Friday, January 26, 2007

A week of extremes!

We arrived here to hot sweltering temperatures. Despite having a rental car we decided to start our week by walking and ferrying. The ferry trip into the city was just a short 10 minute ride, and we did this twice, however the walk to the ferry was 10 minutes in 30 degree heat so we flagged it after the second trip and went back to our lovely air conditioned rental car.

I would like to talk about the extremes, which have been excellent, with the exception of a reasonably bad case of sunburn. This is the result of a lily white body being exposed to the sun during a couple of hours swimming at the beach, (note this was not sensible me) but I can not say the same for Cassandra and Johnathan. Cassandra could quite easily adopt the name “lobby” (short for lobster) for the next few days; her face is shiny like a traffic light.

Our extremes have been awesome, we had a tiny visitor (some sort of gecko) in our apartment one night, he was the size of a match and had really big eyes and little suction cup feet and was incredibly cute but very vulnerable given his size so we picked him up in a glass and put him outside so as not to squash him when we were walking around.
On the opposite end of the animal/bug scale, we saw a stick insect about 15 cm length and the thickness of a pencil.

Another extreme was a chance visit to the local lookout point on Mt Coot-tha (just 5 minutes from us. When arrived just on sunset we were amazed to see a large group of people all facing the same direction. When we asked someone we were told it was a comet (McNaughts, I think) and it was pointed out, apparently it only comes around every 10 years or so. It looked amazing with naked eye; a long tail was glowing across the sky.

We have temperatures of 30c and teasing rain showers of 2 minutes.
The rain has been welcomed by the Australians, in some areas double the amount of last years entire rainfall for the year fell in one downpour and created massive flooding cutting some towns off from civilisation. It is hard to imagine that can happen.

On the good news front we are closer to kicking of on our first adventure. We have taken possession of a Toyota Prado Land Cruiser, Bronze over Champagne, License plate 066-JYC, I only enclose the number so if it appears on the headline news you know it us and can raise the alarm, Wolf Creek and all that you know.
We have also ordered a Camper Trailer, from, they are making it now and we can pick it up on Tuesday.
The beast is all Terrain, 9’x9’ tent + 18’x 9’ screened annex, Sink/bench, 2 long range gas ports, storage box, LPG holder, Queen size bed, etc….

We have purchased a lot of camping stuff; we have easily visited over 20 shops buying stoves, single beds, gas lamps, tables, chairs, Dutch ovens and all the camping accoutrements.
Today is Australia Day and we have finally found an internet cafe and the time to sit and update. We have tried to buy a local conection and you would not believe the nonsense you have to go through to get on line.
Yesterday the weather opened up and we had torential ran for over half the day, this will help the Aussie dams, Brisbane has a level 4 water restrictionon, L5 is the highest.
We have had a really hectic time sorting ourselves getting ready for the big off. In less than a week we will be on the way. Our first planned drive is a short trip to Ballina, Casino and Lismore where we can test the car, the tent, go fossicking (precious gems) and fishing. We are hanging out for the fishing.
Attached is the car and a pic from the Mt Coot’tha Japanese garden. We walked the gardens at the base of Mt Coot'tha, very cool heaps of Aussie creatures to see.
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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Unemployed & Homeless

Catching up with Wendy's sister Trish today, we visited Aramoana beach and explored the rock pools at low tide. The place is called the Te Angiangi marine reserve, it was stunning.
We are all unemployed and homeless at the moment and loving it.

Walking the beach
Examining a starfish

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Last night in Taupo

Well it's finally here, the last night in the house. All 3 of us are sleeping on the floor. We head out tomorrow to travel round the North Island farewelling family and friends.
We went down to Palmerston North last W/E to catch up and say goodbye to friends, on the way home we bypassed state highway 1 and drove the back roads home. I highly recommend this route.
We passed through a series of small towns and found some amazing scenery.

The town of Kimbolton gave us a great view of the valley below. At Mangaweka we came across an old derelict pump house from an abandoned dam project dating back to 1938.

We walked along the Mangaweka river to the old dam, the dam was abandoned when a large log got stuck in the race. The log is still visible.
Just to think we are leaving this amazing country behind for a while, it’s hard to believe.

Top Picture is the Mangaweka stream.
Middle Picture, factory of a bygone day.
Bellow, Mangaweka rail bridge.