Snowy New Zealand

Oooh! Those mountains are close!, originally uploaded by Chrstopher.

It’s certainly different in the far south of New Zealand to anything we’ve seen in Australia. They’ve got proper winters here. As you can see, the approach to Queenstown airport was pretty amazing. We swooped in over the mountains and could actually see people going up on chairlifts.

As mentioned by Louisa, we also did some skiing ourselves. You can see some photos of that here.

Croco cruise

We went croco cruising down a mangrove swamp and saw three crocodiles  2 females and the 1 and only male !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Skiing on the Mountainside.

Two days ago we went cross country skiing and had a go at going down, up and flat with skis. First of all we had a lesson so we could learn exactly how to cope and use the sticks and other equipment. First of all we tried going flat (which lead to falling over ALOT!) Next we tried a slope which was defnately the hardest bit. After our full length lesson we were aloud to go freestyle. Next we tried out the Mary’s Trail for Begginners. It involved some hard work and a pit stop for a picnic in the snow. I was eager to carry on unlike Anna so i repeated the trail with dad, while Anna and Mum made a snow man!!! Just a quick note: Following on from Dad’s Post below or on the homepage, another way to keep children happy whilst travelling around the world is to give them an ice-cream every day!!!! 🙂

Halfway through

So we’re into the second half of our trip now. It seems like it has gone by pretty quickly, although it also seems a lifetime ago we were catching the taxi to Heathrow. So what lessons have we learnt so far about travelling around the world (with children?)

  1. It’s a good idea to have multiple bank accounts. So if the ATM rejects one card, it might accept the other. From our statistically insignificant sample of 2 accounts, HSBC beats Smile hands down. Beth has only had her card rejected once. I’ve had my card rejected in every country we’ve been to. I have been given cash on the odd occasion though.
  2. Kids like routine. So if you’re staying in a different place every other day they might find it hard to get off to sleep. So take this into account and build in some time just to ‘chill out’. They say you should pack by getting everything you need and then take half of it. I think when travelling with children you should draw up your itinerary and then cut out half of it.
  3. TripAdvisor is generally a good guide. If it gets a good write up, then it probably is a pretty decent place. Unless it’s in Alice Springs. Seriously, that place is just screwed up (with the exception of the excellent reptile centre). But read between the lines. Somewhere that’s great value for backpackers might not be right for you.
  4. Don’t bring light coloured socks for the children unless you really like handwashing in hotel sinks!

Rainforest, Reef and the Rock

We’ve been pretty quiet over the last week or so, mainly due to doing lots of travelling and not having much access to the internet. Actually, the three nights we spent in the rainforest were in accommodation which was completely off-grid. Anyway, I can confirm we are still alive and have got a lot of photos to download off our cameras. So where have we been?

We started off by flying up to tropical North Queensland and heading to the Daintree National Park as mentioned in Louisa’s post. We stayed at the Exotic Fruit Farm at Cape Trib. It’s a fantastic place and I’ve no idea how they manage to keep the cabins in such great shape, considering the conditions. While we were there we saw cassowaries and crocodiles in the wild and tasted some fruits we’d never heard of before. Black sapote, abiu, rollinia to name some of our favourites. On a snorkelling trip out to the reef I was lucky enough to swim with a couple of turtles and to see a huge stingray.

After getting quite damp in the rainforest (and the dry season at that) we flew to central Australia, direct to Ayers Rock airport. We drove to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and took some walks around them. We were quite awestruck. Seeing pictures of them doesn’t really compare to seeing them for real.

Today we drove to Alice Springs which is just down the road (i.e. 450km away). The outback scenery was interesting and so were the roadhouses. One just seemed to be full of slightly unhinged people and I’m talking about the staff as well as the customers. Alice Springs is also a bit weird. Nothing seems to work quite right. The first place we tried for lunch had nearly run out of food and the second one took ages and lost half our order. It’s like the whole place is staffed by temporary workers who just arrived.

Dazzling Daintree!

I have just come back from the daintree rainforest in Australia where i have been having a fab time. We only just managed to squeeze in snorkling before the trip home. I can now say i have been to the GREAT BARRIER REEF. I actually saw some fish!!! It was really wavey and hard to swim in. I saw a spotty fish AND a group swimming together. Also yesterday i went to the daintree river and had a crocodile cruise. We saw three!!!! One crocodile was 5 METRES long and it’s tail was a foot wide. Then we also saw a HUGE fat female who the guide said had just caught herself a juicy, yummy wallaby for breakfast. Hope all is well back home!!! 🙂

Koala Kingdom

As a brilliant day trip we took a drive to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary to find some creatures. As well as koalas we saw kangaroos, tasmanian devils, fresh-water crocodiles, snakes, lizards, dingoes, platypuses, wombats, emus, parrots and lots and lots of birds. Events seemed to follow on from the next there were so many. I particuarly enjoyed the rainbow lorikeets being fed. I was also rather amused with the Birds of Prey show and sheep shearing.We were just sitting down to eat our lunch when a goat jumped upon the table!!! It was sooooooooooo fun. We got to feed the kangaroos AND stroke a snake. COOL!!!!