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Days adrift.  Click here to see our best and worst experiences so far.
4147
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35
Bus, train and taxi rides.  Click here to see all posts relating to transport. (56 posts)
185
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581
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1
Otters spotted.  Click here to go to our website about otters: amblonyx.com
45
 
...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

Archive for March, 2011


30 March 2011

Queen Charlotte march

29th March 2011 Ooo… my legs hurt. Today the track climbed even higher and the views over the Queen Charlotte Sound on one side and the Kenepura Sound on the other side were even more glorious. The track effectively wanders down a long hilly peninsula of land with these long fingers of sea on either » » »



30 March 2011

A fine day tramping

28th March 2011 Tramping is the kiwi word for hiking. Oh, and kiwi is the New Zealander word for New Zealanders. You probably knew that. Anyway, our day started with a boat trip out to Ship Cove, the place where Captain Cook first moored on his arrival in New Zealand and one end of the » » »



30 March 2011

Not swimming with dolphins, Part 2

27th March 2011 Oh dear. So it seems that we are doomed not to swim with dolphins. Maureen fears it may be her foot odour scaring them off*, but as far as I’m aware smell doesn’t work underwater. We went out onto Queen Charlotte’s Sound, a beautiful waterway with hundreds of bays and inlets surrounded » » »



27 March 2011

Saved by the wine

26th March 2011, Picton Today began rainy and continued rainy, so I’m glad we decided to arrange our trek on the Queen Charlotte Track for a couple of days time to give the weather chance to clear. Who am I kidding. We’ll see. Anyway, we decided to spend today visiting the Saturday market in Nelson » » »



27 March 2011

Not swimming with dolphins

25th March 2011 Thousands of people have been swimming with dolphins, but very few people have not been swimming with dolphins. This was the first sunny day in New Zealand since the Routeburn Trek, it was almost warm enough for T-shirts (if you were in the sun and out of the wind). And we had » » »



24 March 2011

Where to watch whales

24th March 2011 The thing with whale-watching is that your enjoyment entirely depends on what whales you see and what they are doing that day. We’ve been on five different whale-watching trips all over the world and results have varied. Off the Californian coast at Monterey we went out in a typical converted trawler and » » »



24 March 2011

Following the rain again

23rd March 2011 I see now that we were really very lucky with the Routeburn Trek, having two days of almost totally blue sky for the best days of the walk. Because typically the whole of New Zealand remains covered in a thick woolly blanket of clouds, which occasionally dispense either a glimpse of blue » » »



22 March 2011

The albatross

21st March 2011 There are actually about twenty different species of albatross around the world, and the various smaller species are called mollymawks. Isn’t that a great name? Albatrosses are the largest seabirds in the world and spend up to 90% of their lives out flying over the open seas and never coming to land. » » »



21 March 2011

Pop goes the budget

20th March 2011 It’s a beautiful evening on the Otago Peninsula, a finger of coast which sticks out from the city of Dunedin. The clouds rolled back as we left the Catlins coast and I was surprised to find myself warm enough (just) in only a T-shirt as we unloaded the car into our motel » » »



21 March 2011

The Catlins coast

19th-20th March 2011 The Catlins coast is definitely an area for touring and enjoying the scenery; there are no towns to speak of and no big attractions. But the rolling scenic route through farmland, forest and windswept coast is conveniently dotted with a bunch of good things. So let me take you through our leisurely » » »



18 March 2011

Daft sealions

So it turns out that sealions are just as good at funny poses as long-tail macaques. Or at least I think so, which is excuse enough for a gallery…



18 March 2011

Sealions and lots of weather

18th March 2011 Here we are touring the Catlins coast. It’s a good place for wildlife, and we’ve already seen Hooker’s sealions on the beach at Waipapa Point. You could walk right up to them, but the advice is to give them 30 metres clearance and we felt wise to obey. The big bull looked » » »



18 March 2011

It ain’t Scotland

17th March 2011 Or is it? Today we parted company from my parents (thanks for a lovely holiday and a fantastic trek, see you in four months or so!) and picked up our rental car for a three week tour around South Island. It’s a bit of an old bucket with balding tyres, but it » » »



18 March 2011

Routeburn track

New Zealanders are very lucky to have such a concentration of epic landscape all in a couple of islands no bigger than Great Britain. Of course, they do have to put up with noisy neighbours. Warning: this gallery contains lots of landscape photography. Do not view while driving as it may induce drowsiness.



16 March 2011

It ain’t Nepal

16th March 2011 Routeburn Trek, Day 3 There’s little to tell of today’s trekking, under three hours downhill through beech forest. Friendly south island robins hopped out of the undergrowth to peck at our feet for insects. When we hit the bottom and found the car park there was a final treat to finish our » » »



16 March 2011

Breathtaken

15th March 2011 Routeburn Trek, Day 2 We were greeted this morning by a glorious sunrise and a faultless blue sky. There was still a bracing freshness in the air as we set out, but our dry clothes and almost-dry boots made us cheerful and the weather could only improve our mood as we emerged » » »



16 March 2011

Squelch, squelch, squelch

14th March 2011 Routeburn Trek, Day 1 We set out upon our great adventure in the pouring Fiordland rain. Indeed, it rained continuously all day. The only respite from relentless vertical rain was in the afternoon when the wind began to blow and it became relentless oblique rain. The howling of the wind through the » » »



13 March 2011

Walking and drinking

13th March 2011 Normally I’d tut severely at someone using a single-malt scotch for something as whimsical as a cocktail, but Laphroig is such a rampant and unashamed peat monster that it doesn’t feel much of a sin to try and play with it. The cocktail involved stirring in marachino liqueur and vermouth, and it » » »



13 March 2011

Welcoming Queenstown

12th March 2011 New Zealand has just the same problems as Australia with wildlife conservation. They have oodles of natural wilderness, plenty of pristine habitat, and a population that is dead keen on conservation. But at various times in the brief recent history of the country people have introduced rabbits, red deer, douglas fir, brush-tail » » »



11 March 2011

Choose your fjord

11th March 2011 No doubt anticipating my critical review, it seems that Toni’s Restorante included some bad mussels in Maureen’s dinner yesterday as an act of vengeance. Both she and my dad, who tried one, got sick in the night. Do not give bad reviews to precognitive fake Italians! Anyway, they were both feeling better » » »



10 March 2011

Typical Fiordland weather

10th March 2011 The guide on our boat tour of Doubtful Sound said that so many times it began to sound like an apology despite his enthusiasm. “You’re seeing the Sound in absolutely typical Fiordland* weather, sunshine is really very unusual here.” He was certainly right, it was thick cloud all day and often raining, » » »



10 March 2011

Looks promising…

9th March 2011 As you come into land at Queenstown airport the plane flies down a valley between enormous rugged mountain peaks. They’re much like the Scottish highlands in character, very beautiful. And I do mean between the peaks; when I looked out of the window I could see a little car park above me » » »



10 March 2011

Bit tired really

8th March 2011 My haircuts around the world continue to vary. The young stylist in Fremantle has cut it dramatically short and managed to stab my ear into the bargain. It’s shorter than Hong Kong even, though bears no resemblance to Nigel Kennedy. And the cut was not deep. Silver linings, eh? Western Australia has » » »



8 March 2011

Whole lotta sky

Western Australia has a lot of sky, and lots of it beautiful. We had lots of fun taking photographs and seeing if we could capture the light or the sense of a place.



8 March 2011

Western wildlife

Australia is home to some weird and wonderful wildlife that bears no resemblance to the rest of the world. Western Australia is our first taste, and we’ve found some great stuff.



8 March 2011

Dratted numbats

7th March 2011 We still haven’t seen a numbat. They’re the only diurnal mammal around here (excepting the noble kangaroo of course) so you’d think it would be easier, but with the small size of these Aussie mammals it’s easier to spot eye-shine in the beam of a torch than spotting a little brown furry » » »



8 March 2011

Frozen in the forest

6th March 2011 Okay, actually written on the morning of the 7th. We’re now staying at Dryandra Forest, another nature reserve on the way back to Perth that also has a good reputation for rare marsupials. The cabin we’ve got is great, with an open fire and an old cooking range, wooden floors and probably » » »



8 March 2011

Get that chuditch!

5th March 2011 We did better this evening, seeing two chuditch (a small spotty predator), several tammar wallabies, more than twenty brush-tailed possums and a brush-tailed phascogale for a few seconds. The phascogale is an even smaller predator, and seeing one is a complete fluke. Glenn, the caretaker/ranger at Perup, has only seen three in » » »



8 March 2011

Perup Nature Reserve

4th March 2011 Perup is quite a special nature reserve, as it is home to a number of rare species that are no longer found over most of the rest of Australia. Although habitat destruction is a major cause of decline like everywhere else in the world, here it is the unchecked spread of invasive » » »



8 March 2011

Bali nutshell

We can’t write an Indonesian nutshell, but having spent four weeks in Bali and visited the north, west, east, south and central parts of the island we can probably do a pretty good nutshell here. Bali really is a holiday paradise, with accommodation and food both available for all budgets and of a good quality. » » »



4 March 2011

Dodging winter

3rd March 2011 Today was a fairly relaxed day. We mooched around Torndirrup NP, rugged coastal scenery on a day of bright sunshine and blustery wind. Too windy for a long walk, we snuck home early and caught up with chores. So today’s blog is an itinerary update. We’re on the third of our four » » »



4 March 2011

Generic motel #4

2nd March 2011 Emu Point Hotel has one great feature to mark it out from the other motels we’ve stayed in so far; it comes with two complimentary sachets of real ground coffee and a cafetiere. Nice touch. But in all other regards it is identical to the Karri Forest Motel and the Ocean Drive » » »



4 March 2011

Back in the groove

1st March 2011 This evening I cooked up spaghetti with a tomato sauce; onion, garlic, mushrooms, white wine and plenty of pepper. It could have used capers and fresh herbs, but that’s the kind of stuff not worth buying if you’re on the road. We spent the day hiking a section of the Bibbulman Track, » » »