"Lake Macquarie Email from home...." Lake Macquarie Travelogue by Zanzibargirl

Lake Macquarie Travel Guide: 21 reviews and 72 photos

24/06/04

Hi All,

Well... I am back home... in Aus... it is a little strange... but am slowly getting my footing.... Just has been long enough to see everyone before I explore new territory in the NT he he.... in less than a couple of days now (this Saturday) I'm planning on heading to Darwin...

I just wanted to say thanks to all those wonderful people I met along the way in my travels and who had me to stay or I visited that are on this list (and a couple I unfortunately lost contract with due to lack off address). The sites and the scenery were amazing, but really it is the people who have made my trip. It would not have been so wonderful if I hadn't of met such fabulous people. Hope you are all either still enjoying your travelling lifestyles or happy and safe at home or wherever you are...

Below is a funny little anecdotal list of things that I have learnt during my travels. Some made me laugh, some made me cry... some just made me go - doh Sheryn what are you thinking? and others are just facts that I have learnt about places that I have visited that I didn't realise....

Take care all,

Hope u are all well, do keep in touch... and cheer and beers to more adventures and travels on this globe and beyond....

Sheryn

P.S... to everyone at home that I have caught up with the last few days it has been amazing. Great to see everyone... all so eager to see me too... It has been nice to be in Newy... My family, friends... thanks.... and lots of love.

P.P.S. Good luck with the the new bubs when he arrives Jules.W.. I hope all goes well...

THINGS THAT I HAVE DISCOVERED

1/ The capital of South Africa is not Johannesburg or Capetown. It is Bloemfontain...

2/ Police in South Africa do not pull people over for exceeding the speed limit by 80 km per hr???? Why is it soo? Police rangers in the Rocky mountains of America... do however pull you over for exceeding the speed limit by 10 - 20 km per hour... then are nice as you plead to be innocent tourists and watch a herd of bison cross the highway....

3/ I learnt how to pitch and pack an A frame tent on my own... no assistance required... and the trick to doing it without needing a buddy - wow - pretty amazing for the non camper in myself...

4/ There are only about 600 wild gorillas in the world, and they are the loudest ever farters known to me in existance... jeez they can let hurl!!!! Of that number on one day - I saw 9 out of a family of 12 and was only 1 of six tourists in the world to see them... Now how much more important can you feel than that?

5/ Internet is available in Africa, but like everything else in Africa... on africa time.... slow... No... just to answer my brothers silly question... it is not some mule with a satellite dish that wanders around with a lap top on it's side... though that is a funny image. Mind u... I did see a mule and cart pulled in to get refuelled at a petrol station (no joke).

6/ For some reason, a tent can completely flood from underneath when not pegged correctly in the middle of the Mara when the water has room to flow away... when a correctly pegged tent does not flood, even though on one corner it can be up to a foot deep in water on one side....???

7/ The African name for Johannesburg is "Egoli" which means "place of gold". It was an old gold mining town. It is the largest inland city in the world - which I find a rather surprising fact....

8/ Dar Es Salaam means "Haven of Peace"... should probably be called "haven of smells"... boy does it smell... ewey...

9/ Nairobi is aka Nairobberi for a reason.....

10/ An elephant feels like a big wet furry crunkled piece of sandpaper.

11/ Giraffes must like the movies... because they sure can catch a pellet of food like popcorn... he he.

12/ Jambo means hello. Kwaheri means goodbye. Misouri means beautiful. Asanti Sana means thankyou very much... (Swahili lesson 1).

13/ You can get phone service on your mobile in the middle of the Masai Mara - but not in Alaska - now how does that make sense?

14/ a) Malaria is the biggest killer in the world. How on earth I didn't get it is beyond me...

b) Malaria tablets should be taken after meals to avoid puking... ewe... (I learnt this lesson the hard way)

c) Mosquitos of the world love Sheryn blood.... Still have the itchy scars....

15/ Aids is the second largest killer in the world. In African schools even servicing those as young as kindergarten, they advertise on boards on the walls saying "don't have sex". That is how bad it is....

16/ There are 100 billion gazillion speed humps in East Africa - of which I feel like I went over every single one.... We - in big Ex German army tank had to slow down (well done Gino). But the locals still hoon over them like maniacs. And not to mention the pot holes... that is... can you even call them roads???

17/ Water doesn't have direction at all on the equator... It goes straight down. Not clockwise or anticlockwise (how does this work when the equator is supposedly not a fixed object?)....

18/ Banapo wine (made with fermented banana's and pineapple) tasted in Uganda - tastes like paint stripper.

19/ I learnt how to drink beer... never did much before... and aquired a taste just cause I tried a few each country... Some I tried include : Tusker, Kilamanjaro, Mossies, Zambezi, Rhino, Castle, Alexandra Keiths, Budweiser, Coors Light, Colt, Labatt's Blue, Heinekken and more... My favourites were Mossie, Zambezi, Alexandra Keiths and a german Weit beer that I can't remember the name of which was probably the best... Now intend on sampling the full Australian range again - just to compare notes... (oh oh... I'll be putting that gut back on before I know it if I'm not careful - he he).

20/ The best wine in South Africa I tried was Zonnebloem Merlot from the Zonnebloem Cellars... For anyone that knows me well. This is Ironic.. As Zonnebloem in both Africaans and Dutch means Sunflowers. And with my dutch heritage and the fact that I am sunflower crazy... well... this kinda makes sense that I would like such a nice drop!

21/ In Ngorongoro crater there are only Black Rhino. An interesting factor as there are less black than white left in the world... The crater has something like 400 or more rangers to protect the animals there I think... isnt that amazing...

22/ On Chimpanzee Island, there is only one non orphaned chimp born on the island. It will be the only one.... All are now desexed - there is no breeding program... he was an accident....

23/ Pit toilets like eating camera's alive for their diet in Hell's gate. And it is called Hells Gate for a reason. I think I almost died from heat exhaustion - never again. Remember... Choose Crater lake instead next time.

24/ Being in an air balloon is like floating on a cloud.

25/ Travelling gives you interesting perspective... on the past... it changes you without you even realising it.

26/ Aint no mountain high enough... well, ok. maybe... But hey... I climbed one in Ketchican.. (Deermountain) Who would have thought I could. Watch out Everest....

27/ Cold beer and a few drinks can heal egged heads from truck doors which knock you out!

28/ Old Faithful erupts about 10 minutes each side of something like about 4:45 pm every single day...

29/ Canada is way..... way.... nicer than the USA... as expected... the thing about Canada is the people are much more like us.... Similar to Aussies. We have the same sense of humour....

30/ Of all the cities in the world I visited, the one I noticed the beggers the most was not somewhere in Africa, not somewhere in America, not in the Dominican Republic... but in Canada... Yes... Canada... And that place would be Vancouver... Still one of my favourite places in spite of this though.

31/ Melanie Brown aka Scarey spice... can sing... but not that good comparitively to the rest of the "Rent" cast....

32/ Bryan Adams looks like a pretty regular sort of guy.... You wouldn't pick him in a line up for being famous thats for sure.

33/ Amtrak trains in the usa were more comfortable than the Canadian VIA rail counterpart. But the VIA rail gave better service....VIA is an expensive way to travel...

34/ The motto's "Love as if you have never lost, Dance as if no one is watching, sing as if you sound like a professional (even if you don't) and laugh as if the whole world is laughing with you" are great one's to live by.... and they make life much more interesting!

35/ Water from an Alaskan stream, lake or Canadian Glacier tastes amazing and very refreshing. Especially after hiking up mountains and your water bottle is empty.

36/ I have probably walked around the world more times in my lifetime than the 1 literal round trip I have just done... mind you... never have I walked so much as this trip. I think I have done something in the midst of a gazillion million footsteps. Next time I want to take one of those kilometre counters for on my hip!

37/ Love is sweet.... but we all knew that!

38/ The lake's in both Stanley Park and Montreal's Mont Royal are called Beaver Lake... on another note. The park at Mont Royal was designed by the same guy who designed Central Park in New York.

39/ Hint to all... Pink is the new colour next summer.... trust me... it is what they had in for the summer overseas in the usa... Think PINK....

40/ Last but not least... now that I am home... I want to do it all again! Addictive isn't it....

41/ Oh... and I had to add..... lesson 41... "shut up sheryn you write bloodly long emails".... I know I do... sometimes I do hear your groans...he he... enjoy it while you can!!!!

My top destinations guide/highlites and must see and do to all of the world (not really in particular order) for this trip are:

1/ Zanzibar - well... really... how could I go past it... Highlight of my trip... Land of spice and absolutely stunning... beaches, diving with turtles, restaurants, sunsets, stonetown raindance... perfection....

2/ Gorillas in the Mist out of Lake Bunyoni and Kisoro... the gorilla's are amazing, and Lake Bunyoni is georgeous... and eating at the Travellers Rest in Kisoro Uganda, where Diane Fossey of Gorilla's in the Mist hid under the bed was good food too...

3/ Uganda just in general - beautiful beautiful beautiful people.

4/ All the lakes - Louise, Moraine, Emerald, Peyto, Bow, Jackson and more of the Rockies in both America and Canada - stunning...

5/ Safari's in Ngorongoro Crater with the Lions.... Lake Nakuru with the flamingo...

6/ Eating breakfast with the beasts after a balloon ride over 24 elephants in the Masai Mara.

7/ Dancing with the Masai women in Kenya and the children of Malawi - Kande Beach

8/ Dinner at the Victoria Falls Hotel... take someone special!

9/ Climbing a mountain in Ketchican, Alaska.

10/ Cycling in Stanley Park Vancouver with the chipmunks...

11/ Walking a forest trail with a black bear on the boardwalk ahead of you....

12/ Camping with hippo's at Lake Naivasha.

13/ Standiing in Time Square where they drop the New Years ball, looking up at Manhatten's skyline and feeling like you are in the centre of the world. Never seen so many neon lights in my life....

14/ Packing into a guar guar in the Dominican Republic with 20 people...

15/ Seeing Old Faithful Erupt and then giving way to Bison in Yellowstone National Park.

16/ Shopping till you drop in New York and Miami...

17/ Going to the top of the worlds tallest building and finding out that Australia is going to beat it! Soon to over take the CN tower...

18/ Quad Biking to the lookout near Lake Calabogie with the biggest grin and feeling like I am going to fall off.

19/ Taking a horse and carriage ride through Montreal.

20/ Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese bagel picnic and the Olympic mountains floating on a cloud in Victoria...

21/ Tasting Buffalo fillet cooked on an outdoor barbie in Kenya....

22/ Dancing under the water of the Zambezi at Victoria falls and playing in the waterfall rain.

23/ Going on an air boat in the Everglades...

24/ Driving the bridges of the Florida Keys to Key West.

25/ Watching the final hockey game Calgary vs Tampa Bay.. doh.. they lost... but it was exciting...

26/ Seeing killer whales in the straight on the ferry between Victoria and Vancouver.

27/ Seeing the movie "13 going on 30" staring Jennifer Garner. (I highly recommend it)... with another Novocastrian... Just met oversea's as you always do meet someone from only a couple of suburbs away, and only knew her for about 24 hrs as with people that you meet spontaneously travelling...

28/ Volunteering at the schools in Uganda and having children climb all over you. Feeling like you have made a difference....

29/ Ringing my Grandmother on her 90th birthday from Africa and hearing the excitement in her voice from a world away that I have called, and Just anytime I called someone back home, the feeling of the world being a whole lot smaller a place, and that feeling coming home when I saw the preramble on Sydney through teary eyes on the plane and then Mums shout "There she is" and Jump out of her seat like a maniac as I arrived in the airport...

30/ THE PEOPLE I HAVE MET!!!! This is a big one... I have met some of the most amazing people...

From Rod - you of course were my biggest highlight. Thanks for making it wonderful. You are truely special to me... Luv ya babe.

To those on my Kumuka tour (Kristy, Pete (such a great couple - thanks for reminding me to always smile), Pete, Mark, Elenoar (you three were like having older brothers and a sister -thanks for looking after me) Casey, Jo (u go gals. Thanks to Jo for laughing with me about cameras in Hells Gate and Case for being a great Chateau non camping pal too and teaching me the proper "cheers" he he), Tonia (thanks for being a cool friend in Uganda when I needed a shoulder to cry on), Pip (I reckon the sole reason I didn't end up with Malaria), Eric, Veronica (another great couple), Maria (my fantastic first tent buddy - you rock), Anders (one cool funny guy. You and Maria are an amazing couple), Julie, Jason, Bruce and Catherine (more friendly couple) ...

The guides: Tina and Gino - you cooked the best meals Tina and were a great mate, and Gino - thanks for the beer for my bumps and bruised head and driving us all. And for the Moose tour: Micah - thanks for being a great guide on tour and also for the lift to Victoria too and showing me round. I really appreciated it.

Plus all my Canadian Rockies tour buddies: Kirsten, Simon - It is so lovely to meet high school sweet hearts. You guys are awesome. Bastian, Udo - Bastian ever so informative and both of you are such funny guys. Liz - I hope your leg is better. You are one tough cookie- good on you for being so brave... you go gal...

Mark, thanks for letting me come along with you and Rod again.

Noelle, the poor waitress we harassed in Key West that ended up coming for drinks with us at Hogs Breath.

William my Nairobi tour guide from Eldoret...

The children of Africa in particular Uganda and Malawi for ust waving, making me smile, and crowding us with affection at the schools and dancing the night away in Malawi...

Bridget from Kande beach reception office...

William Shakespeare and Christopher Columbus (no Joke, this is what they call themselves) who I played that African rock game with at the markets in Malawi. What is that game called anyway. Does anyone know?

Thomas, Rosemary, Lesley and Andrew - I can never thank you enough for your kind hospitality. It is always lovely to see you all.

Sarah, Megan, Alison, Steve, Mary, Samantha and Yana from the Same Sun who made my Vancouver visit so great and looked after me... Especially the movies with Alison, Cycling Stanley park with most of you, Lyn Canyon with Sam and the Mariners pub with Sarah.

Richard - my old pal from contiki Europe - thanks so much for showing me around. Lara, Tom, Anne, Jacqui and all the Vegemite team in Montreal - thanks especially for Lab priveledges of the computer and having me around. Plus Richards sis Mary and their family. It was lovely to meet you. Thanks too for taking me to QC. Oh, and Luce too..

Joanna, her mum, their dog Summer, Chris, his parents, all the puppies, Mike, Kate, Jasper and Mariko from Toronto - thanks especially to Joanna, her mum, Chris and his parents for having me to stay.

The friendly cab driver in Victoria falls named Haba.

And if I have forgotten anyone... thanks.. I don't think I have... keep in touch all.. if ever in Aus... those of you overseas are always welcome, and for those of you here in Aus - hope we can catch up sometime.... Don't forget to send on your pictures! I will be doing the same soon....

My top 20 cities of the world... (so far anyways)....

1/ And the winner is "SYDNEY" - there is no place like home.. and even if it may be a biased view. Got to be the most beautiiful cities in the world! The Harbour bridge and The Opera house are what make it... Toronga zoo, the ferry, soon to open again Luna park, nearby to the Blue Mountains and home to the best New Years firework displays in the world & the best olympics ever put on...

2/ VANCOUVER.... I felt so home away from home. Maybe it is it's similarity to Sydney being on a harbour, or maybe it was the people I met. But this city rocks... only con's... unbelievable amount of beggers compared to anywhere else I went.... and lots of homeless and druggo's. Pluses - Stanley Park, Grouse Mt., Lyn Canyon... the gateway to the mountains and Alaska....

3/ When in ROME... do as the Romans do... This city is only one of two in the world that I feel has its own heartbeat and life of its own. Such history, well worn paths... the walls tell stories, and of course - the Vatican nearby and the Sistine chapel Michelangelo is a must. Think Trevi fountain, piazza's with fountains, Spanish steps...

4/ BARCELONA... Livin Lavida Loca.... Got to be one of the most relaxing cities in the world.... Amazing architecture by Gaudi, great tapas, chocolate and churros and not too big to have walked on foot...

5/ LUCERNE Switzerland. A chocolate box cover come to life with cowbells, kappelbruke, the city walls and bells just ringing out across the city.. Plus the georgeous lake and nearby mt Pilatus cog railway...

6/ NEW YORK, centre of fashion, broadway fame plays, and the advertising capital I feel of the world. Empire State building, Statue of Liberty, and shop till you drop.

7/ LONDON, so much to see... it never ends.... quaint and cute and big and classic... that is London... one of the Classic cities.

8/ VENICE, La Dolce Vita and "thats Amore".... Sitting back on a gondola being serenaded by an italian gondolier, marvelling at the building sinking into the streams... St Marks Square and the Basilica and Gelati.

9/ AMSTERDAM - Quaintness to boot... those canals lit up at night turn it into a fairy land... other than Venice, another European capital yet to be discovered for romantisicm. Van Gogh, Anne Frank House and nearby to clogs, dykes and cheese and all those quintessential dutch treats... Yummy poffertjes and pankoeken too!

10/ QUEBEC CITY - The cute little old town is georgeous... eat crepes, poutine and beaver tails and wander the trinket shops....

11/ Sleepless in SEATTLE - going up the space needle, Pikes place market and checking another lovely harbourside city that is a miniature version of Sydney...

12/ CAPETOWN - watching seals play in Victoria Basin, the stunning backdrop of Table mountain, and again... this city is in a lovely location.

13/ Its nice in NICE - Pebble stone beaches, the french riviera. Nearby to Monaco and Cannes and a nice place to kick back....

14/ FLORENCE - leather shopping, the Duomo church, piazzas again... the italian Pizza and pasta... getting lost and finding an ugly fountain which you thought never existed in Italy....

15/ MONTREAL - french accented yet english speaking friendly french canadians, good food - that poutine again - the old town and the view from Mount Royal.

16/ PARIS - some may wonder why this isn't a favourite... well, it rates mostly due to it's prestige. Found the french rude and impolite... But I must admit, it is fun to walk the Champs de Elysee's, see the city from the rusty Eiffel tower, and from Arc De Triomph. My favourite part was after dark when the lights came on and the city was lit up... and Mont Matre area and seeing a famous can can dance at a theatre across from the Moullin Rouge (wish I had gone to the real one).

16/ PUERTO PLATA - the skyway was an amazing view. It had that copy of Rio's statue, friendly locals, great bars, amazing buildings and just a great atmosphere...

17/ MELBOURNE - that other aussie city I should mention... not up there with Sydney (though I am sure there will be some offended by this who will debate it). On the Yarra it doesn't have the prettiness of Sydney harbour.. but trams make great transport on the trams, nearby puffing billy rail and great shopping.

18/ SANTO DOMONICA - one of the first old cities of the new world. Shopping the street Markets was madness, the old buildings were amazing.

18/ VICTORIA - amazing provincial parliament buildings, lovely wharf area, the capital of BC with great museum and heritage....

19/ KAMPALA - a strange one to mention. But the people here were helpful... and it is a crazy african city with thousands of vehicles I remember being scattered below, beeping horns, crowds and a great example of an african city.... Absolutely nuts....

20/ OTTAWA - Canadas capital seems swish and stylish, the parliament buildings again were cool. Market and restaurant area reminded me of the Rocks in Sydney. Pretty neat...

Well.. that concludes my novel for today - he he... Next time you all hear from me I will be in Darwin.... Take care... Cheers and beers. Lots of Love,

Sheryn

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