World Trip

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Wilie Nelson

As the man famously says "On the road again". So for those who don't know we are on the move again. After a disappointing weekend in Melbourne, Ireland were so crap its unreal, we arrived back in Sydney and realised we were not happy at all with the situation we were in, not seeing each other at all, etc and decided to make a move for home a few months early. So 12 days later we are in New Zealand.

Its absolutely amazing over here, the scenery is amazing around every corner and its the diversity as well, On one side of the road is Burrenesque mountains, the other side is Lush green forest and fields, and running along side the road is the turquoise Kawarra river. This place is a walking talking Lord of The rings set literally.
Apparently you can see famous cliffs, 1.5m high, where some guy fell off in the 2nd movie. Mount Doom etc, can you guess I have no real interest in the films...

So we landed in Christchurch, "The most English town in NZ".
Stayed for a day or 2 and rented our spaceship named "Cosmo"
for traveling around NZ,
Then made our way to Akaroa on the first night where we got to swim with Dolphins in freezing cold pacific waters which was amazing, the Hectors dolphin is the worlds smallest at least populous too. Then we started the trip to "NZ's most Scottish town" Dunedin stopped short of it in a town called Hampden where the main tourist attraction is the "Moeraki Boulders" which are big round rocks in the sand, mmm interesting, and yes we still did go to see them. We then completed the trip to Dunedin where we went to see Cadbury world, Mmmmm tour was aimed at kids a little but was ok, The 2 story dropping of a chocolate waterfall was fun and the smell of the factory was amazing. The idea of a country that is less comfortable weather wise to live in is interesting, Dunedin is the place where all the Antartic scientists start their trips from so camping at night as you can imagine is interesting to say the least.

We then drove out the Otago peninsula and saw an albatross colony but refused to pay the excessive price to go see Penguins. Slept there for the night and toyed around with the idea of going down to the Catlains region but decided to go straight to queenstown, The adrenalin capital of NZ, All these towns have titles don't they, Home of the worlds 1st commercial Bungy jump over the Kewarra river, and about 4 other Bungy jump sites too. I was going to Jump down here but with it being $50 cheaper on the North island I reckon I'm going to wait until we get up there. I also may have Siobhain convinced to do it as well, Muu HaaaHaa. Today I did a canyon swing ( which is a 60m free fall before swinging into a 200m Arch, amazing to say the least.

So we have a days rest here and then are moving up to Franz Joseph which is a glacier and we'll take it from there.

Talk Soon

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Travelling the coast (Big Post)

So firstly, in response to complaints/ comments from home that the photo album was too big and taking too long to load etc.. Ive sorted all the albums out by when we arrived in places. I suppose the fact that we just reached 600 photos up was a good enough incentive to do it too. So for the new look albums See the menu or they should all be in 'paper format' in my house. >>>>>>.

Ok so we left Port Douglas on the 31st and stayed in our old friends in Geckos in Cairns, got up nice and early the next morning to greet Karol and Colm at the airport and to give them a tour of Cairns (Didnt take too long TBH) and got settled in. Unfortunately the weather wasnt fantastic for their arrival but they appeared to be very happy to be back in 1st world civilisation. I remember that feeling well, like it was only last week.

We all decide that getting on the road is the best option, as we have to be in Sydney before the 20th when they fly off to chili, and we start the trip early on the 2nd to Townsville with the hopes of diving on the Yongala ship wreck, alas the weather was still too bad and the boats were not going out to the wreck. So we head the next day down to Airlie Beach for the trip out to the whitsunday islands. Just outside townsville there is a place called the Billabong sanctuary, and lured by the advertising campaigns offer of holding koalas et all we decide to give it a look. We got to meet, greet and hold all sorts of animals including the afore mentioned "killer koalas", Shiv and Karol didn't like them, snakes, crocodiles, kangaroos and so many others. The pictures turned out fairly well.

The Whitsundays Trip: Starting late in the evening and lasting for 3 full days we have an amazing time diving on the reef again and seeing some of the worlds nicest beaches, Whitehaven is regularly in the worlds top 5 beaches, eventhough we were rained on you can still see how fine and white the sand is. On leaving whitehaven we were treated to a show from on of the hump back whales which were in the area at the time. Then it was off to a coral cay for some diving. After that medioker diving experience it was a quiet evening and off to bed.

The rooms were the only downside to the whole experience, we booked a 4 bunk room and ended up getting a double bed, with a single bunk over it which had a stranger in it and me and shiv had the 2 bunk beds with 2 strangers in it too. Added onto that the room stank of the toilets that each room had, and to have a shower, only alowed 1 for 1 minute per day, you had to sit on the toilet. We awoke the next morning already out on the outer reef. We had another dive and then plenty of snorkeling. The sea in the reef was a little choppy, so after swollowing loads of salt water I was not very well once we hit the open water for the trip back towards the islands. Anoth night on the boat, more snorkling on the most painful stone beach ever, and then back to land and we had just finished our first major excursion, 3 days and 3 nights on and around the whitsundays.

A short nights sleep back in Airlie beach and then up early, 6am, for the drive of aprox 900k to Harvey Bay for our next excursion to the largest sand island in the world Fraser Island. After what felt like an eternity of driving and probably what ended up ruining our van for ever was the 13 hour drive. Oh the numb bums after that one. Highlight of the trip was the mile+ long coal train that needed 3 engines to move it. So we basically on the trip down decided to ring around a few travel agencies and book a trip. We arrived very tierd and decided instead of setting up camp to stay in a hostel. So after a night of freezing due to no extra blankets being provided and a charge of $10 to rent a blanket, plus a law that bans you from using your own blankets we head off the next day to Fraser. We meet our comical tour guide Steve and spend the first day going from sight to sight. It truly was an amazing island and some of the sights were truly breath taking. The champagne pools, the Maheno Shipwreck, Sand Cliffs, the views of the sea...... It does go on and on. So a fantastic 2 day trip capped by a scenic flight of the island and then a trip to the amazing Laze Macenzie we head back to land and decide to hang around Hervey Bay to allow the drivers some recovery time. During which I performed my first fire spinning demo. Then back driving and off for the 4-6 hour drive to Brisbane.

All is going fantastically until about 100k short of Brisbane when the auld reliable van started to overheat and give trouble. So after some advise from friendly locals at a servo we head back the road a few k to a town in the middle of nowhere where a mechanic informs us that the van is "about to sh1t itself." So we buy some chemiweld a fluid that 'seals any cracks' in the cylinder heads and we decide to gamble and try and get to Brisbane. Eventually as it starting to get cold, 6pm, we struggle along the Brisbane streets and into a camp site, all intact but tierd.

So a night in followed by a day and night visiting Brisbanes sights, further followed by a deep chat weather to take a gamble and try and make it 1000k further along with the van, or dump it and fly down to sydney. So against my better judgement we agree that its worth the risk financially. We leave after only 2 days in Bris to allow for any mishaps that may happen along the way. Our next port of call is a "scenic" drive along the gold coast to Byron Bay. We see the famous Surfers paradise and are duly unimpressed and only stop for petrol. Today is however our first view of surfers in Oz as there is no waves further up north. We arrive in Byron and it is lashing rain but are satisfied enough that it is a nice place to stay for another night in our luxury apartment. It was a lovely little town a poorer version of port Douglas and a richer version of Pai in Thailand.

We move on next to Port Macquarie and enjoy a couple of nights and some sea kayacking which Siobhain did not enjoy Karol and Colm Loved and I thought it was alright. We then head on to some reccomended place in the middle of nowhere which was not enjoyed by the girls and it was off on the final leg of the journey to Sydney praying the van wasn't going to kill itself. Thankfully it didn't and we check into a hostel and sleep. Karol heads off to Double Bay to find a hair dresser she was told about on our trip at the whitsundays to get her hair permanently straightened. I have had a gag put on me in relation to showing the before and after pics but the difference was amazing. So 1 more night in the hostel a trip to county bondi to see if it is as full of Irish as people say, It is, and we manage to bump into some old friends from port douglas again.

We arranged to meet up with some woman that evening to view an apartment which turned out to be nice enough, not amazing but for $120 a week between us we weren't complaining. We get all our stuff together and move in after a tearful good but to Karol and Colm who headed off to Chili, its a tough life, So we move in start the look for work. Get rid of the van for the princely sum of $100, No there is no zero's missing off the end, we got 100 for it. We did keep all the camping gear so hopefully that will make us some money. A fine 3 weeks are topped off with a strange phone call the day I was due to start in an Irish bar, it was from our landlord asking us to be out of the apartment for 3 hours on Saturday morning for a fire inspection. So no problems there, but we get suspicious when she tells us on the monday we have to leave as she cant afford to 'repairs' so we offer to pay it but start to look for other apartments in case she says no. On our trip around we happen to see our apartment in a real estate agents window, so to say we are none too pleases is an understatement. Oh well we got another place. Just under double the money but that was still under our initial budget and we are settled in now, and just last night sold half our camping gear for Double what we got for the Van.

So yes it does appear on the face of it we are getting some rough justice here, 2 bad landlords, buying a crap van, granted it did get us here tho and we are now with an estate agent so cant be fooked around. Am working away in a busy Irish bar in the centre of the business area, So trust me we are enjoying ourselves.

Keep in touch everyone
Lots of love
Ger + Shiv

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Getting ready to move on

Well we are just about finished our first work stop. We are leaving Port Douglas early next monday to meet Shivs sister in Cairns, arriving from asia ( its so cold here Karol), so tonight is my last night working and we are having a little farewell do, which tend to be fairly crazy. I do have 4 day shifts left but they dont count. I wasn't overly impressed by my bosses however who hacked my hours when I told them I was leaving, from 45-50 hrs to 32. Which when you are paying a flat 30% tax on everything you earn is a little harsh.
Shiv is finishing up on Saturday I think and we should probably be speding most of this week packing up camp and such. So when we meet Karol and her boyfriend Colm we are starting a whistle stop tour of the east coast (Cairns to Sydney 2679km ). We have to be in Sydney on the 22nd for them to fly out, with our tight budget tho that kinda suits us. So it should be a fun 3 weeks of diving, sufring, sight seeing, fun parks and driving, mmm lots and lots of driving. I dont think we have much else news.

The photo count is way up to the late 300's 380 I think. So if you want to see where we are up too click on the link over here ------>>>>>

The full moon party pix from Thailand are a bit crazy. And the Tiger temple in Kanchanaburi was amazing, they truly are amazing creatures.

Talk to you all soon
Ger + Shiv

Monday, June 27, 2005


I hadn't realised it had been a month since I'd updated the Blog; Big Woops!! First I'll show you what our current home looks like:

Anyway since last time I was on we spent about 1 1/2 weeks traveling down the coast to townsville aprox 500k stopping off at as many beaches and camp sites as possible along the way, which was great fun and we managed the amazing trick of seeing a cassowary bird, a large endangered beautiful creature, of course as I took a picture of it in the middle of the road in a rush all I got was a shot of tarmac, but we did see it I swear. In Townsville we were planning to stay for 2 months or so until we found work, having been there for 10 days I had managed to find work in a nightclub, complete with bikini clad barmaids, for minimum wage but Shiv could find nothing.

So following a phone call with Jen and Alli who we met in Laos, we decided to head all the way back up the coast to Port Douglas, in one 7 hour drive, a Plush seaside town like Howth or Dun Laoghaire, which is all very service industry based and has loads of casual work available. Or so we were told, Shiv got a job as a kitchen hand, "kitchen rat" as she calls it, doing food preparation and the like. And it took me a while and some depression to eventually find work in a really busy restaurant working behind a bar. So that's what we are at now. Working away like little ants, being bitten to bits on the camp site by anything that can bite. The camp site is really cool tho, its a backpackers with camping ground at the back so its always fun and games all the time.

I did make a good effort at permanently damaging myself last Monday, when I dived into the deep end of a pool, hit my head off the bottom splitting it open, breaking a tooth and damaging ligaments around my "C6-7" vertebrae leaving me with a very sore neck and unable to do anything physical for the next month or so, not to mention all the medical bills that came with.

As for other news, for those who haven't heard yet I managed to propose to Shiv on the 16th in the romantic setting of the back of the van, no stunning views and sunsets for me no-sir-ee. Pffft to all that.

Ok I think that's all, I added loads of photos up but I'm still ages behind I think the photos going up at the moment are still of Vietnam but you can view them all here:

Lots of love
Ger + Shiv

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Finding Nemo & Van shopping

So after we have calmed down after our experiences with ted we stayed in a fantastic hostel which had the greatest group of people ever. We found a van and bought from an Irish couple and then headed off on our diving trip. It was great to get back under the water again, so we found Nemo, petted and fed turtles and I saw a shark on our night dive all basically was a very tiring 2 days and 7 dives.

We took delivery of our van the day after we got back and decided to head up north before we went down to townsville. We went up to Port Douglas and then the next day to cape tribulation, both were pretty amazing and spectacular views on the drive up. Shiv's driving on those hairy & tight corners was more than impressive. On the way back down we stopped on Ellis Beach which was so nice that we had to stay another day. So we are back in Cairns now for a 3 hour stop to do the basics like food shopping and obviously log on the net. Thats pretty much all for now, will put up pictures again soon.
Lots of Love
Ger & Shiv

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Well we are finally here in Australia, After our first recovery day we set out to get a house/shared accomodation and duly found a decent enough old aussie guy named Ted, we looked at his house and although a little out of Cairns city center we decided to go with it anyway. All things were rosy until we realised that our Ted was a bit of an Alco and drank daily from 3pm, so after 2 nasty run in's with him within 7 days we fled his accomodation.

So basically that left a bad taste in the mouth so we have now decided to cut extremly short our 3 months in Cairns to 2 weeks and are now hunting down camper vans to make our way to Townsville and to work there instead. There was not too much to do here and the nights out are like a night in Santa Ponsa or something. So hopefully we should be out of here around the 18th at the latest after we do a 2day/1night dive which contains 6 dives in total, can't wait at all. The next post will contain a picture of our new van :)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Diving and looking back

Ok so our quiet time on Ko Phangan hasn't really been so, but then why would it be, we have been running around for the last 2 months so why stop now. At least we are now certified divers and apart from a slight panic from Shiv under water and then me nearly not completing the swim test it was a great fun experience learning to dive. The boat/bus/train journies have given me time to look back on our time so far and although rushed as it was it was an amazing experience over here. The most expensive place was suprisingly Cambodia but it was a place that made the greatest impact. Ok Ill apologize for the next bit in advance, but life travelling aint all Rosy but if anyone has time, do read.
Life there is really tough even as a tourist. There is so much poverty and begging that you do at stages have to just put your head down and say No as you cant help everybody there. There was one cause however as soon as I arrive home we will campaign to help. was an eye opener to what is really going on still in Cambodias life. Sure we had been to the killing fields in Phnom Pen and that was disturbing as was the S21 museum where most of Cambodias intellectuals were brought and tortured before they were killed by Polpot and the Kahmer Rouge. You are inttroduced to the lives that children of that era were taught to "kill people" but infact they didnt see it as killing them at all and they didn't know what they were doing.
So that left us thinking, This only happened a mere few years ago so some Kahmer Rouge are still alive, what are they doing with themselves. So when in Siam Reap and taking a break from looking at ANOTHER temple we went to Aki Ra's museum. He himself was a child soldier for the Kahmer Rouge, Recruited at age 5 was first taught to make cigarette mines, ok you can read up all about him and the museum on the site + Google will throw up many more sights. But seeing first hand how hard it is for him. He reckons his life is now on a par, Lindmines planted 40k+ : Mines de-activated 42k+ and counting. He still gets grief over what he does though and is occasionally put in jail for illegally deactivating mines( He can go to a field, and using his method of finding mines, deactivate 30 mines in a day. The "proper" way is 3 government men go to a field for a day and deactivate max 5 mines between them. At a cost of roughly $300 per mine) His museum is hopefully on the move soon to a site purchased by a canadian mine organisation, but are lacking funds. Oh yeah I forgot to mention in his spare time Aki Ra also fosters child landmine victims and schools them and many other landmine victims.

Ok I dont think I got across the point I was trying to make but basically there are still millions of live mines in Cambodia. Added to that Aki Ra's tough time of trying to help victims and future victims the new centre shall be a vital role for the future as a school/homeand education centre for tourists.
Ok so back to the positives of travel: Am literally just up, 2pm now, after last nights "World Famous" Hadd Rin full moon party. What a mental night/morning that was. We came down here for a relaxing time but its not really been that. We started our PADI diving course on our first day here, so a few nights of not going out ensued and we are now both qualified "PADI Open Water divers" which was the plan to do here as its so much cheaper, 1/2 the price, than in Australia. Plus we can now just go on adventure fun dives in the Great Barrier Reef instead of having to do the learning down there. Off to Bangkok again tomorrow morning and then to Cairns the following evening.
Talk to you all then. Will email you all our new mobile numbers when we get them this week or so. Still sorry for the lack of picture updates we have nearly 400 images now and cant find a connection able to upload even 4 photos at a time. Also sorry to those who tried to ring me the other night hope the party went well.

Keep in touch
Ger + Siobhain