Saturday, 28 April 2007


I'm not an especially tidy person (perhaps thats an understatement) and I certainly am not adverse to roughing it, but I can't believe the state of the hostels in Perth (ive tried a few) and the state of the people in them. Most of this trip I've found places to be fine, and people to be generally reasonably considerate, but after one too many nights in a bed bug infected damp dark smelly noisy dorm room with snorers, piss heads and bed weters, I've splashed out and gone for a nice b&b complete with all maner of pamper-phenalia like dressing gowns and run by a twee old english couple. Its wonderful.

Perth itself is a nice enough place - though certainly more than a bit edgy in places, but the weather is lovely and the Indian ocean warm and refreshing.
I did manage to meet a few decent folk, including an Isralei guy who showed me how to cook pretty tasty Isralei scoff, and a few good Irish and English people who knew the best pubs, naturally. I also met an Italian guy and an Irish girl at the beach that recomended a hostel so am giving that a shot tomorrow.

I've just managed to sort out my travel plans so am heading up north in a couple of days for my rendevous with the whale sharks, and eventually Broome and Darwin.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Leaving Tasmania

This morning I bade farewell to Tassie and the Tasweigans.
I almost didnt make my 7am flight. Met up with a German girl Jule who is doing her thesis on forrestry in Tassie and we ended up at some student party in Hobart explaining to a 16 year old self proclaimed neo nazi why hitler wasnt really that cool. Made for an interesting night, and had to go straight from there to the airport for my Sydney flight, and then the 5 hour flight to Perth, so all in all a pretty long Anzac day. At least I caught a few Zss on the plane.

The days rock climbing in Launceston was superb, I managed to get up a couple of the easier climbs without falling and it was a real buzz, definitley something I'll do again. The guide Gerry was really good - hes written the main guide book to the climbs here.
I decided to rent a car for the last few days as the Tassie bus system is pretty basic and slow. I paid a quick visit to the Tamar valley wine region which was lovely, and then headed on via the bay of fires area to Bicheno. Stayed in a nice place there, and met a few interesting folk including Ross, a canadian guy who had lived in Dublin in the 60s and was backpacking around aged 77, Miriam a contact improvisation dancer and Murielle, a swiss girl that works in a coffee shop but manages to free climb and base jump in her spare time.
Made mw feel like a bit of a wuss using ropes and reserve parachutes.
Both nights we watched the little fairy penguins struggle ashore and march right past us which was very cute.
The last morning we visited the wildlife park to see the Tasmian Devils (and pet the Kangaroos!) which was pretty naff but fun.
I also visited the lovely Frecinet national park beaches, and then headed on to Hobart and port arthur, the preserved penal colony which was pretty interesting.
Shame the weather had turned pretty cold and wet, but I guess thats the norm for this time of the year, but back now on the (fairly) sunny west coast.

Friday, 20 April 2007


I'm back in Launceston having had a fantastic trek along the overland track. My preperation wasnt the best - I got on the 6:30 bus with a bad hangover and far too little sleep after a night out with some of the brewery tour people. Luckily the bus to the start took a while and let me sleep off the worst of it.

The clouds parted almost as soon as I started and by the time I had climbed Cradle Mountain, the first sidetrip en route, the weather was perfect and views were lovely. It was a surprisingly tough scramble up bolders, given the amount of people who attempt it.
Day 2 had some beautiful walking through almost african like savanah, and you really felt like you were in the middle of Tasmania, far removed from the outside world. It was at times quite blissful.

The next day contained the climb to the top of Tasmania, mount Ossa, which was absoutely stunning. The whole day was a gem. I walked much of the remainder with Alex and Annette - an english couple living in Sydney close to home and away territory. The final day was mostly cloudy and through rainforest - not expecially exciting but we did see a lot of Wallabies - to go with the Wombats, gliding possums, brush possums and Tiger snakes - one big one got away before I had the chance to get a good shot. It was only later I read they are they most dangerous snake in Australia:)

The track had a lot of interesting characters, including too older ex navy guys that Annette reckoned were having a brokeback mountain like reunion. On the last night I slept out under the stars as there was too much noise in the hut. It was lovely till the mossies came and forced me inside - probably just as well as the heavens opened later - nice timing as we were getting the ferry back the next morning. I think I'm suffering a bit of walkers withdrawl at the moment - so today I'm off to do some rock climbing to pick me up a bit.
Take care,

Friday, 13 April 2007

Tigers and Devils

I arrived to more glorious sunshine in Tasmania, long may it last as this place has a reputation for pretty miserable conditions. I'm in Launceston, though the mainland Aussies like to refer to the place as Inceston. It is pretty sleepy place but quite charming nonetheless. I had hoped to do a bit of rock climbing here as there are loads of climbs in the area, but all the guides are away in the Blue Mountains. So I'm going to start my Overland Track walk tomorrow, which means I'll be out of contact for the best part of a week.
Before leaving Melbourne I went along to Ed Byrne's show at the comedy festival which was a pretty good laugh, though I'm not sure even the Aussies were comfortable with the typical Irish use of profanities:) I also got up at an unearthly hour to watch Man U's 7-1 humiliation of Roma which was quite entertaining. Pity about Mourinho's bunch scraping through.

Today I'm off to the Boag brewery here in town to sample Launcenston's best creation.
Hopefully back online in a week if not eaten by a Tassie devil or the (possibly not extinct) Tassie Tiger.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007


I arrived in Melbourne on Schedule and met up with Mike who has just moved here from Portharlington, he is suffering greathly from homesickness but somehow is holding himself together. Not.

He and his "landlady" Stephanie are kindly putting me up while in Melbourne. Our first night was spent boozing and eating with some Aussies which was really good, its nice to meet some locals for a change!

Next day we headed to the local climbing wall as both of us were keen to give it a shot. It was a real blast and I think I may just have found my new hobby. I was shattered though after 1 1/2 hours of it.
Next night we went on a tour of Brunswick street in the Fitzroy area of town. Its a really cool spot with more than a little of a bohemian feel to it and some friendly and interesting locals. Mikey spotted one earlier he particularly liked, who was on crutches - aparently he has a thing for crutches, must be the vulnerability thing. Think he was pleasantly surprised I had managed to coax her to his seat while he was at the bar. We accompanied crutch girl and friend to a salsa bar which had a really excellent band. Too bad I cant salsa. Another one for the list.

Yesterday we headed to the MCG for some Aussie rules footie - its a cool stadium. Today I'm in St Kilda the beachfront part of town, which is thronged with nice cafes and pubs, might hit the climbing walls later if Mikey isnt too wrecked after his first day of work here. Oh and happy easter to everyone.
Footnote - updating this from the coolest internet cafe in Melbourne.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Christchurch - Sydney

Well I finally made it to sydney and I have a new phone number, so if anyone needs to text/call my number is

+61 420827337

I met up with Clare and dad a couple of nice days in Christchurch to finish up, not doing a whole lot really, just walking about enjoying the englishy feel of the place, walking by the river, watching some chess.

I did manage to see some Kiwis, but they were in the Kiwi house so it wasnt all that exciting really. On the flight to Sydney there were amazing views of the bridge and the city on the way in, I'd forgoton how spectacular a setting it all was.
I met up with John (of ex Curam fame) and took over the living room much to the delight of his flatmates Greg, Amber and Claire. John's other claim to fame is that his brother is part of Dervish who sing for Ireland in Helsinki soon.

On the first night we went to see amber perform in the play she is in which was a really good laugh, and afterwards John showed me some of his local hangout spots which were pretty cool.
Next morning I headed to Manly and got some surfing in - conditions were ok but a bit windy, but water was so nice and toasty and it really felt mad that you could surf so close to a major city.

I spent much of the next day wandering around Sydney checking out old haunts and workplaces, I must admit the JPM office does have a lovely location. For a break from the city I headed off to the Blue mountains early in the morning and a days Canyoning which was pretty cool, including abseiling down a 30 meter warerfall which was quite tricky and slippy, and some long water jumps into fairly narrow gorges. Afterwards I got a lift back with some girls from the tour and headed out to meet up with Frank and Paul from colleg, so we had a nice little reunion. Paul seems to like his new career as a schoolteacher a lot better than that IT nonsense. Frank seems to have adopted to his father of 3 role pretty well also.

I also managed to get a couple of walks in.
The Manly scenic way which really felt like you were out of the city even though you were never far away. Overheard an interesting conversation on a mobile - the gist of it was "what I'd do, mate, if I were you,is walk right up to the fucker and punch em in the face, knock some fucking teeth out, but make sure there are no witnesses, or if there are, they will say he started it".
And the Cooge - Bondi shore walk which has lovely views and nice pit stops. It was strange seeing Bondi after living there previously and I'd say it has changed a lot. It was a bit tricky finding somewhere open later cause it was good Friday but eventually we found a spot by the bridge. We met up with Martin and his better half who has moved from JPM Glasgow and seems to like the Sydney lifestyle, apart from the 7am starts:)