Archive for May, 2007

by Pat
on May 31st, 2007

Back In The Magnetic City!

And it’s fl-i-i-i-ping c-c-c-c-cold!

After a nice 12 hour overnight bus journey from Sydney (complete with, I think, about 30 minutes sleep) I arrived in Melbourne at 6:30am, getting out of the coach to be greeted by the weather equivalent of a big block of ice smashing me in the face.

Still, there was no choice but to grin, bear it, put a coat on and trundle 15 minutes down the road to Urban Central (via an exposed, windy section across a bridge over the Yarrah)… to find out that check in was from 2pm. It was 6:51am. Luckily there was space to store my rucksack et al and some sofas to crash on, so that’s what most of yesterday morning was spent doing.

Last night I met up with AJ and Kirsten, who are still at Urban Central 4 months after seeing them last, which was great to catch up and meet all the friends they’ve made at the hostel. Seems like a good crowd, so the next week should be fun I reckon. AJ’s doing a drag show tonight in the hostel bar, so I can’t wait to see that. Never seen a drag show before. I guess you’ve gotta try anything once, right? *

Today I picked up a Coles green bag full of bits I’d left in Greenhouse Backpackers’ 2-3 week storage area 4 months ago. Everything’s still in there! Winner!

The next week is going to be spent burning DVDs of photos, posting lots of crap back home (sorry in advance Mum and Dad!), watching Squage blog and looking for job opportunities here there and everywhere.

Then… who knows?

Hope all’s well back at home. I’m off for a walk back to the hostel. With a coat on.



P.S. I’ve uploaded some photos from my Surfing Lessons and more from the Whitsundays Tour, if you’re bored and fancy a look!

* N.B. This will not extend to actually participating in a drag show, for the record

by Pat
on May 28th, 2007

Wooh! I Did The Bridge Climb!

Well, despite my ever-continuing fear of heights, I managed to get myself up and walking along see-through grilled platforms over 50+ metre drops and up a long ol’ climb to a point 134 metres above the Sydney Harbour.

Yep, today I did the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb.

It was at once amazing (the views were just incredible from the top and, frankly, the entire structure is awe-inspiring – particularly when you think about the people who risked their lives to build the huuuge structure) and bloody scary… fortunately I managed to make the entire thing without panicking, which was nice, and also got some Quality Cheesy Photos ™ taken near the top.

The aforementioned photos will follow… till then, I think it’s time for a beer :-)



Still a bit shaky, but so, SO glad he’s done it

by Pat
on May 26th, 2007

Stop The Clock!

Well, after leaving here on the 28th of January I’m now back in Sydney, having seen a whole lot of this fine country in the mean time.

I’m still very much behind on my bloggin-er… that is… Squage is very much beh… well, you get the idea. Either way over the next week expect all those gaps from my Diving Course, the Whitsundays, Fraser Island, Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour to be filled in – hopefully in an entertaining fashion, but hey I’m giving Squage the reigns as ever so I can’t guarantee it…

Since Brisbane I’ve been to Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour:

Byron involved a bit of hiking, some drinks with Caroline (who I met in New Zealand) and her mate Julia, two days of tiring, sometimes frustrating but very much rewarding surfing lessons (I even managed to stand up for more than 5 seconds… I KNOW!). Oh and getting up at 4:30am to watch the Champions League final. I love the feetball, as you know.

Coffs Harbour was a very chilled out affair, mainly involving a nice coastal walk along beaches and over hills – and a nice early night. Twas a well needed rest from all that surfing (the aching of which is still with me despite the last lesson being on Wednesday) – and a good way to catch up on the sleep I was so deprived of in Brisbane.

Alas more sleep deprivation occurred last night, as I took the 9 hour night bus from Coffs to Sydney and, as usual, managed about 5 minutes sleep. Fortunately the lovely folk at the Sydney City Central YHA allowed me to check in early (5:40am) and so I slept until about 11:30… thus feeling almost awake again, wooh!

You can check out the photos from the various places: Brisbane, Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour. Photos from the surfing are on their way…

The next few days will involve catching up with Jonny (from my Perth to Broome tour), Sam (from Sydney) and James (from the Outback Tour), along with doing the Harbour Bridge Climb on Monday. There’ll also be blogging, of course, and then it’s off down to Melbourne on Tuesday. No idea how I’m getting there yet – but I’m hoping to nab a “relocation” deal with a hire car firm (i.e. $0 hire, but you have to drive pretty much straight to Melbourne – which is fine in this case!). Either that or blag a lift with some other folk who’re going down that way…

For now though I’m going to look at some potential job based stuff. Fun fun fun!

Hope all’s well with you!

All the best,


by Pat
on May 20th, 2007

Viva Bris Vegas!

I almost forgot about this, what with Squage reminiscing about things that happened almost a month ago: Hello! I’m in Brisbane!

Since I last spoke about where I was, I’ve been to the very chilled out and super-pretty beach town of Noosa, whereupon I spent some time lying on the beach and going for walks in the lovely national park forests – oh and took a day out to the awesome Australia Zoo. I recommend you go there as a) there are lots of animals, b) they’re looked after really well, c) you can pat Koalas and other animals and d) there are lots of live feedings / shows throughout the day to see. Plus if you’re in Noosa they run a free shuttle bus to and from the zoo!

The one minor concern with Australia Zoo is that Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin is still on many of the videos and signage around the zoo, which adds a slightly creepy element to the place. It didn’t really detract from an otherwise great day, but it was, well, a little odd. I guess they’re still all coming to terms with things and, let’s face it, he was largely responsible for where the zoo is today, I just think they need to get rid of the stuff that aludes to him still being with us, is all.

Oh, also, if you go there make sure to bring a camera – or perhaps more importantly: if you’re planning on going to the zoo shortly after going to Fraser Island, don’t take your camera to Fraser Island. It will break due to all that sand. Trust me.

So alas, no photos of the zoo but as you may notice, The Usual Place has some photos from Brisbane on it. That’s because I’ve bought a replacement camera. It’s two models higher than the previous one and cost less – and I get to use the battery from the old one. Winner!

Brisbane itself is pretty nice to be honsest. It’s similar to Melbourne in size and perhaps a little more laid back – with a lot more of a vibrant CBD (Central Business District), full of cafes and bars. It’s also got a lovely area called South Bank, complete with a fake beach, pool (they love their fake beaches and pools in East Coast Oz cities) and a great little Saturday market.

It’s good fun to go out in at night, with plenty of bars with decent prices and good atmospheres – Friday night was, from what I recall, really good:

Friday’s Bar, Brisbane CBD

Eddie, myself, Emily and Alexis enjoying the nightlife. There are plenty more from that evening, starting here.

It would be good to work in I think, which is causing me to think that perhaps I could work here instead of Cairns. We’ll see what happens when Job Hunting begins in earnest in a couple of weeks (eek, is it really getting that close?)…

The one downer in Brisbane is the hostel I’m in. Palace Central Backpackers is its name and it’s one of those big ol’ “several hundred room” hostels. Whilst the place is ok (decent sized rooms, good kitchen, decent rates etc) it seems that it attracts a whole load of drunk studenty backpackers who enjoy talking/shouting at 3am til 4am and also turning lights on in dorms, oblivious to others’ needs (or cries of “Come on guys, shut the f**k up I’m trying to sleep”)… which has meant that the last two nights haven’t been the best sleeps. Nevermind, eh? Only one more night to go and, well, it’s a Sunday so hopefully the bar’s’ll close early tonight…

Oh and before I forget, on Friday Emily and I went to (AOL Time) Warner Brothers Movie World on the Gold Coast. Twas really good fun – and rather empty too, meaning there were many occasions where I walked off a ride, back into the queue and back onto the ride within 2 minutes. Including the mad-ass Nemesis-type ride “Lethal Weapon”. Some of the ride/show highlights were:

  • Batwing Spaceshot – This was a bit like one of those “Terror Tower” style rides, where you’re winched up 50-odd metres then dropped down to the ground, only just stopping before a sudden, splatty demise. Except this one doesn’t winch you up. It bloody LAUNCHES you up. Great fun!
  • Lethal Weapon – Yep, it’s themed on that film from about 15 years ago, but amazingly is also bloody good. Why? Well, it’s like the Nemesis. But even more mental (some of the loops and twists and turns are just crazy… and it’s quite hard to walk straight after going on it…).
  • Shrek 4D – As my mate Dave put it, “So, what, it existed through *time* as well? Big Whoop!”. Fortunately the 4th “dimension” in this amusing 20 minute 3D film is the sense of touch. The chairs wobble about all over the place and there are water/air jets, which fire at you in time with, say, Donkey sneezing at you or some HUGE spiders dangling down IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE (well, that’s how it seems) falling to the floor and rushing around your feet. Very clever and good fun.
  • Wild West Falls – Yep, a run of the mill “log flume” ride, complete with the smaller, indoor drop. Except for the fact that you fall down the latter BACKWARDS. Great fun. And bloody soaking.
  • Superman Escape – More of a traditional rollercoaster, but again rather than being winched up to the top of the first drop, you’re propelled from 0 to 100kmph in 2 seconds, then shot straight up a vertical track before plummetting back down again. Awesome..
  • Police Academy Stunt Show – Just brilliant. From start to finish. Less so because of the fire/driving/explosion/falling-off-building stunts (which in fairness were all great) and more due to the brilliant actors/stunt folk involved. It’s really very, very funny. I won’t spoil the big surprise but there is one that I didn’t expect that had me, for a short moment, thinking “OH SH*T” before laughing at how well I’d been duped. If you go to Movie World, you MUST see this.

There were other cool ones too (the Scooby Doo coaster was surprisingly fun) and, overall, twas a good day out. Not sure how much fun it’d be when packed, mind.

Righty, it’s nearly 3pm, I’ve not had lunch yet and I’ve droned on for about 20 times longer than originally planned… so I’m gonna dash. :-) Hope you have a good day and I’ll speak to you either before or after I fall about like a total idiot for 6 hours or so (i.e. learn to surf) in Byron Bay!

All the best,


Tired and considering buying rocket launcher to deal with any noisy room”mates” tonight…

by Squage
on May 20th, 2007

Cape Tribulation Trip!


Wow it’s been a while since Pat let me get behind a keyboard, hasn’t it? Well, it’s about time to sort that out… and how! (I am a secret American, it’s true)

Starting with the two days up at Cape Tribulation that Pat and co. went on about 3 weeks ago.

So Who Went?
There were 5 in total, excluding yours truly of course:

The same dude Pat travelled up the west coast with, spent time in Broome with and managed to watch Norbit and feel dirty, used and miserable just as Pat did. Nuff said, really.

He of “That Trip Up The Centre Of Australia With Pat In A 4wd Landcruiser” fame, James had been in Cairns for several weeks, chilling out, sunbathing and drinking (that’s pretty much all that you can do in Cairns from what I gather…). He fancied a bit of a change, I think :-)

Also a former 4wd-up-the-red-centre team member, Liz had been working in Alice Springs for a while before heading up to Cairns shortly before Pat had arrived. She and James were travelling together for a bit and have just finished hitch hiking all the way from Cairns to Sydney. Mental!

A friend of Liz’s (who she met on her travels), and also a Dutchie. Danni’s a hairdresser by trade (giving James a free trim whilst in Cairns) and enjoys spending her time attempting to break open coconuts (at least, that’s what we can gather from the amount of time she sat on one beach attempting to smash one open (with little success))

Some annoying Essex bloke, whose only saving grace is that he carries with him a thing of such importance and excellence that his many flaws can be (just about) ignored. (Oh really? I don’t recall carrying a Nintendo DS around with me… – Pat) No, I mean me you idio… ah right. Sarcasm. Clever.

And Where Is Cape Tribulation?
It’s as described on this map below:

(Oh, that’s *perfect* – Pat) What? (Oh, nothing at all… – Pat)

How Did They Get There And Back?
In this beast:
The Beast!

Oh yes. A Nissan Somethingorother (Pat informs me, with his usual great knowledge of car makes and models), automatic (as all the hire cars Pat’s experienced have been) Power Machine! Unless you’re going up steep hills, in which case it’s more of a “Please Don’t Start Going Backwards” Machine…

Raf and Pat shared driving duties (Pat on the way there, Raf on the way back) and the journey itself was pretty lovely… through some gorgeous scenery between Cairns and Cape Tribulation, on a car ferry across a river, around mountains on very tight bends teetering above looonnnng drops into the jungle and also past some more Quality Australian Signage ™:

What Were The Highlights?

  • Swimming At Mossman Gorge
    First stop was at the gorge for a swim – with some “bloody cold” fresh water and a really strong current – which gave Pat and the gang hours (perhaps this is an exaggeration) of fun!

    Perhaps the funniest moment of this for me was watching (from the sand banks) Pat attempt to haul himself up onto a rock in the middle of the river… and fail… and fail again… then fall into the river… swim back… almost get on the rock and slip off again… and again… and again… before he finally noticed that the rock he was trying to climb onto was much shallower on the side he wasn’t trying to climb. Funnily enough, he made it up fairly easily then (well, after a couple of failed “half flopped onto rock, half still in the water with nothing to grip onto” attempts). What a genius.

  • Admiring The Views At Wonga Beach
    After Mossman the gang fancied checking out a beach… and so pulled in at Wonga. And were “fairly” impressed with the “acceptable” beach they found:
    Not Bad

    Pretty reasonable, I guess.

  • Alexandra Range
    Both driving through this (amoungst the aforementioned windy and slightly-life-threatening-if-you’re-not-careful roads) and stopping at the Alexandra Range Lookout were impressive:

    Unfortunately it seems Raf and Pat may have experienced a minor “Husband and Wife” style navigator and driver relationship by this point:

  • Cape Tribulation Forest Walk
    Once checked in to the pretty damned cool PK’s Hostel Pat and the gang set off on a rainforest walk close by. On the walk they enjoyed the wonderful scents of the local flowers…

    …had a close encounter with a “real”, “dangerous” “snake”…

    …and treated the rainforest with respect.

    (Hey, I’m not the only one who was doing that, boyo: – Pat)

    Yeah but I weigh about 150g and you way abou-(OkOkPointProven! – Pat)

  • Drawing On The Beach
    In a highly mature fashion, natch:

  • Having A Hectic Morning
    Following a night in PK’s bar, the team decided to get up nice and early and make the most of the day by setting off in the car so that they could see… all… the… things… …or not:

    Yep, swimming around in the PK’s pool was pretty much the order of the morning. Not really a bad thing, to be fair!

  • Baywatch!
    Once down to Port Douglass, Danni gave her sunnies to James, then Raf, and for some reason at that point the idea of filming some Baywatch style running seemed like a brilliant idea. Unfortunately (well…) these scenes were filmed on Danni’s camera and as such I don’t have them to show you, however if you can imagine the following you should get the idea:

    • Danni filming
    • James running in slow motion, with Danni’s shades on
    • Pat wailing “Derderderderder… derderderderder… IIII’LLL BE READY! (I’LL BE REAAADY)…” behind the camera
    • Some comedy falling
    • Lots of laughing

    There was also a bit involving Pat running along as “Hasslehoff” and falling over whilst taking his T-Shirt off, but I won’t traumatise you any further with that.

  • Oh And Some “Cape Tribulation” Thing
    Almost forgot! We went to Cape Tribulation:
    Coast Through Some Trees!
    Cape Trib Lookout?  Yes Please!
    Looking Out From Cape Tribulation
    The Gang At Cape Trib!

Following that it was back to Cairns, whereupon we all went our separate ways – though Pat and Raf rounded off the trip with a visit to the Woolshed for some cheap-as meals (Pat still can’t quite get over the $10 meal-and-a-pint deal).

All in all, an entertaining and laid back couple of days. But don’t get too jealous – my next blog entry will be surrounding a time that was significantly less laid back (albeit only because it involved training to be an Open Water SCUBA Diver…), so that should even things out. Ahem.

Toodles for now!


P.S. Were There Any Dubious And/Or Odd Photos?
Funny you should ask that:
She’s being a Jellyfish. It’s a perfectly normal photo to take. Definitely.

by Pat
on May 20th, 2007

It’s Only Fair…

…that if I whinge about being treated badly by one Internet company, I should praise another for providing great service.

So here we go: Bytemark Hosting are great! ™

I say this because along with the excellent level of service and customer support, they’ve now massively upgraded all their virtual server specifications. I’ve got a virtual server with them (it runs this ‘ere site, along with some others) and I found it good value BEFORE the upgrade… but now I’m Fully Loving It ™.

Spec Before After
RAM 80MB 150MB
Disk 4GB 10GB
Backup Space 1GB 2GB
Bandwidth (Monthly) 25GB 25GB
Cost (Yearly, Ex VAT) 150GBP 150GBP

Hey, Lamehosts, are you looking at this?

So, if you want to host multiple web sites on one box, or just have the flexibility to install anything you want (e.g. Icecast, WordPress, various databases and languages – hey even a Quake 3 server would work, I’d wager), with great uptime and customer support for a very reasonable price then get on over to Bytemark.

That is all.


Shamelessly Plugging Stuff Since About 5 Minutes Ago.

by Pat
on May 13th, 2007

A Dingo Ate My Baby!

So, I’m at Hervey Bay. It’s a fairly big town on the east coast of Oz, somewhere between Cairns and Brisbane.

I’m bloody tired. Mainly ‘cos myself and a 9 other folk have just been camping, 4-wheel-driving on beaches and generally doing lots of wandering about – without much sleep – for the past three days *.

Yep, I’ve been on a self-drive tour of Fraser Island.

It’s been great fun (despite constantly worrying that we might do something to the vehicle that could incur the myriad of fines the company we got the 4x4s from seemed keen to charge), we’ve walked along beautiful beaches, swam in picturesque blue lakes, splashed around in huge waves and had many close encounters with the island’s residents: Dingos.

Before all this I was in Agnes Water / Town of 1770, just after a nice night bus. It’s a lovely, quiet little place with some bloody cheap activities (kayaking, which I took part in, surfing, airplane tours and scooter tours to name a few) – I’m gutted I was only there for one day. May stop by on my way back up to Cairns!

More details and photos will be on the way (details in Brisbane, photos sooner than that) but until then I’m going to head for a shower – and then a celebratory Pizza Hut Buffet with the gang. We’re celebrating getting back alive and without fines. Get in!

Til then, toodles!


* Also because I swam several hundred metres across Lake Mckenzie (and back) today. Gotta find some way of working off the Goon and tonight’s evening meal ;-)

by Pat
on May 7th, 2007

Hi! I’m In Airlie Beach!

And I’ve just finished a 2 day, 2 night adventure on the 42 foot Powerplay catamaran around the Whitsunday Islands.

Blogs will be on their way in more detail (just when Squage actually gets time to catch up on things… so probably in Brisbane!) but until then here’s a brief summary of my trip:

  • There were a great group of people – both the 4 crew and the 18 passengers
  • I did five scuba dives, which included:
    • Awesome coral, a reef shark, lots of clown fish (“Nemos”)
    • Video of a few of us running in “mid air” without fins on
    • Very “sexy” wetsuits
    • Videos of the same few doing underwater dancing (Macarena, Birdie Song, Stayin’ Alive, Hokey Cokey, YMCA and some Big-Fish-Little-Fish-Cardboard-Box action)
    • Inappropriate photos with Sea Cucumbers
  • We went to Whitehaven Beach. It was gorgeous – and empty when we got there (rather early in the morning). We spent a few hours enjoying the sights, taking group photos and making sculptures in the sand…
  • We sat in a hot tub on the outer deck as the boat sped through the Whitsunday waters
  • We watched Road Trip (“UNLEASH THE FURY!”) and White Squall (“Should we be watching a film about a massive sea storm whilst on a boat?”) on the 50″ projector display in the galley
  • We sat on the deck getting suntanned/burned(delete as appropriate)
  • We did various press ups through failing the Game Of Life (I’ll explain later)
  • We discussed life, the Universe and everything
  • We had plenty of laughs
  • We’re going out tonight for a meal and a few drinks. I’m hoping it won’t be quite as “few” as after my Pro Dive course last week…

Right now I’m in an Airlie Beach Internet cafe, having just spent a few very difficult hours lounging around by the Airlie Beach lagoon (as with good ol’ Cairns, you can swim in the sea but only if you enjoy dieing from jellyfish stings). The room is, uh, swaying a bit at the moment. I swear it takes longer to get used to being on solid land than being on a boat out at sea.

I’m also very tired. That’s what getting up at 6am to be in the water doing a dive around gorgeous coral reefs (just next to the beach where the “Where The Bloody Hell Are Ya?” advert was filmed) will do to you, I guess.

Tomorrow’s going to be a long day. After waking up to check out at 10am, I will then be in Airlie all day and getting the night bus to Agnes Water/Town Of 1770 at 11:50pm – arriving in AW/TO1170 at 9:55am. I really hope I can sleep on the bus.

Right, til the next time, take care and I hope you’re well!



Giddy and tired

…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 Squage
on May 2nd, 2007

More About Darwin


Long time no speak – it seems Pat’s been hogging this blog space to gush about diving and rant about Fast(to-Charge-You-Fees-But-Rather-Slower-At-Actually-Providing-A-Service)hosts. Thought I’d fill you in on a couple of the bits about Darwin that Pat missed out:

  • Sitting By The Pool
    The Awesome Pool At The Cavenagh HostelPat mentioned this, but what he didn’t mention is that on one of the many times he (and often Liz) were sitting by pools, he couldn’t really see very well and was spending a fair amount of time moaning about painful eyes.

    Yep, despite previously falling for the same trap in a pool in Broome, he figured that the salty pool water meant that it was 100% desalinised and 0% Chlorinated.

    After 30 minutes or so of mucking around underwater, he noticed his vision had gone a little cloudy. Then came the chlorine pain. I have no sympathy, frankly…

  • Sights Of Darwin
    On his first full day in Darwin Pat took an early morning (well, around 9am – that’s bloody early for backpackers when they’re in a city) stroll around the town and coast line. Here are some piccie highlights from his trundle:

    Cairns Town Hall. The old one. As you might guess:

    War Tunnels (closed, alas, but I almost got through the grating!):
    Squage And The War Tunnel

    Pretty Coastline:

    Various War Memorials And Placards:
    What Is It Good For?

  • Darwin Museum And Art Gallery
    After going to see Liz’s travelling companion Melissa in hospital (alas one of her million “Broome Souveniers” (mozzie bites) had got infected so for 3 days of her Darwin trip the sights were somewhat limited to a curtain around her bed, whilst the sounds were limited to the sounds of someone coughing their guts up at the other side of her room), Pat and Liz went to get some culture at the Darwin Museum And Art Gallery.

    Clearly frightened by this concept, Pat ensured that the opportunity to be as childish as possible for as long as possible wasn’t missed and so on the way to the museum insisted that the following photo was taken:
    Pat tells me it’s funny. I don’t get it.

    Anyway, the museum was actually pretty cool (apparently… I was stuck in Pat’s back in a locker at reception. Maybe they were concerned I would be a Squage FULL OF BOMBS…). Pat recommends going there if you get a chance as a) it’s free, b) the stuff about Cyclone Tracy is both compelling and shocking to see and hear, c) it’s free, d) there’s an excellent area surrounding aboriginal history, e) it’s free, f) the area on the history of the planet is really interesting, g) it’s free and h) there’re some cool looking stuffed animals to see:

    Pat’s looking nervous there, but just you wait until you see the Litchfield ones below! (Aww wow, that was like a little radio tease that Pat used to do on SGR Colchester. Maybe I should play some ads here or something? Ok, here goes:

    Come to Cairns Diving School!
    It’s really pretty cool!
    We’ve got a swimming pool!
    We’ll teach you all the rule! (…s of diving)

    Cairns Diving School. A Diving School. In Cairns. YES!
    Come to Cairns Diving School!
    Or you will be a fool!
    Others may pull some wool!(…over your eyes regarding their quality of dive programmes)
    But we’re the only school! (…which teaches diving that is in our opinion of a high enough quality to be of use to you)

    Ok, that’s enough. On with the blog! (I think you need some sleep, mate – Pat))

  • Trips To “The Vic”
    Evening entertainment was had at the main backpacker pub/bar/club “The Vic” a number of times during the week, the most notable being the evening that Raf arrived from his 5 day Kimberlies tour and saw plenty of (i.e. far too much) alcohol consumed by all in attendance.

    Early in the evening, Liz took advantage of the free body painting service:
    Liz Getting Finishing Touches Cool!

    Then Raf took part in a drinking competition:

    He didn’t win. Mind you, it WAS ginger beer. I don’t blame him.

    Then it was onto the usual bout of sobriety:

    Pat was also very excited when, on the night after that above, he WON A HAT in a “guess the intro to a song first” competition. The premise was this: a song intro was played. The first person to run onto the stage and guess the song correctly won a prize. Pat spent the first 3 songs sitting down going “Yep, that’s blah by blah” about 10 seconds before anyone got on stage. On the 4th it was suggested that maybe he should actually get on stage with the next song. He did. He won a hat.

    So, believe it or not, there is a real advantage gained from doing prerecorded radio shows where all you hear is the first few seconds of each song. I think we can all agree it was worth it. I mean, for a start the hat Pat won was a beautiful fit:


  • Litchfield National Park Visit
    Starting with a 6:30am pick up, which Pat was really very happy about having stayed up drinking until about 12:30am, this was a surprisingly good day given how bloody awful Pat felt for at least half of it.

    The morning revolved around Crocodiles, which are abundant in the northern part of the Northern Territory – stopping firstly at the tour headquarters, where a 2 year old croc was in residence. In Pat’s first Mental Act Of The Day, he decided to hold it:
    Smiling With FEAR!
    Apparently it was soft, a bit scaly and rather cool to the touch. And a bit growly…

    Pat’s second Mental Act Of The Day involved saying “Ok” to the invitation of sitting in a small boat, setting out onto a river and watching his tour guide feeling an over-5-metres-long Crocodile called Hannibal The Cannibal (he eats anything, which was comforting news for the people on the boat to hear…) – at rather close range:

    Here He Comes…
    Here He Comes...

    Eyeing Up The Food…
    Eyeing Up The Food...

    Open Wide!
    Open Wide!


    Mental, I tell ya.

    The rest of the Litchfield experience revolved mainly around swimming at, around and under some gorgeous waterfalls and gorgeous water holes:

    And also admiring some of the local wildlife:
    Trying To Look Scary.  Actually Looking Comical. Termite Mounds: Big

    Before finally ending up back in Darwin for a champagne (and prawns, for everyone else) sunset:

So, yeah, a bit more to tell you than Pat had bothered with, eh? Hope that wasn’t too arduous. If so, watch out – I’ve still got Pat’s Cape Tribulation weekender, some Cairns stuff and a whole lot of Diving Bits to go on about!

By the way, if you want to see the Diving Photos, check them out here!

Toodles for now!