Driffield Steam & Vintage Rally

We are at our local Steam Rally where Simon has the ‘pleasure’ of being a part of the event – we clean toilets and pick litter!!

It’s a lovely sunny day and between bin runs we’ve had time to wander the aisles and view the vintage cars, lorries, tractors & bikes. Steam engines and stationary engines (the just sit and chug – no idea why) then there’s all the old fashioned rides, galloping horses, dodgems and even bikers riding the ‘Wall of Death’.

This morning and last night hot air balloons were taking off into the big blue yonder. The speed they leave the ground once inflated was surprising!

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Loved the logo badges and couldn’t resist the lorry named Hannah…

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Here you can see the wall of death and one of the wagons coming out of the arena, I’m not sure how many there are but there were definitely plenty of them and in a rainbow of colours!

So after a day of shifting dustbins I’m tired and I ache. But it’s been really good fun, got a great team working with us and we kept on top of the rubbish.

It felt so good to have a shower when we got home! Recharging my batteries for day two!!!

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Up in the clouds

Took the metro to Tung Chung to the cable car departure point. Ngong Ping 360. This was amazing 5.7km long, took about half an hour to get there (after an hour of queueing!) We didn’t go for the crystal one, glass bottomed, you can see so much anyway.

IT WAS AMAZING – the views! Such a smooth ride. loved it….20120417-190508.jpg


At the top was restaurants and fast food, gift shops and ‘experiences’. 1st things 1st – food!

Whilst eating the Pogo Jumpathon started. Boy! were we surprised, the were great, it seemed a bit of a joke to start with but once they started bouncing, flipping, jumping they had our attention!















The mist had cleared once we’d finished eating so we walked up to the Tian Tan Buddha – a lot of stairs but worth the effort.



Images snapped between the mist coming and going

The mist came and went whilst we were there – up in the clouds…






















On the cable car on the descent we found we were up in the clouds… the mist was rolling over the hills and at times it looked like the cable just disappeared, and we were heading into nowhere. Beautiful.

At Central Station we said goodbye to Hannah…. went our separate ways, hugs tears and more hugs.Back at our hostel we collected our bags from Simon To and then took the train to the airport. We treated our selves to a shower (HK$300! way too expensive but after such a hot and humid day I couldn’t subject my poor neighbour on the plane to me being too smelly!)

Then we were back up in the clouds….

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Stanley Market

Metro to Central to meet Hannah for Breakfast 1st, at McD’s, do syrup pancakes really taste that good in the UK?

We then caught a bus, HK$8 for a ticket to Stanley Market. Winding roads climbing up, quickly making Simon sick despite the Kwells! A beach came into view so off we hopped, and legged it down umpteen flights of steps to get to the beach (and toilet facilities). Repulse Bay, imported sand apparently and only a lot of Chinese people posing for photos, we were the only ones paddling!


Taken from the beach and from the bus, very strange sand, looked like UK builders sand!

A paddle and a drink then back up the steps and on to a mini bus this time (lets see if its any easier for him) HK$3 and 10 mins we were in Stanley. Dropped off at a smart shopping centre, so looked for the beach and food, then market shopping.

Fresh coconuts! have you ever! mmmm they are beautiful, the flesh inside is white and sweet and soft, very easy to scrape out (just like eating a boiled egg!) and they’ve been stored in the fridge so are really refreshing.

We wandered through the market and got a new handbag (BOGOF-buy one get one free) Lots of traditional arts and crafts and small gift ideas. But shopping is exhausting refreshments required, more coconut and a platter of fruit. Time to brave the bus home – poor Simon – but he managed it really well this time.


Simon and Hannah enjoying the beautiful coconut juice











    We arranged to meet Hannah at the Symphony of Lights then go off to eat, she arrived with a number of friends who were staying at the hostel with her and the plan of going to a bar on 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton. Unfortunately we had not read the information where it explains that no one wearing flipflops will be admitted.  A fun evening meeting new people, wandering HK at night and food. ;-)

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Hong Kong, Here we come…

Goodbye Time, I do so hate to say Goodbye, Hugs and tears and more hugs, Not sure when we’ll see Mike & Nell again, but they are hoping they to come over next year to the UK for a visit :)

We took a midnight flight from Perth to Hong Kong, and arrived at 7.30, early. Stowed our large case and just took hand luggage into the city.

Found the high speed train station and took the train to Kowloon, quick McD’s then got a free bus! Found Nathan Road then the Chung King Mansions.



All the different windows on the skyscrapers were great to see, such imagination

This is where it suddenly got worrying, we were entering another world, lots of market stalls, people everywhere. We found our lift entrance, and got in, only to find no floor 5, so got out at 6 and walked down a floor. The stair well was scarey and grubby. On floor 5 we knocked on the door of Guangdong Guest House and found a palace! spotless, clean, and a smiling Simon To. He’d offered to store our bags, as check in/out was after 12 and it was still only 9.30am.

Hannah called to say she was downstairs so lets go get coffee! Hugs tears and more hugs, I’ve not seen her since September


All the different buildings, many of them are lit up at night but look amazing at any time of the day

I was amazed at the sky scrapers. There were so many, all so different. I walked round with my head looking up and my camera clicking.

These all light up at night with different patterns, but they look amazing at any time of the daythat direction, took the Star Ferryacross to Hong Kong Island (you just have to do it, don’t you) and on every walk way we bumped into more and more Brothers and Sisters. We got to the meeting place and stayed for the Special Talk then our stomachs got the better of us and we found a chinese restaurant to eat, the only one in Hong Kong that doesn’t speak english! But we survived… replenished we found Starbucks for proper coffee, comfy seats and plan making for our next adventure.


The Tram that goes up and down the hill, the view from the window about half way up and the iconic building with the Sky Terrace on the top (where we went)

The Peak was decided as we were quite near to the tram terminal. There was a queue (the HK’s queue for everything) and we held our place whilst each of us took turns to find a loo! After an hour+, and a decision of should we spend and extra HK$25 to go to the Sky Terrace 428 (not knowing what that was) we voted yes, lets do it. later we worked out it was the princely sum of £2.

After queuing for the tickets we queued for the tram, a red car came into sight and on we climbed. The incline is so steep (I’m sure it was a 45° angle) and half way up we passed the return car. Once at the top we followed everyone like sheep up escalator after escalator up to another ticket barrier – this is the Sky Terrace – up two more escalators to find ourselves on top of the world, in a cloud!

You can wander round the top to take in the views, its very windy (but a warm wind) but as the mist cleared you can see all the city laid out below. Stunning, I found the colour of everything so different here from WA, there its sharp blues, whites, high contrast, but here its all gently blended blues, greys, purple and greens, and they change every 5 mins depending on the mist.

Next it was noodles in a noodle cafe for a pick me up before our descent. We left the top in daylight, it was dark by the time we got to the bottom.


Popped back to our hostel to check in with Simon To, get a key etc and dashed out to see the Symphony of Lights. As all our phones, cameras etc were flat we opted for watching tonight, film photos tomorrow (its on every day 8pm), that we we could really enjoy it all rather than what you see through a view finder. And WOW was it cool! 15 mins of synchronised lights and music.

Found a lovely Japanese restaurant very close to home for tea, made plans to meet at McD’s for breakfast near her in the morning and said goodnight to Hannah

We found a 24 hour metro pass was great value, HK$55 each and it gave you unlimited travel on the underground. We worked it to only need 2 as we got our 2nd one late enough to last us til we were heading to the airport again. The metro is easy enough once you get the hang of the station names, and when you know where you are based it all falls into place very quickly. Although busy I never felt threatened anywhere in Hong Kong.

So back at our hostel we showered in our tiny bathroom and slept like logs til 9am (due to missing a lot of sleep the previous night)

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Dolphins !

Mike and Nell’s friends Bob & Lisa have a boat – ‘Och Aye the Noo!’ (he’s Scottish) and they offered to take us out on the ocean to see if we could see the dolphins.

Bring your snorkel and bathers (aussie for swimming costume).


The Cut is the gap where we sail out of the bay into the sea, for real, then its all eyes peeled looking for a fin, a splash or a silent glide.  Dolphins ahead…..

I could just overload you here with picture after picture of the dolphins, they were beautiful.






Bob told me to drop the ladder and go down into the sea, it was cold… so I just jumped in after 1 step, once you’re in you get used to it quicker don’t you.  Then I put on my snorkel and goggles, I’m still a novice and found it quite hard to control my breathing, especially when this grey smiling face came up from beneath me, turning, looking, smiling at me. Then just a foot or so from me he turned and swam away, boy did he tease me, swimming round and round me.  They say animals can smell fear, maybe that’s what he worked out, I was petrified, but he just hung about.



We had a couple of little fish and I put my arm out, and ever so gently he took it from my fingers, smiling and watching me.  The people in the boat said the screams that were coming out of my snorkel were so funny, but all I could hear was the clicks the dolphins were making, it made the hair on the back of my head prickle, so strange.  As the water was deep and I could only see 10-12 feet away I kept trying to turn round and see where they were, then I felt a nibbling on my fingers, the dolphin was playing with me – hoping for another treat? He let me touch his nose, swam past me and I stroked his side, he was beautiful, about 8-9 foot long and had quite a light underbelly.

I was unaware just how many dolphins were round the boat, 2 mums and 2 babies, another large one who had lost his dorsal fin somehow, the one that was hanging round me plus 2 more.  Bob has never seen them jump and come so close before.

I couldn’t believe it.  I was amazed, it was one of those times in your life that takes your breath away, brings tears to your eyes and makes you smile big time….

Thank you Bob & Lisa for being able to give me such an experience. What a privledge I’ve had!

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Busselton Jetty


We booked tickets to go on the train and down to the observatory at Busselton, we kept checking the weather as it had been closed previously due the sea being too rough. But the weather was good, hot!

The Jetty is 1.8km long and we took the mini train the length to the observatory. (too hot to walk? or too lazy? – heat I think!)


Once there we were taken down the 6 flights of stairs, the green light you can see at the bottom is only the light that comes through from the surface, shows how clear the water is.


It was beautiful – watching the fish swimming by, in schools and solo.

some big

some small, this little fellow on the right has a fake eye on its tail and they thought he was 5-6 weeks old.


The Jetty support pillars were covered in many types of  seaweed and water plants gently waving in the sea.

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The Highs and Lows of WA


The Gloucester Tree – a 61 metre high karri tree that used to be used as a fire lookout – it is very near the town centre and you can climb to the top using the metal posts that are fixed into the side of the tree and as you go up you spiral round the huge trunk. You quickly get into a rhythm as you go but then find that your leading leg starts to tighten, cramp is the last thing you want as you head to the top, stop, and restart leading with the other leg.








Once at the top you are rewarded with amazing views, you can see for miles, there is a enough space to sit down (thank you very much) and get your breath back, and your courage! before heading down the tree again.

Simon was heading up as I was coming down so we had to cross on the metal bar, I hugged the trunk and let him climb round me!







Leaving Pemberton behind we headed toward Margaret River. Taking Caves Road up the coast we stopped at Mammoth Cave which has been a tourist attraction for nearly 200 years.

We were given headphones and keypad (to put in the number displayed at different points on the walkway and then you can listen to an explanation of how the caves were formed). A small torch was attached, just in case of a power cut, so 2/3’s of the way round they proved very useful.

Heading off to Prevelly beach for a spot of fishing, fresh air, and relaxing in the sun. It is a popular place for surfers, but the wind was apparently coming from the wrong direction so they were ‘messy’.









We stayed with some friends, Simon got a game of snooker, shared a lovely meal, and relaxed.

Popped to a Yahava coffee shop where I did a spot of tasting! mmmm Started with a Kintamani, Romeo No 5 and Black Gold.Next morning we wandered Margaret River, looking at the shops, many small ones, rather than chain stores, which adds interest.


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Pemberton Tramway Co.

A 2 carriage red tram took us along the old tracks that took the felled trees back to the mill, here they were stripped of their bark, sliced lengthways and then stacked to dry. We rattled along the track and stopped at The Cascades, get out of the carriage and go down tje steps to the water, but unfortunately, like the falls earlier, this was dried up too and not cascading!

The driver described the different trees as we passed them, Karri, Marri, Snotty Gobble, Gum (the peppermint gum’s leaves are extremely pepperminty if you crush them in your hand

20120412-112324 PM.jpgThe tram goes along the tracks between the trees, when there’s a river or a valley a wooden bridge has been made, there are little step aside places along the bridge.







The livery on the carriages has been kept up to and they are all very pretty.


The square logs lying around are waste as a plank with centre grain does not have the strength of those with just the side grain. These were the size of a standard tree, hard to imagine the size before they were sliced.

We tootled along the track there and back, enjoyed his running commentary about the loggers and the forest.




After our ride we picked up some food at IGA and went back to our cottage at Quinninup.  Saw some Roos in the play park in the village. I managed to walk round to be able to see the baby one which she’d carefully positioned herself in the way to hide him. So sweet!



It was my turn to cook today and Mike wanted English comfort food – shepherds pie! I get started and hear Simon loudly whispering “Rach here quick camera”. I run – leaving Nell my sous chef to prevent burning – and there on the veranda are three kookaburras. They are just the cutest fluffiest birds ever. They sat and posed in return for food. Unfortunately they are like owls and eat small rodents (also snakes which they whip against a tree until dead) so the pieces of bread and apple we offered were not up to scratch, so were thrown on the floor, which the late night kangaroos enjoyed.

The Roos came charging through the bush 4 of them bouncing pushing but only timid when they are stopped. They move at such a speed once in motion. Sadly my pictures of them outside the house are not too good but it was fun watching them – a little one too.

… the shepherds pie was lovely!!

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No bread – no breakfast! so off back into Pemby to find food and coffee. Also the Information office so we can check out times for the Tramway. We missed the 10.30 one so headed off to Beedelup Falls in Beedelup National Park.

We parked in the car park, and the thought went through my head that we were in for quite a hike as I was unable to hear the waterfall.

But as it was the falls weren’t falling – The rain hadn’t arrived so the falls were empty! but it was still pretty

Back into the ute and head out to the Gloucester National Park on a road that is a one way loop that hasn’t been made up so you make a dust cloud behind you as you go round. We stopped of at a couple of vantage points, and had a brew! made on the Barbie!

We headed back into town in time for the tram ride with the Pemberton Tramway Company.  The ride runs through deep forests and picturesque countryside and recreates the history of the timber railways.


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Off to the Valley of the Giants….

We spent the morning snorkelling – again! I so love it, its hard to do but so worth the struggle.

Saw lots and lots of fish, some that were just cruising alone, others in shoals, large and small shoals and large and small fish!

Tiny orange ones darting here and there.

Large stripy ones that camouflage into the rocks and weeds.

A beautiful angel fish.

An orange starfish! that so looked like a baby bath toy!

Sea cucumbers.

Puffa fish – unpuffed though!

Leather Jackets

Sadly my camera is not waterproof, so no photos.  We spent an hour in the water, cruising over weed toward sandy open areas, all the fish would disappear to start with but if you just float and watch they all start reappearing.  After an hour, shivering, we got out of the water, ate a TimTam (penguin for all you poms) and went straight back in for a further hour.  Sandwiches for lunch, cold showers outside the toilet area, then back in the ute to go to the Valley of the Giants in Denmark.

This is a tree top walk, on bridges, some move a little, others move a lot, especially if you walk with a good swing in your hips! and you are suspended 40m up in the air.  So here are some pictures of trees, there were lots of trees here.



The trees are so old and so big.


We wandered all along the bridges then did the forest floor walk where you wander along a boardwalk and can see the fauna etc and get the full extent of the size of the trees!

Some are big enough to walk inside, these have often been hit by lightening causing them to burn inside, (or its an insect or a fungal problem, so the signs say).

After leaving the park we headed to our next accommodation, in Qunninup, a small village behind the back of beyond!

On wanting a loaf of bread the following morning Mike and Nell found the village shop had closed – permanently – in 1995!  You could however buy ‘essentials’ at the tavern, open at 12 noon weekends, 2pm during the week.  Internet was only available in the village for an hour on Monday Wednesday Friday and Saturday.  The most maintained part was the Lazer Quest – attached to the tavern!

The house was large and old fashioned, had a lovely wood burner, which we lit immediately, but the veranda overlooked Lake Quinninup and had the Kari Walk passing just in front of the house.



We ate out at the Pemberton Hotel (in Pemberton) Had Red Emperor fish for dinner and Fat Yak ale. Really good food, and a treat for Mike not to cook for us.

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