Rachel and Matt’s World Tour

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Bye Oz!

Just a quick one….

Due to Darwin being a little dull we are leaving early and head for Bali today! So I have to do the usual highlights/lowlights on leaving a country…

Undoubtedly Australia Zoo,
Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef,
Our camping tour of the red centre – Uluru, Kata Tjuta and King’s Canyon,
Camping on our own private Whitsunday beach,
Beating Matt in our little fishing competition in Mallacoota,
Great towns – Sydney and Melbourne rock,
One of Matt’s highlights was playing in the 4×4 on Fraser Island.

Flies, midges, and stingers – attempting to ruin our fun!
The distances required to drive from A to B – it’s as big as Europe!


April 12, 2009   5 Comments

Cairns to the Outback

Hello all

Cairns was a yet another great Aussie town. The swimming lagoon in the town centre was massive and we enjoyed a day chilling out there. Cairns was also the base for our little excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. We took an excellent day trip (we highly recommend the Seacat) which included an hilarious introduction to the day and to snorkelling, lunch, and 5 hours at 2 dive sites: Saxon Reef and Hastings Reef. We were totally amazed at the colours of the fishes and the coral as it was much better than we expected. Definately one of our best days in Oz. We got an underwater camera so there are a few pics to give you a hint at what we saw. Unfortunately we didn’t get a shot of the Nemo family we saw in an anemone. It was so cute because the baby ones were the size of a stamp!

We have since gone outback! We stayed in Ayer’s Rock resort which is little more than a ring road with 5 hotels on it. There is nothing else anywhere near so it feels very desolate. We then joined ‘The Rock Tour’ for 3 days. Again, highly recommended. We visited Ayer’s Rock, The Olga’s and King’s Canyon and surprisingly we were more impressed by each stop in that order. We camped for 2 nights under the stars in nothing more than a ‘swag’ (a waterproof sleeping bag with a thin mattress in it). I thought I would not sleep a wink for fear of spiders and snakes but actually I slept like a baby. It was very peaceful with nothing but the stars above.

We saw lots of wildlife – wild horses, wild camels(!), kangaroos, Matt saw a rock wallaby, huge eagles, a thorny devil, a tame dingo, and about ten billion flies.

We are now in Alice Springs where we went out for dinner with most of group last night – a great bunch. Looking forward to flying to Darwin this afternoon and then Bali in 5 days for the start of our South East Asia leg – a relief for the budget!

Laters x

April 10, 2009   1 Comment

Sydney to Airlie Beach

Hello everyone.

You may have been thinking that we haven’t been up to much recently, due to our lack of updates, but in the last two weeks we have visited the working home of the late, great Steve Irwin, had a 4×4 adventure, and been marrooned on a desert island to name a few.

On leaving Sydney we travelled to Port Stephen, about 4 hours north. Although we were only passing through, we did see a great sunset.

The next day was another driving day, which involved a stop in Port Macquarie. On the harbour wall, people have painted the rocks and left personal messages. Some are funny, and some are very poignant.

Byron Bay was our next stop. A small town with a great beach, and lots of surfers. We managed to get the last spot in our campsite and decided to spend a few days there, doing nothing more than lazing on the beach while watching the learner surfers fall off.

Heading north again towards Brisbane, we took a slight detour to Nimbin, a hippy town who’s cookies got rave reviews from two of my mates. We went through the “museum” which was a bit too weird for us. The cookies were nowhere to be seen, though the video playing in the museum showing a recent arrest might have had something to do with it!

Australia Zoo was always on our list of things to do, so we had to visit when driving through Brisbane. It is by far the best zoo either of us have been too, and contained a lot more than just crocs. Rach fulfilled a dream by holding a Koala and both of us got to feed the resident Kangaroos aswell as seeing the famous feeding time at the Crocoseum. It’s obvious that Steve Irwin put his heart and soul into the place and his enthusiasm does still come across even 18 months after his death.

I got to play with a serious “big boy toy” at our next destination, Fraser Island. Fraser Island is the worlds biggest sand island, and all national park. The only way to get around is with 4×4’s on VERY bumpy tracks which are dotted around the island. After we had dug our van out from a very sandy campsite, we rented a 4×4 for 2 days, which involved a night sleeping on the beach. We had to pay a visit to Lake Mckenzie so Rach could give her face a scrub with the very fine sand and soften her hair in the clear water (and Lou, she said her skin did feel amazing afterwards). I was just happy to be driving a big, powerful car down tiny dirt tracks. Rachels neck wasn’t. After not getting much sleep, due to the wind and dingos sniffing around our tent we drove to Lake Wabi, which is gradually being engulfed by a massive sand bluff. This was a very beautiful place and it’s sad that the lake won’t be there in 10 or so years time. Unfortunately due to erosion we couldn’t go further north, so were unable to explore much more of the island.

After handing our Land Cruiser back dent free thankfully, we headed north driving towards Airlie Beach and the famous Whitsunday Islands. Camping on the beach at Fraser had whetted our appetites, so we were dropped off at Crayfish Bay on Hook Island for 3 days of isolation. We had the whole of a beautiful beach to ourselves and with no way of contacting the outside world it was very peaceful.

After taking relaxation to new levels we arrived back in Airlie to complete our tour of the Whitsundays. We went out on a boat called Fury, which having 900hp went very fast. We stopped off at arguably Australias best beach, Whitehaven and went snorkelling on an offshore reef. We had a great day laughing at ourselves and others in the Stinger Suits. Rach refuses to put her photo on, but mine is there for your viewing (dis)pleasure!

We are now heading for Cairns, where we will begrudgingly say goodbye to our camper.

April 1, 2009   10 Comments


Hello everyone.

We have just spent 6 days in Sydney and we both loved the place.
It is a great city and seeing those landmarks in real life is very cool but very surreal.

On arriving we went straight into the centre for our first views of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. We wandered around an area called ‘The Rocks’ for a drink then took the ferry to Manly and back to take in the views of the Harbour. All of the boat routes can be used with your travel pass, so they make a great way of seeing the rest of the city. We spent £20 each for unlimited travel around the city for a week – bargain!

The next day we explored Darling Harbour and went shopping in Kings Cross. Later on we went to a 1930’s style fairground, Luna Park, to have a ride on the ferris wheel and the old roller coaster, but we dissaponted to be told that there was a storm coming and the outdoor rides were closed. 5 mins later and it was chucking it down, with lots of purple lightning lighting up the sky. Very dramatic!

We spent one afternoon walking around the Botanical Gardens. To our surprise this was a very popular place to get married, but with the Harbour Bridge and Opera House in the background, the wedding photo’s are gonna be good. There were lots of Japanese people getting really close up to the couples mod vows and taking hundreds of photo’s (they really are snap happy), which we thought was pretty rude but very amusing.

Sydney has some great beaches and we spent a few days at Manly and the world famous Bondi Beach.  One of our highlights was fish and chips with our legs dangling off Manly Wharf (and the huge beers from the bavarian beer bar there).

I enjoyed the StarWars exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum – Rach humoured me while we looked round a 4ft wide Millenium Falcon. She preferred wandering round Paddington market – lush food stalls.

On St Patrick’s Day we went out for dinner and drinks in Darling Harbour – very cool place, great view from the restaurant balcony.

On the way out of Sydney we went to Palm Beach, aka Summer Bay. We were lucky enough to catch them filming – a very dramatic helicopter sea rescue! Take a look at the pics. Around the beach it’s nothing like Summer Bay – the houses sell for millions. We had ice creams at the Surf Club!

We are now en route to Byron Bay – staying at very picturesque oceanside camp sites along the way. This is the life!

Bye for now.

March 19, 2009   4 Comments

Melbourne to Sydney


We are now in Sydney having travelled around the coast from Melbourne in our lovely campervan.

We have stayed in some gorgeous oceanside and lakeside spots: Lakes Entrance, Mallacoota, Dolphin Point/Burrill Lake, and Shell Harbour.

We stayed a couple of days in Mallacoota and hired a boat and went fishing. I won, with a catch of 4 fish to Matt’s 3. I even put my own bait on the hook! Of course, we both have stories of ‘the one that got away’ but Matt’s catch, lost at the side of the boat, seems to have grown to whale size proportions.

We spent a day at Jervis bay, part of which is Hyams Beach which apparently has the whitest sand in the world.  With that and the turquoise water it was a beautiful and surprisingly empty place to while away a few hours.

We also took a 1 night detour inland to Canberra – what a boring place! Capital Hill building is reasonaby cool, but the whole city is one big, beige business park.

The Museum of Australia was worth a visit. Some of it was very interesting – especially the exhibition about the changes made by the colonies to the wildlife and landscape. Some of it was a bit naff – a 12min abstract video presentation of Australia from creation to modern day?!

We are enjoying Sydney so far. It is very surreal to see the bridge and the Opera House in real life.

I’m in a great mood because I was allowed to buy a new pair of shoes! I think I wore a pair out at the Westfield Mall – it’s massive. Weather has been great – about 26C most days. We are here for maybe a week ncluding St Patrick’s day so should have plenty more to tell you in our next post.

Laters x

March 14, 2009   4 Comments