A Travellerspoint blog

James Franklin is unwell

sunny
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Actually, I am not too bad really.
Today, we went on our wine tasting tour. You know how whenever you go on one of these, there's always one couple that seems to get drunker than anyone else, always keeps the bus waiting while they work through the wine list and plays childish games loudly with each other? Well, that was us :)
After the tour, we found out that there was a free concert happening in a nearby park. Always keen to take anything offered for free, we headed to it. There was only the one act, but fortunately it was a group I liked (the Rogue Traders). Heather hadn't heard of them but seemed to enjoy it nonetheless. Quiet sort of a day really.

Posted by jefranklin 16:00 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking round_the_world Comments (0)

Next Wrap Up

sunny
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Time to wrap up the last few days methinks.
In my last post, we had arrived at Halls Gap and I was raving about it. We ended up staying there for 2 days, as it was really charming.
What sold it for me was as we were walking down the street on our first day there, a mother and baby kangaroo stopped on the oppposite side of the street, paused a few seconds to make sure that no cars were coming and then hopped across the road. I have spent many a happy day winding up family members saying that kangaroos roamed the streets of Sydney, but to see it actually happen (albeit in a small town) was a real Aussie experience. Definitely something to remember.
The rest of our time in Halls Gap was spent doing walks in those parts of the national park that were still open. It was on the way back from one of these walks that we came across a flock of a dozen or so wild emus. Fortunately we were in the car, so if they had given chase (as they are prone to do) we could have out run them.
After Halls Gap, we drove non-stop to South Australia and specifically to a town on the border called appropriately Bordertown.
The drive had taken 3 hours or so, so I was looking forward to a nice half day of wandering around the local attractions. We went to the information centre, and posed the question to the bloke there: what are the local attractions? The response was not exactly what I was looking for :ie "a couple of hours drive from here, there is the Murray River where you can rent a cabin."
So it was back to the car for another trek, fortunately cruise control took away some of the effort. In fairness to Bordertown, they did have one attraction: white kangaroos, so we went and checked them out. In 35 degree heat and being kept in a paddock, the poor things were not really in the most lively of spirits. I'm not convinced about the need to visit Bordertown again...
We rented a Swiss-style A-frame cabin down by the river and spent the night there. Other than swim in it (after Heather had convonced me that there would be no saltwater crocodiles in a freshwater river), we didn't do much other than play backgammon (still learning, and playing badly) and drink a decent amount of alcohol.
The following day (Friday 17th), we drove the remainder of the distance to Adelaide, stopping off at a town called Hahndorff (as you can guess, German settlers started it) and the local beach. I was hoping for a backpacker mecca like Bondi but it was much more family oriented (unfortunately). Last activities of the day were to check in to the YHA and return our very dirty hire car. Tomorrow we have a wine tasting tour of the Barossa Valley. As I won't be driving, I expect Sunday to be spent hungover. As long as we don't miss our train ride at 5pm...

Posted by jefranklin 16:00 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking round_the_world Comments (0)

Melbourne -Great Ocean Road - Grampians

sunny
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Just a quick update today as I have not been doing any daily entries on my Pocket PC and I only have 7 minutes left!
The last week was spent flying from Hobart to Melbourne, and overnighting in a hostel there. We did catch up with Kristina, whom is a Sydney friend who moved to Melbourne about a year ago. It was good to see her after such a long time.
We then drove over the space of three days along the Great Ocean Road, stopping off for 2 days of it in the Apollo Bay. It was from here that we did a spot of sea fishing, and contrary to normal experiences, actually caught some fish. Between us, we caught 5 Flat heads, a couple of baby sharks and a Barracuda. It was actually me the Barracuda, and it put a decent struggle. Almost felt obliged to let him go... (almost).
After Apollo Bay we overnighted in Port Cambell, having stopped off enroute to view the 12 Apostles. Awesome to look at, and a photo or my words does not do them justice.
Finally, we drove to the Grampians and are currently staying in the YHA here. (I like YHA internet kiosks :). Unfortunately, they have just experienced a horrendous bush fire, but fortunately where we are staying (Halls Gap) got away pretty unscathed.
Got to go!!!

Posted by jefranklin 16:00 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking round_the_world Comments (0)

Week 1 wrap up


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Ok, we have now been travelling for one week (sniff, sniff only 25 left) so it's probably time for first thoughts...
Tasmania is a gem of an island, although it is pretty easy to feel isolated if you are a techno-nerd (like yours truly). Internet access is limited, and there for expensive and we spent most of the first week outside a mobile phone zone.
Highlights were the Cadbury's chocolate factory :) and the east coast around the Bay of Fires. Fortunately, there were no real lowlights (other than the aforesaid lack of internet & mobile phone access). My trusty Pocket PC and a book of Su Doku kept me sane though.
Currently, we are in a youth hostel in Melbourne where I am posting this from. The contrast is pretty stark between YHAs in Tasmania though. It's all been a good experience so far though. Tomorrow we head off along the Great Ocean Road, so it'll probably be some time before I post anymore, so enjoy what you've got...

Posted by jefranklin 16:00 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking round_the_world Comments (0)

All creatures great and small

sunny
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After a day of waterfalls and a day at the beach, today was a day of wildlife. We started the day leaving our hostel for the drive to Bicheno, which took us a couple Of hours.
Once we decked into ow hostel (separate bunk beds :( ), we got back on the road again and headed for Coles Bay and more specifically Wineglass Bay. This is an area of amazing beauty but to get from the car park to the bay is a 2 hour trek. 'No problems' we thought and headed off. Naturally, we were appropriately equiped with plenty of water and a lunch Heather had prepared at the at the YHA hostel.
It was just after we started walking that we came across a wallaby. "yeah, so?" I hear you say, after all i have been in the land of Oz for 5 years or so. The difference this time was that this wallaby was about 3 feet away, much closer than I had been before.
We continued on the trek, stopping peiodically to have some water, because aIthough the temperature was cool, there Was still a fair deal of exertion involved. Finally, we made it to the lookout point overlooking Wineglass Bay; it was a spectacular sight. After a 10 minute rest, we made the descent to the bay itself. Just as we approached tle beach, we saw another wallaby (or maybe the same one, who knows?) , again only a couple of feet from us.
We lazed on the beach and ate the tuna salad sarnies Heather had made, and as it was while we were eating that Heather spotted a pod of 3 dolphins. After we had lazed around for about 45 minutes, we dragged ourselves up and headed back along the track to the carpark.
The final expedition of the day was actually after dark. Bichonet's tourist highlight is that ithe dunes on its beach are home to hundreds of fairy penguins. Although we could have paid $18 each and had a guided to of them after dark, we armed ourselves with a torch and armed the night vision on the video camera.
We sat and waited patiently but there was no sign of anything after nearly an hour of waiting. Just as we were wandering back towards the car, we saw one about 6 inches in front of us (it was dark, we were lucky we saw anything). Within minutes, we had seen about 10, the furthest away only being a couple of feet. They're cute little things...
On the way back to the hostel however, we saw a possum carrying a baby on it's back. Fortunately, we didn't hit them as I was driving carefully (for a change). There's enough roadkill on the Tassie roads, without me contributing to it.

Posted by jefranklin 13:08 Archived in Australia Tagged wildlife Comments (0)

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