April 30, 2009

Sydney Baby! (Sydney, New South Wales)

Well if there was one thing I was really looking forward to when I decided to go on this trip, this is it.

I don't know why, I really wanted to see the Sydney Opera House.

So that's the only thing I've done here so far. I have quite some time in this beautiful city anyway.

'til next time...

April 28, 2009

G'day Mate (Melbourne, Victoria)

Walked 32 km today (5 of which were on the Formula One track in Albert Park).

Many people jogging, many people rowing, Melbourne feels just like Boston.

Random Photography Fact: I finally got to buy some sensor cleaning gear, if people think it’s expensive in Canada, try $120 for 12 swabs. That’s ten bucks per fancy sensor Q-tips.

April 27, 2009

Here we go again (Brisbane Airport, Queensland)

So it seems airports are a good place to sit down and write blog entries.

Packed, unpacked, took a bus, a train, a plane, another bus, a tram (streetcar), another train, sweet-talked the officer because I lost the train ticket, sweet-talked security because my carry-on is, encore et toujours, overweight, sweet-talked that girl, just ‘cause she was cute.

That’s what I’ve been doing for the past few months.

This flight though, wasn’t scheduled. The original plan was to drive from Brisbane to Sydney, down the Gold Coast, and then whatever else is North of Sydney. (good time to open Google Earth here). But having spent a day at one of the most famous Aussie beach, Surfers Paradise, I realized that, even though I had a great time (and took cool pictures; you gotta admit the surfer boy and the girl in the Aussie-flag bikini is a cool shot), I’m not much of a beach person.

And since beaches are pretty much what you’ll find between Brisbane and Sydney, I decided to visit a place I was originally going to skip. I looked into flights to Ayers Rock, but it was too expensive just to see a rock in the middle of nowhere. So I decided to fly, for $120, to Melbourne.

You have to adapt to the country you visit. Australia has some nice landscape, I’m sure there are some amazing spots to go hiking and all, but I just came back from venomous-snake-free New Zealand where the nature is a lot more beautiful (and is not going to kill you). So I decided to spend more time in the Aussie cities; Melbourne being the second biggest one. Many people I know really enjoyed their time there.

So that’s a bit of what I’m doing right now.


I’d like to congratulate my classmates at Seneca, for whom the semester just ended. We’re part of the very first IDP batch and that’s something we should be proud of. Now it’s upon us to be successful and built a good reputation for Seneca’s IDP. I know you’re having a party to celebrate this, so please, someone, buy Ron a big beer to thank him for building, over the last 6 years, this program. Buy one for Ray as well, he’s been a big part of the whole thing too, and is now taking over as co-ordinator (thus sacrificing previous motorbike time to take care of IDP students).


Also, thanks for telling me which New Zealand picture was your favourite. Everybody had a different one. So they’re either all great, or they all suck equally!

If you’re wondering which ones are my favourites, have a look at the South Pacific II gallery on my website. Some of them were not on the blog.

If you haven’t, click on the image of the surfer and his girlfriend to see a larger version. I thought it’d be so cheesy when I was about to shoot it, but then I caught a candid moment, and it turned out to be the best picture that day.

April 26, 2009

Jump Up, Jump Up and Get Down (Beerwah, Australia)

I promised to post a photo of a kangaroo.


Since we're on a wildlife theme, here's a parrot. A Blue-and-Gold Macaw (introduced from central america) to be precise (smartness provided by Google).

As always, click on images to view it bigger.

Flying in to the most southern metropolis in the world tomorrow.

April 25, 2009

If Everybody had an Ocean (Surfers Paradise, Australia)

I know I said I'd wait for a picture of a kangaroo before anything else, but Skippy is scheduled for tomorrow.

Until then, here's a picture Pierre and Monika, a lovely couple I met at Surfers Paradise earlier this afternoon.

Lots of gorgeous young men and women around here. (My theory is, there's no seniors because everybody gets killed by one of many spiders, snakes and other weird giant bugs before they get to grow old.)

April 23, 2009

OZ (Brisbane, Australia)

I'm in the very warm land of OZ now.

Staying at Steph and Stacey's for a few days. Visited Brisbane; got a glimpse at some rugby (have a Queensland Reds jersey), but I'm not posting any photos until I have a picture of a kangaroo.

I ate kangaroo steak for breakfast, it was... different. But I've yet to see a living one.

Tomorrow, ANZAC Day, the plan is to go to Surfer's Paradise (yep, that's the name of the city).

More to come in a couple of days.

April 21, 2009

It's Some Kind of Magic (Dunedin, NZ)

Last post in New Zealand. If you’re wondering what those titles are; the car I had for over a month only had a tape deck, and the only three decent cassettes I found were an Elton John greatest hits, Queen’s greatest hits volume 2 (so none of the good songs) and the Forrest Gump soundtrack.

As I write these lines, people are arriving at the airport and as usual (remember, all airports are the same) there’s the whole welcoming committee with balloons, sings and lots of joy in the air. It’s both funny and sad when, as a backpacker, you arrive in a country that you don’t know, you walk through the gates and you see the disappointment on the balloons-and-signs-people’s face because you’re not the person they were hoping to see come out of the frosted-glass door.

If that’s a down part of travelling on your own, there are many ups. Friends hosted me during my stay in the beautiful city of Dunedin, and I really appreciated the comfort of a big bed, the fact I didn’t have to pack/unpack for a few days and most of all, the company.

So thanks to Carrie and Jacob, seen below (natural behaviour).

Here’s a bit of wildlife. Albatross, unfortunately it’s hard to show the scale, but its wingspan is over 10 feet (3m). NZ fur seal (that’s a cute one, some of the other were ugly, as I’ve been told). NZ sea lion yawning (and who named that a sea lion?) these are pretty big too, not scared of humans at all. And a yellow-eyed penguin, the rarest kind of penguins. I’ll let you guess which is which. Those picture were taken in the wild, I had to pay to have access to the private beach where the seal colony is, but those pictures are not from a zoo.

Now, comment-wise, either I’m getting boring or you guys are slacking. So let’s do this:

Since I’m heading to OZ and my time in kiwiland is done, I want to know which picture I posted so far is your favourite (just one).

I’ll put the “winning picture” on the www.veczan.com front-page.

April 18, 2009

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Dunedin, NZ)

Last stop in New Zealand!

Spending the week-end at Carrie and Jacob's. They took me to the Catlins today, amazing scenery (do I even need to say that anymore; it's New Zealand!).

So two pictures, very few words 'cause yours truly, is headin' to bed.

April 16, 2009

Cinema Paradiso (Wanaka, NZ)

New Zealand might be known for its great outdoors but let me tell you a little bit about one of its most enjoyable places, indoors, the Cinema Paradiso.

This one-screen theatre has become an attraction in the lovely city of Wanaka. Both big blockbuster and small international productions are presented.

Buy your ticket and a glass of wine (or a Coke), choose between one of the couches, lounge chairs or the old yellow convertible, sit back and enjoy. Oh, don’t worry, the pizza (delicious by the way) you ordered is waiting for you at intermission.

After the movie, walk back to wherever it is you’re staying. Other than the live music coming from a distant bar, you won’t hear much, the little alpine village is asleep. Skim stones in lake Wanaka and go to bed.

April 13, 2009

Nerdland (Queenstown, NZ)

Apparently they filmed a movie in New Zealand. A trilogy to be exact. I’m not a big fan of the fantasy movies, but it’s so big here that I have to talk about them. Ain’t gonna name them though!

They sell maps that tell you which location they filmed what scene in, you see signs here and there on the road, and inevitably you’ll stand in front of a beautiful landscape, and you’ll hear another tourist tell his friend “oh, this is where the dragon kicked the dwarf in the nuts, remember?”.

I have to admit, the scenery often looks unreal here, it’s the perfect location to shoot movies in. I am actually going to sit and waste three times three hours of my life watching the movies, just because I’m curious now.


One highly popular place in New Zealand is Milford Sound. If like me you wonder what a “sound” is, this is the definition someone gave me: “it’s like a fjord, but different, although Milford Sound is actually a fjord and should have been named Milford Fjord instead of Milford Sound.” So now we know… Regardless, it was amazing.

The last landmark place I visited here was the Abel Tasman Nat’l Park, and I thought it was a bit overrated. Nice place, for sure, but definitely not the best spot in the country. So I didn’t built too much hope for Milford Sound.

Despite all the rain (7 meters per year, 220 days of rain), it’s an amazing location. The boat ride in the sound (that’s actually a fjord) is great, but just the drive there is worth it. And I’m not just saying that because you drive through a mountain in a tunnel named the Homer Tunnel.

I’ll write more when it’ll be the time to put that book together, right now, I’m aiming at going back to a little village called Wanaka, the place that had the barn theatre.

As far as pictures go, click on them to view them in a bigger size, the time format in which they appear doesn’t do justice.

In no particular order:

Hikers crossing swing-bridge in Mt-Cook Nat’l Park
Deer knowing hunting isn’t allowed, near Queenstown
Two photos in Milford Sound and one on the way back from there

April 09, 2009

Off the beaten tracks (Mount Cook, NZ)

I guess China might be the last place that survived the Chinese tourists’ invasion, if that. They are everywhere. The only other option (after going to China, which isn’t high on my To-do List) to avoid the company of Chinese tourists is to go off the beaten paths.

I’m sitting, as I type, in front of famous Mount Cook, the highest peak of the South Pacific. I had a look at the popular walks but got quickly bored. Instead, I scouted a few spots then waited hours for sunset, and few more for darkness. Sitting there waiting, looking at the light change, I got hear and see avalanches, look at the rivers flowing from the glaciers (not pretty, the water is grey, but these ice-cubes are massive), all of that, in the middle of nowhere.

First image is Mount Cook after sunset, really cool light. Second one is of other mountains nearby (Mt Cook in the background on the far right), I’ll let you guess what time of day.

When I say “off the beaten tracks” I mean it. Where the road (and the Chinese tourists) turned right, I turned left. Just wanted to have a look. Turned out to be an incredible drive, nobody to be seen anywhere near. This is a picture I liked from the road.

April 06, 2009

Linoliumfußbodenbelagpflegemittel (Fox Glacier-NZ)

Well, here it rains. And it has for the past four days. I've seen some really nice scenery, but photo-wise, not much happening.

I'll put some more photos when the sun is back out.

From the very wet South Island of NZ, Cheers!

(Yes I take pictures while I drive)

April 02, 2009

Southern Alps (Arthur's Pass, NZ)

A nice drive through the Southern Alps. Stayed the night in Arthur's Pass.

Pick up a copy of The New Zealand Herald today!


It's been a while I wanted to illustrate how sinuous the roads are here in New Zealand. Finally found a frame I liked.

This is Ed Evans' tractor.