Around the World Tour 2008
A shortened version by Filly & Grahame
June14th.We departed Ilminster at 1.45am this morning to catch the bus from Taunton to Heathrow airport on our three month world tour.
June15th HongkongArrived in Hong Kong at 7.00am after a pleasant flight,greeted by rain,but at least it is warm!. Passed through customs&immigration very quickly ,found our courtesy bus and was transported to The Hotel Metropark in Kowloon,where we crashed out for the rest of the morning. Spent the rest of the day getting our bearings around the neighbourhood.The population of Hong Kong is 6.5million,and it appears that everyone is out today!.
June16 to 18th.Went across by ferry to Hong kong Island,took the venacular railway up to the Point and had a wonderful view of Hong Kong harbour from here. Ambled through the park & enclosed averary on Honk Kong island.Spent sometime travelling to the New Territories area of Hong Kong visited the Chuk Lam Sim monastary, and the Kam Tin walled village,and the Lok Ma Chav Border lookout ,that is the nearest point to the Chinese mainland.
We have enjoyed our short stay in Hong Kong and found the people friendly,orderly,and the food entertaining,and by the way,it is still raining !!.
June19th.S.AustraliaArrived Adelaide 9.30 am this morning,after our overnight flight from Hong Kong.We are staying at the Princess Lodge a B&B /Motel in North Adelaide,a large Colonial style building which is under refurbishment&new owners,very basic but clean & comfortable.
Glenelg is Adelaides nearest beach town only 20mins Tram ride away,and was one of the early settlements for the new colonalists.
June23th.Collected our car this morning and start our tour of S Australia.The weather is still warm and sunny,as we make our way north to Port Augustus,where we will stay for a couple of nights.
Here we do some family research of the Barrett family,in the local library,where they have good records of immigrants from Europe in the 19century.
June25-27th.We make our way Westwards towards Streaky Bay&Ceduna,the region is very flat and is the grannery basin of S.Australia,with numerous silo's dotted here and there.Stop at a place called Poochera,where we see a small cabin made of flattened oil drums,called" Peter's Cabin". Built about 1920,and the gentleman lived here for many years.Visited the "Whistling rocks"(blowholes)just outside Streaky Bay,where the sea crashes against the cliff and forces the waves up through the cracks in the rocks.
June 27th.On our way eastwards to Ellistan today stop at "Murphy's Haystack"which are large red rocks that protrude from the ground,technically called "Inselbergs". Later on in the day we had a walk at "Venus Bay"across a part sandy headland where we managed to see our first Large Kangeroo that hopped along the heath. Overnight at Ellisan tonight,here they have had only 3inches of rain this year,out of an yearly total of 3-12inches.Apparently there has ben a drought in S Australia for quite a long time!.
June28th.Arrived in Port Lincoln today after a fairly dull ride this morning from Ellistan.Port Lincoln is a very large fishing port,and the area is home to the "Navo" aboriginal tribe.
June30th.Another sunny day brings us from Port Lincoln back through Port Augustus and head eastwards to "Quorm" in the Flinders Range.Drove through several dust storms ,where the wind has eroded the soil from the fields,as it is so dry.
July 1st.Head for the "Yourambulla Caves" today,set in the rocky hillside on the way to Hawker. An Aboringinal site where one can see paintings on the walls of the caves. Met with a Mob of Kangeroos or Wallibies at the base of the hill,also saw two Emu's on the way back to Quorm.
July 2nd.On our way South through the Claire valley wine region,stopped to see hundreds of noisy white Cockatoos in the trees,as we made our way along. Pass through Melrose,which is supposed to be one of the oldest towns in the area.
July 3-4th.Decide to stop over in the "Barrossa Valley"wine district for a few days.Went to the local library at Nuribotpa and gathered lots of information about Amos Barrett,who landed in Port Augusta in the 1800s.Visited Angaston which is a very pretty village.Had a tour of "Jacobs Creek" winery and a few samplers!! and bought a few bottles,then went to the "Whispering Wall" at the Barrossa Reservoir,built around 1899-1901.Later drove to "Manglers Hill",which has excellent views of the valley and also has fine modern statues on display.
July 5-6th.Move further South today,overnight at BorderTown,and make our way to Mount Gambia,pass through several wine regions"Coonawarra"&"Padtheway",visit the Naracoorte Caves on the way.
July 7th.Went to see the Umpherton Sink Hole today,caused by the collapse of the roof of an enormous cave.Was restored in 1976 back to its original state of the 1870's,containing,exotic plants and trees. What started off as a good day has now degenerated into a wet and rather dreary day!!.
July 8th.A much brighter start this morning and drier,so we decide to go to the Blue Lake and Centenary Tower,before moving on to Kingstone. The Blue Lake is an extinct volcano that is now a reservoir for the town,and is so named as it changes from an azure blue colour in the summer to a grey in the winter.
Centenary TOWER is a fantastic lookout point of Mount Gambia,where you can see panaramic views of the countryside. Get to Kingstone late afternoon today,not much here except a lighthouse which belongs to the National Trust,and a strong smell of ozone.
July 9th.Travel North today to Murraybridge, stop several times for a coffee break ,had alook around a small railway museum at "Tailem Bend"which was quite interesting. MurrayBridge,known as Moopolthawong,aborigine for "Haven for birds"is a clean and neat little town,built by the river Murray.
July 10-11th.Moving North&West through the Fleurieu Peninsula to Victor Harbour,where we stay for a day,and walk to Granite Island,which has numerous walking trails,an a colony of Penquins,and is accessable via a Causeway.
July 12th.On our way back to Adelaide ,will stay overnight at "Hahndorf"(farm village) a pretty Germanic settlement,established in 1836.The street is lined on both sides with plane trees. but before we get there we go through yet another wine region,"Marclaren Vale". Also a large fruit & almond industry was evident.
July 13-15th.Back to Adelaide today,first stop at Mount Lofty Summit,which is in the Adelaide Hills overlooking the City.
July 16th.Had a very early breakfast today ,complete bedlam!( we need to be at the airport just before 9am).
July 17-19th.New ZealandDid a tour around the city,visited the Museum on the Domain,went to the Sky tower,328mtrs tall,believed to be the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere.Had a birds eye view from here of Auckland city.Saw a few youngsters plunge downwards to the ground, on wires,doing the Sky diving.Crossed by ferry to Davenport and toured the island and harbour.
July20th.Collected a car today and made our way to the Coramandel Penisular,via Thames,where we stop to collect a few suplies for our journey.around North Island.We decide to stay at Whitianga for a few days.
July21st.Rained overnight but sunny this morning.We make our way to Port Jackson,Gave a lift to an Canadian Student named Megan,who is on a student exchange programme, on the way but at Colville we had to stop as the road became a gravel road and we are not insured to drive on a non tarmac surface!. The penisula is a very pretty area,and is popular for the tourist's in the Summer.
July22nd.We were planning on going to Hakei Beach, to see Cathedral Cove,but the weather is so wet today we have cancelled.We decide to move South to Wakei beach and drive thriugh Te Kamorama scenic reserve,which was quite lovely.
July23rd.Awoke to a perfect rainbow this morning,when we set off for Karangahati Gorge. It turned out not to be a good omen as it rain heavily on our way there.It eventually abated and we spent several hours here roaming around the disused Gold& Silver mines. The mines are set in a beutiful setting along side a large roaring river and steep wooded hills. It apparently closed in the 1920's after a hundred years of mining,at it's peak it must have been a massive place. Nearby are the Owharoa falls where we take some more photo's and make our way back to Wahei Beach via Athenree & Bowentown.
July24nd.Weather perfect today,stop at Atheree and have a dip in the hot thermal pool here for an hour,the temperature of the water is about 35-37centigrade.later in the day we reach Mt Maunganui,and walk around the 232mtr high hill ,and have lunch,and drive on to Roturua.
July25nd.Move north today,drive through the Waimana Gorge to Opotaikai and on to Te Kaha,with the intention of driving around the Eastern headland tomorrow.
July26nd.A tropical storm is moving in to this part of New Zealand today we heard on the radio,so we have decided to go around the headland and stay at Gisbourne tonight. The Headland is avery remote part of North island,with a limited amount of fuel stops!.Mostly Maori settlements hereabout,very montainous and covered with fir trees.Stop at Hicks Bay for coffee, saw a couple of hitchhikers going the opposite way,hope they get a lift as it has started raining and have'nt seen many vechicles.Arrive in Gisbourne early evening,find a motel,near a river, and the rain is lashing down!.
July27nd.The storm passed through last night,we were worried that the river might overflow its bank as it was so wet.But thankfully all was well. Decide to stay here today so we have a good walk around the area.Went to the top of Kitirangi Domain and had excellent views of Gisbourne and Poverty Bay.
July28-30th.Move on to Napier and will stay several days.Here there are numerous Art Deco buildings,that were erected after 1931,when an earthquake,(7.8 on the richter scale), destroyed Napier, and killed 162 people.Spent most of the day walking the heritage trail,looking at all the Buildings. Drove to Hastings,to see another Art Deco town,on the 30th.but no sooner had we started, when rain the rain fell again!!!.Spent most of the time in the shops,as it rained in buckets for the rest of the day.
July31st-Aug 2nd..Make our way going South & West to Wellington.Passed the longest place name in the world called "TETAUMATAWHAKATANGIHANGAKOAUATAMATEAUREHAEATURIPUKAKAPIKIMIMAUNGAHORONUKUPOKAIWHENUAKITANATAUHU" Visit CAPE PALLISER & overnight at Masterton.
Aug3-4th.In Wellington,where we do more walking,hike to the top of Mount Victoria,have a panoramic view of the city.Take the cable car to the Botanical gardens,see the Parlimentary buildings,and walk all the waterfront.
Aug5th.Leave Wellington this morning and make our way to Taupo,via Hunterville,Turangi.Pass through a high Plateau, surrounded by Mountain peaks,one named Mt Ruopehu,before dipping down to the shores of lake Taupo.
Aug6-7th.Lake Taupo is the biggest lake in Australasia,a really lovely view.Spend two nights here,visit the "Huka Falls",which is on the Waikato river. Here they have built a Hydro Electric power plant.Nearby is a Geo Thermal Power plant,in Thermal valley,where water is pumped underground and heated. Walked to a nearby,heated stream ,where you can have a free dip in the heated water!.
Aug8th.Have had a good couple of days here ,very interesting,and the weather has been warm & dry,we now drive to Hamilton and stop for two nights.
Aug8th.Drive about 40 kms to the "Bridal falls" today,it is set in a wood mainly of tree ferns,typical N Zealand.The falls are about 165ft high,an cascade into a pool below.Well worth the drive here.after lunch we go through Ngaruwahia,which is the residence of the Royal Maori Queen in New Zealand.
Aug8-10th.Make our way back to Auckland,return car,explore more of the city,and wind down.
Aug11th.Take the flight to Tahiti this morning,had a problem with our e -tickets at the airport, but eventually was sorted out.Crossed the Internation date line ,gain an extra day!.
Aug11-18th.TahitiWe have 7days in Tahiti,staying at the Hotel Sofitel,just outside Papeete the capital of country.Spend several days here lazing about on the beach. Take a tour on the third day around the Island as it is only about 120Kms in circumference.Visit the lighthouse at Parae built 1867,by George Stephensons father. Look at the blow holes,and a waterfall,before driving through Tatravao.Take a ferry to Moorea,from Papeete,which is a very remote and mountainous island,but very scenic. Another evening we walked to the nearby International Hotel for a culture show,which was very entertaining.Departed late evening to walk home but we were stopped by the Gendarme along the way,and gave us transport to our hotel,because the area was dangerous to walk at night.!! Spent the rest of the days,lazing and taking the "truck" to Papeete and wandering around.we have a relaxing few days to charge our batteries before moving on to Easter Island on the 17th.
Aug18th.Easter IslandArrived at the airport about 9.30 am,collected our baggage and were met by the hotel representative who drove us a short drive to the Hotel Gomero. We decide to walk around the small coastal town,armed with our umbrela's and waterproofs,as it has been raining again!.
Aug19th.Go on an organised tour today of this small island named "Rapa Nui"after the first people or tribe known to be here about the fifth century. The island is peppered with stone statues called MOAI,at one time there were 800 or more. In 1960 there was an earthquake and a tsunami which fell and destroyed some of them.Some were restored and placed back on their platforms by the Japanese in 1992,and about 710 remain. These statues were carved out of the local vocanic hills and tranported by rolling them on logs to their sites.This must have been a feat of engineering in itself at that time!. Had a great day out very interesting,even though it rained heavily,much of the time!!.
Aug20th.At last a beutiful day,sunny and warm,go on a half day tour of ANA KAI TANGATA (Birdmans cave)and ORONGO village.A restored archeological site set near a extinct volcano,overlooking the coast. Quite a stunning site when standing near the edge of the volcano.Here the Birdman ceremony cult was established. The male who was selected for a year,and was the messenger between mortals and the spirits.
Aug21th.Decided to walk around the area today,see some more Moai sites and take a few more photo snaps of this sub tropical island.Very few trees on the island as most have been cut down over the century's for the use of transporting statues!!.
Aug22th.ChileDeparted Rapa Nui about midday,after an interesting and enjoyable 4days,arrived at the Hotel Las Vegas in Santiago at about 8.30pm local time,after being besieged by taxi drivers at the airport!.
Aug23-25th.Our Hotel is situated in the Paris-Londres area,a bohemian quarter,near the city center.we tour the Santa Ana area on foot,to see the impressive buildings that are so prolific here.Many are goverment buildings and museums. we also take the Furnucular railway to the "Carro San Christabel" a steep hill that is dominated by the statue of "Our Lady".Here you have some panaramic views of Santiago and the Mountains beyond. We were collected yesterday morning for a tour of the Maipo valley and the Concho y Toro" vineyard,had a enjoyable time seeing the countrside and tasting the various wines,Hic ..Hic..
Aug26th.Today we are off to Valperiso and Vena Del Mar,which is about 140kms west of Santiago.We pass through the Casa Blanca wine region,which specialize in white wine. Valpariso is situated on the side of 45 hills that run steeply down to the coast,and the national parliament is now sited here,having moved from Santiago,after the military coup,when democracy was restored to Chile. In some of the areas the buildings are painted making a very colourful effect.The port of Valpariso was busy,with many commercial and naval ships anchoraged in the bay.
Aug27th-Sept 1st.Have spent the next few days walking all around santiago,taking in the various Museums,visiting Santa Lucia another hilly area where we had some more lovely views of the Andes mountains. Walk around the Belle Vista area,and the street market.See a student demostration where hundreds were protesting about something?. Another peaceful crowd were outside the Hotel one evening holding a quite vigal in memorance of victims who were tortured in a house opposite the hotel in the 1970's by the military. Most evenings the Plaza De Las Armes,the main square in the city,is bustling with people,but at the weekends the Plaza is bursting,everyone is jostling about in great humour. This is our first time in Chile,and I was really impressed with the country,I dont feel threaten here,and the people are very friendly,will try to go back at some stage,but will have to improve on our Spanish.
Sept 2nd.PeruWe were up early this morning for our flight to Lima Peru.The weather is sunny and dry again,as it has been,all the time we have been in Chile.We are both looking forward to this 16 day trip,although we are a little apprehensive,as we booked it on the internet,and have'nt a clue if this company is okay!!. Arrive in Lima midday and we are met at the airport by the tour company's taxi!,so far so good.We are staying in the Milaflores district tonight, before starting out on our adventure around Peru tommorow.
Sept 3rd.We were collected at 6.30am and taken to the bus terminus in lima, to catch the Cruz del Sur bus to Ica,,here we were issued with all the relevant tickets and vouchers for the Hotels at Ica & Nasca. The journey to Ica was about 4-5 hours long,traveling through very dry and sandy regions.On arrival in Ica we were shown around the town which is still recovering from the devastating earthquake that hit the area a year before. We then have a tour of a local museum,and go to Haucechina,which is a Oasis set in the middle of a desert region,and surrounded by huge Sand Dunes!.On reflextion we have had a long but interesting day!.
Sept 4th.This morning we are again collected early for a drive to Paracas Port,where we take a boat trip of about 8 kms to the Ballestas Islands.These Islands totaling about 25 islands, are teeming with Cormorants,Inca Terns,Penguins,and Sea Lions,and other birds.Every 6years they harvest the "Guano"which average 15,000 tonnes, and is a major export for the region. After several hours we return and have a tour of the National Park,which is a very dry area here,and another museum. Spend the rest of the day at the "Las Dunes" hotel,before catching the bus to Nasca in the early evening.
Sept 5th.Arrived in Nasca yesterday evening after about a 2hr bus ride.Looking forward to our flight over the Nasca Lines this morning,as they are best seen from the air. We are not dissappointed,the flight took about 45minutes,and the weather has been brilliant. WE have lunch and make the return Journey to Lima,with the Cruz Del Sur bus, where we arrived in at about 9.30pm.
Sept 6th.Flew to Arequipa today,where we are met at the airport and taken to a quaint, rustic house in Arequipa.The house was the former residence of the Bishop of Arequipa,a Manuel Segundo Ballo`n at the end of the 19th century.Later we had a tour of the area,including Yanahauna a small town nearby. Visited the Cathedral at Arequipa,with its gold pulpit,and is set on one side of the Plaza de Armes in the center of the town.The nearby Santa Catalina Monastry which was founded in 1579,was a impressive building,with its terra cotta & blue coloured buildings.Arequipa is a very lovely town with lots of character&charm.
Sept 7/8th.We leave Arequipa today for a two day trip to Coca Canyon by bus,stop several times during the drive,where we have cola tea which helps to allieviate the symptons of altitude sickness. The journey takes us higher into the mountains of Peru,reaching over 5000mtrs at one point,and you can feel the effort of walking about when we stop. eventually we reach Chivay ,which is set in a valley at a height of 3651mtrs,where we stay the night.After soaking in the Hotels hot springs!. Next morning we are off to the Colca Canyon,one of the worlds deepest canyons at 3600mtrs.Here we see the Condors,with their 1mt wingspan, soaring graciously around,a really remarkable sight!!. later we depart to Arequipa,via the Macca Valley and Chivay.
Sept9th.Flew to Cusco early this morning,spent the rest of the day walking around Cusco and getting the feel of the place.
Sept10th.This afternoon we have a tour of the City,and surrounding areas,visit the Cathredal with its cedarwood carvings and Silver altars. also the archeological site the ancient Inca city "Saqsaywaman"which was built on the surrounding hills overlooking Cusco. and finally "Tambomachay"another Inca site.
Sept 11/13th.Collected this morning for a tour of the Sacred Valley & Macchu Picchu,which wiil take a day or two. first we stop at a large market at Pisca Colonial and have an interesting hour,have lunch and visit "Ollantaytamba" a large Inca site which is built on the mountain side,in terraces, a fascinating place to visit.Overnight nearby, catch the Backpackers33 train this morning to Aguas Calliente,which takes about 2hrs and winds it self around the "Urubamba" river(A tributary to the Amazon).Here we take the bus to the lost city of Macchu Picchu a Inca site (built around the 15century) that was discovered in the early 1900's by an American Hiram Bingham. The terraced site is set high in the Mountains and is a spectacular site to behold.Overnight in Aguas Calliente,have another morning at Macchu Picchu and catch the train back to Cusco in the early evening, arrive in Cusco 9.30pm.A great tour!!.
Sept 14th.Our last day in Cusco,the local inhabitants are holding a large Celebration today,we are not sure if it is a festival,anyway its fun, with lots of fireworks,bands,parade,and dancing in the street.!.Finish this evening with dinner & Cabaret at a locl resturaunt,brilliant!!.
Sept 15th.Take the Inca Express(bus) to Puno this morning.On the way we visit Andahuaylillas,Raqchi,La Region Puno les Desea,Pukara. At Raqchi we see the remains of the"Temple of Wiracocha".
Sept 16th.Another early start this morning to visit the floating islands of Uros on lake Titicaca.The lake is borderd by Peru & Bolivia. The islands of Uros are made of 1mtr thick platforms of reed roped together,the huts and boats are also made from the reed.Take lunch at Taquile a natural island that is a UNESCO site,famous for its textiles,where the men do the Knitting.!!.
Sept 17th.Collected and taken to Juliaca airport this morning for our flight back to LIma.
Sept 18th.Taken on a morning tour of Lima today,visit the "Haunca Pukllena" a pre inca site,built about 2000BC.Walk around the Plaza de Armes, and its impressive buildings,including the Presidential Palace,and the Church of ST Francis,a Francescan monastary.
Sept 19th.The last day in Peru,just relax today,as it has been a hectic two weeks,we were greatly impressed with Peru with its History,buildings,and people,a really fantastic tour,we would recommend these people who organised the tour to anyone!!.
Sept 20th.BrazilWe departed Lima in the early hours on our next journey to Brazil,had to fly to Santiago first, which made the travelling longer,arrived Rio de Janerio tired in the afternoon.
Sept 21st.Up early this morning had a walk along Ipenema Beach,watching the Volley ball players,and sand sculpters at play and work.This afternoon we visited the Statue of Christ Redeemer,which is 38mtrs in height,on top of Corcavado mountain,overlooking Rio De Janerio. Unfortunately the weather was cloudy and visibility was poor. Also visited the Sambodrone(Samba Parade Stadium) where the famous annual Rio Carnival is held every February.
Sept 22nd.Awoke to a dry & sunny warm day,have a long walk along the 4km length Copocabana Beach,before going on to Sugar Loaf Mountain. Sugar Loaf Mountain is 396mtrs high,and is accessed by two cable cars.the first to Urca hill.The panaramic views from here are fantastic. Next on to the Cathedral in the metropolitan area,built of concrete in the 60's,is dominated inside by 4 huge stained glass windows,and can seat 20,000 people.
Sept 23rdThe last day of our visit to Rio De Janerio,spend the day relaxing along the Copocabana Beach,having a good suntan!!.We finish tonight by having a dinner & show at the Flataforma club,where we have a fabulous Samba Show with great costumes!!.
Sep24th.Sadly we have to head for the airport and home .We have had a wonderful vacation and adventure these last three months,now its back to reality.
Copyright 2006 .Last modified 7/1/2010 Created & compiled by Mr G. Windsor e-mail