A Travellerspoint blog

Chile

We sat through the dodgy food and in-flight movies to arrive in Chile ten hours later, flying over the mountains and desert to touch down in Santiago.

We spent a few days in Santiago to get used to the time change. Santiago has a strong European feel to it reminiscent of Spain, not just because of the language. We spent a few nights here getting used to the time change and the South American latino culture before spending a few nights in a nearby town called Valparaiso. Nothing to say about this place other than it is notorious for pick pockets as we found out when Servane got rolled.

DSCF7134.JPG

DSCF7135.JPG

DSCF7181.JPG

Back in Santiago we hopped on a 5 day tour heading to the north of Chile, going all the way past the Andes through the Atacama desert stopping just before Bolivia. From then on we spent the next week driving through the desert with about eight other people from around the globe all squeezed into a minibus.

The tour involved a lot of driving through small villages and desert with nothing but sand and mountains to look at. One notable stop was at the Pinguino de Humboldt National Reserve where we jumped on a boat to do an island tour to Isla Damas and Isla Choros. A wildlife reserve known for animals like the dolphins we saw in the waters, the sea lions on the rocks, the pelicans and eagles and the penguins scrambling to get out of the water.

DSCF7238.JPG

DSCF7251.JPG

DSCF7270.JPG

DSCF7298.JPG

We then spent the next day in Bahia Inglesa in the heart of the desert. We set up camp for two nights and all had a big barbecue and had a few more ‘Piscos’ which is Chiles national drink, a sprit similar to Pernod. We realised we may have had too many as we didn’t wake up the next morning until we all felt our cabin shaking and realized it was an earthquake, a regular occurrence in Chile apparently. We soon found out it wasn’t going to be the last one we would witness.

DSCF7356.JPG

DSCF7357.JPG

We stopped at the cemetery in the middle of the desert which is the only thing that remains of the old nitrate mining town close by and we passed the ‘Mano del Desierto’ or the hand in the desert, a sculpture made by a Chilean artist apparently to give the long distance drivers a reason to stop.

DSCF7361.JPG

DSCF7380.JPG

After spending a night in Antofagasta, a sprawling city in the middle of the desert we arrived at the Atacama Salt Flat after visiting the train cemetery on the way, and then another natural reserve to see the flamingos.

DSCF7398.JPG

DSCF7412.JPG

DSCF7422.JPG

DSCF7438.JPG

DSCF7460.JPG

DSCF7431.JPG

DSCF7467.JPG

DSCF7468.JPG

DSCF7594.JPG

DSCF7571.JPG

DSCF7523.JPG

DSCF7503.JPG

DSCF7636.JPG

DSCF7641.JPG

DSCF7630.JPG

On our last day of the tour we paid a visit to the Salt Caves and Moon Valley which were pretty impressive.

DSCF7471.JPG

We spent our last few days in Chile in the town of San Pedro. A small but traditional town with dust roads and short whitewash houses. We decided to do some horse riding around the desert close by before leaving for Bolivia.

Posted by JimmyHill 10:21 Comments (0)

New Zealand

After two and a half hours, we arrived in Auckland on the north island, where we picked up the campervan which was to be our home for the next ten days. Didn’t take us too long to get caught in a load of traffic around Auckland but once we were through this we made our way down through the rolling green hills arriving in Rotorua in the evening.

Rotorua is a geothermal site and has a number of geysers, hot springs and an active volcano in the area, you can tell as soon as you get close because of the smell of sulphur is overpowering. In Rotorua we went to the ‘Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland’ where we saw the daily eruption of the geyser, the underground thermal pools, hot springs and mud pools, we also bathed in a site for thermal pools, the hottest being 40 degrees. One day was spent doing a few of the more energetic activities including a cable car up to the top of the mountain, a sky swing, which was a capsule hauled up 40m then basically let go to fall over the side of the hill, once we got to the top, followed by the luge which is basically a go-kart back down the hill. In the afternoon of this day we did white-water rafting, freezing cold but bloody good. It has the biggest commercially rafted waterfall which stood at about 8 meters.

DSCF6754.JPG

DSCF6800.JPG

DSCF6841.JPG

DSCF68581.JPG

DSCF6870.JPG

DSCF6893.JPG

DSCF6916.JPG

DSCF6920.JPG

DSCF6934.JPG

DSCF6943.JPG

KC6_0243.JPG

We passed through Taupo then onto Wellington soon after as the weather, since leaving Auckland had been raining constantly and freezing cold which kind of limited us with things to do, all we could do was sit in the back of the van and have a drink which is what we did the majority of our trip. We took the ferry the following day and the weather was as it has been but much windier, perfect weather for getting the ferry. People were throwing up left, right and centre, I don’t know how we managed to keep it down but we did and made it to Picton on the south island.

DSCF6992.JPG

DSCF6958.JPG

DSCF6975.JPG

DSCF6990.JPG

DSCF7129.JPG

DSCF7003.JPG

DSCF7011.JPG

DSCF7025.JPG

We passed through some pretty impressive scenery whilst driving with the mountains and winding rivers and all that, stopping at the ‘biggest suspension bridge in New Zealand’. The next place we stopped was the Franz Jorge and Fox Glaciers. Both small alpine style towns with towering mountains behind and the glaciers themselves are pretty striking. We were unable to do the glacier trek due to the weather so we had to console ourselves by walking to the base of both glaciers and doing a walk along Lake Matheson.

DSCF7051.JPG

DSCF7071.JPG

DSCF7100.JPG

We finished our trip at Christchurch where we trawled the local bars and nightspots and spending the rest of the time in the hostel recovering.

DSCF7127.JPG

Posted by JimmyHill 07:28 Comments (0)

Fiji

South Pacific

We touched down at Nadi airport on the main and biggest island in Fiji called Viti Levu. We decided to leave Nadi as soon as we arrived in hope to find better weather further north so we took a boat the following day to the islands which are a couple of hours away from the mainland. Aside from the picture postcard scenery, Fiji is still quite a traditional place with most Fijians on the islands, outside of the resorts continuing to live a village lifestyle under the authority of a local chief and maintaining traditional values and culture. We got to know some locals as most of the resorts employ only locals from the villages on the islands.

DSCF6458.JPG

DSCF6459.JPG

DSCF6499.JPG

DSCF6511.JPG

DSCF6396.JPG

DSCF6575.JPG

DSCF6475.JPG

Our first stop was Robinson Crusoe island, which was average, mainly due to the weather being pretty bad, this restricted us with things to do. As we went further north the weather improved and we found ourselves on another island called Waya celebrating our four year anniversary with a lobster dinner on the beach.

DSCF6210.JPG

DSCF6249.JPG

DSCF6260.JPG

DSCF6414.JPG

DSCF6416.JPG

DSCF6515.JPG

We then headed to the Mamanucas group of islands a bit further south and to the ‘party’ island called Beachcomber which was only 2 acres and you could walk from one side to the other in about five minutes. Wasn’t really all that but we managed to get drunk on jungle juice. On the way to our next stop we passed the island where they filmed ‘Castaway’ and then ‘Celebrity Love Island’. We stayed at a resort on Walu Beach, where another reality TV program was filmed.

DSCF6724.JPG

DSCF6732.JPG

DSCF6690.JPG

DSCF6741.JPG

DSCF6698.JPG

At all of the places we went to we were welcomed onto the island with the traditional string band when we stepped off the boat and the Polynesian style dances at night and of course the traditional Kava ceremony, which consists of the passing round of the Kava bowl and the reciting of some Fijian words before and after drinking. Kava is the national drink and is a part of the lifestyle here in Fiji. It is made from the root of a pepper plant, actually a narcotic, it tastes like muddy water and leaves a numb feeling on your tongue but the more you drink the less you care.

DSCF6587.JPG

DSCF6168.JPG

DSCF6185.JPG

DSCF6311.JPG

DSCF6356.JPG

DSCF6425.JPG

DSCF6597.JPG

Beachcomber Island
DSCF6648.JPG

DSCF6658.JPG

DSCF6686.JPG

Kava Ceremony
DSCF6435.JPG

DSCF6513.JPG

Onto New Zealand.

Posted by JimmyHill 16:17 Comments (0)

Long Island Beach Resort

Long Island, The Whitsundays

DSCF5668.JPG

Its been a long time since we have had the opportunity to update the site through one reason or another, we were waiting to finish work and actually take some photos for it and something interesting to say, so here it is.

We have spent the past just under two months working at Long Island Beach Resort. We visited long island on a day trip and asked for work as there was nothing at the time we called back when in Cairns and they told us to come down within the next two days and start immediately. No interview when we got there, all the requirements were that you could speak English, no visible tattoos, no funny hairdo, and basically if you’re alive you’re hired.

garden pool long isl.jpg

Restaurant
resto - me mop.jpg

resto - vi..om entr.jpg

resto.jpg

In more ways than one it was like student life there, although student accommodation probably would’ve been tidier than the staff quarters on the island. We all lived, worked and socialised together, which was good at times but not others. Most of the people that worked there were Aussies, most of them just finished college or whatever, looking to spend a bit of time away from home. We met some good people there not only the locals, there were a lot of Japanese on three month visas, the same as the Koreans. Friday nights on the island was staff night at what they called the MHC (Mental Health Club, which was probably as bad as it sounds) or in other words the staff bar. Some of the crazy parties we’ve had there included a pyjama and beach party. It may sound terrible but after a few cheap beers wasn’t actually that bad.

DSCF5656.JPG

DSCF5665.JPG

DSCF5666.JPG

DSCF5700.JPG

We worked in the restaurant most of the time and James worked in the bar on a few occasions, having to learn how to make the cocktails and mixing one or two on the first night’s happy hour wasn’t the easiest thing. It was a buffet restaurant so most of the time it was just clearing tables, taking drink orders, hosting, or serving at the bar that sort of thing, pretty boring most of the time which is why we had to make the most of our time when not working. Every night after work we made sure we would spend all the money we had earned during the day and every day off we managed to spend all the rest of it at Airlie.

DSCF5713.JPG

DSCF5715.JPG

DSCF5731.JPG

DSCF5746.JPG

DSCF5750.JPG

DSCF5755.JPG

DSCF5773.JPG

Having postponed our flight once already it was then time to move on and leave Australia. The only thing left to do was to sell the damn campervan. I ended up staying an extra day in Airlie to sell the van while Servane went down to Brisbane. I finally managed to sort it all out and sell it literally an hour before my flight.

DSCF5788.JPG

DSCF5799.JPG

DSCF5927.JPG

DSCF6012.JPG

DSCF5719.JPG

DSCF5862.JPG

DSCF5875.JPG

DSCF5877.JPG

DSCF5879.JPG

DSCF5928.JPG

DSCF5929.JPG

DSCF5934.JPG

DSCF5948.JPG

DSCF5952.JPG

DSCF5955.JPG

DSCF5972.JPG

DSCF5992.JPG

DSCF5993.JPG

DSCF5994.JPG

DSCF5996.JPG

DSCF5998.JPG

DSCF5711.JPG

DSCF5716.JPG

DSCF5841.JPG

Posted by JimmyHill 00:07 Comments (3)

Palm Cove

North Cairns

We decided to get out of the city and spend the last of my parents days in Australia, 25 km up the coast at a small seaside town called Palm Cove.

Cairns northern beaches are known to be the living area of those who work in Cairns, a string of coastal communities, linked by the Captain Cook Highway. A little less hectic than what we where used to Palm Cove was probably a bit too quiet for the last days but we still managed to have a good few beers and that.

We did the cable car up to Karunda whilst we were there which has more camera-toting tourists than you can shake a didgeridoo at. Albeit a bit of a tourist trap its still a good place to go to get souvenirs of all kinds from opals to boomerangs to kangaroo testicle bottle openers. We got the railway back down the mountain and took the photo next to the waterfall.

DSCF5501.JPG

DSCF5499.JPG

DSCF5511.JPG

DSCF5524.JPG

DSCF5529.JPG

DSCF5532.JPG

DSCF5546.JPG

DSCF5554.JPG

DSCF5556.JPG

DSCF5562.JPG

DSCF5574.JPG

DSCF5577.JPG

DSCF5585.JPG


We said farewell to the parents the next day and the brother the day after that. We had our ups and downs but on a whole I think we all got along pretty well. We headed back down to Cairns and started the long search for work.

As we have only a month left in Australia, we needed to find work as soon as possible and the money even sooner. However, our search didn’t take too long and our first call found us something. The Long Island Beach Resort was looking for people to work in the restaurant and bar and to start asap – result! We left Cairns the next day and drove back down the coast only stopping for about 10mins in the 9hr drive. We stopped off to advertise our van for sale (no roads on island), buy our sailor style deck shoes (which gives you an idea of the uniform) and to stock up before getting the boat back into the island.

Will update with a few photos of work asap.

Pics of van from Ad

DSCF5618.JPG

DSCF5614.JPG

DSCF5612.JPG

DSCF5596.JPG

Posted by JimmyHill 18:17 Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 59) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »