Well the time is drawing near to departure ...

Trip Start Jun 03, 2001
Trip End ??? ??, 2002

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Where I stayed
Ashanti Lodge Hostel

Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Wednesday, April 18, 2001

Well, The time is drawing near to departure, and I guessed it was about time that I put a few details about my preparation on-line!
I have decided to expand the idea of travelling to Australia and New Zealand to include South Africa, Bali, Singapore, Bombay (apparently now spelt Mumbai), and Delhi. This is all thanks to the superb advice given by STA Travel, Oxford Rd. Manchester, and in particular Kath, she had even gone to the trouble of planning a holiday to Cape Town a few weeks back. She says this is a coincidence but I personally think it is part of STA customer service.

Anyway, Planning! I made a point of securing a working holiday Visa for OZ quite quickly after hearing conflicting reports of the time taken to succeed. I went to London, to Australia House, at one end of the Strand (Out of the tube station and turn left) I went in with all the papers in hand and was seen in around 30 mins and the application took a further 5 mins. It was that easy. Apparently the waiting time through the post was 4-6 weeks so it was a worthwhile exercise. (Thanks to Ollie for lending me his sofa to sleep on that weekend). I also applied (or rather visited the post office) to get my International Driving licence, This is very easy and cheap at 4.
The next plan was to save, save, save and to get as much spending money as possible to enjoy a longer holiday before looking for work in Australia. I have made contact with a few friends who have made a similar trip and are, as I speak, in Australia, and they have informed me of the ease at which they found employment, (thanks to Abby and Jim), I am debating with myself as to the type of job I will seek in OZ, do I go for my chosen career of telecomms engineer or take a real break and do anything but telecomms. I think it will be a case of crossing bridges when they appear on that one.

The one thing I have noticed is the number of websites devoted to travelling and especially Australia; you can find almost anything you wish on the net, if you are prepared to search long enough. I have researched everything from Safari in South Africa, scuba-diving courses on the Whitsunday Islands, to finding a hostel in Sydney. I hope I do not have to spend most of my time in Internet cafes when I arrive chasing up the research I have done!

The latest development is the booking of the flights etc., and again Kath at STA was a great help, making all the arrangements and getting firm dates. I leave Belfast on 3rd June (4 days after my 30th birthday) and arrive in Cape Town later that night. My first weeks accommodation should be booked by then, and, depending on the report from Kath on her return from Cape Town, it will either be a shared dorm in a hostel (rumoured to be around 6 per night or a single room in "ashanti lodge Hostel" from around 16. I have booked the next three weeks in the hands of the Baz Bus company with regards to travel between Cape Town and Jo?berg. They have a fleet of buses running this route via Swaziland at a cost of 125 . I have checked up on this route and found I will be taken to various villages and townships to visit with local families for the day, which I can?t wait for! Also, I have remembered that the original "Spion Kop" hill which was captured in the Boar War by a mostly merseyside battalion, is situated around 50 miles from a suitable stop en route to Jo'berg, so all you Liverpool supporters reading this with the knowledge of the significance of this site, will realise that this is a 'must-see' (expect photo's).

From Jo'berg I then have booked a 4 day Safari in Kruger National park attempting to sight the "Big5"!! Should be a great experience! After the Safari I have a further night in a Hostel in Jo'berg before a flight next day to Auckland. This has turned into the part of the trip I am looking forward to most, as I will be meeting up with Simone, a good friend from Manchester! She is working in New Zealand and has already organised nearly all of my NZ stay as far as a flight to the South Island and back! After a week on the SI with 'Kiwi Experience Trip' which includes Helicopter ride onto some Glaciers in Franz Josef, looks spectacular, again expect photo's. I stay in Christchurch for the night before returning to the NI for a few days. Then it is of to Australia where Simone is joining me for a two week trip from Sydney to Cairns. We have hired a car already at a cost of $AUD620 (210) with unlimited milage, and one way, i.e. we can leave the car with Hertz in Cairns. By that time I will probably be out of money and in need of some work! After that, the rest of a years visa will be spent seeing as much of Australia as possible, with a break for Xmas and New Year to further explore New Zealand, because i have been told the original three weeks I have planned will not be nearly enough!

The return journey will be decided over the next year but will be along the lines of Bali, Singapore (overland divert to Thailand, Cambodia or Nepal or all) and then India before Home!!!

So, for now that is all, the next update should be on my travels, stay tuned and keep in touch. I will rely on any information from home I can get (especially football results).

C ya Andy (sorry mum) Andrew

p.s. if anyone else wants regular updates from this site let me know and I will add their e-mail address to the list. you can e-mail me at the link below.
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