Archive for February, 2007

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 Feb 14th, 2007

14th of February

There are odd things in Melbourne today – heart shapes have appeared in lots of shop windows and there appear to be lots of men rushing around with flowers in their hands.

Maybe it’s some special Australian thing. Either way I’m not needing to do any of that, which is… er… good? Sort of? Maybe? No? Shoot.

Anyway, Happy Valentines Day to you (but only in a platonic way, naturally *). Hope you’re having a nice one. :-)

I’m not having a bad one to be honest, despite feeling a little tired through a few bevvies last night with Jen, Kate and Welshy (none of whom I’d seen since New Zealand) – as I’m looking forward to more of a catch up this evening, which’ll be ace.

Melbourne’s as it usually is, although with less flies – which is a big plus. I’m just here for a week or so to plan and book the next month or so of my Big Adventure (got my eye on a 10 day 4×4 tour of the outback from Adelaide to Alice Springs, for a start), then I’m off out on the Great Ocean Road (more hire car action here we come!) over to the Grampians and Adelaide.

I’m feeling pretty damned chilled out – apart from for about 30 minutes two days ago where I thought I’d lost my wallet in the library (turns out I’d left it in the locker in my hostel room), which was quite scary!

I’m staying in the Greenhouse Backpackers (which I’d previously recommended on this ‘ere blog, I seem to recall). It’s bloody good. Nice rooms, huge TV lounge, good kitchen, a “free food” shelf, free breakfast, weekly free BBQ (including veggie burgers!!!), free pancakes on Sunday… and slap bang in the middle of town. Winner!

Twas sad to say bye to Jersey on Saturday (as he went to Sydney from Tassie – he’s on a tour of Alice Springs etc as I type), as we’d been travelling together for 3 weeks and twas very odd thinking that I won’t see him again on my travels. We’re of course planning on a cross-English Channel meetup later in the year, mind!

I don’t feel as though I’m on my own here in Melbourne, as Chris, Welshy, Kate and Jen are all here (albeit in different hostels/appartments). Should be interesting on my solo trip to Adelaide… in many ways I’m looking forward to the freedom of “travelling fully independantly” (almost always been with other folk so far). Let’s just hope it’s not too lonely.

Anyways, back to planning stuff – and perhaps grabbing some food and a nice smoothy (yep, I’ve become addicted to them – which is better than being addicted to pizza I guess! Mmm. Pizza… ah, crap. :-) )

Take care and Happy 14th of February!



* Unless you’re Elisha Cuthbert in which case please consider the phrase “Happy Valentines Day” as my way to say I want to [CENSORED BY THE UNIVERSE] night long. Thanks.

by Squage
on Feb 14th, 2007

Tasmania Week!

Hello STOP
Tasmanian blog complete STOP
Lots of photos STOP
Hope not too rambling STOP
Here it starts STOP
No, starts STOP
-HA! Got you!

(I think the heat back here in Melbourne is getting to him… – Pat)

Hello! Here be a summary of the week Pat, Jersey and myself spent in lovely Tasmania.

It’s been a week that’s been good and bad. Starting with the bad (hey, it means we end on a high note!):

The big thing for Pat that sucked in Tasmania was that he didn’t get to see LOADS of things he’d’ve liked to. This was due to a number of reasons:

  • Illness – Probably out of weather-changing-shock, or possibly due to the hectic road trip week catching up on him, Pat came down with a mild (i.e. not fatal) case of Man Flu early in the week, meaning that certain plans had to get pushed back / cancelled (such as a big ol’ walk to the top of Mount Wellington).
  • Budget – Not so much on Pat’s side, but Jersey’s pretty tight on cash due to living it To The Max™ in New Zealand, which meant that hiring a car for the week was a no-no. This meant relying on coach tours etc to get around and see the sights. Alas, as Pat and Jersey found a little too late, these don’t run daily… meaning that a number of things either a) clashed, b) ran from towns at the other side of the country or c) weren’t running for the rest of the week. Pat would love to blame illness, budget and coach companies alone. However, I think the next point really outweighs the previous ones:
  • Poor Planning – Unfortunately due to a lack of forward planning (i.e. having anything properly researched and even a vague plan made) before arriving at Tasmania, lots of the things that Pat and Jersey could’ve done just weren’t possible or feasible by the time they’d finally got round to working out what to do. It’s something Pat was worried about prior to coming out to Tasmania but, well, didn’t really do anything about until it was too late. If you know Pat well, you’ll know this is VERY unusual behaviour for him. *COUGH*

That said, the week was far from crap – or eventless:

Firstly, Pat still managed to see lots of cool stuff:

  • Hobart Town: The southern city of Tasmania’s really nice – quite big, with lots of places to eat / drink and see, but with a really laid back country town feel to it. Pat and Jersey enjoyed many hours just wandering around the streets of the town, checking out some of the fine restaurants (and, er, a kebab house) and particularly enjoying some of the quality signage in the town:

    MEAT This Isn't Funny
    This Isn't Funny Either Quality Punnage

  • Salamanca Market: Every Saturday in Hobart, this is a HUGE market full of all sorts of interesting things to buy:

    Lots Of Ducks! Salamanca Market

    Ever heard of Fruit Leather? No, Pat hadn’t either – he bought some though:

    Mmm, Fruit

    There were all sorts of other things to get – from panpipes to wooden ducks, crazy metal sculptures to fresh raspberries, colourfull tops to massive lumps of fudge. All sorts, really. And for damned good prices. Pat wished he’d brought a second suitcase.

  • Hobart Heritage Museum: A quainte olde house-e transformed into a Heritage Museum in the 50s to prevent it getting knocked down for a petrol station, this has lots of nice olde things:
    Hat's Entertainment Room!

    …and FREAKY DOLLS:
    Scary Doll

  • Cadbury Factory: Near Hobart, it’s a rather bittersweet place: sweet because of all the chocolates whizzing past you as you go on the tour and bitter because you’re not allowed to nick any. You’re not allowed cameras inside (or any jewelry, open shoes, mobiles, money… and due to “government regulations” you aren’t allowed choccy samples on your way around anymore…) so we had to make do with some (silly) outdoor shots:
    Total Innocence Pat, Squage and Freddo
    Oh and one of the shelves in the Evil Palace Of Temptation (click on the picture to view the prices…):

  • Port Arthur Historic Site: Now a big tourist spot, this was a convict-built penal settlement that came into being in the early 19th century, with ship building, shoemaking, smithing, timber and brick making facilities. It’s worth a look around to hear about convict life and to see some of the olde prisone buildingse:
    Penitentiary The Port Arthur Mental Asylum
    Prison Gates Pat And Squage Attend A Sermon...
    The Penitentiary.  Again. Prison Cells: Small

    On the way we got to see The Devil’s Kitchen (which went from a humble cave to a great gulch) and surrounding sights:
    The Devil's Kitchen Pat Wonders If Jersey's Noticed His New Friend
    Can You See The Distant Hills? Lil' Cliff

    And surrounding houses (in a street named “Boo Street”):
    Bootiful house names

    And… er… surrounding signs:
    Nothing funny about that. No.

  • Mount Nelson: Our Mount Wellington bus tour guide took us up to the shorter-by-far Mount Nelson (overlooking Hobart), as it was deemed that the cloud cover on Mount Wellington would make the journey up there pointless:
    Hobart From Mount Noble

  • Mount Wellington: The people on the bus tour disagreed. We went up Mount Wellington too. The tour guide might’ve been right:
    Restaurant At The End Of The Universe At The Top!

    But on the way down, things started to clear…
    Clearing Cloud!

    …and Pat managed to grab a shot of the view as it was supposed to be:
    Hobart From Mount Wellington

  • Cataract Gorge: Once up in the north-eastern city of Launceston, Pat went for a walk around the awesome Cataract Gorge, realising yet again what an unfit sod he is (Hey, you’re the one that just sat in a bag throughout! – Pat). Hmm, true. Moving on – as Pat trekked around he managed to get some nice photos:
    Nice Light On This I Reckon View From The Gorge To Town
    Hydro Station Suspension Bridge High Up Scullion
    Reflections I Like This One

  • Launceston Festivale: An open air festival of food, drink and entertainment in one of Launceston’s big parks, Pat and Jersey just happened to be there for the first night and so sampled some of the food:


    And entertainment:
    To the left, a nutcase street performer (yes, he’s dislocated his shoulder). To the right, a (not very good) Fleetwood Mac cover band. The best thing about them is their name: Fleetwood To The Max. Awesome.

Inbetween checking out the sights, Pat managed to get a good deal of chilling out in, which was well recieved following the hectic road trip the week before. A lot of this was helped by having a good book (well, books – he’s ploughing through Asimov’s Foundation series) but mainly because he realised there really wasn’t much to be stressed out about. At long bloody last. Maybe he’ll stop being a stress cadet now! I doubt it, mind :-)

Evenings were mainly quiet affairs, with Pat and Jersey occasionally sinking a few glasses of cheap ($10 for 4.4L!), crap (…crap) wine, chomping on the odd bit of cheap chocolate whilst reading books / planning activities / watching whatever rubbish was on telly.

It's Everywhere...
(Yep, it’s here too. I wonder which country it started in…?)

He and Jersey also met some cool people whilst in Tasmania, from various parts of the world. Pat’s now got a contact in Perth, too, which is pretty handy!

So yeah, not a bad week. In fact, a really good week. Pat’s used it to motivate him to plan further in advance for the rest of his trip. He’s also looking on the lack of “Things He Wanted To Do” done as a good reason to come back out to Tassie in a few months’ time. As the security guard at Launceston Airport said: A week’s just not long enough.

Righty, that’s your lot for now. Keep checking out The Usual Place for photos, as Pat tends to upload them much quicker and more frequently than I get round to typing these out!



by Squage
on Feb 13th, 2007



Yep, after pining for (and moaning about not) driving a car for at least two months, Pat finally got the chance to get behind the wheel of a car and do some driving!

This particular ROAD TRIP was 6 days long and over 1000 miles. Starting at Sydney we went to the Blue Mountains, down the New South Wales east coast, into south east Victoria, to Phillip Island and into Melbourne.

Pat was really pleased to have the freedom of having a car, even if it were just for a week and even if it were an automatic Vauxhall (sorry, a “Holden”) Viva (Yeah, it’s ok to drive but it doesn’t really match the style, elegance and above-all fantastic drive of the New Ford Focus – Pat). Suck up. (Hey, you’ve gotta keep your “what to do when returning” options open… – Pat).

iRiver FM!It was also cool being able to listen to his iRiver and Jersey’s iPod on the journey, thanks to the AWESOME (read: tinny, quiet and slightly distorted) 20AUD car transmitter thing Pat’d bought in a Sydney market.

On the downside, driving could be a little stressful for Pat and Jersey sometimes – mainly on the first couple of days due to the Cartoscope Global Explorer, which contained road maps with:

  1. Incorrect scale
  2. No mention of 4 kilometre tunnels travelling under apparent turn offs
  3. No mention of certain major roads
  4. Mention of certain, seemingly major roads that simply didn’t exist.

That and coping with the NSW / Victoria road signage, which involves you carefully looking at bushes/trees at the side of the road in case there might be a half-obscured sign (usually the only sign), indicating what road it is that’s up on the left and you’re just about to pass.

Pat says he actually missed English roads at points during the trip. I don’t quite think I can believe him.

On the way, there were plenty of cool sights seen… so here’s a day-by-day summary of such things:

Sunday 28th January: Sydney -> Blue Mountains

  • Word of the day: Tired
  • Summary of the day: After checking out of the hostel, Pat and Jersey grabbed The Beast (i.e. the car) and Pat drove to the town of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. After checking into our (rather quiet, slightly run-down looking) hostel Jersey drove down to the edge of town, where the cliffs lay. Pat and Jersey did a lot of walking around, checking out the amazing (high) sights and descending down a path along step mountain sides… then got escorted back up to the top by the Scenic Railway – featuring carriages with foot rests at a 45 degree angle to the seats. Why? Because it’s the world’s steepest railway, with up to a 51 degree gradient, that’s why! After some more sight checking out (and Getting-Scared-Standing-On-An-Overhanging-Ledge-200m-Up) Pat wandered back with Jersey to the hostel for a relaxed evening watching such delights as Erin Brockovich on telly. Hmm.
  • Highlight: The view of the Three Sisters with the sun low in the sky.
  • Lowlight: Pat watching Jersey walk to the unshielded edge of a ma-husive cliff, just waiting for him to slip. Funny, no matter how many bridges he jumps off, Pat’s STILL scared of heights…
  • Memorable Moment: Pat getting breathalised at the side of the road. He passed, before you ask :-)
  • Sights: Lots of lovely mountains:

    CLIFF AGAIN! The Three Sisters Again
    Yes Yes, Three Bloody Sisters Etc, Etc
    Squage In The Blue Mountains

    And some cool stuff in Katoomba:
    Crazy Film Wall! LOL

Monday 29th January: Blue Mountains -> Wollongong

  • Word of the day: Lost
  • Summary of the day: Pat and Jersey checked out and set off back towards the east coast of New South Wales, ready to start descending south. Most of the day was spent in the car, getting lost occasionally due to the TERRIBLE maps inside the Cartoscope Coastal Explorer, which Pat tells me missed out such details as 4km tunnels, had roads that didn’t exist listed and vice versa… so they ended up in some surprising places. One; La Perouse, was actually quite a nice little place and so they spent some time taking photos and grabbed some lunch there. Also, some coastal sights on the (intended!) roads were pretty tasty. Aside from that it was mainly a case of missing turn offs, ending up on roads that weren’t listed and, well, being a bit annoyed. On arrival at Wollongong, Pat had a 2 hour doze and despite then planning on a night socialising with Sarah and Laura (two lovely Canadians in their room), no bars, pubs or even offies seemed to be open so a good night’s sleep was decided on. If it wasn’t for the telly blaring out from the lounge through the paper-thin walls, they probably would’ve got one.
  • Highlight: Enjoying the views at the (unplanned) destination of La Perouse.
  • Lowlight: Ending up on an unmentioned major road for the 5th or 6th time.
  • Memorable Moment: Pat’s realisation that, perhaps, he should’ve bought an actual road map – he did this evening.
  • Sights: Lots! La Perouse was pretty damned nice to look at, with its fort and towers and lovely view of Botany Bay:

    La Fort At La Perouse Water And Rocks
    Hanging Tough... Tower: Conquered

    Unfortunately, I wandered into the fort (created to defend against a Russian invasion in the mid 20th century… seriously!) and was promptly captured and held prisoner:
    Squage Feeling Fortuitous
    Ahem. Also, the views of the Tasman Sea coast from the Grand Pacific Highway were pretty tasty:

    The Coast Of The Tasman Sea The Tasman Sea
    Nice Views! Big Ocean

Tuesday 30th January: Wollongong -> Batemans Bay

  • Word of the day: Buddha
  • Summary of the day: After waking up a bit tired and pissed off, Pat and Jersey gave Laura and Sarah a lift over to the rather cool Nan Tien Buddhist Temple. Pat partook in some caligraphy “to calm the mind” and was really impressed and humbled by a lot of the beliefs and practices of the Humanistic Buddhists (I think that’s what he said they were called). I don’t think he’s going to join the faith yet though (despite looking a bit like a Buddha (OI! – Pat)). After that the girls were given a lift back to Wollongong and Jersey and Pat kicked off their journey to Batemans Bay. Along the way they stopped in Kiama to watch a Blowhole… er, blowing… and for lunch in a lovely cafe (SeaChange) – run by a very friendly couple (the wife an ex-Upminster lady, which Pat was very excited about). After that it was straight down Route 1 to Batemans. Jersey and Pat enjoyed some quality Chinese food on the bay (JUST avoiding getting a Domino’s pizza) and then chilled in the lovely hostel (Batemans Bay YHA), watching Die (slightly dated) Hard and chatting with some of the guys in the hostel.
  • Highlight: Chilling out at the Nan Tien Buddhist Temple.
  • Lowlight: Feeling cheesed off for the first part of the day.
  • Memorable Moment: Posing like idiots by some tiny buddha statues (see below)
  • Sights: Firstly, of course, the Buddhist Temple:
    Buddist Keep Fit Video Snapshot Inscense Burner
    I Couldn't Help But
    The Writing's On The Wall

    Including some “Wholely Appropriate” photos:
    Showing Respect To The Buddhist Statues

    Kiama (and its blow hole) was impressive too:
    The Kiama Blowhole! Living On The Edge
    Kiama Scenery

    And Batemans Bay is pretty:
    Batemans Bay Bridge

Wednesday 31th January: Batemans Bay -> Buchan

  • Word of the day: Driving
  • Summary of the day: After a morning of booking Tasmania flights and accomodation and uploading photos, Pat took the wheel and drove to the reconstructed mining town called “Old Mogo Town”. Jersey and Pat spent a couple of hours wandering around finding out what it was like to work and live on a 19th/early 20th century gold mining settlement (it involved lots of panning and a little too much mercury for Pat’s liking) and enjoying our slightly-jittery tour guide’s stories of cheeky miners’ many attempts to “liberate” gold from the mines… mostly without success. Following that, the small matter of driving to Buchan in Victoria was to be achieved. Unfortunately, we kinda misunderstood the time it’d take… and after leaving Old Mogo Town at 4pm, via a quick diversion to see a dam (as you do), we didn’t actually get into Buchan until 11pm! Luckily the owner lives on site so he was awake to greet the two rather tired travellers.
  • Lowlight: Driving in the dark, with less than a quarter tank of fuel, avoiding Wallabies on the road, hoping that, unlike the town they’d just gone through, the town 50km away would have an open petrol station…
  • Highlight: Getting to an open petrol station and filling up!
  • Memorable Moment: Getting to an open petrol station and filling up!
  • Sights: Old Mogo Town was quite entertaining:
    Old Mogo Town Villain! Mining Equipment
    Pat Looking Tiny.  Or Minor.  Eh? Panning For Gold

    The damn we saw was pretty cool:
    Dam Impressive! Dam It, Squage!

    Finally getting into Victoria (before we realised quite how much more driving was really needed to get to Buchan) was a relief:
    Hello Victoria!

    And yes, getting to an open petrol station late in the evening was quite a relief:
    ROAD TRIP: Phew!  Petrol Found!

Thursday 1st February: Buchan -> Phillip Island

  • Word of the day: Beach
  • Summary of the day: After a late rise (the fully awesome Buchan Lodge hostel didn’t have a check out time – oh and was picturesque, in the middle of the countryside and run by a 60-something Aussie Fella who had plenty of stories to tell), Jersey and Pat headed to the very pretty Buchan Caves for a tour, which was pretty interesting and looked awesome. After that, Jersey took the wheel for today’s driving entertainment whilst Pat monged out in the passenger seat. A couple of hours of driving in the sun along long, straight roads and the odd windy country lane saw them arrive at Phillip Island! After checking into Amaroo Park (the place Pat stayed last time) and grabbing some dinner, Pat and Jersey wandered to the beach with some beers in hand and spent the evening looking out to the moonlight water, chatting about travelling and what they wanted to do in the future. A fully chilled out evening.
  • Highlight: Pat says it was “Chilling on the beach”, but I reckon it was more “chatting to the fit waitress in the pizza restaurant at dinner”.
  • Lowlight: Having to leave Buchan Lodge. Pat could’ve stayed there for AGES.
  • Memorable Moment: Jersey’s suggestion that Squage and Pat could be the next Rosie and Jim.
  • Sights: Buchan Lodge was lovely:
    The Awesome Buchan Lodge

    The caves were gorgeous:
    The Font Of The Gods Translucent Stalagmites
    Biiig Cave Big, Red Cave!

    Enjoying the views from the car was good:
    Squage-View Mirror!

    And sitting on the beach by moonlight provided some rather nice photo opportunities:

    Lots Of Moon Staring Was Going On Jersey Joins In The Moon Staring

Friday 2nd February: Phillip Island -> Melbourne -> Hobart (Tasmania)

  • Word of the day: Transport
  • Summary of the day: Lots of mileage done today. Firstly from Phillip Island to Melbourne, which Pat drove and enjoyed as it was on decent dual carriageways for a lot of it. Well, I say “enjoyed”, he felt a rather large amount of fury on getting into Melbourne due to the usual crap road signage (and perhaps not getting off the motorway sooner) meaning they suddenly ended up on a toll road into Melbourne. Which, according to other signs, without a pre-paid pass meant they’d just been automatically fined $100. Luckily, despite the fury this caused for a while, it later transpired that you could buy a pass up to 3 days after travelling. Phew! The afternoon was spent wandering around Melbourne, Pat showing Jersey a few bits and pieces, before heading out to Melbourne airport, handing the car in and grabbing the plane to Tasmania! After a rather bumpy flight, the plane got into Hobart at 11:40pm and Pat and Jersey grabbed a bus to their hostel (Allport’s)… and quietly snuck into the (almost full) dorm room at close to 1am.
  • Lowlight: Pat finding out that he’d just been fined $100AUD.
  • Highlight: Pat finding out that he hadn’t actually been fined $100AUD.
  • Memorable Moment: Getting out of the plane in shorts and tshirt at Hobart Airport and realising that Tasmania’s a lot bloody colder than mainland Oz.
  • Sights: Not many, really. But Pat was glad that he didn’t have to clean the car:
    Post-Road Trip Dead Flies

PHEW! So that’s it. That was the road trip. Hopefully that wasn’t too much of an ordeal to get through.

A (briefer) Tassie summary will be posted in the next couple of days – meanwhile I’m off as Pat’s dragging me to Boost to grab a smoothy and then spend some time away from a PC. He’s looking forward to a Melbourne-based catch up with Kate, Jen, Chris and Welshy tonight – should be cool!

Toodles for now,


by Squage
on Feb 7th, 2007

Prior To The Road Trip

Howdy folks!

Righty, well Pat spent quite a while each evening writing a daily diary thing to then put online. Thing is, I read through it prior to putting it online and realised that it was waffley and rather dull. Kind of like a Birdseye Potato Waffle made of McDonalds Fries. And no one wants that.

So what I’ve decided to do is continue the summary-bullet-point-stylee of the Sydney update.

Here goes:

Tuesday 23rd January: Bavarian Aquarium

  • Two major highlights of the day:
  • Sydney Aquarium: After falling out of bed late (again) Pat and Jersey walked to Hello Darling Harbour and visited this ‘ere place. There were lots of sea creatures to see (unsurprisingly) – the highlight for Pat was watching Seals swim about from within a glass tunnel:

    Seal Floating Over The Viewing Tube I Like This Shot
    Keeping An Eye On Things

    Aside from that it was, well, ok, but too full of unruly kids running around for Pat’s liking. Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater Adventure World Place Zone (or whatever it’s called) is much better, too. Admittedly it’s not much of an option if you’re in Sydney, as it’s in Aukland – about 2000 miles away.

  • Evening Entertainment: This was situated at The Rocks (an area near the Harbour Bridge) and was rather entertaining. Pat and Jersey met up with Jersey’s cousin Anna and her mates for some food and drink. They ended up in a place called the Laurenbrau Keller. It’s a big restaurant room, with a stage at the front. This sort of thing happens on the stage:

    Comed-er, I Mean Authentic Bavarian Dance! Bell Ringing!
    My, What A Big Horn You Have

    They also get people to participate. Pat was fully enjoying the friendly, party atmosphere of the place. Unfortunately for Jersey, he was sitting right next to the stage:

    Jersey Takes Part Jersey Takes Part Again

    Still, he was kept happy with the rather generous beer portions:


    These continued for a while, then several other beer-serving establishments were visited by the gang… before Pat and Jersey staggered back to the hostel at silly O’Clock AM.

Wednesday 24th January: Hungover

  • A classic post-beers day for Pat:
    1. Get up very late: He awoke at gone 11am and managed to fall out of bed at close to 12pm.
    2. Do very little during the day:We saw nothing of interest today. Most of it has been spent chilling in this hostel:

      Lazy Afternoon

      Which is no bad thing (particularly when you’re listening to the hilarious Adam and Joe Podcasts), unlike the third factor of post-beer days:

    3. Eat crap food: Jersey and Pat wandered wearily to Pizza Hut and had a buffet lunch. There goes the diet (again). Pat didn’t go too wild by his standards (like that says anything!), but poor ol’ Jersey didn’t quite know when to stop. He felt quite ill all afternoon.
  • In the evening Pat, Jersey and Tim (their French roommate) went to Coogee to meet up with Anna – and have next-to-no beers. He enjoyed the sights… but Anna has lots of nurse friends, I’m not sure which “sights” Pat means…
  • Some sights were odd though:

    (A large dog (being walked by an old woman), which was wearing little red booties)

    (A Domino’s Pizza van with an odd dorsal-fin-esque attachment)

    There was also a 7.1-on-the-richter-scale Earthquake, as can be seen above.

  • Pat went to bed a bit annoyed after getting back and spending two hours poncing around trying to un-DRMify (that’s the technical term) some songs he bought on iTunes so he could put them on his iRiver. He failed. He only realised the next day that he could’ve just burned to CD and re-ripped. What a nonce.

Thursday 25th January: Opera House

  • Today was a pretty good day.
  • Despite waking up feeling fully knackered (mainly due to his PC entertainment the night before) Pat managed to do something he’d been meaning to for ages: go on the Opera House Tour!
  • It was really pretty interesting hearing about the history of the place, particularly the political mess that caused the original architect Jorn Utzon to quit the project with only the outer part of the Opera House designed.
  • It still looks quite cool:

    Deep Thought? More Crazy Opera House Architecture
    Concert Hall Back Entrance
    Unfortunately you’re not allowed to take photos inside the actual concert halls themselves, so the following picture was definitely not under any circumstances taken by Pat against The Rules:

    The Concert Hall

    Utzon apparently wanted the interior of the “sails” framework to look “like a scuplture” and as such the big concrete framework’s never been painted. Shame, as it does look a little bit “Basildon” in places…

  • During the tour Jersey and Pat fell for the “Show the tour participants the set for tonight’s performance” trick (Oh, that *classic* one… – Pat) and after seeing the (apparently awesome) set for the Sweeney Todd musical in the Opera Hall, they booked tickets for the evening’s performance. Second cheapest tickets ($65), but with a good view – middle of the back row. Nice!
  • The musical itself was, in Pat’s words: “Really bloody good”. He expanded a little further but seeing as I’d been stuck in a bag in the Cloak Room for the entire performance, I wasn’t really in the mood for listening.
  • Pat enjoyed an evening away from computers and had a fairly early night – in preparation for the My Chemical Romance gig the next evening… on Australia Day.

Friday 26th January: My Australia Day Romance

  • So, it’s Australia Day. It’s the day Australian’s celebrate the first fleet arriving. So what better way to celebrate than have a lie in and spent an hour or two blogging? That’s what Pat decided anyway. And that’s what he did.
  • Fortunately it did get better than that…
  • After another pasta-and-veggies-based mid afternoon lunch, Jersey, Sam, Tim and Pat headed off into town towards Luna Park, where the evening’s My Chemical Romance gig was to occur.
  • After a long yet enjoyable walk, through crowded, bustling streets, past lots of free live music and a large amount of Aussie flags…

    Australia Day Crowds At The Rocks More Oz Day Crowds

    …we arrived outside Luna Park’s “Big Top” (which was more of a, say, large building than actual big top).

  • Two things surprised Pat about the queue to get in:
    1. Size: Given that he arrived at 6:30pm and the doors didn’t open til 7:30pm, the several-hundred-people-long queue was a little longer than Pat had expected – or hoped for.
    2. People: Black was the clothing colour of choice, which wasn’t such a surprise, but Pat was a bit confused to find that he was quite clearly the oldest person out of the 100 or so he could see around him. There were a LOT of 16-18 year olds. He felt like he was gatecrashing a Goth School Trip.
  • Anyway, after finally getting into the arena Pat and Tim found a spot by the sound stage in the (notably roomy) Over-18s (licensed) area whilst Jersey and Sam headed for the moshing area.
  • The support were pretty good, despite Pat having no idea who they were (they’d introduced themselves by saying “Welcome to My Chemical Romance!”. It would be quite a coincidence if that were their name).
  • My Chemical Romance themselves were excellent. Great interaction with the crowd and the ability to go from full-on CRAZSHY ROCK IN YOUR FAYSHE to heart-string-tugging (e.g. Cancer) with ease.
  • Pat left impressed, somewhat tipsy (the bar was quite close to where he was standing) and with an urge to become a concert tech op (having been watching the sound booth as much as the band most of the evening, the saddo).
  • A few long exposure shots (below) later and Pat and the gang were back at the hostel:

    Long Exposure Opera House

  • Pat will probably be buying The Black Parade when he gets home. Hey, he might even buy it from iTunes whilst travelling! Or he might just poke his eyes out.

Saturday 27th January: Dossing

  • Quite a “nothing” day today. In fact, it can be summarised in a simple paragraph:
  • Pat woke up late, he drew a bit, he grabbed some food, he watched Apocalypto and he helped Jersey out with some CD burning. Then he went to bed.

So, yep, that’s it. As an aside, Apocalypto’s apparently pretty good (at least better than Pat expected), but Pat felt that the drunken rant from the lead character about how Jews will be responsible for all future wars was a little unnecessary.

Righty, next blog will be the ROAD TRIP (starting on Sunday 28th Jan)… til then, have a good [Time Between Reading This And The Road Trip Blog]!



by Pat
on Feb 4th, 2007

Ta-Ta-Tasmania, I’m In Tasmania!


Yep, that’s correct, I’ve finally made it down to the land (ok, so it’s technically an Australian territory) of Tasmania!

Last week was a ROAD TRIP (featuring a whole load of driving about and viewing of some lovely coastal sights between Sydney and Melbourne – via a detour into the amazing Blue Mountains), which was great fun but blooming tiring for both of us (Jersey and I sharing the driving all the way down), so getting here in the laid back Tasmanian city of Hobart has been just the ticket.

It’s a really pretty city, with lots of colourful 19th century buildings, hilly streets, lovely cafes, lovely green parks and an excellent Saturday market. Perfect for winding down in, frankly.

Excitingly, one of the local radio stations (“Triple J”) not only plays quite a good selection of music, but it played a song with the words “F**k”, “S**t” and “M***er F***er” uncensored at 10:25am yesterday. Don’t worry though, they played a jingle saying “This song contains strong language” beforehand. If only I’d known! I would’ve played Kevin Bloody Wilson every hour on my previous radio shows…

Anyway, I’ve not done much in Taz yet – however we’re going to be scaling the rather (1270m) high Mount Wellington tomorrow, then over to such places as Port Arthur, Freycinet National Park and Launceston later in the week. So that should be good.

We’re still umming and ahhing regarding whether to hire a car or take coach journeys to our destinations, but I suspect we’ll opt for the latter as – with insurance and fuel considered – coaches are cheaper. We just need to compromise a bit around the timetables.

Anyways, the blog mentioned a while ago is still on its way, which will cover everything from Australia Day until the day it’s written. For ease I’m-I mean, er, Squage’s- going to split it into three blogs: Before The Road Trip, ROAD TRIP and Tasmania. It’s going to be rather bullet-pointy due to the detailed blog attempts – once viewed on screen – starting to look like aimless rambles.

A little like this. So I’ll stop.

Speak to you soon, take care and keep checking for photos in the usual place!



Starting to get a cold for the first time in Oz. Probably cos southern Tasmania’s about as hot as southern England on a summer’s day. Quite a temperature drop from Mel-38C-bourne…