Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour:Hong Kong Summary - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Hong Kong Summary: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (in no particular order)


- Stanley Market
- Hong Kong Maritime Museum
- cheap taxi & ferry fares
- trams
- Shek O Headland
- Yung Shue Wan
- Hong Kong Museum of History
- restaurant meals
- no vehicles on Lamma Island

- gridlock; crowded sidewalks
- aggressive salesmen on Nathan Road

- poor air quality due to smog & humidity
- no view from the peak (see above)

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 42 Central, Hong Kong

Taxi to Hong Kong Station to check in luggage & get boarding cards for flight home. We take the ferry to Kowloon and walk to the Hong Kong Museum of History where school groups of various ages are arriving for their tours. We luck out as admission to the "Story of Hong Kong" exhibit is free today.

"Occupying an area of 7,000 m2, The Hong Kong Story comprises 8 galleries located on two floors. Through the display of over 4,000 exhibits with the use of 750 graphic panels, a number of dioramas and multi-media programmes, and enhanced with special audio-visual and lighting effects, The Hong Kong Story outlines the natural environment, folk culture and historical development of Hong Kong vividly."

It is definitely a world-class museum and my only regret is that we were not able to visit earlier in the tour.

In the snack bar we enjoy a delicious, reasonably priced lunch of angel-hair noodles topped with a creamy sauce and three types of mushrooms.

We take the train from Kowloon Station to the airport and have a fairly comfortable flight home, stopping at Anchorage for refuelling.

Chaplin Clive kindly is waiting at Pearson Airport to pick us up and has thoughtfully brought a few provisions to welcome us back home.

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 40 Lamma Island, Hong Kong

Enjoyed a leisurely coffee and croissant while watching the early morning commuters hustle to catch the ferry to Central. I was fascinated by the variety of small crabs scuttling and battling each other on the beach.

Pleasantly, there are no cars on Lamma Island, only small open-cabbed trucks referred to as "village vehicles".

"Yung Shue Wan (Banyan Bay) is the most populated area on Lamma Island. Several decades ago, it was the center of the plastics industry. The factories have now been replaced by seafood restaurants, pubs, grocery stores and shops which sell oriental and Indian-style handicrafts, environmentally friendly products, clothing, homewear and art. The area has become popular among young people and expatriates owing to the low rent and peaceful setting." Source:

Chow Yun-Fat, a well-known actor [who portrays Captain Sao Feng in "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End"], grew up on the island in the village of Tung O in Yung Shue Wan. His family still operates a seafood/pigeon restaurant called "Shau Kee" in the main village. I took a photo of his plaque on the "Avenue of the Stars" in Kowloon earlier in our trip.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 39 Lamma Island, Hong Kong

Breakfast at McDonald's before meeting brother-in-law Julian at the terminal ferry. Took the bus to Stanley where we visited the Hong Kong Maritime Museum.

I do some souvenir shopping in Stanley Market then we take a taxi to Shek O. After lunch, deep-fried bean curd, cashews & vegetables, I walk along the scenic headland.
"Stanley is a town and a tourist attraction in Hong Kong, China. It is a peninsula on the southeastern part of Hong Kong Island. It is east of Repulse Bay and west of Shek O, adjacent to Chung Hom Kok. Administratively, it is part of the Southern District.
The proper Chek Chue refers to the village town but Stanley generally refers to all the surrounding areas of the peninsula after the beginning of British rule and native Cantonese name Chek Chue became synonym to Stanley." Source:
Bus, MTR (subway train) and ferry to Yung Shue Wan on Lamma Island where check in at the
Waterfront bar & restaurant, where we are staying for two nights, before having dinner there.

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 38 Central, Hong Kong

Returned campervan to Wicked depot in Cairns, then taxi to airport and long wait before check in for flight to Hong Kong. Service during six and a half hour flight was so-so.

Airport train from Hong Kong International Airport on Lantau Island into Central on Hong Kong Island. Taxi to Central Park Hotel where we stayed on the twenty-first floor overlooking the city.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Aussie Vocabulary

1. rort (verb) : to cheat or defraud
2. bench (noun): a countertop as in a kitchen
3. manchester (noun): all encompassing name for linen e g: towels, sheets
4. flat white (noun): espresso coffee with hot milk
5. gone troppo (adjective): dropped out of the rat race and/or acting strangely in the tropics
6. how're you going?: most common Aussie greeting (you rarely hear G'day)
7. no worries: multi-purpose expression, often means "you're welcome"
8. thongs (noun): flip-flops not g-strings
9. singlet (noun): camisole or tanktop
10. fine (adjective): clear as in weather
11. servo (noun): service/gas station
12. bushranger (noun): outlaw or highwayman
13. ocker (noun): unsophisticated person (equivalent to red-neck)
14. no dramas: expression meaning "not a problem"

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Australia Summary - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Australia Summary: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (in no particular order)

- Sydney Harbour Bridge
- Puffing Billy Steam Railway
- trams in Melbourne
- meeting family members in Hervey Bay
- Tropical crops - sugarcane, coffee, mangoes, bananas etc
- Wallabies at Charters Towers
- Brisbane Botanical Gardens
- Feeding the possums
- Birdworld in Kuranda
- Dinner at Sinan's Cafe Melbourne
- Flying Foxes
- Cane trains
- Campsites particularly: Lakes at Townsville & Kuranda Rainforest Accommodation
- Great Ocean Road & the 12 apostles
- Utes and Old Holden cars
- The Outback
- Cafe East in Brisbane
- Coffee & Banana bread with Frank and Blossom

- Kuranda railway not operating due to mud/rock slide
- Restauranteurs who try to rip off tourists in Sydney
- Lack of filter/drip coffee
- Government sponsored tourist attractions
- Train/bus combo ticket that didn't take us where we wanted to go

- Graffiti & tagging epidemic in Melbourne. In contrast, Sydney has waged war on spray painters.

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 37 Cairns, Queensland, Au

Short drive north to see neighbouring town of Mossman then south to Cairns.
Visited library for internet and had lunch in cafe nearby. Checked into campground that was by far the busiest we've encountered on tour. Many European, Canadian and American twenty-something year olds.
Pizza dinner at Bel Paese in town and then to IGA for a few provisions. Getting ready to hand in Wicked campervan and fly to Hong Kong tomorrow.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 36 Port Douglas, Queensland, Au

Up early and out to breakfast at the Cafe Kuranda - locally grown tropical fruitsalad with yogurt and muesli (granola).
To Birdworld - a place I was reticent to leave."In the heart of Kuranda, 30 minutes from Cairns, Birdworld Kuranda is one of the largest free-flight aviaries in Australia. More than 500 birds from around the globe fly freely amongst the rainforest trees above. Amongst the flutter of wings and the birdsong is 56 different species of native Australian birds living in the safe enclosure, including brightly coloured parrots, playful lorikeets and the large elusive cassowary."
For $2AU I purchased a small package of foods (sunflower seeds, almonds & peanuts all in the shell, dried corn on the cob, celery and an arrowroot biscuit) to feed the birds. It was amazing to have parrots eating out of your had. The real highlight was seeing and feeding the cassawories. An Indian ring-necked parrot alit on my shoulder so that it could better choose a morsel of food from what I was offering. It was an experience I'll never forget.
Drove north on the Captain Cook Highway to Port Douglas where we stopped for lunch at Java Blue Cafe. Booked into a self-catering cabin at Pandanus Caravan Park for a quiet night.
"Any of several species of ratite (family Casuariidae) of the Australo-Papuan region. Related to the emu, it has been known to kill humans with slashing blows of its feet, which have long, daggerlike claws on the innermost toe. It has a featherless blue head protected by a bony crest and has a black body (immature birds are brownish). It moves rapidly along narrow tracks in the bush. Cassowaries eat fruit and small animals. The largest species is the common, or southern, cassowary (Casuarius casuarius), which stands almost 5 ft (1.5 m) tall." Source:

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 35 Kuranda, Queensland, Au

Scenic drive through Millaa Milaa ( the town that went troppo) and onto the waterfall circuit which takes in the Millaa Millaa, Zillie and Elingaa falls. We spot many interesting bird species including lapwings, brush turkeys and laughing kookaburras as well as morpho and other butterflies.
Tasty lunch of curried pumpkin soup with cheese & shallot panini at the Malanda Dairy Centre where the service and food are excellent.
Met Jeanine again for tea before heading north through coffee plantation country to Kuranda where we camp at the Rainforest Accomodation Park.
"Malanda is a small town on the Atherton Tableland in Far North Queensland, Australia. It is Located 85 km from Cairns and 732 m above-sea level. Malanda was first developed in the 1880s when the discovery of tin at Herberton saw a steady stream of miners moving over the mountains from the coast. It is the administrative centre for Eacham Shire Council." Source:

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 34 Malanda, Queensland, Au

To the Malanda Falls Visitors Centre where the volunteers couldn't have been more helpful or friendlier. Watched a dvd about Australian Birds and learned a lot from the Centre's displays.

Malanda is on: "The Atherton Tablelands/Cairns Highlands is a blend of the best attractions of the wet tropics and the dry outback charm; a combination of nature and lifestyle at its finest. Among the World Heritage listed rainforests, national parks, mountains, rivers, lakes and waterfalls are some of Australia's richest agricultural lands, cattle country and charming small townships.
Biologists have described the spectacular rainforests of the Wet Tropics as the "greatest celebration of life on earth". The farm and grazing lands are "the food bowl" of far North Queensland - yielding a constant supply of fruit, vegetables and grains to local and export markets."
It is said that the Atherton Table Lands are the only place on earth where tea, coffee, milk and sugar are all produced.
Had lunch at the historic Malanda Hotel and decided to stay at the Motel there. The Malanda Hotel, built in 1911 claims to be the largest wooden structure in the Southern Hemisphere with its grand ballroom and staircase.
Met another Willmett genealogy collaborator, Jeanine, for tea and great conversation .

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 33 Atherton, Queensland, Au

After an excellent scrambled egg breakfast at a gas station restaurant, we hit the highway for Atherton.

Stopped at Ravenshoe and chatted with Grahame West at the Ravenshoe Railway where they are busily preparing for the launch of their tourist season at Easter time. "In 1990, a group of steam railway enthusiasts formed RailCo to begin operating a 1925 D17 Ipswich-made Tank Engine they’d restored on the 100 year old Ravenshoe to Tumoulin line." It was named “Capella” after the town near Brisbane where it had stood idle for 25 years. Capella’s carriages, mostly made from cedar, are from the 1930’s “Sunshine Express” which ran on the main line from Brisbane to Cairns."

Booked into the Hinterland Motel in Atherton, which is under new management. The service was wonderful and the rooms have been updated with new tvs etc. Drove down to Platypus Park to view local wild life. There were many ducks, turtles and yes a platypus or two in the pond.
Picked up a pizz and some cold drinks and chilled in our motel room watching hit Aussie gameshow "The Rich List"on tv.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 32 Georgetown, Queensland, Au

I count the road trains that we encounter on the highway from Charters Towers to Georgetown ( 22). From Wikipedia: "A road train consists of a relatively conventional prime mover, but instead of pulling a single semi-trailer the road train pulls more than one of them.
Australia has the largest and heaviest road-legal vehicles in the world, with some configurations topping out at close to 200 metric tons. The majority though are between 80 and 120 tonnes. Two-trailer road trains, or "doubles" are allowed in all Australian states except Victoria and Tasmania, and into two capital cities - Adelaide in South Australia, and Perth in Western Australia. Three trailer road trains (triples) operate in western New South Wales, western Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, with the last three states also allowing AB-Quads (3.5 trailers). Darwin, NT, is the only capital city in the world that will allow triples and quads to within 1km of the CBD."
We encounter groups of emu, a dingo picking up carrion from the road, and a "free underbody wash"at Mt. Surprise that is designed to prevent the spread of weed seeds.
Camping at Goldfield's Caravan Park is quiet and it lives up to its billing of "abundant bird life".

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 31 Charters Towers, Queensland, Au

Not given any choice, we go to McDonald's for breakfast and are pleasantly surprised. For about $10 AU we get breakfast for two, free coffee refills and free Saturday papers to read.
We visit the Museum of Tropical Queensland which features the story of the Pandora: The British Admiralty sent HMS Pandora in pursuit of the Bounty and her mutinous crew. On her return voyage, having captured 14 of the mutineers in Tahiti, the Pandora struck the Great Barrier Reef . Although the crew tried desperately to save the ship, she sank in the early hours of 29th August 1791.""
In Charters Towers we meet the friendliest and most helpful couple at the tourist info place. We opt for a cabin at the Mexican Tourist Village. We head up to the scenic lookout on Charters Towers Hill at sunset and are not disappointed. Countless rock wallabies pop in and out and seem undisturbed by human visitors.

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 30 Townsville, Queensland, Au

Townsville lives up to its reputation as being hot and humid as we go walkabout to find both Willmett Street and the Willmett's Building (more about the Willmett family printing business here ) that carry the name of hubby's relatives. Visited the beautifully tropical ANZAC Gardens and Belgian Gardens Cemetery on family history trail.

After a tasty lunch at Bistro One, we pop into the Townsville Maritime Museum to meet John Weir - a relative and expert on the Willmetts of Townsville. We visit the West End Cemtery and book into the Lakes Holiday Park which has ensuite toilet & shower.

We enjoy a lovely dinner with John & Nell at the West End Hotel.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 29 Townsville, Queensland, Au

Gruelling 732 km drive from Rockhampton to Townsville in the humid heat of tropical Queensland. Fascinating to see fields of sugarcane and banana, pineapple & mango planations en route.
Enjoyed listening to Capricornia Radio 837 AM including an interview with Ken Lee, who with father Bing Lee established a chain of electronics stores in Sydney.
Watched a very informative film about local sugar production at the Historical Museum of Proserpine. Proserpine: Proserpine is a town situated on the Bruce Highway in the state of Queensland, Australia. The town's economy revolves mostly around sugar and tourism. Proserpine is the administrative centre of the Whitsunday Shire Council local government area that also incorporates the Whitsunday Islands and Airlie Beach.
Early settlers established the town in the 1880s and named it after the ancient Greek goddess Persephone (Latin: Proserpina). Source: wikipedia
Photographed the Big Mango at Bowen.
Camped at Magnetic Island Holiday Village in Townsville.

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 28 Rockhampton, Queensland, Au

Awoke to the sound of sulphur-crested cockatoos chatting in the garden. The variety of interesting birds here is staggering. To hubby's cousin Kathy's for coffee and cheesecake after breakfast at Jenny's. (Amazing how we have 3 sets of relatives in this small community in Australia.)
Visited the public library where Brett A. Jones has mounted an interesting art exhibition. See his website for more. We have lunch at a cafe on the beach and stop to take photos of a stand of trees covered with flying foxes.
We head north and stay at Rocky Gardens Motor Inn at Rockhampton where the food is surprisingly very good in the Ferns Restaurant.

Rockhampton, Queensland: "Rockhampton was founded in 1855, soon after the pioneering Archer Brothers settled at Gracemere, 6.5 kms to the west. It was named by Queensland's first Land Commissioner, Mr W. Wiseman, who was inspired by the rocks in the river.A mini gold rush at Canoona - 48kms to the north - accelerated the establishment of the city. Gold discoveries at nearby Bouldercombe, Mount Wheeler and Mount Morgan ensured continued economic growth of the region. Grazing, mining, farming and meat processing quickly developed as the primary industries of the resource-rich area, and Rockhampton thrived as the service centre.'

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 27 Hervey Bay, Queensland, Au

When we picked up our Wicked Camper, there was a film crew doing a piece for TV. Hubby gave them an interview, I tried to stay out of the way.
Was fun and interesting to meet my distant relative Alan & his wife at McCafe (a division of McDonalds) for coffee in Hervey Bay (approx 320km north of Brisbane).
Next to the lovely hilltop home of Tom & Jenny, distant relatives and genealogy collaborators of hubby's. It was wonderful to meet them and we greatly appreciated their hospitality.

Hervey Bay, Queensland: Hervey Bay is a rapidly growing resort city in south eastern Queensland, Australia. The 'Bay' benefits from a fantastic sub-tropical climate with no real extremes (average 30 degrees in Summer and 23 degrees in Winter) and has been voted in the top three of 'best climates' in the World. Subsequently this has certainly added to the growth appeal of the city. City population is approximately 52,000 (2006 estimates), with the city covering an area of 2,356 square kilometres, under the administrative control of the Hervey Bay City Council.
The bay was originally named "Hervey's Bay" by Captain Cook (in the Admiralty copy of his journal) when he passed there on 21 May 1770, after naval officer The Hon. Augustus Hervey. Source:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 26 Brisbane, Queensland, Au

Flew on Virgin Blue to Brisbane - one and a half hours. Unseasonably hot at 34C. Enjoyed walk through Brisbane Botanical Gardens where we found some very interesting birds. Watched a large, colourful lizard and a possum diving in the garbage can to find an apple to feast on.

Dinner al fresco at Cafe East, Queen Street Mall including a fabulous lemon meringue dessert.

Brisbane: City (pop., 2004 est.: urban agglom. 1,774,890), southeastern Queensland, Australia. Lying on the northern bank of the Brisbane River above its mouth at Moreton Bay, the site was first explored by the English in 1823. It was founded as a penal colony in 1824 and was declared a town in 1834 when it was named in honour of Sir Thomas Brisbane, former governor of New South Wales. Made the capital of Queensland in 1859, it was joined with South Brisbane in the 1920s to form Greater Brisbane. The city, connected by bridges and ferries, is Australia's third largest; it is the hub of rail lines and highways and a busy port. It is the site of the Queensland Cultural Centre and a university. Source:

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 25 Sydney, New South Wales, Au

Day trip out to the Great Zigzag Railway: built between 1866 and 1869, and acclaimed a major engineering feat of its time. It was constructed to enable produce to be taken to Sydney from the prosperous farming areas beyond the Blue Mountains and to develop the coal and iron ore deposits found in the Lithgow Valley.
The prodigious feat of bringing the railway from the top of the mountains to the valley below was accomplished by John Whitton, Chief Engineer of the NSW Government Railways. At the time The Great Zig Zag was regarded as one of the engineering wonders of the Victorian age.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 24 Sydney, New South Wales, Au

To the Museum of Sydney for an excellent exhibit about the building, inpact and influence of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. "Bridging Sydney brings together dramatic photographs and paintings with rare and previously unseen alternative bridge and tunnel proposals, plans and sketches in a celebration of the city’s much-loved icon."

Next to the Australian National Maritime Museum where admission to the galleries is free. Interesting exhibit about clipper ships - Greyhounds of the Sea: "During the 1840s and 1850s American shipbuilders developed a new breed of sailing ships that won the admiration and envy of the world. Hundreds of Yankee clippers, long and lean, with a beautiful shape, and acres of canvas sails roamed the globe carrying passengers and freight. Clipper Ships - greyhounds of the sea brings to life, though ship models, paintings and recreated accommodations the experiences of passengers and crew of these great ships ."

Met Deb Smith in the notorious King's Cross area for coffee, dessert and great conversation. I was not impressed at being charged $7 AU for a bottle of still water when I had asked for tap water - that tourist thing again?

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 23 Sydney, New South Wales, Au

Bus downtown to marvel at the Sydney Harbour Bridge which celebrates its 75th anniversary this month. From Wikipedia: The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the main crossing of Sydney Harbour carrying vehicular, rail, and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district (CBD) and the North Shore. The dramatic water vista of the bridge together with the nearby Sydney Opera House is an iconic image of both Sydney and Australia. The bridge is colloquially referred to as the Coathanger because of its arch-based design, although this usage is less prevalent than it once was. The bridge was the city's tallest structure until 1967. According to Guinness World Records, it is the widest long-span bridge in the world and is the largest steel arch bridge with the top of the bridge standing 134 metres above the harbour.

Next to the equally impressive Sydney Opera House, a short walk away.

The Sydney Opera house:
- Was designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon
- Was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 20 October 1973
- First performance : The Australian Opera's production of War and Peace by Prokofiev
- Cost $AU 102,000,000 to build
- Conducts 3000 events each year
- Includes 1000 rooms
- Has 2194 pre-cast concrete sections as its roof
Excellent pizza at Zia Pina at the Rocks. Strangely they tried to over-charge us by $8 and when they'd put that right to give us $5 less change than we were due. We wondered if tourists were viewed as easy targets or if they were honest mistakes.
Next to Wharf 7 - The Maritime Heritage Centre Library were hubby does some research.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 22 Sydney, New South Wales, Au

Taxi to Melbourne airport and one hour flight Sydney, Au via Virgin Blue.
Train and trek on foot to the Best Western Hotel Unilodge Sydney. Unbeknownst to us, it is a university student residence. On the one hand, it has great internet access and the room is kitted out with fridge, microwave, dishes etc. On the other it's designed with open courtyards so that the voices of partying 20 year olds echoes through the building - unitl 11 pm when the security guards come around. Groups of young men drinking bottles of beer in the elevators did not give me a sense of safety and security. The joys of travelling!
Walked to the nearest monorail stop: "The Monorail is one of only a few elevated transport systems in the world that operates through the heart of a major city. Opened in July 1988 as a Bicentennial gift to Sydney, it is now one of the most popular ways of getting about, moving over 4 million passengers per year.
The Monorail also delivers hundreds of Sydney’s commuters daily from Pyrmont and Ultimo to the centre of the City."
Enjoyed the ride to Darling Harbour, pictured here. Walked along the waterfront then hopped back on the monorail to Chinatown then walked back to hotel from there.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 21 Melbourne, Victoria, Au

To Belgrave for a half-day trip on the Puffing Billy steam train: "The railway was originally one of four experimental narrow gauge lines of the Victorian Railways opened around the beginning of the 20th century. It runs through the southern foothills of the Dandenong Ranges to Gembrook. Being close to the city of Melbourne and with a post-preservation history spanning over 50 years, the line is one of the best known preserved railways in the world, and attracts tourists from all over Australia and overseas". Source: . We bring a picnic lunch and enjoy watching the birds, including a very friendly pukeko at Lakeside. A flock of gallahs have a loud conversation in a nearby tree. All in all - a grand day out.
After a quick freshen up we're off to John & De's for a lovely dinner. De explains that dozens of flying foxes swoop over their house daily at dusk to gorge on Moreton Bay Figs in a nearby park. As we leave to go back to our hotel, De gives us a very ripe pear to feed the possums in the same park. I was thrilled to see the large fruit bats in the trees and to feed the possums by hand.

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 20 Melbourne, Victoria, Au

Met De Ayers at the Paragon for breakfast - fruitsalad, yogurt and muesli for me, hubby had the biggest cooked breakfast in captivity.
Took the tram downtown and walked through the Treasury and Fitzroy Gardens. Used a 10% off coupon on admission to Captain Cook's Cottage. "Cooks' Cottage is the only 18th Century building in Melbourne. It was originally built in 1755 in Yorkshire, England, but was later purchased and transported to Australia in 1933. Often referred to as Captain Cook’s Cottage, it was actually built and owned by his parents, James and Grace.
This two-storey cottage built from sandstone and brick was entirely reconstructed in Melbourne and has been carefully preserved ever since. The kitchen reveals an old ingle fireplace and dining table with plates and cutlery while a wooden staircase leads to the main bedroom."
There is some controversy around whether or not Capain Cook ever lived in this house.
Rode the free City Circle Tram. Met Joanne Anderson (sub-editor for The Age) for lunch at Egusto in Southgate and learned a lot about the city and what's going on in Australia from her.
Next to the notorious Old Melbourne Gaol: "Melbourne Gaol is Victoria's oldest surviving penal establishment. It currently exhibits 19th century gaol life, including the death masks and memorabilia of some of Melbourne's most notorious criminals, including the death mask of Ned Kelly. A skull said to be Ned Kelly's was also on display for many years. Thieves stole the skull in 1978. It has never been recovered. Whether the skull actually was Kelly's in the first place is also in question." Source: Wikipedia

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 19 Melbourne,Victoria, Au

With the help of friendly Aussies, figured out how to use the extensive tram system and found our way to the very impressive Southern Cross Railway Station. Took Vlink train to Geelong ( pronounced jil-long) and were met by Col Hibberd, aka the Colonel.

Amazing day's drive through Torquay, Bells Beach and along the Great Ocean Road to the 12 Apostles. Stunning scenery and interesting conversations along the way. "The Twelve Apostles are a collection of natural limestone stacks standing just off shore in the Port Campbell National Park, on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. Their proximity to one another has made the site a popular tourist attraction. Originally the site was called the Sow and Piglets. The name was changed in the 1950s to the more majestic "The Twelve Apostles" to lure more visitors even though there was only nine left." Source:

Excellent dinner at Sinan's Cafe Restaurant (649 Rathdowne Street Carlton, VIC) after free use of internet at local library 2 blocks from our accomodation. We got used to paying anything from $1 - $2 NZ for 15 minutes internet use.

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: New Zealand Summary - The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

(In no particular order)
The Good:
- Taieri Gorge Train, Dunedin
- Shopping in Alexandra
- Mt. Cook
- Pukekos
- Elliots Comfort Inn, Paraparaumu
- Ngaio Marsh House Tour
- Christchurch Tram
- Ahuriri Campground, Omarama
- Britomart, Auckland
- Southward's Auto Museum, Paraparaumu

The Bad:
- restaurant service is generally poor
- Queenstown tourist hell

The Ugly:
- $25 per person departure tax that they spring on you at airport check-in when you leave NZ
- no signs for the airport in Christchurch
- steepest street in the country at Dunedin

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 18 Christchurch, NZ

To communion service at Christchurch Cathedral then a quick breakfast before hopping on the Christchurch Tramway to the Canterbury Museum. "The inner city of Christchurch is a special place with many different things to see and do for locals and visitors alike. The best way to experience the magic of the central city, is from onboard our beautifully restored trams.
The 2.5 kilometre track takes about 25-minutes to complete and allows you to take in many of the ‘must see’ attractions. These include Cathedral Square, Aquarium of Discovery, The Arts Centre, The Art Gallery, Botanical Gardens, Canterbury Museum, Punting on the Avon, New Regent Street and Cathedral Junction to name just a few."

Enjoyed a walk and cup of tea in the Botanical Gardens.

Flew from Christchurch to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and checked in to self-catering unit.

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 17 Christchurch, NZ

Drove campervan back to Christchurch via Little River and Lyttelton. Checked into our hotel before returning campervan.

After freshening up we set out to explore Cathedral Square and have dinner at The Holy Grail:

"Welcome to the Holy Grail Sports Bar's website. New Zealand’s biggest sports bar, the Holy Grail provides an entertainment experience second to none. Opened in 2000 in the converted art-deco Avon Picture Theatre building, the Holy Grail has proven to be a Mecca for sports fans, punters, and partygoers. The multi-level 17,000 square foot complex, all focussed on a giant 10-metre projector screen, caters for 1000 patrons throughout its four bars, award-winning restaurant, 70-seater indoor grandstand, and private function areas. "

The service was fast & friendly - so good in fact that I asked to speak to the manager to tell him how impressed we were.

Spent a fun & interesting evening with Rod White and family - a distant relative on hubby's mother's side.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 16 Akaroa, NZ

Toured the Geraldine Vintage Car & Machinery museum: "The Geraldine Vintage Car & Machinery Museum has on display over 30 Vintage cars and more than 100 tractors, and a 1928 Spartan Bi-plane. Also Stationary engines, ploughs, headers, chaff cutter, balers, motor bikes, and loads of vintage farm machinery, including the oldest working tractor in New Zealand, a Saunderson & Mills. Smaller exhibits feature household items, separators, chainsaws and many more interesting and diverse equipment."

Next to Cashmere, a Christchurch suburb, where we have made arrangements to tour the home of one of my favourite mystery novel writers - Dame Ngaio Marsh. "Her home, which has been enlarged over the years, was built when Ngaio was just ten, and was designed by leading Christchurch architect Samuel Hurst Seager. Visitors to this unique property can gain an understanding of her life and work as well as a captivating insight into her private world."
On to Akaroa where we camp for the night: Set on a beautiful, sheltered harbour and overlooked by craggy volcanic hills, Akaroa is a popular resort town. In summer the temporary population can reach 7000 which places stress on the water supply which is entirely dependent upon rainfall on the hills.

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 15 Geraldine, NZ

Proving how green we are as rv drivers, we thought we had a water pump problem but had simply run out of water in the tank. Thanks to the friendly/helpful folk at Ahuriri Campground in Omarama, we quickly emptied the waste water & filled up with clean water - problem solved.
Stopped at Poppies in Twizel for morning coffee. Amazing scenery at Lake Pukaki, Lake Tekapo and fabulous views of Mt. Cook.
Next to Mt Peel station and the Church of the Holy Innocents where I do some rearch in the chuch and cemetery on the Acland family. ( Mad Jack Fuller's sister Elizabeth married Sir John Palmer Acland).
Stopped at Geraldine for the night. Opted to go out for dinner when we discover, once again, that restaurant service in New Zealand is not up to the standard we are accustomed to.

The Honkers-Kiwi-Aussie Tour: Day 14 Omarama , NZ

Parked in the centre of Alexandra, NZ to do some shopping. To the bank, post office, pharmacy and then Cobblers Cafe & Bar for coffee. Couldn't resist buying a couple of pastries to take with us for our lunch - the citrus slice & scroggin were lovely. Spotted a women's clothing store across the street and thought I'd take a look. They were advertising an "end of summer 50 - 70% off" sale. Bought two tops and a skirt for under $50 NZ (multiply by 0.83 for $CN)

Drove to historic town Clyde, which was closed, it being Wednesday. On to Cromwell where we walk through the historic downtown.

"When the Clyde Dam was completed in 1992, the valley behind it was flooded to create Lake Dunstan. As a result, the original site of Cromwell's historic business district at the junction of the Kawarau and Clutha Rivers now lies at the bottom of the lake. Before the lake was created, many of the town centre's historic buildings were painstakingly removed to higher ground by dedicated volunteers. Others that could not be moved were faithfully reconstructed. Stone-by-stone and plank-by-plank, local craftsmen made sure that Old Cromwell would live on".
Decide against going through the hyper-touristy Queenstown. Next to Arrowtown which can best be described as Niagara-on-the-lake New Zealand style.
Camped at Omarama for the night.