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!