A Travellerspoint blog

Partying in Perth

Fireworks, fine wines and a 40th birthday party

sunny 28 °C
View Gary & Vicki Ponder-Payne tour 2008 on GPonder76's travel map.

Our final destination on the Ponder Payne tour was Perth, Western Australia. We were kindly invited to stay with Jo a friend of Gary's at Hotel Ward. Jo has been a brilliant host and tourist information guide during our stay - cheers Jo.

Gary has already visited Perth and 'when he was here before' he enjoyed wandering around Kings Park which has a stunning view of the city skyline and Swan River, this was our first destination and I enjoyed it just as much. It is really pretty with the botanical garden, tree top walk and water fountains.

We hired a car and headed south to explore the Margaret River area. We visited some stunning beaches, watched the surfers and tried to take some arty photos. Of course there was also a wine tasting tour to 6 vineyards, a cheese factory and even a chocolate factory. One vineyard offered 14 tastings so it was a fun day! :)

After the wine tasting we continued with the drinking and on the Thursday we met up with some staff and ex staff of Genesis where Jo works and Gary used to work. We went to a pub called the Lucky Shag right on the banks of the Swan river. The locals had all been watching the cricket all day and one girl even fell into the river as she tried to board a party boat.

We ourselves took a boat trip along the river the following day to visit Rottnest Island, just off the mainland. It was a beautifully sunny day and we hired bikes to cycle around the island, this was a great way to explore the gorgeous beaches.

When we returned to the city we met up with Jo for more drinks - it was the last Friday before Christmas and the locals were partying hard again. Geez the beer is well expensive - and we're used to paying London prices!

On Saturday Jo took us to her friend Pam's house party for more drinks and partying - yay!

We took it a little more easy on our final day in Perth and visited Fremantle (Freo) and a walk around the markets, harbour and shops. Fish and chips by the harbour for lunch, and a quick pint in the Little Creatures brewery. In the evening we had a final meal in South Perth with stunning views of the city from across the river. As we left a firework display lit up the city, it was a fantastic end to a fantastic trip.

Photos will be uploaded shortly or we may share all 5,000 of them with you over Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all, see you soon.
Gary and Vicki

Posted by GPonder76 20:00 Archived in Australia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Finding Nemo

Gary Ponder - Adrenalin Junkie

sunny 33 °C
View Gary & Vicki Ponder-Payne tour 2008 on GPonder76's travel map.

From Melbourne we headed north to Cairns in tropical Queensland. It was damn hot at 33 degrees and humid so we kept seeking air conditioned buildings or jumping into pools.

On our first day we took the Uncle Brian's Fun, Forest & Falls tour with Cousin Kai who took us on a rainforest walk and to several stunning waterfalls including one we could slide down into the rock pool. This was a really fun day out.
We also visited a waterfall which is famous for 2 things, does anyone recognise it? Vicki re-enacted one scene but Gary didn't have the abs to impersonate Peter Andre.

The reason for coming to Cairns was to see the Great Barrier Reef so we took a boat trip aboard Ocean Freedom to Upolu Cay and the Wonder Wall. We intended to just snorkell the reef but then Gary decided to step up to the adrenalin challenge and give Scuba Diving a go. We both thoroughly enjoyed this view of the reef and found diving an exhilarating experience. We saw lots and lots of fish and even managed to find Nemo.
We touched a giant Clam which instantly closed it's jaws and also picked up a Sea Cucumber. Amazing!

We were so impressed by the Great Barrier Reef boat and dive experience that we took a scenic helicopter ride to check out the reef from above.

On our remaining day in Queesland we took the scenic railway to Kuranda with a skyrail return.
Whilst in Kuranda we visited the Koala park and met another Frank and his son pictured below.

While we were in Cairns there was a full moon, which coincided with the moon being closest in it's orbit to the earth so it was 12% larger than normal. It looked stunning over the bay.

Posted by GPonder76 23:00 Archived in Australia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Goodbye New Zealand, G'day Oz

sunny 30 °C
View Gary & Vicki Ponder-Payne tour 2008 on GPonder76's travel map.

You may have noticed from the photos that the further through New Zealand we travelled Gary looks scruffier & scruffier. He was growing a beard for Movember. Here are the results....
Only Joking, here is the real growth...
As it was for Movember, here is a picture of the Mo.
Don't worry, it didn't stay like that, the whole lot was shaved off once we reached Auckland and had the luxury of an en suite bathroom again. We won't miss the getting dressed in the middle of the night to walk from the van to the toilet in the rain.

Auckland was great and on our first day we wandered down to the harbour for lunch and then up to the top of the Sky Tower for some fantastic views over the city. Gary now owes Vicki GBP50 for standing on the glass floor. She keeps surprising me with her dare devil stunts!

The next day we took a boat trip across the harbour to Waiheke Island for another wine tasting tour. We visited three vineyards, Kennedy Point, Obsidian and then lunch at Mudridge Creek. It was a fantastic day with sunny weather and excellent scenery and superb wine. A great way to finish our time in New Zealand.

We flew from Auckland to Melbourne where Uncle Bill met us at the airport and kindly gave us a place to stay. It was great to see all of the family and had a wonderful time with them. We had a nice chinese meal with Bill & Anne at the Turtle Den and an amazing italian with Russell & Jodie, Neville and Bill. On our last day in Melbourne we had an aussie BBQ at Russell's with King Island steak - You beauty! Russell really can talk people into anything and even managed to get Gary to eat raw carrot!

Vicki also has relly's in Melbourne and on the Saturday morning we took a train into the centre of town to meet Janice at Federation Square. We had a coffee on Brunswick Street and then we were invited to her friend Margaret's street party/BBQ in Fitzroy where we had lamb snags, Sauvignon Blanc and Little Creatures Pale Ale. A couple of days later we met up with Janice again with her parents Alan & Joanna for lunch in Federation Square and a visit to viewing deck of the Eureka tower. It was lovely to meet up with the family and we had a bonza time.

Even the weather in Melbourne was grouse (That means good, it was warm and sunny the whole time we were there).

Posted by GPonder76 22:51 Archived in Australia Tagged family_travel Comments (0)


Milford Sound and unexpected trip to the east coast

sunny 20 °C
View Gary & Vicki Ponder-Payne tour 2008 on GPonder76's travel map.

After leaving Queenstown we took the (relatively) short drive to Te Anau. There is not much here but it is a good base from which to get to Milford Sound. While we were in Te Anau we did take a boat trip across the lake to the glow worm caves.

The next day we drove up to Milford Sound passing some stunning scenery and a tunnel where the traffic lights only change every 15 minutes, unfortutunately we caught it on red. As we waited some very large & cheeky parrots (Kea) attacked the cars that were waiting.

We had heard a lot about Milford Sound and it did not disappoint. It was slightly wet and misty but we could still see it's beauty, it is very rare to get the clear sunny day that appears on all of the postcards. This was our first penguin viewing, we also saw seals and some spectacular waterfalls coming off the high cliffs that rise up from the waters edge.

After Milford Sound we had reached the end of our planned itinerary a whole two days ahead of schedule, so we decided to freestyle and head east over to Dunedin.

While here we saw wild albatross landing and nesting at the edge of the Otago Peninsula and then took a walk up Baldwin Street, according to the Guiness Book of Records is the steepest street in the world at 1 in 1.266.

On our second day we took a scenic train ride along the Taieri Gorge Railway through tunnels and over many viaducts and gorges.

That afternoon we headed towards Christchurch but stopped on the way at Oamaru where we saw the Moeraki Boulders. These are huge perfectly spherical rocks on the beach. There are no guides or information points to explain how the boulders got there, we thought of a number of theories from alien eggs to volcanic lava hardening in zero gravity as they fell. We did find the real explanation but it is not as much fun.

Oamaru was a very small town but is a great place to view colonies of Yellow Eyed & Blue penguins coming out of the water and nesting on the beaches. We could not take any photos as this would scare them away, so we have 'borrowed' some images from wikipedia.

Once we arrived in Christchrch we had a walk around the city centre, had a lovely lunch in a place called Sticky Fingers and then had a few drinks by the river in the sun. Nice city and a very chilled out afternoon.

Posted by GPonder76 18:21 Archived in New Zealand Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Vicki Payne - Adrenalin Junkie


sunny 31 °C
View Gary & Vicki Ponder-Payne tour 2008 on GPonder76's travel map.

Queenstown is great!! We spent a couple of days here and got into the spirit of things by drinking the local brew Montieths and jumping off mountains - but not in that order!
The first thing we did when we arrived in Queenstown was ride the cable car to the top of mountain overlooking the city and the lake. The weather was stunning, with clear blue skies and warm sunshine, we were very glad of this after the last few days heavy rain.

At the top of the mountain there was a viewing point, a Luge (go kart / tabogan), bungy jump and paragliding. The luge was a lot of fun and Gary enjoyed pretending to be Lewis Hamilton and taking the racing line, he'd been practising in the camper van on the roads of New Zealand, and directed Vicki's camera work.

When Gary saw the Paragliders jumping from the top of the mountain and jokingly suggested we had a go, he was completely surprised when Vicki agreed! It was amazing and something that both of us have named within our top moments in New Zealand.

Look for Gary in the top right of this picture

We also have some video footage which we'll share with you when we're back.

Posted by GPonder76 15:59 Archived in New Zealand Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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