Friday, 2 October 2009


I have not completed this blog, though I have completed my round-the-world journey. It was an amazing experience, a very good time! I saw the world, I scratched that travelling itch and I enjoyed most of it! I saw people I hadn't seen in forever and I saw friends that I had seen recently and I've finally met some people I've known forever! I stayed with lovely people and at funky hostels and generally had the best time ever. I also spent a lot of time asleep on buses, but that was ok :-) Did many things I'd never done before and have made quite a few life decisions about what I would still like to do and what I want to do again.

I now feel I can settle down for a bit and just get on with my life. I'm now doing a PGCE at Sheffield University and it's very fun but very challenging work. But it's something that doesn't give me a lot of free time. (This is also the latest I've stayed up all week!)

Next time I go travelling, I'll pull out this blog again and dust it off. But for now, au revoir :-)

Saturday, 23 May 2009


Pet Porpoise pool in Coffs Harbour was AMAZING! We got to play with dolphins, touch them, feed them, and get a kiss from them! There were sea lions too that we could feed and get kisses from, so sweet! Pictures to follow :-) Fed turtles and sharks and fairy penguins too! Left and walked around the jetty part of the harbour and over the breakwater where big waves WENT OVER the breakwater, soaking us! Walked over to Muttonbird Island in really strong wind and saw some wild dolphins from the tip. So cool! On the way back though we got caught in heavy heavy rain. Got even more soaked! Argh.
Next day, rain too heavy to leave the house, flood warnings! Day after, leave in a train, 9 hours later in Sydney.

More later, too tired!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Remains of Godzone (NZ)

Quenstown was lovely fun, we played Frisbee golf in the gardens there and ate out and met up with the people we had been on the magic bus with earlier who we had lost at Franz Josef. And then an early start to take an Intercity bus to Christchurch which was nice, and then dinner somewhere fancy, because we're all allowed to splash out on a nice meal every once in a while. Two nice days in Christchurch where we also finally saw a kiwi! Then onwards to Australia! Really early flight to Melbourne, slept in the plane and then arrived at the other side of the world!

(Running out of time, so will do a brief itinerary)
-Melbourne for a week with the super duper lovely Gardner family (Amy was one of the lovely exchange students in Rutland in my first year of uni)
-Oz Experience Matey tour which brought me from Melbourne to Wilson's Promontory, the southernmost point of mainland Australia, then to Thredbo by Mount Kozzieosco (not spelt that way, but pronounced that way by Ozzies, the highest mountain in Australia), and then through Canberra to Sydney.
-Oz Experience Surf tour, taking me from Sydney to Surf Camp (the highly secret Spot X for surfers, where we got a free surf lesson), then to Byron Bay (beautiful!) and then to Brisbane where I met my friend from uni, also an exchange student for a semester.
-Ashmore, where I stayed with distant family, Dianne and Judah Moses. It was lovely there! Such lovely people and they treated me to some lovely meals and an outing to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary where we saw a birds of prey show and fed kangaroos and lorikeets and even had a chance to hold a koala again! (I'd already done that in Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, there are pictures which I will send out when I return).
-Airlie Beach, flew there from Brisbane for two beautiful cruises of Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays and then Reefworld where I tried to scuba dive (but didn't do it in the end) and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. Met a lovely woman there who is French Canadian, also travelling by herself so we hung out together all the time :-) Was nice.
-Fly back to Brisbane, stay with Anna another night and then a 9 hour bus ride to Coffs Harbour where I am now staying with the lovely Matt Lee who I know from Stage Crew in JFK High School.

Today we plan on exploring the Big Banana (reason why Coffs Harbour is famous) and then going to the Pet Porpoise Pool to pet porpoises and sea lions. Woo! :-)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

New Zealand

Ok, so a rather late continuation of my last news post. I'm currently in Brisbane, Australia, but I shall continue with the magic bus ride :-)

Franz Josef Glacier was amaaaaaaazing, though it felt so dangerous coming down. We gt back, absolutely knackered and made food for dinner and then went glowworming! Teresa, the two Taiwanese girls on the bus, Daisy and Vicky, and their friend Candi, Yoshi from Japan and I all walked up the path in the dark but with torches and looked out for little points of light. On the way there, we saw almost nothing (light from the torches was too strong), but on the way back we walked in the dark and saw loads of them! Cute!

Next day early leaving in the bus to Queenstown. We stopped off at Lake Matheson which was gorgeous in the early morning mist and later on at Wanaka, which was also gorgeous with crystal clear waters! However, time was pressing so we didn't get out there, though we had the option. We had another exciting stop at the Kawarau River, the birthplace of bungy jumping! We got to watch unfortunate souls take a leap off the platform n the bridge and dive towards the turquoise waters. Two people even got dunked! The first guy had his head under the water at the lowest point and the guy after him was dunked into the river up to his waist! Crazyness. I would not do it.

Finally got into Queenstown and it was freezing! Bought dinner and ate and talked to people in the hostel until quite late. Had to get up ridiculously early yet again the next day to go to Milford Sounds. We went through Te Anau to get there which is a beautiful wildlife reserve. Through a tunnel carved through the centre of a mountain and then we were at Milford! A Sound is a river valley of half submerged mountains that connects to the sea, and a fjord is the same, except that it was carved by glaciers. Milford Sound is technically a fjord. They're special because there is a layer of freshwater over the seawater, so different types of life can live there. We were supposed to see loads of wildlife on the boat ride, but apart from seagulls and one seal, we saw nothing. A bit disappointing really, considering we had driven 6 hours to get there, and it was another 6 hours back. When we got back we went for a meal at Fergburger with our Magic Bus driver, Mark, and some people we had met on the bus to Milford Sounds. And then we went out for drinks to a place called Buffalo Bar which had a roaring log fire. And then after that we managed to crash a couchsurfers meeting. All in all, it was a long night.

Next day was ANZAC day, Teresa went to the dawn service while I wrote some more postcards and did various other things. Then we did some window shopping and had some lunch, waiting for the time to go jetboating in the Shotover River. It is the most gorgeous blue colour and the rocks in the canyon are pure white, so pretty! The jetboat goes perilously close to the rocks and does 360 degree turns and it's all terrifyingly exciting! And strangely enough I stopped being scared after the first 360 turn. It was great fun!

More later, need to book flights and accommodation for the next part of the trip and my credit has run out...

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Magic Bus

Magic Bus is perhaps one of the most fun ways to travel through New Zealand. Teresa and I got on at Nelson and promptly started talking to our fellow ten travellers (numbers vary each day). There was various stops throughout the day to see things, such as food and toilet breaks and the more exciting tourist stops where we followed a trail that led through rainforest and ended on a beach where blue pengions can occasionally be seen, and a stop where we saw fur seals from up a mountain as they lounged around on the cliffs below, and another stop to see the exciting pancake rocks and blowholes. It was just really fun! We saw a Weka bird which came to investigate our driver (not a Kiwi, though it looks similar) and saw the most stunning scenery you can imagine. Mountains, plains, clouds, rivers of the most stunning turquoise colour, it's just gorgeous here!

That night we ended up in Greymouth and most of us all got put in one big room. There were free bakery goods in the kitchen (lunch, dinner and breakfast!) and then we headed off on a brewery tour of Monteith's brewery, very fun and informative. It ended in a tasting of all the seven different types of beer they have (I gave mine all away to the boys we were travelling with as I don't like beer) and then we got a free barbeque dinner in the local pub. They'd also put on a karaoke machine just for us, so later on in the night we were all pretty much forced to go and sing a karaoke song. Some of the boys did a very bad rendition of Madonna's "Like a Virgin". One being German and the other being Dutch, it was pronounced "Like a Wirgin". Hilarity ensued. For some reason, Teresa, Yoshi (Japanese) and I won the competition with Dancing Queen. Another free jug of beer!

Next day another early morning wake up and then off to Franz Josef where we said goodbye to our travelling companions for then and did a half day hike up the Franz Josef glacier. It. Was. Stunning! It was so amazing! It's huge, so when you're an hour hike away it looks like it's only ten minutes away The valley to get there is full of stones that the glacier pushed there when it last advanced and there is a pretty river too with run-off water. We got hiking boots and crampons so it was pretty easy to walk on the ice. The guide hacked steps into the glacier so we could walk up and then walked us around the top and through various crevasses and under roofs of ice and through massive cracks in the ice with hastily made footholds. It was pretty awesome! the ice was so blue in the cracks, it was gorgeous! And once you've made it all the way to the top, you have to go all the way down again...

(more later, internet time about to run out....)

Saturday, 25 April 2009


Yes yes, I've not updated here in a while. I've not really had much chance to get onto the internet, so no time for blog posts!

I have been to Fiji, where it was boiling hot! Took a shuttle bus to Port Denerau from Nadi airport and hopped onto the Yasawa flyer and went out to Beachcomber Island! Stayed there for three days and two nights, drinking lots of water, reading, lying out in the sun (and getting horribly sunburnt) and snorkelling in the beautiful water around the island. I was staying in a 100 bed open air dorm, which was a bit of a takeback at first but it was really nice and sociable and only too loud on the first night when I was terribly jetlagged. Stayed another night in a hostel in Nadi and met some lovely English girls (who promptly added me on facebook) who I might do a bit of travelling with in Australia. Hurrah!

New Zealand is the most fantastic place in the world, I love it! I spent a day in Auckland wandering around and it just reminded me a lot of England. That evening me and Laura (landlady from Nottingham doing a medical thing in NZ for 6 weeks) took a bus to Paihia which is further north and spent two nights at the Bay of Islands. We went on a cruise the next day where we saw dolphins and went snorkelling and saw some pretty fish. There was a beautiful rainbow and the landscape was so beautiful! Got out at the small town of Russell which was the first capital city of New Zealand and where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the settlers and the Maori.

Since then it's been a mad dash of travelling from Paihia to Auckland and then on a flight to Wellington where I met Teresa. If my flight hadn't been delayed I would have also had a chance to look around the place, but I got there almost three hours later and we just ate and organised things for the next few days. From Wellington we took a very early shuttle bus from outside the hostel to the ferry and travelled across (feeling quite seasick, very rough seas!) the Cook straits and the Marlborough Sound. Landed at Picton which was small and picturesque and then took the Intercity to Nelson where we stayed at possibly the coolest hostel in the world (free washing powder, noodles and soup in the evening!) and then we started our magic bus journey around the south island of New Zealand!

(more later, need to go out and meet people tonight!)

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Fun Times

Have had an interesting few days in LA. Spent evenings with Laura making food, eating dinner and doing domestic things. She works a lot and also has grad school, so I'm spending what time I have with her, with her. Also seen Eric Froats again (at his house now). I got stranded in Fullerton last night coming back from Downtown Riverside and so he picked me up and we went to his house. Eric, his girlfriend, his housemate and I bought some drinks and snacks and went to the park thing right next to his house that is open to residents of the area and sat in the hot tub there and swam in the pool and generally had a nice time.

Earlier that day I took a train from Orange to LA Union station and then figured out the metro lines and got to the Walk of Fame. Was touristy for a bit and walked up and down taking a few pictures and then ducked into the Graumann Chinese Theatre and looked at the hand- and footprints of famous people. To be honest, it wasn't that exciting.

Weather however, continues to be beautiful and sunny, though cold once in a while.