Australia
Cardinia

Here you’ll find travel reports about Cardinia. Discover travel destinations in Australia of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

5 travelers at this place:

  • Day50

    Back Where it All Began

    June 16 in Australia

    There is absolutely no denying the fact that South America is a LONG way from Australia. No matter which way you look at it, there is just no easy way to complete a trip that takes you almost halfway round our planet. You just have to face it with as much fortitude as you can, hoping that the discomfort of the long flight will soon be forgotten once you get home.

    For Paul and I the long journey began at 11.30 pm the previous evening. That was when my alarm rudely awoke me from a sleep which I had only just descended into. I switched on the light and staggered out of bed. At that time I tried hard not to think how many hours would pass by before I would again be able to lay my head on a pillow.

    By 12.30 am Paul and I had checked out of our rooms and were waiting in the foyer for our driver to take us to the Buenos Aires International Airport. Outside in the street the massive TV screens were still shining brightly, showing that the Big Apple is a city that never really sleeps. I just wished that I could.

    Right on time the ordered car arrived to collect us. It was not a taxi, in fact I am not exactly sure what it was. The hotel had organised it and had also guaranteed us a fixed rate for the trip to the airport. I didn't really care what it was, at least it was clean and comfortable and the driver seemed to know the way to go.

    About 45 minutes later we were dragging our bags into the terminal. This was the part we were both dreading. Somehow we had arrived a little too early for the check in to open, meaning that we had to sit and wait for around an hour. It was the first of many such waits that we would have to do before our trip got underway.

    When we finally fronted at the check in desk I asked the girl if we had both been given aisle seats as we had asked. She looked up, smiled and asked "Would you like exit row seats ?" For me, that is a bit like asking if I would like an upgrade to business. "Of course", we answered in unison. She ripped up our previous boarding passes and issued us the new coveted "exit row" tickets for the long flight from Santiago to Melbourne. I could not help but think that we had hit the jackpot.

    At 5.00 am we caught the first flight from BA to Santiago. The plane was only partially full, so we were both in relatively high spirits.These high spirits quickly sank once we landed at Santiago (Chile) and settled down to a six and half hour wait for the next flight. This would have almost been bearable if the flight had not been delayed, extending our wait to 7 hours. I kept encouraging myself by the fact that, when I finally arrived in the plane, I would have a luxurious exit row seat waiting for me.It didn't quite work out that way.

    Eventually we did get access to the plane and yes, I did have an exit row seat. The problem was that it was squeezed in alongside the huge door. The body of the door took about half the width of my seat. Although in theory I could stretch out my legs, in reality I could only do that if I sat sideways in the seat and buried my head in the luxurious soft steel panelling of the plane door. Comfortable it was not, but I could not blame anyone else. I had actually asked for this seat.

    In order to sit myself in this diminutive space, I had to reverse backwards and carefully manoeuvre my rear into position. Then fumble around trying to retrieve the ends of the seat belt. It was not easy. Ahead lay fifteen and a half long hours in the steel sarcophagus.

    The direct flight from Santiago to Melbourne probably follows one of the most remote flight paths on the planet. The route begins by heading almost due south from Santiago, flying along Patagonia, past Ushuaia and then continuing another thousand kilometres or so across the Drake Passage towards Antarctica. For most of the next ten hours the plane is flying parallel to the coast of Antarctica.

    From time to time I would bring up the flight map on the screen. When I saw our position, so far from the closest civilisation. I tried not to think about what would happen if the plane had to make any sort of emergency landing on the ocean. The chances of any sort of rescue mission so far south ? Absolutely zero.

    Gradually the time ticked by. Gradually my backside lost all feeling. I tried to ignore the DVTs that were probably growing in my veins with each passing hour. At least I was getting closer and closer to home.

    I could understand why the route of the plane took it a thousand km south of New Zealand, but it was harder to understand why the pilot decided to skip Tasmania altogether and head towards Adelaide instead. After almost reaching the proverbial City of Churches, the pilot apparently realised his error and abruptly executed a right hand turn towards Melbourne. To say I was relieved when we finally touched down at Tullamarine would have been a vast understatement.

    I extricated myself from the seat, staggered to the exit door and out into the frigid night air. At first I thought we had maybe landed in Antarctica after all, but then I was told that Melbourne's weather has been like this ever since we left the place five weeks earlier.

    When passing through Customs I admitted that I had purchased a set of wooden pencils in Argentina. They were to be a present for my grandson. They turned out to be a gift for the Australian Customs Office instead. Oh well.

    It was a wonderful feeling to see Maggie waiting for me at the exit. All that remained was to survive the Monash Freeway and I would be finally home at last. It poured with rain the whole way home. Ah, the wonderful experience of winter in Melbourne ! It seemed strangely familiar.

    By 10 pm I was snuggled into my own bed and happily drifting off into an exhausted sleep. The tortuous flight was already fading into memory and I was starting to think ahead to our next adventure in three months time. Travel is like that.
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  • Day10

    Bags (almost) Packed

    May 7 in Australia

    I must admit that I don't really like packing, however I like to think that I am relatively well organised when it comes down to the final few days. I have had a list prepared for the past couple of weeks, on which I have detailed all the myriad small (and large) items that must be taken on any trip that involves a wide variety of activities.

    Armed with my exhaustive list I set aside a part of the house for me to start piling all these bits and pieces together. The next stage is sorting and packing items into smaller packages - one package for cycling gear, one for underwear, one for toiletries and so on. Then comes the time of reckoning when all the small packages are packed into the luggage. Although at first it never looks like everything will fit, it is amazing just how much you can cram into a case. The final step is to weigh the finished result to see if anything needs to be removed. Then fill in the luggage labels, attach a lock or two and the job is done.

    With only 4 days to go till departure it is really starting to feel that our long awaited adventure is about to start. My passport is ready to go and so am I. By this time next week our team will be assembled in Cusco. In fact four members have already set off. Andrew and Valmai have spent the past few weeks in South America and will meet us in Santiago, Chile. Steve and Gil have taken the much longer route and will be attending a family wedding in the UK before jumping straight on a plane to meet us in Cusco.

    I checked the weather forecast for Friday and it is looking like an Antarctic blast is about to hit Melbourne. That means it could be an interesting flight, The next footprint will probably be in Lima.
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  • Day1

    After over a year of planning and preparation, it is always amazing how quickly the final few weeks seem to fly by. Although the trip plans are well and truly finished, my packing certainly isn't. While my vaccinations are all up to date, all I have to show for my luggage is a disjointed pile of underwear, chargers and cables scattered all over the family room floor. At least I have made a long list of stuff that needs to be included, so I suppose that is a start.

    Over a period of five weeks we will be trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, cycling the high Andes in Peru, sailing Lake Titicaca, watching the giant condors in Colca Canyon, exploring the amazing Iguassu Falls, enjoying a tango in Buenos Aires, sailing the Rio de la Plata, spending a night in the oldest European city in South America, riding in one of the world's highest trains and much, much more. Hopefully I will be able to share some of these adventures along the way.
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  • Day44

    Three weeks to go

    July 29, 2017 in Australia

    The final few weeks till any big trip always fly past at breakneck speed, however for Maggie and me, the pace has been a quantum level higher than usual. Our eldest son recently purchased a home in Pakenham and took possession of the keys about 3 weeks ago. Since it needed considerable work before he was ready to move in, we have been spending every day doing our own version of "The Block".

    After 3 weeks of pulling up carpets, jack hammering floor tiles, removing plumbing, repairing kitchen benches, countless hours of painting, hanging blinds, etc we are both exhausted. The finished product has been worth it and he was able to move in a few days ago.

    We can now finally direct our full attention to the preparation for this trip. I have finally got my bag from storage and have started collecting all the items that are required for this type of travel. In three week's we will be heading off from Melbourne to Frankfurt and then on to Mainz fro the start of our cycling. I can't wait to finally get underway
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  • Day50

    In Which we get an Unexpected Surprise

    August 4, 2017 in Australia

    With only a little over two weeks to go till we head off to Frankfurt to begin our 2017 European rides I thought that everything was pretty much settled. I had typed up the latest itinerary, rechecked the flight details, updated my travel folder and even finally started my packing. Nothing usually changes at this late stage of the process. I was wrong.

    While driving back home from Inverloch to Pakenham I had a incoming call from Dana at UTRACKS. "I have some news about your trip", she started.
    Such calls usually don't end well. I tried to control the rising tension and sound pleasantly surprised.
    "Oh yes" I answered casually.
    "It's good news" Dana added
    I relaxed a little.
    "We will be including some extra dinners at no extra charge to your group"
    Now she really had my attention.
    "How many dinners ?"
    "Quite a few, seven in fact"
    This was starting to sound a little too good to be true, but she went on to explain that we would now be getting restaurant meals for virtually every night of our upcoming rides in France.
    My previous trips in France had already taught me that French food is almost invariably delicious and I could feel my taste buds start to tingle.
    "Are you absolutely sure ?" I asked, thinking that maybe she had us mixed up with some other much more expensive cycling group. "Could you confirm that in writing ?"
    The following day she did exactly that and I was presented with the full updated list of evening restaurants. I kept thinking that there must be some catch. Maybe they were all restaurants that had a terrible reputation who were desperate to drum up some more business.
    I immediately summoned up my old travelling companion - Mr Google and asked him for more information about each of the additional restaurants. To my amazement I discovered that they were all highly rated establishments that had incredible reviews. Some were even Michelin rated !
    At that stage I had to make the difficult decision to share this news with the rest of the group or keep it to myself. To my eternal shame I was even tempted to keep it a secret and then pretend that I had decided to treat everyone to the additional dinners out of my own pocket. My conscience got the better of me and I just had to share this windfall with the rest of the team. They were all just as thrilled as I was - especially Carol who spent the rest of the evening drooling over the Internet images of the meals served up by each establishment.
    If we were looking forward to getting underway before, we are now even more eager to get our wheels rolling and our mouths chewing. Only a few sleeps to go....
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  • Day59

    In Which I Crack Up Before I Even Start

    August 13, 2017 in Australia

    I always advise my team members that they should take things carefully for the final few days prior to departing on any new adventure. After all the months of preparation and planning, it would be a crime if someone suffered a serious accident or illness at this late stage.

    With little more than a week before we begin the 2017 European rides everything was finally nearly ready. The final travel details were received, my bags were (almost) packed, I had even booked the final few train journeys to complete our travels. All that remained was our final "training ride" before we could pack away our bikes and cycling gear. What could possibly go wrong ?

    When we arrived at the start of the final ride, even the weather was cooperating. The predicted rain was nowhere in sight, the howling wind had abated and all was ideal for a relaxing final few kilometres on the bikes. With 19 riders in attendance it was also a good turnout for a relatively short ride.

    Although Paul Cowen tried his best to have a crash in the first km and Gordon Logan suffered his twentieth puncture in the last couple of months, everything else went smoothly. Maggie and I arrived safely back at the car park, packed our bikes and bade farewell to our cycling friends.

    "See you in a couple of months", I yelled to the others as we pulled out of the car park.

    The only other obligation for the day was our attendance at our grandson's fifth birthday party at Croc's Kids Adventures in Pakenham. Nothing could go wrong there......

    We arrived at the party, feeling rather self conscious in our "super hero" costumes. The little kids had already tanked up with plenty of red cordial and were making more noise than a dozen locomotives. After trying to hear myself think for a little while I went in search of our youngest son and his wife. They are both in their thirties but have no trouble acting like five year olds.

    I found them in the middle of the African adventures, busily throwing soft foam balls at each other. As soon as I entered, I became the prime target. What choice did I have other than to retaliate by trying to throw some back in their general direction. I soon realised that my throwing arm is rubbish and certainly no match for a member of the Australian Dodgeball team. After trying a few more throws I retreated in defeat with a sore shoulder and a stinging right eye. I had been soundly defeated.

    It was only when I awoke the next morning that my stupidity became fully apparent. I found I could not lift my right arm above waist height without severe pain. Obviously my limp armed throws had been sufficient to cause significant damage to my shoulder. Growing old really sucks.

    My newly discovered injury did have some advantages as it meant that I could not hang up the washing on the line and it gave me an excuse for not doing the vacuuming as I had promised. On the other hand (or should I say other arm), I really do not need such an injury so close to the beginning of our big ride. I can only hope that it heals quickly.
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  • Day20

    Kurth Kiln via Wandin Valley

    January 21 in Australia

    What I expect National Park camping would be like. In the bush, small individual sites and one large group site. The kiln is still standing, next to the manager's residence and cabins. Boys at group site loved Isis!

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Cardinia

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