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A journey to the alter and South America

a travel blog by Cath & Andy

Cath and Andy are tying the knot on 31 March 2007, and then taking off for their dream honeymoon spending 2 months travelling around South America. The trip will encompass Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.
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30 rhymes with....

Canberra, Australia

Ah yes, the Australia Day long weekend and Cath celebrates her coming of age. The Big Three-Oh is met with an awesome (if I don't say so myself) BBQ, with great friends and great food, and way too much alcohol :) We spent the day with about 25 of Cath's friends and Andy made a spectacular Chocolate cake all by himself - the decoration was applause worthy :) There was a cake fight, which then became a water fight (with bottled water, we are in a drought!) and all together most people got a little messy :)

The BBQ was followed by a Brumbies (Rugby Union) match (strange to see Rugby when it's so hot!) and then late night games.

The long weekend was topped off by a visit from Cath's parents, and an extravagent dinner on the Saturday night.

Another top Australia Day long weekend, celebrated in style

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

permalink written by  Cath & Andy on January 27, 2007 from Canberra, Australia
from the travel blog: A journey to the alter and South America
tagged AustraliaDay and 30th

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International Beer & Sausage day...

Canberra, Australia

It has been a rather eventful week, with Cath away in Sydney for 2 days and some crazy stuff going on with the contract Andy works for and the function going to be in-sourced again. There was a slight panic as timing is not ideal for us with the upcoming wedding and us being overseas for 2 months but there are plenty of options still open for Andy. We'll find out more about what is going to happen with his current job in the upcoming weeks.

Cath had her first fitting for her wedding dress on Saturday morning. Nerves are starting to kick in a little! Bek also tried on her bridesmaid dress and I (Cath) must say its beautiful and I'm very very happy with how its all coming together. It was the first time we actually got to see the colour of the dress I ordered on (as we had to pick the colour from a swatch), so I'm happy it turned out the way I wanted. Only 7 weeks to go now...

Saturday lunch we headed to the Multicultural Festival. This would have to be when Canberra City is at its very best. The city comes alive with every nationaility you can think of showcasing it's culture, dances and most importantly food and drinks. The whole city turns into a party with 140 food stalls, 4 stages and thousands of people eating, drinking and dancing in the streets.

We "travelled" from Croatia, to Spain, Vietnam, the Phillipines, West Africa, South Africa, Papua New Guinnea, through Italy, Hungary, Greece, Chile & Scotland to name a few. The sounds of rythmic drums pulsated through hordes of people, together with bag pipes, slovenian choirs, piano accordians, mandolins, and the clicking of many cameras wafted around several corners. We spent the whole afternoon eating sausage from as many nationalities as possible, followed closely by a beer trip 'around the world'. I would hazard a guess at a few thousand sore heads today.

It was a hot and muggy day, with everyone vieing for as much shade and cool breeze as possible. When we were sitting at the Rugby in the pooring rain a few hours later, getting drenched, shivering and watching our team get pipped on the final siren it was hard to believe that only a few hours earlier I had been desperately seeking air-conditioning. The only good thing to come out of the rugby game was the few inches of rain, as due to our ongoing drought it is deperately needed.

permalink written by  Cath & Andy on February 10, 2007 from Canberra, Australia
from the travel blog: A journey to the alter and South America
tagged MulticulturalFestival

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An ocean, a road, llamas, a surf lesson & more food than we could eat.....

Torquay, Australia

Friday morning, 4:45am I (Cath) am awoken by my mobile-phone & Bek's voice "Good Morning, I'll be there to pick you up in about 45mins. This was quite a shock as I knew we were going away, but I honestly thought she would be getting me around 8am. A quick trip to Canberra Airport and I was on my way to Melbourne. We then picked up a cute little yellow hire car and then we were on the road - destination unknown...

We headed down towards Geelong and it was just after we passed through that I saw the first signs to the "Great Ocean Road". I couldn't beleive it, Bek was taking me on a trip that I have wanted to do for quite some time.

We stopped in Torquay, where Bek presented me with a 'beautiful' hand made doll called "Ali". Ali (my maid of honour) lives in Perth & is about to get married so was unable to come to our weekend away, so Bek made me a doll (who I took EVRYWHERE even despite all the weird looks from other travellers) to keep Ali's spirit with us.

We had a quick bite and then headed to a surf shop, where I was told to get into a wetsuit so we could have a surfing lesson. (Bek and I trying to squeeze ourselves into wetsuits was an experience in itself!) Now, surfing is awesome, suffice to say that I am probably the worlds worst paddler (my arms are still hurting). I managed to stand up once (at the end of our 2 hour lesson) and Bek managed to get up a few times, in between her and I running into each other when we caught waves. It was hilarious, nerve racking and so much fun. I was exhausted when the lesson ended.

We then got back on the highway and headed down to Apollo Bay, we stopped at a lighthouse and also admired the views from the awesome highway - what a beautiful part of the world! We then headed to our nights accomodation which was a Llama farm on top of the most beautiful (& steep!) hills/mountains above Apollo Bay. We then played with some Llamas (after getting over our fear of the placid things!) and then headed out for dinner where neither of us could finish the steaks we had ordered - they were huge! Probably about 500g each (it didn't help that we stuffed our faces with Calamari as an entree).

We headed back to the Llama Lodge at about 9pm and went straight to bed - it had been a long and exciting day - and this 30 yr old was exhausted.

permalink written by  Cath & Andy on February 23, 2007 from Torquay, Australia
from the travel blog: A journey to the alter and South America
tagged Torquay, ApolloBay, GreatOceanRoad and Victoria

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Swaying trees & walkways, a tiny room in a lighthouse, 500 steps to a waterfall & sunset with the apostles

Port Campbell, Australia

Bek and I got up early and went to play with the Llamas again before we headed off onto the highway again. The male Llamas were a little more 'dominant' than the girls we had visited the night before and Bek and I shared some nervous laughter as the Llamas spat at each other in an attempt to show 'who was boss'. It was such a beautiful farm and the llamas were really beautiful animals and we were both a little sad to leave such a special place.

We got back onto the Great Ocean road and stopped in at the Cape Otway lightstation. This is where the Bass Straight ends and the Southern Ocean starts. The lightstation grounds are heritage listed and they have done an amazing job of restoring the old residences and bunkers around the site. We got a tour up into the lighthouse (such a tiny room up stairs, you'd hate to be clostrophobic going up the dark spiral staircase!) and marvelled once again at the beautiful coastline - it was very windy!

From Cape Otway we headed up into the mountains and the stunning Otway rainforrest where the Otway Fly - treetop walk is. This is a definate must for anyone visiting the area as it is very beautiful - however, be warned, the tower, the trees and your knees all sway in the wind, amounting to something like sea-sickness at the top of the tower - despite my giddyness this was a wonderful experience, the rainforrest is so beautiful and peaceful.

We then headed down to Hopetoun Falls, after some hair-raising dirt road corners, and found the trail to the falls - I think there were about 500 steps straight down to the bottom, which made for a red-faced return up the hill. The falls were beautiful.

After the climb back up from the falls we headed to probably the most stunning part of our trip - the 12 Apostles at sunset. There isn't much I can say about it, apart from it was just so beautiful. We pretty much sat there for 2 hours watching the sun come down. This is an experience I will not forget.

We headed into Port Campbell for the night and stayed at the very pink Ocean Beach Backpackers, and went on a mission to find dinner. It was about 8:30pm and not alot open in Port Campbell apart from some very expensive restaurants that were full - we found a decent priced Pizza and Pasta house and orded Pumpkin, Spinach, Pine-nut and chicken pasta & a bottle of red - once again a huge meal that Bek and I couldn't finish - but ohh so tasty! And again, with my muscles aching from the surfing and all the up and down hills, we hit bed pretty early and I would have been out with the faires by 930pm.

permalink written by  Cath & Andy on February 24, 2007 from Port Campbell, Australia
from the travel blog: A journey to the alter and South America
tagged GreatOceanRoad, Victoria and PortCampbell

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Magic Helicopter ride, a cheese factory and Geelong Harbour

Melbourne, Australia

Port Campbell is not an easy place to find food in the evening, nor in the morning. We left the hostel at 8am to try and find breakfast and had to settle on the one takeaway that was open. It seems nothing opens in that town til 10am on a Sunday, this is not good for travellers!

We headed back to the 12 Apostles so I could get another look at them, and try

and get some dawn photos (as the light was behind them at sunset). We stopped at Lock Ard Gorge on the way and once again marvelled at what the wind, sea and weather has carved out of the shoreline - it really is quite amazing and like nothing I have ever seen before.

After adding approximately another 100 photos of the Apostles to my memory stick (can you ever have enough photos??) Bek set off on her final suprise for me. We walked past the Apostles carpark to an airfield where we were to set off on a helicopter flight over the coastline. Seeing the coastline from the air was surreal and beautiful. The pilot had a good laugh at how nervous I was looking (I have never been in a chopper before) but as soon as we took off I quickly discovered helicopter flying is much smoother and easier on the body than an aeroplane. It was awesome!

After our flight we started the trip back to Melbourne, stopping at "Cheese World" at Allansford for me to get a cheese fix. We stopped in Colac for lunch and ate an 'interesting' fish and chips from the chicken shop - the fish was covered in chicken salt, an interesting taste sensation to say the least.... After Colac we headed to Geelong (we had about 4 hours left before we had to be at the airport) and sought out the beach. Neither Bek nor I had been to Geelong before and we had a lovely afternoon walking up and down the beach, eating soggy icecream and being entertained by 15 year olds trying to 'one up' each other at the ocean pool. It was great, they have a really interesting shoreline there with plenty to do and watch - Andy would have loved all the boat racing going on in the harbour.

We headed back to Melbourne at about 6pm where we dropped off the car and did all those 'end of holiday' things - like wish that we still had another week off to see more.

I was asleep pretty much on takeoff (9pm) and didn't wake up until we landed back in Canberra.

It was an awesome trip and I have been so incredibly spoilt by Bek and I can't even begin to thank her enough for all she did for me. It has definately made me want to go back and spend more time on the Great Ocean road, checking out all the little towns and villages and doing more rainforrest and coastline hikes/walks. Just amazing!

permalink written by  Cath & Andy on February 25, 2007 from Melbourne, Australia
from the travel blog: A journey to the alter and South America
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Introducing Mrs Howson...

Canberra, Australia

On Sat 3rd March Ali & Gaz tied the knot in a small private ceremony at Al's parents home. It was a beautiful small and casual ceremony and was followed by a huge lunch spread put on by the family. Andy and I felt extremely privelleged to have been able to be a part of their day. A perfect blue sky, and a very happy couple. Congrats Al & Gaz, you are both wonderful and we know you will have a fantastic life together!
Al & Gaz are now on the way to New Zealand for a fantastic 3.5 week honeymoon. They will be back in time for our wedding at the end of the month before heading back to their home in Perth.
Mooshy mooshy

permalink written by  Cath & Andy on March 3, 2007 from Canberra, Australia
from the travel blog: A journey to the alter and South America
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A welsh mans socks, $16.75 & a broken toe

Canberra, Australia

Ah yes, the Australian female rite of passage... the hen's night! With 3 weeks to go to the big day my last girls night of freedom began with a lovely picnic in a park of chicken & avocado crepes, pancakes with chocolate syrup & strawberries and champagne. I was lulled into a false sense of security, little did I know that would be the only civilised, tasteful and un-embarrasing part of my day.

We then headed to the ice-skating rink, where I was presented with a lovely veil covered in various sexual regalia such as condoms, lubricant and a vibrator, I was also made to wear a skirt that had a ladies backside with underwear printed on it - All the 12yr old kids at the rink were a little confused to say the least. One of the many highlights of ice-skating was our 'vibrator relay', it was very classy.

After the skating we headed to a local pub where I was loaded with several shots and beer. I was then presented with a 'beautiful' male blow up doll who was to be my partner for the rest of the day/night. We took a short walk up the road to a studio where we were then instructed in the beautiful art of 'pole dancing'. We were given more champagne to 'loosen us up' and I can only imagine what it must have looked like to Kel when I performed a lap dance on her lap. Somewhere during the dance lesson (I think) I seemed to have broken my little toe, but with all the alcohol flowing through my veins I didn't realise this until dinner.

We had dinner in the city where the rest of our party joined us. We missed the skyfire fireworks as they started so early and the dinner service was slow, but I was in such fine form I didn't really notice. At dinner I was presented with a t-shirt that was covered in life-savers and a rather tasteful slogan "a suck for a buck". Suffice to say at the end of the night I was up $16.75. We had a rotary club dinner at the table next to us, and I have to say did they give us a show. Never in my life did I think I would have a lady who I believe would have been in her 80's giving me marriage advice that consisted of "you must have lots and lots of sex, AND you must enjoy it too". It was hilarious and I have to admit they were an awesome group of people who were in fine form!

After dinner we headed for the night-life, more alcohol, dancing and a mission to dress the blow up doll. By the end of the night a travelling welsh man had given us a very good pair of long woolen socks, a raiders fan had given us a sock, a bar donated a jacket from lost property and to top it off, as all the bars were closing at 4am a young gentleman donated his boxer shorts.

I survived my hen's night, getting back to our hotel at 4:30am. As, what appears to be tradition, I was well humiliated and embarrased, but also well looked after and had a very fun night with so many funny memories. The blow up doll probably had the best night of us all as he was the centre of attention most places we went, and was 'borrowed' by many patrons in the bars.

All my muscles (and my toe!) ache today and I am need of a very good nights sleep, but all in all it was a fabulous day/night and I want to thank Bek for organising everything, Mish for helping, my mum for being such a good sport and participating in everything and everyone who came who got to witness my humiliation, but also make it soo much fun.

permalink written by  Cath & Andy on March 10, 2007 from Canberra, Australia
from the travel blog: A journey to the alter and South America
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I now pronounce you....

Narooma, Australia

Can't find the words to explain just how perfect our day was! Everything and every one was just simply amazing.

The day went so fast and our only regret is that we just ran out of time to say hi to everyone.

Thanks to everyone who was able to make it, or who sent their wishes we couldn't have done it without your love and support.

Still feeling very giddy and mooshy and don't want to bore you all... will put up more pictures later...

Thanks again, it was truly a special day and boy, can my husband play and sing the blues!

Love to all,
Mrs Collins

permalink written by  Cath & Andy on March 31, 2007 from Narooma, Australia
from the travel blog: A journey to the alter and South America
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leaving on a jet plane

Sydney, Australia

With the wedding out of the way and our quick dart back to Canberra to store the wedding gifts we are finally starting our first leg and heading to Sydney

permalink written by  Cath & Andy on April 3, 2007 from Sydney, Australia
from the travel blog: A journey to the alter and South America
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The long haul....

Auckland, New Zealand

Sydney -> Auckland -> Santiago

We're sitting around at Sydney airport getting ready for our 23 hour commute to Santiago. The excitement of going overseas has finally hit and Cath is buzzing!!!

Talk to you all from Chile!

Mr and Mrs Collins :)

permalink written by  Cath & Andy on April 4, 2007 from Auckland, New Zealand
from the travel blog: A journey to the alter and South America
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Join us on our journey to our wedding and our 2-month South American honeymoon. We will be married on 31 March 2007, in Narooma Australia and are honeymooning through Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina in April and May 2007.

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