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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
Miles walked.  Click here to see all posts relating to walking and trekking. (43 posts)
581
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15
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1157
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63
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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 May, 2011


29 May 2011

Santiago fails to thrill

28th May 2011 Our flight to Puerto Montt wasn’t until nearly 7pm, so after checking out of our room we left our luggage and went to explore Santiago. A long ramble and a couple of cafe stops later and I’m pretty unexcited about the capital of Chile. It has the feel of a typical southern » » »



29 May 2011

Sleeping beauties

27th May 2011 We eventually got to sleep at 6am, so inevitably we were a little late getting up the next day. In fact we finally got up at 6pm. Not really applying ourselves properly to conquering this jetlag. Still, Chileans like to go out late for their evening meal and this suited us ideally. » » »



28 May 2011

Two duff days for the price of one

26th May 2011 – 26th May 2011 Our flight from Auckland to Santiago crossed the dateline, so we get to celebrate our 10 month mark twice. Unfortunately neither of our 26th Mays were very celebratory days. The first 26th May was just kicking around our Auckland motel until the airport minibus whisked us off to » » »



28 May 2011

Preparation: South America

25th May 2011 A lot of our few days in Auckland have been spent preparing for our two months in South America. I don’t know whether this is common to many round-the-world travellers, but our particular interest in seeing wildlife means that we need to do a good chunk of research and booking of some » » »



26 May 2011

Conservation paradox, Rangitoto

24th May 2011 Today we took a boat out to Rangitoto Island, an extremely young volcanic island in Auckland harbour. Less than 300 years ago local Maoris were able to watch Rangitoto erupt steaming from the waters of the bay, but now it is covered with trees and bushes that grow thick among the black » » »



26 May 2011

Auckland sunshine

23rd May 2011 It’s a beautiful day in Auckland. We’ve got a three-day stopover here before heading on to South America. The sun is shining in a clear blue sky and the burnished red leaves cling to the trees in a cooling breeze or pattern the pavement beneath our feet. Hang on a minute. Trees » » »



23 May 2011

Australia nutshell

Australia isn’t a country, it’s a continent. On the other hand, vast areas of Australia are pretty much empty. There’s plenty enough to see but it can take a long time to get there. Civilised but expensive is the way to describe travelling through Australia. In fact in most ways its comparable in price with » » »



23 May 2011

Aussie grub

21st May 2011 Australia is a very good place for food. Apparently it wasn’t always so; just like Britain they have spent the last couple of decades dragging themselves away from dour meat-and-two-veg meals and into thoroughly modern cuisine. Whereas we tend to blame the privations of the war for our culinary Dark Ages, I » » »



23 May 2011

Final outing

20th May 2011 Yesterday evening we tried our final bit of mammal watching for Australia, heading out to Royal National Park for some spotlighting in the forest. We saw a couple of Rusa Deer, no doubt introduced some time last century, and a single Sugar Glider which swooped past us through the air to make » » »



20 May 2011

Heart of Australia

The red centre is the landscape of Australia that you hope to find, huge and astonishing. After the summer rains it is as beautiful as it is uncompromising, and the wildlife in such a vast emptiness is surprising. We like it.



20 May 2011

Smooth transfer

18th May 2011 From the back of beyond to the heart of the metropolis in four moves. Taxi from our apartment to Alice Springs airport, a truly criminal $30 for a ten minute drive. Flight from Alice to Melbourne. Tiger Airways pushes the envelope even for budget airlines by having an Arrivals hall that is » » »



20 May 2011

A town like Alice

17th May 2011 Alice Springs is kinda depressing. For starters, it’s an entirely unattractive town with a town planner’s grid of streets and nothing at all to centre them on. A river runs through it, but as with most rivers up here it is simply a very long sand pit. The town centre is cluttered » » »



20 May 2011

Green Centre

16th May 2011 Thus concludes our loop around the Red Centre of Australia, back in Alice Springs in a comfortable little apartment with a Thai takeaway to take away the taste of all the grimly cooked meat-plus-stuff of the last four evenings. Today we visited various beauty spots along the West MacDonnell Range, a rugged » » »



16 May 2011

Red Centre

15th May 2011 Today was awesome, and I try to use that word sparingly. We’ve already been on some dirt roads in our Toyota Landcruiser already in the red centre, but then again we drove down lots of dirt roads in our tiny Hyundai Getz. Today we drove the bone-shaking Mereenie Loop track which cuts » » »



16 May 2011

Eating rubbish

14th May 2011 There are only a handful of places to stay in the vast open spaces of the red centre, and boy do they know it. You pay four-star prices and get a room that has all the charm of a bog standard motel but with better bathroom tiling. And the food is both » » »



16 May 2011

The rock

13th May 2011 Today we visited what is indubitably the most famous rock in the world, Uluru. Still referred to in a surprising amount of tourist literature as Ayers Rock. We rolled the remaining 100kms to the Yulara village just outside Uluru and started our day with some brunch. The baguettes we chose would have » » »



16 May 2011

Mouse plague

12th May 2011 The Ghan is frankly a waste of time. I heartily recommend anyone to fly to Alice Springs. Our reasons for choosing it were a mixture of nostalgia for our overnight train rides in Thailand, a desire to see the extent of the dusty Outback, and a sense of environmental duty since we’d » » »



15 May 2011

The Ghan

11th May 2011 We’ve just passed Redhill station, so it must be Reigate next. We’re on The Ghan, a train which starts in Adelaide and runs north through the very centre of Australia to Darwin at the top, although we’ll be hopping off in Alice Springs. It takes over 24 hours just to Alice, which » » »



15 May 2011

Flinders snaps

Only one whole day in the Flinders Ranges, but definitely my favourite bit of our short time in South Australia. And there really is absolutely nothing up here except landscape and a bit of wildlife.



15 May 2011

Wine sans wombat

10th May 2011 Well, we didn’t see the dratted Hairy-nosed Wombat this morning either. It’s one of those cases where reality and expectation clash. Before we went to the Flinders we were under the impression that the Yellow-footed Rock-wallah was rare and hard to find, so we were delighted to spot two in the evening » » »



15 May 2011

Waltzing to the zoo

9th May 2011 Today we went to the zoo. We like visiting zoos and yet it’s something we haven’t done yet this year, probably feeling that we’re already doing “proper” wildlife watching and so zoos play second-fiddle. I was lured in by Giant Pandas, which I’ve never even seen at a zoo and certainly not » » »



15 May 2011

Flinders hop

7th May 2011 What should you do if you’re driving at 100kph along a dirt road into the sunset in your little red rental Hyundai and you suddenly come upon a herd of emus crossing the road? What you should not do is slam on the brakes, fishtail out of control on the loose gravel, » » »



15 May 2011

Drive

6th May 2011 Today I worked out that by the time we’ve finished we’ll have probably had a hire car for about half of our year travelling. That’s assuming we get one for a few weeks in Chile. This figure surprised me. I’d really thought that we’d spent much less time with a car. It » » »



15 May 2011

Kangaroo islanders

We had a bit of a whistle-stop two day trip to Kangaroo Island, where lots of people take a week to explore. We’re very satisfied though, having seen a bunch of great wildlife including three new mammal species. I guess our echidna “completes the set” of iconic Australian mammals: kangaroo, koala, wombat, platypus, devil, echidna.



9 May 2011

Sealion blues

5th May 2011 We weren’t sorry to leave Flinders Chase Farm, not only freezing cold but home to rather over-familiar mice. One visited me in the bathroom, and another scampered onto the kitchen hob to see what we were cooking. The other special mammal species on Kangaroo Island is the Australian Sealion, this being the » » »



9 May 2011

Remarkable day

4th May 2011 Three remarkable things, that makes this a remarkable day. I shall elaborate… This morning we visited the Remarkable Rocks, which perch on the cliffs above the Southern Ocean on the south coast of the island. And they truly are remarkable. It looks like a modern artist has created a huge abstract installation » » »



9 May 2011

Cold comfort farm

3rd May 2011 Kangaroo Island is expensive to visit. Not only is the 45 minute ferry ride a total of roughly £250 return for us in our hire car, but all the accommodation is 30% more expensive than back on the mainland. Which is why we find ourselves in an en-suite backpacker room on a » » »



2 May 2011

Grumpians

2nd May 2011 Well, sod the Grampians anyway. To summarise: we arrived on a beautiful sunny Friday evening, looking forward to a weekend of scenic walks and wildlife watching. The weather was grey and rainy for the whole weekend and there was no-one available who knew anything at all about wildlife. We went out spotlighting » » »



2 May 2011

Congrats

1st May 2011 Apparently there was a wedding over the weekend. Honestly, it completely passed us by. The first we heard was from some locals today who detected my accent and asked whether we’d watched it on TV. Watched what? Oh, right.



2 May 2011

Great Ocean Road

We enjoyed our trip down the Great Ocean Road. I’d recommend anyone stick it on their itinerary for a long holiday in Australia. It’s got beautiful seascapes, forests full of walking trails, little towns full of good things to eat (it’s long-weekend territory for Melbournites, you see) and lots of wildlife. Including koalas. Fear their » » »



1 May 2011

Bitty day

30th April 2011 So, haha. We went to the Park Info Centre for the Grampians and the nice lady there gave us a photocopied list of all the mammals found anywhere in the park, told us that she had no clue where or when to be looking (“they could be anywhere, but I wouldn’t know”) » » »



1 May 2011

Mammal experts

29th April 2011 You’re all mammal experts by now, I’m sure. At least you should be if you’ve been reading this blog avidly. Well, perhaps not. We don’t claim to be experts ourselves and a diet of David Attenborough and whatever we’ve picked up talking to guides and rangers around the world isn’t the same » » »