A Travellerspoint blog

New Zealand life begins

one week in......

sunny 26 °C

We arrived in New Zealand on Thursday to a welcoming committee of Gerald’s mum, dad, brother David, his wife and their 2 children! We all went off for dinner near the airport then Gerald and I went off to see Kirsten and the others went back to the airport to welcome Gerald’s sister Jennifer who was visiting from Wellington.

Our bags did not follow us from Sydney – for some reason they were left behind so we had to arrange for them to be dropped off at Gerald’s parents’ place (where we are staying) the next day when they finally arrived. In typical style of all those corporations Gerald’s bag arrived at midday in a cab, mine turned up 3 hours later in another cab!

Over the weekend Gerald, Jennifer and I went to Hamilton, where Gerald grew up. Lots of his family still live there so we caught up with as many of them as possible. First we caught up with his brother Alan and then it was onto David’s where Eriko cooked us a great feast and the kids Hugh and Alisa kept us entertained with their board games and gymnastics displays!
We also went to visit Gerald’s 93 year old Nan and his Godfather Noel and his wife Diane – so a busy weekend!

Monday morning we had an appointment with the bank manager and have now each got a bank account as well as a joint account, it’s only Wednesday and we have already received our cards so we are pretty impressed so far!

Yesterday I had 2 teaching agency interviews. I am now on their books however it turns out that they can only get me a work visa if I get a long term teaching job. It is more likely that I will get day relief work and for that they cannot sort out a visa. I had tried to get one from the UK and was told that it wasn’t possible however the agencies advised me to try again over here. So Gerald and I went over to a visa place we had seen near where Kirsten lives, explained the situation and a lovely lady named Apurva said she could make it happen! So last night was a mad rush collecting ‘evidence’ of our relationship and asking friends and family to write testimonials about our relationship (thank you so much for everybody who helped us out at such short notice, we are very grateful). We dropped it all off today so I am hoping and praying it all goes through quickly and smoothly so I can start earning after our 5 month trip and no work!

Today Gerald had an agency interview which seemed to go very well and they are going to put him forward for a job that is short listing shortly. We spent the rest of the day looking at cars as we really do need one, Gerald’s parents are kindly letting us use theirs each day so the sooner we sort it out the better for them!

On top of all that we have also been visiting estate agents to get details of apartments available in the city as we feel a central location will be best. We have found loads that look great on paper, tomorrow we are hoping to go and see some to find out what they are really like! Lots of them have amazing view, gym and lap pool and we are planning on getting a 2 bedroom place so that people can stay if they are heading to NZ while we are here.

So that’s about where we are right now, not the most exciting blog we have ever written but I guess this was inevitable! We are looking forward to being settled, earning money and making a home. Watch this space and we will let you know how we get on!

Posted by bumblebum 00:39 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Goodbye Australia

Hello New Zealand!

sunny 35 °C

We explored the wider area around Brisbane quite well during our stay with Marc and Jayne. We did a drive up to Tamborine Mountain which gave us great views and did some walking through rain forest whilst we were up there.

On the Saturday Marc and Jayne took us for a lovely breakfast before driving us along the Gold Coast to some of their favourite beaches. We all had a swim before lunch and then headed off to a lookout point called Greenmount, which was very pretty. On the way back we stopped off at Surfer’s Paradise for an ice cream and to watch the world go by – oh and to see the meter maids who get paid to top up people’s expired meters whilst wearing little gold bikinis, apparently they have been doing this since the 60s, they had plenty of admirers!!

Sunday was Wellington Point, here we waited until the tide went out a bit and then walked across a sand bar for about 30 minutes all the way to a little island in the burning sun. It has been seriously hot in this part of the world, 30 degrees before 10am most days and reaching high 30s every day.
As we were heading back to the car I spotted 3 huge pelicans swimming near a jetty where a man was gutting his fish and chucking the remains. We watched them for ages and took loads of photos of course.

The next day was Victoria Point where we got a ferry to Coochiemudlo Island, we walked around a good part of it (it is not very big!) and spent ages watching the rainbow lorikeets flying around and showing off in the trees. That night we drove up Mount Coot-tha to see the lights of Brisbane city. It was pretty impressive and very busy up there, there were tourists everywhere!

Before we knew it, it was time to head back to Sydney, we drove to a half way point, Nambucca Heads, where we arrived at about 4pm giving us plenty of time to go and explore the area. We drove to a nearby beach, Shelly Beach, and went for a long walk – saving an octopus along the way that had been beached. We watched him for a while after putting him back in the water and after his initial disorientation we watched him swim off happily. The beaches there are lovely, with white sand, rock pools and cliffs. For a far as we could see in each direction we could see no more than 30 people!

Today we have done the final leg back to Sydney. We stopped briefly as I spotted some kangaroos on a golf course near the road and wanted to get some photos, they let me get quite close before we watched them bound away! One of them had a little joey in it’s pouch, half hanging out!
As we were driving along I commented on some smoke that I could see, presuming it was a factory ahead, then a while later a fire car shot by us with it’s siren going, and as we turned the bend we realised it was a bush fire. It was in the early stages and being carefully monitored by the fire brigade but we did see flames on several of the trees. I guess with the heat they have been having it was only a matter of time unfortunately.

We arrived back at David and Susan’s early evening and now need to sort our backpacks out ready for an early start tomorrow for our flight to Auckland! The travels are over and now it’s time to re-enter the real world again!!!!

Oz has been great and we need to say a big thank you to all those who gave us a place to stay (David, Susan, Nancy, Marc & Jayne) and entertained us.
We are hoping to find a 2 bedroom place in NZ so we can repay the favour if you decide to head our way.

We will be keeping the blog going in NZ but it may not be as frequently (‘hooray’, we hear you cheer!) so ‘til next time

Posted by bumblebum 01:37 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Koalas, Kangaroos and coastline

We love it here!

sunny 35 °C

Picking up from where we left off … we decided to do a 3km creek walk whilst we were in Port Macquarie. Apart from the many mosquitoes that tried to feast on us it was lovely. A short while after setting off we found 3 koalas sleeping up in the trees, they were sooooo cute! We also saw a kangaroo bouncing around in the bush and a couple of big water dragons basking in the sun. After our walk we visited the Koala hospital. They do great work there, helping koalas recover after being hit by cars when crossing the road, helping them heal when burnt in bush fires or giving them antibiotics to cure their Chlamydia. They had quite a few koalas in their enclosures, luckily most are well on the way to recovery and the intention is always to release them where possible.

We continued our journey up the East Coast, stopped at a beach close to Coffs Harbour for lunch as we watched the surfers and kite surfers and enjoyed the sunshine. There are lots of tourist routes along the Pacific Highway that are a little more scenic so we followed a few of those along the way, stopping for a photo opp at a gorgeous place called Crescent Head.

We eventually arrived at Byron Bay around 6pm, most of the accommodation was full or very expensive. In the end we stayed at Glen Villa which is a kind of posh camp site with self catering cabins, plots for caravans or tents and permanent tents. The owner ended up upgrading us to a spa cabin which was lovely. The next morning we headed up to the lighthouse and the most easterly point of Australia. The weather was gorgeous, blue skies and sunshine and as we walked along the cliff edge we saw 3 pods of dolphins, one of them with at least 20 dolphins in it, so we watched them for ages before we also spotted a number of rays and a huge turtle! We then headed into town, had a wander round the shops and then the beach for a few hours before hitting the road again for the final leg to Brisbane. We decided to take the scenic route again so that we got to see the sights such as Surfer’s Paradise and arrived at Marc and Jayne’s in the early evening.

So, that’s where we are now, catching up on all our emails and deciding what we want to do in this part of the country.

Hopefully all you guys in the UK are surviving the snow and cold temperatures, here they seem to be worrying about the possibility of bush fires as the temperatures are creeping up and up. And for all our NZ friends and family, we will be in the air this time next week so get ready, here we come!

Posted by bumblebum 19:04 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Sydney and points north...

Aussie aussie aussie...

semi-overcast 37 °C

Sydney is done and dusted! We’re now up the coast in Port Macquarie, staying at a nice friendly backpackers. It’s nice. And friendly.

Our flight into Sydney was uneventful, Anita getting a few hours kip and me watching as many movies as possible (‘UP’ is a good movie, as is ‘9’). Landing in Sydney we got through passport control and customs without being arrested, even though we were probably carrying some Asian nasties in the caked on mud on our trainers in our bags! Should we wash them before getting to NZ?

Our first night we stayed in a backpackers in Surry Hills as we wanted to be close to the city so we could meet up with Joe and Sharon, friends from Blighty that have been living in Oz for a number of months (trying it out to see if they like it) and that night was the only night that we would be able to cross paths. So a night in Darling Harbour having a few drinks (really, how is a Schooner a measurement of volume? A PINT please!) and I also managed to get Leigh, an Aussie friend from London who was on holiday, to come down to the bar for a drink too! It was so good to meet up with friends after 5 months of it being only the two of us and millions of strangers! It ended up being a bit of a late night, but jet lag was on our side since we flew eastwards.

Up the next morning to move out, a wander into Sydney city (bridge, opera house, botanical gardens) and take the train to David and Susan’s (Uncle and Aunt) over in North Sydney! Susan picked us up from the train station and took us home, got us settled down and made us feel at home. Jet lag was slowly catching up with us though, as we could not wake up the next morning, sleeping in until the late morning and doing very little that day – a walk to the shops and then to the waterfront was all we managed. We were treated to dinner out to a Lebanese restaurant that night, with Jessica and Shannon joining us (and Tom of course!). The following day we jumped onto the bus to the city and then the ferry to Manly to get some more beach time! Got to make sure we still look like we’ve been on holiday!

To keep in the beach theme, the day after was a trip to Bondi, where Anita’s friend Nancy picked us up in the afternoon and took us to her place (via D&S’s to pickup bags) out in Graystanes. We stayed there for three nights, Friday night we were also joined by Nicole – a friend Anita and Nancy met travelling around America. Spending time in her pool and relaxing in air-conditioned comfort before meeting some of Nancy’s friends and going out on the town on Saturday night. Sunday was a trip out to Terragal to get some MORE beach time and see more of the country.

Monday morning came around (that’s today) which meant leaving friends and family behind and heading out by ourselves again! We’ve hired a car for the rest of the time we are in Australia and have driven up the coast, on the way to Brisbane to see and stay with Marc and Jayne.

And that’s where we are now, sitting on the porch watching the sky darken and the masses of bats take off for their nights feeding. Tomorrow we head up towards Byron Bay, but not before stopping at the Koala Hospital and for a walk to see some wildlife here in Port Macquarie!

That’s all for now…

Posted by Big.G 01:37 Archived in Australia Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Farewell South East Asia...

Hello Sydney!!!!!

sunny 33 °C

We are sitting in the lobby of our Bangkok hotel (a real one this time, not Anita’s friends place) having just checked out after spending two nights.

Our last couple of days in Sihanoukville were as exciting as the previous week, lots of sitting by the pool and reading. On New Years Eve we took a bus back to Phnom Penh and stayed in the same place as before – they know us by sight now. This time they gave us an ‘apartment’ instead of a room, so we had a kitchen-ette and two rooms – a lot more space (mainly because the second room had no furniture in it). The extra space was well used by me as my pack exploded all over it (I call it ‘packing’) and they charged us just the standard rate too! If the room hadn’t been on the 6th floor, or if they had an elevator, it would have been perfect! Instead we had 86 steps to climb to get to the room. We are unfit.

New Years Eve we stayed in the room until late-ish and then headed out to the ‘FCC’, a bar/restaurant by the river. There were lots of ex-pats there and some cheesy music to begin with (it turned into crap RnB later) and the drinks were not too bad! We stood around making fun of other people (our favourite pastime), met a couple of random people, celebrated the New Year and then left about 1am after they ran out of vodka! That was probably a good thing though, as we were up nice and early the next day to get our flight to Bangkok.

We decided to spend a couple of nights in Bangkok before our flight to Oz so we could do some shopping for things that we might ‘need’. But found out that our shopping skills have deteriorated somewhat over the past few months of being on a budget! It took two malls and a number of hours before we got into the swing of things and actually did some real purchasing – the Billabong store we were in must love us. In the end we didn’t buy too much.

And now we are waiting in the lobby to waste some time before we head out to the airport. Well, not wasting exactly, as I have a £3 apple to eat. It’s huge. And cost £3! It better taste like it!

Sydney is the next stop, arriving on Monday morning. We have not booked any accommodation yet (silly us) but we’re confident we will find something. The Hilton is bound to have a budget room available…


Posted by bumblebum 21:37 Archived in Thailand Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

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