Saturday, August 30th, 2003 – Day 193 to Sunday, August 31st, 2003 – Day 194

Saturday, August 30th, 2003 – Day 193

I went to the Central District Pub called ICON last night straight after the match. It was 6 AUS in and drinks (called POTS) which were less than a 1/2 pint were only 3 AUS. Its was pretty good. They kept putting and lighting lighter fuel on the bar. They also had a SPIN THE WHEEL behind the bar where you pay 2 AUS and win free drinks, shots etc. There was also a 1/10 chance of getting soaked wet by the bar staff. I won 3 free beers before getting totally soaked from my waist up. I left around 2.00am. There were still lots of footie fans around.

The Icon Bar has established itself as the party venue of Melbourne with a well-deserved reputation over the past 9 years for its party hard atmosphere.

More importantly ICON BAR is the only place where you can dance on the bar. We are open every Friday and Saturday night till the early hours of Sunday morning.

Our friendly staff will party with you throughout the night, entertaining everyone with dancing, bar tricks, competitions, and the best atmosphere in Melbourne.

On Saturday morning I was tired but I went to Queen Victoria Markets

The Queen Victoria Market is a Melbourne institution covering several blocks. There are hundreds of indoor and outdoor stalls, where you can find anything from live rabbits to bargain-basement clothes. The markets can get cramped, and there’s a lot of junk to sort through, but you’ll get a real taste of Melbourne and its ethnic mix here. Look out for the interesting delicatessen section, and cheap eateries. Allow at least an hour.

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Melbourne – Australia – Market (30-08-2003)

There was not much to see. Unless you are into tacky souvenirs or specialty foods, do no bother. I did buy two German bratwurst with sauerkraut. I did little the rest of the day. I did a fair bit of walking around.

I went to the Elephant and Wheelbarrow in Saint Kilda around 10.00pm to see the Everton V Liverpool match and watch a live band. For details and reviews of Melbourne nightlife check out Maxmoose.

It was a good night and the craic was good. I went to party out in Sunshine (40 minutes away) after 2.00am. There was no transport back in so I stayed over. I did not get back into the city until 1.00pm the next day.

Sunday, August 31st, 2003 – Day 194

I was supposed to meet Chris for the footie but I was really late. I was supposed to have checked out at 10.00am but they did not mind. When I was getting my bags, I met a guy from Emily in Limerick whom I had met at a football match in Rio De Janeiro 6 months ago. He was staying in the same dorm. Quite a small world we are living in. We spoke for a while before I put my bag in storage at the hostel.

It was pouring rain, so I wrote up the blog for Sydney. My bus to Sydney was at 7.00pm. It was 50 AUS for the 10 hour night journey. It was with McClaffertys. The bus station was going teo blocks away in Franklion Street. i was disappointed to see if was an ordianry bus with no extra leg room. It was stuffy and they showed Legally Blond on the bus TV. Silly movie but a few laughts.

It was a hard journey with little sleep. It was raining quite alot. They stopped twice for meal breaks – well PIES and COFFEE. We reached Central station in Sydney at 6.20am.

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Melbourne – Australia – Various Shots of Melbourne(31-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Various Shots of Melbourne(31-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Various Shots of Melbourne(31-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Various Shots of Melbourne(31-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Various Shots of Melbourne(31-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Various Shots of Melbourne(31-08-2003)

Friday, August 29th, 2003 – Day 192

Friday, August 29th, 2003 – Day 192

As soon as I arrived In Melbourne very was talking about the round 22 game between Collingwood and Essendon at the Melbourne Cricket Ground tonight. I rang both Ticket Master and the AFL governing body. They and all the papers said it was sold out for weeks. Anyway I rang Chris, a guy from Melbourne I met in Peru.

The first thing I did today was to go on the 10.00am tour of the State Houses of Parliament

Now the home of the Victorian Parliament, this imposing monument to Victorian (as in Queen Victoria) architecture at the top of a run of sandstone steps was built in 1856. Between the time of the Australian Federation (1900-1927), it was used as the National Parliament. When the State Government is in session–generally on Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday and Thursday between March and July, and again between August and November–you can view the proceedings from the public gallery. However, you should ring ahead and check as sitting times do vary. During non-sitting times both the extremely opulent Upper House and the less ornate Lower House chambers are open to the public. Allow 30 minutes

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Melbourne – Australia – State House (29-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – State House (29-08-2003)

The tour was an hour long and it was great. They are really relaxed about security here and the functions rooms are hired for weddings. Couples actually pose in the Parliament Rooms. Our guide was cool and he joked about certain politicians. Labour recently gained control of both houses of Parliament. He says political life here isn’t formal and all the politicians call each other and staff by there first name. He allowed us to sit in the speakers chair and in the there House of Lords. It was free, really good and I would recommend it. Our guide had been to Ireland to see relatives last year. Does every body living in Melbourne have Irish relatives.

I then visited Melbourne Museum which is a 12 minute walk. I passed the beautiful old Royal Exhibition Building on the way. Less interesting site about it here.

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Melbourne – Australia – Royal Exhibition Building (29-08-2003)

Explore a rain forest. See Phar Lap. Touch a dinosaur bone. Walk onto a set of the TV show Neighbours. Live a life-time in no time at all at Melbourne’s award winning Museum.

Situated in Carlton Gardens and next to the historic Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne Museum is an exciting and innovative attraction – including permanent and touring exhibitions, dynamic performances and events, cafes, IMAX Theatre, gift shop, and undercover parking.

Melbourne Museum is a storehouse of ideas, promoting public debate on issues relating to the natural environment, new technology, and other changes occurring in our society. People outside Melbourne will increasingly have electronic access to the Museum’s superb collections, research, exhibitions and educational packages. The Museum has excellent education and catering facilities, a state of the art storage facility for the Museum’s collections, a range of performance spaces and a study centre called InfoZone to provide information access for the public.

Melbourne Museum is open daily 1000 – 1700

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Melbourne – Australia – Museum (29-08-2003)

I spent about two hours at the museum as it was excellent. It concentrates on contemporary issues like Gene research, stem research, cloning, bio-technology and GM foods. Its thought provoking stuff and I enjoyed all of it. There are lots of hands on interactive displays as well. It cost me 4.80 AUS with a concession.

I next caught the Circle tram to the Police Museum which has free entry. I have never been in trouble with the police but they make me nervous. I bet not many tourists end up here. You pass some security. Its strange sharing a lift with 10 uniformed coppers.

The exhibits and displays at the Victoria Police Museum include the following: police communication systems, policing in the city, weapons, uniforms, insignia, badges and a police motorcycle. Souvenirs and books are available at the museum shop.

The Victoria Police Museum is conveniently located in the Victoria Police Centre, Concourse Level, 637 Flinders Street, Melbourne – not far from Spencer Street Station. The Victoria Police Museum is open from Monday to Friday from 1000 – 1600.

Lots of information about notorious crimes committed in the City but missable. Again lots on Ed Kelly but interesting that they focused on the three Irish born policemen that Ned killed.

October 1878, Sergeant Kennedy, with Constables Lonigan, Scanlon and McIntyre, rode out from Mansfield. They wore no uniforms but all were heavily armed. On the 25th they made camp at Stringybark Creek, unaware that only a mile was the Kellys camp. Making one of his regular reconnoitres, Ned spotted the police camp and hurried back to raise the alarm believing, quite rightly, that he and Dan would be shot on sight. There had been recent, well-publicised cases of trigger-happy New South Wales police killing suspects and there is persuasive evidence that the Victoria police searching for the boys were equally likely to shoot first. One police officer was quoted as saying If I come across Ned Kelly ll shoot him like a dog. The gang killed two of the three.

I went back to the hostel around 5.00pm and met with Chris. I said I was trying to get a ticket for the game. He is a big football fan and he said I had no chance. What I did was I got a white dustbin bag from the bin in my room. I had a red felt pin and wrote in big letters on both side ONE TICKET NEEDED. I made holes for both arms and my head. It was now my T-shirt. I talked to Chris for 30 minutes and walked down town with him and got a tram (number 48) to Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground is Australia’s sporting Mecca. With a capacity of almost 100,000, it is home to the AFL Grand Final. These days its title is somewhat misleading, for football dominates the ground during winter, while only a relative handful of international cricket matches is played there in summer. Nonetheless, the MCG has a special place in the hearts of all football fans.

Melbourne’s number-one sport is Australian Rules Football–or simply, “the footy”–a skillful, often violent, ball game the likes of which you’ve never seen (unless you have ESPN). Melbourne sports 10 of the 16 Australian Football League (AFL) teams, with the others coming from Adelaide, Perth, Sydney, and Brisbane. The season starts on the third weekend in March and ends with the Grand Final on the last Saturday in September. The most accessible grounds are at The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)–take tram no. 75 along Wellington Parade, and the Optus Oval at Carlton (tram no. 19 from Elizabeth St.). Tickets cost around A$12 (US$7.80) per person, or A$30 (US$20) for a family of four. For game information, call AFL Headquarters at tel. 03/9643 1999. Buy tickets at Ticketmaster (tel. 13 61 00 in Australia;

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Melbourne – Australia – MCG (28-08-2003)


In 1857, Tom Wills, one of the founders of Australian Football, returned to Australia after schooling in England where he was football captain of Rugby School and a brilliant cricketer. Initially, he advocated the winter game of football as a way of keeping cricketers fit during off-season.

The new game was devised by Wills, his cousin H.C.A. Harrison, W.J. Hammersley and J.B. Thompson. The Melbourne Football Club was formed on August 7, 1858 – the year of the code’s first recorded match between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar School.

The game quickly blossomed. The Geelong Football Club was formed in 1859 and in 1866 an updated set of rules was put in place and competition started.

Anyway, the trams were packed with suppoorters from both sides and the interaction was friendly and down to earth. There were no other people looking for tickets but there were no newly released tickets. I went around for 10 minutes before someone spotted my t-shirt and sold me a 29.65 AUS ticket for face value. they were an extended family of five whose Aunt could not make the game. I was in the seats with them. The wifes mother was born in ireland and the sons girlfriend who was there, mother was born in ireland. She was visiting ireland for the first time next year. They were good craic and they expalined the finer points of the game for me.

There was 70,000 people at this gruge match and the atmisophere was fanastic. as they are rebuilding part of the north stand, there was a strong breeze in the stadium. this made play difficult and lot of pasees were going astray.

After each of the 3 breks, people rushed down for a few bees and hot pies. he beer was good and liked the fans. It s a similar game to our own Gaelic Footabl and we play Australia next October in the Compromise Rules series. There are alos lots of Gaelic Clubs in Australia. They also Play Auusie riules in ireland. Check out the Australian Rules Football League of Ireland (ARFLI).

Found this story on an Irish Site.

Absent-minded tourists reunited with missing luggage

2003-08-28 12:00:07+01

Three absent-minded Italian tourists who booked into a B&B in Dublin and subsequently forgot where it was have been reunited with their luggage after four days.

The three men booked into the B&B in north Dublin on Sunday, but lost their bearings and forgot where the building was located. They spent a number of days sleeping in their hired car before heading to Kilkenny in an attempt to make the most of their holiday. The Tourist Victim Support Office eventually traced the B&B and reunited the tourists with their missing luggage today.

  • Buckley leads Collingwood home in a heart-stopper – Collingwood have secured a home qualifying final – probably against their 2002 grand final nemesis Brisbane – after disposing of Essendon in a nailbiter at the MCG last night. The Magpies led at quarter-time, the Bombers at half-time and Collingwood again at three-quarter time in a game in which the only significant margin was the 16 points that separated them at the final siren. The result reversed the 66-point hiding the Bombers gave the Magpies on Anzac Day.

  • Bombers fall at MCG – August 30, 2003 Collingwood 12.11 (83) Essendon 9.13 (67) COLLINGWOOD secured second spot and a home AFL qualifying final with an outstanding 16-point win at the MCG. Kicking into a strong, swirling wind in the last term, the Magpies showed why they are a premiership favourites with a 12.11 (83) to 9.13 (67) win.

  • Magpies find the answers

  • What Collingwood’s win means …

  • Pies nail second spot after tight tussle

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Melbourne – Australia – Picture from the Football game (29-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Picture from the Fottball game (29-08-2003)

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Melbourne – Australia – Compromise rules (29-08-2003)

Some othe Irish Blogs. This Irish Guy is in Melbourne and this is WOW.

Thursday, August 28th, 2003 – Day 191

Thursday, August 28th, 2003 – Day 191

I was up early again today. I am in a sightseeing mood. First I walked to Old Melbourne Gaol.

I had to wait around for 20 minutes as it did not open until 9.30am. I was the first man in. The main reason I visited here as it has a large NED KELLY Collection.

I love this cramped former prison with its tiny cells and spooky collection of death masks and artifacts of 19th-century prison life. Some 135 hangings took place here, including that of notorious bandit (and Australian hero) Ned Kelly, in 1880. The scaffold where he was hung is still in place, and his gun, as well as a suit of armor used by a member of his gang, is on display. The jail closed in 1929. The display profiles of former prisoners give a fabulous perspective of what it was like to be locked up here. Chilling night tours run every Sunday and Wednesday (call ahead and check the schedule); they cost A$18 (US$12) for adults and A$10 (US$6.50) for children (though the tour is not recommended for children under 12). Allow 1 hour or more.

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Melbourne – Australia – Gaol (28-08-2003)

It was expensive to get in at 12.50 AUS but if you use coupons from the official Melbourne visitor guide, can can get a 2 for 1 bargain. I have been to three formers prisons in Ireland. They were Kilmainham Gaol , Wicklow Gaol and Cork City gaol. They are all based on the same structural system. I have alos been to the notorious Tuol Sleng Proson (S-21) in Phnom Penh.

A little about Ned Kelly History

“Ned Kelly was a wild ass of a man, snarling, roaring and frothing like a ferocious beast when the tamer entered the cage. Mad Ireland had fashioned a man who consumed his vast gifts in an insensate war on property and on all the props of bourgeois civilization – the police, the bankers, the squatters, the teachers, the preachers, the railway and the electric telegraph.”

So wrote historian Manning Clark in his classic History of Australia.

Good ol’ Ned Kelly. Australia’s greatest mythological character. Icon of the Australian imagination. But who was the man behind the mask? Was he a bloodthirsty, brutal killer, or Australia’s answer to Robin Hood, waging a war against injustice and inequality?

Greater minds than ours have tackled this question, so let’s just try and stick to the facts as they are known.

Ned’s old man, ‘Red’ Kelly, was transported to Australia in 1843 for the heinous crime of stealing two pigs. Edward “Ned” Kelly was born in country Victoria in June 1855. Eventually, there were five girls and three sons in the family. Red died in 1866.

The Kelly family became known as notorious cattle and horse thieves and had frequent clashes with the law. After one altercation in 1878, Ned’s mum, Ellen, was arrested and gaoled for three years.

Outraged at what they saw as a terrible injustice, Ned, his younger brother Dan and their mates Joe Byrne and Steve Hart fled to the bush. The Kelly Gang had been formed and their bushranging days began in earnest.

In October of the same year, Sgt Michael Kennedy and Constables Lonigan, Scanlon and McIntyre set out to capture Ned and his gang. At the now infamous shoot-out at Stringybark Creek, Kennedy, Lonigan and Scanlon were shot dead.

The reaction to the killings varied dramatically. The establishment and media portrayed Ned and his gang as ruthless killers and a 500 pound bounty was placed on their heads. In the bush, Ned was seen as a people’s hero.

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Melbourne – Australia – Ned Kelly (28-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Ned Kelly (28-08-2003)

The Kelly Gang’s bushranging exploits grew in daring. In February, 1879, they raided the town of Jerilderie, just over the New South Wales border, rounding up the local police and menfolk in the town’s pub.

It was Ned’s grand ambitions which led to his downfall. In June, 1880, he planned his greatest crime: to lure a trainload of police to the town of Glenrowan, where he would rip up the railway tracks and send the carriages plummeting down the side of a hill.

Unfortunately for Ned, the police were tipped off. They stopped the train outside of town, cornered the Kelly gang in the Glenrowan hotel and riddled the pub with bullets. Joe Byrne was the first to die.

In the morning, Ned emerged from the hotel, clad in the home-made armour and helmet for which he is now best remembered. Despite the armour, Ned was brought down by a volley of shots and captured.

The police, with their main prize captured, ordered the hotel to be razed to the ground. The charred remains of Byrne, Steve Hart and Dan Kelly were later discovered.

Ned was tried in Melbourne’s central criminal court and found guilty. Again, the reaction was divided. The establishment argued that Ned was getting all that he deserved. His supporters rallied behind him and glorified his deeds.

On the morning on November 11, 1880, the noose was slipped around Ned’s neck and he was hanged. History recalls his final words as either: “Such is life” or “Ah well, I suppose it has come to this”.

Tuol Sleng Is in stark contracts to the ancient Khmer culture. It is perhaps one of the most gruesome places that you will every see. In 1975, the Khmer Rouge’s Security Forces took over a former High School and turned it into Security Prison 21, which rapidly became the largest centre of detention and torture in Cambodia. Over 17,000 people were held in the Prison before being executed in the “killing fields”. Detainees who died whilst being tortured were buried in mass graves with the prison grounds. Each detainee was meticulously photographed and these photos cover the museum walls from from floor to ceiling.

I enjoyed the full story of the Kelly family and different notrioius killers. Information on Ned can be found here , here (which is an excellent site with excelelnt photos), and here.

I then walked back into town and visited the The State Library of Victoria to read some Internatrional papers and magazines.

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Melbourne – Australia – Library (28-08-2003)

It has the largest collection of reference material in Victoria, historical and current, from newspapers to books. The library also has specialist collections such as children’s literature and theatre programs. Free tours operate on weekday afternoons and some weekends. There are approximately 1,687,420 visitors to the Library each year.

The Library houses approximately 1.5 million books and 16,000 serial titles.

Special collections include Manuscripts, Pictures, Genealogy, Maps, Newspapers and Rare Books.

I then walked to the Shrine of Remembrance .

The Shrine of Remembrance was built between July 1928 and November 1934 in remembrance of those 114,000 men and women of Victoria who served and those who died in the Great War of 1914-1918. 89,100 of them served overseas and 19,000 did not return.

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Melbourne – Australia – Shrine (28-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Shrine (28-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Shrine (28-08-2003)

The people of Victoria felt that their debt to these volunteers, who had defended them at such great costs to themselves and their families, should be recognised by a worthy permanent monument of remembrance.

Although the country was faced with frightful unemployment and financial difficulty in the late 1920s and the 1930s, so great was the gratitude of the people that the huge amount required to build the Shrine was raised or promised within six months from the opening of the appeal in 1928

I syaed here quite a long time. Its a fantastic building in a great setting and the views of the city from the Balcony are great.

Acdfross the way was the The Royal Botanic Gardens,

They are the best of their type in Australia and well worth a few hours wander. More than 40 hectares (99 acres) of gardens are lush and blooming with more than 12,000 plant species from all over the world. Don’t miss a visit to the oldest part of the garden, the Tennyson Lawn, with its 120-year-old English elm trees. Other special corners include a fern gully, camellia gardens, an herb garden, rainforests packed with fruit bats, and ponds full of ducks and black swans. You can either discover the gardens by wandering at your own pace, or you can take one of the free guided walks that leave the National Herbarium Building, F Gate, Sunday through Friday at 11am and noon. Bring snacks and your picnic blanket to Shakespeare in the Park, a popular summer event. Performances are in January and February, and tickets cost around A$30 (US$20). Call tel. 03/9252 2300 for details. The gardens are open November through March from 7:30am to 8:30pm, in April and September through October from 7:30am to 6pm, and May through August from 7:30am to 5:30pm. Admission is free. To get there, catch the tram on Route 8, traveling south, and get off at Stop 21. Allow 2 to 4 hours

I did not spent long here and spend some time in the gardens visitoer centre.

I then took the City Circle Tram around the city.

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Melbourne – Australia – City Tram System (28-08-2003)

It is the best way to get around the center of Melbourne–and it’s free. These burgundy-and-cream trams travel a circular route between all the major central attractions, and past shopping malls and arcades. The trams run, in both directions, every 10 minutes between 10am and 6pm, except Good Friday and Christmas Day. City Circle Tram stops are marked with a burgundy sign.

Trams can be hailed at numbered green-and-gold tram-stop signs. To get off the tram, press the red button near handrails, or pull the cord above your head. It took 30 minyutes to go the full route. You pass FIFTY city attractions and you can get to visit each of them. WOW, FIFTY.

Federation Square

Touted as “Melbourne’s civic and cultural hub for the 21st century,” Federation Square is expected to attract more than 6 million visitors a year. Here you’ll find the National Gallery of Victoria–Australian art. The three-level Nation Gallery of Victoria building is huge and hosts the largest collection of Australian art in the country, including many works by Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale, and Tom Roberts, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The Gallery will also be a major focus for art festivals and special events. There are two cafes here too. The ACMI center includes two state-of-the-art cinemas, and large areas where visitors can access movies, videos and digital media. It’s worth visiting the square though just to see the extraordinary architecture, made up of strangely reflective geometrical designs, and the very impressive glassed galleria-like Atrium. Lots of events are planned for the square’s 450-seat amphitheater, including theatrical performances, and free concerts and other events will take place on the Plaza and along areas of the banks of the Yarra River.

Either you love or hate this palce. It has inhabitants divided. I liked it but you need big crowds to make it come to life. While I was there, thye Victorian Police Showband were playing in full uninform. They were pretty cool and relaxed. I can see the NO WORRIES attitute here.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Federation Square (28-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Federation Square (28-08-2003)

What a day of sightseeing. It was now 5.00pm and I wanted to see Melbourne duriing day and night hours. t was time to go to the Rialto Towers Observation Deck

From this observation deck, near the top of the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, you get 360° views of the whole of Melbourne and beyond. See if you can spot the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and the Crown Casino. A 20-minute film costing A$2 (US$1.30) shows you what you’re looking at, but you might as well just take a map up with you and figure it out for yourself. Of interest are the displays telling about life in Melbourne, past and present. There’s a licensed cafe here, too. Allow 1 hour.

I spent about two hours here watching the sun go doen. It was 10 AUS in a discount coupon from a visitor guide. I enjoyed the views and you get a goofd view of the sea and city attractions like the MCG.

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Melbourne – Australia – View of the City from Deck (28-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – View of the City from Deck (28-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – View of the City from Deck (28-08-2003)

After a shower, shave etc. I decided to go out and listen to some music. I went to Goo – at the Melbourne Metro nighclub (20-30 Bourke Street)

The name Metro ensures quality, professionalism, and nights directed at students. Goo is all of these things, because like other Metro nights, it was set-up with the help of students. It is the best of the grunge, alternative nights in town. If you like Regurgitator, Doors, Violent Femmes, Nirvana, Powderfinger, or anything like them or heavier, you will like Goo.

Dress is grungy, gothic, punk or black. Outside of uni holidays, outrageous hair, and excessive body piercing seems popular too. Despite the sometimes frightening appearance, the crowd is remarkably friendly, and fun. You have a pretty diverse spread of ages, although 18-22 is the norm. They always arrive before I do, so must get there before eleven, although a big concert, or Monash Union Night sees the crowd arrive later. During holidays, you want to be there pretty early as the full house sign gets a work-out. During semester it varies, but lately it has faired well.

If you like alternative music, and have never been to a club before, Goo is a good starting point. Its size and effects are something else, and all the experts tell me the music is great. A good genuine uni night.

I went home around 2.00am.

Wednesday, August 27th, 2003 – Day 190

Wednesday, August 27th, 2003 – Day 190

I was at the bus stop in the main square at 7.00pm last night. The bus fare to the airport was only 5 NZD and it took 30 minutes. The airport was empty when I arrived. A lot of the airport shops were closed and few people were about. One 2 check in desks were open and we that the only flight out that evening. I was supposed to pay Qantas 10 NZD for changing my flights dates but they let me off. I had to pay the New Zealand government 25 NZD for a departure tax though.

We left on time at 10.20pm and the flight was three hours and fifteen minutes. We arrived in Melbourne at 11.45pm. The flight food was good (pasta and Chicken) but in flight entertainment was bad. The flight was only 20% full and we had only had one big screen at the top of the cabin. Anybody seated back more than 10-15 rows could not see the film called A GUY THING. Most people had to move forward to the empty sets to see the movie. The movie itself was terrible. It was the worst ever. I watched 20 minutes and listened to the audio channels although there was no inflight magazine to be had, making listening choices difficult. In a sour note, they had an old Oirish Joke on there comedy Channel.

I arrived in Melbourne and passed with immigration even though they quizzed me why I had three entry stamps for Chile. I then got a bus to Spencer station in the city centre for 13 AUS. It took 30 minutes. Instead of getting a taxi, I walked to the hostel. There was not a car or a person on the streets at this time but I did not feel unsafe. I was impressed by the city and felt it had a big city atmosphere.

I booked a 4 person dorm, and luckily I was the only person in he dorm that night. I am paying 25 AUS per night.

I have been saving this for my arrival in Australia. For the benefit of the imminent arrivals…. How to tell if your a true blue, dinki di Aussie:

You’re not Australian until…………

1) You’ve mimicked Alf Stewart from the TV show Home and Away’s broad, Australian accent, eg. “push off, ya flamin’ drongo!”

2) You’ve had an argument with your mate over whether Ford or Holden makes the better car,

3) You’ve done the “hot sand” dance at the beach while running from the ocean back to your towel.

4) You know who Ray Martin is

5) You start using words like ‘bloody’ and ‘grouse’ and call people’champ’

6) You stop greeting people with ‘hello’ and go straight to the “how ya doin’?”

7) You’ve seriously considered running down the shop in a pair of Ugh Boots

8) you own a pair of ugh boots

9) You’ve been to a day-nighter cricket match and screamed out incomprehensibly until your throat went raw.

10) You kind of know the first verse to the national anthem, but buggered if you know what ‘girt’ means.

11) You have a story that somehow revolves around excess consumption of alcohol and a mate named ‘Dave’.

12) You’ve risked attending an outdoor music festival on the hottest day of the year.

13) You’ve tried to hang off a clothesline while pretending you can fly

14) You’ve had a visit to the emergency room after hanging off the clothesline pretending you can fly.

15) You own a pair of thongs for everyday use, and another pair of dress thongs’ for special occasions.

16) You don’t know what’s in a meat pie, and you don’t care

17) You pronounce Australia as “Straya”

18) You call soccer “soccer, not “football”

19) You’ve squeezed Vegemite through Vita Brits to make little Vegemite worms.

20) You suck your coffee through a Tim Tam.

21) You realise that lifeguards are the only people who can get away with wearing Speedos.

22) You pledge allegiance to Vegemite over Promite.

23) You understand the value of public holidays.

24) You’re weekends are spent barracking for your favourite sports team.

25) You have a toilet dolly

26) You’ve played beach cricket with a tennis ball and a bat fashioned out of a fence post.

27) You firmly believe that in the end, everything will be ok, and have told a mate in tough times that “She’ll be right, mate”

28) You use the phrase, “no worries” at least once a day.

29) You’ve been on a beach holiday and have probably stayed in a caravan.

30) You constantly shorten words to “brekkie”, “arvo” and “barbie”

31) You’ve adopted a local bar as your own.

32) You know the oath of mateship can never be limited by geographical distance. ”


I was up at 8.00am and the hostel gives you free tea/coffee and two slices of toast between 8.00am and 9.00am.

I am related to an important historical figure in the city called Arch Bishop Daniel Mannix. My granmothers uncle, who was the Bishop of Ballarat in Australia was a first cousin of Dr. Mannix. The 2 first cousins were bishops in Australia at the same time. Of course Ballarat is famous.

Ballarat was the scene of Australia’s most famous civil insurrection. In the early morning of 3 December 1854, miners clashed with police and Government soldiers. In all, 28 men were killed and a large number wounded.

The word “Eureka” is the Greek word for “I have found it!” and was uttered by Archimedes (287-212 BC) when he discovered the method for determining the purity of gold in Kinh Hiero’s golden crown. From 1630 the term started to be generally used to express triumph on any discovery – not necessarily gold.

The word is still used widely in Ballarat – for naming streets, buildings and businesses. It is also the name of a derelict gold ghost town in, and the motto of, California.

I decided to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral go there and take a free tour at 10.00am. I was there at 9.30am and walked around. At 10.00am, I met Sister Peter. Her mother was Irish and she had been to Ireland. I was the only person doing the tour.

Anyway it was 1 hour long. She had a great interest in the cathedral and its history. She also spent a alot of time giving out to visitors to the church especially a whistling Americana and a a group of loud Japanese tourists. She said a lot of people treated the cathedral like a museum rather than a [place of worship. There was a cancer hospital nearby and a lot of people prayed here. She said as great cathedrals like this are not part of the culture in China and Japan, and they cause a lot of bother and noise when they visit as well as touching, lifting and examining religious items.

Anyway after seeing Dr. Mannix’s grave and the chapel dedicated to Irish Saints, she decided to do me a favor (she doesn’t do it for anybody else) and allowed me in the back rooms and sacristry. She and the Sacristan, Mr Michael Mahony of the church showed me all he gifts that the Irish church and government had given Dr. mannix and some of this portraits. She wanted to drive me to Dr. Mannixs home at 1,00pm but I declined.

It was now 11.00am. I looked at Dr. Mannix’s and Daniel O’Connell statues outside the cathedral. The Statue of O’Connell is a visible sign of thank you to the Irish contribution for the Catholic Church in Melbourne. The statue of Archbishop Daniel Mannix (1917-1963) to be found at the main entrance of St Patrick’s Cathedral. As mentioned check out the site.

Daniel Mannix, was born on Friday 4 March 1864 at Rahtluirc/Charleville, County Cork.

Eldest of eight children of Timothy Mannix and Ellen Cagney, three of whom died as children and another of TB at 22.

The rented family home at Deerpark was better off than many, it had 135 acres. The years of growing up corresponded to bitter struggles by Irish people for their land rights in which Michael Davitt and Charles Parnell were well known leaders.

He was educated at the Mercy Sisters school and the Christian Brothers in Charleville, and then at a junior training college for priests in Fermoy. In 1883 he went to study for the priesthood at Maynooth and was ordained a priest on 8 June 1890 in the year of Parnell’s fall from political power.

St. Patrick’s seminary at Maynooth in County Kildare, a training college for priests, was Daniel Mannix’s home for thirty years. in its chapel, he was ordained a priest and consecrated a bishop. He rapidly rose to be a professor of philosophy and then theology. From 1904 to 1912 he was president. In July 1911 he hosted a visit by King George V and Queen Mary.

Two years before that, in conjunction with the leading bishops, he opposed moves to make Irish a compulsory language for students and sacked the leading proponent of the language movement, Dr. Michael O’Hickey. It is possible when the bishops changed their position to one more favourable to the Irish language they arranged to appoint Mannix to Melbourne as part of the settlement. Whatever about that, at Maynooth in October 1912, he was consecrated a bishop as coadjutor to Dr Thomas Carr with right of succession to Melbourne.

Daniel Mannix arrived in Melbourne 0n 23 March 1913. His fame had gone before him. Crowds turned out in very big numbers for his religious services and school openings. One such crown came to Our Lady of Victories, Camberwell, in 1918.

When Archbishop Carr died on 6 may 1917, he becmae Archbishop of Melbourne for life. In this third quarter of his life three issues marked Mannix out from most other bishops: his strong support for the campaign against conscription for World War 1 (although he had initially supported that war); his radical republicanism on Ireland; and his support for the labour movement.

At the end of the war, On St. Patrick’s Day 1920, John Wren helped organise a guard of honour for Mannix made up of VC winners. Later that year he toured the USA on platforms with Irish independence leader Eamon de Valera but was taken of a ship at high seas by the British Navy to stop him going to Ireland. In England he took a leading role in funeral rites for hunger striker Terence MacSwinney. In 1925 he did go to Ireland but was not welcomed by the hierarchy or even the priest of his home parish. That year was also the last time he went to Rome: indeed he became known for an ironic rebelliousness against Roman church authorities. In Melbourne his popularity was high: in 1934, great crowds turned out in Victoria Parade outside St. Vincent’s hospital for religious services that he led as part of the National Eucharistic Congress.

During World War 11 (1939 – 1945) Archbishop Danniel Mannix criticised the total war approach of allied governments and condemned the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but supported the war in the Pacific. Around 1942, he funded and gave moral backing to a secret organisation known as the Movement (built on earlier Catholic Action Groups and later called the National Civic Council) led by Bartholomew Santamaria which played a central role in the 1954-5 split in the Australian Labour Party and which supported the Menzies governments. Mannix broke with the ALP and old labour movement friends such as Arthur Calwell. He supported the early days of the American War in Vietnam, for example by welcoming Ngo Dinh Diem.

Many remember him walking between Raheen, his home in Kew, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, or on pastoral visits or at St. Patrick’s Day marches. When he died on 5 November 1963, an estimated 200,000 filed past his coffin. In 1999, a statue was erected in front of St. Patrick’s cathedral with a plaque giving one view of his life.

Information on other famous Irish People is avaialle here.

Information on Dr. Mannix is available (1) , (2) , (3), (4) and (5).

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Though lacking the intricacy of design of St. Pauls, the Roman Catholic St. Patrick’s is another interesting Gothic Revival construction with exceptional stained-glass windows. Built between 1858 and 1940 (consecrated in 1897), St. Patrick’s was closely associated with immigrants from Ireland escaping the mid-19th-century potato famine. In the courtyard out front is a statue of the Irish patriot Daniel O’Connell. Allow 15 minutes.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Cathedral (27-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Cathedral (27-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Cathedral (27-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Cathedral (27-08-2003)

Next I walked to the Houses of Parliament which are only five minutes away. I as informed by a policeman that the state government was sitting today and there would be no tours until Friday. Impressive building though. The Australian system is a complicated Federal system,m. Check out this political site. This is another dealing with the federal system.

I then walked to St. Paul’s Cathedral

Built from 1880 to 1892 from the designs of William Butterfield, a famous English Gothic revival architect, the Anglican St. Paul’s Cathedral is noteworthy for its highly-decorative interior and the English organ built by T. S Lewis. Gold mosaics cover the walls, Victorian tiles the floors, there are intricate woodcarvings, stained-glass windows, and the cathedral sports the second highest spire (at 98m/321 ft.) in the Anglican Communion. A boy’s choir sings at 5:10pm Monday through Friday during school times, and twice on Sunday at 10:30am and 6pm. Outside is a statue of Matthew Flinders, the first sailor to navigate the Australian mainland between 1801 and 1803. Allow 15 minutes.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia- Saint Pauls (27-08-2003)

I then visited the Gold Treasury Museum which is close to Saint Patricks and the parliament.

Designed by the architect J. J. Clarke (when he was only 19) and built in 1857, the Old Treasury Building is an imposing neoclassical sandstone building which once housed precious metal from the Ballarat and Bendigo gold rushes. The gold was stored in eight thick-walled vaults underground and protected by iron bars. The “Built on Gold” Exhibition within the vaults is a high-tech multimedia show featuring videos and displays showing how the gold was dug up, sold, transported, and housed. In the basement are the restored living quarters of a caretaker who lived there from 1916 to 1928. The ground floor is taken up by the “Melbourne: A City Built On Gold” display which shows how Melbourne was built using the profits from the gold rushes. A temporary exhibition gallery on the premises can feature anything from prints to gold-thread embroidery. Allow about an hour.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia- Treasury Museum (27-08-2003)

This was 5 AUS (student eate) in. It was a nice museum. Each vault had an interactive video presentation. There was also an exhibit about Australian farmers. There also was information on Lola Montez. She was a dancer and courtesan, was born in Ireland in 1818 and gained notoriety for her marriages and sexual liaisons as well as her dances, the most famous of which was the ‘Spider Dance’. She toured Australia in 1855 and 1856, dancing to packed hou ses in Sydney and Melbourne and on the Victorian goldfields where she encouraged diggers to show their appreciation by throwing gold nuggets onto the stage instead of bouquets of flowers.

I then went to the Immigration Museum:

Located in the Old Customs House in the heart of the city, the Immigration Museum explores stories of people from all over the world who have migrated to Victoria from the 1800s through to the present day. Stories are brought to life through moving images, computer interactives, voices, memories and belongings. The result is an entertaining experience that engages the senses.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Immigration Museum (27-08-2003)

It was six AUS in. It was a sparse museum but as much of the documentation is hidden way in the computers and interactive displays all is forgiven. All of the records of passengers arriving into Australia have been archived are open to research. I spent a little while reading some history books. There was a great interactive video display when allows you to judge whether you allow people to immigrate to Australia. You watch their video presentations etc. It was cool.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Various. Cityscape with Tram(27-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Various (27-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Melbourne – Australia – Various (27-08-2003)

It was now 5.00pm. I did little the rest of the evening.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2003 – Day 189

Tuesday, August 26th, 2003 – Day 189

Last day in Christchurch but I am not flying out until 10.20pm tonight. I did not want to do too much today. I got up at 8.30am. The cleaners come into the dorms at 9.00am to walk people and ask them whether they are staying another nights. Its a bit of a pain. Packed and put my bag into storage. I went next store to ballies Irish Pub for a big fry up. Very nice! After that I went around town, bought a newspaper and read it over coffee. I then went to the OUR CITY education centre.

It is a public centre for debating, presenting and exchanging ideas and knowledge about Christchurch… Our City O-Tautahi opened in August 2002 and is located in the former Municipal Chambers building on the corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch, New Zealand…Our City O-Tautahi is a facility that provides exhibition, display, debating and seminar spaces to showcase, debate and examine past, present and future issues about Christchurch

It was Ok for 20 minutes. I enjoyed looking at old paintings and street maps. New Zealand has a bad record of knocking down and demolishing old historical buildings. Many of them are knocked down s recently as the 1980s. To be honest Auckland and Wellington were ugly cities. Christchurch is a different story. It quite nice and compact with some really nice buildings.

Some Good sites on Christchurch

I then visited the City Art Gallery.

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu opened on 10 May, 2003 in the heart of the city’s cultural precinct, bounded by Worcester Boulevard, Gloucester and Montreal Streets. The new $47.5 million facility features two floors of exhibition space, two educational activity areas, an auditorium, a cafe and wine bar, two retail outlets, a Sculpture Garden and underground parking.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – City Gallery. (26-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – City Gallery. (26-08-2003)

The name Te Puna honours waipuna, the well spring (the actual artesian spring on the site) and Waiwhetu refers to one of the tributaries in the immediate vicinity, which flows into the Avon River. Waiwhetu may also be translated as as water in which stars are reflected.

I enjoyed my hour there. I really enjoyed a collection of new paintings by prominent Christchurch artist Margaret Hudson-Ware. It was called Refugees.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – City Gallery. Refugees (26-08-2003)

These works refer not only to the flight of persecuted people throughout history, but also to a sense of personal alienation within oneÂ’s own home or family.

I also rang accross a picture that has caused muchcontroversyy in the New Zealand papers. A full-frontal nude photograph of Maori entertainer Mika wearing false breasts is causing controversy at the new Christchurch Art Gallery. It’s been labelled disgusting and pornographic, and one woman has called for its removal – but the artist [Christine Webster] is thrilled with the reaction, and the gallery remains unrepentant.” Stuff reproduces the photograph with the offending crotch masked. More about Webster and Mika. (Link snagged from World Sex News.

Exposed: why this photo has sparked a furore

17 August 2003


Warning: modern art may offend some viewers. A full-frontal nude photograph of Maori entertainer Mika wearing false breasts is causing controversy at the new Christchurch Art Gallery.

It’s been labelled disgusting and pornographic, and one woman has called for its removal – but the artist is thrilled with the reaction, and the gallery remains unrepentant.

Mika says he loves the photograph, taken in 1994.

“I’ve always liked the masculine and the feminine. I can drop kick a rugby ball and put eyeliner on straight.”

But Christchurch woman Diane Botherway, 50, says it took days to get the image out of her mind.

“I walked round the corner, and I felt like there was a nude man standing there exposing himself to me. That’s how much of a shock it was, because it was so graphic.

“You just couldn’t get away from it. I felt almost violated.”

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – City Gallery. – Ban it for Gods sake. (26-08-2003)

As I said before New Zealnd has a puritan streak and especially Christchurch. it was founded to be a perfect Anglican English City and many still see that as their heritage and birth rite. When a gay Maori cabaret artist who won the 2001 New Zealand Queer of the Year title turns up in there new museum open since May, heads turn (and vomit).

After that I went on the NET. As I Said I do not want to do too much today. I checked out bus timetables to the airport and hostels in Melbourne. It looks like I have to pay a 25 NZD departure tax.

Bus to christchurch Airport: 5 NZD. This site also has some information.

Melbourne Airport to City.

my Hotel is Melborne will be the Bakpak.

Did little the rest of the evening. I ate dinner at Thai Thai restaurant (mains under 5 NZD) on Colombo Streett, went to the supermarket, rang the hostel in Australia and walked the streets until I took the 7.00am Airport Bus. Its a 30 minute drive to the airport 12km away. I will be getting there 3 hours before take off but I have spend all my NZ dollars and I am ready to hot the road.

Monday, August 25th, 2003 – Day 188

tMonday, August 25th, 2003 – Day 188

I was awake my 8.00am when a guy in the dorm was getting up. Hippie type who tripped over all his pots and pans tied to his backpack. He made a racket. At 9.00am, I checked out Christchurch Cathedral. You DONATE 4 NZD when you enter, or just 2.50 if use a camera and four more if you climb the tower. These guys know how to charge!. The usual church things here. Not as nice as Nelson or Old Saint Pails in Wellington. Lots of military related plaques (what about the separation of church and state folks) and lots of military flags. The place was covered in plaques dedicated to the righteous and the good. Is everybody else bad. Cant understand the old plaque thing. Much was related to monetary contributions. The views from the top were not that great. Lots of big buildings etc.

If you want a bird’s-eye view over the Square and inner city, climb the 133 steps in the 120-foot Christchurch Anglican Cathedral tower. You won’t be alone–well over 300,000 visitors per year wend their way into the cathedral, making it one of the South Island’s most visited attractions. Construction was begun in 1864, just 14 years after the first settlers arrived, and was completed in 1904. Today, it’s New Zealand’s most famous Gothic Revival church and Christchurch’s most important landmark. The cathedral is open for prayer during the weekdays; Holy Communion is celebrated daily.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – View from Church Tower. People Playing chess. (25-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – View from Church Tower. Its Shadow hits a Mark. (25-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – View from Church Tower. Its Shadow hits a Mark. (25-08-2003)

Bought a 3 hour Internet pass for five NZD. Bargain. Spent 2 hours writing this blog. I bet you don’t even appreciate it, eh. I rang Qunatas to change my Sydney to Melbourne date and confirm my flight to Melbourne tomorrow night.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – City tram. More information on the tram system can be found here.(25-08-2003)

I then walked to the Botanic Gardens.

The turquoise-and-yellow Peacock Fountain just inside the main gate on Rolleston Avenue is a handy marker that can’t be missed. This is the best point of entry to the lush 23 hectares (57 acres) of deservedly world-renowned gardens. Even if you’ve never considered yourself the slightest bit green-thumbed, there’s something magical about this place. Sweeping lawns, fragrant rose gardens, and some of the oldest exotic trees in New Zealand provide spectacular displays year-round. The Avon River and its huge duck population add interest. The kids can run loose, feed the ducks, and frolic in the playground.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Botanic gardens. Peacock Fountain. (25-08-2003)

It was a nice day and I enjoyed walking around. Spring has come early to these parts. I went to the Greenhouse etc and walked by the Avon River. I then hired a single man canoe for an hour. The current was quite strong. They told me paddle upstream for 40 minutes and it should take only 20 to come back. I really enjoyed it. I have never seen so many ducks in a river and city. They are every place – thousands of them. They are even in the city centre area. I also enjoyed People Punting in the river. The Avon River runs along the border of Mona Vale, and a punting excursion will give you a peek into some of the beautiful private gardens on the river.

What is Punting?

A punt is a flat-bottomed boat which does not have a keel. Typically, a punt is approximately 21 feet (6 metres) long and 3 feet (1 metre) wide. It should be propelled by means of a 16 foot (5 metre) long pole, which is also used to steer the punt. This method of propulsion is known as “punting”; just using a paddle to move along doesn’t count!

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Punting on the River. (25-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Punting on the River. (25-08-2003)

I walked down to the Canterbury Brewery. I have been on two brewery tours and I did want another. They have a stranger attitude to drinking than we have in Ireland. In 1917 parliament had adopted 6pm closing as a “temporary war-time measure”. It lasted until 1967. The grotesque excesses of the one-hour “six o’clock swill” reduced drinking to its most utilitarian – the most beer to the most drinkers at the greatest possible speed. Barmen filled lines of glasses at an amazing lick, and the tiled walls and lino floors were hosed down afterwards. I would never imagine it in Ireland. All pubs closing at 6.00pm until nealy 1970.

Before the 1960s, New Zealanders wanting to dine out had a limited choice both of venue and of food. Restaurants, cafes, dining rooms of hotels, tearooms, coffee shops and oyster bars presented a narrow menu of grilled meats and hearty desserts.

Alcohol could not be served with food until changes in the liquor licensing laws in 1961 allowed its consumption outside hotels, including those such as the Chateau Tongariro which were run by the government’s tourism section.

Alcohol consumption in public bars and hotels was subject to stringent regulation, although not necessarily policing, for much of the twentieth century. Women and Maori were not always allowed to enter hotels or to purchase alcohol, and some districts had a total prohibition on alcohol. New Zealand introduced six o’clock closing in 1917 as a war time measure, and in response to the campaigns of the temperance and prohibition movements. Closing times did not alter until 1967, when the introduction of 10 p.m. closing marked the end of the ‘six o’clock swill’. Changed closing times also enabled the opening of a range of establishments serving alcohol, such as the popular 1960s Auckland venue, the MonDesir Beer Garden, where women and men mingled freely.

This probably did more to hinder New Zealand’s social development than anything else: pubs began to look more like lavatories, which could be hosed down after closing, and the predilection for quantity over quality encouraged breweries to churn out dreadful watery brews. Still today, most of the breweries here are owned by one company called Lion nathan. They had to come together to avoid the fall out from the measure introduced above.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Canterbury Brewery. They are really proud of there beer here. As they say OUR BEER, BORN HERE (25-08-2003)

After that I got a bite to eat and went to Canterbury Museum.

Perfectly placed on the edge of the Botanic Gardens within a stone’s throw of the Arts Centre, the Canterbury Museum is a must. Check out the excellent Antarctic display, a must-see before going out to the International Antarctic Centre. Also look for the superb Natural History Discovery Centre, quaint Victorian Canterbury street, and excellent Maori section. Allow 2 hours.

I spent an hour there. Some parts of the museum are closed and are undergoing restoration. The entrance is free. The Antarctic aspects and exhibits were good.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Museum. (25-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Museum. (25-08-2003)

It was around 4.00pm now and I was tired. I went back to the hostel and watched TV for a while. I was talking to a new guy in my dorm who was here from the West Coast for a hospital check up. He had donated a liver to his friend (male) and was not feeling the better of it. He said he could not do half the things he could last year. Anyway, I got a very good nights sleep as none snored.

Sunday, August 24th, 2003 – Day 187

Sunday, August 24th, 2003 – Day 187

I was up at 7.15am and felt groggy. I walked to the stadium and got on the bus. We were due to arrive in Christchurch at 1.05pm. I bought the NZ Times paper (very few papers are published nationally on Sunday, maybe just two) and settled in. We stopped for a 20 minute breakfast break and I had a chicken pie. A lot of people here are very religious and certainly treat Sunday as Sabbath. So many churches and Jesus will save you posters around.

Read in the paper about the Lord of the Rings as having no economic benefit to New Zealand.

Rings Makers Exploit Tax Loophole

24/08/2003 05:28 PM – Newstalk ZB

A loophole in tax laws exploited by the American producers of the Lord of the Rings has cost the country $400 million. The figures are contained in a Treasury report, which casts doubt on the value the film brought to the economy. Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton says New Line Cinema has certainly done well out of New Zealand. He says they had access to a bottomless pit of money, so it is only to be expected that Treasury would not be happy. However Jim Anderton is confident the country has benefited from the Lord of the Rings, despite the report.

The Economic Development Minister says the benefits were huge, but can’t necessarily be quantified. Mr Anderton says a new incentive scheme for film makers has Treasury’s support.

Back to Christchurch

Christchurch may have a reputation for being the most English and the most conservative of New Zealand’s major cities, but it’s far from quiet and subdued. It has consistently scored well in Conde Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure polls, and if you take the time to look around, you’ll soon realize why.

Christchurch’s modern airport provides the gateway to the South Island, affectionately known as “The Mainland” by those who live here. It is the third-largest city in New Zealand–a prosperous place that is home to 337,000 people who enjoy the lowest annual rainfall of any of the four major cities, the greatest temperature extremes, and 2,120 hours of sunshine annually.

With one-eighth of its area devoted to public parks, reserves, and recreation grounds, and with the 186-hectare (459.6-acre) Hagley Park smack in its center, you shouldn’t be surprised to find Christchurch tagged New Zealand’s Garden City. This verdant core, along with the Avon River, a spread of Victorian architecture, and the avenues and squares, give the city its “Englishness” and go a long way toward making it an elegant setting. And with over 50 adventure products to offer, the city is a mecca for anyone who likes a racy edge to his or her holiday. Whether you choose leisurely days discovering the city’s cultural core or adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities, you’ll find that conservative old Christchurch can dish up a few surprises.

Canterbury, stretching from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean, has legendary physical attractions, from ski fields and fishing rivers to the Port Hills tramping tracks and East Coast beaches. Day-trip options from Christchurch include Kaikoura, Akaroa, Hanmer, Arthur’s Pass, and Methven–each presenting its own version of provincial hospitality, rural escapism, and heart-stopping outdoor adventure.

I booked into Warners on the Square for 19 NZD per night. The key Deposit was 1- NZD and the Duvet Deposit was 10 NZD. I got a nice three bed dorm with me getting the single bed. Nice clean place and not too busy. Cleaned up and walked to the tourist office. I still got the number 28 bus from Colombo Street bus stop for the 15 minute ride to Christchurch Gondola. The ticket was only 2 NZD return (if you reuse it within 4 hours).

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Christchurch Square. (23-08-2003)

The Christchurch Gondola may not have quite the same breathtaking impact as the Queenstown equivalent, but for unparalleled views westward over the city and the Canterbury Plains to the Southern Alps, and for the full sweep of Pegasus Bay and the Pacific Ocean all the way up to the Kaikoura Ranges, you can’t beat it. Perched on the crater rim of an extinct volcano, 445m (1,460 ft.) above sea level, the Gondola complex features the Time Tunnel Heritage Show, with a Canterbury video presentation and a walkthrough exhibition.

If you want to take the Freedom Walk in the Port Hills, pay for the Gondola ride up and then walk down any of the numerous hill tracks to Sumner Beach (allow 2 hr.), from which you can catch a bus back to the city, or to Lyttelton, also about 2 hours. Wear sturdy walking shoes–the tracks are steep and can be slippery. The Mountain Bike Adventure Co. (tel. 0800/424-534) is another option for your descent. Reservations are essential and can be made at the visitor center (tel. 03/379-9629).

I paid 10 NZD for the journey up. The views are good but sea mist kept interrupting the views. They swept in and out in minutes. I decided to walk back to the bottom Gondola station. I got some nice views of Lyttelton when walking down. This is the place where the first immigrants to this area arrive and they then had to walk the Bridle Path to Christchurch. This was the path I was taking. It has much historical significance. You could jog back down in 10-15 minutes. I made in about 20 minutes. It would take about an hour to go back up (if you want to skip the gondola charge). I was lucky as a bus back to the city was just pulling in.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Top of Gondola Ride. (23-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Top of Gondola Ride. (23-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Top of Gondola Ride. (23-08-2003)

In December 1850 the first settlers arrived at the Port of Lyttelton on the four ships, the “Charlotte Jane, Randolph, Sir George Seymour and the Cressy”.

In preparation of their arrival, due to the uncertainty surrounding the completion of Sumner Road, Captain Joseph Thomas had cut the Bridle Path track earlier that year. Although barely negotiable, the Bridle Path track became the main route over the Port Hills for the newly arrived settlers. At the base of the Bridle Path track in Heathcote Valley, a rough road extended to the mouth of the Heathcote River where a ferry service ferried the settlers and their luggage across the Heathcote River at Ferrymead. The settlers then continued on their journey to Christchurch via Ferry Road.

It was now 5.00pm and I watched some of the Bay of Plenty Versus Canterburry NPC rugby game. to The Bay went down 31-26 to Canterbury.

I then walked to the The Arts Centre

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Top of Gondola Ride. (23-08-2003)

You can’t go to Christchurch and not visit the Arts Centre. Originally home to Canterbury University College from 1873 to 1975, it begs leisurely exploration. Quite apart from the lovely Gothic architecture, it presents a rabbits’ warren of over 40 retail outlets selling New Zealand-made arts and crafts and heaps of things to interest kids, including great food stalls. You’ll find some pretty bizarre goods, but overall the standard is high. There are excellent buys in leather, wool, wood, and crafts.

Court Theatre is housed in the original Engineering Building and Hydraulics Lab, the Academy Cinema is in the old Boys’ High Gym, and the Southern Ballet now occupies the Electrical Engineering Lab and the Mechanical Engineering Lab. There are several good eating spots (Dux de Lux, Le Cafe, the Boulevard Cafe, E-Caf Internet Cafe, and Annie’s Wine Bar & Restaurant are also popular). Buskers and performers add color to the weekend market, and you can take a NZ$5 ($2.10) tour with the red-coated town crier at 11am or 2pm Monday through Friday or by appointment (tel. 03/366-0989).

Teh old Gothic building are gorgeous and I enjoyed walking around the area. They have a market here on Sunday and it was still busy. I bought a Thai takeaway.

I headed back to town and went on the NET for an hour (3NZD) and found that Malaysian Authories are cracking down on Skinheads and Punks. I will have to watch myself when I get there in two months. After a while walking around I found a cheap Thai restaurant. Most of the main courses were only 5 NZD. It was called Thai Thai. After that I went back to the TV lounge in the hostel and watched Sixth Sense. I was in bed by 11.30. Two other’s were now in the room. Both snored. AGGGGGGGGGGGGG

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Christchurch – New Zealand – Arch of Rememberance in Christchurch. (23-08-2003)

Saturday, August 23rd, 2003 – Day 186

Saturday, August 23rd, 2003 – Day 186

Hmm I was Drunk last night. I was up at 10.00am but felt like shit.. too much drink mixing last night. I went back to bed and got up at 1.00pm. I paid for 2 nights at reception. I walked around town and booked my ticket to Christchurch for 8.00am tomorrow. The price was 30 NZD with Atomic Shuttles.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Dunedin – New Zealand – Dunedin is a big University town. I watched as these gals were graduating. (23-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Dunedin – New Zealand – Dunedin as some nice buildings, eh (23-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Dunedin – New Zealand – Dunedin Railway Station. (23-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Dunedin – New Zealand – Tongue in Cheek Maori art on a bus shelter. (23-08-2003)

I also rang the Spreights brewery to see if I could get on the 2.00pm or 2.30pm, ad 4.30pm tours. They were all fully booked but said to come and chance my luck. It was a pain in the arse as I turned up at 2.00pm ad 2.30pm with no joy. I visited the railway station and the NZ Sports Hall of Fame museum before heading back to the brewery at 4.30pm. He took pity on me and allowed me on the tour for a student rate of 10 NZD.

So the Spreights brewery tour is one of the main highlights of the town and is a famous brand in this area. It was a crappy tour in terms of exhibits and multimedia but Keith, the tour guide was excellent. He made it fun and informative. His Southern accent was strong thought and everything ended with Yeah, Cool or Mate. At sampling was the best thought. There were 15 people on the tour and we must have stayed drinking in the brewery bar for a hour. They have five beers including (but tasted like shit) Porter. I must have had ten drinks. Even Keith, the guide was drinking. We also could pour our own drink. It was excellent.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Dunedin – New Zealand – Brewery tour (23-08-2003)

Spreights is part and parcel of southern New Zealand culture. So much so that the marketers at Speights in a brilliant display of reverse marketing created the Southern Man image. Other New Zealand people take the piss out of people from this area calling them country bumkins. We call them culchies (a city dweller’s name for a country person back home). For Irish Slang, check this out. Better still is this site as theres a guide to Dublin Scangers.

Cork Slang (where I am from) can be found here.


1. You say “I’m Grand, like” all the time.

2. You think Murphy’s is ‘savage’

3. You think of Murphy’s as if it is the sixth food group

4. You say “Are you Grand?” all the time

5. You say “Tis grand, like?” all the time

6. You say “That’d be grand, like” all the time

7. You take 4 hours to get home on a Saturday night and think nothing of it

8. You don’t eat anything cold, uncooked or not resembling meat, bread or potatoes

9. You say “Your man” followed by ‘boiy’ all the time

10. You say “Your woman” followed by ‘boiy’ all the time

11. You say “Tis grand that your man asked if i’m grand, like, boiy” all the time

12. You find yourself still living with family and having dinners cooked for you by someone’s mammy

13. You talk about ‘dinners’ and ‘mammys’


1. You say ‘towen’ when you mean the city

2. You think it is perfectly normal to pay over 4 euro for a pint

3. Anyone not from Dublin is a ‘wanker’

4. Anyone from north of the Liffey is a ‘Northside wanker’

5. You have no idea where Ballydehob is

6. You see a member of Westlife on Grafton Street and find it hard to get excited about it

7. The countryside makes you nervous

8. Somebody speaks to you on the DART and you freak out thinking they are a stalker

9. American tourists no longer annoy you

10. You can’t remember the last time you got up to 30mph in you car in ‘towen’


1. You have an uncontrolable urge to steal

2. You keep going on about how great Limerick and Garryowen are

3. To you, organised crime is putting petrol in the getaway car

4. You start to cry when you hear ‘Beautiful Munster’

5. You think anyone from Limerick has a great sense of humour

6. You think everyone’s heard of Barry Foley

7. You think Dubliners are ‘soft east coast ashey pets’..until they kick your head in at rugby

8. You deny that it rains all the time…as you struggle home with the shopping in yet another torrential downpour


1. You say ‘Sir’ all the time(“Howsa goan thur Sir”)

2. You say ‘shite’ all the time

3. You say ‘aye’ all the time

4. You end sentences with ‘Hiagh’

5. You think McArdles Ale is great, ignoring the fact it ‘tastes of shite’

6. You get an urge to punch everybody you meet

7. You punch everybody you meet

8. You get drunk before, after and during punching everybody you meet

9. You are incomprehensible when you speak while trying to punch everyone you meet

10. People seem to be scared of you when you say where you are from

11. You automatically get the urge to kill on hearing the words ‘Monarchy’ or ‘England’


1. You say “Howsa’ goin” all the time

2. You can’t remember a weekend when a friend from Dublin or Cork was’nt sleeping on your couch

3. When you meet someone on Tuesday afternoon you tell them you haven’t been out in ages then remember that you were chatting to that same person last night in the Quays

4. You agree with all taxi drivers on all subjects – why bother getting thick

5. Unless the taxi driver is from Mayo

6. Unless, like half the population living in Galway, you’re from Mayo

7. When you say you live in Galway, people immediately smile and tell you about their wild weekend in Salthill when they were 16 You nod enthusiastically about the same venue, despite the fact that you were never there

8. You think that it’s perfectly normal to have six buskers (including an Ethopian bagpipe player), eight street entertainers, 19 Romanian beggers, a krusty holding some bailing twine tied to a raggedy dog telling fortunes and four separate roadworks all on the one street


1. You’re still there

This site takes a look at what is a NZ Southern man.

Dunedin is 283km (147.5 miles) South of Queenstown and 366km (227 miles) South of Christchurch.

Dunedin is a southern gem–sometimes gray, bleak, and freezing in winter, but a gem nevertheless. It has dramatic scenery and some of the finest historic buildings in the country, and the immediacy of its funky university life lends an alternative air to what is inherently a strongly Scottish Presbyterian base.

With a population of about 120,000, Dunedin is New Zealand’s fourth-largest city and the second-largest in the South Island. The city itself is vital, and you’ll quickly notice that the streets are filled with young people. It is the main business center for Otago province, and nearby Otago Peninsula is home to several internationally recognized reserves, where some of the world’s rarest wildlife can be viewed year-round in their natural habitats.

The splendor of many of its grand city buildings reflects Dunedin’s economic and cultural preeminence in Victorian New Zealand, and today it has a justly deserved reputation as one of the best-preserved Victorian and Edwardian cities in the Southern Hemisphere. The original 344 Scottish settlers, who arrived in the area in March 1848, would be proud if they could witness the outcome of their early endeavors.

Things can be, and often are, a little different down here. Where else could you find a kilt shop in New Zealand, plus a thriving population of alternative musicians and artists, a castle, New Zealand’s only whisky distillery, a haggis maker, a colony of albatross, some of the best student pubs in the country, and a chocolate factory? It’s a slightly disconcerting mix that will charm the socks off you.

Dunedin is the second largest city in the South Island, and the only real “University Town” in the country. Founded by the Scottish Free Church, the city was originally to have been called New Edinburgh. “Dunedin”, more interestingly, is the old Gaelic name for the same city. Even today, the city still retains a strong Scottish flavour; there’s haggis at New Year’s, a statue of Robbie Burns in the town square — or rather the town Octogon — and the sound of bagpipes to accompany every occasion.

Dunedins life blood is the Otago University. A constant stream of youth and vitality invigorates this idyllic city. Modern traditions include “The Leith Bicycle Race”, the capping procession with its infamous out of tune band, and the end of year pub crawl.

Dunedin is traditionally regarded as the coldest of the main centres. Sports sides do not relish the (usually end of season) visit to the deep south. It has become something of a standing joke that teams will literally “freeze up” on a cold Dunedin day. It is traditional for visiting teams to be feted with copius supplies of Speights and Bluff oysters the night before a big game. Could be another reason that Carisbrook has been nicknamed “The House of Pain”. No loyal Otago Highlanders fan would be seen dead at the house of pain without a good supply of Speights. For comfort, the scarfies often bought along the lounge room couch, hauled to a good vantage point on the terrace. Post match entertainment invariably a couch bonfire.

Southern Man Song

Some of the boys

got it into their heads

‘Bout movin’ up north

To Follow the bread

That aint for me

That kind of thing just don’t rate

This is one southern boy

Who ain’t crossin’ the strait

Now I might not be rich

But I like things’ down here

We got the best looking girls

And the best damn deer

So you can keep your Queen City

With your cocktails and cool

Give me a beer in a seven

With the boys shooting pool


I’m a southern man

Well I’m southern bred

I got the south in my blood

And I’ll be here ’till I’m damn well dead

‘Cos here we just know

What makes a southern boy tick

And it ain’t Margaritas

With some fruit on a stick

Well it might not be fancy

But when you come from down here

You know you got the best girl

And you got the best beer

Highlanders Theme

We are the Otago Highlanders

We’re here to play the game

From Auckland to Australia, theres no one quite the same

As we the Otago Highlanders, and rugby as our game

Welcome to the house of pain

Otago Highlanders, thats our name

Otago Highlanders, here to play the game

Otago Highlanders, winning is our aim

Welcome to the house of pain

From Waitaki to the Bluff, up central too

For all the loyal scarfies Highlanders!

‘know what to do for we play with passion,and pride in our game

Welcome to the house of t-t-taine

Otago Highlanders thats our name

Otago Highlanders, here to play the game

Otago Highlanders, winning is our aim

Welcome to the house of pain

Otago Highlanders, Otago Highlandres

Otago Highlanders, Otago Highlanders

Otago Highlanders thats our name

Otago Highlanders here to play the game

Otago Highlanders winning is our aim

Welcome to the house of pain

Anyway we got a voucher for a discounted beer in the pub next door. It was 6.00pm at this stage and I decided to watch the second half of the local Otago team play away to Southland whom I was last week in Wellington. Otago won 33 to 22. They are rugby mad in this city.

After that I headed back to the hostel to go on the NET for a while. I headed out at around 11.00pm for a few drinks in Cooks Tavern. It was heaving. I stayed longer than I should have. They had a beer promotion. Two bottles of Export Lager for 6 NZD. I went home at 2.00am and set my alarm for 7.15am. My bus to Christchurch was leaving the railway station at 8.00am.

Some Kiwi Links you want to check out …

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Dunedin – New Zealand – Dunedin at night. (23-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Dunedin – New Zealand – Spreights – The Drink for Southern Men. (23-08-2003)

Friday, August 22nd, 2003 – Day 185

Friday, August 22nd, 2003 – Day 185

At about midnight last night, I was just getting into bed when a massive earthquake jolted the south of the South Island not far from Queenstown.

According to GeoNet, the quake’s centre was about 70km northwest of Te Anau at a depth of 12km. The earthquake measured 7.1 on the Richter scale.

Timaru police reported numerous alarms around the city had been triggered by the tremor but there were no reports of any damage. The quake was also felt in Christchurch and Dunedin.

Queenstown residents reported a long rumbling after the quake, which it was thought was a rock fall.

Senior Sergeant Ian Freeman of the Southern Communications Centre said police were inundated with calls about the quake, with 115 111 calls in half an hour.

The area has been struck by several aftershocks since the 12.12am quake, the biggest being a 6.2 shake at 2.12am.

According to a spokes person “We’ve been very very lucky. An earthquake of this size near a population centre could cause a lot of damage.”

I had felt tremors in Peru but nothing like this. The whole hostel just moved back and forth. I could hardly keep standing. I walked underneath the room door just in case as it was getting worse and worse over the 30 – 40 seconds. After going back to bed, there were numerous smaller after shocks that moved the bunks. Quite a feeling.

Another aftershock of 6.2 magnitude hit at 2:12am, exactly two hours after the first one, which measured 7.1 on the Richter Scale. I did not wake for it.

I was up at 9.00pm and packed. Got my 20 NZD back for the hired duvet and 10 NZD for the key. Nice hostel with two TV rooms with Sky and lots of videos. Also a pool table and lots of magazines. Room was very small for four people and we kept on tripping over each others stuff. Thank God the two Irish girls did not snore last night. They were drunk the night before but had to go to bed early last night as they were leaving this morning. After from the quake I had a good nights sleep. All the media were on about the quake.

I walked down town and bought one picture of my bungy jump for 12 NZD. Went to on the NET for happy hour (9-11 in most places) and was wondering whether I would do the bridge jump again for half price (59 NZD). My bus was at 3.10pm today for Dunedin.

Nice of ravenx to mention and recommend my site on his web page. His comments included –

Excellent photo and trip blog of a world traveler. His photos are usually not your typical tourist snaps. I dropped in for the stories and images of Ecuador… but there is plenty more to read and view in the archives.

I did nothing this morning. I just played Command and Conquer: Generals for three hours. I was totally engrossed by the game. I like the strategy genre and when it was 3.00pm I glanced at my watch and my bus was leaving at 3.10pm. I ran up to the hostel and was exhausted as its uphill. The bus arrived on time at 3.10pm. I had rang my chosen hostel in Dunedin to book. It was a uneventful journey but long and sleepy as the bus driver had the heat on full blast. We arrived in Dunedin Railway station at 7.40pm. The price of the ticket was 30 NZD. They showed Erin Brockovich on the bus TV which is an OK film. Information on the Real Erin here.

I walked to the hostel but it was bloody cold. I was lucky as reception closes at 8.00pm. I booked in (17 NZD per night) as decided I was going to hit the town tonight. I had not been drinking for the past five days ad I had the urge to get drunk. I met a girl in the dorm (eight beds, seven people booked in) and we went down to the Woolshed to meet some of her friends. We stayed there until 11.00pm. They were poor backpackers and could only afford one drink. It was a bit silly drinking with them as they sat at the table with no glass in front of them. I know Youth is wasted on the young but it does not mention that youth have no money to enjoy their youth (I am not saying I am young by any means).

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Dunedin – New Zealand – Main Square (22-08-2003)

Anyway it was quite but I headed back to the hostel for a while. The dorms are stuffy and too small for 8 but you can get smaller dorms. The staff are very cool and friendly though and the common area is great with a pool table and free Internet access. I headed out again at midight to Captain Cooks which was heaving. Most people there were in fancy dress. After talking to a few guys they said about 1000 Christhurch students had driven down in 170 cars in a event called Undie 500. Basically students in Christchuch have to buy a car for under 500 NZD which is road worthy etc. and decorate it. They all came down in team cars with funky decorations. The fancy dress was wild though from geeks to freaks. The queues in the popular pubs were massive. The TUI jugs of beer were only 5 NZD. From there I wet to KCs with a few guys. I was pretty drunk and went home at 3.30am.

What is the Undie 500?

This epic journey departs from uni at lunchtime on Friday 22nd August (The last day of term). Over 100 cars will attempt the almost 500km pub crawl to Dunedin in cars worth no more than $500. Needless to say, not all are successful.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Dunedin – New Zealand – Undie 500 Poster (22-08-2003)

Thursday , August 21st, 2003 – Day 184

Thursday , August 21st, 2003 – Day 184

I had a poor nights sleep. I am in a four bed dorm but two Irish girls snored their heads off. I would have done my South American thing and slapped with a pillow but as they were IRISH girls, decided I might come off worse. I was up and out by 8.30am. It was damn cold and about to snow. Temperature have been dropping below ZERO at night. The hostel is warm though.

Post about people who snore – I hate people who snore, well I hate them if they know they snore and still enter a hostel to share a dorm. If I knew I snored and still went to hostels, I would be embarrassed and ashamed. You are deliberately keeping the people you share with awake. I have mentioned this to a few people and they agree. They should be taken out and shot.

I went on the NET early as it happy hour (3 NZD per hour) before 11.00am. After that I walked towards skyline which is the viewing point for the city.

In Queenstown there is no better place to appraise Queenstown than from the Skyline Gondola (tel. 03/441-0101), which takes you up to Bob’s Peak. The view is breathtaking. You can stay for lunch or dinner at the buffet restaurant or cafe. The gondola operates from 9am until the restaurant closes around midnight, with a round-trip fare of NZ$14 ($6) for adults, NZ$5 ($2.10) for children. The complex includes shops and an 800m (2,624-ft.) luge. The 30-minute thrills-and-spills film Kiwi Magic shows hourly from 10am.

I decided to walk. This was a steep walk through forest track and simple forest. It was quite hard but I enjoyed it. I am done little exercise since leaving South America and have ate nothing but junk food, muffins and fries since I have arrived. It took 40 minutes and you would need to be reasonably fit for it. For the last 15 minutes I had to walk through fresh snow which was up to 2 cm.

As we do not get much snow In Ireland, I was like a little boy taking pictures of it. It was heavy but fresh powder. It was getting colder and colder as I walked up.

Skyline is reached by Gondola cableway which whisks you smoothly up 450 metres as Queenstown drops away below. Breathtaking views from the top extend almost full circle, from Coronet Peak around to The Remarkables and on to Cecil and Walter Peaks on the other side of beautiful Lake Wakatipu.

The views are great once you get there.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Queenstown – New Zealand – Gondola Views (21-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Queenstown – New Zealand – Gondola Views (21-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Queenstown – New Zealand – Gondola Views (21-08-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Queenstown – New Zealand – Gondola Views (21-08-2003)

I saved 15 NZD by walking up so I decided to do 2 Luge rides for 9 NZD. I had done 5 Luge rides (the only other place in New Zealand to have it) so I went straight for the advanced track. It had some nice fast corners and dips but two rides were enough. It was very cold and my hands were freezing. It was now snowing heavy.

What is Luging?

The tracks are 4 metre wide reinforced concrete that wind 800 metres through the trees and end at the Skyline Gondola and Restaurant Complex.

You ride a 3 wheeled Luge Cart that has a unique braking and steering system which allows you to travel as slow or as fast as you dare, controlling your ride and creating your own fun!

There are two tracks, one scenic for those wanting a more sedate ride and an advanced track for those wanting the thrill and excitement of dips, bends and tunnels. There are stopping bays where the rider can rest, admire the view or catch their breath. The Skyline Luge (tel. 03/441-0101) is 800m (2,624 ft.) of downhill fun for NZ$26 ($11) per adult, NZ$19 ($8) per child, which includes the gondola ride up and five luge rides. It operates from 9am to dusk; tickets are available from the Skyline Gondola terminals.

I walked back down after having coffee and a fantastic blueberry Muffin (my favorite) at the Skyline. I walked back down as its all down hill. It only took me 15 minutes. I met some Japanese tourists who were exhausted half way up.

It was 1.50pm by the time I reached the city centre. I walked into the tourist office and picked up the A. J. Hackett Bungy brochure.

I walked to their office. I wanted to do the Kawarau Suspension Bridge Jump, at 43m (141 ft.) high. It was the world’s first commercial bungee operation, and since it was the “original,” it seems to hold a special place in jumpers’ hearts.

I had done a jump a few weeks ago but I wanted to do a water touch jump for a different experience. Its expensive at 125 NZD but when will I ever get the chance to come back to new Zealand and do one. It took me 30-40 minutes before I decided to do it. Buses leave for the jump site at 9.00am, 12.00am and 3.00pm.

I got on the 3.00pm bus. There was an Aussie, an American Couple, a English guy and me. The jump great for water touches in the Kawarau River and is located 23km (14 miles) from Queenstown. It took 20 minutes to get there and we got weighted.

The heavies jump first which was the American guy. He was harnessed up and got ready to jump. He could not DO IT. He was there for 10 minutes on the edge looking over and down. He tried lots of times but could not let go of the structure. His wife was up next and we were all giving me encouragement, but no. He refused and cam out. His wife was next and she jumped with her arms folder all the time. It was weird and she never screamed or uttered a word all the time. At the bottom they lower you into a dingy.

I was up next. I was harnessed in and I was quickly moved to the edge. I asked for a water touch. Its up to you if you want a dry jump or a wet one. If wet, you can a get what you want from just hands or all the way to your waist. It was very cold up there and snow flakes were evident. Everyone was shivering. I asked for my arms and head to get the water treatment. I got to the edge but did not jump on the first 5 second countdown. I steadied myself and jumped on the second count. They complicated things by saying I had to hit the water with my arms out and my head down to my chest. It was pretty cool and I enjoyed the jump. You always get Japanese tourist clapping.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Queenstown – New Zealand – Kawarau Bridge Jum. Thuis is the picture of me (for 12 NZD) doing the jump. Nice pic yeah! (21-08-2003)

Everyone else jumped and we were all finished by 4.15pm. The American guy felt like shit. I can imagine what’s its like especially with his wife jumping. Imagine the politics of marriage. When push comes to shove in any of their arguments, she jumped and he did not. Imagine the balance of power shifting in that marriage. He said he was going to come back tomorrow.

I got back to town at around 5.00pm and got something to eat. I headed back to the hostel. I then watched Memento on TV and headed down town. I booked a bus ticket with Atomic Shuttles for 3.10pm tomorrow. I also rang Quantas to change my flight from the 30th of August to the 26th. I simply want to enjoy a weekend in Melbourne!!