A Travellerspoint blog

Adelaide

Vineyards, vineyards, vineyards

We arrived in Adelaide early on Good Friday. Once we'd collected the car we headed to Mount Lofty, which had some spectacular view across the town and out to sea. We then spent some time walking around the Botanical gardens , which looked very Autumnal, with green, red, brown and orange coloured leaves everywhere.
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We then drove up to the quaint German town of Hahndorf, which was busy with tourists. We browsed the tourist shops and sampled some fudge in the fudge shop, and then bought some fudge and ate that too.
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Everything in Australia seems to be shut on Good Friday, due to the bizarre regulations, which means you must have a meal with your drink, however we found a great Szechuan restaurant in the city where we spent the evening with a bottle of wine (which was the real reason we came to Adelaide).
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The following day was spent driving around the Barosa valley visiting the vineyards (Wine!). We stopped at a few - Kellermeister, Rockford, Langmeil, Kaesler, Peter Lehmans and Charles Melton. I think James' probably had more fun, given I was designated driver, but we'd purchased a few rather nice bottles which we were to start on later in the evening - once the car was parked up for the night.
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The wine in this picture is purely for aesthetic purposes - it was James' and sadly I was only allowed a sip.

On the Sunday we got up super early, as the clocks had gone back, and drove down to Port Noarlunga to walk along the beach - it was pretty chilly (coats were on) and we spent most the time watching some crazy couple who'd actually gone in for a swim. Next we wandered up to Christies beach to have some brunch before heading to the McClaren Vale, yet another wine area around Adelaide.
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In the McClaren Vale we managed to squeeze in one more winery (Chapel Hill). This actually turned out to be one of the best ones (perhaps because it was my turn to do the tasting) and I think I'd sampled about 12 wines by the time we left. Next stop after our flight back to Sydney was to Dan Murphy's (the liquor store) to buy some bottles of the Chapel Hill wine!

Here's some shots of our landing in Sydney. It is by far one of the most beautiful cities to fly into.
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Posted by Time Well Spent 04:07 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Blue Mountains

A few snaps from our Blue Mountains visit. We descended the Devil's staircase from Katoomba, 1,000 steps down into the mountains, encountered a snake (A black diamond python, apparently - not poisonous, phew), numerous waterfalls and then ascended back up the other side into Leura, where we had a few drinks before taking the train back to central. Pretty Awesome to have this just a short journey away.
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Posted by Time Well Spent 03:18 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Gold Coast

With Ivor visiting us from the U.K we decided to get out of Sydney and head up to Queensland and The Gold Coast. These first few pictures are actually from our trip up to Plam Beach in Sydney when we stopped at Narrabeen Lakes and hired a pedalo and a paddle board. I have only included these because Jimmy fell off the paddle board, which is very difficult to do - although easier when you're trying to show off.
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Anyway, off we went to the Gold Coast. As soon as we'd landed and checked into our apartment we headed to Wet 'n'Wild! Possibly the best water park EVER! Being a Friday it wasn't too busy and we managed to go on all the rides at least twice, some maybe four times. The Tornado being out favourite and coming in at a close second was some sort of speed flume where they enclose you in a capsule and after a suspenseful wait with a countdown the floor quite literally disappears from beneath you and off you go, at what felt like 100mph - it was Ace.
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SPEED FLUME
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TORNADO
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After an eventful afternoon we went to check out what night life Surfers Paradise had to offer. It was as expected, mostly full of drunk 18 year olds and stag dos. We found a quieter Irish bar (which we frequented a few times) with a live band, who did an excellent rendition of Land Down Under.
The next day we drove up to Australia Zoo, Steve Irwin's zoo. Unlike most zoos the animals were more free roaming, and it was a little more like a sanctuary. The crocs however were behind fences! The highlight of the day had to be watching the crocodile show in the Crocoseum(!) and seeing one devour a whole pigs head. The sound of the croc chowing down into that is something we'll never forget. That evening we found a Brazilian restaurant to try out, which didn't disappoint before heading to our favourite Irish bar.
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The Gold Coast has over 60km of beaches, so it would have been rude not to spend some time chilling on the beach. No matter where you are the beach seems to go on for ever. It really is beautiful.
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On our final evening we stocked up on a variety of meats and the boys happiliy took to the BBQ. After dinner we wandered up to Surfer's to watch the sunset over the river we wandered back along the beach - getting a pretty nice view of surfer's lit up behind us. The sand also doesn't burn your feet so much in the evening so it was much more pleseant than walking along it in the day time.
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On our final day we went for a few games of mini golf in the morning. Ivor and I let James' win both times (he is very competitive and we thought it best). We then drove along the coast, stopping at a number of different beaches on the way. At Burleigh Heads we took a stoll in the small national park, which took us up out onto a cliffs edge, where there were some great scenic views. We lost count of the number of different beaches we'd stopped at before we made it back to the airport.
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Posted by Time Well Spent 17:02 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef

A long weekend diving in the Great Barrier Reef

The plan was a couple of nights on the outer reef taking in 7 dives including one night dive and a night sleeping on board the dive boat.
We arrived in the sticky tropical heat on Thursday night, dumped our bags at the hostel (somethings don't change) and headed to town. Cairns is a pleasant small town which is a polite way of saying not too exciting. Still there is a man made lagoon for swimming (in an area full of crocs and sharks you need somewhere safe to take a dip) and we managed to find a nice bar to enjoy a cold drink and watch the sunset over the harbour. I'm sure there are worse places to be!
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Early the next morning we boarded our boat for the 2 hour trip to the Great Barrier Reef, having had prior experience of dive boats we took appropriate doses of sea sickness meds, an idea which proved well worth it as the bottom deck slowly filled with people clasping sick bags and looking green round the gills.
Our first two dives were off the smaller transfer boat, the water was warm as a bath and the underwater sites just spectacular, fish aplenty with the occasional reef shark and giant sea slugs all against a background of colourful coral. After our dive we also took part in some of the snorkeling with the rest of the boat passengers not diving.
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After lunch we moved to the overnight boat where we had two more dives that day including a night dive. The first dive we'd forgotten all navigation skills and ended up swimming a fair way back to the boat above water - not an easy task in the choppy waters. The night dive was made a little more hair raising when just prior to jumping in we looked over the back of the boat to see four or five 6ft reef sharks off swimming where we would shortly be jumping in. After being convinced that they were harmless (terrified of us apparently, the feeling is mutual!) we had a great dive by torchlight.
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Our first dive the next day was at 6.30am, briefing at 6am! We had three dives on our second day, each with new surprises and odd looking fish and coral, but there was one thing which alluded us and it was the thing Rosa most wanted to see, a sea turtle. At this point everyone else seemed to had seen one but with our last dive fast approaching we hadn't even had a glimpse.
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Lunchtime bought our final dive and our last chance to see our prize, we decided to stick to the shallows, turtle territory. Halfway through the dive we did an about turn and to my surprise (I had given up) there he/she was! Rosa did an underwater squeal, nearly lost her regulator (the bit you need to breathe) and we spent the rest of the dive with an underwater guide, as we followed the turtle where ever it went!
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Back on shore that evening we met up with some friends from the boat for some dinner, drinks and a glance at some very strange Cairns locals prowling the bars on a Saturday night.
Sunday our flight left late afternoon so we rented a car for the day and aimed to check out the nearby tablelands, a lush green area peppered with waterfalls, lakes and dairy farms as well as plenty of jungle. After completing the circuit we headed to the airport, earlier than Rosa would have liked but later than I would have, and said Goodbye to Cairns as we headed back to Sydney.
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Posted by Time Well Spent 01:38 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sydney Fireworks

Celebrating the New Year, Hawaiian style in Sydney for the Fireworks.
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Posted by Time Well Spent 14:23 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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