A Travellerspoint blog

May 2009

Brisbane, 31 May - 3 June 2009

On Sunday, the day after the big family party, we went down to Brisbane in the car with Lindsey's cousin and her daughter - stopping off early on to see where some of the family had set up house (generally in 40 acres of land - much of which is native bush with dingos, wallabies, etc!). We stayed with the daughter who lives in Sandygate, a suburb of Brisbane right on Moreton Bay.

She has picked an excellent spot from which to commute into the centre of Brisbane for work. Right by the sea, with lots of typical colonial type houses, she lives in a unit in one of them - a 10 minute walk to the station and a half hour train into Brisbane.

Brisbane itself is quite pleasant without being anything special as a tourist destination. Its mainly modern and high rise, with just the very occasional old building, just to give the place a bit of "heritage". A very good way to see Brisbane and environs is from the river using the River Cat, which has regular services, which runs right through the centre of the city and out on both sides. Day passes covering all Brisbane's transport options are very reasonable.

There are lots of possible places to stop off on the river Cat trip: - certainly the old Expo site, which has been well re-utilised with everything from museums to restaurants to a mini version of the London Eye to a beach area. The original Nepali peace temple (which we saw there back in 1988!) is about the only remnant still there from Expo. - possibly a drink/meal at the well known Regatta Hotel - there's also a few parks en route and the Queensland University - set in a pleasant campus.

... but we really enjoyed the area around Sandygate, with Lindsey's cousin, daughter and also one of her son's and family living nearby - pleasant for walks along by the sea or into the village, and socialising with family.

Brisbane City 1

Brisbane City 1


Brisbane City 2

Brisbane City 2


Typical Sandgate House - we stayed in unit there

Typical Sandgate House - we stayed in unit there


Typical Sandgate House 2

Typical Sandgate House 2


Typical Sandgate House 3

Typical Sandgate House 3


Sandgate - Moreton Bay 1

Sandgate - Moreton Bay 1


Sandgate - Moreton Bay 2

Sandgate - Moreton Bay 2


Sandgate - Moreton Bay 3

Sandgate - Moreton Bay 3


Brisbane by City Cat 1

Brisbane by City Cat 1


Brisbane by City Cat 2

Brisbane by City Cat 2


Brisbane by City Cat 3

Brisbane by City Cat 3


Brisbane by City Cat - Stop off at old Expo site

Brisbane by City Cat - Stop off at old Expo site


Old Expo site - Meeting the local Ibises

Old Expo site - Meeting the local Ibises


Local Ibis - not that pretty really!

Local Ibis - not that pretty really!


Old Expo site - View

Old Expo site - View


Brisbane by City Cat 4

Brisbane by City Cat 4


Brisbane by City Cat 5

Brisbane by City Cat 5


Brisbane by City Cat 6

Brisbane by City Cat 6


Brisbane by City Cat 7

Brisbane by City Cat 7


Brisbane by City Cat - Watering stop Regatta Hotel

Brisbane by City Cat - Watering stop Regatta Hotel


Brisbane by City Cat 8

Brisbane by City Cat 8


Brisbane by City Cat 9

Brisbane by City Cat 9


Brisbane by City Cat 10

Brisbane by City Cat 10


Brisbane - Old and New 2

Brisbane - Old and New 2


Brisbane - Old and New

Brisbane - Old and New

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Toowoomba, 26 - 31 may 2009

Happily, air travel in Australia is rather cheaper than it used to be - now there is actually competition! Just one and a half hours from Sydney to Brisbane, and we were picked up by Lindsey's cousin, then 2 hours up by car to Toowoomba (literally up - its generally 5°C colder than on the coast), to stay in their house on the edge of the bush a bit out of town. They built a lovely house on a big plot with loads of native vegetation and birds.

Whilst the town of Toowoomba is not a place you would expect visitors to Australia to go out of their way to visit, its a pleasant enough place which definitely has an Australian feel to it (wide streets, typical facades, ...)

We had a lovely stay there for a week - enjoying the countryside and nature, visiting town, other relatives and friends, a meal out at a winery for my birthday, a great day out to the Bunya Mountains National Park (named after the impressive Bunya trees found there) - picnic, lovely walk in the forest, lots of wallabies and multi-coloured parrots - and, on the last day, an excellent all day party with the family out there and their numerous offspring (it ended up quite "arosé" - I will spare the photos).

Lindsey's cousin's house

Lindsey's cousin's house


Lindsey's cousin's house - view

Lindsey's cousin's house - view


Lindsey's cousin's house - view 2

Lindsey's cousin's house - view 2


Lindsey's Cousins garden   house

Lindsey's Cousins garden + house


Lindsey's Cousins garden

Lindsey's Cousins garden


Lindsey's Cousins garden - Black Cockatoo

Lindsey's Cousins garden - Black Cockatoo


Tooowoomba 1

Tooowoomba 1


Tooowoomba 2

Tooowoomba 2


Tooowoomba 3

Tooowoomba 3


Tooowoomba 4

Tooowoomba 4


Rainbow Lorrakeet

Rainbow Lorrakeet


Boabab tree   Lindsey's cousins near Toowoomba

Boabab tree + Lindsey's cousins near Toowoomba


Telegraph Pole   Kookaburra

Telegraph Pole + Kookaburra


Kookaburras love raw steak!

Kookaburras love raw steak!


Friendly Kookaburra

Friendly Kookaburra


Friendly Kookaburras

Friendly Kookaburras


Bunyas Trip - en route

Bunyas Trip - en route


Bunyas Trip - Quinalow Pub en route

Bunyas Trip - Quinalow Pub en route


Quinalow Pub - too early to meet the locals

Quinalow Pub - too early to meet the locals


Bunyas Trip - beware Wallabies crossing

Bunyas Trip - beware Wallabies crossing


Bunyas Trip - Bunya Tree

Bunyas Trip - Bunya Tree


Bunyas Trip - view from Bunya mountains

Bunyas Trip - view from Bunya mountains


Bunyas Trip - Bunya Trees

Bunyas Trip - Bunya Trees


Bunyas Trip - meeting a wallaby

Bunyas Trip - meeting a wallaby


Bunyas Trip - Wallaby

Bunyas Trip - Wallaby


Bunyas Trip - Wallabee 2

Bunyas Trip - Wallabee 2


Bunyas Trip - Wallabee   Baby

Bunyas Trip - Wallabee + Baby


Bunyas Trip - Wallabee in action

Bunyas Trip - Wallabee in action


Bunyas Trip - forest walk 1

Bunyas Trip - forest walk 1


Bunyas Trip - forest walk 2

Bunyas Trip - forest walk 2


Bunyas Trip - forest walk - Bush Turkey

Bunyas Trip - forest walk - Bush Turkey


Bunyas Trip - forest walk 3

Bunyas Trip - forest walk 3


Bunyas Trip - forest walk 4

Bunyas Trip - forest walk 4


Bunyas Trip - Friendly wild parrots

Bunyas Trip - Friendly wild parrots


Bunyas Trip - Crimson Rosellas

Bunyas Trip - Crimson Rosellas


Bunyas Trip - King Parrorts and Crimson Rosellas

Bunyas Trip - King Parrorts and Crimson Rosellas


Bunyas Trip - King Parrot

Bunyas Trip - King Parrot


Bunyas Trip - Meeting a Crimson Rosella

Bunyas Trip - Meeting a Crimson Rosella

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sydney, 19 - 23 May 2009

We had a couple of three month visits to Australia years ago and did quite a lot of the standard travellers stuff. This time we're here mainly to see some friends and relatives ... so our itinerary and activities are

Had a great few days staying with friends who we met and spent time with back in the 80's (both in Europe and Australia) and we have not seen since! They now have lovely daughters of 13 and 17. Stayed with them in a delightful suburb (Grays Point), at the edge of the Royal National Park south of Sydney.

Visits to the Eastern Suburbs to meet up with Michele and Louise, who we had met on the Halong Bay boat trip in Vietnam, and trips with our friends to the Royal National Park and futher down the coast, and lastly into Sydney to the Rocks, Opera House etc.

It all went very quickly ...

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House


Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge


Southern Suburbs - House in Grays Point!

Southern Suburbs - House in Grays Point!


Southern Suburbs - Grays Point 1

Southern Suburbs - Grays Point 1


Southern Suburbs - Grays Point   can of VB

Southern Suburbs - Grays Point + can of VB


Sydney Eastern Suburbs - Bondi Beach 1

Sydney Eastern Suburbs - Bondi Beach 1


Sydney Eastern Suburbs - Bondi Beach 2

Sydney Eastern Suburbs - Bondi Beach 2


Sydney Eastern Suburbs - Australian Beefburger!

Sydney Eastern Suburbs - Australian Beefburger!


Eastern Suburbs   MIchele and Louise

Eastern Suburbs + MIchele and Louise


Eastern Suburbs - Bronte Beach

Eastern Suburbs - Bronte Beach


Eastern Suburbs - Tamarama Beach

Eastern Suburbs - Tamarama Beach


Eastern Suburbs - Tamarama Beach 2

Eastern Suburbs - Tamarama Beach 2


Eastern Suburbs - Tamarama Beach 3

Eastern Suburbs - Tamarama Beach 3


Eastern Suburbs - Tamarama Beach 4

Eastern Suburbs - Tamarama Beach 4


with family at table!

with family at table!


with Julie and Tony

with Julie and Tony


Royal National Park - Wottamolla (?)

Royal National Park - Wottamolla (?)


Coast South of Royal National Park

Coast South of Royal National Park


Bridge which replaced dodgy coastal road

Bridge which replaced dodgy coastal road


Bridge which replaced dodgy coastal road 2

Bridge which replaced dodgy coastal road 2


Near Sydney Harbour Bridge

Near Sydney Harbour Bridge


Sydney Harbour Bridge 2

Sydney Harbour Bridge 2


Sydney Harbour Bridge 3

Sydney Harbour Bridge 3


Circular Quay

Circular Quay


Circular Quay 2

Circular Quay 2


Circular Quay  3

Circular Quay 3


Sydney Opera House from Watson Bay Boat

Sydney Opera House from Watson Bay Boat


Sydney Opera House from Watson Bay Boat 2

Sydney Opera House from Watson Bay Boat 2


Sydney Opera House from Watson Bay Boat 3

Sydney Opera House from Watson Bay Boat 3


Common local wildlife - Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Common local wildlife - Sulphur Crested Cockatoo


Common local wildlife - Sulphur Crested Cockatoo 2

Common local wildlife - Sulphur Crested Cockatoo 2

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Bangkok II, 15 - 18 May 2009

Note: Photos of main tourist sights are in previous entry.

Decent flight with Air Asia (no frills but fine - "Now everyone can fly") from Hanoi into Bangkok. We are just here for 3 days before flying out to Sydney. On Saturday, we spent practically all day looking at shops !! ... first the weekend market (which has 15000 stalls) and then the enormous MBK and Siam malls back in the centre of town. Not the nightmare you might expect! Easy transport to and fro as the BTS skytrain connects to both from Sukhumvit where we were staying, and quite fun. A great discovery was the Food Court in the basement of the Siam Paragon building - a multitude of food opportunities and cheap. Its just 3 stops from where we were staying by skytrain (and right outside the station), so we ended up going there to eat for the next two evenings. We were looking to have a trip by long-tailed boat down the klongs We had done such a trip many years ago in Bangkok but could not remember where started off in the long-tailed boat. So, on Sunday, we headed up river to Nonthaburi on the Chao Phraya Express boat. Well, the trip we were looking for was not from Nonthaburi! ... but we found a trip to Koh Ket island upriver by long tail boat. It seems to be a favourite spot on Sundays with the Thais. It was a fun trip on the boat ... when you get to the 'island' there's a very long narrow path/alley with loads of not very exciting handicraft stalls, a wat, and what looked like good places for lunch by the river. The next day we flew out ... the end of of our Asia trip, sadly ...

Bangkok Weekend Market 1

Bangkok Weekend Market 1


Weekend Market 2

Weekend Market 2


MBK Store

MBK Store


Siam Centre

Siam Centre


Siam Centre 2

Siam Centre 2


Chao Phraha River Upstream

Chao Phraha River Upstream


Chao Phraha River Upstream 2

Chao Phraha River Upstream 2


Chao Phraha River Upstream 3

Chao Phraha River Upstream 3


Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 1

Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 1


Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 2

Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 2


Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 3

Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 3


Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 4

Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 4


Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 5

Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 5


Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 6

Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 6


Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 7

Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 7


Koh Teh Island 1

Koh Teh Island 1


Wot on Koh Teh

Wot on Koh Teh


Wot on Koh Teh 2

Wot on Koh Teh 2


Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 9

Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 9


Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 10

Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 10


Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 11

Longtail boat trip from Nonthaburi to Koh Teh 11


Siam Paragon Food Centre 1

Siam Paragon Food Centre 1


Siam Paragon Food Centre 3

Siam Paragon Food Centre 3


Siam Paragon Food Centre 1

Siam Paragon Food Centre 1


Night scene near Siam Paragon Centre

Night scene near Siam Paragon Centre


Rqpid Transport train near Siam Centre

Rqpid Transport train near Siam Centre

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Hanoi III, 14 May 2009

The last of five overnight trains in Vietnam took us back into Hanoi, arriving at just after 05h00 ! We had arranged with our hotel to be picked up and it was welcoming to have someone waiting with name displayed on the platform. Room not available until after 9 so had time to upload the photos from Sapa on one of the hotel's free computers!

Just one day in Hanoi this time, before heading off to Bangkok the following morning. Wandered round the old part of town checking out some shops and picking up a couple of items of silk clothing for Lindsey and a few last souvenirs. Had to shelter from some very heavy rain for quite some time but it later improved and the sun actually came out - the first time we had seen it in Hanoi!! Lovely that they still have loads of trees down the old streets.

Incidentally, we would definitely recommend our hotel(s) - Golden Sun I, II, III - well located in the centre of things, decent price, very friendly and helpful staff. Also, the curiously named Pinky Moon bar just across the road. Nice spot for an apero - rude not to indulge with G & T at just over 1 Euro during the 3pm to 10pm Happy Hour!

Its the end of our Indochina tour through Loas, Cambodia and Vietnam ... no stomach or health problems (at least until the last morning when I got a loose stomach!) even though, when it looked OK, we ate salad, risked ice in drinks ... Really very enjoyable 7 weeks, varied places to visit, friendly people, ... definitely recommended.

Old Hanoi with the sun shining !

Old Hanoi with the sun shining !


Old Hanoi with the sun shining 2

Old Hanoi with the sun shining 2


Old Hanoi with the sun shining 3

Old Hanoi with the sun shining 3


Old Hanoi with the sun shining 4

Old Hanoi with the sun shining 4


Old Hanoi with the sun shining 5

Old Hanoi with the sun shining 5


Old Hanoi with the sun shining 6

Old Hanoi with the sun shining 6


Swimsuits for adults!!

Swimsuits for adults!!


Lake near Old Town

Lake near Old Town


View from breakfast cafe

View from breakfast cafe


Old Hanoi with the sun shining 7

Old Hanoi with the sun shining 7


Views whilst sipping a beer hoi

Views whilst sipping a beer hoi


Views whilst sipping a beer hoi 2

Views whilst sipping a beer hoi 2


Views whilst sipping a beer hoi 3

Views whilst sipping a beer hoi 3


Views whilst sipping a beer hoi 4

Views whilst sipping a beer hoi 4


Apero time at Pinky Bar 1

Apero time at Pinky Bar 1


Apero time at Pinky Bar 2

Apero time at Pinky Bar 2

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)