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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 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 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 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.

Up at 6am and continued along the Great Central Rd through Warburton (Aboriginal Community). Then onto the famous gunbarrel highway for a short while. It was really bumpy with parts of the rad missing in places and abandoned vehicles everywhere from people who didn't make it! Got photo's at WA/NT border. Crossed a few dry rivers and stopped to see Lassiters Cave then had tea at the side of the road watching the sun set. On towards the Olga's and set up camp illegally at the edge of the National Park. We slept in swags on the roof of the truck which was fantastic.

March 2nd 2004 - Perth - Alice Tour, Australia.

We all overslept this morning, must be the 1.5hrs we lost yesterday - nothing to do with the drink and late night we had. Left the campsite and headed to the Olga's. Here we went for a walk to the Valley of the Winds. It was very hot and humid and the flies were out in force. Great views and a really nice place. Late morning headed off towards Uluru (Ayers Rock). We stayed on Ayers Rock campsite so we went for a welcome shower and dip in the pool at lunchtime. Got to Ayers Rock and spent some time looking around the Aboriginal Cultural Centre which was really interesting. We had a walk to a small cave in the rock and a place which looked like a giant wave. Drasko then drove around the rock stopping at all the places which made up the story of the rock. We then drove to the sunset viewing area. As we drove into the carpark, Drasko crunched the gear box and played classical music very loud with the windows open. He finished with a few jolts in time to the music and a figure of eight into his parking space. Everyone was looking and some were filming it was so funny. In his opinion we were not allowed to speak to any of the other people there as they were tourists and we were proper travellers. They had luxury coaches sipping champagne and we were filthy travellers who's survived the desert in swags for the last three nights! Watched the rock change colour at sunset which was spectacular then went back to the camp. Had hungarian Ghoulash for tea and played boules.

March 3rd 2004 - Perth - Alice Tour, Australia.

Up at 4am so we could watch the sunrise at Ayers Rock. Walked all around the base which was 9.5km, the climb was closed, we would not have climbed anyway out of respect for the aboriginal people (they don't like you climbing it). Once we had woken up Drasko we headed off again stopping at Mount Connor viewpoint. We had lunch at Curtin Springs Station and stocked up the alcohol box. We arrived at Kings Canyon in the late afternoon. The normal route for walking was closed so we started off at heart attack hill!!! The temp was over 50 degrees in the sun. Bugger! During the walk Drasko asked Lise to show him her mossie bites, he put this milk from a bush plant on her bites. As he did this Ralph who was a very quiet guy started making a dijeredoo was so funny. At the top of Kings Canyon we led down and looked over the edge 100m down into the Canyon. After the walk we went to Kings Creek camp site, We had a BBQ then all got drunk around the campfire.

March 4th 2004 - Perth - Alice Tour, Australia.

Could have had a lye in this morning but the bloody flies woke us up again. Oh well. Last night with the swags. Had breakfast then went for a bushwalk around some caves and a drinking hole near an aboriginal community. After the walk we headed up to Alice, to save time we took a short cut to the Stuart Highway. It was so bumpy and sometimes half the road was missing! It took ages. Stopped for a late lunch at the camel farm, could've gone for a ride but we were so tired we didn't bother. We fed them bread instead. They have cute little perms on top of their heads! (Lise thinks). Got to Alice and sorted hostel then went out for a meal with the group.

March 5th 2004 - Alice Springs, Australia.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM! Went into Alice so Lise could get her nose pierced with Sarah but they wanted 75 off or what so they didn't bother. Chilled out for the rest of the day then met up with all the guys again for a pizza. Met this cool Aussie guy in the bar from somewhere near Darwin.

March 6th 2004 - Alice Springs, Australia.

Spent the morning around the pool playing table tennis then caught the Ghan Train at 2pm down to Adelaide. Views from the train were great for a while but the journey seemed to be very slow! Tried to sleep on the train but the seats were not great and the leg room was crap. Managed to get a couple of hours sleep.

March 7th 2004 - Ghan Train, Australia.

Were due to arrive in Adelaide at 9am but finally got there at 1pm. A total of 22 hours travelling. We could have flown home in that time!

March 8th 2004 - Adelaide, Australia.

Had a walk round the city and shops. Booked a car and generally chilled out. The weather is so much cooler down here, its hard to believe you are in the same country. But then it is a bloody big place.

March 9th 2004 - Great Ocean Road, Australia.

Picked up the car at noon (a new red ford focus auto). Left the city and headed towards Melbourne via the Ocean Roads. Stopped for lunch at Murray River then drove through the Coorang National Park, great views even though the weather was crap. Took photo's at the pink lake (it really was pink) stopped at the granites (rock formations which are meant to resemble whales). Well all we can say is Aussies will make an attraction out of anything.......just a few rocks in the sea. Arrived in Beachport after 450km, drove around the scenic drive during the sunset which was nice, shame the sun was covered in cloud. Had fish and chips again and went to 5 star caravan.

March 10th 2004 - Great Ocean Road, Australia.

Slept quite well last night considering we only had travel pillows. Drove towards Mount Gambier and stopped at the Blue Lake - old volcano full of water which was really blue - very impressive. We then had a stroll around the Umpherstone Cave which is the biggest sink hole about. Stopped in Nelson on the Glenelg River for lunch. Stopped at Bridgewater Bay for a while and walked to some blowholes. Bit cold. Late afternoon we stopped at Tower Hill Game Reserve. We climed a steep hill to look at a crater and then went to see if we could spot some wildlife. We saw 4 or 5 koala's sat in the trees either sleeping or sunning theirselves. Saw a few Emu's and a Kangaroo. Checked into another 5 star caravan and cooked a green curry for tea.

March 11th 2004 - Great Ocean Road, Australia.

Today was the start of the actual Great Ocean Road. We visited London Bridge which had part collapsed in 1990, the Arch and the Bay of Islands. The next stage is the most famous "Port Campbell National park, where we visited the Loch Ard Gorge, here we walked into the george then along to a blowhole and a thunder cave. The main stop was at the 12 Apostles which are bizzare rock formations, but only 7 can been seen from the lookout!! Typical Aussies....stopped at a few more scenic lookouts along the coastline.

We then headed into the Otway Ranges, where we stopped at Melba Gulley state park which is a rainforest with glow worms, we saw the giant gum tree which is 27m in circumference and over 300 years old!! We Stayed in Apollo Bay - bit of a hippy town to say the least but the hostel was great.

March 12th 2004 - Great Ocean Road, Australia.

Continued along the Great Ocean Road. Stopped in Lorne for lunch then went to Erskine Waterfall. We saw a duck billed platypus swimming in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. He was quite friendly too. Later in the day we stopped at Bells Beach - world famous surfing beach. We sat and watched the surfers for a while before heading off into Melbourne. Arrived in Melbourne about 5ish, just intime for rush hour traffic. It was a nightmare and we got totally lost in the city. Eventually found some accommodation in the centre. We also realised that we had lost another half hour by travelling into Victoria so we are now 11 hours in front.

March 13th 2004 - Melbourne, Australia.

Got up at 7am this morning, just so we could take the car back, bloody parking here is a nightmare!! Lazy day, walked into the main shopping area, had a bite to eat and chilled out for the rest of the afternoon.

March 14th 2004 - Melbourne, Australia.

Very Lazy day, then we had washing to do. Boring!!

March 15th 2004 - Melbourne, Australia.

Checked out of the rubbish backpacker and caught the train to Sandringham, we were picked up by Nick, who had very kindly agreed to put us up for a while. We picked up Ben Green (another English traveller from Worcester) and spent the afternoon chatting in the garden with a beer. Lisa's friend Vicky picked us up later and took us out for dinner which was very nice!! Lise hadn't seen her for 20 years, so they had a lot of catching up to do.

March 16th 2004 - Melbourne, Australia.

Did a bit of shopping this morning for some warmer clothes!!! We spent the rest of the day chilling, it is so nice being in a house with a TV, bathroom, kitchen etc etc. Nick and Jane cooked a great BBQ for tea.

March 17th 2004 - Melbourne, Australia.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD. We went for a drive along the Melbourne grand prix track which was cool, took some photos to show Dad we were driving down the pit straight. We then went to the casino for a while, Nick won loads on the roulette table!! Lucky Bugger...Had a walk along southbank and stopped for a beer at the Irish bar (st Patricks day). They were replaying the rugby match of the win over England!! Had a few more beers at another Irish bar then went out to Finbars, a local Irish pub in Sandringham. We sat in the garden possum watching, we saw a few possums which was great.

March 18th 2004 - Melbourne, Australia.

Nice lazy day!!!

March 19th 2004 - Melbourne, Australia.

Had a trip into Brighton for a spot of shopping. Nick then drove around all the big posh houses along the coast. If only we were Rich!!!

March 20th 2004 - Melbourne, Australia.

Packed our bags again!! Had a nice relaxing morning then we caught the train into Melbourne so we could catch the 7pm coach to Sydney. Spent all night on the bloody coach (12 hour journey) during which time some lowlife cretin stole both our cameras.

March 21st 2004 - Sydney, Australia.

Arrived in Sydney at 6.40am and checked into another dirty smelly backpackers!! got a bit of sleep then went for breakfast. When we got back we realised that the cameras were missing. Spent the rest of the day trying to locate them, no joy so we reported it to the police. It would be fair to say we were a little pi##ed off at this point, as we had lost over 300 photos, which included all our pics of the trip across the desert, Ayers Rock ect, Adelaide, Great Ocean Road and Melbourne!!! Oh well, we just hope they get caught in the future and suffer bigtime!!!!!! We had a walk down to the Harbour in the evening and saw the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Very Nice Place!! Walked home in the rain.

March 22nd 2004 - Sydney, Australia.

Watched the security video at the hostel, but no joy!! Bugger, Bugger Bugger! Sorted out a bus/train/ferry pass then brought a new camera. We then walked around the Opera house / Harbour / The Rocks which was cool, the weather was still a bit overcast, but we did get a few sunny spells. We caught the ferry to Darling Harbour and went into the Aquarium for a few hours, Very good apart from the lazy seals!!

March 23rd 2004 - Sydney, Australia.

Got up and caught the ferry to Manly, great beach with nice shopping area, we should have taken our swimming stuff as the weather got better and we could had a sunbath!! Oh well, we caught the ferry back to the Circular Quay and walked around the Royal Botanical gardens, the sun was out in full force now which was great, we decided to chill out in the gardens and watch the sunset over the Opera House. Went out for a few beers in an Irish bar which had a band playing and got rather drunk!!

March 24th 2004 - Sydney, Australia.

We were meant to get up early today and go to Bondi Beach, but we far to hung over and didn't get out of bed until 2PM, Finaly left the hostel at 4pm and headed to take some photos of the Opera House with clear skies, typical, the weather is fantastic today and we spend all day hung over in bed. Caught the ferry over to Milsons point, which is a good viewing area for the Opera House. We then went to Darling Harbour and had a walk around this very smart area. This guy came and talked to us - very friendly, he turned out to be Colin Gibson!!! Football player! Had a pork roast by the harbour. We really miss roast dinners!!!!!!!!!

March 25th 2004 - Sydney, Australia.

Spent all day on Bondi Beach, the weather was great, watched the surfers then went and booked our campervan. Had a meal at the rocks cafe which Ben had recommended, it was very nice. We sat in the harbour admiring the view after the meal. We do not want to leave Sydney as its so nice.

March 26th 2004 - Blue Mountains, Australia.

Picked up the campervan, typical not ready again. Set off and stopped at the Olympic Park just so we could see the stadium where England lifted the world cup. Drove up into the Blue Mountains and stopped at Wentworth Falls, met the honeymoon couple again and walked half way down the falls.....great views. Arrived in Katoomba late afternoon, went to Echo Point, the Three Sisters and the views were spectacular. The mountains do appear blue. Had a walk down to the three sisters and watched the sun set.

March 27th 2004 - Blue Mountains, Australia.

Drove to the Jenolan Caves and had a guided walk of the Lucas Cave which lasted 1.5 hours, it was very nice. Drove back to Katoomba to the camp site and Lise got pulled over and breathalised on the way.

March 28th 2004 - Blue Mountains, Australia.

Started off the day by going on the Skyway, we had a free ride as the skyway is being replaced by a new one and today was the last day of operation. We then caught the scenic railway down to the bottom of the valley, its the steepest railway in the world. Once at the bottom we walked along the federal pass to view the Katoomba Falls, then we walked thru the rainforest via the coalmine to the sceniscender. This is another cable car that takes you out of the valley. We stopped and had a bit of lunch then left the Blue Mountains and headed to Erina just North of Sydney. We stayed with Tim Shaw (a friend of Colin and Mary's) who gave us a tour of the local beaches and then cooked us BBQ for tea.

March 29th 2004 - Erina, Australia.

Spent all day on internet, washing, playing pool and chilling. Tim made a great prawn curry for tea.

March 30th 2004 - Erina - Nelson Bay, Australia.

Went down to the beach with Tim and had a go at bodysurfing. Weather was great and sea was really warm. Had some lunch then headed up the coast to Nelson Bay. We found a campsite then sat on the rocks watching the sunset.

March 31st 2004 - Nelson Bay - Coffs Harbour, Australia.

Spent most of the day driving today. Stopped at Bonnies Hill for lunch and sat on the beach for a couple of hours.....Lise fell asleep! Went in the sea, waves were quite big. Headed off to Coffs Harbour after that, about another 2 hours driving. Made it to a campsite in the main town area. Had BBQ and settled down for the night.

April 1st 2004 - Coffs Harbour - Byron Bay, Australia.

Woke up early, Lisa has 48 bites now! Drove into Coffs Harbour then walked to the end of Mutton Bird Island, didn't see any birds though, just their burrows (they live underground). Headed off towards Byron Bay and stopped just South at a viewpoint where some people were gliding. We had the chance to do it but didn't have enough cash on us. Drove a few more km's to Byron Bay and found a campsite right on the beach......great! Very Hippy place.

April 2nd 2004 - Byron Bay, Australia.

Lise now has over 60 bites! Decided to walk to the lighthouse and do the Cape Byron Walk (3.5k). First part was through rainforest....Lise was shit scared of being bitten so we virtually sprinted through nearly causing both of us to have heart attacks! Made it to the lighthouse 3 stone lighter and sat and watched the dolphins playing in the waves. There were loads of them it was amazing. Walked back along the beach to our campsite, had some lager shandys and fell asleep.

April 3rd 2004 - Byron Bay, Australia.

It peeed it down last night and came in through the windows on us. Went shopping and got some real bargains in the sale in the local surf shop. Phoned Uncle Keith to arrange to go round tomorrow. Had lunch then went on the beach for the afternoon. Chris tried bodysurfing again, the waves were huge so it was quite good. Onewave smacked him over the back of the head real hard and he disappeared for a while! Went out in the evening to watch the FA Cup semi final in the local pub. Man Utd won as bloody usual!

April 4th 2004 - Byron Bay - Victoria Point, Australia.

Set off just after 9am and headed up the Gold Coast. Stopped at Surfers Paradise around 11ish and took some photo's. Didn't stay any longer....too commercialised. Had lunch then carried on up to Uncle Keiths. Got there around 2ish, he lives in Victoria Point just South of Brisbane on the coast.....very nice. We chatted all afternoon and had BBQ for tea.

April 5th 2004 - Victoria Point, Australia.

Caught the train into Brisbane and walked thru the main shopping area then hopped on the city cat (River Boat) for a tour up and down the river. Jumped off at South Bank for a wander. There was a man made beach and swimming area and lots of metal sculpted archways with flowers growing within. It was very relaxing. Jumped back on the city cat and went down the river as far as we could go then back up again and caught the train back. Had tea cooked for us again then Keith showed Lise part of their family tree dating back as far as the 1700's!

April 6th 2004 - Victoria Point, Australia.

Borrowed Keith and Keira's bikes and rode up to the wildlife reserve up the road. Didn't see ant koala's so cycled along the coast to Victoria Point where we sat for a while looking out to sea. Had chips for luch then headed back to Keiths. Booked tour for Fraser and with the help of Keith, Jan and Keira we vitually planned the rest of our time in Oz. Late afternoon Keira drove us to see wallabies at dusk around this posh housing estate!!!

April 7th 2004 - Victoria Point, Australia.

Caught the ferry over to Stradbroke Island this morning. Just mad it on the ferrt beofre it left! Crossing took 35 minutes then we got a taxi with a aussie women and her son to the lookout point. We did the george walk which was very nice, it had some spectacular views of the coast line and beaches. Had lunch after that and then walcked down millions of steps to the beach!! Lise fell asleep again for about 1/2 hour (Hard life this travelling ay!!) We then caught the bus back to the ferry port and got the boat back to Cleveland, Jan did BBQ for tea.

April 8th 2004 - Victoria Point - Sunshine Coast, Australia.

Said farewells to Keith, Jan and Keira (Thanks very much for letting us stay!!!), then headed off to Australia Zoo. Took about 1.5 hours to get there. First thing we saw was Harriet the giant tortoise who was 170 years old! We then went to the main arena where there was a show going on with three tiger cubs, it was funny they were like playful kittens, just bigger. The croc show was next and to our surprise out came Steve Irwin! It was his first appearance since Xmas. He did the usual as he does on TV, tempting the crocs to strike. It was quite scary at moments but really interesting as he explanied how they stalk their prey. When he finished there was another show with birds of prey. We also saw loads of Koala's, wombats, venemous snakes, birds and a couple of mad otters! Great day out. Stayed overnight in a nearby campsite.

April 9th 2004 - Glass House Mountains - Sunshine Coast, Australia.

Set off this morning and did the tourist drive to one of the lookouts at the Glass House Mountains. The views were good but then an Aussie woman told us about a better place. We followed them for about 20 mins to a picnic area with better views. We sat and had lunch there then headed towards Coolum on the Sunshine Coast. Found a campsite that wasn't totally booked as its Easter! Site was on the beach again....nice.

April 10th 2004 - Coolum, Sunshine Coast, Australia.

Spent most of the day on the beach sunbathing and swimming.

April 11th 2004 - Coolum, Sunshine Coast, Australia.

HAPPY EASTER! Once again we had a really hard day on the beach soaking up the sun. Ate loads of chocolate too. Bought a cheap body board and hit the waves!

April 12th 2004 - Coolum - Hervey Bay - Sunshine Coast, Australia.

Left Coolum and stopped in Noosa on the way to Hervey Bay. It was really nice, could easily spend more time here. We spent a few hours on the beach then carried on to Hervey Bay. Found a campsite right near the harbour where we get picked up for our trip to Fraser Island tomorrow.

April 13th 2004 - Hervey Bay - Fraser Island, Australia.

Met the tour group at 8am, there were only five of us on the tour. The crossing took about 50mins, where we drove off the boat and onto the sand roads through the island. It was very bumpy and we felt sick. First stop was lake Allom where we walked its perimeter and had the chance for a swim but didn't. There were some turtles in there swimming around, so cute. Next we drove to knifeblade sandblow (they look like enourmous sand dunes and are moving all the time. After that we travelled olong 75 mile beach to the Maheno shipwreck then on to Eli Creek. You used to be able to swim all the way down the creek but the recent cyclones have wiped out the sand bank that ran along the beach so now it flow staight into the sea. Chris managed to float down it on a rubber ring. Headed back to camp after where the tour guide cooked us Thai Beef Curry to dinner. He was an ex English Cop from Hampshire who moved out here 30 years ago. After we walked to the beach looking for Dingo's but didn't find any. We saw loads of cane toads though.

April 14th 2004 - Fraser Island, Australia.

Had breakfast then drove to the North of the Island where we climber to the top of Indian Head and sat looking for sharks. We saw about six of them all circling round. We were told we were not allowed to swim in the sea on Fraser, now we know why! From here we went to champagne pools which are huge rock pools that fill up with seawater so we had a swim and a sun bathe here. Then we had a picnic lunch under the trees at orchid beach before we drove back to camp. We were all tired and dying for a cuppa....typical pommies! Had BBQ for dinner.

April 15th 2004 - Fraser Island, Australia.

Today we travelled South to Lake Wabby which is a beautiful lake with a huge sand dune on one side. It was full of huge cat fish. We chilled out here for an hour then went to happy valley for a buffet lunch. Next stop was Lake Garawongera for more swimming - the sand here was like white powder. After, we got dropped off in the middle of the rainforest for a walk, thought we saw a snake but it wasn't. Then it was back on the bus to catch the ferry back. All in all an excellent tour with a very knowledgable guide.....well he would be, being British! Just a shame we didn't see and dingo's.

April 16th 2004 - Hervey Bay - Serina, Australia.

Spent all day driving today to get to Serina (over 700k's) and got to Kippers place by about 6.30pm. He cooked us tea, we had a few beers then crashed for the night.

April 17th 2004 - Serina, Australia.

Had breakfast then went to meet the Mad Dog....Kippers dad. And mad he certainly was. We spent all day there, had drinks and a BBQ. They had a real mad dog called Terry that terrorised you into throwing a stick for him. Chris and Kipper ended up stripping the gearbox on the tractor cutter for Mad Dog so they earnt their beers. When we got back Chris and Kipper went out killing cane toads.........if you find one, you're meant to kill it or put it in a bag in the freezer. They are vermin. I still didn't like it!!!

April 18th 2004 - Serina, Australia.

Drove down to Grasstree Beach this morning for a swim in the ocean, well Chris did, I was too concerned about all the signs warning you about dangerous jellyfish. In the evening we all went out to Mackay to see two bands, the Hoodoo Gurus and Spider Bait. Spiderbait were quite good but we thought the others were pants. Ended up in some dodgy nightclub after that until god knows what time. Got back at around 5am.

April 19th 2004 - Serina - Airlie Beach, Australia.

Left early afternoon after doing washing and drove up to Airlie Beach. Booked in campsite, had tea then went to bed.

April 20th 2004 - Airlie Beach, Australia.

Booked a trip to go out to the Barrier Reef then drove into Airlie Beach to have a look around. Sat by the man made swimming lagoon for a while then headed back to campsite and booked another trip for Thurs to go on a sailing yacht. Had tea, went to bed early.

April 21st 2004 - Airlie - Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

Up at 6am to be picked up for tour, nearly missed the bus!! Got taken to Shute Harbour where we boarded a large Catamaran for our crossing to Hardy Reef, part of the Great Barrier Reef. Once we got out past the Whitsunday's the sea was very rough.....Lise turned a frog colour. During this time we sat thru a dive briefing and decided to fork out some extra dosh and do a 10m supervised dive on the reef wall. We were booked in for 12.10 so just enough time to get nervous. Had time for a quick snokel then headed over to the dive centre. We were kitted out with wetsuit, fins, oxygen tank (bloody heavy) weight belt etc then led down underneath the pontoon to the briefing area which was part submerged. We had around 10mins to get used to breathing with the scuba, learn how to clear our mask underwater, to equalise the air space in your ears etc etc. After a couple of mins we were dragged off to the depths using the rope as a guide. Initially I was concentrating too much on being able to breath so didn't pay the reef much attention and, what an experience. It was totally amazing, the fish were huge and colourful and the reef was full of life. We were under for around 30mins which gave you severe jaw ache from biting on the mouth piece for so long. It was the highlight of the whole trip for Lise and second to the desert for Chris. Took some pics of the reef then sailed back to Airlie Beach. Had another early night ready for tomorrow

April 22nd 2004 - Airlie - Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Australia.

Picked up at 8am and boarded the yacht for the Whitsundays. We had to find a spot on the deck, sit down and hold on. We chugged along to Hamilton Island to collect more passengers, then we were off, full sails with the yacht tilted over until the low side was submerged! It was great! We sailed for about 1/2 hour then we dropped one sail and levelled the boat so we could have morning tea. While Chris was queueing for tea the heavens opened and Lise was sat in the pouring rain wearing one of the yellow jackets. It was peeing down. Chris came and sat in the rain too, we were absolutely drenched but it was hilarious. The rain cleared and the sun came out again so we continued sailing to Whitehaven Beach. The beach was beautiful but we couldn't swim in the sea due to stingers. We had a bit of lunch on the beach then lay in the sun for an hour. Saw a dolphin in the bay and a Goanna on the beach. Spent the afternoon sailing back to Shute Harbour.

April 23rd 2004 - Airlie - Mission Beach, Australia.

Waited for Lise's top to be delivered to the campsite (she left it on the yacht) then headed off to Mission Beach. We stopped for lunch in Ayr and arrived in Mission Beach late afternoon. It had just started to rain as we got there. Had a couple of drinks then off to bed. Got woken up by the rain in the night.

April 24th 2004 - Mission Beach, Australia.

Well the plan was to do a skydive onto Mission Beach today but we had dark clouds and shed loads of rain. We had a bit of lunch in a cafe then spent the rest of the day moaning about the rain, rain, rain, rain, rain.

April 25th 2004 - Mission Beach - Cairns, Australia.

Guess what......still bloody raining. Headed off to Cairns and arrived there about 1.5hours later. Found a campsite and spent the rest of the day in the van watching the rain.

April 26th 2004 - Cairns, Australia.

Lise got over 85 new mossie bites last night. Stayed on the campsite all day cos of the rain then took Lise to see the doc as all the bites were blistering. Got put on steroid tablets and anti-hist cream, lets hope it works this time. Went to bed again listening to the rain.

April 27th 2004 - Daintree, Australia.

Despite the rain we decided to go to Daintree today and go on a river cruise. Drove about 100k's to get there and booked on a river trip. We cruised down the Daintree River for about an hour and saw a croc on the sandbank! When we got back to shore we drove to Mossman Gorge and walked thru the rainforest. The river was in full flow due to all the rain but it looked cool. Headed back to Cairns and drove thru about 5mins of sunshine. Back in Cairns it was chucking it down again and continued to do so for the rest of the night.

April 28th 2004 - Korranda - Scenic Skyway, Australia.

We drove to the skyrail centre and got a cable car that takes you right over the top of the rainforest to Korranda. The views of the rainforest, lakes and river were spectacular from up there. We did some of the walks at the stops along the way before reaching Korranda. Here we wandered round the shops and ended up buying a dijeredoo. The guy in the shop taught us how to play it first which was so funny. Caught bus back to the skyrail car park then headed back to campsite

April 29th 2004 - Cairns, Australia.

Spent all morning cleaning the van, went to find a motel for tonight then wandered round Cairns for a while. Took van back and spent a night of luxury as we had our own bathroom and a TV!!!

April 30th 2004 - Cairns - Melbourne, Australia.

Packed up and caught taxi to Airport for our flight back to Melbourne. Flight only took 3 hours. Vicky picked us up at the airport and drove us back to her place where we were staying for a few nights. She has a dog called Daisy and a cat called Bob, they are so cute. Vicky cooked us dinner, we had a few drinks then went to bed.

May 1st 2004 - Melbourne, Australia.

Vicky's brother Chris came round then we took Daisy to the dog wash which was a cool experience. Its a bit like a jet wash for dog's with different rinse options! From here we went on Puffing Billy, a steam train that took us through the forest. It was freezing but good fun. Went to the pub for a beer and some chips to warm up then drove to an area where there are Rosella's, Golahs etc that you can feed. We were there a few minutes then all the birds decided to disappear......freaky. Then about five minutes later it hailed so they must have sensed this and fled. In the evening we went out to a place called Dracula's as it was little Chris's 21st Birthday. You had to go on a ghost train to get into the place and all the staff were dressed up. We had a lovely meal and watched the show that they put on. The whole night was entertaining from start to finish, the cast were very good and bloody funny!

May 2nd 2004 - Melbourne, Australia.

Vicky's friend James picked us up this morning and we went to a cafe in Port Melbourne for breakfast. We drove to the pier after and saw that the Rainbow Warrior was in. We decided to go and have a look around and then got told off for not being booked on a tour.....oh well at least we still walked on the Rainbow Warrior! Had a drive around Melbourne race track and stopped at the pits to take photo's before heading onto MCG to watch the footie. Melbourne were playng Carlton. We supported Melbourne and they stuffed Carlton 160 - 55!! It was really good to watch even though it was one sided. Had a pie and a pint during the game then walked on to the pitch at the end. Went round to Vicky's parents in the evening for a great sunday roast dinner.

May 3rd 2004 - Melbourne - Christchurch, New Zealand.

Vicky dropped us at the airport at 7am to catch our flight to New Zealand. Said our farewells to Vicky and Australia and jumped on the plane for our 3 hour flight to Christchurch. Arrived in the afternoon as we lost another 2 hours. Hired a car straight away and sorted out a camper for the last 3 weeks here then checked into the City Worcester Motel.............well we had to didn't we!

May 4th 2004 - Christchurch, New Zealand.

Got up late as we were so tired then headed into the City for a look around. We took a tram ride that takes you on a circular tour of the city centre pointing out all the major places. We then had a walk around the Botanical Gardens which were very nice. The city was fairly small and seemed really quiet. The weather is colder than what we've been used to but the sky is still blue and the sun shining.

May 5th 2004 - Christchurch - Mount Cook, New Zealand.

Had to go shopping this morning to get Chris a coat and some jeans as its gonna get colder the further south we go. Lise is already wearing three t-shirts under her fleece! Left Christchurch and drove down the Highway 1 towards Geraldine. The area around Christchurch is very flat. From Geraldine we headed towards Mount Cook and stopped at Lake Tekapo where there is the Church of the Good Shepherd. The water in the lake was turquoise blue and the mountains in the background were covered with snow, it looked fantastic til the rainclouds came so we jumped back in the car and drove off. Next stop was Lake Pukaki which was just as beautiful. As it was getting late we drove to Twizel and checked into a Motel. From Twizel you have great views of Mount Cook but we could only see the clouds.

May 6th 2004 - Twizel - Oamaru, New Zealand.

Left Twizel fairly early to see if we could get a glimpse of Mount Cook. No joy but the scenery still looked fantastic. We then drove down to Lake Ohau, then Lake Benmore and Avimore. There had been a fair amount of snow over night so the hills and mountains were covered. We drove over the dam at Avimore then continued to Oamaru where we planned to spend the night. Checked into a good backpackers then went off to see the famous penguins. We saw yellow eyed penguins then went to a viewing area to see the smaller blue penguins. It was brilliant. We were not allowed to take pics though......bummer.

May 7th 2004 - Oamaru - Te Anau, New Zealand.

Left Oamaru and went to a place called Shag Point! (To view more penguins and Seals) We saw loads of NZ fur Seals but it was the wrong time of day for the penguins, when we were leaving the viewpoint we noticed a huge splash out at sea, it turned out to be a whale which we watched for ages just playing around in the sea. It was a fantastic sight and a total supprise as we did'nt think we would see any this far down the coast! We then drove for the rest of the day to Te Anau, the scenery on the way was great. We found a really good motel unit and booked in for 2 nights, then sorted out a trip to Milford Sound.

May 8th 2004 - Te Anau, Milford Sound, New Zealand.

Got up early this morning to drive to Milford, we were all excited as this was the main place we wanted to see in NZ, we had to fill up the car with petrol and wait for a weather report before we could set off, the report said the road was open but we had carry snow chains. So, we hired some chains and set off all excited about having a snow ball fight in the mountains!! The journey to Milford was fantastic, brilliant scenery, lakes we were getting up into the mountains the clouds were getting thicker and thicker and we did'nt see any snow other than what was on top of the peaks! You have to drive through a narrow tunnel and the top of the mountains, there was a little snow here, but not enough for a snowball fight...oh well. By the time we arrived in Milford the rain was pissing down to say the least and the visibilty was almost zero...........not great when you have to pay 45 bucks to cruise around Nilford sound, taking in the scenery!! any way we paid the money and caught the 11.30 cruise hoping the cloud would lift, need i say, the cloud did'nt lift and we had a wet cruise amongst the clouds. We did see lots of waterfalls and a few fur seals which was good, but to say we were rather disapointed would be an understatement!!! After the cruise we drove back to Te Anau stopping on the way to take photos. We did have a laugh with a coulpe of parrot type birds (Not sure what they were?) we stopped to take a pic of them and they decided to jump on the car and try to eat the rubber around the windows!

May 9th 2004 - Te Anau - Queenstown, New Zealand.

Drove to Queenstown this morning which took about 2 hours including the scenic stops on the way! Found somewhere to stay then had a wander round the town. We were trying to decide which jet boat trip to go on, the scenic one, or the poo your pants one! We also enquired about skydives but the weather was too bad again. We walked down to the pier on the edge of Lake Wakatipu and sat and had a coffee admiring the views. The water in the lake looked like it had come straight out of the tap it was so clear. Every other shop in Queenstown is selling extreme sport activities - bungy, sky dives, jet boat, river rafting, you name it, you can do it here!

May 10th 2004 - Queenstown, New Zealand.

Got up and booked ourselves onto the Shotover Jet trip - the poo your pants trip. We got picked up by their bus and taken to the Shotover River. We were provided with life jacket and waterproofs and boarded the boat, they are over 700bhp. We blasted it through the canyon winding round all the bends, nearly hitting the rocks along the way...........Lise was really scared. Every now and then the driver would raise his hand in the air making a circular motion which meant hold on tight as we were about to do a 360 spin. Cool! We made it back in one piece then headed off to the Kawaura River where bungy jumps originated. We sat and watched one girl jump off then drove to Glenorchy at the other end of Lake Wakatipu. We were trying to find some of the locations from Lord of the Rings but as they're not marked its quite difficult. We weren't disappointed though as the drive to Glenorchy was amazing.

May 11th 2004 - Queenstown - Fox Glacier, New Zealand.

Left Queenstown this morning and started the long journey to Fox Glacier right up on the West Coast. It took most of the day to get there. We arrived around 4pm and it was peeing it down with rain. We drove down the access track to the terminal face of the glacier but couldn't see a thing from the lookout. We decided to walk to it.......yes in the pouring rain with no waterproofs! It was quite a long hike and the last part was over the various streams that were coming from the waterfalls cascading down the maountains. Due to all the rain the streams were larger than normal and we could not get across. We were also completely drenched and chilled to the bone, the visibilty was crap too so we decided to head back. We found a hotel to spend the night in Fox Glacier Township so we could try our luck again the next day.

May 12th 2004 - Fox Glacier - Franz Josef Glacier - Christchurch, New Zealand.

The weather was a bit brighter today, it was still grey but the low cloud had lifted and you could actually see the top of the mountains. In the morning we drove to the Mirror Lake where you can see the reflections of the mountains in the water as clear as anything. Took loads of pics then headed back up to the Glacier. Today it looked totally different, we hadn't realised how big it was as we could only see part of it yesterday. We thought we'd try the walk again to get closer to the terminal face and this time managed to get across the streams with only a few wet toes! It was a huge frozen river of ice with a small river flowing out from underneath it where it was melting. We wanted to climb on top of it but the area was roped off due to its instabilty. They can drop huge boulders of ice at any time. Feeling much happier than we did yesterday we headed off a further 30kms to Franz Josef Glacier which was also spectacular although not quite as big. We then headed all the way back to Christchurch and arrived back around 6.30pm.

May 13th 2004 - Christchurch, New Zealand.

Weather still crap, spent the day in Christchurch on internet. Lise got her hair cut then we cooked a roast dinner which was fantastic. Watched a couple of films then went to bed.

May 14th 2004 - Christchurch - Kaikura, New Zealand.

Picked up the campervan this morning then headed to Kaikura to go whale watching. All the trips were cancelled due to bad weather so we booked on one for tomorrow then found a campsite for the night. Weather still crap!

May 15th 2004 - Kaikura - Westport, New Zealand.

Up at the crack of dawn to catch a trip whale watching only to find it was cancelled due to rough seas. We couldn't hang around due to timescales so we headed off to Hanmer Springs. Spent the afternoon chilling out in the thermal reserve, the sulphur pools stunk of rotten eggs and turned all our jewellry black! It was so cold walking round when you weren't in the pools. Got the jewellry cleaned with some silver cleaner then drove all the way to Westport via Lewis Pass arriving after dark.

May 16th 2004 - Westport - Motueka, New Zealand.

Drove down the coast to pancake rocks via the seal colony. We had left with only 1/4 tank of fuel only to find that when we arrived at pancake rocks there was no fuel station......shit cos the fuel light had been on for the last 10k's. We had to but 8litres of emergency fuel from a cafe that cost us 24 bucks!!! Robbing gits - but we were desparate. HAd a look at the pancake rocks, they were really cool, they looked like loads of pancakes stacked up. Made it back to Westport, refuelled the van then headed up North to Motueka. Stopped on the way at the Swing Bridge but they wanted 5 bucks to cross and we had no money....aaaahhh. What a bad day of planning. Motueka is situated on the edge of Abel Tasman National Park, you cannot drive into the park to we decided to book on a trip

May 17th 2004 - Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand.

Drove to Kaiteriteri to board the sea shuttle to be taken to the park. We were the only ones on board which was nice. Set off on the boat stopping at the various bays along the way where the guide pointed out the various sites and gave some history about the park. The coastline, rock formations and beaches were absolutely beautiful, the sea was also crystal clear with a slight greenish tinge. The sun was shining which made the best of everything. We sailed right up to Arawoa visting another seal colony along the way. We got off the boat and went into this real smart cafe for a cuppa. Back on the boat we cane back down the coast to Bark Bay where we got dropped off to start our walk through the park. We ate our lunch then headed off on the 2.5 hour walk. We walked all around the coastline through the forest and over rivers and streams. There was a bloody huge swing bridge that nearly made Lise turn back but after a lot of puffing, blowing, jelly legs etc she made it across. On the final part of the walk we were disturbed by a growling noise in the bushes which stopped us dead in our tracks, Chris grabbed a log and proceeded with caution and Lise just legged it. We were told after it was probably a wild pig. We completed the walk in 1.5 hours, not bad eh. Got back on the boat after having to wade through the sea, freezing or what, then got taken back to Kaiteriteri. We then decided to drive further on up towards Golden Bay to a place called Pohara, near Tekaka.

May 18th 2004 - Golden Bay, New Zealand.

Drove straight to Waikoropupu Springs this morning to view the worlds clearest springs, they were so clear you could see right to the bottom and it was really deep too. We did the walk all the way around and drove up to Patons Rocks to view the whole of Golden Bay. Headed back to Nelson afterwards and spent the afternoon/evening wandering around the centre of Nelson and then on the internet trying to plan the rest of our trip.

May 19th 2004 - Nelson - Wellington, New Zealand.

Left Nelson and drove towards Picton. Had to stop for fuel as we only had 1/4 tank again.Stopped for a KFC as we were sick of cheese sandwiches. Once in Picton we played a round of crazy golf which was fun......Lise won. Caught the 5pm ferry over to Wellington, the crossing was nice and smooth which was a relief. Found a nice campsite just outside the city and spent the night feeling homesick wishing we had a bed, TV, home comforts etc (we must be starting to think about coming home). Only 7 weeks left!

May 20th 2004 - Wellington, New Zealand.

Caught the bus into the city this morning. Had a Thai buffet type meal for lunch then wandered around the harbour. We then checked e-mails before catching the cable car up to the view point at the top of the city. Great views up here. We then walked around the botanical gardens for a while then had a coffee at good old Starbucks. Had to wait bloody ages for the bus to come and then we didn't have a clue where to get off. Luckily the locals were very helpful.

May 21st 2004 - Wellington - Taupo, New Zealand.

Drove all the way to Taupo today via the volcanic loop taking in three volcano's along the way (Tongario National Park).

May 22nd 2004 - Taupo, New Zealand.

Weather was crap so drove up the road to Huka Falls (about 2k's)

May 23rd 2004 - Taupo, New Zealand.

Spent the morning arranging our skydive then drove to the Craters of the Moon which is an area of thermal activity. Lots of steam coming out of the ground, boiling mud etc. We then went to Aratiatia Dam. They open up the gates every so many hours which floods the rapids downstream so we sat and waited for that to happen. Was quite cool. We then went back to Hukka Falls as the weather was much better. We walked around Wairakel Thermal Valley.....nice walk but thermal activity not as good as craters of the moon and we had to pay for this one! Couldn't sleep tonight due to nerves for tomorrows skydive.

May 24th 2004 - Taupo - Rotorua, New Zealand.

Phoned the skydive company at 9am to check they were jumping and they were as the weather was good. They picked us up at 9.20 and took us to the drop zone to get kitted out and watch some videos of previous sky divers. We waited for around 45mins then it was our turn. Chris was strapped to guy called Mike from Jersey and Lise was strapped to a guy called Patrik from Sweden. The tiny little plane came back from its last drop then off we went. We all crammed in like sardines for the 25 minute climb to 12000 feet. Then the green light came on, the doors opened and out went Chris....first out! Lise heard him shouting and thought oh shit is it that bad! Two more went then so did Lise. We then had 45 seconds of free fall at approximately 200kmh. It was totally amazing and the 45 secs went far too quick. Once the chute opened it took around 5mins to reach the ground. Wow wow wow. We would both do it again.
Left Taupo not quite believing what we had done but with a huge sense of achievement. Stopped at Waiotapu Thermal Park and did another walk around. This was by far the best thermal area we have seen yet. However the smell is enough to make you rotten eggs from all the sulphur. Headed on to Rotorua from here and found somewhere to stay.

May 25th 2004 - Rotorua, New Zealand.

Got up fairly early to drive back to Wai o tapu to see the Lady Knox Geyser erupt at 10am. We were late but luckily she hadn't erupted yet. When she did a large amount of water just spurted out of the top at a height of around 18m and lasted for about 1 hour. It was pretty impressive. All this is caused by superheated water under the ground. On the way back to Rotorua we stopped at Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve where we watched a Mauri show (they performed the Hakka which was really cool) then we wandered around the reserve and saw loads more bubbling mud pools and geysers. Stayed overnight again in Rotorua

May 26th 2004 - Rotorua - Auckland, New Zealand.

First thing we drove to the Blue and Green Lakes after feeding the ducks again. Then we drove up to Matamata to see about getting a trip to Hobbiton. We discovered it was 50 bucks to go and see a few holes in the side of a hill so didn't bother. We then decided to head on up to Auckland arriving there around 4ish. We stayed in a campsite on the North Shore about 5ks from the centre. Phoned Air New Zealand to see if we could change the date on our tickets to the 1st instead of the 3rd which they agreed......we now have longer in Fiji!!!

May 27th 2004 - Auckland, New Zealand.

Lise is ill with a cold. Took the scenic route into Auckland, bus, another bus, boat, then met up with Lucas (a guy we met on the Alice Springs Tour) to see if we could copy some of his photo's as we lost ours when the camera's got stolen. Went for a few bevvy's and arranged to meet again on Monday. As we now only have 4 full days left we need to rush up North to ensure we see evertything we want to see.

May 28th 2004 - Auckland - Bay of Islands, New Zealand.

Drove up to Bay of Islands today, but the weather was pretty crap so we couldn't really get any good pictures. I'm sure it looks lovely on a good day. Had a wander around the village then booked into a camp site nearby for the night.

May 29th 2004 - Kauri Museum, New Zealand.

Drove all day today through the Kauri Forests and managed to see the largest and oldest rainforest tree in the world, the Tane Mohetu. It was massive. Found a campsite next to the Kauri Museum where we spent the night.

May 30th 2004 - Kauri Museum - Auckland, New Zealand.

Went round the Kauri Museum this morning which was really interesting. Then drove back to Auckland and found a camp site closer to the airport.

May 31st 2004 - Auckland, New Zealand.

Met up with Lucas for lunch and managed to copy his CD with the photo's on from our desert trip in Oz. Then met up with Joe and Claire (who we met in Thailand) for a beer. Found out we were on the same flight to Fiji. Joe was really pissed off as he had just booked his flight home early from LA due to lack of funds.

June 1st 2004 - New Zealand - Fiji.

Arrived in Nadi late afternoon and it was raining. Booked into a hostel in Nadi by the beach with Joe and Claire. Sat and had dinner by the beach then watched a fire dancing show. Hostel was a bit basic to say the least.

June 2nd 2004 - Nadi, Fiji.

Got a taxi into Nadi town centre and had a wander round. Not the cleanest place in the world! Relaxed by the beach in the hammock in the afternoon. Weather still dull but not raining. Arranged to stay on the coral coast for 7 days, starting tomorrow.

June 3rd 2004 - Nadi - Coral Coast, Fiji.

Shared a taxi with Joe and Claire to the Beachhouse on the Coral Coast. Arrived at lunchtime and it started raining just as we arrived.

June 4th 2004 - Coral Coast, Fiji.

Rained non stop all day today. We sat and played cards and monopoly to keep ourselves occupied. Location and hostel really good. Shame about the weather

June 5th 2004 - Nadi - Coral Coast, Fiji.

Still raining.....not much to tell.

June 6th 2004 - Nadi - Coral Coast, Fiji.

Still raining.....not much to tell.

June 7th 2004 - Nadi - Coral Coast, Fiji.

Still raining.....not much to tell. Did manage to get 1 hour of sun today....woooopeeee.

June 8th 2004 - Nadi - Coral Coast, Fiji.

Still raining.....not much to tell. Got 1/2 hour of sun today, things are looking up.

June 9th 2004 - Nadi - Coral Coast, Fiji.

Still raining.....not much to tell.

June 10th 2004 - Fiji - LA, California.

Left the Coral Coast for the longest day of our lives. Spent the day in Nadi then caught the flight to LA at 10.30 at night Fiji time. The flight was 10 hours long and we arrived in LA at 2.30 in the afternoon on the same day! Confusing or what! Checked into the Hilton for 3 nights on a really good rate (cheaper than a hostel). Managed to stay awake til 10pm to get over the jet lag.

June 11th 2004 - LA, California.

Caught the bus into Santa Monica this morning and had lunch. Looked around the shops and then walked down to the beach. Spent 1/2 hour sunbathing (at last) then walked all the way down to Venice Beach. Spent the evening in Venice Beach then walked all the way back to Santa Monica (it was miles) to catch the bus back to the hotel.

June 12th 2004 - LA, California.

Headed to the airport this morning to pick up the car. We had to wait over 2 hours for the bloody thing. We then bombed over to West Hollywood to pick up Claire who was spending the next 8 days with us as Joe had gone home. We did the walk of fame on Hollywood Blvd, drove to the Hollywood sign, then through Beverley Hills and down Rodeo Drive. In the evening we went back to Venice Beach to take Claire.

June 13th 2004 - LA - Vegas

Drove for 5 hours to get to Vegas, arriving in the late afternoon. Booked into the Travelodge and then for a walk along the strip.

June 14th 2004 - Vegas, Nevada.

Chilled by the pool most of the day but it was so hot. In the evening we went into MGM and saw the MGM lions. Then we caught a bus to Fremont St and saw the Pyrotechnics light show which was pretty cool. Lost a few dollars in one of the casinos, none of us had a clue what we were doing and we were only playing the slots......desperate or what!

June 15th 2004 - Vegas - Grand Canyon.

Got up early and drove for 5 hours to the Grand Canyon South Rim. it was an amazing feeling when we walked up to the rim for the first time. It is so big its unbelievable. We spent the day walking along the rim and watched the sunset from one of the viewpoints before heading back to our accomodation an hours drive away.

June 16th 2004 - Grand Canyon - Death Valley.

Another 5 hour drive again today towards Death Valley. As we got closer we drove through a huge electric storm which was cool. We felt like storm chasers. Stayed in a place called Shoshone at the edge of DV National Park.

June 17th 2004 - Death Valley NP.

Set off really early today to avoid the heat. Drove up to Dante's View where you have amazing views of the whole valley. The temperatures were unbelievably hot. Did quite a few small walks and saw such diverse landscapes. In furnace creek we were 282ft below sea level which is the lowest point in America. The temp was 112 in the morning in the shade!!! Stopped in Bishop overnight on our way to Yosemite NP.

June 18th 2004 - Yosemite National Park.

Drove towards Yosemite Valley via the Tioga Pass. The views along here were amazing. We stopped and did a hike up to dog lake, they should have called it mossie lake as there were loads of them and Lise got bitten. Arrived in the valley late afternoon and booked into our accomodation (75 bucks for a tent!). Drove passed El Capitan then walked to Yosemite Falls. Just before sun set we drove up to Glacier Point and sat and watched the sun set over Half Dome.

June 19th 2004 - Yosemite National Park.

Did the Mirror Lake 2 mile hike this morning, got some great pics of half dome reflecting in the lake. Then did the Vernal Falls Hike 2.6 miles and much steeper but worth it. After that we drove out to get better views of El Capitan and then on again to Bridal Veil Falls. We left the valley late afternoon and drove all the way to a place called Pleasanton just outside San Francisco.

June 20th 2004 - Pleasanton - San Francisco, California.

Drove straight to the Travelodge near the airport this morning, unloaded our stuff and decided to take the car back 2 days early. Dropped the car at the airport then caught the train into the city. Once in the city we took another bus up to the golden gate bridge. Sat at the viewing area for some time then caught the bus back to Fishermans Wharf and the famous pier 39. It was getting late so we caught a tram back to Market Street - we had to hang off the sides as there was no room which made it even more fun! Waited ages in the cold for the bus back to the Motel - this was partly because we had no idea what bus to catch or where to catch it from!

June 21st 2004 - San Francisco, California.

Up at 5.30am this morning as Claire was catching the shuttle to the airport. We said our goodbyes then caught the bus into town and spent 1.5hrs trying to find somewhere to watch the footie. Tried 3 pubs then caught the bus to some pub on the outskirts of the city which had the game on but were charging 20 bucks each to get in! It was bloody half time by the time we got there and they still wanted 20 we waited outside then got in for free 20 mins before the end. Once back in the city we took a tram to the famous crooked street and then caught the bus back to the motel.

June 22nd 2004 - S. Francisco - Alcatraz.

Headed into the city at lunch time, had a browse round the shopping centre then caught the tram to pier 39. We wandered around the pier for a while before catching the ferry to Alcatraz. It was really eerie and smelt of bird poo. We walked all around the old cell house, got locked in 'the hole' on D block which was horrible then listened to the echoing sound of all the cell doors being locked......this was horrible too. You could just imagine what it must have been like. We bought a book written by an ex bank robber Darwin Coon who was actually there, he sighned the book and chatted to us for a while. He was one of the last 29 in Alcatraz when it closed in 1963. Got back to the main land, had fish and chips on pier 39 then headed back to the motel.

June 23rd 2004 - San Francisco - Vancouver

Got to the airport for 12 midday only to find that the flight had been changed from 14.35 to 15.55, so we had a bloody long wait. We arrived in Vancouver at around 6pm and spent the next hour trying to sort out a hire car. All of the hire companies were so expensive. Got a deal on a hotel room from the airport and left without a car. Room was nice, had a jacuzzi!.

June 24th 2004 - Vancouver, Canada.

Got up early, caught the bus into the city, found a bar and watched the footie. Left the pub gutted as we lost on penalties. Sorted out a car from Budget - 387 bucks for 4 days, can you believe it!!!! Drove back to the hotel getting lost along the way as we couldn't remember the address and didn't have a street map either!! You'd think we would have learnt after 6 months.

June 25th 2004 - Vancouver - Kamloops, Canada.

Got some directions on how to get out of the city only to mess up our turning and find ourselves heading for the American Border. We've never had this much trouble in the whole 6 months so we put it down to the crap road signs in need a telescope to read then they're that small Carried on driving for 5 hours until we reached a place called Kamloops after stopping at Bridal Veil Falls along the way. Stayed overnight in Kamloops.

June 26th 2004 - Kamloops - Jasper NP, Canada.

We left Kamloops and headed North on the scenic drive to Jasper. The road was excellent considering you were driving through the mountains. We stopped at the Mt Robson Lookout. Mt Robson is the highest mountain in the Rockies standing at nearly 4000m. While we were driving along the road we saw some cars stopped looking at something. We stopped and ran back up the road to find a black bear with two cubs. THey were so cute, we were only about 15m away from them (the rangers insist you must always stay at least 100m away.......oh well). Arrived in Jasper in the late afternoon, found a B & B. Went to the cinema and watched the day after tomorrow. When we left the cinema it was about 11.20pm and was still not dark!

June 27th 2004 - Jasper - Banff, Canada.