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Quake City & The Springs

RTW - New Zealand, South Island

all seasons in one day 13 °C
View Round The World Trip on kmmk17's travel map.


The two weeks I had planned in New Zealand were almost exactly as that of Australia - arriving in the coldest part, staying for about 10 days with relatives, followed by a few days in a warmer part.

Having left Sydney for New Zealand, I was met at the airport by my Aunty and her family, spending a week and a half taking a break from hectic sightseeing again and giving me time to catch up on sleep (and washing), which was just as well, as the weather in Christchurch was very much as it was in Mount Gambier - being generally cold but mostly fine.

Beginning by taking a rest day, on the second full day I went into Christchurch to explore what remains following the earthquake damage two years previously. Although it meant that much of the centre had been destroyed, being a Geography student, the aftermath was still very interesting.

Re:START Mall

Re:START Mall

I took a visit to the recently opened Quake City exhibition, with many relics from the quake. There were also fascinating videos of CCTV footage, and interviews with locals.

Christchurch Cathedral

Christchurch Cathedral

Luckily a few weeks previously, the city centre had finally been reopened, and I was therefore able to get up close to the damaged cathedral. Witnessing the half damaged shell of the historic building, I then walked towards the temporary Cardboard Cathedral, before going back towards the city centre and the portacabins that were being used as shops.

Cardboard Cathedral

Cardboard Cathedral

One of the most enjoyable parts of my trip was the visit up to Hanmer Springs, which the eight of us in this extended family took for three days.

Despite the miserable weather on the first day - being around 7 days and foggy with light rain, we spent the day in the Spa, where there were a variety of thermal pools reaching up as high as 42˚C.

Family photo in the Thermal Pools

Family photo in the Thermal Pools

Amazingly, on the second day of the trip the weather had completely cleared up and we were treated to spectacular views of the surrounding mountains in the blazing sun, which we later climbed as a group.

NZ Mountains

NZ Mountains

Being able to spend the trip with a youthful group also meant there were a lot of laughs that would simply not have happened had I gone alone.

These included beating the cousins at Uno whilst laughing at some of the misfortunate confusions in conversation that come with the New Zealand accents ("Yes, I had someone sitting on my deck" for instance); and going on "Pussy Patrol" looking for cats after finding free WiFi outside the village library.

After much relaxation, I then spent the last days with my cousins, who by now were on school holidays, and visited the beach at Sumner, marking my furthest journey south yet, before enjoying a last family meal, where I discovered I could in fact enjoy Pizza!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged hills city family relax rtw Comments (0)

"...people think I'm crazy!"

RTW - Sydney

sunny 20 °C
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Having flown in from Melbourne, I spent just a couple of days in Sydney before my onward flight, but it was enough to see what I wanted.

ANZAC War Memorial in Hyde Park

ANZAC War Memorial in Hyde Park

Arriving in the afternoon, I visited the Australia Museum where there was a good section on Aborigines as well as Hyde Park and the ANZAC Memorial.

Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour

On my full day I visited the rest of the city, including the Queen Victoria Building and the Botanical Gardens, before making it over to the landmark of the city...Sydney Harbour with the Bridge and Opera House in sight.

Darling Harbour & CBD

Darling Harbour & CBD

After viewing them from both afar and from up close, I walked around The Rocks before visiting Darling Harbour, where a Japanese girl dancing with Hula Hoops told the crowd she had come all the way here just to do so, and that people think she's crazy - I can't imagine why!! Sydney was much warmer than Melbourne, at about 21 degrees, and was a very interesting city, but once again I found that two days was plenty for me, and the following morning I took a plane to visit more relatives over in New Zealand!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Australia Tagged city rtw Comments (0)

"The Nine Apostles"

RTW - Southern Australia

overcast 12 °C
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Having flown in from Hong Kong overnight I arrived on a fresh Monday morning in Melbourne to meet up with my Australian relatives who I hadn't seen for over 10 years!

As they lived in Mount Gambier, we then left Melbourne (which I would return to explore 10 days later) and drove towards South Australia.

This meant that we could see some of the sights of Victoria too, including the Great Ocean Road, with some Geographical Landscapes that are reminiscent of the Jurrasic Coast in Dorset. The highlight of this area being the Twelve Apostles - eight stacks standing just off the coast caused by erosion.

Twelve Apostles

Twelve Apostles

After taking lunch in Port Campbell, and heading off to Warrnambool for the night my exhaustion finally caught up with me and I ended up being too tired to eat!

After staying overnight in Warrnambool, we finally arrived back in Mount Gambier the following afternoon. On the following day I took my first rest day of the trip, having a long lie in followed by catching up with all the bits and bobs I was unable to do before, such as registering for graduation.

Family Day Out

Family Day Out

After this rest, the following day I went off the visit more relatives who I hadn't seen for 13 years, and was given a tour around the town centre. After another day of resting we had reached the weekend, and we had a day out to the seaside, before a family meal and a barbeque inside the volcano, where I got to meet almost all my Australian relations.

Blue Lake

Blue Lake

The following week was very similar. I went and joined my aunty at work in the morning, before going out with my cousins to some caves just over the border back in Victoria, as well as saying my goodbyes to my family before leaving back for Melbourne.

Kangaroo

Kangaroo

Having said goodbye to most of my relatives, and accidentally killing a kangaroo en route, we headed off towards Sovereign Hill, an 1850s Gold Mine open air museum, giving me some insight into colonial culture.

Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill

Heading off nice and early, we eventually arrived in Melbourne on the following day. After dropping my stuff off at the hostel in the very centre of the city, we headed off to the markets where I bought some cheap souvenirs and spent the last few hours with my relatives.

Neighbours

Neighbours

I then headed off towards the eastern suburbs of the city to find the street where Neighbours is filmed before heading back into the centre.

Flinders Street

Flinders Street

Taking the free city tour bus I saw all the sights in the city, including Flinders Street Station and the South Bank, as well as using the free tram around the centre.

Melbourne CBD

Melbourne CBD

Whilst the weather itself was not actually that cold, having acclimatised to 30 degrees for two weeks it did come as a bit of a shock, but the area was very nice and I managed to see wild Kangaroos as well as a Koala and emus. It was bizarre to think I was now the furthest I had ever been from home, and yet in many ways it was the most similar! Though the internal quarantine, varying time zones and different dialects did show some differences!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Australia Tagged animals coast city rural family rtw Comments (0)

The Peak of Hong Kong

RTW - Hong Kong


After checking in my luggage for the flight at the central station, and being able to nab a window seat for the plane that night, I went off to visit the last sights in Hong Kong.

Starting off by using the escalators that climb up the hillside, with my hand baggage in tow, I made my way towards to the funicular station that would take me up to The Peak, from where there are exceptional views of Victoria Harbour.

Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak

After spending some time taking in the view, I then headed back down towards the Park and finally the Convention Centre, where there is a monument to the handover.

The Golden Bauhinia

The Golden Bauhinia

After a lovely final day, and finishing earlier than expected, I then headed back to the airport and awaited my journey to the Southern Hemisphere and Australia!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged city hill rtw Comments (0)

Made In China

RTW - Shenzhen

sunny 27 °C
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After debating for some time, on my final full day in the area I crossed into mainland China, visiting the city of Shenzhen.

Taking the metro up to the border, and crossing the pedestrian bridge through the no-man's-land, I went around the corner, where after filling in some forms and handing over about £50 I was given a 5 day visa to the Special Economic Region - far easier than applying for a normal Chinese visa.

Being checked at passport control where they used Dell computers that were indeed "Made in China" I was allowed into the world's most populous country and I was met by another friend of mine, Alex who took me round the city.

Diwang Building

Diwang Building

The city, twice as populous as its more famous neighbour, felt in many ways just like Hong Kong, and was far less communist than I had imagined. One of the most surprising things I learnt was that this was just the first of a whole conurbation of cities that stretched all the way to Guangzhou, 70 miles north and contains around 100 million people! We took a trip around the city, including visiting the Diwang Building, the 17th tallest in the world, where the observation tower is dedicated to the handover - with a wax model of Margaret Thatcher meeting the Chinese Premier to agree the exchange.

Thatcher

Thatcher

After visiting Alex's flat in a typical-for-China skyscraper, I then crossed back into Hong Kong for my final day.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in China Tagged tower city border rtw Comments (0)

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