Results tagged “Travel” from Kazza the Blank One

Had a pretty quiet weekend.  Just plodding through the todo list and jigsaw.  Finished season six of Homeland (Quinn can't really be dead can he???).

Sunday evening headed down to Melbourne again for work. Took off to the south so the view from my left-side window was just of Queanbeyan, and nothing exciting from the northern approach to Melbourne.  Had dinner with Daniel, Ray and Tony at Platform 28.  

Then two days of discussions and some planning, although not as many decisions made as we would have liked.

Then home again.  Again I failed, due to a left-side seat on the plane but an approach all the way around Canberra and in from the north.  If I'd been on the other side I would have seen all the lights all the way around.  Le sigh.

Have finished labelling to the end of day two of New Zealand photos.  Getting there.. oh so slowly!

Less than a month.  Twenty three days in fact.

That's how long it's taken me to get my New Zealand photos geotagged, selected for a slide show, selected for the blog, and blog updated with the photos.

That is an all time record for me.  Usually it takes a couple of years (and then some!).

Of course it helped that the holiday was only five days long!

Check out my New Zealand 2018 blog.

Just for fun, here's a photo Dad took in Wellington, New Zealand in March/April 1975, followed by one from our trip there in April 2018.

Wellington 1975

Wellington 2018

Windy Welly

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In a strange twist of fate, the sweetie and I were in both Australia and New Zealand on Anzac Day - had a quick hop across the ditch to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary - making the most of the last of the Singapore Airlines direct flights to Wellington - in fact our flight back was the second last one.

Since we've been back I've been meaning to blog, but I'm a slacker.  I wanted to rant about the poor customer service from Netflix, and praise the fantastic customer service from Willow.  I've been busy at work but not crazy busy, in fact had time to clean things this week which was nice.

A bunch of us ended up at Rob and Fiona's last night for chilli which was nice (and not tooo spicy!), and I inflicted them with not just our New Zealand slide show, but Japan 2009, Hong Kong 2013 and East Asia 2017.  Oops.  :)

I've processed all my New Zealand photos (renamed, resized and geotagged).  And other than food shopping that's about all I've managed to achieve this weekend.  Well that and cooking half the afternoon.  Cauliflower bake and teriyaki chicken for dinner, and cheese balls for snacks.

This is my new wallpaper - Belconnen from the air

Belconnen from the air

Melbourne

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The majority of my new team is in Melbourne, and this week we had a couple of day catchup with the whole team.

It was a pretty productive session but somewhat tiring.

The highlight of the whole thing was the flight down.  The back of our 737 was almost empty.  Connor and I were on the right side of the plane, and we took off to the north, and then banked around to the left.  So as soon as the seatbelt sign turned off, we jumped up and over to the other side of the plane.  We had the most spectacular view of Canberra I've ever seen!  Just amazing.  

Qantas Boeing 737-800 VH-VXB
Qantas Boeing 737-800 VH-VXB

Canberra from the air
Canberra

Canberra from the air
Northern Canberra from the air

Canberra from the air
Canberra from the air

Belconnen from the air
Belconnen from the air

Belconnen Town Centre from the air
Belconnen Town Centre from the air

Canberra from the air
Canberra from the air

Canberra from the air

Canberra from the air

Tidbinbilla
Tidbinbilla

Tuggeranong
Tuggeranong from the air

After passing out of Canberra I went back to my seat and Connor went to the seat behind.  But we got up again to see the SNOW!

Snowy Mountains from the air

Snowy Mountains from the air

Snowy Mountains from the air

Mt Kosciuzsko is centre of frame
Mt Kosciuszko is centre of frame

Khancoban
Khancoban from the air

I stayed in my seat for the rest of the flight.  Usually when I fly into Melbourne it's on runway 27, which is a completely boring approach.  But this flight flew in over the Melbourne CBD before swinging north into 34.  I didn't realise how far south we'd come until I saw the Exhibition Building!  So awesome!

Exhibition Building, Melbourne

Docklands

Melbourne

And what flight would be complete without going to say hi to the flight crew at the end :)

737 flight deck

Another highlight of the trip was catching up with David not once but twice!  Firstly for dinner on Monday night, and then again for breakfast on Wednesday morning.  That was super cool.

Pasta dinner

On the Tuesday night a bunch of us went out for dinner.  We ended up at Kollabo Kitchen for *lots* of fried chicken.  All this plus two bimimbaps for three people?  hrmmmm!!  Similar amounts of chicken were ordered by others.

Kollabo Kitchen chicken

We didn't finish it.

So I took all the leftovers back to the hotel.  Some of it David and I ate in the morning, and most of the rest of it we had for lunch later on.

Oh and also, had my first Uber rides.  They were pretty good.  The drivers were certainly a lot less aggressive on the road that taxi drivers!

It was nice to sleep in my own bed again at the end!

I've spent the past few weeks working on a new blog - a blog about the Queen Mary 2.  I posted nearly all the photos I took of the ship herself, separating them out into the different areas of the ship.  It's a bit more mobile friendly than my main blogs (which I really need to convert, but only after a lot of testing and a well documented procedure).  Stu reckons I should put Google ads on it, but apart from them being a pain, they'd also lower the tone of the whole site heh.

Anyways, here it is: Kazza's Queen Mary 2 Blog.  Please have a look and let me know if you find any issues.

Been North

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We've been to Queensland since my last blog entry.  I'll get some posts up soon.  I was going to do it tonight, but spent the *entire* evening sorting out photos (from the trip and beforehand).  I couldn't geotag stuff though because Geosetter just freezes up whenever I try to do anything with it.  Super frustrating.

You'd think that direct flights from Canberra to Brisbane and back would more or less be along the same line.  You'd be wrong.

Queensland Flight Track

And I don't think I ever blogged this .. this was a holding pattern we got put in on our trip in 2012.

Holding pattern

Airgaps in the flights are because A380s walls are so thick it's hard for the GPS to pick up the signal.

Europe 2016

Europe 2016

Europe 2016

Europe 2016

Totally Trivial

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So Wednesday night was the trivia night.

The problems started during the afternoon when we went to test the AV equipment.  The data projector and/or the long vga cable was faulty and the display was all horrible (missing grey).  Two different hdmi-vga dongles, and two different laptops including one with native vga and it made no difference, it was just stuffed.  Not to mention we had all sorts of dramas getting the amp/audio to work as well.  Then Doc accidently walked off with my phone and I started freaking out that someone had stolen it.

*sigh*

So we plugged the laptop into the tv instead with just hdmi, and Tony brought down a big speaker to use (audio through the tv wasn't working properly - it kept cutting off the beginning of the audio clips I had - more stress and drama).  But in the end got the whole lot working.  

So yeah after that the night went well.  Other than the questions being generally too hard.  But thirteen tables plus the bar - the place was packed!

Trivia night marking

Last night was a bit of p0ker with Ben and Serena.  With some very very weird rules - like no blinds and two packs of cards.  I think I was winning, but then Kit came up and we stopped playing.

Today I did house cleaning type stuff, as well as blogged some of my USA 2000 trip - which I realised recently I'd never actually blogged digitally.  The photos are online on conspiracy, but the journal was in a notebook.  So I'm digitising that and will put the photos with it.

Also went for a two hour long walk with Chris this afternoon (somewhat longer than I was intending, but over 14000 steps on the pedometer today to show for it).

Tonight we watched the very last episode of House, followed by the Bourne Supremacy.

Marina Bay Redux

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A couple of weeks ago I posted this photo mum and dad took of Marina Bay, Singapore in 2009.

Marina Bay Singapore

Here's the exact same view, January 2016

Marina Bay Singapore

The Sydney Trip

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On Friday night I left work a bit early and drove up to Sydney.  I drove past a fire at the airfield at Marulan, which turned out to be not from natural causes, but because of a plane crash!  (the dude walked away - must have been a good landing!).  We went and fed the Macaulay's cat, visited Aunty Di and Graham, then had an early night.

On Saturday we spent the morning looking at photos (we played Dad's funeral slide show which was a bit emotional) and food preparation.  We did a big roast pork and my epic potato bake as well as some other veggies and lots of nibblies.  We also whipped some cream and decorated a pavlova.  Graham and Pam and Ken and Jeanine came over and we had a lovely afternoon.

Mum and the table

Nibblies

Epic pork roast

Epic potato bake

Christmas cake

Pavlova

Family photo

In the evening we went and fed Macaulay's cat again, and watched The Princess Diaries (which Chris and I had been talking about only just the other day).

On Sunday I caught a train into the city to go see a couple of Lego exhibitions (which I'll save for separate posts).

At Central I was all set to walk around to Harris Street when I noticed the end of the Devonshire Street tunnel didn't *end* anymore - it kept on going - with a sign to the Powerhouse Museum.  So I walked down through it.  They've converted that whole little area between Central and the museum from the old goods lines into a park called The Goods Line.  Totally spun me out because that area of the city has always been a dead zone and it was a real pain trying to get around because you couldn't just walk across town because of all the railway lines in the way.

The Goods Line

The Goods Line

The Goods Line

The Goods Line

The Goods Line

The Powerhouse Museum (bottom entrance).

Powerhouse Museum

After seeing Art of the Brick, I headed back to Central to catch the train to Circular Quay (it was super hot and I didn't want to get hot and sweaty walking all the way, and as it turned out, Sunday is currently $2.50 all day on the trains so it didn't cost anything).

The Goods Line

The Goods Line

The Goods Line

Then there was the second Lego exhibition of the day - the Sydney Harbour Icons at the Museum of Sydney.

Museum of Sydney

Then up to Martin Place to train it back to mum's.  I walked straight onto a train which was pretty cool.

Picked up all my stuff, then a flying visit to Luc and Lizzi's to do a donut photo of Ryan, then drove home.

I was expecting when I got home to have a quiet night of getting myself organised, but instead I came home to a pool full of people, in varying states of intoxication.  Which was rather unexpected (and made me feel somewhat left out! heh).  So didn't get anything done at home that night.  Oh well.  

Marina Bay

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I was looking at my parents' photos of Singapore tonight, and this photo spun me out... because the whole thing is finished now.. but back in 2009 it was just a construction site..

Marina Bay Singapore

Late

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Got home late last night (went out for dinner after drinks), so didn't blog that three years ago yesterday we walked along the beach in Tel Aviv, then went to see a likely location where David fought Goliath, then had lunch and a bit of a walk around Old Jaffa.

This morning I finished scanning all my analogue photos at 600dpi.  At least I think I have.  I'd have to double check everything, but pretty sure I'm done.

But I don't think I'll ever fully label my holiday photos from the digital age.  At least with them geotagged all I need to do is load them into GeoSetter or some such and it instantly shows me where a photo was taken.  Then it's easy enough to research on the internet what it was.

Also today I realised it was three years ago today that I took off for my "Eurasia 2012" holiday.  So I've been frantically labelling photos for the blog entries.  I doubt I'll get much past Israel/Jordan in this round, as it simply takes too long to choose photos to display, and I've only culled down the first two weeks of that two month holiday.  It's hard work I tells ya!

So anyway, three years ago today I spent two days getting to the other side of the planet all by myself.

Siphon

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So we were about to get in the car to head off to work today when I noticed the pool level was a lot lower than it should be.  It looked to be at about the bottom of the skimmer box, so my first thought was that piping had broken to the filter/pump, and the pool had drained off.  As it turns out, it was siphoning itself off via the hose.

!

One end of the hose had been in the pool since the last top up a while ago.  The other end I'd draped over the edge, having disconnected it from the tap a couple of days ago to fill up a watering can.  Then the wind last night blew the end onto the ground, and the pool started draining.  Was super annoyed at the waste of water and a little worried about the flood (which, fortunately, seems to have drained fairly well).  But I was glad that it wasn't broken piping, and that I discovered it before a day of water had the chance to drain out.

In other news, all the documentaries I'm watching on America and its national parks is making me want to go back there!!  Just don't know that I could convince the sweetie..

Sunday

Arrival at Chay and David's.  Thanks David for picking me up!  Did pretty much nothing all day.

The sweetie arrived late in the afternoon yayyyy!  Was good to see him.

Chay cooked a nice moussaka for dinner.

I can't actually remember if we did any Singstar that night, but I know we all had a very early night.

Monday

Was working on some photo stuff in the morning, when Chay remembered she had a jigsaw for me to do, so that kept me happily occupied whenever I had any down time.

We all went out to have sushi for lunch, then we went and saw The Equalizer.  I liked it, except that it was overly violent for my tastes.

Did a bit of shopping afterwards, and had bbq chicken and salad for dinner.

After dinner Storm and Jamie and Sam came over.  We played Cards Against Humanity which was fun, although I didn't manage to win a single round, which was somewhat demoralising.  Played a bit of Singstar as well.

Tuesday

Had a quite morning mostly doing the jigsaw.

Then we packed a picnic lunch and headed out to White Rock for a decent walk.  It was good, but I found the heat getting to me quite a bit.  Had lunch on top of the rock.

Had pizza for dinner.

Sam came over again, and we played some Buzz and Singstar.

Wednesday

Another quiet morning doing jigsaw.

Went out to sushi again for lunch.  Also went and got a coffee from Kailyn.

David cooked roast pork for dinner yumm.

Played some Trivial Pursuit, then Buzz and Singstar.

Thursday

Sadly said goodbye to Chay and David (thanks guys, it was a lovely few days, as always).

Then hit the road and drove and drove.

Stopped to get coffee near the Gold Coast, then had some lunch at the Scottish Restaurant in Ballina. 

Ducked into Grafton to see if the jacarandas were out yet (they weren't - too early for them).

There was quite a bit of road works going on to duplicate the Pacific Highway (*finally* - at least thirty years overdue), so we were a little late getting to South West Rocks. 

Ruth cooked a very nice roast chicken for dinner.

Then we collapsed into bed.

Friday

Another long day of driving.  

Got some petrol and some coffee outside of Port Macquarie.

Lunch was KFC at Heatherbrae.

Slow slow slow along Pennant Hills Road (are they *ever* going to join the M1 to the M2??).

The straight through to Canberra.  

Between petrol stops at the Gold Coast, Port Macquarie and Canberra was 1158 kilometres.  We put 75.06 litres of petrol in.  So 6.48 litres per 100 kilometres.

Slept really well last night. Well at least until 5am when I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. Woke up in a somewhat better mood.

Breakfast was pretty simple.

Then I got Optus ever so briefly at the entrance to the motel. But not really enough to do anything with.

Piled into the coach then headed into Karumba for a quick drive through the town.

And then into the countryside. Well, stopping at Normanton for an early morning tea, and a chance for me to recharge all my portals. Found out I finally got my gold guardian too, so all I need to get to level 10 is a bit of AP now. Super tempted to ditch Optus when my contract is up - their coverage is *crap*.

Then drove and drove. Got somewhat annoyed that we didn't stop at Burke and Wills camp 119 which was *right there* off the road. And then super annoyed that we didn't stop at Leichardt Falls. Ok so the falls weren't really falling but it was a super pretty spot and would have been nice to take some photos there. Which put me in a grumpy mood about the whole trip again.

Stopped in Burketown for a lunch of sandwiches made by the local bakery. They were quite nice but at 37C and a strong breeze we had to eat them quickly before they dried out.

Kept on driving, arriving in Adels Grove late in the afternoon.

We have demountable cabins, which are nice enough, except for the minor detail that they have a useless back door which doesn't actually lock. ?!? Seriously, what the??  It also doesn't have any sort of table or chair inside for typing on, or much in the way of hooky things for hanging stuff. But it does have aircon. Win!

So we went for a little wander around the place. It's certainly very pretty here, with a lot of exotic plants and a nice little creek.

Back to the bar for a beer and then dinner of some very yummy pork chops. I might have gone back for seconds :)

Also caught a cane toad to show around to people (although didn't actually get a photo - oh well - tomorrow night!)

Then back to the room to do photos and stuff.

So my grumpiness started last night. I was feeling quite stressed about not getting enough down time. We didn't get back to our room after dinner til nearly 9pm, and by the time I have to blog and download photos and download and backup the GPS track and get to bed in time to give me enough hours sleep before I wake up at 6am .. well.. yeah .. the lack of evening time is getting to me.

Then this morning I was stressing about the cost of this trip. This trip is more expensive per day than any other holiday I've ever done. And if you start comparing it with something like our Turkey trip which was a similar time period but less expensive, but on that trip we were staying in nice hotels every night, and having restaurant quality meals for every meal, and going into a lot of paid attractions as well as having the driver, guide, coach and international air fares.. well it does make this trip *seem* overpriced. And I found out that I paid $65 dollars for the box of crap they sent me... hrmm!!

The other thing that's been stressing me is the lack of Optus. I had Optus coverage at Ravenshoe. Then we went inland. We got to Undara which was in the middle of nowhere so that was ok (the resort wanted $15/day for wifi so I thought I could wait). But then there was no coverage at Georgetown. And no coverage at Cobbold Gorge (again in the middle of nowhere). Internet there was about $3/day which was reasonable but I thought I'd get internet again the next day so I didn't worry.

So today we left Cobbold Gorge, headed back north and then west.

Stopped at a lake outside Georgetown for morning tea which was very pretty.

Then onto Croydon. Again, no Optus.

Our driver suggested where we could go for a little walk before we met the rest of the group for lunch. Which was actually quite nice. They've turned a bunch of the old buildings into little museums which were quite interesting. We could have easily spent a couple of hours wandering through them all. But alas. No time.

So powered out to Ellavale to wait for the Gulflander train. Well, rail motor. As the driver said, a bus on rails, which it really was. The track was mostly all straight so after about five minutes the novelty was somewhat over ;) But really, it was fun. And we didn't hit any kangaroos, even though lots of them jumped in front of us!

Then we had a couple of hour trip west. I tried to listen to podcasts, but succommbed to sleepiness and dozed for about half an hour or so. Maybe closer to an hour.

Just before Normanton my phone suddenly bleeped. And I was so excited! Internet! So messaged the sweetie and downloaded internet and it was all good. Ever so briefly. Outside of town it went away, but it never came back at Karumba :(:( I was *soooo* pissed off by the time we arrived at our motel room. You don't understand. I was *counting* on internet at Karumba. So that made me super grumpy.

Anyway, I washed my pants and got changed and redid my hair but I was still grumpy.

So we piled onto the coach for a 200m drive to the water. !? ok whatevs. The boat ride out into the Gulf was quite pleasant. Slow but pleasant. Eventually we ended up at a sandbar in the gulf where we disembarked.

Ok so the last time I had to shell my own crab meat was in Japan in 2009. In a completely controlled environment I found it an awful lot of work. But tonight we were perched on itty bitty seats, with camera bags hanging off the shoulders, and the wind blowing, and our drinks in the sand, and trying to shell crabs and prawns without the whole lot falling off into the sand... well it was all super stressful. In fact I had to take a couple of breaks to compose myself. And even then it didn't really work. After I struggled my way through half a crab and three prawns I took my glass of bubbly and headed off into the sunset to have a moment. Yeap. The most stressful experience of the trip so far. Even though it was really pretty. But. *so stressful*.

*sigh*

So I think I'm going to be hungry later, because all I managed to eat tonight was three prawns and half a crab. Not even any fruit for dessert. By the time I was ready to eat something, they were taking everything away. Oh well.

So had another few moments on the boat on the way back. But there were stars. And being on the water was nice.

So was still quite grumpy, but we started talking stars, and the tour leader lent me her phone so I could call the sweetie, then a whole bunch of people headed to the motel pub so I brought the laptop to type up today, and now I'm feeling a whole lot better.

Didn't sleep all that well. While the pillows at the Shangri-La were very soft and squishy and turned into nothing, the pillows at Undara were super thick and quite uncomfortable on my neck.

Breakfast was cool though - the "bush breakfast" out in the bush. Quite lovely.

Then we piled on a small coach which took us out to a couple of caves in the lava tubes. Those things are really quite spectacular. Thoroughly enjoyed those.

Then hopped back into our main coach and drove for a couple of hours, stopping in Georgetown for lunch. Sadly Georgetown doesn't have an Optus repeater, so I messaged the sweetie from someone else's phone to let him know.

After lunch we headed for Cobbold Gorge. Our room is nice enough, however they turned the only useable table into a luggage rack. Fail. So I'm typing this standing up on the bed head. Hrmm.

Anyway, after dumping our stuff we piled into another coach to go out to the Cobbold Gorge to go on a little boat cruise. They use really quiet little electric boats and the gorge is spectacular. Such a peaceful trip up and back. And we got to see some freshies :)

Got back and had a bit of a swim in the inifity pool which was lovely.

Then some bubbly and cheese before dinner.

Dinner was much like a home-cooked affair. But again, after three courses plus cheese I am completely stuffed. I think I've put on like five kilos in two days :/

After dinner they put on a video of the family from Big Country filmed in the late seventies or early eighties. It was ok but it was nearly 8:30 and I was uncomfortable from dinner and have I ever mentioned I hate how little down time you get from trips like this? I'm always exhausted by the time I get a chance to write up the day's events and download my photos, that often these writeups skip things I've thought of because it's just too hard and I want to get it over and done with .. hrmm...

At least there's aircon...

So woke up at 5am. The mother type person wanted to get up but I said too early and went back to sleep for nearly an hour.

Went for a bit of a walk before breakfast, then had another big breakfast at the hotel. Then I realised I'd lost my name tag (it was hanging off my camera bag) and so went to go find it. Fortunately I lost it at the very beginning of the walk so found it very quickly.

All on the bus by 8am, but then we sat in the car park for half an hour while they went through housekeeping.

Headed off to the south-west and up onto the Atherton tablelands through some very pretty scenery.

We stopped for morning tea at Lake Eacham, where there were super cute tortoises in a pretty crater lake.

Then we backtracked a little to see the Cathedral Fig Tree - a spectacular Green Fig tree that is *huge*! Quite a spectacular tree.

Our next stop was Millaa Millaa falls which were also very pretty.

Had a brief stop at McHugh lookout near Millaa Millaa.

And then another brief stop at the Windy Hill (very appropriately named) wind farm.

The we finally made it into Ravenshoe for lunch. For a picnic lunch it was quite impressive, with lots of salads and meats etc.

After lunch was quite a long(ish) drive out to Undara. Arrived there about 4:30, then went for a walk up to the lookout and around the campsite. Unfortunately no mobile reception here (although I think Telstra might work), and they want $15/day for internet. So no contact with the sweetie tonight.. sorry sweetie!

Our room is in an old train carriage! It's super cool. Such a lovely place. Went up for a drink before dinner. Which. Was. Huge!!! I had steak, potato and salad, but couldn't finish it all. I am still *very* full. Then back to the carriage to blog and download photos and try and charge all my devices (I *really* need another micro usb cable!)

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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