A Travellerspoint blog

Eclipse success!

sunny 25 °C
View OZ & NZ Nov 2012 on GinSmugglers's travel map.

Cairns has been very much cloudier and cooler than we expected, with frequent short showers, so we were not very confident of actually being able to see the eclipse.

But, as you may have gathered from the title of this entry, we were indeed successful! Fortunately, our trip to Cairns was booked with a specialist agency who also researched where to go for the clearest skies and the best views for various weather conditions. They deliberated, and then took us by coach (at 2 am) well into the hills inland, where the skies were very clear and from where we had a most beautiful view of the eclipse.

Photos and a more detailed blog entry will follow, when time and internet connectivity permit!

Posted by GinSmugglers 23:57 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Cairns 13th November

semi-overcast 25 °C
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We packed up and left HK yesterday, the journey to the airport was fantastic compared to our trip in on Friday. Free bus to Kowloon station, check-in for flights and bags dropped, high speed train to the airport, through security, all accomplished within 50 minutes. Never again will I agree to any of Keith’s schemes to travel by bus to ‘see the sights’, (AKA save money) particularly when I’ve been travelling for hours and it’s pitch dark anyway.
We flew from HK to Melbourne and then on up to Cairns with Qantas. Not a fan..... one alcoholic drink only at a time, which meant that we only got one drink!!! Airline regulations they claimed, but rather another money saving scheme methinks!

So far, Cairns has been a bit of a disappointment. The hotel is nice and we have a room on the top floor which gives us a view of town and mountains on two sides. Unfortunately we’ve had far more rain than sunshine and the amount of cloud doesn’t bode well for tomorrow’s eclipse. It’s also not nearly hot enough for me!

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Cairns itself has been transformed from ‘Backpacker Central’ to ‘Astronomy Nerd Central’ with a preponderance of bearded sock and sandal wearing types carrying huge cameras around their necks. Why the ever present camera I wonder? Do they like to be prepared just in case the eclipse decides to happen early?

Posted by GinSmugglers 18:43 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Hong Kong 11th November

sunny 24 °C
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It’s definitely wedding season in Hong Kong. The hotel has two going on today and one yesterday, there’s another at the Convention Centre, and we came upon a really swish one at The Peak Lookout yesterday. Monkeh enjoyed that one and had photographs taken with the bride and groom. The wedding day begins even before we’ve had breakfast with the groom and his men, all in their splendid wedding finery and bouquet sized button holes posing for pictures, often by their heavily decorated cars complete with soft toys dressed as bride and groom. After the ceremony, the happy couple and their entourage travel around Hong Kong for photo sessions at all the major iconic locations. The only practical way to travel quickly from Kowloon side to the island is by the public Star Ferry and we were amused on one of our crossings to see a beautiful bride daintily tripping over the ramp as she disembarked.

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It’s also graduation weekend with celebrations going on everywhere and much photographing of be-gowned youngsters clutching their flowers and soft toys. In addition to all that, Gok Wan lookalikes are everywhere and we’ve done many double-takes as we realise that the tall slim young man in black rimmed spectacles isn’t actually the fashion guru we know and love.

Finally, we got caught up in a charity ‘Baby Walkathon’ which I thought was cheating as the babies were allowed to have their parents push them around in buggies. Maybe charity ‘Buggy Stampede’ would have been more apt!

Posted by GinSmugglers 18:42 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Hong Kong in a rush!

Part 1

sunny 25 °C
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We arrived in Hong Kong after a fairly tortuous journey involving a 4 hour delay and a change of planes before we had even left Heathrow, then, in Hong Kong, a freezing cold airport transfer bus, an absence of onward taxis, lots of steps and other trials designed to annoy us. But eventually we got to our hotel and as the taxi swung around in front of the sparkling glass and chrome edifice, my first thought was, ‘My wardrobe isn’t up to this!’ Even so, they let us in and we are now enjoying a wonderful view of the harbour as we sip a chilled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

We’ve had a lovely day visiting the Central area and the Peak, where we had to indulge in a half-dozen oysters the Peak Lookout restaurant, for old times’ sake. We’ve had our spectacular ride down from the Peak on the Number 1 Public Light Bus and ridden the Star Ferry both ways. We’ve also been to a wedding reception and taken part in university graduation celebrations. We’ve had a twilight swim in the roof top pool - not bad for day one. Now we’re off to Temple Street Night Market...

Posted by GinSmugglers 02:04 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

Almost ready.....

Despite planning and booking this trip months ago, it's sort of come upon us in a rush over the last few weeks. We've done our best to get Christmas organised before leaving and to catch up with all the family and friends we won't see for a while. Now, with less than 24 hours to go the fridge is empty, all the laundry is done and the bags are more or less packed although I do keep pushing extra things in, just in case. We are expecting the temperatures we travel through to range between around 35C in Cairns, right down to just above freezing in New Zealand's glacier regions, consequently we have everything from shorts to the ubiquitous fleece! If it wasn't for the fact that I have been assured that there are shops in the antipodes I would be stuffing even more things into the cases.... I still wonder if 7 pairs of shoes is going to be enough.

We are very fortunate in that we will be travelling with a small but well known companion. You can monitor his progress on his facebook page... Monkeh On-Tour.

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Posted by GinSmugglers 07:42 Comments (0)

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