Saturday, June 12, 2010

Last night, final thoughts

Last day in Perth. Went to Fremantle without Tanya, Jacob and Gracie as the kids have been poorly. 'Freo' as the locals call it is a bit strange, quite quaint but then with some cool little coffee shops and bars. The market was good and we had some nice raw food. Then we suddenly found our walk had taken us back to the car so we took it as a sign to leave the town and try somewhere else. Went into Subiaco, we liked it there. Also, there was loads of Rugby supporters both English and Oz, getting ready for a big match at the Subiaco Oval. Justin didn't realise we were right next to the Oval until we were home, oops I mean Tanya's home.
Had a lovely veggie lasagne and some nice wine for our last night. Justin back on Mike's home brew.
SO...what did we think?
To be honest I am more undecided then ever. Not sure Perth is the place for us. It is very nice. I like the ocean but it is a big place and I am not sure I can cycle round it like I can in Ansdell. All I can say is that we won't know till we get back to the UK but we have had a great adventure. Before we came away I said the best things about this trip is that we are doing it together as a family and I haven't been disappointed. The Allitts Aussie Adventure has been a great adventure and it isn't always about the destination but the journey you take x

Friday, June 11, 2010

11th June-2nd day in Perth

...Once again it is no longer Joanna writing the blog.Mum's told me to write about today.So I will.But only because I'm extraordinarily bored.Today was second day in Perth where once again I played with the dogs for half the morning.I really like them they're called Dyson and Kerbee (I think thats how you spell it.) They're both awsome and VERY clever.Well today wasn't about the dogs so on to what we did today.

We decided to go on the train to the city center then walked over to the park.Although it wasn't that simple.On the way we had scrummy lunch and took a look inside this mega expensive shop.IT WAS $60 FOR A SMALL NOTEBOOK! We also diddn't know how to get to the park so that meant walking and a lot of it. We got there eventully though.

And the rest of the day was pretty simple so I'm not going to waste finger energy by explaining somthing that shouldn't be explained.

Happy easter, happy birthday and ho ho ho mery christmas.

Had a look around the city centre briefly before going to Kings park. All of a sudden it was 1.30 and we were all hungry. I am convinced time passes more quickly down under. By the tme we got to the park it was the end of the day. Damn these short days, why does it go dark so early here?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Yey, headlice!!!

We are kindly staying at Tanya and Mikes house, but unfortunately we've brought some uninvited guests with us, possibly originating from the campervan. So far we know they have hitched a ride on golden balls sons head. I knew there was a reason I got a grade two haircut before I came out here.

Martha has made friends with the two dogs here, Dyson and Kirby, whilst Max has been playing football with them in the field next to the house.

Today we were given a tour of some nice local beaches by Tanya, Jacob and Gracie.
The kids had a great time and were straight into the sea.
It is also worth mentioning that Mikes home brew is very drinkable.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Goodbye Melbourne....with your tree lined streets, integrated tram system, small Victorian houses, clever town planners, wonderful restaurants and your super cool suburbs.
It rained, it was cold but Melbourne was fabulous.
Now on to the last leg of our adventure....Perth.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

8th June The Great Ocean Road

Spent the morning at the Prahan Market. They have a great centre with farm animals and loads of child friendly things to do. Lots of mums meeting there for coffees and chin wags whilst kids get their fingers nibbled by naughty goats. Max was a bit unsure about the goat who kept jumping up at him-the kangaroo incident has scarred him mentally! He was much happier with the hens. Went for a drive down the Great Ocean road, really great beaches. Enjoyed the scenery. City scapes aren't really my thing but Melbourne has a great skyline. visited Torquay (?) Anglesea(hang on,a minute, get your own bloody names). Then spent an hour trying to get back into the city, where you can't turn right around certain times and then only if your are in the left lane!
Oh yeah bought a winter coat today as well...

Monday, June 7, 2010

7th June

Had a good nights sleep, the hotel is so much better than that bloody hole we were staying in. Had a lazy morning and then got the free tram around the city. We did go to The Old Melbourne Gaol. It was hilarious. Visiters get taken through by some old battle axe warden who shout at you as if they were taking a load of prisoners to a holding area. Martha and Max were very worried that it was real but Martha soon came round to the idea that it was theatre, poor Max tried so hard to keep himself from crying and really thought he was going to end up in Jail. The 'guard' let the kids be helper guards and when she left us for a 2nd and I took a photo Martha grassed on me and told her I had stepped out of line and taken a photo-the 'guard' called me a wanker! Justin was wetting himself. It was the jail where Ned Kelly was hung.

Quick trip round little Italy and Fitzroy, had a pub lunch at the Napier Hotel. Max played his first game of pool.

We nearly paid $47 for parking. It is so expensive.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

June 5th
Melbourne has redeemed itself a little. Had a good walk around in the daylight after a late but yummy breakfast, then it started raining and then it was bloody cold. There are some gorgeous buildings and some great little vintage and second hand shops. Drove across the city, which is not easy. I just wanted to get across the river, after going round in circles we walked across instead. Visited the Aquarium, which is excellent. Justin and I had a good look at the stingrays to get an idea of just how big the mantarays are and they looked huge, no wonder we were taken aback when we saw one on the reef especially as mantarays are bigger than the biggest one we saw here. When we came out guess what, it was dark and raining, again. Off to Lunar park and the markets tomorrow

June 5th
Melbourne has redeemed itself a little. Had a good walk around in the daylight after a late but yummy breakfast, then it started raining and then it was bloody cold. There are some gorgeous buildings and some great little vintage and second hand shops. Drove across the city, which is not easy. I just wanted to get across the river, after going round in circles we walked across instead. Visited the Aquarium, which is excellent. Justin and I had a good look at the stingrays to get an idea of just how big the mantarays are and they looked huge, no wonder we were taken aback when we saw one on the reef especially as mantarays are bigger than the biggest one we saw here. When we came out guess what, it was dark and raining, again. Off to Lunar park and the markets tomorrow

June 4thNight no 1 – Melbourne

the drive was foresty and green as we got closer to Melbourne and I got to see my favourite animal, the wombat, in the wild. It was dead at the side of the road. It felt that we were reaching civilisation but even as we got to the outskirts of the city it still took a long time to drive into Melbourne. Everything is so far here; even in the city ‘centre’ the roads are so long. It is dark as well when we arrived, it goes dark about 6 o’clock here and this is worrying because I don’t think this is just because it is winter. We are in St Kilda so we could be ‘bayside’. Anyway we arrived at Ackland street after going down roads that were one way because we could just not fathom any other way of getting to our destination, to be told that we would be staying round the corner on their Carlisle street base. It is a road that has trams running up and down it and our apartment is by the road. Our ‘apartment ’is a room. It is cold and they have left only one blanket for the kids. The young backpackers like having a party outside our window. Not a great start for Melbourne. It is slipping from the no 2 spot of places we would consider living. Oh yeah, if you look up Ackland/Carlisle St in tourist guides it is the red light district....Justin? where are you?...

June 3rd Hicksville Arizona

Decided to rent a car and drive to Melbourne as opposed to getting a flight so we can see as much of Oz as possible. It wasn’t as pretty and lush as the drive from Cairns.
Gundagai -Halfway from Sydney to Melbourne, a bizarre little town that was once flooded by the local damn breaking. If you believe what they say in Gundagai it was Australia’s worst natural disaster, I think it is more of a disaster that they rebuilt it. The motel room was 4 star, I think that related to how many stars you can see through the cracks in the walls. It was definitely the kind of town where locals stopped and stared. The shop fronts were looked like they were from a movie set and were just fronts like in Blazing Saddles.
It has the oldest bakery in Australia and justin went to get us breakfast from there in the morning. Croissants? No. Anything like croissants? No. Is there anywhere I can get something like croissants? No...but they had grits.

Backdating to fill you in-Sydney

2nd June
Last day in Sydney. In the morning we went through China town and to Paddy’s Market...this is Jus, taking over as Jo tucks the ‘little runt’, as Martha calls him, into bed...then we hit Bondi in the afternoon. I have good memories of Bondi; Rik and I worked at Bondi Pavillion just on the Esplanade one New Year’s Eve.
Overcast and cool, I bravely stayed on the beach to look after the clothes and take the photos while the family went into the sea (Mrs Allitt in vest and knickers, wowee!!). They all had a good splash in the water, although Martha got caught out by the current, ‘I almost drowned’ she told me.
We then decamped to a chocolatiere which over looked the beach and got our chocolate fix for the day.
Afterwards we wobbled onto the bus back to Circular Quay, which was buzzing with lots of excited children. All the local schools had been invited to perform at the Sidney Opera House and this was going to be a very special night for them.
I thought I would take the family to Doyles that night, a famous Sydney fish restaurant at the Rocks. It is an area with a perfect view of the Harbour, Bridge and Opera House. However, when we got there I was shocked to see what it had morphed into, instead of a charming little eatery; it was a four storey glass cathedral of a restaurant. It had gone all posh and expensive.
So, wanting to keep to a budget, we decided to go to the Shark Hotel for a cheap ‘all you can eat’ meal.
It was one of the worse meals I have ever had; we should have eaten at Doyles!

this is Joanna -i've definately got backpackers arse and it doesn't help that we go into McDonalds to get free WI FI

5th June - Melbourne

Can't help thinking we should have spent an extra day in Sydney or Brisbane even. Melbourne is wet and cold but it has got a good aquarium though.
If you ever visit don't stay at Easy stay budget motel on Carlisle street. They are cold and full of loud people with noisy trams going past all the time!
The streets are pretty and tree lined though and there are some really cool shops down Acland street.
...Back to Martha. Today was our first full day in Melborne where we did what I really wanted to do-go to the aquariam.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A kick and a punch to start the month...

....Having woken up bleary eyed, team Allitt went to the Harbour and ate pancakes for breakfast(we haven't been keeping up with the healthy life style) then jumped on the ferry to Circular Quay.
On the ferry we played our first game of Top Trumps of the day. The children have become grand masters in the art of Top Trumps, soundly beating both parents, although I do suspect a little cheating goes on.
As I suffered another defeat, this time to Lady Martha the ferry turned a corner and in front of us was the iconic structure of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Although I had seen it before, it was breath-taking. Then a minute later, the Opera House came into view, what an amazing building and completely bonkers, David Bailey (Mrs Allitt) was snapping away on her camera.
We climbed the fifty steps to the entrance of the Opera House and it's more impressive close up, I am amazed it was allowed to be built (Although the architect Utzon, was forced to resign before it was finished and hounded out of the country by politicians).
The afternoon saw us off to Coogee by bus. We arrived and I was, underwhelmed. It was shabby in comparison to the Quays/ Darling Harbour, there was little going on and the beach seemed small.
I was disappointed and felt a little silly about how I had built up Coogee in my mind. Even the famous Coogee Bay Hotel, which had seen many legendary escapades by myself and Rik, seemed a bit old worldy and out of step with the rest of Sydney.
We sat on the steps of the esplanade and although overcast and cool, the kids went in the sea.
But as the afternoon went on and it got busier and backpackers ran into the sea (then out again), it occurred to me that it was a Tuesday afternoon in winter and the tide was in (so not at it's best).
Later Max and I retired to the pub (Coogee Bay Hotel) to have a beer/lemonade and play Top Trumps whilst the girls went window shopping.
Towards the end of the afternoon, I took a walk up the Coogee Bay Road by myself to look at where I used to live. There were busy cafes and shops but unlike Darling Harbour, everything seemed laid back, chic and all the people in the cafes looked interesting.
It then dawned on me that Coogee Bay is the alternative to the new polished sophisticated Sydney. The Rough Guide describes Coogee as having a feeling of San Francisco about it and it has. I realised this was the Australia I knew and loved.

1st June, Justin

So it was with a sense of excitement and nerves we flew into Sydney airport last night.
We grabbed a cab to our hotel, The Rydges World Square, located in the Central Business District, next to China Town and a stone throw away from Darling Harbour.
Having dispatched our bags to the room we walked our first steps as a family through Sydney in the rain to Darling Harbour.
We were met by an array of sculptures, water features, bars and restaurants. Darling Harbours lights shimmered in busy yacht-filled waters and I realised how much Sydney had gone and grown up and got sophisticated since my last visit all those years ago.
We ended our stroll with a glass of red wine and bar snacks over looking the Harbour.
As we sat there admiring the lights, Max about to have a sugar rush from his lemonade, my mind wondered to those early years I spent in Australia, in Coogee and Randwick. The plan was to go back there was going to be emotional.

1st June, for sure

We are staying at the hotel Rydges World Square. Arrived last night, went round Darling Harbour took the kids to the pub...we are on holiday.
After seeing the Harbour Bridge and the Opera house Justin took us to Coogee and pointed out his old haunts and where he was born and I hoped we responded appropriately with our nods and mms. He can tell you more about it but it is a lovely place.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

30th May or is it?

Justin is out getting drunk with Mike, it is like old times except we are in Australia and Mike owns a restaurant!
Brisbane looks very nice but we've booked a flight and a hotel to Sydney. Justin is feeling drawn to his birhtplace and to think we were just going to go for a night

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The 30th May or is it?

As everyone is showering I took the opportunity to update the blog (Jus)

Ha Ha this is Joanna again, talk about Cosmic intervention! I can tell you that before Justin was cut off the internet he was going to say how I had got my days wrong. I thought today was the 29th so didn't believe them when I returned the van today and it should have been back yesterday. however, as I am seldom wrong Justin got cut off the internet before he could update his part of the blog and tell everyone what a goon I am. I can tell you also that he was grinning from ear to ear at the very prospect of how he won't let me live it down that I cannot even get my days right.

28th May-goldcoast & Australia zoo - Crikey!

i'm having problems uploading photos. It is very sporadic as to when it works.-
We are near the goldcoast by mistake really-i overshot the turn off for Brisbane. I'll have to go back tomorrow to drop the van off though.
It goes dark here by 6pm so it is hard to tell you what it is like here but Brisbane seems to be the busiest place we have been to so far and that is just judging it by the outskirts.
The van is falling apart and we have had engine failure warning signals going off all the time. Last night it rained a lot and martha woke up thinking Max had peed on her but it was leaking through the roof onto the overhead cab where they sleep.
Been to Australia zoo today - home of Steve Irwin, crocodile hunter and Crikey! it's a bloody fortune. It is quite hands on and the show is good but I think it is mega commercialised. I can't even bring myself to tell you haw much we paid to get in but even Martha was shocked.
It didn't help that Max was attacked by a grumpy Kangaroo, which Justin then Kicked to get it away from Max, it is all part of the adventure :)

day 5 and 6

Day 5 – Campervan
Set off nice an early to cover some ground for our trip to Brisbane. Had to stop via Airlie Beach again as we’ve somehow managed to lose both caps. What a bummer no one can remember getting on the bus with them but we definitely had them getting off the boat. That is probably the most exciting thing we’ve done today. Stopping at Rockhampton for a rest but hoping to get to the Gold coast tomorrow.

day 4 Campervan

Day 4-Airliebeach Still
Back to Martha. Well this was the day that the people recommended to us. Swimming in the great barrier and stepping in world’s finest sand. Turns out a telescope was made from sand. I don’t get how though. Well I was shocked to see that only a tiny bit of sand was actually the finest in the world. Still it was mega softy.
Not sure where Martha was as the whole area was the world’s finest sand. It is really beautiful around the Whitsundays, really, really beautiful but we chose the most cloudy, grey, overcast day and we even had rain. Still the snorkel was good and Max wasn’t sick on the boat journey so not so bad. It was a smaller more friendly boat and we had a larger area to swim in. Someone said that they could see a Mantaray but it was at the other end of the reef to where we were by the time we got over it had swam away. However...later Justin and I swam over to the reef whilst little lord Max was taken over on the dinghy. The dinghy driver said look now I think it is the mantaray. I put my head in quickly just to see it turn and swim away. I had seen enough. Even forewarned I wasn’t prepared for the size of it. They are massive! If I hadn’t been told what it was or forewarned of it being there I would have crapped my pants.
We’ve had another great Bar-b courtesy of Justin and tonight there is a Rugby interstate origin match thing on the movie screen between Queensland and New South Wales. Justin is joining in with the QLD team fans and drinking his beer. He said it goes to show what a big following sports has here. It is a great atmosphere and Justin keeps updating Max with scores, which is then followed by a victory dance by Max.

day 3 Campervan

Justin back behind the wheel. Off to Airlie beach. Great drive, change in scenery along the Bruce highway as land starts to get dryer but as we head back out to coast the lovely tropical lush green is back upon us. Whitsunday Adventure park is where we are staying. It is an awesome site; facilities are brilliant with loads for kids to do. We can add Possums to the list of wildlife we have seen. There is a great big jumping pillow, a large pool and an outdoor movie area next to the kids play park. We’ve booked to go on another Barrier Reef dive/snorkel tomorrow and a cruise around the Whitsundays. Having our first Bar-b tonight! Justin cooking, Tooheys in hand.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 2 campervan 24th May

We should have been able to get to Airlie Beach but we couldn’t make it. I had been driving for nearly 7 hours so we stopped at Ayr. Nothing going on here. The site was pretty naff and she wasn’t overjoyed that we had turned up after 6. Everything is dark after 6!
It shouldn’t have taken us that long but I missed a turning and carried on without realising I was on the wrong road. I was just enjoying the sugar cane fields and relying on my co-pilot, Justin, to navigate me. I take full responsibility though for taking us through the sugar cane fields when it was quite obvious the road had actually ended. The curious adventurer in me thought that the clay dust track would lead me back to a main road ‘just around the corner’. It didn’t because in Oz nothing is just around the corner seemingly. Eventually, there was something just around the corner and it was the end of the dirt track and the forest edge of guringlie national park. It was very pretty but there was no way of getting in with any kind of vehicle. It was all part of the adventure and I can say I’ve taken us all to the outback now!

Sunday 23rd Campervan day 1

The kids were ready to settle down in the campervan for a long drive because I had made them walk 3miles in the mid day sun to pick up the van. (I hear you saying typical Joanna) I can’t get used to these Australian distances. They actually had to walk beyond the Lakes Resort that we had moved from to be closer to town! The journey to Mission Beach was good but not really covering the kind of kilometres we need to cover to make it to Brisbane in 7 days. But MissionBeachis a great site! The beach is gorgeous and the area is definitely a lazy surf dude heaven. I would really like to go back there and spend more time.
Our neighbours were two friends and a daughter taking a 4month trip around Oz. The one brit amongst them told us we should head to Airlie beach and sees the Whitsundays so that is where we are off to!
Justin drove us to Mission Beach, fine job he did to.

20th -23rd

Cairns is the perfect place to get over Jet lag. It is Tropical and pretty and a good area to access the rainforest from and there are loads of family things to do, although it seems expensive in the supermarkets and shops. Thank goodness for Woolworths, yes Woolies. It is different to ours; it is more ‘like Asda over here. There is ‘a great area in Cairns called the esplanade with loads of BBQ places and a great park for the ‘kids called Muddy’s (see photo). It is just by the beach but there are salt water crocs so we kept off the sand.
Max’s side of the story...
How would you explain “Muddies?” Exciting.
What was your favourite part of “Muddies?” The water bit.
Why was this your favourite part? Because we both (me and Martha) got soaking wet.
What did you think of the bat we saw? I was amazed. I didn’t think it was that big though.

Left The lakes Resort so we could be in town for our day trips. We stayed at the very swanky Park Regis Piermonde in an apartment that we all thought we would like to spend more time in... Right this is Martha now. We have been to an awsome, urban place named Kuranda. My expectations were rather high because I had always wanted to go in a cable car. The cable car wasn’t as good as I expected. Probably because all I could see out the window was VERY tall tree tops. Still it was fun.. After the cable car we decided to explore Kuranda. As we looked around the town we noticed a place called Kuranda koala gardens. We thought it would be a good idea to venture inside it. .Right now as I write this I am stuck in a place just like hell also known as a campervan. Okay it isn’t THAT bad, but still I have to share a bed with the little runt. The olds, the little runt and I are hoping to a recommended place called Whitsunday Island. Where I desperately want to go to this little island, which we would be brought to by a smallish boat where we can go swimming in the Great Barrier Reef (again) fully equipped.

Just to fill in some details. We did venture into the Koala Park and the kids held a koala and a snake and played with Kangaroos and wallabies. Very Cute. We also tried loads of honey from a local honey hive keeper. There was even a hive at the chop and Martha nearly had a turn when she thought they were all caged up. After trying to find a way to free them all she realised they could go in and out on their own accord.
Speaking of Martha’s affinity with all creatures we nearly lost her at the Great Barrier reef. It really was an awesome day and the kids were so brave getting in the water and trying out snorkelling for the first time. The boat ride over took us to Firzroy Island - I am definately going back there. It is beautiful. Unfortunately for Max we didn't disembark here as he had already filled a few sick bags and was totally green! Like I said he was great in the water once we got there.
Martha freaked out a bit at first when she saw how many fish there were but she soon got the hang of it and we managed to get her back on the boat for lunch and a ride around on the glass bottom boat. However, when the whistle went for everyone to get back to the boat she was still out there on the reef and although Justin said they had to go back she didn’t want to. She was really quiet on the way home and spent all the journey looking back out longingly to the reef.
We leave Cairns now and head out on the 2nd part of the adventure – The Campervan. Briefly mentioned by the little reef lover, Martha.

Just to end that Cairns is great and Justin said it exceeded all his expectations, he could live there. The people are really friendly.
I have just got to comment on the Aboriginal people of Cairns. It still feels they are marginalised, they just aren’t the face of everything that is going on there, they don’t serve you in shops, help you with your diving gear, be at the reception of the hotel but they might be cleaning your room or the public toilets. It just seemed really a one sided Oz. Woolworths has a policy of checking peoples bags I only saw an Aboriginal woman having her bag checked and she looked uneducated and frightened but then everywhere is selling aboriginal art, never an aboriginal shop owner though. However, one night a large extended family/group of friends of all ages were having a great party on the Esplanade but it was just them no other Australians, i.e. white people but it looked like they knew how to party.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Arrival in Cairns 19th May

We arrived really early in the morning but I still felt like I had lost a day. We had stopped in Darwin for all of 30 minutes and then you had to add on 30 minutes for the time difference between Darwin and Cairns plus the seven hours from somewhere else and an hour or two from...I was lost in time and my rucksack was lost somewhere between Singapore and Darwin. They were very laid back about it at the the airport as the Aussies are about everything I've come to learn.

Anyway, yeah for the Lakes resort. 2 nights, great place with pools and stuff for kids, great views from our balcony of Tropical forests. Weird lizards and birds making strange noises in the night but Jet lag hit and we didn't hear a thing. See photo. Not booze induced I promise.

Singapore Stopover 17th May

Singapore is amazing. So clean, Martha and Max got Henna Tattoos. I was offered the finest clothing in the world but I decided not to take the nice indian man up on the offer as I thought Primark is pretty good at the moment. Great food, Subway brill and easy to use.

Martha nearly melted in the mornings heat and said she didn't think she would make it through the day. she forgot about this lated when she declared it was the nicest place in the world.

Manchester to Singapore 16th May -18th May

There we were having a nice Sunday morning coffee when the call came - they've shut Manchester Airport. I kept thinking of 'Revolutionary road'. I didn't intend to do myself harm but I felt it all starting to fall apart. The decision to drive to London was made before I had even finished my coffee although the negative taxi driver kept insisting they would close London too. I didn't care I was getting on the plane whether i had to fly it myself or not. Justin threw everything in the car, kids included and off we went keeping one ear on the traffic reports. I have to say that local/commercial radio stations were like " NOBODY MOVE, THEY'RE GOING TO SHUT ALL THE AIRSPACE, EVERYWHERE, FOREVER!" Thank goodness I am such a geek that listens to 5live , much more down to earth - "did we mention they've shut the airports in the north, just those place up north, London's ok, so we aren't fussed really." I wasn't happy, really ok with it all though until we were flying over Afghanistan and that is something I didn't think I would ever say!