Archive for the 'Planning' Category

…see the difference between them? Of course you do. Can you please teach the Raging Thunder team? Ta.

Yes, despite getting up at 6am and feeling somewhat on the ker-nackered side, my 6:30am pick up to do the (supposedly awesome) Xtreme White Water Rafting didn’t turn up.

In fact, one did. But when that one arrived at 6:35am it just drove past with the driver responding to my wave with a wave of hello on his way.

By about 6:45am, I was beginning to wonder if, perhaps, that bus was, in fact, the one I should’ve got on.

By about 7:10am I was almost certain.

A phone call to Raging Thunder (along with insistance that the driver couldn’t’ve been waiting outside my accomodation for 5 minutes actually, as I’d been there since about 6:20am til 7:15am) later and it turns out that the driver had gone to the Cairns International Hotel. Yep, I’m at the Cairns International Hostel.

Their fault. They admitted they’d written it down wrong. That wasn’t much consolation for me at that time in the morning, but at least it meant I had time to catch up on blo-er, watch Squage catch up on blogs a bit.

Also, as it turns out I’m coming back up this way to work in June, so I’ve now got the ticket open-dated and hence haven’t lost any money. So that’s good.

I just wish I hadn’t got up at 6am to sit on a wall for an hour. Nevermind, eh?

In other news, I’m now booked for my trip down south. It goes like this:

  • 3rd May: Bus to Airlie Beach – leaving at 9am, arriving at 8pm. Ouch!
  • 4th: Soak up sun in Airlie Beach
  • 5th – 7th: Cruise on a the luxurious Powerplay Catamaran around the Whitsunday islands, doing lots of sunbathing, some snorkelling and hopefully some diving… oh and of course lazing in the on board jacuzzi!
  • 8th: Soak up more sun in Airlie, then take the night bus to Agnes Water / Town of 1770
  • 9th: Catch up on sleep during the morning (probably) and then spend the afternoon checking out Agnes Water / Town of 1770
  • 10th: Take the bus to Hervey Bay. Get briefed about the Fraser Island 4×4 Trip
  • 11th – 13th: Take a 4×4 around the sandy roads of Fraser Island, enjoying the gorgeous scenery and having a bit of a giggle
  • 14th: Take the bus to Noosa
  • 15th: Go to the Australia Zoo. Crikey!
  • 16th: Take the bus to Brisbane
  • 17th – 20th: Hang out in Brisbane plus check out the awesome Dream World and Wet N Wild theme parks!
  • 21st: Take the bus to Byron Bay
  • 22nd – 23rd: Learn to surf (read: fall over a lot) with Mojosurf at Byron Bay.
  • 24th: Take the bus to Coffs Harbour
  • 25th: Spend the day enjoying Coffs Harbour. Take the night bus to Sydney
  • 26th – 30th(ish): Hang out in Sydney, checking out places like Manly, Bondai and doing the Bridge Climb (or coming up with lame excuses regarding why I can’t this time either…)

After that it’s TO MELBOURNE, then probably back up here to Cairns via plane to do some work!

So there you have it. My next month in a nutshell. Here’s hoping it all goes to plan!



by Pat
on Mar 6th, 2007

Update: I’m In Adelaide For Longer!

I had a call from Heading Bush this afternoon. Looks like there aren’t enough people wanting to go on the outback tour this Thursday (as the Adelaide Fringe and WOMAD Festivals start then), and as such the tour’s been pushed back to Sunday instead.

This is bad because:

  1. I have to rearrange accomodation, including extending my stay in Adelaide just as the festivals kick off and accomodation isn’t exactly abundant
  2. I’ve got to rearrange my flight and incur at $38 fee

This is good because:

  1. I’ve just done the accomodation rearranging – and am even keeping my bed here at the YHA til Sunday!
  2. The flight’s rearranged – and $38 isn’t much
  3. I get to enjoy the first few days of the Fringe and WOMAD Festivals!

So all’s turned out well. It also means I get time to do some cycling around the city, do some more beach-based bumming and get a few lie-ins before I leave at silly-O’Clock on Sunday :-)



P.S. All pics uploaded – blogging will occur tomorrow!
P.P.S. The updated overall plan is on the Trip Details page.

by Pat
on Mar 6th, 2007

Woah! Four Months!

Where did THAT come from?

Seems hard to believe I’ve already been on the Big Adventure for that long… but when I sit down and think about it, it actually feels like I’ve been traveling for longer than that. I’ve done so many things done in that four months; met so many people; visited so many places; uploaded so many bloody photos… :-)

Despite feeling a little hungover (it was “Billy Bob’s BBQ Night” at the Grace Emily Hotel last night, complete with live “Open Mic” music and lots of cheap Cooper’s Sparkling) I’m in good spirits still.

I’ve been having time to think about things – you know, the sort of stuff that you really don’t get time to contemplate when you’re busy being stressed over computers, radio and all the other things I filled my life with before coming out here – and I must say I’m feeling more positive about life than I have done in a long time. This is, officially, a Good Thing™.

It’s not to say that I’ve not had times when I’ve been feeling down – because I have – but I think through interacting with so many different people, challenging myself a fair bit and having more time to reflect on things I feel like I’m understanding myself better, which is really helping me towards the positive thinking thing.

Let’s just hope it continues when I get back to the good ol’ UK, eh? :-)

Since the last big post, I’ve been enjoying the company of some of my mates from the New Zealand trip (Jen and Kate, howdy!), their cool roommate (Amy, g’day!) and also the Brisbane legends that were my roommates (AJ, Kirsten – your faces’ faces (don’t ask)). More on them in a blog in the next day or so, I’d wager.

I’ve been traipsing around the Grampians (standing on rocky ledges that I would’ve never even considered about a year ago) and enjoying the sights along the Great Ocean Road (and the rather “interesting” “sense of humour” of our ace tour guide Billy – some classic Billy Quotes on the way soon… they’re worse than my punning. Seriously).

So far in Adelaide I’ve been to some wineries, beaches and for a nice walk amongst some hills (on a day trip some of us from the G.O.R. tour decided to do – complete with a great clapped out old hire van), and a bit of social entertainment (see above).

Now I’m doing a big ol’ catchup. Photos from the Great Ocean Road leg are being uploaded as I type (provided Flickr Uploadr hasn’t broken half way through uploading – again) and I’m going to be spending some of this afternoon and tomorrow blogging (yes, yes, watching Squage blog :-) ) in earnest.

Oooh yeah – other bits I’m now definitely doing:

20th March
Flying from Alice Springs to Perth, and checking into the rather ace looking Bam’bu Backpackers.

22nd March
Getting on board a few-days-long tour around Albany, Margaret River and the South West courtesy of Adventure “We Own Everything” Tours.

24th March
Checking back into Bam’bu.

27th March
Slinging my bags into yet another minibus, this time to head up to the lovely Broome via the pretty awesome-looking 9 day Perth to Broome Safari (you’ll never guess which company runs that). There’ll be crazy rock climbing, hiking, animal interaction, plus forgetting the date and falling for one or more April Fool’s pranks along the way!

4th April
Arriving at Broome in a hostel by Cable Beach, spending 4 days sunbathing, swimming and doing little else.

8th April
Jetting off to Darwin via the cheap-as-chips(-god-I-hope-the-plane-doesn’t-fall-apart) Skywest Airlines and spending a few days browsing the city – and perhaps going on a one day tour to the nearby sights.

13th April
For the final time, I’ll be throwing my stuff in the back of a tour-bus/truck and heading off to see some ace sights and do some camping under the stars. This time it’s NOT Adventure Tours owned (unlike Wayward and Oz Experience), but a Darwin-to-Cairns tour courtesy of Desert Venturer. Not sure if that makes it better or not, but I need something to convince me that getting picked up at 5:45am is going to be worthwhile.

16th April
Arrive into Cairns!


Right, enough rambling, I’m off to label my newly uploaded photos.



by Pat
on Feb 17th, 2007


Yep, the planning’s going well. I’ve got stuff fully booked until the 17th of March and plenty more almost-booked following that (taking me through to mid/late May). It’s been quite fun doing it actually – I even went wild and went to a backpackers travel agent place to get assistance in planning the trip. The one downside is that my (already packed) day-bag is chock-full of brochures for sights, tours and activities. :-)

So, what’s next then? Well:

24th February
I’m checking out of Melbourne and coaching it to the Grampians National Park, whereupon I’m going to spend a few days enjoying the sights, doing LOTS of hiking and perhaps indulging in some abseiling (maybe even some climbing, if I’m feeling brave enough).

28th February
Heading back to the Magnetic City (at least it appears to be for me, as I can’t seem to leave it for any length of time) – Melbourne.

1st March
Getting on board the Wayward Bus’ Classic Coast 3 day tour of the Great Ocean Road!

4th March
Arriving at Adelaide and spending time chilling out and, perhaps, indulging in a winery visit or four.

8th March
Throwing my bags into a trailer and climbing into the passenger seat of a 4WD vehicle, on the apparently (and I can believe it) awesome The Real Outback 10 day tour through the, er, “not-fake” outback, seeing all the usual sights (Uluru, Kings Canyon) and some other special stuff too. Check out the website – it’s a good source of excitement for me at the mo :-)

17th March
Arriving at Alice Springs.

That’s it so far, booked-stuff-wise. Aside from that I’m planning on:

  • Grabbing a plane to Perth
  • Doing a tour around Perth and some of the sights around it
  • Doing a tour from Perth to Broome
  • Grabbing a plane to Darwin
  • Doing a tour from Darwin to Cairns
  • Doing the Oz Experience tour from Cairns to Sydney, partaking in diving, surfing, minjin-ing (bungee swinging), sailing… lots and lots of cool stuff.

Should take me up to about the end of May, whereupon I’ll be settling somewhere (probably Melbourne, but who knows how I’ll find the other Aussie cities on my trek around) and getting back the money I’ve spent on all those bloody tours.

Way I see it, I can either be cautious, save some dosh and do some things around Oz or I can splash some cash and do shed loads of fun stuff around Oz.

I can still stay within budget(ish), which is pretty awesome, and in my experience so far I’ve seen and done MUCH more on the tours than not. There’s just more going on and, well, you get to do loads of activities you just might not think of otherwise. Plus you meet loads of cool people. In short – it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I think I like the tour method of getting about.

If you don’t agree, then don’t go on a tour. And you’re wrong. And you’re stupid. And you smell.

Too far? Ok, sorry :-)

Right, I’m off to get ready and head out to enjoy the Chinese New Year celebrations over in Melbourne’s China Town (yep, it seems that as all cities must have an Oirish Bar, they must also have a China Town)!



by Pat
on Oct 6th, 2006

31 Days to Go!

Wow, time sure is slipping away quickly.

Normally I’d be annoyed at this, largely because it would be creeping dangerously close to those rubbish winter months where you leave home in the dark and get home in the dark – and the only daylight you see is through blinds from your office desk.

Fortunately, just as that time creeps in I’ll be swanning off to somewhere that’s about to enter Summertime.

Life’s a bitch, eh?

Anyway, with only 31 days to go before I set off (and 25 days before I leave work), I thought it’d be a nice idea to start doing daily updates.

Let’s start with how far we’re along now:

  • Flights sorted
  • Travel insurance sorted
  • Visa sorted
  • Photo driving license sorted
  • Hostel booked for week in New York
  • Hotel booked for night in LA
  • Hostel booked for first two nights in Aukland
  • Kiwi ExperienceZephyr” trip booked (open date)
  • Hostel booked for Melbourne from 18th December to 2nd January

Various other bits have been sorted but they’re too dull to list even on that list. I’m getting vaccinations on Monday… should be “fun”. I’m getting quite excited… but more on how things are tomorrow.

Finally, I’m doing a daily photo prior to leaving too. Here’s the first:

31 Days to Go
A potential design for the Big Adventure blog header (and other things requiring a logo). Quite like this one… will probably go with it.

Anyway I’d best get back to work (and staring at the rain thrashing down outside the office window (oh how I’ll miss this…)) – speak tomorrow!


by Squage
on Sep 18th, 2006

More Stuff Getting Done…

Travel insurance: check
Hostel in the Big Apple: check
Vaccinations: booked

Pat’s actually getting himself organised quite well. I think he must be ill [yes, I am, but that’s just a coincidence – Pat].

Onwards and downwards*!

(* we’re going to Australia, i.e. “Down Under”. Do you get it?)

by Squage
on Sep 10th, 2006

Things are Progressing!

Last week Pat handed in his notice (last day at work is the 31st of October) and yesterday he bought his flights.

See the Trip Details page for more info.

We are both now very excited. Lots to plan but at least the important thing (flights) is now sorted! Onwards!

  • North America
  • New Zealand
  • East Australia
  • Thailand

It’s going to mainly focus around Australia, with a month or so in New Zealand, stopping off on the way to / from there in America and Thailand.

It’s going to happen. Pat’s even handed in a request for a one year career break in at work. And it’s been accepted!

I’m very excited. Pat’s a bit more nervous, I think. But he’ll realise soon enough how ace this is going to be, I’m sure.

Now for the long ol’ task of planning the trek… wish us luck!