Back in the cold
We have now been back in Denmark for almost 3 months and we long for Australia already.
I'm keeping busy with my new horse, Himalaya, that I will start to brake in as soon as spring is here.
Thank god the winter is almost over!
Our final destination was New Zealand and we left Sydney on November 24th to fly to Auckland. It is a beautiful country with a very changing climate. We soon learned that you can have almost every season in one day.
We started out on the north island, where we drove to Bay of Island. It was a bit too cool, but a wery nice place, deserving more time than what we had. Next stop was Rotorua, where there is a lot of vulcanic activities. We went to see the vulcanic areas, geysers and hot thermal springs. We enjoyed a couple of nice and sunny days.
We visited the glow worm caves on our way down to Wellington.
Tuesday morning on the 30st of November, we took the ferry across to Picton on the south island, and fortunately, the sun was out and the entry to Picton through all the small islands is magnificent. We picked up our new rental car and headed on to Christchurch. Here we had the best weather, we could actually go to the beach, and the boys proved to be real vikings, as they went in the water!
From Christchurch, we drove through Arthurs Pass in the mountains, to get to the west coast. We experienced minor problems with the car - the battery was not made mor driving in the mountains, and we had to ask the local ranger to jump start the car in the middle of the pass.
The west coast is probably the most spectacular place, beautiful mountains and lakes and on a sunny day, nothing can beat the scenery.
We arrived at Fox glacier on a rainy day, undecided about whether we wanted to walk on the glacier. However, we did decide to go, which was very fortunate, as it turned out to be the best experience. Equipped with spike shoes and 4 layers of clothes, we climped the gletcher. Weather was a mix between rain and sun, so we kept taking the layers on and off. But it was a great trip, definetly recommendable.
From Fox, we continued on to Queenstown, which is a paradise for everyone loving an adrenalin kick. This is where you can do bungy, skydive, river rafting - you name it! However, we spent a couple of relaxing days, as traveling with kids prevents you from those activities (fortunately :-) We did visit the most peculiar bar, though, called minus 5. Eerything is made out of ice and they serve you vodka drinks (juice for the kids though) We were dressed as eskimoes, kids thought is was a lot of fun.
Going back to Christchurch, we stopped by the highest mountain in New Zealand, Mount Cook, which, unfortunately, did not appear that day due to rain and snow. It was snowing heavily as we passed the mountains.
Back in Christchurch, with one rainy day and one beautiful day, we concluded our visit by taking the tram around the city, they boys enjoyed a game of chess in the city centre and Monday evening, we returned to Sydney, where we are now enjoying the warm weather and preparing for our return trip!
After Cairns, we decided to go island hopping. There are so many nice places on the coast, that there was no way we would get to see it all, so now was the time to choose........
We left Cairns on a rainy Monday morning, heading south towards Townsville, which was going to be our first stop. We arrived late afternoon, and immediatly decided to start our island hopping and take the ferry across to Magnetic Island. It is a fantastic little place, we stayed in a completely new hostel and had our own little house on the beach. We spent two days there, before returning to Townsville.
Next stop was Rockhampton, which turned out to be the worst place we have visited. We meant to go to great Keppel Island, but were too tired from the drive to get across so we stayed one night in Rockhampton and moved on to Arlie Beach.
Arlie was good fun, we stayed in the perfect hostel, another little bungalow with two rooms, kitchen and bathroom. From there, we took a day trip to the Whitsundays Islands and saw what they call one of the best beaches in Australia - White heaven beach. It was truly beautiful, the sand is so fine it feels like flour. We went snorkling, but had to wear stinger suits for the first time - I felt like Catwoman - however, it was needed, as besides lots of fish, we saw heaps of little blue box stingers. These are not the leathal ones, however, they still hurt you badly.
Afte Arlie, we headed south to Bargara outside the famous Rum town Bundaberg. I thnk we found the best hostel here.....it had everything, even cable TV! So for the first time in a long time, we could watch a movie on a Saturday night. The beach was great, no stingers, but huge tempting waves where we spent a whole day. We extended our stay and chilled out at the beach for two days before going to Fraser Island.
Fraser Island is the biggest sand island in the world, and it was very impressive, however, after having spent so much time on great islands, it was a disappointment not being able to swim in the ocean on Fraser. The beach was great, the water tempting, but due to the huge amount of sharks around the island, they do not recommend swimming except in the lakes. The island is known to have the biggest population of pure breed Dingos in Australia, and they are actually quite dangerous. Almost at the same time as our stay, a dingo was close to attacking a 14 month old baby on the west side of the island (we were on east)only saved by the girls older sister, who got inbetween and cried for help.
After Fraser, we took a short break in the island hopping and went to Cleveland south of Brisbane, to stay with Bob and Noreen Possingham. We enjoyed their hospitality for three days, had one day in Brisbane, and finally concluded the islands with one day on North Stradbrooke Island.
On our way down the coast, we stopped for a full day at seaworld, which, in particular the boys enjoyed. We considered to go snorkling in shark bay, but found it too expensive (I was very tempted - and you only swam with the little sharks.....)
After Seaworld, we drove to Lismore outside Byron Bay to visit Carsten, a Danish contact, who emmigrated to Australia 5 years ago. He has koalas in the backyard!
We are now in Byron Bay, where I got the chance to catch up with an old friend, Janes brother John. Byron is nice, perfect climate, great beaches, good fun. So here we are, working on our tan, it is hard work, but I am sure we'll get there. Still no pictures on my site, but we expect to be back in Sydney on Saturday to celebrate Nicolas' birthday and then I will try to upload a few photos.
So far so good - rumours say that it is getting cold in Denmark??? Stay warm and happy where ever you are and look forward to hearing from you.
Back to the warm and humid climate again in Cairns where we spent almost a full week. The city is small but very nice and we stayed in a great little hostel.
We took two trips to the reef, first to Fitzroy Island, where I went diving and the others snorkling, and then to the outer reef. A great experience both times. The boys have become really good at snorkling and swimming. We also visited Hardleys crocodile creek (which Nicolas remembered from last time)But most of all, we relaxed and went to the beach. Weather is still extremely good, we have only had a half day with rain in 5 weeks!
We hired an old mean car - a spacious Ford Falcon- which hopefully will take us all the way to Sydney!
Made it to the middle!
The Northern Territory is great, we enjoyed our stay very much. Started out at the Gecko Lodge hostel, which was OK, not very fancy, but we had a bed, a fridge and a fan (and even more important - a pool)
We spent 3 days around Kakadu and Litchfiled national parks, which are fantastic. Incredable views, waterfalls were we could go swimming, bush walks in 50 dg.C, and lots of wildlife. We went on a river cruise at Mary river, and saw crocodiles at 1 m. distance!
There were wild horses, dingos, wallabies, kangaroos, eagels, (and a kamel, which put his head in our bus looking for apples.....sounds crazy, but it was very funny) - you name it - we saw it! The kids enjoyed it despite the long walks and all the rocks they had to climb to get to the small deserted rock pools. All the overnight stays were camping, and we had our first night under the starts in Aussie swags (bedrolls)
We have now reached Alice Springs in the desert, we took a bus down here, it was a long drive - 1500 km, but it was worth it, this place is amazing. We have had the day off to just hang around here before we head towards Uluru tomorrow (Ayers Rock) Another rock to climb, the kids love it! This hostel is perfect, we have our own room, fridge and bathroom & TV! It gets better and better. (and pool, of course)
Unfortunately, I have not been able to download photos, our trip down to here has been very little civilized, we have stayed in tents without power, sleept outside under the stars and not been anywhere near a computer. Phone was dead most of the time............so very little contact. But it has been very good, exceeded our expectations many times.
I will upload a couple of photos once I get a chance.
When we are back from our camping at Uluru, we will fly to Cairns - back north again!
Last impressions of Sydney
Our last days in Sydney were spent on the beach, relaxing, and Wednesday, Janes father Peter took us bush walking on the trails along the beautiful coast line. It was a hot day, so we had to go down and take a swim every so often. But it was great, the boys saw several lizards and unusual vegetation.
In the evening, we went to Cirque du Soleil, an amazing experience, which we enjoyed very much.
Thursday, Berith and Lex joined us, they came in as planned and we took a ferry ride around Sydney just to give them an impression of the city. In the evening, David and I went to a symphonie at the opera house, I finally got to go (my 4th visit to Sydney - about time)
Today, Friday, we have spent all day at Cronulla beach and now we're packing up to catch a plane up north to Darwin.
Weather is still very warm and dry, so I hope that you can all keep warm back home in good old Denmark !
Round and about Sydney
Monday October 11th
We're still in Sydney, we have been to the Blue Mountains National park yesterday with David, which was great, took the sky-rail from the bottom to the top of the mountains, inside the mountain.....did some hiking around and enjoyed the sights.
At the moment we're staying with my friend Jane in Balmain, it is easy to get to the city centre from here, we just catch a ferry.
And the beach season has started, we have been to the beach Saturday and also today. The water is still a bit cold, but not compared with back home. Weather better than average for this season, we have had between 25-30 dg.C.
Tomorrow we're off to the ZOO and Wednesday, Jane's father will take us bushwalking, will be quite an experience.
And we have been lucky enough to get ticket for Cirque du Soleil, so we will see the show on Wedensday, something which we are really looking forward to.
Thursday, Berith and Lex will join us and we hope that their trip will be a bit more direct than ours!
Finally arrived in Sydney!
After a not uneventful trip we managed to get to Sydney. This is the first time I have experienced any problems, but it made our trip even more interesting!
We left Copenhagen as planned on Sunday October 3rd, and after a short stop in Bangkok, we flew to Singapore. When checking in, there appeared to be some problems, first with my visa, but it turned out that it was our seating on the Qantas flight to Sydney. Overbooked! For the first time in my life, I tried to be put off a plane. We were rebooked on British Airways one hour later, no panik - until we reached the gate. The plane was delayed, there was a mechanical problem........we waited for 3 hours believing that it would actually fly.....then we were all transported to a hotel in Singapore - the Waterfront! No complaints, it was a 5-star hotel, and we lived like kings & queens. Next day, after a city tour of Singapore, free meals and 2 visits to the pool, we got a flight to Sydney. Our bags didn't make it, at that point of time (Wednesday noon) I had not seen my luggage since check in in Copenhagen. However, real globetrotters are not affected by this, David picked us up, we went shopping and same evening, we could pick up the luggage in the airport.
So far so good!
Today (Thursday) me and the boys have been to Sydney, we have visited the aquarium, which they loved, we spent a long time at Darling Harbour and shopped at the Paddy markets where everything is so cheap.
Tomorrow, we will visit a koala sanctuary, where they can feed kangaroos, pet wombats and koalas and dingos.
As you can see from the pictures (click on gallery) the weather is nice. Singapore was hot, Sydney is warm (25 dg) - it is a nice change from the Danish weather.
The boys have turned out to be genuine globetrotters, they have behaved much better than expected, even when Felix got sick on the plane just before reaching Bangkok, he never compalined, he just boarded the plane again. They have coped well with the time difference, they enjoy all the new impressions and adapt immediatly to new places and people.
All for now, will give an update over the weekend, where we will spend some time in the Blue Mountains.