Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Greetings and welcome to what may be the final post on this blog.
We have finally made it to New York where we are staying with my aunt and uncle in brooklyn.

Going back in time somwhat to Fiji...

In this photo you can see a Kava ceremony which is a mildly sedative drink created from the crushed stems and roots of the kava plant. Tourists dont generally find it has much effect, but the Fijians drink it all the time and get absoultely wasted.

Here is the view from our resort's beach.

Onto San Francisco. Here is Lombard Street, the only wiggly street in San Fran. People drive down this all day, for no real reason!

We went over to Alcatraz on a rainy, windy day. Here's Suze in one of the cells.

Had a quick look at the Golden Gate Bridge

We spent 8 days in San Fran and finally worked out that we couldnt afford to get a car so took a Greyhound bus to LA. We stayed three nights in Hollywood and one night in Venice Beach. We stayed very close to Mann's Chinese Theatre which has the concrete handprints outside. My favourite one was this one.

We went on a walking tour around Beverly Hills and Bel Air and saw Brad & Jen's house which they can't sell because it has bad karma, apparently. We also saw the Playboy Mansion and this house, which belongs to Erin Spelling. It has 210 bedrooms, dedicated gift-wrapping room and cost $90M!!!

We went down to Rodeo Drive and two of the people in our group swore they saw 50cent racing away behind us in a sports car.

Spent a day at Venice, but the weather was freezing so there wasn't much beach action and the next day we went off to fabulous Las Vegas. We arrived in the evening and headed straight off to play some poker. We played three times in total and I lost $100, while Suze lost $50, but it wasnt my fault, I just didnt catch the cards. The next day we moved to a hotel(!) in downtown Vegas ($35/night), which was exciting after months in hostels. The four blocks that make up Freemont Street have been covered over with a canopy of 12 million LED's, which they use to make light shows. It was a pretty impressive sight.

We checked out the Strip and saw all the hotels over the next couple of days. My favourite one is the Venetian, an ordinary casino on the ground floor, but go up the stairs... and you find a full replica of the canals of Venice complete with gondaliers and venetian streets.

The newest hotel in town is the Wynn which was very beautiful, but very posh.. and has a full golf course out the back.

Vegas is also home to the drive - thru wedding, and we found numerous chapels with bargain deals of $45/wedding, including a photo and rose. We saw three couples getting married at the famous little white chapel.

We did a day trip to the Grand Canyon, which was a 14hour bus ride, return. Last time I went to the Grand Canyon, it was so hot that by 10am we had to go inside. But this time there was snow on the ground which made it look even better.

After Vegas we spent a night in Omaha to see Nick from uni. Nick took us out for dinner and I had the best steak of my life, it was like butter, amazing. The next morning we went to see his parent's mansion.

Our next stop was Chicago. We celebrated Paddys Day in a very busy Irish bar and this was the only bit of Chicago I saw as I caught a viral infection which meant I couldn't get out of bed for the next two days and I am still recovering from it now. Suze did an afternoon of sightseeing without me and brought back this picture takrn from atop the Sears Tower

So now we are in New York. I have managed to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, but that's about it. In fact, I am so ill that Suze is my PA and has had to write this all for me. So a big hand for Suze. I am home about 9am Sunday so I expect to see you at Heathrow :)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Fiji and San Francisco


After a hectic few months of travelling the time finally came to relax for a bit so we went to Fiji. We stayed at a nice place called the beach house and did almost nothing of interest for a week and it was lovely. I apologise if this makes for a poor blog entry but i wanted to make america as interesting as possible for you.

Te 2nd of march was the longest day of my life, literally! We spent the day by the beach in Fiji and went to the airport, then we set off at 10.15pm and landed in LA at 1.15pm on the same day! (Dateline crossings are weird) We flew to Los Angeles with no plans other than vague notion that we wanted to get to San Francisco as quickly as possible as LA is monstrously huge and once you go downtown it takes a couple of hours to get out again. After finding the United airline tickets were $370 we thought we were going to have to get the bus overnight but fortunately we found another airline which cost $120 so we flew and managed to get into the hostel we'd booked for the following 2 nights.Then we went out on a pub crawl and ended up in a club until the 3rd March, blimey.

Last night we went to a free show and saw Mix Master Mike (Beastie Boys) at a very cool club. At one point he was mixing 'Smells like teen spirit' with 'Killing in the Name' San Fran has so many cool bars and clubs (and you know i'm not that bothered about clubbing) so we're probably going to stay another night or two.

We'd planned to go to Omaha to see our friend Nick from Uni but that's unfortunately fallen through so now we've got some spare days and no real idea what we want to do, Yosemite and Death Valley are possibilities though we'll probably hire a car and drive down the coast road to LA, if we can find a car cheap enough.

Pictures shall follow but this PC is locked in a box!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Last Days in NZ

Hey, well our time in NZ has basically come to an end. From White Island we drove up the coast and stopped off at some small towns along the way and ended up at the bay of islands in the far north. Ideally we'd have done a boat trip but we didn't have much time or money left so we just drove around and went swimming and sunbathed a bit. Yesterday we drove to Auckland and got rid of our car, 5600Km worse off than when we got it (We only had it 21 days, do the maths on that one!) Auckland isn't the most exciting place in the world so we've done a lot of walking around, went to see Munich last night (Pretty good film) and went over to Devonport on the ferry. Tonight we're going to the -5 bar which is carved out of ice and you have to put on thick clothes and drink vodka out of ice glasses, sounds fun. Tomorrow we get up at 4am! and fly to Fiji. We're scheduled to be there a week but it seems to be raining a lot so me might go to California a bit earlier. Only a month left now, i'll be back with you all before you know it!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

North Island

Kia Ora (Greetings and good health in Maori)

It appears that my blog is not worth commenting on unless i put up various pictures of suze and I in ridiculous poses so perhaps this post will fare better than the last.

So here are some photos which relate to the last post, firstly the gorge at Hokitika

Here is me in the smallest BMW i've ever seen at a car museum in Nelson, the windscreen was also the front door.

Next up is split apple rock in the Abel Tasman

We spent our two days in Wellington before heading north to Taupo, the cheapest place in the world to skydive. Both Suze and I jumped from 12000ft. I'd already done a jump in the Czech Republic but this was Suze's first jump and she was scared on the way up but euphoric after. Jumping for the second time is cool because you can take in the sensation of freefall better as the first time it's quite overwhelming and you find you can't remember it. What was also good about jumping over Taupo was that you could see the volcanos used as Mt Doom in LOTR

Here is Suze after her jump

From Taupo we headed up to Rotorua, the Maori cultural centre of New Zealand. We went to a Maori show and saw their weapons, songs and dances.

We also went Zorbing where two of you climb inside a huge rubber sphere and slide down a hill with a load of water in the bottom of the Zorb, it was fun! You can see one in the background here

Today we visited white Island, one of the world's most active marine volcanos. we took a 2 hour boat ride out to it and walked around, it was very cool.

And that's all for now, we have 4 days left in New Zealand, we have to be in Auckland in 2 so we have 2 days free which we're not sure what to do with but we've already spent our budgets here so whatever we do will have to be Cheap! If anyone wants to pay me for all the entertainment this site brings you i'm sure we can sort something out!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Wine Tasting

Hey there, after our long drive up the west coast we did another long drive across to the East coast and stayed a night in Kaikoura where one can go whale spotting. However the weather was rubbish and we decided it wasn't worth the cash so we headed up to a small town called Renwick which is in the heart of New Zealand wine country.

The next day we hired bikes and visited 7 different vineyards and got free wine tastings at all of them. We were getting 6 or 7 small glasses at each place so needless to say our bikes got progressively more unsteady as the day progressed. We were drinking 12-15 pound bottles of wine from one of the best places in the world for white wine so it was all very drinkable. It would have been nice to stay longer really, there were 41 vineyards within 5km of our hostel and we only managed 7 but we had to press onwards to Nelson and the Abel Tasman national park.

Yesterday we did a quick 7 mile hike in Abel Tasman. Upon arrival it was raining and we feared we might have our first rain-off of the whole trip but fortunately it cleared up. We took a water taxi up the coast and then walked back along an elevated coastal track which occasionally ran along the coast but also showed a preponderance for going inland. By the time we finished we were knackered though suze wants you to know she did very well!

From there we drove to Picton where the ferry to the North Island goes from which we caught this morning over to Wellinton, the capital. Today we explored the town a bit and met up with a couple we trekked with in Vietnam which was cool. We're going to take the north island a little slower than the south so tomorrow we're going to spend another whole day in Wellington, craziness!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New Zealand South Island

Hello, my sincerest apologies for this ridiculously late blog. Basically the internet in New Zealand is a little behind the times and many cafe owners enjoy locking their computer in a wooden box so you can't play with the insides, but i've finally found a vulnerable one so let's begin.

We flew into christchurch many eons ago (About 2 weeks) and stayed 2 nights, it was quite pleasant and had quite an english feel to it with punters boating down the avon river and such like. We visited the college where Ernest Rutherford did his early work and saw an interesting aerial sculpture. Unfortunately both of us were feeling rather ill and the lingering after effects still trouble us but we battle on, for you!

We have hired a car, a thrilling 1.5L Toyota Corolla no less which we've already thrashed for 3000Km as you read this and it's going to get plenty more yet. Our first stop outside christchurch was Akaroa, a quaint, slightly french town (the french landed here first but the Brits kicked them out when they came back, hoho) We ate pastries.

From here we went over to Lake Tekapo which had a nice little church on its shores. The lake was a wonderful turquoise colour from dissolved rock (That was all in one day)

Next we went to see Mt Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand and then off to Oamaru to see two penguin colonies, the ultra-rare yellow penguins which climbed up the cliff and came within touching distance and the smaller blue penguins which we had to find in our car.

From here we went off to Dunedin which was mostly uneventful though it does have the steepest street in the world, Balwdin street. I climbed to the top and found a bench and a drinking fountain, how thoughtful!

From there we headed along the southern scenic route through the Catlins to Slope point, the southern most point of New Zealand, possibly the furthest point from home for us, we weren't sure. (Can someone work it out, what's the furthest point from guildford and if it's not in New Zealand what's the nearest place we'll be to it)

We also saw nugget point which was quite beautiful.

Arriving at the other end of the scenic route we got to Milford sound which isn't really a sound but a Fiord and a stunning one at that. We took a 2 hour boat trip around it and drank loads of complimentary coffee/tea.

From here we went to Queenstown, the adrenaline capital of new zealand. Unfortunately adrenaline appears to cost around $200/hr so we contented ourselves with racing each other on the luge and checking out the great scenery from above the town.

Heading north from Queenstown we arrived at puzzling world in Wanaka which had some cool exhibits including this weird room and a giant maze which took suze and I 45 minutes to solve.

Yesterday we did a full day walk up the Franz Josef glacier which was great, we walked through an ice cave which was predicted to melt within 3 days.

Today we raced up the coast to see the pancake rocks of punakaiki and the glow worms of hokitika (no photos of them i'm afraid, too dark)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Whitsunday's and Fraser Island

Hey there, the last week of our trip has been excellent, almost certainly the most expensive week of the trip but we've done some cool stuff. After checking out Bondi beach in Syndey we flew 3 hours north up to Airlie beach to do a 3 day sailing trip on a racing yacht 'freight train'.

We visited whitehaven beach which looked stunning from the lookout above it.

We also saw a great sunset here

We did some scuba diving here and also did a night dive which was pretty cool, we all piled into a little dingy with all our stuff on and backrolled out of the water with just a torch and a glowstick for light. I saw a squid which was cool but we had to abort the dive because the instructors torch failed but we got to finish our tanks the next morning so that worked out alright. We also did some great snorkelling on the reef and all our meals were cooked for us so it turned out to be a really fun three days.

From Airlie we hopped on an overnight bus to Hervey Bay which is the jumping off point for Fraser Island, the biggest sand island in the world. We had a good group of 8 lads and 2 girls in our 4.2L Toyota landcruiser and everyone that wanted to drive got a go. There's no tarmac roads, just sand tracks of varying quality, we got bogged a couple of times but did pretty well overall.

The first place of note we saw was Lake Wabby, possibly the most striking lake i've seen. The ocean around fraser is full of sharks and jellyfish so you can only swim in the lakes but there are about 6 and they're all beautiful.

We saw the 75 year old shipwreck of the Maheno

We had to cook our food in the evening at a base camp, the girls did more than their fair share.

Here's the jeep we used

The water in Lake Birabeen and Mackenzie was absolutely clear and great for swimming in, we spent the 3rd day swimming and attempting various flips.

So that was Fraser, we had a good laugh in the evenings as well and got back to Hervey Bay pretty tired. The next day we bused down to Noosa where we are now. We walked through the national park and saw Koalas, Parrots and Brush Turkeys.

Now we only have 2 days left in Australia, we fly to New Zealand on the 25th and we're hiring a car for about 25 days, we're both really looking forward to it!

(There are more photos on Flickr, click on any of the photos above to jump to the set page.)