Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Darwin to Cairns

Don't know where to start... Remember I said I was going to go on a road trip with 6 other people? Well, it turned out to be 7. It's been amazing, really really amazing and about as stressful as travelling gets. Today I got angry and lost it big time for the first time in as long as I can remember. Felt great, especially as everyone is so understanding, we have been taking it in turns to throw wobblers all through the trip.

We've covered something like 3000km since my last post and seen some truly amazing scenery. The experience of travelling in a group of 8 with 2 vehicles is one I would not swap for anything. Despite the odd wobbler here and there, I've fallen in love with all my travel buddies in a big way and I know it's going to be tough saying goodbye. Tomorrow we lose Torsten as we head off down the coast and he stays here in Cairns.

I've not really introduced everyone properly so here goes. Torsten is from Germany and is a Darwin recruit, he the baby of the group but that doesn't stop him from dishing out orders and sorting out our finances. Steve and Rachel we know from Perth and to this mix we can add Paul who was also there at the same time as us. Debbie and Linda are two Irish travellers who we met in Darwin and have been an absolute pleasure to have along. They are truly nutty and refuse to take anyone's bickering seriously, particularly Linda who I have a real soft spot for. We met Amanda in Darwin too, she has European parents but is a true aussie chick from head to toe and that's really quite a long way. She and Steve are practically joined at the hip (I'm sure they won't mind me saying that)

It's nearly midnight and I'm running out of time here in the internet cafe so forgive me for cutting this one short. We've done loads of stuff like driving off road with some of us clinging to the roof and other less crazy antics like showering in the waterfall from the Timotei ad. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves,

click here to have a look.

Saturday, November 06, 2004


How this site was built

Lots of people have asked me how to go about building a site like this. There are loads of ways of doing it, some more expensive than others. This one is done on the cheap but requires a bit of basic IT know-how to keep it up to date. I'm not going to explain all the technical details but I'll provide links to sites that do.

Photo Space
The first thing you need is lots of web space to store all your pictures. I am using a host called Brinkster. For US$7.95 a month, you get 3000MB of space. Any host would do however, if you find a better deal please let me know!

If you don't, please use this link to sign up becasue I get a discount every time someone does :)

Apart from space, the only other requirement is that the host should have ASP.NET or mono capability. There is no need to get a domain name with your photo space. My photo site is located at http://molipix.brinkster.net which is a subdomain provided by brinkster at no extra cost (molipix is my username).

Album Software
Next you will need some software to manage your photos. The one I am using is called nGallery. This is free and pretty easy to install and use. Just follow the instructions provided.

Getting photos up on the site
I generally use a web browser to copy pictures to the photo site via FTP (your web host will provide you with an FTP address for your site which you can put into the address bar of your browser). When nGallery is installed on your site, there will be a folder called "Upload". Folders containing your photos can be copied into here and then you can use the "Bulk Add Pictures" feature in nGallery to get the photos to appear on the site. The nGallery documentation should help you here. Once you have done this, you can delete the contents of the Upload folder to save space.

Creating a blog
Blog is short for Weblog - a web based journal. I guess there are a variety of ways to create them but I haven't really looked into it. This is my blog, it was free to set up, you can create your own by following the instructions provided at http://www.blogger.com. When I write a blog entry, I provide links that take you to different areas of the photo site depending on what I am writing about. Eg. this link takes you to the Australia photos..

Including images within the text of your blog
This is quite easy to do. When you are creating a blog entry, switch HTML view by clicking the link at the top right of the text window. You can then add an image tag like this:

<img src="">

This on it's own is not enough to make an image appear. You will need to paste the address of the image in between the quotation marks. To get the address of the image, go to the photo site and find the image you would like to include within the text. Right click the image and select properties. Then select the entire address (URL) on the properties sheet. This can sometimes be tricky as it might be so long that not all of it appears at once:

Press Ctrl-C to copy the address and paste it in between the quotation marks. When you click preview the image should now appear on the site.

Thats's about it for now. Please email me if you try this out an get stuck. You can also add comments below.

Friday, November 05, 2004


Broome to Darwin via the Kimberly

So as I was saying, Rachel, Steve, Marco and I decided to stay a few days in Broome before getting back on the road. In the end we stayed 3 longer days than planned, it's just that kind of place. I ended up having to find another travel partner because Marco had started to overrun on his budget took the cheaper option of jumping on a plane to Darwin. If you're reading this Marco, we miss you buddy, especially your exceptional navigation skills!

I put up some posters advertising a 4x4 trip on the Gibb River Road and onward to Darwin. Broom is not the busiest place and I was very lucky to find Rachel (not the same Rachel who is travelling with Steve) who is a total sweetheart. Before we met, Steve joked that she was probably 18 stone with bad breath which turned out not to be the case. The first time we met her, we were so struck by her charm and good looks that we staggered out of the pub and started walking in completely the wrong direction! I hit the road with Rachel a couple of days later. To see pictures of our trip and more, click here.

We got to know campsite Dave pretty well in Broome, he generally looked after us during our stay and we shared in some of his antics involving lots of beer and occasionally a machete. One day he got a job to bring a fishing boat in for the cyclone season and he invited us to come and lend a hand. Here's a picture of Dave on the boat, explaining something important:

That was a fun day in Broome, the kind of thing that makes it a hard place to leave. Another factor was that we could climb out of out tents, step onto the beach and into the sea. Not that I ever did but it was nice to know that I could if I wanted to. One day an aussie guy staying at the campsite (forget his name) caught a huge fish off the jetty and we helped him cook it up with some rice, onions, broccoli, carrots and sweetcorn, not exactly gourmet cuisine but it was definitely the best camp food I've had so far.

I did manage to get on the road eventually and Steve and Rachel left later the same day. After getting Bertha checked over, I went to pick up Rachel from her hostel and headed to Derby and the Gibb River Road, a dirt track the runs through the Kimberly, one of the most beautiful outback regions in Oz. The first night we camped in a gorge inhabited by flying foxes. At dusk they all decided to go out hunting and there were literally thousands of them flying over our heads. I guess some people might be freaked out by that but we got an even bigger fright when a massive bull came charging down the gorge at us. What it was doing there I have no idea, thankfully we managed to dodge out of the way.

The Gibb River Road is dusty and very hard at this time of year (just before the first rains). Bertha rattled and squeaked and we got very hot and exhausted sitting in her. After 4 days on the road all the ice in our coolbox had melted and we saw a sign promising cold drinks and ice creams. There are only a few road houses along the entire 700km stretch so this was quite a welcome relief but here's what was waiting for us when we got there:

The small sign on the right says "CLOSED until 2005". Oh well, there were other ways to cool off - like swimming in the rock pools and waterfalls. Rachel took this picture at Bell Gorge which I reckon is one of the best spots we found:

We reached tarmac by about 9am on the fith day after getting up at the crack of dawn as usual (the tent feels like an oven by 6). I found driving on the dirt road loads of fun and I was quite disappointed to get to the end of it. I doubt Bertha felt the same way although the only damage she incurred was a wrecked tyre and a hole in the exhaust pipe. That's all fixed up now and with an oil change, she feels as good as new. We spent the night in Wyndham which is a cool little town, although like most places in Oz, there's really nothing much there. The next morning we set off for the Turkey Creek roadhouse and continued our journey by chopper over the Bungle Bungles - a huge area of sandstone rock formations in Purnululu National Park. It was the first time in a helicopter for both of us, very exciting especially as they had taken the back doors off to give us a better view. I sat in the front with the pilot though and spent far to much time admiring all the dials and levers, resisting the temptation to start pulling them. I still managed to get a couple of reasonably good pictures:

After our regrettably short flight we got back on the road and headed for Darwin which is where I am now. I've met back up with Steve, Rachel and Paul who was also in Perth at the same as me. They have picked up a few more travel buddies so we now have a total of 7 people travelling in Big Bird and Bertha. Tomorrow we set off for Kakadu National Park.

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