View from the bus – travels in Xiamen, China

IMG_8770IMG_8770These are not good photos, more just memory joggers for me as I write about my recent travels to Wellington’s sister-city, Xiamen – in Fujian Province, China – so, I hope you enjoy this  unedited slideshow. Check out the other blogs I’ve written and watch for more to come about Xiamen: one of China’s top 10 pretty cities.

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Wildlife Sanctuary – near Melbourne, Australia

Many thanks to Grayline for hosting me on this fun day trip which included the Puffing Billy trip (see  an earlier blog) food, wine and chocolate. It also had stop at Healesville Sanctuary  which is part of  Zoos Victoria and we arrived just in time for the bird show.

I think the best way to introduce you to this sanctuary is to give you a slideshow about some of my time there  … naturally being there in the flesh is way better and I hope this encourages you to pack a picnic lunch and go, or do as I did and go on a day tour with Grayline.

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Let have another look at that bird that hit my camera, which hit me and created a huge lump and cut in my eyebrow – seemed it didn’t like the close up i wanted to take! I don’t know what part hit me, maybe the straps hanging from his legs, his body or wing, but whatever it was, it was an unexpected and hard wallop!

Travel writers – just going that extra length to get a story huh!

A second before it collides with me!
A second before Australia’s biggest raptor collides with me! See the mean look it has!

Hop-on hop-off bus in Kuala Lumpur – a good choice

hoponhopoffbus (28)WEBThe concierge at Berjaya Times Square  (this link is to my blog about the hotel) told me how to get to the closest stop for the Hop-on Hop off bus and off I set for my last day in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – it was a good choice of ‘things to do’. If time is short, this is an ideal way to get an overview; however,  if you are time-rich it gives a good idea of where things are and will help you decide on what to do over the next few days – and this is plenty to do in KL – including . . .

 

But back to the jump on jump off bus. This tour is by double-decker bus and runs on a half-hourly schedule (it would help if bus stops had real-time info as I waited 25 minutes for a bus after dinner – I had obviously just missed one  – but you can’t leave the stop for fear of missing the next one 😦 .  Still it was good people-watching time!

The good thing about getting off was the first bus was a closed top one, my next one was an open deck top which was good for photos and viewing, (others prefer the air-con I guess!)

Lunch in Little India was great too.

The stop I started/finished at was stop 6 – which was hard to find as its hidden from the footpath by a large restaurant at the side of the road. I asked locals 3 times and then found another couple searching and asking – we joined our search talents and found it. The stop needs moving or a big sign needs to be on the footpath between the food place and the shops.

As I only had the day I only hopped-off for lunch (in Little India) and my fellow passengers seemed a mix of staying on for the full length or were hopping off at favourite spots.

Tickets can be bought on the bus, its website or authorised agents.

I think its best for the pictures to tell the story …  so, sit back and relax and spend some time in Kuala Lumpur with me.

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90 Mile Beach, sand toboggans & native trees

Sand Safaris take me for a full day trip to Cape Reinga – driving along  90 Mile Beach, sand-tobogganing  and I plant a native tree at the cape.

Classified as a main highway, 90-mile beach is not really ninety miles long and this is just one of the interesting facts given by our engaging driver, Senny, as we race against the incoming tide. These tours go up or down the beach one way, and the usual road route on the other.

We hear stories of cattle rustling; peat-land,large forests on sand dunes, lots of freshwater lakes; and the ultra-marathon and fishing competitions held on the this well known beach. we also see numerous birds, a cow, wild horses, and shellfish beds which the bus carefully avoids.

With no big river emptying into the Tasman the beach is free of the debris usually seen on beaches and it’s not long before we stop for photos before we head up a stream to the sand dunes and tobogganing.

we are given tips for the descent

.. and put them into action.

Lunch stop at Tapotupotu Bay … time for a very quick dip too

The top of New Zealand is Cape Reinga, and Te Ara, New Zealand’s online history encyclopaedia  says "according to ancient lore, this was final departure point for the spirit of the Maori. It was said that the spirit, after travelling up the west coast to a spot a few miles south of Cape Maria van Diemen, continued overland to the western end of Spirits Bay and eventually reached the pohutukawa tree. There it descended the roots and entered the sea. (This tree is reputed to have been in position for about 800 years and is said never to have blossomed.) "

 

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I take the 1km walk down to the lighthouse and the views are spectacular as I watch the waves of  the Tasman Sea meet the Pacific Ocean currents.

While here I’m given the opportunity to  plant a native tree to help assuage my travel-writer frequent-flyer carbon guilt.

If you too are ecologically minded, see the Seed for the Future website for more information about this local tribe (Ngati Kuri) initiative as part of their role of guardians of the sacred places around the cape … $NZ20 well spent and a living legacy of your trip there.

Leaving here we head south again, via the sealed  road this time, we head home with the bus dropping us off at our accommodation … I get off at Mainstreet, pick up my rental car and head a little further south to Shipwreck Bay and Endless Summer Lodge.