This blog covers our trip around the world in 2006. We will post here with news of where we are and what we've been up to. Enjoy! Ang & Jane

Wednesday, November 1

Location: Melbourne
Miles Travelled: 28189
Time Zone: GMT + 11

Since we last updated in Alice Springs, we've travelled many many
miles and met loads of new people! The morning we left the Alice we
went to see the Joeys at the Joey Rescue centre next to our hostel.
Amazing little place... In the same way that hedgehogs, badgers and
foxes are always getting squished on Irish roads, kangaroos are always
getting killed on roads here in Australia. The only difference between
the animals in Ireland and the ones here is that a dead kangaroo
often has a live joey in her pouch! This particular rescue centre was
all about getting people aware of this fact and getting them to stop
and check for live joeys whenever they see recently killed kangaroos
on the roads, then bring them to rescue centres like this. When we visited, there were 5 joeys in the centre - 4 little red kangaroos in a basket, and one Euro kangaroo wandering around a little paddock on her own. As we were to learn, Euro
kangaroos are fighting creatures so little Emily had to play by
herself all the time, otherwise she'd attack the other 4. The
development of the joey is amazing, they're so tiny when they first
have to climb up into the pouch, I dunno how they do it!

That afternoon we boarded our bus trip to Adelaide, via King's Canyon,
Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Coober Pedy. In Erldunda, a couple of hundred
kilometres outside Alice Springs (ie. the real middle of nowhere!) we
stopped for petrol and beer supplies for the week, and naturally
enough we bumped into people we knew!! Two of the guys from our dive
course, Tom and Alex, were on their way to the Alice after touring
through the red centre. We carried on to a campsite near King's
Canyon, stopping along the way to pick up firewood for the night
(splinters galore!) and to photograph some of the many feral camels
along the roads. When we got to camp, we rolled out our swags, started
a campfire and prepared dinner. Then spent the night getting to know
each other by playing the igenious "Name Game" - "My name is Ang and I
like Apples" kindof thing. It definitely helped remember names, though
sometimes it was easier remember the food!
On our bus we had Sandy who likes Sausages, Julie who likes Jelly Tots, Julie who likes Jelly Tots, Rei who likes Rice, Jana who likes Juice, Aoife who likes Avocado, Jordanna who likes Jocks, Chris who likes Cock, Laurent who likes Lettuce, Marijke who likes Melon, Cindy who likes Chocolate, Wonsoon who likes Watermelon, Julia who likes Jam, Michiyo who likes Money, Yuri who likes Yoghurt, Dennis who likes Diet Coke, Shohei who likes Spaghetti, Ang who likes Apples, Jane who likes Jelly Babies and Joanne who likes Jelly Beans.

We were up pretty early the next morning in order to have our 6.6km
hike finished before it got too hot - not something we'd be used to
from home! Absolutely beautiful scenery in King's Canyon... We stopped
for a swim at the Garden of Eden waterhole, but only Julie was brave
enough to get into the cold cold water. We had lunch and a dip in the campsite's pool before hitting the road for Yulara, Uluru's (Ayer's Rock) resort town. Along the way we had our first sighting of Uluru,
or so we thought - Mt Connor is another big red thing in the middle of nowhere but it definitely isn't The Rock! We got to Uluru on time to watch sunset and the changing colours. For some reason we just weren't destined to have good sunsets or sunrises for the duration of our trip - we were in the middle of a desert and yet it was the cloudiest week ever!!

The next day was our chance to either do a base walk of Uluru or to
climb to the top. As the climb is sacred to the Aboriginal people and
they ask tourists to respect their traditions by not climbing it, Jane
and I had made the decision to do the base walk instead. So we were
not disappointed when we arrived there and the climb had been closed
due to high winds! Later it was closed because the temperature was
predicted to be above 35 degrees for the day! The base walk is absolutely lovely and at 10km long, we got a great work-out. We
visited a cultural centre nearby too, and watched some film of aboriginal dances. We had another disappointing sunset that evening, but got some lovely group photos!

Up early next morning to go see sunrise colour Uluru and Kata Tjuta and then went for a hike around Kata Tjuta - we got the option of doing an extra few kilometres or heading back the way we'd come so I, being the risk taker, headed off on the extra bit - luckily several other people joined me in the end. Amazing views, absolutely the best bit of the day... Even better views than at Uluru, I think.
Afterwards we had lunch at our campsite before packing up and hitting
the high road to ... nowhere! As this was our last night before
staying in a town, our driver gave us the option of staying at a
campsite near a roadhouse or camping in the bush. We chose the bush.
Great fun, absolutely nothing in sight except the road we arrived on,
and our bus. And as per usual on this tour, we had a cloudy night and
couldn't even see the stars like we'd hoped!!! The other thing we were
missing were some toilets, so the girls' toilets were in the middle of
the road, hidden from the campers by the bus, and the boys got to
wander off into the middle of nowhere and try not to get bitten by any
weird creatures in the dark!

The following morning we headed to Cooper Pedy - a town that surely
owns the name "Weirdest Place on Earth"??! Crazy town... It's really
isolated (6 hours to the nearest decent sized town, Port Augusta), and
if I lived there I think I'd go stir-crazy myself! When we got there
we did a tour around the town and then watched a video about the
history of Opal mining in the town. We got to look around one of the
dugouts (proper houses, but totally carved out of the rock) and an old
mine and then checked into our hostel - where we slept under I dunno
how many feet of rock in a dugout of our own! If you've seen the film
"Pitch Black" or any of the "Mad Max" films then you might know the
next landscape we visited - "The Breakaways". It is exactly how you'd
expect the moon surface to look. That night we spent several hours in
"The Underground Bar" and then a few hardy souls (Jane, Julie, Joanne,
Chris, Julia and I) went to "The United Club" for a few more drinks
and a few games of pool. We were very kindly brought there by a local
guy called Simon, who also drove us home that night. The most bizarre
experience ever - he needed petrol on the way home, but as the car was
(slightly!) overloaded he was a bit worried about getting caught by
the cops so he made a phone call first. To his housemate - the local

We spent all of the following day getting to Adelaide, passing the
turnoff to the Clare Valley and then through a town called Dublin on
the way! Only 43kms from home, and yet so far!! That night we went out
with what was left of the bus crew (one girl had gotten straight on a
bus to Melbourne when she arrived in Adelaide, then onto a flight to
Brisbane from there and a bus to Rainbow Beach to get a trip to Fraser
Island!!!), only to discover that Sunday nights in Adelaide are not
very busy... We ended up having one or two drinks and then the only
pub we'd found that was open, closed!

The next day we had a nice relaxing time, sitting on the balcony of the hostel, drinking tea and chatting with Marijke, Dennis, Cindy and Laurent whenever they passed through. We also attempted and failed to find the Holy Grail - a white wash that doesn't leave the clothes still looking grubby!! We topped off our nice quiet day by having dinner in Nando's (my first introduction to their food had been in Airlie Beach via Kai from our Whitsundays boat) and then going to the cinema - making poor Dennis be the only guy at a really girlie film, Step Up! Afterwards Laurent joined us for a drink in one of the many bars he'd discovered earlier that day with a friend he'd bumped into in Adelaide!

The following day was very exciting for us because it was Shelina's birthday and she was coming to Adelaide to meet up with us! So we went off to the shop and bought a cake, some balloons and a little present for her and then awaited her arrival. So we had a lovely healthy lunch on the balcony and then a mini-birthday party! As Laurent was leaving that afternoon we joined him in a couple of drinks and then went to Glenelg for Shelina's birthday dinner and to meet a Dullaghan family friend (and relation!) Anthony, and his other half, Rebecca. We had a great night chatting with them in the most un-Irish of Irish bars, The Dublin.

Anthony picked us up for a lovely breakfast bbq at their house the following morning and brought us for a spin around the countryside. We went to Hahndorf, a lovely German village, for tea and some Beesting cake and then visited a couple of wineries, Nepenthe and D'Arrenberg, for a little sample of their wares... Neither Jane nor I had ever had a Sparkling Red Wine before but it's surprisingly refreshing, so we bought a bottle to enjoy with our new sisters (Rebecca and her sister Rachel) at Anthony and Rebecca's that evening - Anthony had to go to work, poor guy! We had an early start the following day so we didn't stay too late (though probably late enough for Rebecca!), and the girls dropped us back into town.

Next morning we were off to the Barossa Valley for a day tour of the wineries there, visiting a lovely little wooden toy factory and the World's biggest Rocking Horse along the way. We also stopped at the Whispering Dam, which has brilliant sound effects - I went to the far end of the dam and when I got there I could hear Jane and Shelina saying hello to me, even though I could see how far away they were - it sounds like it's coming out of the wall! We visited Jacob's Creek, the Vine Crest winery, Richmond Grove and Bethany winery, then had ice-cream in Tanunda village and headed back into Adelaide. We'd arranged with our Alice bus group to meet up for a table quiz in The Elephant that evening so there was a big bunch of us but we were still rubbish at trivia!! Afterwards, the hardy few headed for PJ O'Briens (where the lovely Charlie Angels take off photo was taken!) for another few drinks which, given the size of the hangover I had for the next few days, we probably could have done without!!

Jane wasn't feeling well the next day (or afternoon when I finally staggered out of bed!), so Chris, Shelina and I all headed off to Haigh's Chocolate factory for our pre-booked tour. Yummy chocolate... Afterwards I went to Plympton to meet Anthony & Rebecca again, but this time with Rebecca's two lovely little boys, Ryan and Bradley. Ryan drew me a lovely picture with me as a princess-like character and him as the good knight, so I'm keeping that nice and safe!! We all went for dinner in Glenelg at the Marina, and Rebecca's parents Steve and Marg joined us too. It was really nice to meet them all just before we left but Rebecca and I have decided that their honeymoon will be in Ireland, so maybe it won't be too long til we meet again!! Afterwards I dropped in to The Strand to meet Julie, Joanne and Chris as it was Chris' last night in Australia. Due to the hangover, as soon as I walked in the door I realised I couldn't face the thought of another drink, and didn't stay very long! So it was home for a nice long recovering sleep, in preparation for the next part of our trip - the Great Ocean Road tour...


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