30th/31st December 2003 - Bangkok
Very emotional day to say the least, lots of tearful goodbyes with 101 things still to sort out. Finally left for airport at 16.10 feeling relieved nervous and sad. Got to airport and had several much needed alcoholic beverages!. Flight over was very good, loadsa leg room. 10 hours 45mins later we arrived in Bangkok. Got to hotel via taxi, got changed and went straight out to Khao San Road. Massive street party, Saw the new year in with fire works etc. Took ages to try and get a taxi back home, eventually managed to get a tuk tuk which was an experience.
January 1st 2004 Happy New Year! - Bangkok, Thailand.
Woke up at 13.00 in mad panic, had booked to go on trip at 14.30! Went to floating market on a long tail boat, unbelievable experience seeing how the people live on the side of the canal. Most of the houses (or sheds!) look ready to collapse into the water. Got took to a gem factory (the tour guide was on commission!). On way back to hotel went passed where the king lives and saw a crocodile in the moat, apparently they don't bite.............yeah right! Went to Siam square in the evening.
January 2nd 2004 - Bangkok, Thailand.
Still can't get into right sleeping pattern. Got up at 13.00 again. Went shopping and ended up getting fined for dropping fag butts! 1000 baht which is 15 quid. There were no bins to be seen so what are you supoosed to do, when the place is so grubby anyway!! Got tuk tuk ride all around the city to see the temples which was good. Need to go back in daylight to get photo's.
January 3rd 2004 - Bangkok, Thailand.
Went to tourist office in the morning to book some accomodation for when we leave Bangkok, then spent rest of the day driving round some of the temples in the city with a guide from the hotel. We visited the temple of the golden buddha and the grand palace The palace took us over an hour to get into as we both had shorts on and needed to wear long trousers. It was well worth it though. We then went onto What Pho - temple of the reclining buddha - what an amazing sight. THEN IT HAPPENED! Chris's shoulder popped out so we had to pay a visit to Bangkok hospital. We thought it was going to be an absolute nightmare but the hospital was amazing and Chris was put back together within an hour, we couldn't believe it. We discussed coming back home for a while and then decided to stay and see how we got on.
January 4th 2004 - Kanchanaburi, Thailand.
Supposed to get picked up at 6:30 for our trip to Kanchanaburi but they forgot us! They sent a taxi so we could catch up the rest of the tour and he had obviously been told to put his foot down as he nearly killed us twice! Eventually made it in one piece and caught up with everyone else at the War Museum. From there we walked up to the Bridge over the River Kwai then were taken to a train station where we got on a train and went on the Death Valley Railway through the mountains.....it was spectacular. We then had lunch on a floating restaurant and were taken for an elephant trek which was an experience - the guy sat on the front of our elephant was pissed and kept chuckling away to himself about Chris's arm. We were able to feed them banana's at the end. Next we went up the river on a long tail speed boat and floated back down on a bamboo raft.....how relaxing. After tea we were taken to our accomodation - a floating house on the river. We stayed the night with the locals, a few canadians, two Brits and a gut from Taiwan. We drank Thai whiskey all night and ate bbq fish caught from the river.
January 5th 2004 - Kanchanaburi, Thailand.
Ha should be back at work today.......still got woken at 7:30am though. We were off to Erawan National Park to see the waterfall. When we entered the park on foot there were wild monkeys in the trees. They came down to greet us so we grabbed the opportunity for some photo's. The falls had 7 levels which were reached by hiking up hill and over rocks for 2km - not easy when your arms in a sling. Well worth it though. Had the chance for a swim in one of the pools too. Got dropped off later juat outside Bangkok to catch the night train to Surat Thani.
January 6th 2004 - Koh Samui, Thailand.
Woke up at 6:30am as we arrived in Surat Thani. Got a coach to the port then a boat over to Koh Samui. What a difference to Bangkok. The beaches were white and the sea was turquoise. Our bungalow is in Chaweng on the largest beach on the island. Its very nice but the water comes out of the tap brown! At 8:30pm we took a speed boat over to Koh Phangan for the full moon party. We bought some alcohol and headed towards the beach where all the bars were pumping out music in competition with each other. We plastered ourselves in flourescent paint and joined the party. It was funny to see so many people off their heads.
January 7th 2004 - Koh Samui, Thailand.
Got up at 1pm suffering a bit but the weather was crap so we didn't mind too much. We wandered through the main street in Chaweng and generally chilled out. Hope weather is better tomorrow.
January 8th 2004 - Koh Samui, Thailand.
Sun came out today for a while so we grabbed the moment and spent our first day on the beach. It absolutely chucked it down this afternoon though, apparently that is normal for this time of year. It doesn't matter too much as its still so warm.
January 9th 2004 - Koh Samui, Thailand.
Took a taxi to Big Buddha on the North of the island. Nothing too special. Found a fancy temple that was still being built.
January 10th 2004 - Ao Nang National Marine Park, Thailand.
Went to Ao Nang National Marine Park on a kayaking trip. A group of 40 or so islands. As we stoppped to do the first set of kayaking the heavans opened and it pissed down. It was quite comical though paddling in the rain (on my own due to Chris's shoulder!) plus the sea was fairly choppy. We had life jackets on and the max depth around the marine park was 5m so not too much to worry about. We were also told there were no sharks or sea snakes. The rain stopped after a while and we landed on a beach and climbed up through the cliffs to find the saltwater lake in the centre. The lake was connected to the sea by an underwater tunnel. We paddled back to the boat for lunch and then moved on for more kayaking. This time we had to paddle around a smaller island and then on to the beach. Lise was knackered. We were able to go snorkelling off the beach but due to the heavy rain the visibility was poor. When we got back to the boat the tour guide warned us it was going to be rough on the way back and he wasn't joking. Every now and then we took off and landed back down with a thud on the sea. Lise felt very sick. Chris needed the loo and went to stand up and fell down again crashing through the polystyrene cool box much to everyones amusement. We eventually made it back to Koh Samui safely. Very good day.
January 11th 2004 - Koh Samui, Thailand.
Chilled out on the beach all day - last day in Koh Samui
January 12th 2004 - Rai Leh Beach Krabi, Thailand.
Got up at 5.30 - no power in resort. Headed off to Krabi, got severely pissed around with the transfers and ended up on a later bus at 12.30 that took 3 hours to get to Krabi. We then had to get a tuk tuk to the port and wait for a longtail boat to take us to Rai Leh beach (West). The longtail boat stopped short of the beach at our destination so we had to jump in the sea backpacks and all and wade to the beach. Chris slipped and cut all his foot on a rock and dumped my handbag with my mobile in it ............poor bugger!!! What will happen next?? This place is what we imagined Thailand to be like, quiet, tranquil seas, white sands and incredible limestone rock formations. HEAVEN. Everything is so chilled here. Went for a beer with a couple of Aussies asnd ribbed then about the rugby......ha ha.
January 13th 2004 - Rai Leh Beach, Krabi, Thailand.
Vegged on the beach all day, sea perfect for swimming. Very calm and tranquil.
January 14th 2004 - Rai Leh Beach, Krabi, Thailand.
Walked round to Phra Nang beach in the morning. On the way we passed a group of monkeys trying to pinch food. It was really funny watching them jump from one branch to another and swinging just inches from your head. Phra Nang beach was beauitful, you could swim to another island that was about 150m away. We started swimming when Lise got stung on her wrist, then the other wrist and then again on her knee, hence we swam back! Chris offered to pee on me, well that;s what your supposed to do isn't it?
January 15th 2004 - Rai Leh Beach, Krabi, Thailand.
Hung out round the pool all day then had BBQ Baracuda for tea.
January 16th 2004 - Rai Leh Beach, Krabi, Thailand.
Got a longtail boat over to Ao Nang, beach was crap so we hired a longtail boat to take us to Chicken Island and Poda Island where we did some snorkelling. This trip was such shit value for money and the boat driver hadn't a clue what we were saying or where we wanted to go - should have gone on an organised tour.
January 17th 2004 - Koh Phi Phi, Thailand.
Trasferred to Phi Phi Island via boat. The boat was so overcrowded and there were no lifejackets on board. Seems typical of Thailand. Had to walk to accomadation on Phi Phi as no cars are allowed on the island. Was about 15 mins walk to Ao Lo Dalum beach where we stayed. Bloody backpacks are too heavy. Bungalow is pretty shit but beach and sea is like paradise. Had no water in the evening so had to wait hours for a shower. Woke up at 5am with some foreign bird in the room. She was pissed and went into the wrong room - we shit ourselves! She apologised and staggered off. We then realised that the door to the bungalow didn't lock..........great eh?
January 18th 2004 - Koh Phi Phi, Thailand.
Far too hot to sunbathe. Lise has 7 new mossie bites. Decided to hike up to Phi Phi view point which was very hard work in the heat. View was spectacular of both PP Don and PP Leh so well worth the effort. Watched sun set then headed back for a shower. Guess what........no water. We showered in drinking water from bottles this time. Got woken up at 5.30am again by another intruder, this time some foreign bloke. We must see about getting door fixed tomorrow.
January 19th 2004 - Koh Phi Phi, Thailand.
Early start this morning, had a snorkelling trip around Phi Phi Leh and Phi Phi Don. Started off in Maya Bay (Where they filmed 'The Beach'). Although it was very nice it wasn't as spectacular as the film made it appear. Stopped again in another bay and passed the lagoon and Viking Cave before heading to Phi Phi Don. Here we stopped at Shark Point (there were no sharks at the time) and then Monkey Beach. Finally we went to Bamboo island. There were loads of brightly coloured fish and a lot of the coral was damaged due to bad anchoring. A very good day was rounded off by the spectacular Bamboo Island. The here was protected and the sea was so clear it was like snorkelling in a swimming pool. We found out that the fish like pineapple. Well Lise was wondering what was going to happen next and by god it did. The excitement of running water in the shower was too much to handle and in the rush to the bathroom she slipped on the tiled floor and crashed down like a sack of shit - ouch ouch. This meant for our second trip to the hospital only this time it was Phi Phi Shitpital. The doctor decided the best way to see if she had broken her wrist was to pull her arm and her fingers as hard as he could. I thought she was going to punch him. Anyway, nothing broken so he sprayed it with ice spray and bandaged it up.
January 20th 2004 - Koh Phi Phi, Thailand.
Spent the day chilling out on the beach in the shade.
January 21st 2004 - Phuket, Thailand.
Transferred to Phuket by boat. This time we had life jackets!!!!!! Arrived at Patong Beach at lunchtime. We were expecting to see some celebrations for the Chinese New Year but all we saw were very sleazy Go Go Bars and some very strange looking women (you know what we mean). We had been warned this place was like Tenerife with Go Go Bars - should have took advice and stayed away. Oh well only three days and the accomodation is very good.
January 22nd 2004 - Phuket, Thailand.
Lazed around the pool all day. Met some mad Aussie guy in the evening, should be a good contact when we get to Perth.
January 23rd 2004 - Phuket, Thailand.
Last day in Phuket thank god. Had good old English Fish and Chips for tea. Real cod and proper home made chips mmmmmmmm. They even had Worcester Sauce!!!
January 24th 2004 - Koh Lanta, Thailand.
Transferred to Koh Lanta on later ferry as early ferry was full. Had to hop from one ferry to the other in the middle of the sea! Accomodation is good and the island is much quieter which is nice.
January 25th 2004 - Koh Lanta, Thailand.
Another lazy day........well there's not much else to do. Plus we're both cripples!
January 26th 2004 - Koh Lanta, Thailand.
Guess what.......lazy day again. This time in preparation for a long journey into Malaysia. Sun tans are coming along nicely.
January 27th 2004 - Langkawi, Malaysia.
Up at 6 to catch ferry and mini bus to Langkawi. Jesus Christ the mini bus driver was another lunatic! He scared the shit out of me!!!! (Lise). Luckily we changed drivers in Trand so had an old guy who was very sensible for the last part of the journey. Went thru immigration at Satun and got another boat across to Langkawi. We are now wishing we had come to Malaysia earlier. We are staying in Pantai Cenang which is very nice. The place is just so much cleaner than Thailand and the people seem nicer too.
January 28th 2004 - Langkawi, Malaysia.
Oooops overslept this morning, must be something to do with losing an hour yesterday. We are now 8 hours in front of UK. Had a wander to get our bearings and sort out car hire. Tomorrow we are touring the island! Sat on the beach to watch the sunset, the beach is one of the best we've seen so far-the sand is like flour. Missed the sun set cos the rain clouds took over the sky but never mind. Making the most of the duty free.........hey Mary a huge bottle of vodka and 200 cigs only cost 10 pound!!!!
January 29th 2004 - Langkawi, Malaysia.
Got up early to pick up car and headed off around the island. First stop was the field of burnt rice. Well we were expecting a large field but it was an area appox. 5m x x5m in the middle of someones garden! Oh well we read the history on it and left, didn't even take a photo. Second stop was the summer palace which was the fim set for 'Annie and the King' starring Jodie Foster. It was purpose built for the film right on the beach. We then headed to the seven wells and waterfall. We had to climb over 600 steps to get there which in this heat is bloody hard work. At the top there were monkeys running around everywhere. The seven pools all seemed to cascade into one another. Whilst at the top we trekked off into the jungle but it got denser and we didn't know where we were going so we turned back - good job as all I could think about were snakes and tigers. Further round the island we found another waterfall where we had to climb yet more steps. We then headed for the famous Rhu Beach - WOW. There is only one hotel on this beach and we were told it costs around 1000RM per night which is about 180 pound!!! We had the cheapest fried rice ever (less than 50p)at a local restaurant and then managed to find Black Sand Beach - which lived up to its name. Don't know why the sand was black, it just was. From here we went to the hot springs. These were natural springs where the water bubbled up out of the ground at around 60 degrees C. After that we drove up to the view point at the top of the mountain. We drove upwards for about 1/2 hour and then it started pissing down. Well we were in the middle of the clouds and couldn't see jack shit. We managed to make it to the top but the rain was still too heavy and the view point was shut too! Just our luck. Headed back to the room after this feeling a bit disappointed.
January 30th 2004 - Penang, Malaysia.
Got up early to go on half day boat trip. We checked out and left the bags at reception and got on a boat at the neighbouring beach. Jesus the boat was fast for a little piddly thing. First stop was Dayeng Bunting (a neighbouring island) where we walker thru to the centre where there was a lagoon. Here you could feed the cat fish and they swan and jumped all over your feet if you stuck them in the water. Chris did but I was too chicken, they looked too slimy. Next stop was another small island where the driver of the boat chucked in some food for the eagles so that they swooped down near the boat to pick it up. They were huge. From here we went to another small island for snorkelling and swimming and then headed back to the resort. Got changed then cab to port to get ferry to Penang. We got tickets but had to get boarding cards before we could get on. It was a mass free for all then and some people were nearly fighting as there was no queuing system. It was awful, the building had no air con and we had all our back packs etc. Luckily a nice Canadian bloke grabbed our tickets and managed to get to the front to we had made it onto the last boat to Penang. Ferry crossing took 2 1/2 hours. Got to Penang around 9pm in the middle of a thunder storm. All tourist infos were shut so just jumped in a taxi and picked a place out of the guide book. Stayed at a place called Hong Ping in Georgetown - not bad for 9 pound a night.
January 31st 2004 - Penang, Malaysia.
Got woke up at 5:30am by the most horrendous noise. Turned out to be the Muslim Mosque just across the way. They have to pray five times a day, everyday......great. No need for an alarm clock here then. We got up and wandered around chinatown. Found the noisy mosque and then took the free bus shuttle to the Komtar. We spent hours getting lost in the shopping centre instead of getting up the Komtar as we couldn't find our way in. We had to head back to the hotel then as we had a trip booked around the island. We saw Fort Cornwallis, a Pewter Factory, The Snake Temple which had live vipers in there. We were told that the incense burning spaces them out so they don't bite. Chris touched one and it moved.....I though they were fake until that point! We then drove up to the highest point on the island past all the Durian Fruit orchards. Apparently to Westerners these fruit smell like vomit but the locals love it. Luckily they were out of season so we didn't have the pleasure of trying them. From here we went to see the fishing village where all the local fishermen live, then we headed on to Bhattu Ferringhi which is apparently the best place to stay on the island. It was just full of five star hotels. Not the best way to soak up the culture so we were glad we were staying in Georgetown. That night we had the best curry ever, we haven't got a clue what curry it was but there was chicken in it and it cost less than a pound. This place is great if you like your take away food back home as its full of chinese, Indian and Malays....great. There are cockroaches in the room which is not so great.
February 1st 2004 - Penang, Malaysia.
Managed to get up the Komtar this morning to the 56th floor to have a look over the city. We were amazed how big it actually is. On the way out we jumped in a Trishaw and got pedalled around Georgetown for a couple of hours. We went to see to Koo Khongsi Temple, Jodie Fosters house from the movie (Annie and the King), the floating village and may parts of the old city. The little bugger ripped us off as he decided to tell us the price was per person for two hours when we finished so we ended up paying double what we thought. In the evening we got a taxi up to Lok Si Temple which was enourmous and situated in the hills. As it was recently chinese new year the place was covered in lights and looked spectacular. We also had a great view from the temple of Georgetown as the city lights were coming on. Well worth the trip. Got bus back to hotel and tried to book bus ticket to Cameron Highlands, only to be told they were all full. Dilemna or what as we have to leave tomorrow. We decided to get the ferry across to Butterworth on the mainland in the morning and try and get a bus from there. Yet more cockroaches in the room, struggled to sleep for fear of them walking on me.
February 2nd 2004 - Cameron Highlands, Malaysia.
Got to Butterworth on Ferry and managed to get a bus to Cameron Highlands. The journey took 5 1/2 hours. The last part was the worst as the road up to Cameron Highlands from Tapah is so winding and goes on forever. It was worth it when we got there. The temperature was so much cooler, around 20 degrees C and no where near as humid. Booked in for a trip tomorrow and settled for the evening.
February 3rd 2004 - Cameron Highlands - Malaysia.
Got up early to go on trip but were nearly late as the shower we were sharing we three other rooms decided not to work. Managed to use the owners shower so were ready to leave just in time. We drove up towards the highest point on the Highlands which took us through the tea plantations. The scenery was out of this world. We carried on up to the top where there was a viewing tower so you could look out over Malaysia. Luckily for us it was a clear day so we managed to get some excellent pics. From here we had a 40 minute trek into the jungle. It was so muddy and guess who fell over - yes, Lise. We saw somw wild orchids, some insect eating plants, some leaves that are obvioulsy used to make ralgex (you could tell by the smell) and all sorts of weird plants. The noises in the jungle were great too. We then headed for the tea factory absolutely caked in mud. We wandered round the factory where they were processing the tea, then sampled some of it. Well it certainly wasn't PG. On the way back to the room we called at a butterfly farm where they also had loads of insects. There were scorpions, grasshoppers, beetles and moth type things as big as my hand, snakes and stick insects. The guide told us that these bugs were present all around the highlands so Lise will be staying in the room after dark tonight!
February 4th 2004 - Cameron Highlands to KL - Malaysia.
Up at 7.30, shower was working today. Caught bus to KL at 9am, 4 hour journey back to the heat and humidity. Two days up in the hill s made a nice change. Once we got to KL we walked around to find a room, eventually managed to find a clean room at Sungei Wang which is located in the golden triangle. Had a walk around the shopping plaza, they are huge. Walked along the main street at night, very clean and moderm here. Had a couple of drinks in the outback bar.
February 5th 2004 - KL Malaysia.
Walked to the Petronas Towers which are the worlds tallest buildings, really spectacular. Got some tickets to go up to the viewing bridge on 41st floor at 4.30 so we walked around Botanic Gardens then onto KL Tower. WE went up to the top and had great views of the city along with Audio Commentary. Got back to the Petronas Towers in time to up to the 41st floor but views were not as good. At night we got the skytrain to Chinatown and walked through the market and found a place to eat. Lise had noodles with all sorts of shit in. This Malaysian guy called Alex asked Lise what was wrong with her hand and within a few minutes he was giving her advice on what to do and bought us some beers. He then offered to take us to the Batu Caves as the Thaipusan Festival was on. WE went with him and the scene was amazing. There were loads of Hindu's who had come to the temple located within the caves to celebrate the birthday of Lord Subramaniam, devotees carry Kavadis - wooden frames decorated with peacick feathers and flowers fastened to their bodies by metal hooks and spikes embedded in their flesh. Ouch. This self mutilation is an act of penitence in exchange for favors asked of the gods. We managed to see these guys walk with their Kavadis all the way up the 272 steps to the temple at the top. WE deceided to walk up and have a look at the temple, we got some strange looks but most of the people were friendly. Alex took us back to our hotel at 3.30am. WE couldn't believe how nice he was and how lucky we were to experience such an amazing festival.
February 6th 2004 - KL Malaysia.
Got up quite late as expected then took MRT to chinatown to find the central market. Found it and it was crap! From there we made our way to Merdeka square and saw the tallest flagpole in the world along with some of the old British Colonial Buildngs. We managed to find another Mosque and then got on the MRT to go back and do some shopping. Went our for last green curry in the evening and went to bed early.
February 7th 2004 - KL - Singapore.
Got up early to get taxi to the airport. Flight to Singapore was only 40mins. Booked hotel from Singapore Airport then hopped on MRT to get there. Got off at our stop to find we were in the middle of a load of shopping malls. Walk to hotel was quite a long way. Singapore is so clean its unbelievable. Hotel was good too. That evening we walked down to Raffles Hotel and went in for a cocktail. WE both has a Singapore Sling at $15.00 each which is about 5 pound. We thought it would be more than that. Stopped at Hawkers Fayre for dinner and had chicken and rice.
February 8th 2004 - Singapore.
Got up fairly late and set off to find the cricket club to take a photo of it for Dad. Walked round and found Raffles Landing Place and walked all along the river to the dome shaped theatres. From here we walked to Sim Lim Square to look at buying a camcorder. Chris bought one after one hour of bargaining for around 500 pound with all the accessories. In the evening we walked down to see the fountain of wealth but it had finished when we got there.
February 9th 2004 - Singapore.
Went shopping again and bought some trainers then chilled out for a while. Walked to fountain of wealth again in the evening and it was working this time so we watched that for a while. It is meant to be the biggest fountain in the world but I'm not convinced.
February 10th 2004 - Singapore - Perth.
Got MRT to airport for 9.35 flight to Perth. Flight took just under 5 hours and they had free wine so Lise made the most of it! Landed in Perth around 14.30 and got all our bags searched by immigration. Booked hostel from the airport and got the shuttle bus to Spinners in Northbridge. Had booked a double room only to find we had bunk beds! This is becoming a common occurence. Sorted out some laundry then went to bed.
February 11th 2004 - Perth, Australia.
Wandered up to the local tour office to find out what tours were available, and ended up booking 2 tours, one up to exmouth on the 13th and one across the outback to Alice springs leaving on the 28th. went for a few beers, $7.20 for a pint of becks - Bugger!!!!!
February 12th 2004 - Perth, Australia.
Went for a walk around Perth today, Not a great deal to see here, just another big city. We walked down to the Swan river, it was very hot although not humid!! We were sat outside the hostel having a drink at night when an aborginal guy came over and starting hurling abuse at us all, telling us in not very nice language that we had bloody invaded his country!! Then he tried to sell us some drugs! We went in and left him to it.
February 13th 2004 - Perth - Exmouth Tour, Australia.
Got picked up at 7am from the hostel with a group of 20. Headed off on the long journey to Exmouth. We headed North 245km to our first destination the Pinnacles. WE stopped at Gatoby Roadhouse on the way and our guide took us to see an emu which was just made of steel. Arrived at the Pinnacles desert and had a look around the limestone pillars, which are up to 4m tall rising up out of the stark landscape of yellow sand. From here we headed to Kalbarri for our overnight accommodation. We made stops in Jurien Bay (fishing town) and Geraldton (Beer Stop) where we were taken to the oldest bottle shop in WA. Beer and wine was very expensive, we think the guide was on commission!. Got to Kalbarri and made a chicken curry for tea. Paid extra to get a private room then went off to bed.
February 14th 2004 - Perth - Exmouth Tour, Australia.
Mad rush this morning to get ready, we were last on the bus. The guide thought it was a good idea to move seats each day on the bus so we ended up sitting apart for the whole day. Short drive to Murchison Gorge 'Natures Window' the loop and Z bend gorge - some guys went abseiling here as an extra. The walk was nice and the views were great. We stopped at an old mineshaft galena for lunch and a swim...very nice. Stopped at shell beach for a while before we got to Denham for our overnight stay. The lads had to cook tea while the girls relaxed with drinks. After tea we went out to a hot spring and looked up at the stars. The water was very warm.
February 15th 2004 - Perth - Exmouth Tour, Australia.
Up at 6am so we could get to Monkey Mia for breakfast. After breakfast we watched the wild dolphins come into the bay for feeding. We saw a mother and her baby come in and watched them swim close by. Some people were picked to feed them...........lucky gits! Some of the guys then went sailing (optional extra again) we decided to chill out on the beach which was a good choice as the dolphins came in again. This time 8 came in and we were stood about a metre away from them. A film crew were there doing some promotion video and the guy out of crocodile dundee (not Paul Hogan) was there being filmed. We still didn't get to feed the dolphins.....bugger. We were then off again and stopped at the stromatalites at Hamelin Pool, living rocks to me, cyanobacterial microbes to Lise, which have evolved over 3.5 billion years. We stopped again in Carnarvan before we arrived at Worroora Sheep Station for our overnight stay. We had beef stew for tea and sat around the camp fire with drinks. There were so many bugs around and we saw a snake!
February 16th 2004 - Perth - Exmouth Tour, Australia.
Up early again, one of the guys on the tour saw a bloody scorpion in the kitchen this morning! We headed off to Coral Bay and hired some snorkelling equipment. The beach was beautiful, saw some great fish and coral. Sunbathed with SPF30 on and still burnt. Had fish and chips for lunch which was a nice change from the crap we have been eating. We all walked to a bay to see some sharks and managed to see two reef sharks swimming around and some rather large sting rays. If you walk out into the sea the reef sharks are meant to come around your legs but I think Chris's legs scared them off. We arrived in Exmouth late afternoon for our overnight stay. Had BBQ for tea.
February 17th 2004 - Perth - Exmouth Tour, Australia.
Had a lie in today til 8am then we headed off to turquoise bay. This is on the Northern end of Ningaloo Reef. It was beautiful. We went snorkelling again. Chris broke the strap on his mask which was a pain. Saw some nice coral and all sorts of fish again. Lise was a bit unsure as the guide had said we may see some sharks. Chris saw a big sting ray and shit his pants, but no sharks. Went back to Exmouth and chilled out by the pool. Saw a red back spider that night on the bench where we were sat.
February 18th 2004 - Perth - Exmouth Tour, Australia.
Set off at 6am this morning as we had 850km to cover. Stopped for breakfast at Coral Bay after we had taken photo's by the Tropic of Capricorn sign. Some of the guys stopped in Coral Bay for an extra few days so we had a bit more room on the bus. We then had a very long boring journey down to Northbrook where we stayed on a farm overnight. Had a dip in their pool, had tea then tried to play the dijeredoo......good fun. Stayed in our first shared dorm which was strange.
February 19th 2004 - Perth - Exmouth Tour, Australia.
Off at 6am again today, we need more sleep. Journey back to Perth seemed to take ages, once we arrived we stopped at the Highway Winery and tried port and wine. Then we went to Margaret River Chocolate Factory and pigged out on chocs, then the final stop was Caversham Wildlife Park. We managed to touch a Koala Bear, feed the Kanagaroos, fed a mad a donkey and cuddled a wombat. Checked into a different hostel tonight as recommended by Amy - 100% better than what we had before.
Tour summary - overall very interesting, managed to see lots of different places. The tour guide was a bit of a feisty character who had a big attitude problem. Its a bloody long way to Exmouth and the driving gets a bit much. The round trip was 3500km (almost England to Spain and back again in 7 days). Most of the roads are dead straight and all you can see for miles is bush, bush and more bush. Met lots of nice people, Germans, Dutch, French, Canadians, Pommes.
February 20th 2004 - Perth, Australia.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!!!Was hoping for a lie in this morning but body clock is set for 5am. Got up and sorted washing. Booked a camper van for 5 days so we can travel South.
February 21st 2004 - Perth, Australia.
Got up and had breakfast and went into Perth town. Lise had a hair cut then we went across to Kings Park. There must have been about 20 different wedding parties there all having their photo's taken.........mad people. We had some amazing views over the city from here which made the climb up Jacobs Ladder worth it.
February 22nd 2004 - Perth, Australia.
Hungover so let getting up and missed our bus to the beach. Chilled out around Perth then packed ready for the next day.
February 23rd 2004 - Perth, Australia.
Up early to collect camper van. Got there early and they wouldn't let us have it til 12......arseholes. It was an old shed with pink panther sprayed all over it! As it was late we didn't know which direction to head in.Ended up going towards Albany (406k's). We needed to arrive somewhere before dark due to kangaroos on the road. Made it down to Mt Barker by 5:30 ish and set up camp before dark. Woke up in the middle of the night absolutely freezing to death! What a shock!
February 24th 2004 - Perth, Australia.
Headed towards the Porongerups this morning and climbed up castle rock. 1.5km walk to the top, saw the balancing rock then had to scramble over 2m high boulders to get to the lookout. Great views of the Stirling Ranges and coastline. Next we headed to two peoples bay where we just seemed to stumble across an opening in the foliage to find the most beautiful beach. Stayed at the beach for a while and had lunch then drove towards Albany. On the way we stopped at Middleton Beach and then drove to the Gap and the Natural Bridge (Oz once joined to Antartica). Went to view the blowholes but 800m walk when holes are not blowing didn't seem worth it! From here we drove to Denmark for overnight stay on campsite near the river.
February 25th 2004 - Perth, Australia.
Set off at 8am this morning and headed to greens pool. This is a natural sea lake which was really nice (beautiful spot as the aussies would say!). We then drove to valley of the giants - a forest of giant Karri and Tingle trees. Here we walked along the man made tree top walk. Lise was very scared as the walkways kept swaying and kept blaming Chris - 40m above ground!!!!! We then headed towards the Gloucester Tree near Pemberton. We arrived after a slight detour due to Chris's crap navigating - he called it the scenic route....oh well. Once we'd had a bit of lunch we spent a while feeding the birds. They were like wild budgies and parrots that came and sat on your head and hands etc. Chris then climbed up the 60m Gloucester tree - bit scary and tiring but great views. We then headed north to Margaret River and arrived after yet another little detour, this time it was Lisa's scenic route. We stayed at a place called Conto's which was part of the National Park. Had a BBQ and watched the sun set from the cliff top then sat around the campfire. This campsite was in the middle of nowhere with no facilities other than one dunny with no light!! Great!!!!!
February 26th 2004 - Perth, Australia.
Got up early again and headed into town for fuel as the pink panther was running on fumes. Went down to the beach and watched the surfers whilst having breakfast then had a walk along the mouth of Margaret River. Then drove North to Busselton and stopped by the 2km pier. This place was really nice with loads of posh houses built around jetty's. Wethen made our way North to Bunbury where we went swimming in the sea and sunbathed for a while. Then off again towards Rockingham. When we got to Rockingham we thought it was best to carry on to Fremantle and found a campsite there. Nice to have a shower!
February 27th 2004 - Perth, Australia.
Lise actually got some sleep ast night thanks to her new sleeping bag. Headed back towards Perth taking in some of the beaches along the way. Saw Cottesloe Beach, Swanbourne Beach (nudist beach although there were no naked paople) and Scarborough beach, they were all absolutely beautiful. Arrived back in Perth late morning and took van back.
February 28th 2004 - Perth - Alice Tour, Australia.
Picked up at 7:15 - group of 13, headed out of Perth through the Wheatbelt area, stopping for lunch at Southern Cross where the first Gold Mines appeared. From here we continued towards Kalgorlie Boulder, home of the superpit goldmine which was 380ft deep. The population of this town increased by 400% during the goldrush. More driving then we stopped just after dark somewhere between Kalgorlie and Menzies at the side of the road and set up camp in the bush. Made a camp fire and cooked pasta for tea and had a lesson on where not to put your swag! No sleeping under the trees or on top of ant holes. Discovered swags do not cover your head and just as Lise got in hers a bloody big beetle tried to crawl in. She spent the rest of the night thinking about it. Slept reasonably well considering.
February 29th 2004 - Perth, Australia.
Got up early the next morning and headed towards Menzies - deserted old gold mining town. Stopped to re-fuel at Laverton. From Laverton we headed towards the Great Central Road. After driving for about an hour the driver realised we were going the wrong way - bugger! There are hardly any signs and everything looks the same so it just shows how easy it is to get lost in the bush. This meant we were two hours behind. Eventually made it to the Great Central Road which wasn't a road itself just a dirt track. The track was closed due to flooding so we had to get permission from the police to try and cross. Permission was granted so we headed off. Hid the flood after about 20mins. Drasko (tour guide) waded part the way through to check the depth (1.5m in places) so he decided to go for it - nutter!! We started driving through the 200m stretch of flood, it was well over the wheels and started to come inside the truck! Big cheer when we nade it out the other side. Stopped in the late afternoon at an Aboriginal Roadhouse to get fuel and Drasko cooked tea while we had a shower. His way of saying sorry for the mistake in the morning. Drove for another 2 hours after tea to make up time and camped at the side of the track. Getting used to bush toilets if ya know what we mean. Lise slept in the van with Sarah.
March 1st 2004 - Perth - Alice Tour, Australia.