which was great fun. We even got dragged up to dance, they did completely show us up though, their rhythm was certainly better than ours! The sign in the toilets was a little alarming, it said to beware of live snakes!

The following morning, after our alarm blaring at 4:30am (!!) we headed out for our first game drive in Kruger National Park. We managed to see so many animals… zebras, buffalo, wart hog, wild hog, giraffe, impala, hippo, white rhino, crocodile, kudu, turtle, terrapin, wildebeest, baboon, monkey, two cheetah’s casually walking down the road, leopard, and all sorts of beautiful birds including vultures and other birds of prey. The impalas we saw were fighting for females, literally locking horns, it was great to see! We also saw a really big group of Elephants who decided to cross the road in front of us. As they had young with them, one of the elephants became a little angry with us and just stopped in the middle of the road and stared at us head on! Our guide told us to keep very quiet. I must say it exceeded all our expectations, the animals were amazing and there were just so many more than we imagined there would be! The only animals we didn’t see from the ‘Big 5’ were the Black Rhino and Lions… but we decided this was a good thing as we didn’t want to be spoilt so early on in our Africa tour!

That evening, our chores began… Lee on cooking duty and me on cleaning duty. Lee ended up chopping up a cabbage which was the size of a small person, and that was about it, he got off lightly. The following day was spent mostly on the bus travelling through to Botswana. On the way we saw a beautiful gorge over looking a huge valley. The greenery really amazed us as it’s just not how you would picture Africa in a sense. We also saw loads of wild pigs, donkeys, cows and goats happily grazing along the side of the roads. We were looking forward to seeing what Botswana had in store for us :)

Posted by Cass - Lee 11:30 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

NZ… 101 reasons why we don’t want to go home!

sunny 23 °C
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Well, following the skydive, I was on a complete high! We continued our journey to Queenstown and headed out for ‘all you can eat’ pizza (which the boys well and truly made the most of!) and drinks… lovely end to a fantastic day!

The following day we had decided to go white water rafting… this was another one of those things that I swore I just couldn’t ever do. The journey to the river was one not to be forgotten. We were travelling on a dirt track that was not meant for buses or people towing trailers. We were in a bus, and towing a trailer with four rafts! There were no edges to the dirt track and we were surrounded by sheer drops, one part was so tight our bus driver had to take one wheel almost off the edge to get around. We had a guy talking us all through the journey, and he really had it in for me as he could see me covering my eyes! This same guy turned out to be our instructor in our boat, to my horror! We were dressed in wet suits and wet shoes, and rain jackets and massive life jackets, oh and not forgetting helmets… we felt like we were being slowly cooked as the sun was beaming. I was sure, given the outfits we’d been supplied with, that we were going to spend most of our trip on the river in the actual water instead of the raft! We were shown what to do, and what not to do, and told to never stand in the river if we fell in as we could get our feet stuck under rocks and basically drown - fab. So, with our training done we jumped in the rafts and headed off down the river. Our instructor taught us how to paddle and some commands for when we hit the rapids. When our first rapid approached I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was great! We were all over the place and soaked, and some people in the other boats fell out, but we made it all in tact :) It was shortly after this point that our instructor told us that we could take a voluntary swim should we choose to. Lee and Lasse decided to and looked hilarious bobbing down the river :) They were loving it until the water got to their ‘bits’ and then their faces changed and they decided it was time to get back in the boat! They then managed to smash heads on entry back into the boat which was hilarious! We went through a section which had 6 rapids one after the other and they all had different names, and god they were pretty crazy, the water was wild! We headed through a 170m cave, and out the other side was our final rapid to go through which was renowned for flipping rafts and ensuring everyone had a swim. We could see the drop approaching and the water looking crazy, and then we were there and all over the place, with water everywhere! It was a fantastic experience and now we can’t wait to try grade 5 rapids!

We must have been having withdrawal symptoms from Asia as we ended up in a Thai restaurant for dinner and then headed home for our usual card games and drinks. Off we all went to bed to then be woken up at 1am with the fire alarm blaring. I must have woken up in a complete panic wondering what on earth was going on as I jumped out of bed, threw my duvet on the floor, opened the curtains and then tried pulling Lee off the top bunk! After the alarm blaring for about 10 minutes it turned out to be a false alarm, and was due to a faulty fire alarm, which has apparently happened a few times… maybe it’s time they replaced that alarm!

The following morning we were back on the bus headed to Doubtful Sound for an overnight cruise. We boarded a ferry to take us to a bus, to take us to the boat we were sailing on for the night. On we got and were greeted with hot muffins, perfect :) Doubtful Sound was beautiful, the sort of place you could take a million photos… pretty much like the whole of NZ really! We headed out on a boat and took a look at the landscape, and saw recent landslides. We then sailed towards the open sea and a local Fur Seal Colony, and learnt that there are Great White Sharks lurking in the waters. Not sure that was exactly what the people that had been swimming earlier in the day were keen on hearing! The trip seemed to be centred around food as our dinner was amazing. We had an early start the following morning and headed out to see the sunrise, followed by a lovely full English brekkie, Mmm :) We were then lucky to see some Bottle Nose Dolphins swimming around and playing in the waters. Our Captain turned off the engines at one point and we had the chance to just enjoy the silence of the Sound, which was lovely. Our trip on the Sound came to an end and we headed back on the bus to board the ferry to take us back into civilisation. We then headed back to Queenstown, which we’ve developed quite a soft spot for. We got to have a look around again and get ourselves a famous ‘Ferg Burger’… and it lived up to its name, lovely!

The following morning we headed to Naseby. On the way, we stopped for a bike ride, along the Otago railway, which ended up being a 23 mile long bike ride! The group then played a game of touch rugby and we all had a nice pub dinner :) Naseby apparently only has a population of 100, it really did feel like we were in the middle of nowhere! There wasn’t even a proper road leading to the place, just a gravel track, and there seemed to be nothing for miles around. The following day we were headed for Methven, for our last night as a group :( On the way we stopped at Moeraki Boulders which were pretty cool. These almost perfectly round boulders just plonked on the beach, but totally natural – very strange! Once we made it to Methven, there wasn’t really much to do as everyone seemed to have run away for the Easter weekend, so a pretty quiet night was had by all.

The following morning was basically another day on the bus, travelling back to Wellington on the North Island. After saying a very sad goodbye to most of our fellow passengers in Christchurch, we carried on and had a brief stop again in Kaikora. It was nice to see this pretty little place again, as the sun was shining this time! We stopped off at a seal colony on our journey, and saw the adults sunning themselves on the rocks. We then headed to see the babies, god they were small! Next stop, was Picton Airport… or should I say shack! We were taking a scenic flight back to the North Island, and the plane was about the same size as the skydiving one, with only 12 little seats. We boarded, and I must say it seemed weird being able to see the Pilot just in front of us, and all of the controls! Up we went, and the view was spectacular across Marlborough Sound. I was amazed by the fact that I jumped from almost 10,000ft higher than we were flying, just seemed crazy to me! The landing was a bit of a nose dive, and I could see that the runway ended pretty near the water, so I was just hoping his brakes were going to work well :) I’m pleased to say we survived (well obviously otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this..!). We stayed in Wellington for the night before our monster of a drive the following day back to Auckland. We both felt really sad that the tour had come to an end, and saying goodbye to yet more people is definitely the rubbish part when it comes to travelling! Before leaving Auckland, Lee decided to get a haircut… The lady misunderstood what Lee asked for and shaved a stripe up his head. She then started describing some kind of Mohawk hair do in an effort to correct her balls up, which we declined, so I now have a skin head for a husband! We then spent the next hour looking for a hat…

New Zealand has been nothing less than incredible, what a country... and we have well and truly fallen in love with the South Island! The scenery is to die for, from towering mountains and canyons, to stunning lakes and rivers. The people are so so friendly and the country must have done something to me for me to throw myself out of a plane, which was the best thing I’ve ever done! Only a week before I had sworn it would be something I would never do! We can certainly see why people up sticks and head here, it’s our idea of paradise :)

Posted by Cass - Lee 11:21 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Never been in freefall 12,000ft from the ground before :)

sunny 21 °C
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Things were looking up as soon as we boarded the ferry to the south island, the weather was beautiful! The views of Marlborough Sound as we approached Picton were gorgeous, we just didn’t know where to look. Once we left the ferry, we were taken straight for some wine tasting, my favourite pass time :) We got to try their world renowned Sauvignon Blanc which was pretty good. I did my good deed of the day when a fellow Slovakian girl on our tour had returned with fly spray, whilst looking for insect repellent to spray on her skin – I helped her rectify that one :) We were then taken to an airfield where people could choose whether they wanted to throw themselves out of a plane or do hang gliding etc. Given the fact that I don’t even like getting on a Boeing 747 without a fuss, and I’m much happier with my feet on the ground, I declined! We then headed to our accommodation in Abel Tasman National Park, and stayed at a place called Old Macdonald’s Farm. We had a bbq for dinner and tried some local green lip mussels cooked on the barbie, which were beautiful! Out came the Uno, and a good night was had by all :)

The following day we took a water taxi to a place called Anchorage, and saw split apple rock on the way which was pretty cool. We took a walk to a viewpoint which was pretty spectacular with views across the bays and the mountains in the distance. The spot we found for lunch was pretty nice, and once we’d finished eating Lee disappeared off taking photos. The next time I laid eyes on him was when we heard him shout ‘can you see me’, and there he was perched on a little rock, which from my angle looked as though it was a sheer drop! I think I need to put reins on him, I swear :) Between myself and another lady, one of us seemed to be destined to face plant the floor with the amount of times we tripped up! We then walked back to Marahau with very tired legs after walking a total of 13 miles! At least that should help counteract the alcohol consumption :) Once we got back to our place, we then decided to go and watch two of our fellow tour members do a sky dive – I was still glad it wasn’t me! We went for dinner at a burger place just down the road... Seriously, the burgers were the size of our heads, and my god was it the best burger I had ever tasted :)

The next day we headed to Hanmer Springs. On route we stopped at Lake Rotoiti which was stunning, and we went for a little walk around. Our next stop was Maruia Falls which was pretty interesting to see as it wasn’t here 100yrs ago. It appeared when an earthquake hit, measuring 7.8 on the richter scale! We arrived at our accommodation and wow were we impressed, we had views across the mountain range which was amazing! We spent the evening having a nice pub dinner and then at the hot springs, which were so relaxing… until we had to get out at 9pm and do a mad dash to get our towels as it was freezing!

The following morning we headed to Kaikoura to do some whale watching. We boarded a catamaran and headed out to sea, it was like being on a rollercoaster! The waves were huge and were sending our vessel all over the place  I thought I may be sea sick or nervous but it was actually great fun! Finally we got the alert that a 20mtr Sperm Whale had surfaced, we all ran to the top deck to see it, and it was amazing! We were all frantically taking photos of the spray and then his tail fin disappearing. He surfaced for around 10 minutes before diving down to around 2500 meters to hunt, where he stays for up to an hour. We both felt very privileged to have been lucky enough to see such a huge whale out in its own territory. We then got to see some New Zealand Fur Seals, one of which was devouring an Octopus and shaking it around like a Lion would do with a piece of meat, it was a great sight to see! We also got to see Albatross and Petrel birds swooping and landing on the surface, they really are huge. After a dinner at the local fish and chip shop, we had our usual card game frenzy and headed to bed ready for an early 5am start the following morning, my favourite! :(

The next day we started our journey to Franz Josef, and stopped at Christchurch for some brekkie. We then took a break and went for a wander around Castle Hill which is where a scene from Lord of the Rings was filmed. My heart was in my mouth as Lee decided to start climbing rocks and then he was sat perched on a rock with a sheer drop of about 30mtrs the other side. We drove past the Southern Alps and saw the glaciers and various lakes throughout the journey. We made it to our accommodation for the next couple of nights, Franz Josef. We’d had every intention of doing a glacier walk, but when we were about to book we got told that it wasn’t the best idea if you have dislocating joints – rubbish  So instead we headed out kayaking which was so calm and beautiful and gave us amazing views of Mt Cook. The lake in the morning was covered in a mist so we couldn’t see where we were headed, which was great fun! Then once the mist lifted the lake was just so pretty and looked like glass in places, where you could get a great mirror image of the trees and plants. We then decided to take a walk to the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier, which ended up being over a 10 mile round trip… we certainly had a good deal of exercise that day!

The following morning, before we headed to our destination of Makarora, whilst I was in the shower and my room mates were all snoozing, the fire alarm went off! We all ventured outside, and I was still soaked from the shower. After all that commotion we went to watch another member of our group do a skydive over Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. It was the first time I actually felt a bit jealous and wondered whether it would be something I could bring myself to do, as I’ve seen quite a few people survive them now, haha :) I’m still the biggest wimp in the world though, so the chance remains pretty slim! The place that we stayed was just so so peaceful and surrounded by beautiful scenery, pretty much like all of NZ really. We had a nice group dinner and then went down to the river and had a camp fire and sat around it chatting which was lovely. We were based on the quietest road we had ever seen, we only saw one truck drive along it the whole time we were there. A couple of people in our group decided to actually lay on the road to show how empty it was :)

The following morning I found out that our guide and myself were booked onto a skydive. I was a nervous wreck but decided I would make the final choice of whether to go through it or not once I got to the airfield. Once there I was physically shaking but so determined I wanted to chuck myself out of a plane for some very strange reason! Before signing my life away Lee got two separate people to come and talk to me and help me get over my worries, and it must have worked as my signature appeared on the piece of paper. Before I knew it I was being suited and harnessed up and talking to my tandem instructor. Within minutes we were in the smallest plane I have ever been in and climbing to the skies. It was a beautiful day with hardly a cloud in the sky. I was a lot calmer than I ever imagined and had no intention of not going through with the jump. The shutter door opened and the first tandem left the plane and literally fell like a stone! By this point I was wondering what on earth was compelling me to do such a crazy thing! My instructor was fantastic and talked to me throughout the flight and ushered me to the door. The next thing I felt was a huge belly flip and before I knew it I was facing the ground with my camera man in front of me. The only word that can describe the feeling of freefall is ‘Mental’!! The wind rush was just crazy but I didn’t really have a sense of being so high because it was too high, if you see what I mean! I was smiling my head off and then realised the wind had literally stuck my mouth where it was :) I felt the parachute pull us and I knew we were safe, and the view was incredible. No noise, no crazy wind, just calmness and blue skies. As we twirled our way to the ground I couldn’t believe I had actually done it. I had stepped out of my comfort zone completely, being scared of heights and so so scared of flying, and could not stop smiling when we landed and just felt so proud of myself!

New Zealand has certainly pushed my limits and opened my eyes! I think I will be buzzing until next week!! :)

Posted by Cass - Lee 15:06 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Never been 12,733 miles from home before (to be precise!)

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Our flight to Auckland was rather turbulent and just as I’d hoped I was about to get some alcohol to calm my flying nerves, the cabin crew were ordered to sit down and belt up :( On arrival in Auckland we made our way to our accommodation and settled in for the night

On our last day of being proper backpackers, before we began tours again, we went for a wander around the city. Or should I say, just found a supermarket and stocked up and then headed back to our room as I wasn’t feeling too great. The following day we went to meet our new group, when we thought we may have been forgotten as almost an hour after our expected pick up time we were still waiting. Once we were finally collected, two of our fellow travellers happened to be from the UK, and went to school in St Albans :) The weather unfortunately messed up the plans for the first day and we ended up having to head straight to Rotorua as our original destination of Hahei was flooded following some freak weather. Our guide took us to a little animal park called Rainbow Springs which was only half open due to the weather. We got to see some of the native animals including a Kiwi, and even found ourselves on a big ‘splash’ ride which was pretty amusing! We checked into our accommodation and headed out with the group to get our food for the evening. After all eating together we then headed back to the room to chill. We decided we should head to the bar and socialise with our group, which resulted in one of those unplanned boozy evenings as we took full advantage of some free drinks. After a few games of pool and Lee taking part in a horizontal bungy contest, we headed back to the room for all of about 6hrs sleep.

The following morning I was presented with the mother of all hangovers, which reminded me that I am now 30, and wine is not my friend :) With a busy day ahead we headed to a geothermal area and got to see the eruption of a pretty impressive geyser. It was very different to the one that we saw in Iceland last year, and just didn’t seem to want to stop! We took a nice walk through the park to see bubbling and steaming pools and caves. Some of the colours were amazing, from greens and blues to bright oranges, and a pool of fluorescent yellow water, really incredible. We then headed to get some food to help cure the hangovers, and ended up in Domino’s ordering a pizza :) Next stop was Tamike Village, a traditional Maori Marae, a meeting house. We were greeted into the village and fed a lovely afternoon tea of scones with cream and jam, which on top of the pizza we had devoured, was pretty filling! We were then taught a Maori song with actions which was quite a laugh! The heavens had well and truly opened by this point, and this didn’t let up all evening. We watched a traditional Maori cultural show which involved singing, dancing and displays of their weapons. We were then treated to a traditional Haka performance, which I could watch again and again and never get bored! We headed inside for a Hangi meal which involves a traditional method of food being cooked underground on hot rocks. After the meal a sing song began which was fun, and then we had to perform the song we had been taught earlier that day, something I am really not a fan of, but it was quite a laugh :) It was lovely to hear how proud the Kiwi’s are of their heritage and their country. We were really fortunate to be able to sleep in the Maori meeting house which was full of traditional carvings and decorations.

The following day, the weather had finally decided to calm down, and we got our first glimpse of sunshine :) We began our drive to Taupo, and on the way stopped at Huka Falls. Though the waterfall itself isn’t the highest we’ve seen, it was pretty spectacular. The force of the water gushing through was pretty intense and has the ability to fill five Olympic size swimming pools every minute, amazing! We then stopped off for a dip in a thermal spring. It was so hot, just like a bath, so relaxing.. .

The scenery we have seen so far whilst driving from place to place has been pretty spectacular, with much more to come. This was apparent when we reached our accommodation, Blue Duck Lodge which is a working farm in the wilderness. Our lodge was nestled in amongst five hundred acres of hilly and beautiful land, and set on a river, we really did feel pretty spoilt! We were taken out on 4WD jeeps to help round up some rams, with three rather lively sheep dogs, Quinn, Cloud and Trev breathing in our ears :) We met their pet alpacas and horse and saw many bee hives which are used to make Manuka Honey. We were then driven around their land up to where it meets with the National Park and took a walk down to the river and then to see a waterfall from it’s top, and to its base. The river was too high due to lots of rain for us to be able to Kayak, but it was still lovely to be shown around. We returned to our lodge covered in mud and ready for some dinner :) We took a walk to their local café and were greeted by a nice big lasagne, Lee’s favourite. We headed back to our lodge for a few drinks and a natter, its great to share stories of travels so far and hear where people have been.

The following day we had a lovely breakfast out on the veranda overlooking the river, it was my idea of bliss, and certainly something I could get used to :) If this scenery is anything to go by, I can see what draws people to New Zealand! We got back on the road and headed to Tongariro National Park and went for a 5 mile walk to see the Tupapakurua Waterfall, and returned looking like drowned rats :) We were so worn out from the exercise we ended up checking into our room and crashing out for a couple of hours, before heading to the bar for a meal with our group which was nice. The next morning we managed to get a sneaky peek at the Tongariro national park peaks, until the cloud arrived and covered them up again within about thirty seconds :) Our last day in the north island was mainly spent on the bus on route to Wellington, the capital. The scenery on the drive was fantastic. We stopped off at a couple of places on the way and then on arrival in Wellington we headed out for a look around. We found a cute little market in an underground car park which was pretty random, and then headed to the Te Papa museum. We learnt all about the earth quakes and volcanic activity across New Zealand, and even got to try an earthquake simulator – I was more worried that the shaking floor was going to make me do my party trick and pop a knee out, so fingers crossed we won’t ever experience a real one!

After a trip around the north island which was plagued by bad weather, we still thoroughly enjoyed it, and have been told that the south island has even more spectacular views to offer :)

Posted by Cass - Lee 12:28 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Having fun down under!

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After waiting for almost an hour, and being told one bus was too full, we finally boarded a bus bound for the Sydney. We arrived at our hotel and instead of crashing out for hours like we did in Melbourne, we decided to get our bearings :) We headed to Darling Harbour which was practically on our doorstep. After making the all important purchase of some South East Australian wine, we headed back to our hotel room to have a bit of a chill to recharge our batteries ready for more sight seeing!

We decided to head out and see the city a little bit on our first full day there. We went to walk around the Botanical Gardens and got some beautiful views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. During our walk around the gardens we saw many Flying Fox bats. They were very active for during the day. We saw some huge spiders (which I yet need to Google!), they were everywhere in these humongous webs, they made me shiver…. Ew. We had a lovely late lunch before heading back to the harbour. We then decided to catch a ferry to Rose Bay, and then another one to Cockatoo Island, just for a look around, and we had a ticket for a week which allowed us on pretty much any form of transport known to man :) We then decided to head to the middle of the Harbour Bridge to catch a good view of the sunset. I didn’t think the whole height issue would bother me on there, but oh it did. By the time we reached the middle I was getting to the point where I need to shrink down to my knees and crawl back from the edge! I could feel the bridge shaking a little with the traffic and it just made me worse, so after we got a few snaps we headed back to solid ground :) It has certainly made my mind up on whether I would like to do the bridge climb… err no!

The following day we boarded a train bound for Katoomba so we could head to see the Blue Mountains. We used the Scenic Railway, which is the world’s steepest track at 55 degrees, and the one used by the miners many years ago to head down the mountain into the valley. We took a walk through the forest and saw the waterfall, and then used the Scenic Cableway to make our way back up the mountain (during which I didn’t really look out of the window – height issues again, these things really are wasted on me!). We then took a walk to Echo Point which had some great views and then walked to the Three Sisters, which is the most photographed point of the Blue Mountains. You can actually get across to the rock formations themselves, which is pretty cool :) We then randomly bumped into someone we met on our tour of the Great Ocean Road, small world!

The next day was a bit of a chilled one, and we just lazed around. Even though we are on the other side of the world and we should probably be sight seeing, it’s nice to just not, once in a while! We did head out shopping for a bit, and then jumped on the ferry around the harbour again, mainly because they provide free wifi access haha! Yep we are definitely penny pinching backpackers now :) We did end up stuck on the ferry for 2hrs though, which wasn’t part of our master plan!

We decided a trip to Sydney wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Bondi Beach. We took a walk from Bondi to Coogee which was lovely. The views and scenery here in Oz just never cease to amaze me, truly stunning. The following day we headed out on a winery tour, we were both really looking forward to this one! We stopped off at a little place called Wollombi to have a look around and try some Jungle Juice. This is a concoction of brandy and fortified wines, it was lovely, though not sure it should be drank at 10:30am! Our first tasting stop was at Lindemans Winery. Now this is a brand that I love at home so I was so excited to actually get to visit their home! We got to try five wines, all very different. On our exit, I was paying too much attention to the fact that Lee was near enough shovelling a whole plate of cheese and crackers into his mouth, and I managed to kick over the spit bucket that everyone had been pouring their dregs into during the wine tasting… nice one, nothing like making a lasting impression! We then went on to have a lovely lunch, with more wine. We then moved on to McGuigans Winery, and tried another six wines… by this point we were certainly starting to feel the effects of the many different wines we had tried :) Luckily there was no bucket for me to kick over there! We then stopped off at one final place and tried yet more wines before making our way back to Sydney, rather tiddled :)

On our last day in such a fabulous city we headed to The Rocks and had a look around the market – which was torture as I still have nowhere to put anything, so have to refrain from any temptation of buying anything. We then headed to Manly beach and randomly bumped into some people that we met whilst travelling Vietnam. It’s unbelievable that you can manage to be in two completely different places at the same time, months apart! We took a walk around Manly and unfortunately the heavens opened so we decided to head back to our hotel. The following day we headed to the airport to catch our flight to Auckland. As always, there generally seems to be some sort of airport incident, this time it was Lee being questioned as to whether or not he was over the age of 16… and being searched for explosives. I just waltzed through immigration without a ripple, clearly looking innocent… and ancient.

It’s quite a shame that we haven’t been able to spend more time in Oz on this trip, it really has surprised us and is such a remarkably beautiful country (spiders excluded!). We will definitely have to return here again one day and make our way round some more of this incredible country :)

Posted by Cass - Lee 18:49 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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