South We Go

Nat’s Journal

A few words, about the adventures of each day over the next year.

Day 0  - 18 Episode 1

Find the first 2 weeks of our journal in the 1st episode of our adventures.

Day 19 (20/09/10) Welcome to the Mauritius

After spending the last 16 days the wonderful island of Rodriguez its time to say good bye, we are leaving the little sister Island that is 16KM long by 8KM wide, and head the main island of Mauritius. After saying goodbye to everyone we have made friends with and hiding the extra kilos from the staff at the airport we got on the plane. I am sad to leave; it was so disconnected from the world here. Arriving in Mauritius, you would not say we arrived in the same country here; everything is the very different. More to come on how different things are over the following days, as we experience it.  Today we checked into our hotel in the south of the Island, in Flic en flac and reserved a tour for tomorrow to visit the world heritage site of  Chamarel.

Day 20 (21/09/10) Visiting the South East of Mauritius

Today we woke up early, time to start exploring; as we have spent the last 2 weeks by the sea we wanted a change of scenery so we headed to the centre of the island. We booked a private tour as we did not want to be on a bus full of tourists, and even though, it was more expensive than a group tour, it is still very cheap by European standards.

We get picked up from our accommodation at 9am, we head of inland, and the first stop is Trou aux cerfs, which is a dormant volcano that has been dormant for over 800 years now, I hope it never wakes up as there are towns build very close to the volcano.

There is not much to see there, it’s a hole in the ground which is now covered in trees.

From there we head to the ‘Sacred Basain’ which is a holy site for the Hindus. There we see the different statues of the different Gods and watch a religious ceremony. It is said that twice a year people make a pilgrimage here from all around the country.

We then head to the Black River Gorges Natural Reserve; one of the few nature reserves on the island, unlike Rodriquez, conservation of the Island is not the main priority. We start walking in the forest for a while with no map or information as we could not find any. We saw the rare Mauricain cardinal and a mongoose, very funny animal’s mongooses are.

We had a lunch break which consisted of local fruit, baby pineapples, and small bananas. I tried the baby pineapple we local way, the way they eat it here is by cutting the pineapple in half, adding spices, slat and the juice of another fruit called ‘tamerian’, which is bit like plum.

We then went to the world heritage site of Chameral which is a spot of land that has 7 different colours, theses colours were formed by the volcanic eruptions and the salty wind that blows across the island. Also at this site there was a pit with 2 giant tortoises, the d’aldabra that come Seychelles, it was really sad to see that tourists we poking them and feeding them despite the signs saying please do not touch.

Mass tourism should not take tourists to see natural sites and protected animals if they do not educate them about the fragility of what they are seeing, because it damages the very things we are trying to protect.

Day 21 (22/09/10) Casela Nature Park

Today we headed of visit one of nature reserves, Casela, it originally opened a few years back as a sanctuary for birds but since then has grown to include many other animals and activities. When you arrive you have to choose what you want to do, so much is on offer, visit of the park, walk with lions, touch the lions, and visit the park in segway, safari, and the adventure park, which is a walk through the tree tops. We choose to visit the birds, see the lions and to do a mini safari. The first thing we did was to see the lions, which was a bit disappointing, as you taken to see them from a viewing platform. I am glad we did not choose to touch the lions, I feel so sorry for the lions, all day long lots of tourists get taken into the pen with the lions stroke them and have their picture taken with the lions.

The Safari was really cool, we were loaded into a bus, just like the ones you can find in Africa, we head off and see lots of emus and, a lot a lot of other birds, including gini foul. Then the best part of the day happens, we see Zebras, many Zebras, and they are very curious, they come up to the bus and start poking theirs noises inside and we stroke them, they love it, they are like black and white horses, I love them! After the safari we visit the bird sanctuary there are so many birds from all corners of the park, they are simply amazing.

In the afternoon it is time for us to move from Flic en Flac to 4 bournes, the centre of Mauritius, this proves to be very challenging as we take the bus with our backpacks and then walk for at least 2KM in the tropical rain to find the new hotel.

Day 22 (23/09/10) Textile Market in Quatre Bournes

This morning following the advice of receptionist we go to the textile market in Quatre Bounrnes, it is held every Thursday. The market looks like a souqe that you can find in Arabic countries. Rows and rows of stands filled will all different kind of fabrics, tissues and clothes. I am here mostly to look and buy some clothes for my dad, as I can not buy anything for myself as we have too many kilos already and each time we go to the airport we need to hide things to pass without having to pay for extra kilos. So after looking  around for about an hour I come out with 2 short shelves shirts for my dad that cost less then 4 euros each and a pair of shorts. I got myself a t shirt, only one, at less then 1.5euro I could not resist. Many of the clothes that are on sale here were destined for the high street shops found all over Europe, such as Camieau & Decathlon just to mention a few. These are the excess that had been made for the international brands and is sold in bulk here at factory shops, to vendors that then sell it on the market, you can find the exact same shirt here as you would in France; the only difference is it costs 1/5 of the price. The down side is that you often don’t find your side in what you like, as they do not have 15 size 36s they have one or two of each size and the colours change, so you find your size in colours or styles that you don’t like, mainly that’s why I did not buy so many things.

Day 23 (24/09/10) Attempting to hiking

Today we set out with one idea in mind to hike, that’s one of the reasons we moved off the coast and came to stay inland. The thing is that people don’t seem to hike here, there are many mountains, but no one was able to tell us where to go and hike. Finally we took a bus to the closest point to one of the mountains and started to walk. The beginning of the hike was quite good and steep, but once we had climbed for about 15minuites we came to a plateau, we walked along the plateau for a while trying to get closer to the mountains but it was not possible, there was no access point to climb higher up, so we walked along a path we found in between fields of sugar cane that were taller then us, and listen to the sound of animals we could not see moving around. It was a nice walk, which lasted 2 hours before we reached another town from which we took a bus to come back to our hotel. Tonight we are moving again, this time back to the coast, in the north where we have rented an apartment with my dad for the week.

Day 24 (25/09/10) Horse Racing and Saga show

In Mauritius the games are important. There are many small casinos, "Ti Vegas" as they are often called, the state lottery and horse racing. We're not big fans of horse racing but you have to try everything in the countries that visit. We head off in early afternoon to the Champs de Mars race course in that have been open since 1812. Here the racing happens from April to December. The atmosphere is very festive, as everywhere in this country, happily messy, no worries man. We quickly eat some dali pouri before entering into the stands. We decided to bet a few rupees to spice up the day. I won a bet by placing some money on the underdog, I didn’t win much but it covered the cost of what I played.

In the evening we went to eat in a Spanish restaurant, but we were disappointed. We then went to the Intercontinental hotel for a drink and to watch the Saga show. It is a splendid hotel where we were warmly welcomed by the staff that used to work with my dad.

Day 25 (26/09/2010) - Mauritius Crocs

After a lazy morning we go to visit the rum distillery in Chamarel. We pass by Curepipe to get Rebecca. Unfortunately like big fat tourists we are, we have not checked to see if it was open and, of course the rum distillery is closed on Sunday, probably due to the low season. A little disappointed, our stomach start to talk: "I'm hungry" feed me! We stop at a small restaurant in Chamarel Mauritius: the palace of Barbizon. Excellent restaurant!

After we had enough to eat we move to the south of the island to the crocodile park Vanilla. The visit is very friendly, many crocodiles, caimans, alligators give us their best smiles.

The evening ended with the Rebecca’s family where we drank a lot of beer and had a big gadgac.

Day 26 (27/09/10) The Capital and Pamplemousse

Today’s program; a visit of the capital Port Louis. We want to see the market, the port, china town, and 2 or 3 other historical sites. The market is good but not great, there are many things to see and buy. The market looks a bit like that of Quatre Bornes but sellers are very aggressive, they must think that we are typical tourists. We recommend the Quatre Bornes market as their the sellers give you the fair prices for things and do not treat you like just another tourist..

We also came across a monument that is classified by UNESCO ’Aapravasi Chat’. This is the place where all the labours that came to the Mauritius to work in the sugar cane fields arrived. Mauritius has a mix of many different cultures and that is due to the labours that came here to work. Today all the cultures live side by side in peace.

After lunch at the food court in the most famous mall of the country the ‘Caudon,’ we take the bus to Pamplemousse and its botanical garden. Here with the help of a guide we visit the garden,  he shows us the different species of plants , we saw and smelled the cinnamon, nuts, mango, resin incense, grapefruit trees, and lots of other very interesting trees that we could of never imagined.

Day 27 (28/09/10) Day at the beach and Lobster dinner

Today we spent the morning at home, I helped my dad work on this CV, and we had a French breakfast with Croissants and coffee. For lunch we headed to one of the hotels my dad use to work in, Caloydne sur mer, which is at the northern tip of the island. Here the water is clear like in Rodriguez, unfortunately the hotel has not been looked after and now stands almost empty and forgotten in its little corner of paradise.  After lunch we visited the aquarium, and saw all the different fishes that live off the coast of Mauritius, there is a pretty scare one called the stone fish, which looks exactly like a stone, if you don’t look really closely, this fish can sting you and is poisonous and lives in the rocks near the shore. In the evening we went to a very nice seafood restaurant and had a great seafood platter with lobster and a bottle of South African white wine. Yes, life as a traveller is hard some things, but you have to do what you have to do.

Day 28 (29/09/10) Raining day

Today was on of the first rainy days we had on our trip so far, and it is pretty sad because we planned to go scuba diving but because of the weather for the rest of the week I am not sure we will be able to. We spent we morning planning for the next stage of our trip, our arrival in Australia, we need to find a place to stay for the first few days while we find our van. Once we have our van we can head off on our travels. In the afternoon we went for lunch at a hotel and enjoyed a half an hour break in the rain before being forced back inside. It was also a bit cold today so we were not really motivated to do much and spent the evening at a bar watching the rain fall.

Day 29 (30/09/10) Scuba Diving

Today was the title of this entry says we got up early in the morning for a good cause, we had a scuba initiation lesson at the Atlantis diving centre near where we are staying in the north of the island. We arrive at the dive centre to find a hub of activity; people are making dive plans, filling up the oxygen tanks, people trying on their scuba gear. The lesson starts in a simple way, we watch a PADI dive introduction on the DVD player, seeing all the fishes on the screen is exciting soon we will be underwater with them. Its time to suit up, we put on wet suits, get some fins and a mask each, its time to head to the boat. The boat first takes us to the lagoon, where we can stand up, here our instructor Bertie, starts to show us some basic signals and important tips on what to do in case of certain events, we spent about 30min in the shallow water playing around with our equipment. Now we know the basics its time to head out in to the deep blue, after a 5 min boat ride we arrive at our dive site, time to jump in. As you can guess we saw an amazing amount of all different kinds of fish, corals and eels. Just before we got back in the boat the dive instructor found us an octopus that wrapped itself around his hand and we stroked and called him Paul 2.

Day 30 (01/10/10) The Rum Distillery

Finally after trying 3 times to visit the Rum Distillery we finally succeed! We got up early enough, dropped my dad in town and then continue on the centre south of the island to reach the rum distillery. Once inside, apart from being happy to finally be able to visit the place, we get treated very well, as we are the first visitors of the day. The guided tour starts with a visit of how rum is made, we are taken along the whole process, from when the sugar cane reaches the distillery, through each stage of the process with detailed explanations at each step. At the end of the visit, its rum tasting time, here they only produce ecological rum, so nothing apart from natural flavours is added to the rum. We taste a total of 5 different rums, some more finally distilled, some with flavours, my favourite is vanilla. By this time its almost lunch time so the girl that is doing the rum tasting with asks us if we would like something to eat. She recommends a deer sandwich, which tastes very good, and of course we drank sugar cane juice, I mean how could you not considering that the country is covered with fields of sugar cane but it is impossible to find the drink anywhere, as they only use it for exports.

Day 31 (02/10/10) Last day in Mauritius

All good things have to come to an end sometime. It has been a great month, full of adventure and discovery. We enjoyed different cultures, exploded the untouched beauty of Rodriguez, got to know the different cultures that the island of Mauritius so unique. We swam with the fish, watched the birds fly over head, played with baby goats and giant tortoises. We ate octopus curry, spicy baby pineapples, dali pouris, fried noodles and drank sugar cane juice, phoenix, tasted many types of rum. We partied with the locals, karaoked until we lost our voices, and learned to dance the Saga.

That’s what we did over the last month, what we did today was pack our bags, say goodbye to my dad and take our last trip around the island. We wrote our last postcards that we did not send because we could not find stamps on the shore of the only marine natural reserve on the island, Blue Bay, watched the sunset and headed to the airport. Now I am sitting in our 7 hour flight to Perth and thinking fondly of the place that calls itself Paradise Island.


Day 32 (03/10/10) Good Morning Perth

After a 7 hour flight we landed in Perth, the capital of Western Australia, the flight was not great as the people near us were noisy, so we did not get to sleep much. It’s always strange for me to take night flights, as you wake up in a new country, with a completely different culture, and you feel well lost. Even though I have been here people I needed to get use to the environment and the way things work again. The day passed very fast, we arrived at the hostel at lunch time, went out to find some food, we ate real Japanese food, a noodle dish called Ramen, as in France you can not normally find anything other than sushi. In the afternoon we had a looked around the city and headed back to the hostel to look at the vans on offer, we found 2 that were interesting and set up meeting for tomorrow. Dinner was not Australian but Portuguese, we had some great pri pri chicken at Nando’s, I guess sometime soon we will eat a Kangaroo burger.

Day 33 (04/1010) Visiting Vans

Today after sleeping 12 hours I feel alive againJ yesterday I was walking around like a Zombie. First order of business breakfast, a confusing affair in the hostel, you have to rent a set of cutlery from the in order to have breakfast and buy milk, so much for a continental breakfast. We then go into town to open a bank account, this should have been really easy as I am opening it with the same bank I have in France, but no banks will always be banks and now we are still working on how open the account. We saw our first van that doesn’t seem to be too bad except it doesn’t have air conditioning which could be a problem as the summer is on its way. After being in Perth for 2 days now we have seen nothing of the city, we are too busy trying to set up the basic things needed here. I hope that we will be able to get them done soon enough so we can start visiting the city and country and not just run from one place to another place. Wish us luck.

Day 34 (04/10/10) Found a Van!

So today started in the same as yesterday, breakfast, than we hit the town to continue trying to open bank account, so much for world banks, it is not easier, do not believe the adverts you see in all the airports, they still make you jump through hoops. Banks are really annoying in that way they keep your money, they can place it so it earns them more money, you have to pay them for this service, and they still make it so hard to open a bank account. We visited another 2 vans today, and found a really good one that was owner by a mechanic before, and is in perfect shape, for a reasonable price. We put a deposit on it, so now we can say we own a wheel of a van!  Now its time to start pimping the van, we had made a list of everything we need to add to the van to make it our home for our travels.

In the evening we chilled out in the bar of the hostel, here if you write a review you get 2 free beers, so that’s what we did. We met a group of Irish guys and started to learn Gaelic, and taught them some French, fun travel stuff at last.

Day 35 (06/10/10) Bank account open!

Today finally after annoying my bank in France and the one here I finally have a bank account! Only 3 days, crazy stuff to have to beg to have a bank account, but now it’s done. This is great news as now we can transfer money over and in a few days we can own our van! We still have to wait around near Perth before heading off as we are waiting for our bank cards to arrive, but at least as of tomorrow we can start enjoying the city and not living in the bank. The city of Perth is really nice, it’s clean, there is a free bus service that goes around the centre of the city, and the people are friendly. More to come on Perth in the next few days.

Day 36 (06/10/10) The Brass monkey & South Perth

Sometimes you just don’t feel like getting out of bed, and that was the case for me this morning, we had spent the last 3 days running to the bank and back and we still are hardly anywhere closer to getting our money from France here is Australia to get our Van. So after lying in bed for half of the day, it was lunch time, so we headed in to town to get some brunch, we found a bar/restaurant/comedy club called the Brass Monkey, that had a Thursday lunch special of a Beer and Burger for $15, huge burger, nice lunch, while we were eating we found out that today there was a music Quiz night.

After lunch we took the ferry across the river to south Perth, it’s very petty, quite and lots of parks and sporting activities, I could see myself living in south Perth.

After dinner we returned to the Brass Monkey to try our luck at the Music quiz, we were not very good, we also tried some of the local Western Australian Beers.

Day 37(08/10/10) Perth Zoo

After finding the Zoo yesterday when we were in South Perth, we decided to return today and spend the day there. The Zoo is very big and if you want to enjoy it, you should plan to spend the whole day there; the Zoo is part is part of a wildlife conservation plan and breeds many different animals from all around the world. The Zoo Is divided up into three different parts, Australian bush, Asian tropical rain forest, African Savannah. We saw lots of animals I have never seen before, including a tree kangaroo, these guys have to be the cutest things on earth; they look like a wallaby, but have long tails that they use to attach themselves to trees. We also saw some creepy snakes and spiders that we have to watch out for once we start our trip in the van.

Day 38 (09/10/10) Fremantle & Cottsloe Beach

In the early afternoon after a home made lunch of salad and nachos we took the train from Perth to Fremantle, a small town 20min away from Perth, the town is known as Perth’s weekend spot. The streets near the harbour are lined with inviting cafes, pubs and restaurants all tempting you to go inside and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee, snack or beer. On the weekends a market is held in the old market square; you can buy lots of things, its fun just to have a look around and see what is for sale.

We were walking in the park near the esplanade and came across a Saudi exposition, they were displaying there food, culture, religion, history, future of the country, they invited people to come look and learn about their culture openly. I really like the way that people in Australia are open about sharing their different cultures, I think this comes from the fact that the country was founded by immigrates from many different countries and they have to learn to live together in this new land. What is different here from another country that was also founded by immigrants, Mauritius, for example is that in Mauritius the different communities do not mix, they stay within their own, this makes business and life some times difficult, as it is openly discouraged to do business with or have friends of different ethnic groups. Where as in Australia, people are encouraged to interact and learn about the origins of all the fellow Australian citizens. Here people regardless of where they come from are treated equally and discrimination is not tolerated. Here everyone is part of the Australian community, that is has its rules, but the rules are the same for everyone.

On the way back from Fremantle we stopped at Cottsloe, the best know beach in Perth, only 10 minutes from the city by train, you find yourself on a beach with fine white sand facing the Indian Ocean. The beach is kept clean, and users of the beach are asked to respect the wildlife they find by not touching or taking it. Watching the sunset over the Indian Ocean is something that I will never get tired of, the sky turns so many different colours and no two sunsets are alike. As we were leaving to go back to Perth, we saw hundreds of Western Australian Parrots in the trees near they beach, making their home for the night, they are so beautiful, green, red and yellow, I feel so lucky to see them up close.

Day 39 (10/10/10) First Rainy day in Perth

Since we arrived in Perth a week ago today, we have only seen blue skies, which of course has been great for us, but not so great for the region, they had one of the driest summers on record, which is very bad news, less rain means that everything is more dry and more prone to bush fires, they have implemented a water restriction usage for watering your garden, for the rest of this month you can only water your garden once a week on the given day for your area. The government has also started warning people to prepare themselves and their houses for possible bush fires, which they believe will start sooner this year as the earth is so dry. So let it rain, I really hope it does rain enough, but that seems hardly likely. In Europe, we sometimes have water restrictions, and fire alerts, but it is not on the same scale as it is here.

Day 40 (11/10/10) Buying our Van

So 40 days after we started our adventure we have bought our home, for the next few months, our van. We went to Chris, the mechanic that sold us the van, did a part of the paper work with him handed over the money and the van was ours. Now, I had imagined that once we had brought of van, we would drive off into the sunset and camp where we liked, well no, you can’t just do that. Instead of riding off into the sunset, we went to register the van, it’s the first car I have ever owned, and so I am learning the ropes of been a car owner. Once the car is register, we started shopping for insurance, we have not chosen one yet, but we will do before we leave Perth.  We spent the rest of the afternoon looking for the things we will need in our home, table, chairs, bedding, and food, everything you need in a home.

In the evening we met up with French guy that sold us a radio, and some guide books, he was leaving to go back home to France that evening and asked us if we could drop him at few places then at the airport, so we did, in exchange he left us everything he didn’t need so we can us what is useful to us.

Day 41 (12/10/10) First Night in the Van

Its 9pm and I am sitting on our bed in our van writing about the day. It is our first night in our van; we found a campsite just outside of Perth. Our day was good, we checked out of the hostel and headed off to a camping shop we never found, instead we found Kmart, where we picked up some of the important things we need for the van, before we could stay in it, we still have a few things to buy before we can go out on the open road but we have the basics. It is really hard to organise a very small space that you need to live in, in our van we have a bedroom, kitchen, and wardrobe all in the space of a van. I am really excited to be travelling and living in this van, even if it is small, I am in the heart of nature and that is what I love.

Day 42 (13/10/10) Kitting out our Van

Today, after waking up from our first night sleeping in the van, which was very comfortable and quite, we headed off to the camping store we did not get to yesterday to try to finish filling up our van. Sadly once we got there we found out that they don’t do second hand stuff anymore, and they only sold brand camping equipment, which is too expensive and good for us, so we returned to of new friend Kmart to buy the rest of the things we needed. Our van now has a 35l esky, a 6 person tent, a table and 2 chairs, a gas stove, a sink, 4 sleeping bags, a bed made from a form mattress placed on top of a inflatable mattress, we have a sunroof we have to put up, a kettle, cooking and eating utensils, some maps, and our personal stuff so now we are just waiting on our bank and then we are off. I am so excited I can’t wait!

Day 43 (14/10/10) Mosquitoes

Today we went back to Perth again to try and pick up the things we are missing from the bank, but we didn’t receive them so we have to go back tomorrow again, it is getting very boring  having to go in to Perth each day. The good news is we found a name for our van, after arguing about if it is a male or female van, we decided it’s a male and call him ’Baby Hippo’.

In the evening we went to camp at a campsite near a lake about 30km from Perth called the Baldives, they are famous for holding wake boarding competitions.

As a novice camper I made a classic mistake, I turned on the light at the back of the van and left the door open, went to get something in the front, taking my time. When I got back to the rear of the van, I found thousands of mosquitoes had entered the van because of the light, they were everywhere! I did the only thing I could think of doing and grabbed a hold of the bug spray and blasted them all. The good news they all died, the bad news they fell down, onto our bed, kitchen area and everywhere, so we had to take everything out to shake of the dead mosquitoes. One important thing I learned is never turn on the light and open a door hen staying near a place with lots of bugs!

Day 44 (15/10/10) Hitting the road at last!

After almost 2 weeks of running between the banks the post office, and camping shops we are finally ready to hit the road!! Whoo! Now the question is where should we go? It’s Friday and we have until Wednesday to kill, when we will go and visit a farm in the outback. We have all the essential guides you need for travelling Australia, the camps 5, a road atlas, and a lonely planet guide. Having looked over them we decided to head 260kms north of Perth to see the Pinnacles desert and the turquoise coast, as it was already 2pm we would not have time to visit anything today but we planned to stay in a campsite near by so we could take advantage of tomorrow. Along the road we sadly saw a few dead red kangaroos, the poor things, no doubt hit by a truck last night. After driving for two and half hours we find our campsite for the night. Let me describe the location first, you turn off the Indian Ocean highway and drive about 5 km, there you see a sign that says turn here for the XX campsite, you head down a dirt track for another 5km then you reach the entrance of the site. We enter the reception but no one is around, after looking around for a while we find a note telling us to help ourselves to a camping spot and to come back later. We set up our kitchen, this means we set out our table and put the gas cooker on it, and started cooking, the first time I cook in the wild. As I am cooking the sunsets and the sky turns colours that I could not believe, orange, into a light pink, then a light purple to a darker purple before the sky turns black, but stays clear because of the moon. Its so natural and amazing, its hard to believe I have the chance to see all of this.

Day 45 (16/10/10) Pinnacles Desert & Sandy Beach

Today was the earliest start since we have started our trip, we set an alarm for 6:30am, we have agreed that it makes sense to be awake while the sun is, as after the sun goes down we can not do very much. Despite waking up early we take our time to cook ourselves a full English/OZ breakfast, we fry some bacon, eggs and raisin toast, make some coffee and pour some orange juice.

By the time we are ready to leave the campsite it is already 9am, early than the other days so far, but not early enough. Pinnacles Desert is our first stop; on the way there we pass Emus and some lizards: Australia is wild wherever you look. The first thing you are encouraged to do when you arrive at Pinnacles Desert, is go to the discovery centre to understand the history behind these rocks that seem to grow straight out of the ground in the middle of nowhere. After learning about the history we head off to see them, there is a walking path of 1.5km that takes you around the formations, its very interesting to see, rocks growing straight out of the ground where everything else is flat and sandy, with a few shrubs growing in-between.

Out here we do not have phone signal so we head into the closest town in hopes to find a internet connection, we find one, in a bottle shop, 3$ for 15min, we send a quick email to our families to tell them we are fine and not to worry if they can not get a hold of us, and then get down to the important business of buying a case of Emu (beer).

We then head to our campsite of tonight, Sandy Beach, this time it’s a direct turn of the highway onto a dirt road even longer then the one of yesterday, after about 7km we reach the site and it is amazing. We are right on the beach, the beach that has as promised turquoise water and fine white sand dunes. This is the most popular campsite we have been to so far, it’s hard to find a spot, so we are squatting on the edge of someone else’s spot. New challenge this campsite does not have any water, power or facilities; this is camping in it purest, apart from the fact we are in a van and not in a tent.

Day 46 (17/10/10) Kangaroos in the wild

Today for the first time since the start of this trip in Australia we saw kangaroos in the wild; the first one which we named Andy came jumping out in front of our van as we were driving to the Lemare national park 15km down a dirt track from the town of Jurien. It was really cool and totally unexpected like all the amazing things we have seen so far on this trip. We then spent the morning in the national park looking for wildlife and we were lucky enough to see 6 more kangaroos and even get some photos of them, they are not easy to take in picture.

In the afternoon we went to a supermarket and brought some food for tonight and our third bag of ice, we have decided to keep track of how many bags of ice we buy over this trip. We then went to the beach in Jurien, and watched the wave’s crash up against the shore.

In the evening we returned to the same camp site we were in last night, Sandy beach, and set up camp. We put out our two hammocks, sat in them and read a book for a while before starting to cook tonight’s dinner: stir fry beef with veggies and rice; you can cook almost like you can at home when you are camping. Now we are sitting outside at our camp table using the laptops. Life in the wild is very wild, but modern at the same time.

Day 47 (18/09/10) Back to Perth

Today we woke up early and left are lovely camp stop by the beach. It has been great being out in the wild for the last few days, taking solar showers and living without any connection to the rest of the world, but we need to pick up some more supplies. Tomorrow we are heading inland for the first time so we need to prepare our van a little more. It is strange to go back to a big city after being in the middle of nowhere with just a small general store at the petrol station to pick us supplies at, the strangest thing is that less than 1 hours drive Perth one of Australia’s largest cities, you find unspoiled wilderness, this country never stops amazing me.

Day 48 (19/09/10) Penguin Island & Beverly

The little penguin is the smallest penguin in the world and is the only one that lives off the Australian coast line. Today we visited Penguin Island, a 10 minute boat ride from Rockingham in Western Australia, where we got the chance to meet theses really cute birds.  The Island itself, is a haven for sea birds, with many different species living on it, including pelicans, and seagulls. Today for the first time I saw seagull chicks and I have to say they are ugly looking, think baby swan, they are brown, fluffy and look nothing like there majestic white parents. The water around Penguin Island is the classic turquoise blue of the Indian Ocean which I know I will miss once we leave this side of the coast.

In the afternoon we climb back into Baby Hippo (van) and start the journey inland that will take us to Beverly tonight, about 100km from Perth. On the road we watch the landscape change one again; here we are in the middle of farm country with fields of cows and sheep all around us. Every so often we pass mailboxes on the side of the road which mark the start of a path that leads to a farm house. People out in the country are very friendly tonight we will go to our first country pub, which I will report about tomorrow.

Day 49 (20/10/10) Sheep sheering and Yabbi’s

Last night, Beverly was a ghost town and we could not find anything open and did not see anyone on the streets. After walking the length of the town twice we found the bar of the town’s hotel open there were 2 people inside, a very quite night.

Today was the most exciting day for us so far in Australia, in the morning just after 9am we met up with Shane, Shannon’s dad, who kindly spent the day showing us around the town of York. First on the agenda was going to see sheep sheering, we all know this happens as this is where wool comes from, but I had no idea how they do it. We drove up to a dusty shed in the middle of fields and fields of sheep; we go inside to see it all in action. You have three shearers each sheering a sheep at the same time, they are able to do this in less than 3 minutes and they take the sheep’s coat off in one whole piece. You have the girls that clear the wool from the floors, and you have the wool classer that looks at the wool and decides what quality the coat of the sheep is, depending on its strength and texture. They shear over 250 sheep each a day, a total of 750 per team per day. That’s incredible, but they have to be that fast as a small farm here has over 900 sheep and a normal size one has around 15000, that’s a lot of sheep to get through each spring.

The next stop of the day was Yabbi catching, what on earth is a yabbi? That was my question, they are small crayfish and they live in dams that farmers have on there land. It is easy to catch them, you just set out a trap with dog treats in and they fall in. After pulling three traps of yabbi’s out of the dam we are ready to go back to Shane’s home to cook them. To cook them you boil them in a pot of hot water, and then you peel them and make sandwiches out of them. After lunch we had a look around Shane’s Chock (chicken) farm, he raises chickens and many other kinds of birds to sell them later on.

We left the farm with a bag of lamb chops, a bottle of olive oil and a box of yabbi’s that all came straight of the farm, we were spoiled today.

We drove down, past Perth a campsite near Pinnjara, the campsite is in the middle of the woods and we and another caravan were the only ones there. We saw a kangaroo hop around and heard the sound of many others. I love camping in the wild.

Day 50 Bumbery & Busselton

Today it is cold, for the first time since arriving; we have not taken off our sweaters all day. The skies have been grey and we have been feeling sleepy, I guess that’s what happens when you get use to seeing the sunshine everyday. Now we are in the south west of the state, well under Perth, this area, around Margaret River, is a famous wine region in Australia. The town of Bumbery was small and cute; we climbed the look out tower and took pictures of the town below. We then continued down the highway to Busselton where we have camped tonight, in a camping only a few minutes walk from the centre of the town. Driving each day is very tiring and we want to stay here for a few days and do some walking a visiting. Tonight we cooked the lamb chops that Shane gave us on the BBQ, and desert we made apple flambé, sometimes we eat better on the road then we did back in Paris. We don’t have the luxury of take out food in our van so we have to be creative and work hard so that our meals don’t become boring.

Day 51 (22/10/10) Busselton

The last few days we have been driving a lot and we are a bit sick of it, so we decide to stay in the camping in Busselton a night longer. Today we visited the town, which is small and cute like most of the towns we have seen so far in Australia. Then we headed to visit the jetty, which is the longest wooden jetty in the southern hemisphere, built of course by the English during the early 1800’s today it stands as a historical monument. We then decided to go and visit the marina, thinking that we would find a shopping complex there, after 6kms of walking all we found was a residential area, and of course no public transport to come back. After walking on the side of the road for a while, we found an English lady that took pity on us and dropped us back to our campsite. People are scared of hitchhikers here, just like they are in Europe.

Day 52 (23/10/10) Margaret River Wine Region

It is really expensive to visit tourist sites in Australia, most of the ones we have passed since being on the West Coast have been over 20$ to visit, so we visit around the sites mostly. Today for example, we went to a lighthouse that could be visited, but did not go inside because of the price. So instead we visited around the lighthouse, where there are walking paths that are free to walk on. We saw whales off the coast; it was shocking to see them. We also saw a big lizard and other tourists said they had seen a snake, but we did not see it. We then did the same thing at a cave site, we visited around the cave, but did not see anything interesting. In the evening we stayed at a campsite that was in the middle of fields full of sheep, when we drove down the path we could not see the campsite but only fields full of sheep, it is funny to see where you can camp in Australia. We met some other travellers like us staying at the campsite, a couple from Germany and another couple from Finland; we spent the night trading travel stories and tips.

Day 53 (24/10/10) Wine Tasting

Being in this famous wine region we had to go to some vineyards and taste Australia wine. We picked out three vineyards to visit; one which had won the best vine of the year 2009 award, a runner up and a very small vineyard hidden between the giant ones. Surprisingly we liked the vine at the small place the most; we brought a bottle of white from there. Some of the vines we tasted were really good, others were not so good. Here you don’t visit a vineyard the way you would in France; here visiting a vineyard means going to a vineyards and tasting the wine they have on offer. In France, when you visit a vineyard, you are taken on a tour of the land, and shown how the wine is made, stored and bottled. In the afternoon we lay on the beach on watched windsurfers, it was a lazy and relaxing Sunday. In the evening we moved to another campsite, we are now staying in the middle of the woods, and there are kangaroos spying on us, they just hop across the path as if they were alone and pay no attention to us humans who are making camp fires. The people also don’t notice the kangaroos they look at them like the way we would look at rabbit in the woods in Europe.

Day 54 (25/10/10) Cape to Cape walk

After a goodnights sleep in the middle of the forest, we have decided to walk park of the Cape to Cape walking track, the track starts in Busselton and continues to Augusta, following the coast. We walked 10km along the stunning limestone cliffs, watching the Indian Ocean. We see lots of different brightly coloured birds. Watching out for snakes, which I am happy, we did not see on this walk because there were moments when we could not see where we were walking. We were looking out for kangaroos or possums that are known to live in this area, we saw some tracks but we did not see them.
Once back at the campsite we set up our 6 person tent, which is almost as big as our van. We plan to use it when we stop and stay somewhere for a longer time.
We built a campfire tonight and cooked bananas on it, really tasty. I am sure I am going to miss all of this when we go back to the real world.

Day 55 (26/10/10) Leaving the West Coast

After packing up our campsite and leaving the forest that was our home for the last two days we drive to the sleepy small town of Augusta, the town is at the tip of the west coast; from here the South Pole is only around 6000kms away. We have a coffee at the lighthouse and look out over the stunning Indian Ocean for the last time before we head off the west coast and on to the south coast.
We drive 400kms and reach the town of Denmark on the south coast, it is colder here, very green, and here the forest meets the sea. We plan to stay here for the next 3 days visiting vineyards, walking, going to the beach if the weather gets better.

Day 56 (27/10/10) Demark

Time to discover this quite, scenic town on the south coast of Australia, armed with guide maps and recommendations given to us by the tourist office we head off to explore. Our first stop is the Green pool, a look out over the southern ocean made up of lime stone rocks. Next we get onto the Scottsdale tourist road and start driving, we stop at a farm that makes wine out of honey, not bad, but not very tasty, and they also made many different types of honey including ones made with ginger that was quite nice.
The highlight of the day happened when we arrived at the Alpaca Farm and we were greeted by the lady who owns the place and she was holding a baby Kangaroo rapped up in a blanket. He was so cute, I asked the lady if I could take a picture of him and she said I could hold it! It was so small and curious and liked my face! We then entered the farm armed with a bag of animal feed. The first pen we passed contained Alpaca’s and Kangaroo’s, we went inside and started to feed them, at first we were a bit scared, but after a short while we were really close to the animals and they we just as interested in use, trying to get the feed out of my pocket when I was not looking. We petted and watched the Kangaroo’s and even saw a mother carrying a baby kangaroo in its pouch. It was then time to play with the baby goats, which for some reason thought that I have milk in my fingers and were sucking them trying to get some milk out. I have three of them on me at once. Too cute for words; after which we decided to sit in the rabbits hut for a while and play with the rabbits and guanine pigs. There were other animals to see in the farm as well, including an Emu that tried to attacked my camera, horses, donkeys, cows, and a fox.
After having so much fun playing with the animals the only logical thing to do was to go and taste some of the great wine and cheese this region has to offer, we stopped at Duckets farm where we tasted cheese, fudge, and wine.
In the evening we went to a campsite on the Perry Beach, which is on the Bilbuman track, a walking path that is 1000kms long that goes from Perth to Albany. It started to rain this is not a good sign for the walking we would like to do over the next few days.

Day 57 (28/10/10) Rain Rain and more Rain

If anyone has ever told you it is fun to camp when it is raining well let me assure you, it is not in the least bit fun. Last night it rained almost non stop and the wind did not stop howling, so of course sleeping in a van we heard all of natures sounds very very clearly. When you wake up and it is raining in a city you don’t feel like going outside, when you live in a van the feeling is the same, but worse as you know that as soon as you step out you will be wet and you don’t have a choice you have to get out of the van. Mud gets everywhere and while you pack away things you get wet and cold. I will stop complaining now. We spent the day hiding in a shopping centre in the near by town of Albany, stocking up on the essentials.
We tried to rent a move in the evening before heading to our campsite, but we were not able to do this, of course, because we do not have an address. Without an address it seems you can not be a functional part of society, you are always hindered just because you don’t have a home address. I don’t find this fair, but this is a conversation for another day.
We arrived at Cosy Beach, our campsite for the night and started cooking dinner, picture this, two people holding umbrellas huddled over a camping stove, trying to keep the steak dry. It is not easy or fun to camp in the wet.

Day 58 (29/10/10) Albany

They say that if you really want something it will happen, well yesterday I really wanted it to stop raining and this morning when we woke up it was sunny. It really does make camping a whole lot nicer when it is sunny. After having a full English breakfast we headed off the visit the sites of Albany. After going to the whale world, which is too highly price for what it is, and not going in, we headed along the Frenchman’s Bay scenic route. A bit of history, after the Dutch, the British came to this point of Australia and deemed it of little value so left, it was not until the French claimed the land that the British came back and recalled Australia by sending its prisoners here. We started by visiting stony hill, a look out over the southern ocean with large rocks that make you wonder how they came to be there. We saw our first snake (sasha) at the point where Australia and Antarctica were once joined, a place called the blow holes, where waves crash up against the rocks and water come spraying out of the rocks. Did you know that Australia is drifting and is 5cm further way from Antarctica then it was last year? We got tricked into having coffee at a place promising free wifi and did not find out until after ordering that the staff did not know the password.

Tonight we will bbq some chicken for dinner on the beach of Emu point which will be our campsite for the night.

Day 59 (30/10/10) Albany to Esperance

When we were cooking our bbq last night we got a visit for 2 little numbates, they look like big rats, but cuter, we play with them with our flashlight, before they got tired and ran into the bushes.

As the weather is not very nice here at the moment, rainy, cold and windy, we have chosen to hit the road and head east to the town of hope, that is the meaning of the word Esperance in French. 500 KMs of windy road passing road trains on the way, this will be fun. I have a fear of being crushed by road trucks, some of them can be over 50 meters long. On the road we met a guy from Holland that has ridden his bike from Holland to Asia and then across Australia, he rides about 80 to 100 km a day. I admire how fit and determined he is. I can hardly walk 10km in a day without feeling tired.

Esperance is a small town on the coast; it is the last town on the coast on the side of Western Australia. We head directly to our campsite for the night. It is confusing to arrive at a new campsite almost each day, you feel disoriented, you need to find out if the water is drinkable, where the facilities are, which facilities they have, and it is like move home each day.

Day 60 (31/10/10) Esperance

When we stay at a campsite with power and other facilities we always tend to take our time the next morning getting ready for the day. There is an information/demonstration day down at the jetty of the Esperance emergency services, most of which are made up of volunteers. It is a great sunny day, and we walk around the fair, on the grass in the sunshine, watching all demonstrations. The town in proud of itself and it shows, I really like how people in Australia act as part of a community and not as individuals. We then squatted outside McDonalds in our van where we caught the free wifi signal. Spent some time catching up with the world before trying to find somewhere open on a Sunday to buy food, of course everything was closed so we ended up eating Red Roster, an Australian version of KFC.

Getting board quite fast of Esperance we hit the road again and headed north to Norsemen, the town that is on the border of the Nullabor. Tomorrow we will drive up to Kalgoorlie, the famous mining town of Western Australia, said to resemble the Wild West.

Day 61 (01/11/10) Kalgoorlie & Old Gold Mine

Yesterday marked 60 days since we left Pairs, 2 months into our journey and we find ourselves in the heart of outback Australia. Kalgoorlie became famous in the mid 1800’s when the golden mile was discovered. This sparked a gold rush and people came from all over to seek richness in this desert town, unfortunately many of them where ill equipped to deal with the harsh conditions of the Australian Outback and perished or became severely ill. However there toils were not futile, today Kalgoorlie, is home to the super hit, the largest gold mine in the southern hemisphere.

After orientating ourselves with the help of the tourism information office, we choose to visit the Mining Hall of Fame. This site is home to an old gold mine. It is really worth a visit, you can visit the site over 2 days, and it takes a full day to see the whole site. Included in the entrance fee you have 2 guide tours one of the old mine underground and one that shows you how gold pouring is done. We saw monster trucks, the wheels of these babies, are twice as high as I am. We saw the gold pouring and I tried to run away with the gold coin they were showing us, but unfortunately I did not get very far. We walked though a life size replicate of what Hannan street looked like back in the day, just a few miners’ huts, a pub and a bank. Today Hannan street is the centre of town, with shops, cafes, banks, and just about everything you can find in down town Perth. The city still has the feeling of the Wild West, most people that live here work in the mining industry and although it has become a lot easier to mine, it is still dangerous.

Day 62 (02/11/10) The Super pit and Flying Doctors

As we are about to cross the Nullabor, we thought it wise to give our Baby Hippo a check up, it turns out that he is in good health and just needed to change the pump belts.

Once our Hippo was feeling better we went to Dominos, as it is Tuesday there is a half price special on the pizzas. With our pizzas we go and visit the look out of the Super pit, the biggest Gold mine in the southern hemisphere. We watched how the mine worked and read the history of the mine. The super pit was created when, (I forgot who) had the vision to buy up all the leases of the individual mines on the Golden mile and turn them in to on super pit, in order to make it more cost effective to mine for gold.

The Royal Flying Doctors are people I greatly admire; they bring health care to remote populations, which without them would have a slim chance of survival if an accident where to occur. They have 3 airplanes based at Kalgoorlie; each airplane is a flying intensive care unit and can carry a doctor, a nurse, a pilot, 2 passengers on stretchers and another passenger. The Royal Flying doctors also help people in remote communities with health care issues by radio, they leave medical boxes in remote towns and when someone is ill they explain over the radio waves how to treat that person. They also do travelling medical clinics and go from remote village to remote village topping up the medical chest and teaching the population the needed skills to handle an emergency. They are an organisation funded by donations only.

Day 63 (03/11/10) The journey across the Nullabor begins

The time has come for us to start crossing the 1215KM of pure nothing. They are small, when I say small I mean tiny villages of about 8 to 10 people living there every 200kms but apart from that there is nothing. Today we drove the first 400kms, the road way fine, we passed many road trucks, how I love those things. We almost drove right passed the first small town; it became famous because part of an American space lab fell from the sky here in the late 70’s. The town is thing, a petrol station/ motel with the museum attached to it and a caravan park next to it and that’s it. We are staying in a free camp stop 5kms from the village. We played Yatzi until we sunset and then cooked dinner while watching the sky turn to a pretty pink colour before drowning us in darkness.

Day 64 (04/11/10) In the Nullabor

Waking up early we continued driving across the Nullabor, endless kilometres of road ahead of us. Today we drove across Australia’s longest road 148.5kms. What can I say? Sadly we saw a lot of dead Kangaroo’s, a brown snake; those are dangerous ones, passed in front of our van while we were driving. We saw people cycling across the Nullabor, they have no fear. We watch people play golf at the golf holes on the way across. In the evening we stopped at Eucla, which is just 13kms from the Western Australia/ South Australia border. We visited the small museum and the old telegraph station. We camped in a site where, we should not really have camped, but the place was empty so we thought why not?

Day 65 (05/11/10) Last day in the Nullabor

After waking up to the sound of a truck that was clearly checking out our van, we made a run for it Bonnie and Clyde style, throwing ourselves into some clothes and running off. We stopped at the border village, where we filled up the tank and had some breakfast. Now we are in South Australia, the landscape changes here, the road winds along the ocean and we have the most amazing views of the Nullabor cliffs. At the last service station, just before reaching Ceduna, a group of aboriginals came and asked us to buy drinks for them. It seems they are not allowed to buy them themselves, more and more of them kept arriving so we for the second time today made a run for it. We stopped at the village at the end of Nullabor, Ceduna, for the night.

Day 66 (06/11/10) Ceduna and Pildappa rock

Ceduna is a very small village, well not as small as the ones in the Nullabor but still, within 2 hours we had seen all the sights and were back on the road again. We headed to Streaky Bay, supposedly a famous spot on the coast, a tiny village again with not a lot to do. We got the chance to see some pelicans before climbing back in baby hippo and driving away again. We arrived at Pildappa rock, a rock which like Ayres Rock seems to have just grown out of the ground. We climbed to the top and got rewarded with stunning views of the country side. It is amazingly beautiful here. I feel like I am in heaven watching the sunset way up high on this rock, far away from the noise and stress of city life.

Day 67 (07/11/10) Pancakes

After staying in bed for as long as I wanted, God that felt good, I got up, the first thing I saw was the Pildappa rock as we camped at the base of it. It is such a great privilege to be able to camp mostly for free is some of the world’s most beautiful places. To make the day even better we made pancakes for breakfast.   After being lazy for as long as we liked we headed off to look at other rock formations and spent the day bush walking. In the evening we arrived in the town of Kimba that is the half way point between Perth and Sydney, halfway for us on our journey across the continent. We met a nice American couple that liked our van a lot. I hope this is good news for when we try to sell it.

Day 68 (08/11/10) Kimba to Port Augusta

Today we drove from Kimba to Port August, port Augusta is the first big town we have stayed in since we arrived in South Australia, it is nice to have everything you need in one place. We did the shopping, filled up baby hippo and spent the day at the campsite we choose that had a swimming pool, very nice on this very hot day. We spent the rest of the day doing laundry and enjoying the sunshine, just relaxing after the long days of driving we have just done.

Day 69 (09/11/10) Port Augusta

We visited the Botanical gardens of Port Augusta this morning, the gardens were very interesting because not only did they show you the plants of the region, but they set up mini gardens showing you which kind of plants you can have in your garden and how much water each garden type needs. This is a great way to learn what kind of garden you can have if you live in a dry part of the country with water restrictions. We then visited the tower of Port Augusta that gave us a view of the city, it was hard for me as I had to climb up the steps to a high point, which I don’t like doing. In the evening we drove along the road that leads from Port Augusta to Adelaide and stopped in Red Banks national park near the Clare valley, where we saw some more kangaroos, but sadly no wombats.

Day 70 (10/11/10) Clare valley

Clare valley has to be the nicest wine region that we have visited so far. It has rolling hills and is very green. The people are not snobbish we met a nice couple from Sydney that gave us lots of tips on where to go once we get to Sydney.  We spent the afternoon wasting wines and visiting a brewery. In the evening we headed into Adelaide where we choose a campsite very close to the town centre as we plan to spend at least a week here. After dinner and a shower, we met up with my friend Renee, who I have not seen since the last time I was over in Cairns, about two years ago. It was nice to chat and catch up with what is new in each others lives. We will be going out with her in a few days to party after she finishes her exams (she studies wine making).

Day 71 (11/11/10) Adelaide

There is something I have to say about Adelaide, it has British weather and is cold and rainy a lot of the year, even now in the spring time it is cold, we have to wear jumpers and sometimes that is even not warm enough, it seems that this city is trying very hard to hold on to its colonial past. We visited the city centre, the buildings are very British and for a moment you can forget that you are in Australia and imagine you are in a British town, or Scotland. On the main shopping street they are status of pigs, we played with them for a while, posing by them, making funny faces. We found the library and became members so we can use internet for free, yes at last we are connected to the world again! Lunch was giant Maki rolls; I really miss my weekly sushi night with my friend Osky.

Day 72 (12/11/10) Adelaide day 2

Today we headed down town again; it is raining; now there is a surprise. We spent a large part of the day at the immigration centre, trying to find out what options we had to stay and work out here. After finding that out we went to the library again to use the internet to try and a find accommodation in Sydney for the Christmas holidays, this seems more difficult then we imagined. We headed back to the camping afterwards, and then went shopping to beer and dinner. Not a very exciting day.

Day 73 (13/11/10) Rainy Saturday

There was a Christmas parade in the centre of Adelaide that we wanted to go and watch, but no buses came by our stop all morning, so we could not go into town. It was another cold and rainy day, so we took refuge in a shopping mall close to where our campsite is and brought our 3G internet key so we can be connected to the world once again. For dinner we made a very nice dinner of pancakes with cheese, egg, ham in them and banana flambé ones for desert.

Day 74 (14/11/10) Wine Tasting at Murry Street Vineyards

Today we spent most of the morning in bed just relaxing and looking at things on the World Wide Web, we had a big lunch because after lunch we went to the Murry Street Vineyard, where Renee works. It is a very nice vineyard, we sit down and taste wine here, compared to other places where you stand up and taste. We spent the afternoon talking about wine and good food with Renee and we started to miss good French food.

Day 75 (15/11/10) Renne’s end of exam party

Today Renee had her last exam, this meant only one thing, it was time to party! So that is what we did. After spending the day doing research on the internet we went down to the pub where we met up with Renee and her other wine making class mates. We stayed at the pub for a few hours before going to a nice restaurant in town, where we had Black Angus steak for dinner. It was great, we also had great wine. After the restaurant we went to another pub and got roped into trying different Australian sprites. We met a very nice taxi driver that told us about Australia history on the way home.

Day 76 (16/11/10) Brunch and Roast dinner

Having really missed eating good food, last night we came up with a plan that today we would go down to the markets and buy some fresh food and have a gourmet brunch. So that is what we did, we went down to the markets and picked out, fresh cheese, fruits, vegetables, smoked ham, eggs, bread and pastries. Armed with our goodies we went home to Renee’s house and made our great brunch. After which we watched my favourite TV series Dr. House and relaxed for a while. We then headed to one of Renee’s friends house that was having an afternoon snack of French cheese and wine, so we continued to eat and drink until it was time to leave and go over to my friend Shannon’s house. He cooked a roast lamb for dinner for us; we spent the evening talking to him and his friends. It was a great food overdose day, just what we needed. I think tomorrow we will stay ‘home’ all day and recover.

Day 77 (17/11/10) Catching up day

We have been so busy doing other things that we have fallen behind with our blog. So today we spent the day at the campsite with our computers on our knee catching up on what we have not done over the last few days. Of course we stopped from time to time to play with the pigeons and make lunch. I don’t like falling behind with work, it is really a pain to have to catch up with everything, but soon the world will be once again updated on our adventures, just before we head off out of town and have no internet connection.

Day 78 (18/11/10) Student’s Night Out

Having spent the morning relaxing and watching our new series ‘The secret life of an American Teenage’ we spent the first part of the afternoon working a little more on our blog. It feels good to be catching up again, kind of like when you are at school and you miss a few classes and you have piles and piles of work to catch up with.

In the evening we went out to the same pub we were at 2 days, this time to celebrate the end of Shannon’s exams. We met some of his friends, which like him are crazy Australian students and spent the night talking about travelling around Australia and drinking beer. We managed to catch the bus home tonight, after running after it for half a kilometre. I really must get fit soon, after my birthday I am going to start eating healthy again, I promise.

Day 79(19/11/10) Victor Harbour, Newland Head Conservation Park

And they are on the road again, after 9 days in a row at the same campsite we hit the road this morning to leave the city of Adelaide. The first thing we had to do was fill up the van again, with food, petrol and my favourite chocolate biscuits, Tim Tam’s (I have a real addiction to them). We stopped at the Tea Tree plaza to do the shopping, and then afterwards went to fill up the tank. The annoying thing in Adelaide, is that they put up the prices for petrol on the weekends and since it is Friday, we have to pay 15 cents more per little then if we had filled it up yesterday, very annoying.   We drove over the Adelaide Hills, through very nice and relaxing countryside to reach the town of Victor Harbour, which is very pretty and sits on the waters edge. It is the end of the school year here now which means that many students are going on their end of year trip this weekend. Many schools from the city have chosen to come out to Victor Harbour, and a lot of precautions are being put in place to make sure that the students have a safe weekend. We got stopped to have a breath test on the road, which we passed in case you are wondering. In the town they have set up a number of ambulances to take care of any one that may have drunk too much, we will not be partying tonight. We are now sitting at our camp stop for the night; it is just short walk way from the beach in nice green nature. It feels good to be out of the city again. Time to go and cook our BBQ dinner, maybe we will get to see some animals that would be interested in eating with us tonight.

Day 80 (20/11/10) Pink Lakes

Have you ever seen a pink lake? Well I have for the first time today. The lake turns pink due to a chemical reaction that happens with the algae in the lake. It is a pretty amazing sight to see, one moment you are driving down the road counting down the KMs left then you see a pink lake up ahead, no you are not imagining things it is really there and really pink. That was the highlight of the day, other than that, we escaped Victor Harbour in the morning to avoid getting mixed up with the schoolies then spent the day driving and stopping from time to time to take pictures and enjoy the nature. I would like to say more about today, but we did not do or see anything except the pink lake that stands out in my mind, but I guess that is enough… oh I almost forgot to mention that we were attacked by bees in our van because I left a packet of Tim Tam’s open in the back, another camping lesson hide all sweet things.

Day 81 (21/11/10) My Birthday, Mount Gambia

Today we woke up early, after sleeping early, when it gets dark and you are camping there is not much you can do in the evenings. Normally we use our laptops, but they had run out of battery, so we ended up going to bed. As it was my birthday, I got treated to breakfast in bed, quite nice not to have to move for a change. After breakfast we explored the wildlife of the spot where we had stayed the night before and then headed off in the direction of Mount Gambia, it is about a 250km drive of which I did about 200kms driving. I am starting to enjoy driving the van a lot more these days; at first I was a bit afraid. We arrived in Mount Gambia in the early afternoon and our first stop was as usual the tourist information office, where we planned out what we were going to see in Mount Gambia tomorrow. We spent the afternoon relaxing in the campsite before going out for my birthday dinner at a pub/hotel close to where we were staying. It was a nice dinner, but sadly, as it was a Sunday, that is where the night ended as we could not go out anywhere after that. I miss having my friends around on my birthday, even though I got messages from all of them I would have liked to do something to celebrate the day.

Day 82 (22/11/10) Crossing into Victoria

Today we woke up early again, I guess when you don’t have a series to watch you do sleep earlier, it is not such a bad thing as the next day you can get on the road sooner. Today for me was marked by nice people we met a lot of them today. The first nice person we met was a guy in Auto Barn that gave us good and cheap advice on how to fix the small hole we have in the side of our van, when he could have just sold us very expensive stuff to do the job. The next nice person we met was at Target, where we were looking for Reindeer ears for our Baby Hippo, the lady started chatting with us about her son that was in France and told us where to go and find the ears we are looking for (sadly we have not found them yet).   We visited the Blue Lake; there are many colourful lakes in this region, this one is bright blue and so clear, they use the water from this lake as drinking water for the city. Afterwards, we visited the caves, that if you are qualified enough you can dive in them. The tour was very interesting and not at all expensive, we learned all about the history of the cave and its original uses off a nice lady from New Zealand, which manages the caves with her husband. Then it was time for me to go and have my eyes checked, as I need to get new contact lenses. Normally you need to have Medicare to be able to have an eye exam, but as I don’t have Medicare here I thought I would be paying for the exam, but no in fact it turned out that they gave me a free exam, which saved me about $50. We then headed out of Mount Gambia, out of the state of South Australia and into Victoria, the time changes here, it goes forward by half and hour. We drove to a town called Portland, where we did the shopping and then headed into the forest to where we camped for the night. As we were gathering wood to start a BBQ a couple staying at the site next to us told us we could use there BBQ, so we went over and did that. As we were cooking dinner we got to talking and they were telling us about there travels and us about ours and the lady explained that she was making dolls for children in hospital, at first I thought that she wanted us to buy one, but then she said oh no, I would like to give you one. So, now we have a new addition to our family a Rainbow baby called Victoria. Life here is really great, I do not know how are we are going to adjust to ‘real’ life again.

Day 83 (23/11/10) The Great Ocean Road

It is nice to waste time in the morning, so that is what we did today, as last night we stayed in a forest this morning we walked around the forest. For lunch we had very good sandwiches made from the left over steak from last nights BBQ. After which we hit the road again, direction Apollo Bay via The Great Ocean Road. There are a lot more tourists on this road, so the part of being alone in the wildness is over for us for a while, the closer we get to the east coast the busier it will get. The Great Ocean Road is very scenic and there is a look out about each half a mile. There are very nice rock formations in the water here, and despite today being a very hot day we still enjoyed the sites. We had Spanish omelette, which is a cold omelette for dinner with some beers to cool us down. Tomorrow morning we will be waking up at 5 am to go and watch the sunrise over the 12 Apostles, Goodnight everyone, see you bright and early tomorrow.

Day 84 (24/11/10) The Twelve Apostles

Waking up early is great; you wake up with the sound of nature all around you. As we drove to the Twelve Apostles look out we passed 2 kangaroos and lots of multi coloured birds. Again I love living in nature nothing beats it. We visited the look out which was a little disappointing as there are not Twelve Apostles that you can see but about eight. We saw some nicer sights yesterday. We drove along the rest of the Great Ocean Road which twists along the stunning coast line. In the late afternoon we arrived in Geelong, got to our campsite then it happened, it started to rain. First it started out as just a light shower, and then it turned into a great big storm that rained buckets all night long. The only thing I hate when camping is when it rains without stopping, everything is humid, and we are unable to dry anything. Well, I know that we have had great weather so far and I know that it can not be sunny everyday, so I am not complaining, well ok just a little.

Day 85 (25/11/10) Cinema and Rain

We woke up to the sound that we fell asleep to, the sound of rain hitting our van fast and hard. The good news is that our van is really clean and shinny and white now. The bad new is it is still raining. After packing up in the rain, not really a nice thing to do we left the campsite and headed for cover in the nearest shopping mall. Still on the mission to find Reindeer ears for our Baby Hippo, that yet again we did not find. We did however find the cinema and then though the tickets are quite expensive here 16$ each, we chose to see a movie as we have not seen one since we left Paris, almost 3 months ago. Harry Potter was starting in a few minutes, so we chose to go and see that. It was a nice feeling to be watching a movie in the cinema; I used to do this at least once a week if not more in Paris. So I really enjoyed being in the cinema, and I am a Harry Potter fan, the movies keep getting better, the special effects are really cool, the only bad part of this movie is that it is made in 2 parts so we have to wait until next year to see the second part of the movie. After that we hit the road and started to drive towards Shepperton, where my sister lives.  We got stuck on the freeway around Melbourne, and got buckets of water thrown on us once we got on to the highway, so we decided to stop for the night at a rest area. The cool thing here is that there is a covered parking so we could get out of the van without getting wet. We spent the rest of the evening watching the thunder and lighting crack in the sunset sky, very beautiful.

Day 86 (26/11/10) Catching up with my sister in Shepperton

Finally the rain has stopped! This makes me very happy; I can go outside without being wet, this is important when you live outside. Today was a very special day for me; we went to see my sister in Shepperton. I am really happy to spend time with her as it has been a long time since I have last seen her. We arrived at midday and spent the afternoon catching up on all that we have missed out in each others lives and I met her boyfriend John. In the evening we went and had an Italian Pizza dinner, at a pizzeria in town, we ordered too much so we took some home for lunch tomorrow. It has been a really great day.

Day 87 (27/11/10) Endless Rain

Today we went to see where my sister works; she works 15 minutes out of town on a horse ranch. She works training young horses not to afraid of humans and gets them used to be handled by humans. It is really cool where she works, lots of horses, dogs and many bugs, the bugs are not so cool but still it was fun to see where she worked. In the afternoon Fred and I went for a walk in the forest on the edge of town, where we spotted a lot of cute little kangaroos. I will never get board of seeing them of watching them hop away from us. It has been raining all day without stopping. I am really getting sick of the rain.

Day 88 (28/11/10) Family BBQ

The magic and beauty of the State of Victoria is that one day it is raining like it will never stop and the next it is sunny and warm as if it never rained. This state is the greenest we have been in so far. Today it is Sunday, so being together on a Sunday my sister and I decided to have a BBQ. We went down to Safeway to pick up the meat and veg that we intended to cook up and then went a picked up the boys and took them down to the mini golf course where we had planned to have a BBQ and play mini golf, but the wind was too strong so we just had the BBQ. As always we cooked far too much meat and had a lot left over, which was good as for dinner all we needed to do was heat it up again. In the afternoon we watched one of my all time favourite movies, Slum Dog Millionaire, which is a heart warming and yet heart breaking story of the way the world works in Indian.

Day 89 (29/11/10) Business Day

Today we had a lot to get done in one day. As my sister starts working again tomorrow and we will be leaving in the morning everything had to be done on this Monday. The first order of business was to go and have an eye test, for Julie, as she needs new glasses. We went down got her eyes tested, and then we went to spec savers to get her a new pair of glasses. She hates glasses, as do I, but she can not wear contact lenses so she has no choice. The next thing on the list was to renew Julie’s British passport, this as always proved to be complicated. We needed to get an appointment at the post office to check over here application, and then we needed to go and print out and fill in the application and take some photos. Then we returned to the post office and made the application and were free for the rest of the day! We went shopping at a discount shop and we finally found Reindeer ears for our Baby Hippo, we are so happy. We also got ourselves some Santa hats so now we are all really for Christmas. In the evening we went to the stud farm where my sister works to say goodbye to her, for now. We then hit the road and headed in the direction of Melbourne and stopped half way.

Day 90 (30/11/10) Melbourne

Today we drove into Melbourne, we did plan to stay there for a few days in Melbourne, but soon found out that it as hard to find a camp site or youth hostel with a parking near the city so we decided just to spend the day. We were disappointed by the city; it is very complicated to drive around and is not very pretty or inspiring. We parked in parking in the city centre and went to the tourist information office, but we did not find out very much, for once the tourism office was not very friendly, so we picked up a hand full of brochures and left. What we did found out, was where Ticket Tec was. Ticket Tec is a shop that sells tickets for concerts and shows; we found out that there were still tickets left for the U2 360° tour in Sydney. Fred, being the sweetheart he is, brought us tickets to go to the concert as my birthday gift. I am so happy! We will hopefully be seeing U2 in Sydney on the 14th of December, I can’t wait! The bad news was when we got back to the car park and went to pay the ticket we found out that we owed 32$ for 2 hours of parking! What a horrible rip off! We left this city that has not been friendly to us and parked at a rest stop and had a BBQ for dinner.

Day 91 (01/12/10) The Mornington Peninsula

I have to start writing today about telling you what happened to us at 4:30am, we were sleeping in our van in an official rest area when there was a knock on the window. After a second of panic we saw it was the police, so now what we wanted to know was why they were knocking on our window at this time of the morning. I guess our van may have looked strange parked in a rest area on the side of the Melbourne highway. We had to hand over our passports and car registration; they checked us out on their computer and chatted with us while they were waiting to find out about us. Everything was fine and they let us go back to sleep, it was just annoying.

In the morning we drove to Stoney Point which is where the ferry departs to French Island, but when we got there it was raining so we decided to go over to French Island tomorrow instead. We then drove into the main town in the area to get information about the region; the lady in the tourism office was very nice and told us where to go. We drove up to Arthur Seat which is on top of a hill from where you can see the entire town below and the ocean. We went back to sleep for a while as we did not get enough sleep last night because of the police. We then had a quick lunch and went to visit Point Nepean. Point Nepean was a quarantine station that operated between 1850 and 1920; it was used as a docking station for all the incoming migrant ships to Victoria coming from Europe. As the ships arrived all the passengers would be quarantined and disinfected to make sure that infections would not spread into Australia. It must have been horrible to finally arrive in Australia, after months on a ship to be then be quarantine and have most of your belongings burnt, before being allowed into the country.

We saw dolphins play in the waters just off the shore and we also had the chance to see some very shy and cute echidnas, which bury themselves when they see you coming, they are covered in spikes and turn themselves into a ball of spikes to defend themselves. It was a very nice day.

In the evening we went to stay at the caravan park at Stoney Point so that we would not need to drive early in the morning to catch the ferry over the French Island.

Day 92 (02/12/10) French Island

For the second day in a row we woke up early, but at least today we woke up out of choice and not force. We were happy that we waited to go to French Island today, as this morning we are blessed with a blue sky. We packed our bags for the day, water, sunscreen, lunch, cameras, hats, sunglasses, raincoats, and a sweater. At 8am we were waiting on the jetty for the ferry. The journey to French Island is very short.

We were there is less than 15 minutes. Once on the island we called the general store, to ask them if we could rent some bikes from them for the day. The lady came down to the jetty and gave us two bikes and explained to us where we had the best chance of seeing Koalas. We headed off on our bikes, it was a very relaxing place to ride a bike, there are hardly any cars so you can ride in the middle of the road if you like. After biking for about 9 kms we reached the area where we could start Koala spotting.

Koalas like to ‘hide’ at the top of eucalyptus trees, so we left our bikes and started walking around staring up into the trees. We were so excited when we saw our first Koala, in fact we were excited each time we saw a Koala. They are so hard to find some times its like looking for a needle in a hay stack. When we looked at a tree and did not see a Koala we were disappointed, but then when we saw one we were overjoyed. We saw a few Koalas’s and were eaten by killer mosquitoes attacked us, they even tried to bite us through our clothes!

We ventured on to Mcleod’s farm, they had a shed that have converted into a small museum which explained the history of the Island. We then found the yellow signs that pointed to which trees the Koala’s were hiding in today. We got to see lots of them in the trees, each time we saw one we had the same reaction awwww….

We hopped back onto our bikes and started to ride back to the jetty, we were stopped on the way by a sheep crossing. About 100 sheep were being herded to another field by a farmer on a quad bike. We stopped at the general store to have a nice ice cold beer, then rode back to the jetty. While we waiting for the ferry to take us back to the main land a storm came in from out of nowhere, the sky became black, the wind picked up and the rain started to fall down in buckets. It was a great day all in all.

Day 93 (03/12/10) Yarra Valley & Rebirth of a Village

We have left the coast and its splendour to go and discover the beauty of the Victorian High country. Our first stop, without it meaning to be was the town of Marysville, this is one of the villages that got completely burned down on black Saturday in February of 2009. The have rebuilt part of the town and many of the houses and our continuing to do so. I can not even begin to imagine what it must have been to lose your entire village in a night. This shows the strength of the Australian people to help one another in a crisis and help people rebuild their lives. We went to the Campelltown walk, which is a walk 16kms outside Marysville. We started walking just before the rain started, unfortunately we did not know this. So we got completely wet. Still the walk was really nice, we walked in the forest on a path that was rebuild after the fire and passed 2 waterfalls. This is a very pretty region and even though you can see some spots that have not have grown back since the fire, but mostly as nature is, it has rebuilt around the burnt trees and is now alive again.

At the end of the afternoon we went to stay in the Cathedral national Park where we are staying for the night.

Day 94 (04/12/10) Cathedral National Park

After the rain comes the sun! We have entered storm season so, we get thunder storms followed by bright sunny hot days. This is good because it helps us dry our clothes, shoes and air out the van. If it was humid for too long we would get sick, so thankfully the sun has come out. As with everything in Australia, it is all or nothing, so the sun is back and it is hot, really hot. After the last few days of rain we are not use to this heat. In the morning we stayed in the van and let everything dry. After lunch we headed up into the mountains of the national park, we were planning to reach one of the peaks, but the path was very steep and it was hot, I know I have said that a few times already, but it was. We walked as far as we could and then headed back to the van; we then headed to Lake Eildon, which was our campsite for the night. We did our laundry and let it dry in the sun, while we cooled off in the caravan parks swimming pool. It was a very nice site set in the middle of lots of shady trees so we could stay cool.

Day 95 (05/12/10) Lake Eildon

Woken by the heat in the van, we got up early and packed up the van and headed off to the beautiful lake Eildon, which is hidden up here in the valleys and in breath taking. Driving into the national park where the lake is, we went up and down twisty roads that went through the valley. The views were so beautiful that we often stopped to take pictures along the way. We walked along the lake for a while, but the path right next to the lake was not in the shade so we overheated very quickly and decided to leave and head higher up into the mountains. We stopped in a town called Mansfield, which is the gateway to the ski stations of the regions to get information on the mountains, so that we could choose which one we wanted to go and visit. We choose Mount Buller, so we did some shopping and left the town to go to out camp spot for the night. The site we choose to sleep at tonight was a rest stop next to a river, under big shady trees. We spent the end of the afternoon relaxing in the shade trying to spot platypus in the river, until the horrible mosquitoes came out and forced us to take refuge in our Baby Hippo.

Day 96 (06/12/10) Mount Buller

Sleeping next to a river is very relaxing; the sound of the river is peaceful and calming. After taking our time to have breakfast and enjoying the early morning sun, we started to climb up to the top of Mount Buller. This is the closest ski resort to Melbourne, and in the winter it is full with skiers from the city that come here to play in the snow. The prices are expensive to ski here, but that can be understood as it is only 3 hours from Melbourne, so everyone comes to ski here. However, now it is the summer, so thankfully there is no snow in site, just lovely green mountains and the empty village that is very pretty. We talk to the lady at the information office to choose which hike we were going to do. We packed our backpacks and started the walk in the Australian ‘Alps’. We hiked up from the village of mount Buller to the summit. It was a very relaxing walk in the nature, high above the country, with perfect weather conditions 20° and partly cloudy. After spending a great day up in the mountains we came back down and stopped in a recreational park near the village of Oxley.  The park was very big, made up of many fields; it had everything we needed for the night, showers, a bbq, a lonely cow (for fresh milk in the morning), and power to charge our laptops. Most of the campsites we stay in, we are the only ones there when we are staying and it is great, it feels like we have the whole country to ourselves.

Day 97 (07/12/10) Wangaratta

We spent the morning doing things on our laptops and generally being lazy. It feels good to be lazy lately we don’t often spend much time sitting down, which I like, but from time to time it feels good and you enjoy it. Once we were ready we headed to the town of Wangaratta, which we thought was going to be a big town, but in fact was quite small and not very nice. We had a mid morning snack from a bakery then got down to business, we did our shopping, got fuel and spent a large amount of time in Mac D’s trying to use the free WIFI, but it was so slow it took us ages to load a page, so we spent a lot of time wasting time. We did however manage to book a hotel room for the night we will be in Sydney for the U2 concert and do the other important things we had to do. We then left the town and headed north towards Canberra. We stopped half way along the road for the night. Spend the evening debating topics we read about in the paper we got from town, it feels good to know what is going on in the world. For dinner I made a great Thai chill stir fry, I love cooking in the campervan.

Day 98 (08/12/10) Driving

Today we woke up to the sound of rain hitting the roof of our Baby Hippo. I am trying to get contact lenses in France, this is proving to be more difficult than I thought it would be, but then again I should have known doing some thing in France would not have been easy, especially when I am not in the country to work things out, and because of the time difference it is even harder. Apart from that nothing very special happened at all today, oh yes we passed a Submarine that was in the middle of a village that was very far from the ocean. Otherwise we just drove to the outskirts of Canberra. We stopped in a noisy rest area near the highway, that was the only one we could find close to the city. We made crepes for dinner and then settled into the van before the thunder storm hit us; we watched the lighting light up the sky around our van. It was fun and scary at the same time.

Day 99 (09/12/10) Canberra

When we woke up we found a lot of bugs on our Baby Hippo, they wanted to stay warm and dry, I guess, but I had to kick them off our van. We had breakfast and then headed into Canberra, we checked in at the campsite where we will be staying for the next 2 days, left our baby hippo to enjoy the grass, then took the bus into town. Once we had reached the centre of town it was lunch time, so we went into a mall and had some sushi. Then something weird happened to me, I started to have a panic attack, a mild one but still, just because the mall was noisy and after living in nature far from everything for so long, the amount of people and noise freaked me out. After a few minutes I was fine and could eat my sushi, I guess we get use to things very quickly. After lunch we went to capital hill to visit the house of parliament. There was a free guided tour, which explained the way that the parliament of Australia is structured. We also found out why on the Australian coat of arms there is an emu and a kangaroo, the reason is because the animals can not go backwards and it symbolises the nations moving forward. We then took the bus back to the campsite had dinner and then I slept, I felt very tired at the end of the day.

Day 100 (10/12/10) 100 days since we left France

Today marks 100 days since we left France and started this incredible journey. Still in the nations capital we went to visit the Australian National Museum. We found that travelling by bus here is not easy because we do not know where each bus goes and we do not know which bus to take to where we want to go, so today we took our Baby Hippo for a ride. It is also a lot fast to travel by car here as there is no traffic. The Australian National Museum is free to enter and you can easily spend all day there. It is by a lake and has a nice café to sit out side in the sun, when it is sunny here, which I have heard is not often. We learned of the journeys undertaken by Captain Cook and his followers. We also learned that Australia’s past is not all sunshine. For more than 100 years after colonization of Australia began, the Aboriginal people were not recognised as citizens of the nation. It was not until 1967 that they were recognised as Australians and had the right to citizenship. A few of the lands that belonged to them have been returned, but a large amount never will be. The battle goes on for the Aborigines land and culture to be recognised. I won’t go into more details here, but if you are interested you can read about it on Wikipeda.  We also visited the War Memorial that explained all of the wars that Australia has taken part in.

Day 101 (11/12/10) The Snowy Mountains

Today we took to the road again to leave the nations capital and head up to one of the most famous mountain ranges in the country, the Snowy Mountains. After driving for over an hour we arrived in the town of Cooma, which is the gateway to the mountains. We went to the tourism office to decide on where exactly we would go. We choose to go to the north of the Snowy Mountains as this will be easier for us to get on to the road to Sydney afterwards. Also as the south of the park is full of famous ski fields so we would have to pay if we went to that part of the national park. So we head north and for the whole drive up I did not feel that we were in the mountains at all, the hills were flat, so we did not feel that were going up. Our first stop was the three dams, a dam that was built in the time when the Chinese worked on the mines up here that looks so natural that it fits right into the landscape and looks like a lake. It was very windy up there so we drove on to the caves of Yarngobilly that we planned to visit tomorrow. We took ourselves on a self guided tour of the south cave. This was really fun as we got to spend as much time as we liked taking pictures and exploring the cave. Afterwards we headed to the thermal hot springs swimming pool that is 27° year road. As I was walking to the changing rooms minding my own business right in front of me I found a family of Kangaroos eating the grass. There was a daddy, son, and the mum with another Joey in her pouch, this is the closest we have been to Kangaroos in the wild.

Day 102 (12/12/10) Yarngobilly

As we enjoyed the Yarngobilly caves so much yesterday, we returned to spend the day there today again. We did some bush walking, around the other caves that look cool, but we could not go in without a guide. We went back to the thermal swimming pool where we saw the kangaroos yesterday, but instead of seeing kangaroos we found that the pool was under attack from a group of scouts and their leaders. So it was very noisy and not peaceful and relaxing as it was yesterday.  We spent the morning and the early part of the afternoon bush walking where we saw no people, but no animals either, but lots of beautiful parrots. We had a late lunch before hitting the road in order to head to the main highway that would lead us to Sydney. We drove the 80kms and parked just before joining the highway. We saw wild horses and yellow back kangaroos hopping across the road.

Day 103 (13/12/10) Driving to Sydney

Today we drove almost 400 kms to reach the suburbs of Sydney. We stopped to eat at Hungry Jacks and were disappointed. At least at Mac Donald’s we can get Angus beef in our burgers. We reached the town of Penrith which is 50kms from down town Sydney. We stopped at a nice campsite for the night, which had a swimming pool and a library. We just spent the evening relaxing and preparing for the big day tomorrow.

Day 104 (14/12/10) Sydney & U2 concert

We woke up early today, I guess because we were well rested. We headed into the west of Sydney to near where the Sydney Olympic Stadium is, where we will be watching U2 in concert tonight. We checked into our hotel room, this is the first time we are staying anywhere but our van since we brought our van over 2 months ago. I love sleeping in our van, it has become home to us and is so comfortable. But I have to say it is nice to be lying on a bed writing my journal, eating dominos pizza, watching tv and  not worrying about the battery on my computer running out.

The concert was great, even though the opening act was Jay Z and I did not like his music, Bono and the band blew us away with their performance and their super cool 360° stage. It was really great and not to be missed!

Day 105 (15/12/10) Driving North

After all the excitement of last night, it is time to get out of bed and out of the hotel room and hit the road again so we can head north to the sub tropics of Australia. We are going to Coffs harbour that is supposed to have the best climate in the world. As if the other climates in Australia were bad, well some are not so much fun, but it is great not to be in the cold of Europe as it is getting hit by snow storms one after the other and being stuck in an airport trying to fly somewhere. Nope life is good on the road of Australia and that’s how we spent the day, driving 500kms north of Sydney. It is very green here and they are so many types of plants and trees it is just great. I love the tropics.

Day 106 (16/12/10) Port Macquarie

The first town we stopped at in the tropics in Port Macquarie, famous for fishing mostly. I think this is one of the first times since we got to Australia that we ate fish. Not having a fridge and finding the price of fish oddly expensive for a country surrounded by some of the best fishing waters in the world we have eaten very little fish. We had classic fish and chips for lunch, wrapped up like they do in England in newspaper. But instead of being cold as we enjoyed our meal we are sitting by the beach in shorts watching the waves come in. Life is hard. After lunch we went to visit the Koala hospital, it is a hospital for sick and injured Koalas that are found on the side of the road or brought in by other people. They are taken care of and released back into the wild if they are healthy enough.

We then drove to the town of Bellingan, where we hopped to organise a canoe trip for the next day, but the company that offered the tours seemed so unprofessional we opted against it.

We drove up to the rain forest mountain to see danger falls. We camped here for the night and took photos of the waterfalls and the different animals that came and had a look at us. When we were making dinner it started to rain really hard and hail stones fell from the sky, but after about 15 minutes the storm had passed and we could continue to make dinner.

Day 107 (17/12/10) Dorrigo National Park

Walking up next to waterfalls is wonderful. We watched the sunrise over the water falls before walking down closer to them to take some more pictures. We then left our campsite and headed to the Dorrigo National park. The national park is a world heritage listed park contains sub tropical rain forest. We spent the next 3 hours walking along a path in the park. We saw more bird species then I can name, including a bush turkey. These guys are so funny they look like turkeys but are about half the size. They make Whoop Whoop sounds. We saw 2 waterfalls, once that we could walk under, the photos are just amazing. We saw a snake, it was black and had a red belly, some lizards, and a very strange lizard that looked like a leaf and did not move at all except its eyes. The rain forest is so amazing. I love the tropics, the weather is great and everything is so alive here.

In the evening we drove to Coffs Harbour and checked in to the campsite where we will stay for the next 2 days.

Day 108 (18/12/10) Coffs Harbour + Big Banana

After breakfast we headed off to exploer Coffs Harbour, our first stop was The Big Banana. The Big Banana started off as a banana plantation, but has been transformed into a sort of theme park. It now contains a guided tour of the banana plantation, a ice staking ring and a very big bob sleigh ride. We, wearing our Christmas hats went on the bob sleigh. It was fun. Afterwards, we went to Mutton Bird Island, a very pretty walk, which offered great vies of the ocean. Coffs is such a relaxed tourist town, it feels like we are on holiday from our travels. We went shopping and brought some barramundi fish for dinner which we had grilled on the bbq for dinner. We spent the evening using the free wifi that we have in the campsite to try and catch up with our blog a bit.

Day 109 (19/12/10) Kayaking on the Bongil Bongil river

Sunday is Pancake Day, so that’s what we had for breakfast. We woke up, went to the camp kitchen and made pancakes. After breakfast we left the camping and spent the morning doing a bit of shopping, before we had gourmet sandwiches in the back of our van. After lunch it was time for us to go Kayaking on the Bongil Bongil river in the national park with the same name. Our guide was a guy from New Zealand that gave us lots of tips about New Zealand as that is where we are headed after the New Year. We saw many birds and heard lots of stories about the meaning of the river to the groups of people that lived there. It was a very relaxing and nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. As time goes on, I am sure this is was to live, doing sports and eating pancakes on the weekend.

After the trip was over we hit the road once again to head back down to Sydney, as Fred’s family is arriving the day after tomorrow and will we be picking them up from the airport and giving them a warm Australian welcome.

Day 110 (20/12/10) Driving down to Sydney Cove Lane

We spent most of the day driving down towards Sydney, we stopped at Newcastle to do some Christmas shopping as we have not done any yet and we are not sure if we will have time to do any once Fred’s family is here. We drove down to Sydney afterwards and stayed in a campsite that was near the centre of Sydney next to a river called Cove Lane. We spent the afternoon watching the ducks and bush turkeys wonder around near us and drinking beer; Just relaxing after the long day of driving and getting the van ready for tomorrow, doing a bit of cleaning.

Day 111 (21/12/10) Family Time

We got up early enough and had pancakes again for breakfast, we have been spoiling ourselves with pancakes lately. We have the right to have pancakes and other good things, it’s almost Christmas, so we can indulge and eat whatever we like, or at least that is my excuses. We then put the reindeer ears on our Baby Hippo and our Christmas hats on and drove to the airport where we waited for Fred’s family to arrive. Once they had safely landed and come through customs, we all went to the apartment that we have rented for the holidays. The apartment was a good as we hoped, in a very calm and classy part of Sydney. Where just down the road we have a great view of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, the apartment is on 2 levels so we have more then enough space to enjoy the holidays.

We spent the afternoon talking ant catching up with the news back in France and sharing some of our travel stories. In the late afternoon we did some shopping for the house and went for a short walk, we saw a few parrots hiding in a tree near the house. I am happy to see parrots even in the centre of the biggest city of the country.

Day 112 (22/12/10) Bondi Beach

We had a bit of a lazy morning, letting everyone adjust to the time difference and the change in temperature. For lunch we have decided that we would go and have a bbq on Sydney’s most famous beach Bondi. We filled up our faithful esky and headed to the train station to take the train that took us to the connecting bus station that brought us to Bondi beach. It is not as far as I have made it sound it is about a half hour from the apartment. We started by having a bbq, using one of the free BBQ’s we have been telling them all about for months. We then spent the afternoon on the beach, trying to go into the ocean, but it was far too cold. I managed to get myself sunburnt for the first time since the start of this trip in Australia; I am not use to spending the day lying in the sun.

After roasting like turkeys on the beach we went back to Bondi Junction, to a big shopping centre there to continue our Christmas shopping, as they are only 2 days left before Santa arrives. In the evening we had a very nice dinner at home. We are enjoying having a house to come back to at night and giving our Baby Hippo a little rest for these 2 weeks.

Day 113 (23/12/10) Downtown Sydney

Today we ventured downtown to circular quay. Our first stop was Mac Donald’s where we found some surfers with there surf boarders, bear foot ordering lunch. No doubt they have just gotten of the ferry from Manly that leaves from Circular Quay.  We then walked to the Opera House that is close by and took many pictures. It is one of the monuments you just can not miss out seeing if you come here. We then decided that we needed to take a break from walking, and what better way to do so then sitting on the ferry for a while, here the ferry is public transport and is included in our weekly travel pass. So we got on a ferry heading north and enjoyed the sights of Sydney from the top of the ferry. We saw some amazing houses with private outdoor swimming pools and a very nice looked boat parked right outside there house on the bay.

We then took the ferry to darling harbour, a must visit in Sydney, a tourist paradise. We wanted to visit the Chinese gardens, but by the time we got to them they were closed. We got the chance however to see a big lizard and some of my favourite funny looking birds.

We then did the last of our Christmas shopping in the shops downtown, all we have left to do is wrap up the presents and put them in the stockings.

Day 114 (24/12/10) Mission find the Christmas Turkey

Today Fred’s sister arrived from London, so in the morning he went to get here from the airport. Once they came back home it was time for us to go and get the turkey we had ordered on the phone yesterday. The shop we ordered the turkey from was on the other side of the bay from where we are staying and as we could not take our van, we took public transport. It took us over an hour to get to the turkey shop, where we were surprised to find the cooked turkey we had ordered was in fact not cooked. A little misunderstanding it seems….so home we went with the uncooked turkey in the backpack. Once back at home everyone else had gone out for the afternoon so we made the most of the empty house and wrapped up the presents.

We then went to Mass and had a wonderful Christmas eve dinner. After dinner, once everyone was asleep we played Santa and put the presents in the stockings that were by the chimney.

Day 115 (25/12/10) Sunny Christmas Day

Merry Christmas! The sun is shinny the sky is blue and it is Christmas day. The day started as all the other mornings with breakfast. Then once everyone was awake it was time to open the presents. Santa was very generous and everyone got lots of gifts, we even got some small koalas as well. After all the presents were open and we had bags and bags full of wrapping paper around us, it was time to take the family Christmas photo. For the photo we all put on our Christmas hats or reindeer ears and posed on the balcony for the photo, each of us had a camera and we all set them to go off at the same time, so we were stars for the photo.

Afterwards we had a snack and then headed off outside to enjoy the great weather. We walked down to double bay, where we sat in the sun and enjoyed the views of the harbour. After a while we started to look for the spot from which we will watch the New Years Eve fire works and then headed back to the apartment. We spent the afternoon as kids playing with our gifts. For our Christmas dinner we had our turkey, which turned out to be great. We cracked Christmas crackers and read the silly jokes.

Day 116 (26/12/10) Paddy Markets, Sydney Aquarium

As it was raining when we woke up this morning we spent the morning in the apartment catching up on our blog. We seem to do this about once a week, but hopefully from now on we will update our blog more often, or at least this is what I promise myself every time we get behind with the blog.

Just before 1pm we left we apartment and went down to Darling Point to watch the start of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart race. Once we sail boats sailed out of sight we headed to the train station to take the train into the centre of town. Our first destination was Paddy’s market; we jumped onto the mono rail at town hall and started by going all the way around to see Sydney from the sky. The mono rail was full, so we did not get to see so much from the windows but it was nice to be flying over the centre of Sydney. At paddy’s market we did some shopping, I got a cool new bag and Fred got some new sunglasses. After spending a few hours in the markets we left and headed to the Sydney Aquarium.

Sydney Aquarium is one of the coolest places in Sydney and is really worth spending half a day there. We took our time looking at all the different types of fish, all of which live in the waters of Australia. We took lots of really cool photos and saw lots of sharks and 2 sea cows!

We headed  home just as a storm was coming in.

Day 117 (27/12/10) Shopping and Hot Chocolate

Today again the sun refused to shine over the city of Sydney, so we spent the morning at home not doing anything special. We went out just before lunch and Fred and I went to one of my favourite fast food restaurants in down town Sydney, the Pepper Lunch restaurant. There you order you pepper rice steak and it comes on a hot plate and you cook it the way you like it and eat it hot. After lunch we went to Darling harbour with the plan to go and visit the Sydney Wildlife, but once we got there, we saw that they were too many people waiting to get in and we thought that it would not be nice to enter if it was crowded. So instead we went shopping, for Christmas, I got a card saying that Santa would take me shopping for a new bikini, so that is what we did. We found a shop that had a buy one get the second one for 10$ more, so Santa got me two new bikini’s for Christmas and some other things as well.

Day 118 (28/12/10) Sydney Wildlife

Today we spent for morning looking for a car that could fit all 6 of us in, as tomorrow we would like to out of Sydney to the Blue Mountains. As it is the peak season in Sydney this is not an easy task, with most cars being booked a long time in advance. Eventually after a few hours of searching we found the type of car we needed. Then it was Sushi time, I love Sushi and use to eat it at least once a week in France, but since we started travelling it has become a treat to eat Sushi. We then decided that we should go and visit the Sydney Wildlife, even though it would be crowded. After spending the last 3 months travelling and visiting mostly Eco tourist sites and of course seeing more animals than we can count in the wild, it was saddening for us to visit a place where the animals looked so unhappy and almost unhealthy. Their ‘cages’ were very small for most animals and there was not very much information about each species to educate the tourists on how endangered some of these species are. The other thing that annoyed us, was that they were a lot of parents, with young children, some of the children were still in prams, so I am sure they did not even understand what they where seeing or where afraid. The sad thing about most tourists that visit places like these is that they do not understand how lucky they are to be seeing these rare and almost extinct animals, they think that the animals are there for their amusement and behave worse then naughty children by tapping on the glass or ‘calling’ to the animals which scares them.

Day 119 (29/12/10) The Blue Mountains

Today we headed out of the biggest city in Australia to visit its ‘backyard’ The Blue Mountains. Less then 100KMs out of Sydney you find yourself in one of the biggest mountain ranges of Australia. Our first stop was Katoomba, home to the famous 3 sisters. It always amazes me in Australia to see how close nature is to everyone and everything. We took the tourist photos had a picnic and then continued on our journey to Wentworth, where we parked the car and head of on the hiking trail to see the waterfalls. This national park, especially this site is stunning. The path leads you down into the heart of the forest and then opens up to this great waterfall which is right in front of you, and you are so close that you can touch part of it. We took more stunning photos, before I had to return to the car to rest, somehow I managed to catch a cold and it is quite hard to hike when you can breathe very well. The rest of the family continued on another walking path that offered them more stunning views. If you like nature, come to Australia, wherever you go in this country the nature will take your breath away and make the 24 hour trip to get here worth it.

Day 120 (30/12/10) Featherdale wildlife Park

Today is a day that Fred’s family won’t forget soon, it is the day they handfed Kangaroo’s for the first time. We took them to Featherdale national park, which is 45 minutes outside of Sydney and lets you get up close and personal with Australia’s best loved animals. The park is good, and they are many animals to see, and if you have not seen Kangaroo’s or Koala’s before this is a good place to see them for the first time. Sadly though once you see animals in the wild, your heart is always saddened to see them in places like this. The Kangaroo’s are overfed because everyone can feed them and the Koala’s are placed on branches next to people so that they can take there picture with them. I do realise that this is a dream come true for most people, but I can’t help thinking of how unfair it is for the poor animals. It was a nice day out though and we did enjoy it.

In the evening we went to a very nice seafood restaurant called the Flying Fish that was down on the old shipping pier, which is now one of the most chic places in Sydney. The restaurant was very elegant and the food was very good.

Day 121 (31/12/10) Goodbye 2010

Today is the last day of year. This in Sydney means only one thing, tonight we are going to watch the most famous fireworks in the world, the ones that everyone else watches on TV while waiting for Midnight to come in there countries. We have already chosen our stop for tonight and have sent apart of the family down to the park that overlooks the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera house to sunbath and keep the spot for us. This years theme is Make your X. I will write more tomorrow and tell you how it went.

So it is now 2011 in most places in the world. The fireworks were better than expected and were well worth the time we spent, sunbathing and enjoying the weather outside to see them. The best part of the fireworks was that they had a radio station that you could listen to while the fireworks were exploding. To all I wish you a Happy New Year!!

Day 122 (01/01/2011) Manly

2011 has officially started in most parts of the world as we head off to one of Sydney’s most famous beaches, Manly. As it is New Years day it seems that half of Sydney had the same idea as us and also decided to go to Manly, the ferry was more crowded then I have even seen it, but we still managed to get stunning pictures of Sydney from the water. We enjoyed a seafood lunch of fish and chips before heading to the beach and sunbathing for a few hours. The water was cold so we only spent about 30min jumping the waves. We visited Manly Ocean World which was a very relaxing smaller version of the Sydney Aquarium. We did some shopping for Fred this time before trying to get back to Sydney on the ferry, there were so many people that wanted to go back at the same time as us we had to wait in line for an hour before being able to squeeze onto an over crowed ferry. We had New Years Eve’s dinner as we were out last night, so we over ate, dining on Fois Gras, smoked salmon and Champagne.

Day 123 (02/01/2011) Relaxing day at home

It was time to take a day off from visiting Sydney, and stay at home and relax. Fred’s family went out to enjoy there last day here and do the things they wanted to do before leaving. We stayed home and cleaned up our Baby Hippo as it is time for us to put him on sale. Once he was all shiny and clean we took some pictures of him and wrote an add selling that he was for sale and posted it on Gumtree. Gumtree is a site that is mostly used by travellers or locals to buy and sell things or to find part time jobs or cheaper accommodation. We found our baby hippo on this site, so it seems like the right place to sell him. Wish us luck with finding good adoptive parents for our baby. We are very sad to have to sell him.

Day 124 (03/01/2011) Sad Goodbyes

Today was a day that was a bit sad, when we woke up it was raining and the sky was grey. The weather in Sydney likes to change from being very hot one day to rainy the next. It has been 2 weeks that Fred’s family has been with us here in Sydney and sadly it is time for them to go back home. We drove them to the airport and said our goodbyes.

In the evening we had our first couple come and see our baby, they were from Holland. They seemed very interested in our van and said that they would be in touch to make us an offer.

We enjoyed having a home for the last night, before we move back to a campsite, where we will stay, while we sell our baby. We watched TV and lay on the couch a luxury that we are going to miss and don’t know when we will be able to do it again.

Day 125 (04/01/2011) Moving

Today we had to move out of the apartment we have rented for the last 2 weeks and back to a campsite. We found a campsite not too far from the centre of Sydney as we will need to close enough to Sydney for the people interested in our van to come and see it. We spent the morning packing everything back into our van. In the afternoon we moved to the campsite where we will be staying for the next few days, we don’t know how long yet as we don’t know when we will sell our van. We got a message from the Dutch couple saying that they were interested in buying our van and would like to meet tomorrow to give us a deposit. We also showed our van to a couple of older Germans who said they would be in touch. Considering that our van has been on sale for only 2 days things are looking very good.

In the evening we return to the campsite and make ourselves comfortable in our van once again, he is really very comfortable. We will really miss him.

Day 126 (05/01/2011) Unpleasant surprise

Today we woke up in the morning, happy and ready to meet the young couple from Holland that was meant to give us a deposit for our baby hippo. We planned a meeting place and got ready to head into Sydney by public transport, when I got a message on my phone. ‘Sorry but due to some events we can not buy your van anymore’. Our hearts sank. We are left without a buyer for our little baby. Luckily yesterday I had a call from a girl that wanted to see our van and I said I would call her back in the morning, so I called her back and we headed back down town to show her our van. In the evening we went back to the campsite and ate Kangaroo steak for dinner.

Day 127 (06/01/2011) The Waiting game

Waiting is a horrible thing, we are waiting to sell our van with no idea when we will sell it and after the disappointment we suffered yesterday we are less confident about being able to sell our baby hippo soon. The problem with this is that we can not book our tickets for New Zealand or start working on things there as we do not know when we will be leaving Sydney. In the evening we got a call from a French couple that wanted to visit our van. They seemed very interested, but we could tell that it was a bit more expensive then they were hopping for, but we told them to give us their best offer. So we are back to waiting.

As we were doing our shopping for dinner, I got a call from the German couple saying they would like to buy our van tomorrow! Game on, tomorrow we will move into a hotel and soon we will be on our van to Auckland!

Day 128 (07/01/2011) The Perfect sales contract (not)

We wake up really early as we need to pack all of our things up into to our backpacks, move to the hotel and then clean the van a bit before giving him away. We pack everything up, meeting next to us a group of French people that were leaving that gave us a new gas burner and a tent. It has hard packing everything up as it was raining in the morning, we put up the trap, but we still got wet. We drove off as fast as we could to the formula one hotel near the Sydney Olympic park, where we planned to stay tonight, as we did not know when we would be leaving. We took the hotel room for only one night, this was a very good move as, just as we were leaving the hotel I got a phone call. ‘We have a problem’, my heart sunk, it turns out that the couple had a problem taking money out there bank account in Germany and did not have the money to pay for the van. We met up with them anyway and discussed options; they wanted to transfer money into our account. That would take a long time, so we agreed that they would contact their bank and get back to us with their solution tomorrow. We went back to our hotel room feeling disappointed and annoyed, but what can we do. We also got a message from the French couple saying that they chose another van; we are starting to get worried. At night the Sydney Olympic park is totally empty when there are no events happening so we wondered around the empty streets feeling stressed. Oh and then we got ‘chased’ by a spider on the way home.

Day 129 (08/01/2011) French friends in Sydney

Today we moved back to the campsite where we were staying before as we have not yet sold our van and do not want to spend more money on hotel rooms then is needed. We spent the day not doing anything special, just waiting for the phone to ring mostly, and hoping that someone wants to buy our van.

In the evening we go and visit some friends of Fred’s that live down town Sydney, near Kings cross. They have a nice apartment and we sat outside in their garden watching bats fly over our heads and sharing stories of what we love in Australia and what we miss from France

Day 130 (09/01/2011) A step closer

Today the morning starts in a more positive way, we wake up and go and meet the German couple that want to buy our van, and they gave us a deposit and say that they should have the rest of the money tomorrow. Not wanting to get our hopes up and move for no reason, we ask them to call us once they get the money and then we will move into a hotel before going to meet them. We spent the rest of the day at the campsite, just enjoying the sun and watching TV series that we got as Christmas presents.

Day 131 (10/01/2011) Goodbye Baby Hippo

Goodbye Baby Hippo, today we said goodbye to our baby that has been our home for the last 3 months and helped us travel safely across Australia. We are sad, but happy at the same time as now we can move on with our plans. We move into another Formula One hotel, this time in the centre of Sydney at Kings Cross. We plan to stay 2 nights before flying out to Auckland. We go to the train station where we have agreed to meet the Germans to hand over our baby. Then something strange happens, they tell us that they have the money, but they don’t have their driving licences with them, so they ask us to drive them to where they stay that is 10 minutes away by car. We find this curious as they know we are meeting to sell them the van, we think that they wanted to check the van one last time before buying it. So we drive to where they stay and back to the train station, where we sit at a café and do the paper work. The van is now officially theirs. We take the train back to Sydney with our pockets full of money and sad hearts. We arrived at the HSBC bank 1 minute after in closed and of course they did not want to let us into the bank. We did not want to keep so much money in our pockets so we stayed outside of the bank until someone told us that we could go to the post office and put the money into our account from there. The Australian post office is a magic place where you can do almost anything administrative in Australia.

In the evening we printed out flyers for our tent that we still have not sold and went around hostels putting them up. We booked our tickets to leave the day after tomorrow to Auckland.

Day 132 (11/01/11) Last day in Sydney

Today was our last day in Sydney before flying on to Auckland tomorrow. We visited the Sydney tower and brought the pictures are a souvenir. We walked around the town centre in search of a place to buy a cheap bag to put some of our stuff inside, but at the end decided not to buy an extra bag as it would be hard to carry.

We sold our tent, we are happy about that, if we had not of sold it, we would have given it away for free as we can not take it with us. We packed up all our things all ready for our departure from the land of Kangaroos tomorrow morning.

Day 133 (12/01/11) Welcome to Auckland

We woke up early had breakfast and took the shuttle from in front of the hotel to the airport. So far everything is as sweet as, then the problems start. As we are checking into our flight we are told that we are allowed only 1 bag of hold luggage and not 2 as we had thought. So we had to pay 80$ for the extra bag we had, we did not have a choice anyway, we wanted to take the things with us, but if we had known we would have tried to hid some of the extra KG’s somewhere. We then past through the border control no worries, had a coffee and waiting for our flight to be called, but it was not. We found out our flight was last because the airplane was not at the gate at the time of departure. We checked online to see what time the incoming flight was arriving and that is how we found out that our airplane was 2 hours late. We waited, when we airplane arrived we all ran to the gate eager to get on our way and catch up on the delay, but no we were all loaded onto the plan, but we made to wait another hour while they did safety checks before the flight finally took off, which was after the time we should have arrive in Auckland. We arrived at Auckland very tired after a very long day. We found the shuttle that took us to our hotel; it was easy as was getting into the country. About one hour after landing we were in our hotel room. The hotel is in the centre of down town, just a short walk from everything, a very good location at a reasonable price.

Day 134 (13/01/11) Administration time

After sleeping in, and spending part of the morning in bed watching TV, we get up and go out in to the Big Little City that is Auckland. The city has 1.4 million people and the whole country has around 5 million people. It is said that there are 5 times as many sheep as they are people in New Zealand, so that means a lot of good lamb chops and woolly sweatersJ  But I have digressed, the first thing we had to do today was make an application for our tax file number, this will allow us to work and is done very simply at the post office by filling in our form and giving a photocopy of our passport and driving licence. We should have our numbers back next week. We then went to open a bank account that was very easy and completed in less than 10 minutes, without needing 100’s of documents proving who were are our enormous deposits. Shopping was next on the list we got  some food for the room and a few all important beers. We stayed in for dinner, watching TV and just relaxing after a very productive and efficient first day.

Day 135 (14/01/11) People we know here

Today we discovered the library of Auckland and its free internet and great books; I can already feel this is going to become one of my favourite places in the city. Our first stop today was the Hilton hotel, where one of my friends works. She did not know we were coming so she was very surprised and happy to see us. We chatted for an hour, listening to the tips she shared with us about Auckland. We also got a leads for jobs in Queenstown, it seems that the Hilton hotel is opening a new hotel and looking for people. So far things in Auckland are going very well for us. We promised to send our CV’s to her on Monday morning. We then went and got ourselves a mobile phone line, again, we did not have to prove our life history to get a phone line, it was more like, ‘so you want a mobile line? Here you go’ In less than 48 hours here we have applied for a tax file number, opened a bank account and have a phone number. Not bad, its time to go down to the pub and discover how the Kiwi’ spend a Friday night.

Day 136 (15/01/11) Looking for an Apartment

It is time for us to find somewhere to live for a while, having spent the last 4 months on the road we are looking to stay in Auckland for a while and work, and for that we need a place to live that is cheaper than staying in hotels. We went to visit some real estate agencies but to stay in one of their apartments we need to stay a minimum of 3 months and as we are planning on going to work for the ski season in Queenstown and don’t know when we will be starting work there we need something a little more flexible. So we chose to live in a flat share, we are taking over the room of Bryan a Indonesian guy that has just finished his studies and is going back home for 6 weeks to see his family. We found the room we wanted in less than a day, in the location we wanted at a very reasonable price so we are very happy with the progress we have been making since we have come to Auckland. Things have been going smoothly for us.

Day 137 (16/01/11) Sunday working on CV’s

Travelling without working for 4 months has been great; we have not looked for jobs or anything since we left our jobs in Paris at the end of the summer. It has been great we have done and seen so much that we could never have done without taking time off work. But all good things have to come to an end, now that we have found a place to stay in Auckland it is time for us to work on our CV’s so we can look for jobs. We are looking for temp work in Auckland before moving downs for the ski season in Queenstown. It was very hard to think in a professional way today and update my CV. It is like the hard working part of my brain has fallen asleep. Time to wake it up!

Day 138 (17/01/11) Davenport

After sending our CV’s to the Hilton Hotel this morning and paying a deposit for the room we are going to rent, we wanted to do something a bit more fun and tourist like. So we headed down to the wharf and caught the ferry to Davenport, which is on the north side of Auckland. The sky looked grey, but we were hopping it would not rain too much. The ferry took 10 minutes and we were treated with amazing views of the city of Auckland from the bay. Davenport is a nice rich area with big houses on the beach front. Just as we got off the ferry we were treated to some great Auckland weather, it started to rain. We walked under the rain a while until we found the navel museum. The Navel museum was free to enter and portrayed New Zealand’s part in all the wars of the world.

We then walked up to new head which is a park in Davenport; we climbed up the hill and enjoyed the amazing views of the little islands in the bay. It was a very nice and relaxing day out.

Day 139 (18/01/11) Moving to the Jucy hotel

Our one week in the hotel down town Queens Street has come to an end and it is time for us to move. We moved to another hotel for 2 nights as we are moving into our apartment on Thursday. It was raining as we left the hotel we were staying in to walk up a hill to the new Jucy hotel. The problem was we were carrying our backpacks and the rest of the luggage we had with us, so up a hill with 30kgs on our backs was a bit challenging, add in the wind and the rain, we were totally exhausted when we reach the Jucy Hotel. We spent the afternoon in the library, catching up with news from around the world.

Day 140 (19/01/11) Day in the Auckland Library

The Auckland library is becoming one of my favourite places in the city, it is big, open until 8pm and has free internet and a lot of seating areas. I have also found some very good books, this is a bad thing at the moment as instead of looking for a job when I come to use the internet here I am reading a book. I have been good today and applied for a few jobs and updated a few things I needed to catch up on so I don’t feel too bad.

In the evening we met up with our friend Briar, and had dinner in a very nice and trendy Italian restaurant. As in Australia, it is hard to find local food in the big cities so we eat food from all over the world.

Day 141 (20/01/11) Moving into our New Home

This morning started as a few others have lately. We woke up early packed up all our stuff and left the Jucy hotel. We walked across the city for about half an hour with over 30kgs on our backs, as Auckland is not a flat city, it is very challenging. But we made it, to our new home for the newt 6 weeks. We have a apartment in the centre of the city, sharing with another guy, on the 12th floor with great views of the city. We have a swimming pool and gym in the building so I can get fit again. It is a nice feeling to have a home again. We spent the day unpacking, doing laundry and some shopping. We finally have a fridge so we can fill it up and don’t have to go to the supermarket each day!

Day 142 (21/01/11) First day in our new home

Today we did not do much, we spent the day in our new home watching TV, looking for things on the internet and we found a really good offer of 1 months boxing at have price on a site called So we are forcing ourselves to get fit, we are going to start the classes next week.

In the afternoon we went to the bank, which was not as simple as we hoped it would be. It turned out that because we are not working and not Kiwi we could not have a visa debit card, only a cash card for our account. This is not very useful for us as we need to be able to pay with our bank cards online. After a while discussing with the consultants our options, we found that we could have a visa prepaid card, that we can transfer money onto to solve our problem. We were annoyed but it was hard to be annoyed when the staff at the bank were so friendly and helpful.

Day 143 (22/01/11) Printer

Auckland has shown us a very unstable weather pattern, sunny one day, rainy the next. When it is raining and you don’t live in a van and have to go outside you don’t feel like going outside. We stayed home in the morning, and then in the early afternoon, we headed off in search of the best IELTS book, so that Fred can prepare himself for the English exam he has to sit, in order to apply for the Australian immigration visa. We found the best books were in the university library and brought one from there. We then went off to buy ourselves a printer that we will need, to print out documents, CVs, ect. We headed back home after that and set up our new toys and started playing with them.

Day 144 (23/01/11) Auckland Museum

Today we had planned to go on an adventure to the island of Rangatoto, but because the weather was not nice, rainy and very foggy, we chose to delay our adventure and go to the museum. The museum is really cool, and packed with exhibitions, information on the Maori way of life, the history of New Zealand. We spent the afternoon walking around and learning about the culture of the land we call home for the time being. The culture here is very different to that of Australia, however when you are in Europe you think they are almost the same. I guess the way people might think that France and Belgium are the same.

The last exhibition that we saw was by far the scariest, you go into a room that looks like a living room in any house and you sit down on couch and watch TV, the news is on, one of the 600 volcanic cones that make up the bay near Auckland has exploded. There is smoke on the bay and its heading towards Auckland. Then the room shakes as the aftermath of the volcanic eruption hits Auckland. The scary thing is it could happen, however it only happens once every 200 years or so, so I think we are safe.

Day 145 (24/01/11) Shoe Shopping

Part from going downtown to buy some formal shoes and makeup for my job interview, things that I did not need while we were living in the van; we did nothing out of the ordinary.

We found a good shoe shop, which had many different styles of shoes at reasonable prices and picked out a pair for each of us.

Oh yes we did do something fun today, we went shopping in an Asian supermarket, where everything that was on sale was from Asia, and only a few products were familiar to us. So we spent an hour walking around the supermarket looking for things that we wanted to eat. We ended up buying a few and they turned out to be very good.

Day 146 (25/01/11) First Kiwi Interview & Cheaper Tuesdays movies

By the way, New Zealanders are referred to as Kiwi’s even by the government, so I am not using derogative slang when I say Kiwi. A kiwi interview is much similar to an interview in other countries in the world, nothing to get very excited about. The interview was with a recruitment company, so they will be passing my CV along and letting me know what happens. I am excited about a possible position, but I am waiting to see what is going to happen.

In the evening we went to the movies, here as in Australia, the tickets are cheaper on a Tuesday. We went to see Unstoppable, an American block buster, which is great for taking you mind off things for a while.

Day 147 (26/01/11) Mission Bay

I have decided that today I want to get out of the house and visit a part of the city I have not yet seen. This is somehow easier said than done as we did not know where to go, or more correctly how to get to where we wanted to go. Finally we went down to the centre of town and got bus & train maps for all the lines in Auckland. We then found the right bus, jumped on and headed to Mission’s bay. We visited a memorial in a nice green park and laid in the sun for a while, before going into the centre of Missions bay and having a pure NZ ice cream. The ice cream is very light, but full of flavour. We sat on the beach for a while; it is great to have beaches in the biggest cities in the country. I feel that people enjoy their lives a lot more.

The houses in missions bay are nice and it is somewhere I would consider living if we stayed in Auckland for a longer time.

Day 148 (27/01/11) Day at Home

We spent the morning applying and looking for jobs. I got a call and have an interview next Tuesday, does anyone see a pattern here, Tuesday’s in Auckland = interview followed by a cheap movie. Hopefully soon it will be work followed by a cheap movie. Wish us luck!!

Day 149 (28/01/11) Meeting new friends

It was raining today and I did not have any meetings to go to, so we went to the gym; for the first time in I don’t know how long and it hurt. I made a promise to myself to go almost everyday, but I will see if I can manage to keep that promise.

In the evening, we were invited to a party that was being held by a group I have joined called the Inter-continent group, it’s a group of people from all over the world living in Auckland, which meet and share ideas. It was raining very heavy when we left to go to the party and by the time we got there we were all wet. The party was very fun and we met some interesting people. We walked back home in the heavy rain, let it rain, let it rain!

Day 150 (29/01/11) Heading North

We were watching Australia’s Master Chef on TV, when my phone rang; it was Briar asking us if we were ready to go north to her parent’s home with her. We jumped out of bed got dressed, packed our bag and met up with her. The drive north should have taken about 1 and half hours, but because of the flooding caused by all the rain that has come down lately, it took us 4 hours to reach where we were going. We had to use the back roads that were blocked with traffic. It feels great to get out of Auckland; everything is so green and alive up here. We stopped at a few of Briars friend’s houses; everyone was very friendly to us and spoiled us with wine and other local products.

We had dinner at maybe the best pizza place I have eaten in outside of Italy called Waipu Pizza barn, they had this great lamb pizza. We then drove up to Briars parents’ house, where we were spoiled again; we got to sleep in the best room of the house that has large French windows with a view of the sea.

Day 151 (30/01/11) Day at the beach

We woke up to the stunning view of the ocean right in front of us, got up had a coffee then took the dog, jess, for a walk along the beach. We all really loved it, and then we can back home and had my favourite meal, brunch, made up of fresh fruit, yogurt, muesli, cheese, toast tomatoes, and natural and fresh.

We spent the day at the beach, sun bathing and chatting.

In the evening we watched a classic comedy on TV. It has been a great relaxing day.

Day 152 (31/01/11) Time to head home

All good things always seem to be too short; it is the end of the long weekend, so we have to head back to Auckland. First of course we enjoyed walking on the beach and having a healthy breakfast. On the way back we stopped at Briar’s Grandmothers house, where we tried mountain paw paw and chocolate and raspberry cookiesJ A good way to end a great weekend. On the way back the roads were open again and it took us only an hour and a half to get back.

We caught the end of the seafood festival; even though we did not go downtown we could hear the concert from home.

Day 153 (01/02/11) Back to Auckland

Back in Auckland, back to business. I had an interview with a recruitment company today, but they did not have anything interesting to offer me. Being Tuesday we went to the cinema and watch The Green Hornet, a very cool movie, great to take your mind of the stress of not finding work. Not much else happened.

Day 154 (02/02/11) Dentist

My tooth has been hurting for the last few days, so today I went to the dentist. I am fine and need to go for a follow up consultation next week. The dentist was nice and friendly and I got a discount because I am a student and I paid on the same day, so that works out well, as dentists are not the cheapest places to visit.

After the stress of the dentist the only logical things to do was walk down to the viaduct and have a beer in a cowboy bar watching the sail boats.

Day 155 (03/02/11) Happy Year of the Rabbit

Today it is the start of the Chinese New Year. There are a lot of activities going on to celibate the New Year. We were surprised as nothing happened for Australia day we did not except anything to happen.

At sunset we walked down to the harbour and watched the sky turn different colours of pink and the boats sail back into the harbour for the night.

On our way home we bumped into some people we met at the party last Friday, and realised how small Auckland is. We had a beer with them at an Irish pub before continuing on home.

Day 156 (04/02/11) Door to door sales (or not)

Today I had another interview with a recruitment company; I am starting to get annoyed with the ones I have seen here in Auckland, as they are always trying to push me into taking jobs that don’t interest me. This once was for door to door sales, which is something I don’t want to do.

In the evening we went hunting for some food, when we found a show going on for the Chinese New Year. It was a welcomed surprise.

Day 157 (05/02/11) Blogging

Spent the day improving our blog, I am really enjoying working on it now that we have internet connection. In the afternoon we went to see a movie as we had special tickets with our cinema cards. 127 hours, a very scary movie to watch while you are travelling around or doing extreme adventures.

We did some shopping and then headed home for a lovely home cooked meal.

Day 158 (06/02/11) Rangitoto

Volcano here we come! Our adventure of the day was to go to the island of Rangitoto, which is a volcanic island in the bay of Auckland. We hop on the ferry and after 25 minutes we have arrived to this volcano that last erupted 600 years ago. The whole island is covered in volcanic debris and you can clearly see the ‘lines’ that were formed by the lava when the volcano last erupted. We climbed to the summit to enjoy the stunning views. There is so much furan growing on the island it is quite incredible. We saw a few bird species that are endemic to the island. We explored caves in the dark with only our flash light to guide us.

Sadly I slipped while climbing over some rocks and bashed myself up pretty bad, so we can home an hour sooner than we had planned. I also have a ear infection which doesn’t make me feel good at all and I feel like I need to climb in to bed and sleep.

Day 159 (07/02/11) Auckland Hospital

Sadly today I don’t have anything fun or nice to write about, it seems that I caught an ear infection somewhere and feel really terrible. We went to the hospital to see a doctor because the pain my ear was killing me and just as we were being redirected to another clinic, I fainted so I spent the next 3 hours under observation. When I was finally released I went back home and slept and hid in bed all day long.

Day 160 (08/02/11) Ear Doctor

I did not feel better today. The pain was still making me feel sick, weak, and almost making me go crazy. I went to see an ear doctor that cleaned my ears with a little suction tube and then went back home. Finally the pain killers and antibiotics were taking effect and the pain started to go down. Back to sleep.

Day 161 (09/02/11) Getting better

Today I feel better, not prefect, but the pain is gone and I can stand up without feeling sick. I spent the day in bed, catching up on my emails. I am hoping that I will get better soon and that I can go back out into the world. I do not like being stuck in bed.

Day 162 (10/02/11) Sleeping

Still under the influence of the antibiotics and pain killers I have been taking I spent the most of the day in bed.

The exciting this I did today was getting a library card so now I can borrow books and sit in bed and read them.

Day 163 (11/02/11) Friday night at the Fish Market

The good news is I am feeling a bit better. I am back to life, so what better to do than go out and enjoy Friday night at the fish market. There was supposed to be several stands where you could taste freshly cooked fish and listen to Jazz music. However, when we got there, it seemed that the activities were over, the jazz band was not playing anymore and there was only one stall selling food.  We ended up having Mexican food down at the wharf near the big cruise ships.

Day 164 (12/02/11) OZ job expo

We woke up early on this Saturday morning, but for a good reason, this morning we went to a job expo from jobs in Australia. As moving there is our ultimate goal we are trying to find jobs over there as well as here at the same time. The Expo was good, we spoke with some big mining companies that told us they have many openings in Perth. We are going to send our CVs to them in the next few days.

Pizza for dinner and a movie what else but Australia!

Day 165 (13/02/11) French Market Parnell

Today we finally went to the French Markets in Parnell and we were not disappointed. We found all of the French goodies that we have been missing. Fresh bread, Pate, pastries and cheese, we are in heaven, or at least food heaven. We brought some fresh ingredients for the dinner will make for our roommate in the evening. Steak Tatar with potatoes, pate for the entrée and cheese to finish. It was a very nice way to spend a Sunday morning, next week plan to bake.

Day 166 (14/02/11) The Dentist & baking Brioche

Finally I am off the medicine I have been taking for my ear, but guess what, its time to go for a second round of pain at the dentist. I only need a big filling done, but still I was not really looking forward to it at all. It turned out not to be too bad and the dentist and her assistant were nice, however I am waiting for the pain to kick it, hopping it doesn’t.

To forget about the pain that maybe coming my way I decided to make a brioche which is cooking nicely in the oven as we speak.

Day 167 (15/02/11) Salad Girl

Today was a busy day for me, in the morning I had a job interview in a law firm, and no I am not going to become a lawyer… The Interview went well and I should go back and see them on Thursday.  I had to quickly run home and change afterwards and run out again, you see today was my first day of life as a Salad Girl. I have a part time job in the shopping centre at a healthy food choice fast food. It was busy at lunch and I was very tired afterwards, I did spend the large part of last week in bed.

For dinner I went Italian and made garlic bread topped with fresh tomatoes and penne pasta ‘carbonara’. To past the time I am learning to cook, I guess it is better then spending hours on facebook.

Day 168 (16/02/11) Salad girl day 2

It was my second day working as a salad girl in the shopping mall today. I was fine nothing exciting happened. After work I went to do some shopping before going home and starting to bake my blueberry muffins. I like baking because I get to eat what I bake for breakfast the next day.

Day 169 (17/02/11) First day in the law office

A training day was what I was told to expect today, although it turned out to be a day where I was meant to work. I had to go home because I was wrongly dressed and I was not sure what was going on. The job is alright, nothing very exciting or hard, a little disorganised, but that can be forgiven as I don’t plan to be here forever. I almost set the building on fire because as I was clearing away the buffet a paper caught light.

In the evening Fred was very nice and made us crepes for dinner.

Day 170 (18/02/11) The Lantern Festival

I started the day by doing some paper work in the morning before rushing to the work my last shift as a salad girl at Ensalda. After that I went to work at the law firm for 3 hours to learn the ropes, because as of Monday I will be in charge.

In the evening we went to see the Lantern Festival, which was a very nice, there were a lot of different lanterns set up in Albert Park in Auckland. We also got to try some Asian food.

Day 171 (19/02/11) Relaxing Saturday

It is nice to spend the day at home sometimes; it was a busy paper work day. I am applying for the police clearances from all the countries I have lived in and this takes a lot of time and dedication, especially when you live have filled in many countries like have and you have to collect papers from all of those countries. Each country has different requirements so it takes a while to have everything needed.

After a morning doing paper work we went out to take pictures of Auckland by night before picking up a pizza and coming home to watch TV.

Day 172 (20/02/11) Climbing Sunday

After our relaxing day yesterday we thought that we should do a sportive activity today. We went climbing in a place called Clip & Climb. We grabbed a special offer from this site called Grabone that sends you an email with things to do that are on special offer in Auckland. Clip & Climb is a cool place, they have many different walls that you can climb, and it is very colourful. I always enjoy climbing as I get to push my limits and climb higher than I did the last time.

In the afternoon we enjoyed an ice cream down at the harbour.

Now I am waiting for our flat mate to cook us a lovely Malaysian dinner.

Day 173 (21/02/11) Long day at work

Today was my first full day at the law office; we had a girl there to train us so things went smoothly. I learned the way things worked, and started to practice my latte art, as I should be serving pretty looking coffees. This is quite hard for me as I have not made a professional coffee in over 8 years so it’s back to the basics. The day was very long I worked from 7am until 6pm.

When I got home in the evening I was so tired that I just watched TV and fell asleep early.

Day 174 (22/02/11) Sunset and wine

Today I worked all day long, the job is not that hard and just takes some getting use to. It is hard on the feet because I don’t sit down at all while I am working and that makes the days seem even longer.

After work we went to the apartment Briar’s is house sitting and got greeted by 2 lovely dogs that were happy to see us. We sat on the balcony and had wine and cheese watching the sunset over the Auckland harbour. Not a bad end to the day.

Day 175 (23/02/11) Working

Just another day at work for me, nothing special happened. I have been eating really good food while working, that is one of the plus sides of this job.

Fred went for his first job interview today, it went well and we both hope he gets the job as it is something he wants to do.

Day 176 (24/02/11) Interview

Work again, we started to prepare for tomorrow which is going to be a very long day. As the university graduates have been invited in for a day, in the hopes that they will work with the firm and make the firm a lot of money, while they work very hard.

After work I went for an interview for another position, that so far sounds a bit weird, but I am waiting to see what happens.

Day 177 (25/02/11) Friday 5’s

Today I overworked, as the graduates were in today, I started work at 7am and finished at 8pm, a whole 13 hours of running around. As there were 100 more people to cater to then usual it was very busy.

At 5 pm they had drinks in the firms bar which over looks the harbour, I forgot home much students can drink.

After serving drinks for the last 3 hours I had to go out and drink myself, so I went down to the Viduct with a 2 girls I work with and Fred. It feels so good to have a glass of New Zealand finest after work.

Day 178 (26/02/11) Saturday at home

The week was very long and yesterday was even longer so today I was too tired to do anything. I spent most of the day in bed watching TV. We did go out for a bit to see what they call a French festival; it was strange and not very French.

In the evening we cooked a nice stir fry dinner and watched a movie, I went to sleep early.

Day 179 (27/02/11) Tramping at Goldie Bush

Today we woke up early, tried to find the right bus to take to get us to New Market, where we met up with a French lady that drove us to a train station where we met a whole group of French people that got together today to do the same thing tramp.

This was our first time tramping and I am in love with the sport, it is like hiking, but you climb up paths, and go through rivers and waterfalls. The walk lasted 5 hours and was really amazing; we tramped in the NZ bush and walked in the rivers and under some amazing waterfalls.

I have decided that I want to go tramping every week!

In the evening we met another French girl that sold us her tent, so we are all set for the end of the week when my dad arrives.

Day 180 (28/02/11) Meeting up with an old Friend

I spent the day at work, it went off fine, it was a bit busy near the end of the day and I played dish washer for a few hours.

Right after work we went to meet up with a friend of my, Matt, a Kiwi, which I met almost 2 years ago now in Bruges. It was great to catch up and chat. We had a few beers down in a bar on the Viaduct that has become my favourite bar.

Day 181 (01/03/11) 1st of March

Work was the same as everyday, apart from the fact that the manager we have likes to micro manage and that really annoys me. I have made friends at work though; they are a fun group that want to go out rafting and tramping with us.

After work I helped a few French people with their CV’s. I know how hard it is when you look for a job in another language, so I like helping people as much as I can.

Day 182 (02/03/11) Long day at work

My day at work was pretty standard, same stuff different day. It has already become boring for me and I can’t wait until I find something better.

After work we met up with a French girl and her boyfriend that we met when we went out tramping last weekend. I helped her with her CV. I think there might be a business I can go into here.

Day 183 (03/03/11) Day off work

When I woke up this morning, all my body hurt and I really could not move, so I called in sick and took the day off work. I spent most of the day in bed, because I felt really weak and tired.

In the afternoon I had an interview for a real job. The interview went find, the job seems ok and I would not mind working there, it is a lot better than what I am going now.

Day 184 (04/03/11) Daddy arrived

I worked in the morning, waiting impatiently for the end of the day.

After work Fred went to pick up the van and we moved out of our apartment, as the guy who’s room we were renting came back. Goodbye Auckland home.

We went to the campsite where we plan to stay the night; the plan was for us to stay in the tent and my dad to stay in the van we had rented. As we set up the tent it was raining and we hoped that it would stop before my dad arrived.

We went to the airport to pick up my dad and when we got back to the campsite it was raining more than before. The tent which we brought cheap, second hand from a backpacker that was leaving was not built for heavy rain, so the inside of the tent was wet. After about an hour or moving and fixing things, we finally managed to put the tent under the back door of the van so it would stay dry and we all went to sleep.

Day 185 (05/03/11) On the road to Rotorua

After sleeping under the pouring rain we went and had a hot breakfast and then got on the road. We headed to Rotorua, the geo thermal magical place of New Zealand. Once there we got ourselves a cabin, no more sleeping outside after last night. Had lunch and then went off to explore the town. As it was still raining we choose to visit the museum and keep the rest of the things we wanted to do for tomorrow as the weather should be better.

We had a nice Indian curry for dinner with lots of red wine. One thing I did not mention about Rotorua is that it smells like eggs…

Day 186 (06/03/11) Rotorua

It has finally stopped raining! Our first activity of the day was to go and have a dip in the mineral pools that are in the campsite we are staying in. The water is 38° and we really enjoyed sitting in the hot bubbling water.

Our next stop was Te Puia where we saw the bubbling mud hot pools and the geysers. We had a guided tour that explained the Maori culture to us and we got to see the Kiwi, the bird, not the fruit.

After lunch at the café we headed to Argodome where my dad watched a Sheep shearing show.

Then it was time for us to go Zorbing, one of the coolest things I have tried! We got inside a big inflatable ball filled with warm water and rolled down a hill. Really this is a must do!

In the evening we went back to Te Puia, where we were greeted in the traditional Maori fashion, watched the Haka and tried it for ourselves. We then had a traditional Maori dinner, then we went to see the Geyser by night that was very beautiful and sit on the hot stones drinking hot chocolate while we listened to legends of the land.

Day 187 (07/03/11) Taupo

We left the cool town of Rotorua today to head to the lakeside town of Taupo. Once in Taupo we checked into our cabin and had a bbq, big steaks and lamb, with red wine and cheese.

After lunch we went for a walk by the lake and enjoyed the afternoon sun. We did some souvenir shopping and tried the New Zealand flavoured ice cream called Hokey Pokey.

In the evening we stayed at the campsite and made a home cooked fish dinner which we enjoyed and spent the evening talking.

Day 188 (08/03/11) Waitomo Cave

My dad’s last day here, so we headed back to Auckland to drop him off at the airport. On the drive back we saw the best of New Zealand country side, lots of sheep and cows and green landscapes.

We stopped for lunch near the Waitomo caves, where we had organic burgers and beer for lunch. After lunch we visited the famous Waitomo caves and saw the glow worms that make their home on the caves ceiling, totally stunning.

Then headed in to Auckland and gave my dad a quick tour of the city and had dinner before dropping him at the airport.

Day 189 (09/03/11) Piha beach

After we dropped my dad off last night we drove to Piha beach, where we slept under the stars.

We woke up to a clear blue sky and a beautiful day. Our first mission, after our morning coffee, was to climb the Lion Rock, a short climb of a rock that is in the middle of Piha beach. Once at the top you have stunning views of the volcano sand beach below.

We then played in the black sand, created by volcano erosion and then had fish and chips on the beach for lunch.

In the afternoon we walked the beach to rain forest track and were stunned with the sub tropical rain forest canopy that we were walking under. In the middle of a track we found ourselves stepping over rocks to get closer to the waterfall.

In the evening we watched the amazing sunset, while drinking vanilla rum and listening to rock classics. We took lots of stunning pictures before going to cook dinner and sleep under the stars.

Day 190 (10/03/11) Last day at work

After sleeping under the stars last night, I went into work at 9am today. Once I got there, I got called into the manager’s office and we had a talk. It seems that I was too expensive for them, but that turned out well for me as I wanted to leave and move to Wellington. We agreed that today would be my last day. The day was slow and I could not wait for it to end.

In the evening we went for drinks at the Waterfront, my new favourite bar in Auckland.

Day 191 (11/03/11) Finally

More than one month ago, I was sick, and had to go to the Auckland hospital emergency room. I paid for my time in the hospital, where I should not have and since when I have been trying to get my money back. That was one month ago, after lots of follow up emails and phone calls and promises that the money will be sent to me I got annoyed and went  down to the hospital to see what was going on.

After been sent around the hospital and spending time on the phone to the right person, located in a different hospital, I was told I could go and pick up my cheque from the other hospital in the afternoon. Finally that got solved but if I didn’t follow up I am sure I would never have seen the money.

Apart from that we spent time on the internet looking at how, when we would move the Wellington and planning that.

Day 192 (12/03/11) Last day in Auckland

Last day in Auckland, this means planning how we are going to leave Auckland, by train, booking a place to stay and packing all the things we have into the least amount of space possible so we can travel with it easier.

In the evening we met up with Briar to say goodbye, we had drinks and nachos down at my favourite bar on the viaduct, The Waterfront.

Day 193 (13/03/11) Train to Wellington

On the road once again, destination Wellington, the reason for the move was that we thought that we would have more chance or settling in Wellington then Auckland and things were not working out for us in Auckland.

We woke up at 5:30am to get to the train station in time for our 7am departure. Even though the train station is not far we took a taxi as we have so many things to carry. Once comfortable in our seats we had 12 hours in front of us to sleep, eat and watch sheep.

The journey was fine and we got into Wellington a little early. We checked into our room at the hostel which is big and comfortable.

Day 194 (14/03/11) First day in Wellington

Our first day in Wellington was nice, we like the way the city looks and feel that we could stay here for awhile. It has really nice buildings; the lay out of the city is more planned then in Auckland and the city is less tourist so it feels more homely. The People are very friendly and helpful.

It is very windy here, so we are getting used to the weather that is different and less tropical here.

Day 195 (15/03/11) Fred’s Interview

Our second day in Wellington is a busy one, Fred goes for his first interview in the morning and I go to the police station to get my finger prints taken, for a police clearance.

In the afternoon we visit some flats.

In the evening we discover the hostel bar, where we drink beer and play pool for a few hours.

Day 196 (16/03/11) Looking for a place to stay

One the of the most important things to do when you move to a new city is figure out where you want to stay. Where, how much, do you want to commute or walk to work, city centre or out of town?  Once you figure all that out all you have to do is find the right place for you. We have worked out that we want to live near or in the city and what are maximum budget is.

The more difficult part of this task is finding that perfect place you will call home.

That is what we have spent most of today doing, going to flats and having to look to see if they match what we want. So far none have.

Day 197 (17/03/11) My first Interview in Wellington

I had my first interview today with a recruitment company I was in touch with in Auckland, it seems like they may have some work for me soon. This is very good news for me, us. Money coming is better than it going out.

We went to look at some apartments, but they were unfurnished so they are not good for us.

It was St. Paddy’s day so we went to an Irish bar and drank…I mean what else are you meant to do on St. Paddy’s day?

Day 198 (18/03/11) Interview at Russell McVeagh

I had an interview today with a temp agency that sent me for an Interview at the same law firm that I was working with in Auckland, Russell McVeagh, the office is nicer here and the people are more friendly, however the job is only 5 hours a day which is not enough for me, so I wont be working with them here.

While I was at the interview Fred went to look at some apartments, he found one that looked good, so at least we have one option.

I am trying to collect all the papers to request a police clearance from Kuwait and it requires many steps, today I completed one, I got my finger print report, which was given to me by the police, certified. Sometimes I feel the more I do, the more I have to do.

Day 199 (19/03/11) Apartment hunting

Due to recent events, the earthquake in Christchurch, and the fact that the universities have started back, it is very hard to find an apartment. Many of them are rented before we have time to visit them. Today we had 2 appointments, when we got to the first one the apartment was already rented. The second was really nice, but the problem was that it was a ground floor apartment and we don’t want to stay on the ground floor for safety and noise reasons, so no luck today.

In the afternoon we went to the cinema at The Embassy an old style embassy that had very nice architecture. We watched Rango that was very funny and made us laugh and forget out apartment issues.

Day 200 (20/03/11) 200 days since we left France

Today it has been exactly 200 days since we left France! We are now in Wellington and planning to stay here until we go back to Perth at the end of the year. We are almost about to move into an apartment and hope to start working full time. The travelling part of our trip has come to a close for now and we are settling for the next 6 to 10 months.

We watched the dragon boat race which was fun; we saw a ray in the Wellington harbour, which was quite amazing.

In the evening we posted things online and played pool.

Day 201 (21/03/11) Still looking for an apartment

Today I had a interview with the parliament, I maybe working there and might have a chance to meet the man with all the power in New Zealand.

We also looked for apartments again; this took us up to Kelburn, which is the closest suburb to the city, right on top of the hill. The apartment we visited was nice but too small for us, which is a shame because it was in a very nice area.

Day 202 (22/03/11) Found an apartment!!

We found and got approved for an apartment we really like in the centre of Wellington. It is a one bedroom flat, in a building, close to the supermarkets and to the bars and restaurants.

We signed a 6 month lease and move in tomorrow.

It seems that we are finally making ourselves at home after 6 months on the road. Oh, Fred & I will officially be living together for the first time, as the apartment is in both our names.

Day 203 (23/03/11) Moving in

This morning I went to my job as a temp in an office in down town Wellington. I spent the day entering data into an excel sheet, not very interesting, but it pays the bills.

After work, I went home, to our new home and celebrated our new home with a bottle of wine and a nice pasta dinner.

Day 204 (24/03/11) Work

A very long day at work, not hard just long, entering lots of data in to excel sheets, the office is nice and the people I work with are friendly.

Farmers a department store has a sale and I went to buy lots of things for our new home, it took me 3 hours and I went home with lots of bags, full of stuff for our home.

Day 205 (25/03/11) Admin Stuff

We had to fill out a form on the state of our apartment, which took us some time as we had to go around the apartment and note anything that was not perfect. I also tried to do some paper work, but did not succeed because I was missing some information. I really don’t like it when I am not able to complete the things I want to do.

A nice evening at home, watching a movie and staying warm.

Day 206 (26/03/11) Adventure to Lower Hutt

Public transport in New Zealand is not user friendly; you never know where to get the bus from, where the lines go and when they are coming. It took is an hour to find out how to go to Lower Hutt. Once we finally got to Lower Hutt, we went to the bank, our main reason for going there, because I needed to get a bank draft and all the banks in the city are closed on the weekend. Once at the bank I was told by the teller that because it was Saturday, she could not issue a bank draft for me, meaning that we went all that way for no reason. We spent the rest of the day in the shopping mall. I brought some new clothes as there were lots of sales going on.

Day 207 (27/03/11) Sunday on the Couch

Just your average Sunday, not doing much at all, spending time in front of the tv because it is raining. I made another brioche; I hope this one turns out better than the last one. The most exciting thing that happened today was that I got to speak to one of my best friends that is in the States and that I don’t get to speak to very often.

Day 208 (28/03/11) The Botanical Gardens

I started the day by going to complete the request I have been trying to do since last week. I went to the bank and asked for the bank drafts, I was told not a problem; they will call me once they were done. So I went away and did other things 3 hours later the bank was almost closing and I thought it maybe time to check in to the bank again. The bank drafts had not been done, they did them while I was there, lucky I went back or I would not have gotten them today. I sent the documents off finally, after lots of hard work.

For lunch we went to an Irish Pub and had a very nice lunch of burger and chips and a big paint of cider. We spent 2 hours there talking and laughing, very enjoyable.

After lunch we took the cable car up to the botanical gardens and enjoyed walking around the gardens and the cable cars museum. We took a path that lead us back to the city through the gardens. It was a lovely sunny afternoon even the ducks were lying on the grass enjoying the sun.

Day 209 (29/03/11) Job Hunting

I feel like we are always working on something, today’s mission was to find a full time job. I spent a large part of the day looking for jobs on the internet. We went to the French embassy to register with them, but did not have all the correct documents so we have to go back tomorrow. I found out that there is a job vacancy at the Alliance Francais that I will apply for.

I spent the evening sowing a new pair of pants that I have gotten that is too long and posting photos online.

Day 210 (30/03/11) Still Hunting a job

Today I decided that I have to move and go out there and find a job. I can not stay home anymore I am getting a bit crazy and board. So I went out and dropped my CV off in all the recruitment agencies that I have not already contacted. I met one that gave me an interview straight away and seems to be very professional. Let’s see what happens.

Day 211 (31/03/11) Working at a cocktail

No news on the job front and I spent the whole day looking for jobs online. I got a text asking me if I would like to work in the evening for a cocktail at a law firm. It seems that law firms like me here.

I went to work in the evening, which was easy and fun.

Day 212 (01/04/11) Interview

I got woken up by my phone this morning; it seems that someone is finally interested in me and would like to have an interview with me in the afternoon.

I went to the interview and got the job, I start on Monday, it is not my dream job but it is better than staying home all day long which makes me crazy.

Day 213 (02/04/11) Trip outside Wellington

We are part of Inter Nations, which is a website set up for professional people living outside of their home countries to connect with other professionals and share ideas and meet up. That is where we met Jim from Poland, who took us on a trip outside of Wellington.

We went to Martinbrough, a famous wine region; we tried the wine and had anti pasta. Afterwards we went to castle point which is the last land fall before Chile it was a very nice day out and we learned lots of interesting things about Wellington, like our home is on a fault line!

Day 214 (03/04/11) It’s raining in our home

Lazy Sunday, I worked on my secret project for most of the day before it started to rain in our home and then I had to call the plumber, nothing is fixed yet, but maybe tomorrow we will have the leak and the hole in our roof fixed. One can only hope right.

Tonight we are going out for a Jazz evening at the Lido café.