Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Growing the (yarn) stash

During our time away we drove down to Gorgeous Man’s father’s place. It’s a drive we’ve taken many, many times. On the way back to Brisbane, instead of passing straight through one of the small towns along the way Gorgeous Man turned the wheels of the car towards the Town Centre. We hadn’t driven more than 20 metres down the side street when I spotted what looked like a yarn store.

Once the car had stopped I hightailed it to the store to investigate while Gorgeous Girl and Gorgeous Man amused themselves in a secondhand books store.

Fibre Delights is a charming little store which sells a variety of handknit and crochet items as well as a small range of spinning fibre and yarn.

The stash grew as a result of this little visit. Some spinning fibre found its way home with me.

fibre delights merino greenfibre delights merino red2

I’m looking forward to spinning this up.

If you are passing through Ulmarra in north New South Wales, this little store is well worth a visit.


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Out and about

Papua New Guinea was a major theatre of war in World War II and we took the students to Bomana War Cemetery.


This is the view from the front of the cemetery. The cemetery contains the Australian war dead.

A friend had asked me to locate the grave of a relative of hers and I gave Gorgeous Girl the name and grave number and sent her off to look while I sat under a tree and listened to our visiting scholar give a lecture. (Gorgeous Girl is on school holidays at the moment so she got to come along on all the tours we did). She located it very quickly and after the lecture I went down and took pictures for my friend.


This is the view from the row he was buried in. We held our lecture under the big tree at the top of the photo.

We also visited the Museum. Gorgeous Girl was not so impressed with that, she declared herself to be tired, hungry and bored. Finally she spotted a bird in the court yard and went over to stare at it through the emergency doors. One of the security guards who had seen how unhappy she was saw her staring longingly at the bird and took her outside to meet it in person. They came back 10 minutes later to get me so that I could take photos.

So tame and friendly. Apparently he was pretty heavy. I’m am always humbled at the lengths people here will go to keep children happy.

In crafty news I’m putting the final borders on my crochet blanket, so hopefully pictures shortly.

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A tour

It’s been a busy few weeks and I didn’t mean to disappear from the blog. The day after all exams had been marked and grades submitted two visiting scholars from Australia arrived to do an intensive tour and classes for the students in our Papaua New Guinea History subject. We arranged a number of day trips for the students.

On the first day we visited some informal settlements to discuss problems and challenges of urbanisation. We also looked at some training programmes that were being conducted in the villages such as financial literacy and first aid training. After that we went to Parliament House.

parliament house1

Where we were given a private tour by a former member of parliament and we had lunch in the parliamentary dining room. This was quite an experience for the students.

Parliament house lunch

After lunch we were taken to a local village. To visit a village such as this in PNG you need to make contact with local land owners first and need a reason for being there, it’s not polite to just wander in.


In this village the houses are built over the water. Many of the men fish for a living. The house this photo was taken from had the front part on land and the rear of the house and the back deck over water.


At the end of the day one of the students told our visiting lecturer that it was the trip of a lifetime for him.



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Saving money while travelling in the USA

So I thought I’d take a moment and list some of  the things we did to try and stick to a reasonable budget when we were in the USA. Hopefully someone will find it useful.

  1. Transport: Most US cities require a car to get around. Taking taxis/cabs can get expensive fast even if you use Uber. For the Colorado leg of our trip we saved a lot of money by hiring a car through Turo. Turo is like airbnb, but for cars. People rent out their spare car through the site. They get to make some extra money and you get to hire a car at a cheaper rate than the big rental car companies. This was the first time we have used Turo, but it won’t be the last. Not affiliated, just happy customers.
  2. Accommodation: Avoid hotels where possible. The most expensive leg of our trip was in Atlanta where we stayed in a hotel. We much prefer to use airbnb or a similar site to rent accommodation. Here you rent a house or apartment directly from the owner. There are also options to rent single rooms in an occupied house (homestay) like we did in Hawaii. There are a number of advantages:  the daily rate is often cheaper than a hotel and you get a whole house with a kitchen, and laundry facilities. This means that you are able to cook and wash for yourself. Not having buy three meals a day cuts down on daily expenses. Also by staying in a house you get a real sense of the culture and the place and get to do every day things (like shovel snow and shop in a grocery store) that you wouldn’t get to do in a hotel where everything is dedicated to tourists. Also being off the tourist track a bit more helps to uncover hidden gems of places that the locals know about but that may not be obvious to you if you stay in the tourist district.
  3. Food: Where possible we tried to self-cater as much as possible. It was cheaper to buy a box of oatmeal and some fresh fruit for breakfast each day than to eat in a restaurant. Also much healthier. Sandwiches for lunch and then eat out for dinner, or cook a quick meal if you feel like staying in. If you are from Australia or Europe then you will find that American serving sizes are much larger than you are used to and sharing a meal is a viable option, further reducing costs. The most extreme example of this was at a food court in Denver where we ordered a child’s meal for Gorgeous Girl and there was so much food on the plate that the three of us shared it and did not feel the need to buy any more food.
  4. If you are planning on visiting National Parks more than once look into getting a yearly pass. For us it was cheaper to buy a year pass to use for the two weeks we were in Colorado than to pay for single entry each time we visited. The yearly pass paid for itself after the second visit.

Those were the main areas where we were able to put some sanity into the budget. Remember if you are travelling always take out travel insurance.

What about you? Any money saving travel tips to share?

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We only had a few days in Hawaii, and the highlight of the trip for Gorgeous Girl was the opportunity to try surfing for the first time. We found an instructor who operated away from the main tourist beaches (and hence was much less expensive) and he was great.

Gorgeous Man also took part in the lesson. Before they were allowed in the water with the boards they had to practice on land.


Practicing their moves…surfing2

We had brought Gorgeous Girl’s wetsuit with us and Al the instructor provided a life vest. Gorgeous Girl was very confident in the water thanks to all the snorkelling in Fiji last year, and the life vest added to that water confidence. They started in close to shore.


Standing up with the board supported.


Standing on her own catching a very small wave!


Then it was time to paddle out to the break and catch some real waves.


Gorgeous Girl did really well, unfortunately my camera didn’t zoom that far and all of the pictures of her surfing at the break are blurry. She fell off a few times, but climbed right back on and kept going. She managed to catch a lot of waves  and stood up more than she fell off. The beach was perfect – uncrowded and the water was very calm. I’m pretty sure that she’s going to want to try surfing again on an Australian beach very soon.

Hawaii was a great way to end the trip and I’m hoping that we have created some memories that will stay with us for a very long time.


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After the conference in Atlanta it was time to head home. Gorgeous Man and I spent our 19th wedding anniversary travelling with Gorgeous Girl to Los Angeles and then on to Hawaii where we broke our journey for a few days.

In Hawaii we stayed in accommodation we found through airbnb.com. It was a homestay where a couple rent out rooms in their house to guests. There was one other guest aside from our family. Normally when we use airbnb we rent the entire place and don’t interact with the hosts, so this was first for us to stay in an occupied house. It wasn’t as awkward as I thought it would be and I’d do it again. Staying away from a hotel also means that you experience more of life in a place than just the tourist district.

We did a lot of walking in Hawaii and Gorgeous Man did some bird watching. Hawaii has a lot of birds from other places and in one park we spotted birds from South America, Australia, Asia and Africa. My favourite was this little guy.


A Brazilian cardinal.

On one of our walks we found Magic Island and Gorgeous Girl had a swim. She takes every opportunity to get into water, but I have to admit it was kind of surreal given that we’d been in snow just a few days before.


We didn’t stay in any of these fancy hotels 😀


All in all it was a lovely day.

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This is the last snow post I promise. On our last day in Estes Park we decided to go sledding again. This time we tried a different location. The hill was a bit steeper and longer. Once again we hired our sleds and set off.

By this time Gorgeous Girl had the steering and management of the sled down pat.

YMCA sledding1

Heading back up the hill.

YMCA sledding2

I managed to get better photos of Gorgeous Man this time. Since we were the only people there (it was a school day), it was easier to get closer to the action.

YMCA sledding3



Another family turned up and Gorgeous Girl and their little girl had great fun riding in tandem on  their sleds. They had a tube. Here’s Gorgeous Girl’s method of carrying it up the hill for their little girl. (I’ve cut their girl out of the picture).


And more conventionally.


Yes, she really was wearing short sleeves in the snow…

I have to admit that I didn’t really like sledding on the plastic sleds. They felt too fast and out of control for me. I also took a pretty good tumble out of one on this hill. Nothing was hurt, but I rolled over a few times. The other family persuaded me to have a go on the tube and I really enjoyed it. Much more my pace and I felt a lot more secure in it.

It was a great way to spend our last day in Colorado.



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