Thursday, 22 February 2007

We're going back to Brunie?! Please no!!! Ahhh, Burny not Brunie, well where's that then???

Ok, there's definitely a price to pay for cheap internet. I've written this already 3 times and it keeps on disappearing, so apologies if this is not as good as it should be but I'm losing my patience (and my iPod is in for repairs so not even Take That can save me now).

Anyways, spent the past week on Bruny Island (not Burnie, a very uninspiring industrial port on the north coast of Tas), which lets be honest doesn't feature heavily on many people's itinerary for worldwide travel being as it is just a little island more remote and with a more isolated community than that of 'mainland' Tassie (allow me to provide some perspective, the farm-boy hick that I had a brief conversation with when in the snowies - who also expressed a liking and enjoyment for rodeos - told me that it was a lovely place but the 'people are pretty interesting', all relative I guess). But I had a great time. In lieu of the promised heatwave we picked blackberries by the beach until red in the face (literally) and enjoyed much picnic type fun. As dark fell we went to the rookery to watch the nightly throng of fairy penguins who ritually stagger up the beach from the depths to moult, mate and sleep (ah the joys of the simple life). Sooooooo cute. Though not easy to photograph - I took reassurance when the ranger told me that the only people he ever saw get good shots turned out to be a film crew who also shot sections of the Planet Earth episode in the Antarctic!

The next day it was my turn to be waddling along away from the beach as it was time to take in a bushwalk, or five. I think the views were pretty nice, but i was busy concentrating on the groundin front of me as apparently tiger/brownsnakes are not that amenable to being trodden on. I was skipping as I came back to the beach and ran in the sea to cool off, and boy was it cool. Some might say icy, but I'm not one to judge. Got to do something I really wanted to by driving the km's along the empty beach at Cloudy Bay to our million dollar campsite (free) with awesome views. Although the worrying smoke that had filled the air all day suddenly burst into billowing clouds and flames leapt out from the forest - BUSHFIRE!!!! To add to the 'excitement' several thunderstorms raged overhead as the sun was setting, very very dramatic (needless to say my camera was out of batteries after the penguin blitz). Sadly the price to pay for remoteness is a sacrifice to access and firecrews were unable to contain the blaze which some think will last for months until they burn themselves out.

With that in mind it was essential to make the most of the rainforest there was, and surprise surprise, take a 'nature' walk through one. It seemed that the large majority of 'nature' present at that particular time consisted of hungry leeches eagerly wriggling about my ankles thirsty for my blood. Yum. Then went to Cape Bruny to survey the lighthouse and more splendid views. I didn't see them because a haze of smoke reduced visability to nothing more than a cloud, shame. Though you can see them here. After another walk it was definitely time to stay in a real campsite and indulge in the luxuries of shower, kitchen and oh oooh ooh a laundry!

That pretty much brings me up to present, I'm now in what might actually be considered a cosmopolitan city (I think I told an amusing anecdote about that in one of the posts that got deleted and I can't be bothered to re-write it, but with a little application of imagination I'm sure you can embellish an equally if not more amusing cosmopolitan city related anecdote - do share it with the world if you do) and am deciding between fuelling my addiction to iced coffees or going cold turkey, is proving troublesome.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007


In 'the land under down under', as confirmed by location on the map. Hello. Feels like have been here for a year (insert less than nice words about credit card people here). First stop Hobart. Pictured here from halfway up Mt Wellington, and before you chastise me for only going halfway up allow me to make my defence on this matter. I. Just. Couldn't. Be. Bothered. And Converse don't make good walking shoes (yes mama, I know I have a perfectly good pair of shoes at home, but that's a long way away and I now momentarily admit I was wrong). Hung around here for a while (Hobart, not the mountain) trying to go cold turkey off ice coffees (not easy or at all successful, addicted I am). Got a campervan with Pierre and Anja to form 'Team Europe' travel around this magical and it has to be said slightly bizarrely populated island. Perhaps should have thought things through as Pierre turned out to have, erm, how to put it nicely, slightly missed a few stages in the evolution game (needless to say he doesn't have this site address, libel at will). Though did get to use my french (consisting of the phrases 'chocolat, frambroise, vanille', 'gwep' or however wasp is spelt in european, 'ou et la toilette' and 'du soleil'). Much better on the German front (just don't mention the war), I can now swear auf deutsche with perfect pronounciation! Years of language tuition at school put to good use I say.

Anyways, what did Team Europe do I hear you cry... Well we went to prison for crimes we didn't commit/a tour around the leftovers of Port Arthur which is where the really bad people got sent to do slave labour (Oz stereotype #56). Each visitor got matched up with a prisoner's story to follow round, my dude stole a lamb and got deported for life, though good on him tried to escape (note use of word 'tried' to denote failure). Watched the cricket that night - ENGLAND WON!!!! Ha! Stick that Australia! Next stop was Freycinet NP, which has apparently the 3rd best beach in the world (see above), but this is contestable. Have noticed that everywhere is Australia is the best this or highest that or oldest whatever (age being pretty limited to around 200 years or so), can't blame them for trying I suppose. Camped out in a car park near some fisherdudes who caught this cute little fellow! Bit more driving and sleeping by beaches and stuff (distressing life this) also went to Cradle Mountain - did have a picture but have inadvertantly deleted it and can't be arsed to reupload it - which we inadvertantly ended up climbing (probably should have paid the $2 for a map instead of just taking a picture of it) but was pretty damn awesome I think. Did lots and lots of other stuff but can't for the life of me remember what. Ah well. Oh and happy days, here's some evidence that not all Australian wildlife is of the genus 'splattus roadkillus'! Have also seen a teeny tiny snake, possibly a worm, and a possum and a moving rock (wombat - so cute, but deathly stupid).

Am heading off to a small island a little bit south of Tas tomorrow (with Team Europe slimmed down to just Team World War - ach I've gone and mentioned it now), so does that make it the land down under down under under down under? It's a puzzler... And in continuance of my Australian education, here's the national anthem to learn. By heart preferable. Though prob not really necessary given that England just won another cricket match (actually I won't say that because that match was ages away and have probably played again and lost by now so just sillyness, ah well too late now). If anyone was wondering, the reason why there's usually a bit of waffly rubbish at the bottom of all my posts, it's because I'm filling in time while the pictures upload, if this waffle isn't for you just stop reading about halfway through, actually if waffle isn't for you, this isn't the site for you. Ah well. YAY, is done. Have also put pictures on blog below for your viewing pleasure. I'll hop along now.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

STREWTH!!! (Oz stereotype #3, thus far unfounded - it's not in predictive text!)

G'day how you going? (application of local lingo #1 = successful thus far). Sorry but no pictures of me at the moment because the cable thingy has somehow moved from being in my bag to not being in my bag and thus out of reach (not any more - UPDATED!). Many apologies photo fans. Though on that topic if it's photo's you're after allow me to refer you to my slightly geeky family photo competition site at - and this is where I ask my fanbase, that's you, to work for me by posting many a positive comment about MY piccies, I'm not condoning making disparaging remarks about works by other competitors, but should you make any then I'm not one stop the right to freedom of expression and suchlike.

Should you be a bizarre creature who has other things to do than indulge my lifestyle, then I'll just give a brief update as to my most recent of goings on. Left the 'cloudy mountains' behind and shuttled off down to the capital heartland of Cranberry, which really is in the middle of NOWHERE, but a lovely city it was. Even though my tour guide had absconded to the beach (grrrr) and the only other offer was of a slightly intimidating drunk (shocker) irish fellow who's advances and offers of a 'chaperone' I hastily turned down. Crowning glory moment would be taking a tour of the government building and chatting to the friendly security guards therein. Marvellous, learnt more in 45mins than ever did during public law semester at uni (though that could say more about my ability to handle the morning after a 'few' drinks than anything else...). 26th January saw the celebration of my (well European in general I think but that's not nearly self-serving enough for me) arrival in Australia with some big fireworks display over the lake which was pretty good (minus the crowd rousing clip of commentary from the Ashes, grrrr - though I can report that England beat Oz in the beach cricket match televised last night, and you're only as good as your last game so that speaks for itself).

Headed up to the (not very snowy) Snowy Mountains for a few days camping in los great outdoors. Tent still slightly suffering at the hands of it's better poled compadre's but rallied through the winds admirably (only jumped in the air a few times, aargh). I climbed to the top of Australia (the lumpy hill like thing in the middle of picture) and ate an apple. Which was nice. Then I took a day horse riding but was not allowed to wear cool akubra hat (Oz stereotype #27 - alive and well) for health and safety reasons, but a delicious lunch avec wine made up for that - luckily wasn't caught by police for riding a horse whilst under the influence (was only one glass, but hey, this is me), but then again this was a place where they have drive-thru liquor shops, read into that what you will... Bid farewell to the land of local radio which unashamedly played redneck country and western music ('the fellow wore a nice hat' my particular favourite lyric). Went to beach which was awesome in the white sand blue sea kind of way. In general lots of pretty scenery. Back to Squidney to fly to Tassie which is where I am currently stationed waiting for the bank to pull through for me, should they ever do so. Disparaging comments about Mastercard wholesomely welcomed.

Geography fans will be pleased to note that I have updated my map - (Baghdad where are you). Trivia fans: a koala bears fingerprints are virtually indistinguishable from a humans. The bank robbery? It was that fellow in the corner, yep the one munching on eucalyptus between naps. I'm going up a mountain now (wish they were flatter but what can you do)...