Helen and Matt worldwide

Well! So, here we are then. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. And what a drama it's been, and no mistake. Finally I've got time to tart this site up and make it a little easier to look at, play around with, and search through in general. Hope it meets with your approval, if not chances are you either know my email address or know someone who does so you can get in touch and tell me what needs changing!

A Few Highlights...

(Click on the pics for a shortcut to the appropriate section)

Hmm. Highlights from America. What can I say? Well, the first thing I've got to say is buying the bloody camera in the first place.. of course! Then, that Japanese art installation in front of the Rockefeller centre was bloody incredible. Mad figures everywhere, and the flowers? My oh my.

Other than that, we weren't really there long enough to justify any more highlights. Just check the whole page if you want to see more.

New Zealand highlights?
New Zealand was probably the most beautiful place I've ever seen. The countryside is incredible - kind of like that of England (Yorkshire, possibly even Cumbria) but with better weather, more sun and some tropical plants. Yay!

From Auckland we visited the zoo, always fun, and also did a trip on the dolphin explorer which was a little sicky (the weather turned when we were out about as far as we were going to go, resulting in a lot of sick people including me. Helen was fine, though. Guess she must have sea legs) but they made it up by giving everyone a free trip which we still have so if you're going let us know and you can pretend to be us....

Then, of course, there was Rotorua. Oh my GOD. It was absolutely incredible... where to start? Well. Rotorua is home to a great deal of geothermal activity, the practical upshot of which is that nearly every house has at least one hot tub, all the hot water they need for pretty much free, and a constant smell of sulphur in the air. Imagine the smell of bonfire night, first thing in the morning, and you'll see. This led us to the Hot Rock hostel, with an outdoor pool and two indoor tubs, and a double room that turned out to be a self contained flat with bedroom/lounge, kitchen and ensuite bathroom for a bargain price! From there we zorbed, caved and luged - these involve rolling down a hill in a big inflatable plastic sphere, paddling up and down underground rivers in innertubes and flying down steep concrete paths on a wheeled sledge respectively. Read the page for more details. Rock on Rotorua!

Highlights (so far) from Australia. There's quite a few...

The first one has to be the wine tour, although I'm not really a wine drinker unfortunately (must sort that out, I love the taste) so I felt a little ill after the fifth winery or so. Helen had the time of her life, though.

Planet Perth has to be mentioned here. It's been THE highlight of our trip so far - must give a big shout out to Ray, Carolyn, Jill, Tom, Travis, James, Davina, Caroline, Nick (watch out for him, he's going for President), Chris, Katarina, Therese, Grace, Richard, George, Erika, Solomon, Jen, Kristina and John. Hope the holidays or studying or travelling or (***insert chosen activity here***) are all going well guys!

Yeah. Planet Perth. The only thing missing was random sexual encounters, if they'd happened the whole tour could have been televised as a reality TV miniseries. It was ace, mainly thanks to Travis the organiser for sorting it out and all the fantastic activities we partook of (see page for full details) but obviously it wouldn't have been half as good without 'the guys'... awwwww. We miss you, guys. READ THE PAGE, ALL OF YOU!

The next stop, after a refreshing meal of kangaroo steak, was Melbourne. This turned out to be an extremely good thing in spite of an initial scare due to a severe case of no money - the last reserves disappear swiftly when you have to sleep in hostels. I know there's cheaper ways but before we had to worry about that a very swift job and house search set us comfortably on the tram to sanity central, with a variety of nasty temp jobs and a room in a 'de lux backpackers' for $170 a week. Nice one. As for Melbourne, it's one of the grooviest cities on earth. It's chilled, but without the '...but there's nothing going on' vibe Perth has. It's got a lot going on, but without the 'AAH! It's all too much!' of London and especially New York. And it's got the best public transport system I've ever used, in spite of a nasty encounter with a stinky wino who decided that the book I was reading would be a lot more exciting if he removed a couple of unnecessary pages. These, fortunately, were still readable on retrieval.

Melbourne was made even better by Joe and Dot, some relatives of Helen's we met up with. We were lucky enough to be fed, on aseveral occasions, and they took us on two fantastic tours - one around the countryside surrounding Melbourne including Mt. Dandenong and other sights and another out to the Twelve Apostles. There's an awful lot of rock in Australia - I suppose some of it had to turn out interesting. Maybe that's why it feels like we've seen an awful lot of rocks since getting here. Big big thankyou and much love to Joe and Dot.

Ah. The Neighbours night. We met - Jack Scully! (yay...) Lynne Scully! (Hoorah! Woo!) and... (drum roll please) DR KARL KENNEDY! Oh yes. I don't really need to say any more, do I? We were thrilled. Note to Americans and other non-brits - Neighbours is a cult classic for our generation in the UK. Everyone watched Neighbours avidly at some point in the 1990's.

orb made this! sent your beef to p dot orbus dot beats at orange dot net.